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back to article US Republican enviro-vets: 'Climate change is real. DEAL WITH IT'

A quartet of former US Environmental Protection Agency administrators have come out in favor of immediate action on anthropogenic climate change – and all four worked in conservative Republican administrations. "We served Republican presidents, but we have a message that transcends political affiliation: the United States must …

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Unhappy

Especialy surprising given Shrubs fondness for never-go-to-jail-cards for the Clean Air & Water acts

Which partly explain the hostility to fracking in the US.

Interestingly they agree that a "carbon tax" would be the best way to get companies thinking about moving away from CO2 producing systems.

But note once again the US political system is not the solution it's the problem

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Whatever.

Climate changes. That's a fact. We do not know why.

Assuming humans are causing it, without actual proof, is hubris at best.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Whatever.

Hundreds of credentialed climate scientists agree that human-generated CO2 and its associated radiative forcing is increasing global temperature rise, and you say, "We do not know why"?

Get a grip, man, get a grip.

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Re: Whatever.

CO2 isn't (by an order of magnitude or so) the largest component of "green house gas". Good old dihydrogen oxide is.

Think, man, think.

Also, please note that your "hundreds of credentialed climate scientists" are drawing a pay-check from fueling your fear ... Or fueling Al Gore's $LargeJet, on his latest World Tour.

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Re: Whatever.

"CO2 isn't (by an order of magnitude or so) the largest component of "green house gas". Good old dihydrogen oxide is."

Certainly H2O is the major comtributor to the Green House effect (order of magnitude is debatable). However that's irrelevant. The greenhouse effct is mostly a good thing, making the planet on average ~30 degrees warmer than one would expect. The problem is pushing a good thing too far, so what is at issue is not the major contributor to the greenhouse effect, but how the different contributions are changing. And CO2 is certainly a major contributor to the effect, and also it's concentration in the atmosphere has markedly increased over recent history.

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Thumb Down

Re: Whatever.

"Climate changes. That's a fact. We do not know why."

Rule #1 for astroturfers: get in first and sow the seeds of doubt. Check!

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Meh

@ AC 0647hGMT - Re: Whatever.

There are likewise other scientists who say the opposite or something in between, probably with the same credentials. So?

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Re: @ AC 0647hGMT - Whatever.

"There are likewise other scientists who say the opposite or something in between, probably with the same credentials. So?"

So...

1. Tell me who they are.

2. Tell me what their credentials are.

3. Tell me what their theories are.

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Re: Whatever.

It is not hubris.

Humans current put 36 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year - about 1% of the total already there. CO2 is in an infrared active gas and it has to be doing >SOMETHING<. It is extremely unlikely that we could put this much infrared-active gas into the atmosphere and it have no effect. You can calculate the likely effects and every calculation from the three line one on the back of an envelope to the results of Earth Simulators predicts pretty much the same - that it should warm the Earth a bit. Why can you not acknowledge this?

And we do understand pretty much most of the factors that have affected climate change historically. It would be nice to have another planet to play with - but actually we only have this one, and personally, I don't want to experiment with it.

M

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Happy

Re: Whatever.

Water vapour is the most powerful greenhouse gas, but it is usually not described as such by climate scientists. This is because they regard any changes in its concentration as being driven by changes in CO2 concentration. So it's not an independent player.

The thinking is that atmospheric water vapour concentration simply depends on atmospheric temperature, because water evaporates and condenses continually (whereas CO2 doesn't). So changes in CO2 concentration drive changes in temperature which drive changes in water vapour, which cause more heating. The feedback isn't strong enough to run away, but may be strong enough to amplify the original effect of CO2 changes. Estimates of the amplification factor vary.

So both sides are right on this issue. Water vapour is sort of irrelevant if you accept the simple feedback model as it's just a slave to CO2. But it's also a potent greenhouse gas. That means that if your simple feedback model is wrong, then the error you make could be quite big.

In my view this issue still isn't settled yet. Water vapour affects things that aren't perfectly understood by a long way - cloud cover probably being the most important . So I'm still on the fence over this one. I wouldn't be surprised to see new feedback effects involving water being found that change the conclusions.

Just trying to advance the debate a bit to scientific issues (instead of name calling), you understand!

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Re: Whatever.

The best scientific proof available that global warming is a myth is that someone got paid to do some research.

Thank fuck Newton didn't get paid to find out about gravity or we'd all be floating around in cloud cuckoo land.

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Stop

@ Burb - Re: @ AC 0647hGMT - Whatever.

Lazy, are we? I'm not going to play Russell's teapot with you; there's lists of them about, google it.

Even Freeman Dyson is somewhat doubtful about it.

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Boffin

Re: @ Burb - @ AC 0647hGMT - Whatever.

1. Lazy, are we? No, just wary of those who cast assertions without evidence.

2. I'm not going to play Russell's teapot with you; there's lists of them about, google it.

You made the assertion; yours is the burden of proof. That's the standard in logical debate. Live up to it or admit defeat.

3. Even Freeman Dyson is somewhat doubtful about it.

Well, he's convinced it exists, but feels that (as of 2007) our models need more refinement before they can be used to accurately predict the magnitudeor theconsequences (http://edge.org/conversation/heretical-thoughts-about-science-and-society1). What I find most interesting about Dyson's piece how he closes his opinion piece, talking about himself:

Even a smart twenty-two-year-old is not a reliable guide to the future of science. And the twenty-two-year-old has become even less reliable now that he is eighty-two.

Now, I do not take that as a man casting aspersions on himself, more as a tounge-in-cheek warning not to depend on one individual's opinion. What you've provided thus far is a weak link to one scientist's opinion. The article provided 4, with references. Even if we ignore you unwillingness to provide evidence for your assertions, you're 3 down, by the numbers.

1 See that? That's what we call a reference. Supporting evidence, that is. Even hyperlinked it for you.

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Re: @ Burb - @ AC 0647hGMT - Whatever.

"Now, I do not take that as a man casting aspersions on himself, more as a tounge-in-cheek warning not to depend on one individual's opinion."

I like his statement, but I take it differently. I think his brain skipped and he forgot what audience he was addressing, or he mixed 2 together out of too much personal reflection. However, his statement would go over with laughs if addressed to 80yr old steel workers :-).

In regards to global warming, if trees can affect climate, why can't humans?

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Re: Whatever.

Jumping out of a building is totally cool, because the fall isn't the major component of your death, the landing is.

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Re: Whatever.

>is hubris at best.

Yes, but how silly we are to suggest that humans can do anything that nature can't recover from. You are correct, nature will recover, but we might not. See giant layer of dinosaur bones for evidence of this happening in the past.

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Thumb Up

@ Steve Knox - Re: @ Burb - @ AC 0647hGMT - Whatever.

Thank you for your lecture. I now see that you have won the logical debate.

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Re: Whatever.

"We do not know why".

What ridiculous drivel. OF COURSE we know why!

Just because YOU don't know the schoolboy basics doesn't mean everyone else is ignorant too.

We have known all the main forcings for climate change for decades - well over a century in the case of variations in CO2 levels.

We have known that CO2 is a 'greenhouse gas' since 1896 and it was long-suspected before that.

By the time G N Plass published "The CO2 theory of climate change" in 1956 it was already mainstream science and every study since then has only served to reinforce the theory. There is now a consensus of evidence and it is a 'robust theory'. Which in laymans terms translates to a scientific fact. It is as much a fact as the theory of gravity and the theory of evolution.

Deal with it.

The other forcings such as the orbital and axial variations that result in the Milankovitch Cycles, the variations in sun activity and the cooling effect of volcanic eruptions are also well understood and have been for decades.

In the distant past - every sinle time CO2 levels have risen as a result of the Milankovitch Cycles so has the global temperature. The laws of physics don't care if the CO2 is outgassing from some ancient ocean or is coming from humans burning 35 billion tons of fossil fuels every year. They just do their thing regardless.

Every single time.

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Re: @ AC 0647hGMT - Whatever.

There are NO climate "scientists who say the opposite". Or they so vanishlingly small in number as to be irrelevant. You always get a couple of cranks in any crowd.

Even 'skeptics' like John Christie and Roy Spencer don't dispute that CO2 is causing global warming. They just didn't think it was going to happen as fast as it.

The denial industry have made it a priority to attack the consensus and spend millions of dollars spreading misinformation to that effect. They don't have to do any research so a few million bucks buys a LOT of lies.

You have obviously fallen victim to some of these lies.

If the denial industry had any proof that the near unanimous consensus wasn't a fact they would cite it.

But of course they cant'. All they can do is wheel out the same tiny handfull of shills and fake 'experts' over and over again. These people have become household names due to their extreme rarity and the fact that the same few are paraded repeatedly.

Stop parrotting the same old thousand-times-faslsified denierblog junk. We don't have time for flat earthers any longer.

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Re: @ Burb - @ AC 0647hGMT - Whatever.

So - you don't have any proof whatsoever. What a surprise.

Typical denier tactic. Just make something up, repeat it ad nauseum, ignore requests for evidence, claim victory, make something else up, repeat that add nauseum etc etc etc etc.

There are NO 'lists' of qualified climate scientists who dispute AGW because there aren't any qualified climate scientists who dispute AGW.

The denial industry have even resorted to faking online polls that anyone with a degree is entitled to sign and then claiming that as 'evidence'.

I kid you not - google 'Oregon Petition' if you doubt me. It's a motley list of assorted engineers, chemists and bottle-washers with a smattering of pop-singers and even one imaginary TV detective included!

This is the sort of utter junk that the denial industry offer as 'proof'. Do you really think they would pull stunts like that if they had any genuine proof?

Pathetic and desperate in equal measure,.

Now that climate change is simply obvious and even the Republicans are begining to realise that ignorance is a vote loser the denial from the ignorati has become hysterical. Classic psychological reaction.

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Angel

Re: Whatever.

> See giant layer of dinosaur bones for evidence of this happening in the past.

But... but... but...

They were only put there to test our faith!

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Re: Whatever.

God you're dumb.

You think that all climate scientists in the world are in on a big conspiracy because the money in basic science are soooo good. Because you're too dumb to realize they could instantly triple their salary if they started saying climate change _isn't_ real.

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Re: Whatever.

Hahahahaha yeah, and the ocean is so vast that it's hubris at best to think humans could ever pollute it!

The fishes of the ocean are so numerous that it is hubris at best to think that humans could ever deplete the stocks!

The rainforests of the world are so enormous that it is hubris at best to think we could ever cut them down!

The oil reserves of the world are so huge that it is hubris at best to think that they would ever run out!

The buffalo herds are so big that it is hubris at best to think that they could ever be hunted to extinction!

Seriously, even for an argument from ignorance yours is the dumbest I've ever seen. Not just because there are countless examples of humans affecting vast resources, but because _we actually know that humans are increasing the CO2 level of the atmosphere_.

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Trollface

Re: Whatever.

The only fact I see, is the political hacks are going to make serious bank ($$) from whatever regulations they get passed.

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@Andreas Koch Re: @ Burb - @ AC 0647hGMT - Whatever.

"Lazy, are we? I'm not going to play Russell's teapot with you; there's lists of them about, google it."

Somehow I missed this reply yesterday. I think it was because I was looking out for a more substantial answer than you have been able to give.

No - I am not lazy. I have been looking for an answer to this question for about 3 years now and I haven't found a convincing answer to it. The very few names I am aware of on the 'sceptic' side who seem to be close to genuinely qualified scientists have been debunked too many times to be taken seriously any more (e.g. Lindzen, who has all but admitted that his 'iris earth' theory was wrong, or Spencer, who has a string of well-documented errors under his belt as well as having admitted that one of the motivations for his opinions is his evangelical Christian beliefs).

As for Freeman Dyson, his position is ambiguous as pointed out elsewhere, and I seem to recall that his statements have been of a very general nature and have revealed that he has not made much of an effort in getting up to speed on climate science.

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WTF?

Re: Whatever.

"Also, please note that your "hundreds of credentialed climate scientists" are drawing a pay-check from fueling your fear"

Can you please point to evidence that the scientists concerned earn their living by scaring us and not by being employed as academics and/or researchers. Whilst you are doing that perhaps you might also like to ponder on how you might discus this issue a tad less emotionally. TIA.

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Re: Whatever.

Your assert that there is no actual proof of humanity contributing to climate change. So we are to take your word that there is no proof? Let me reword your statement a bit...

"Assuming humans aren't causing it, without actual proof, is asinine at best."

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fzz

Re: Whatever.

Science isn't about proof as you probably mean it. It's about stating a hypothesis that fits observations, then trying to refute the hypothesis. Those which can't be refuted after some considerable effort to do so are accepted until they are refuted.

Observing correlations doesn't prove causality. Until we observe gravitons, we can't prove the causal mechanism for gravity, but we get by pretty well with Newton's and Einstein's theories of gravity.

With regard to US Republican legislators, we know guns with bullets kill and injure tousands of people per year, and most of those killings and injuries are either due to criminal intent or accident rather than to people defending themselves, but Republican legislators are as immune to that evidence as they are to evidence of man-made climate change.

Simple faith is bliss.

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Silver badge

Re: Whatever.

There are many factors we believe affect climate, solar activity, atmospheric composition, variations in orbit, ocean flows, size and position of continents etc etc.

It is a complex system with atmospheric composition only being one part. Are humans affecting the system, it is probably wise we consider at least that we may be affecting it for now and look at several things

1- The ways we are affecting it,

2- If there are sane ways we can reduce any impact should there be one

3- Ways to adapt to changes (hotter and colder, wetter and drier) that will happen anyway.

No matter if we are or aren't causing climate change it is something we would do well to better understand anyway. History has shown us the climate does change. It would also be wise to have some independent answers on how releasing certain gases in large quantities may affect the weather. Right now either outright denying any kind of climate change or believing we are the only cause and throwing economies into chaos is both silly and seemingly what people seem to actually be doing. We don't know for sure. We should better understand it and even if we aren't doing much to cause it we should be able to deal with the effects. A big issue is global consensus, theres bugger all point doing much by way of prevention if other large countries can negate huge efforts by throwing up coal power stations on a weekly basis. Get some credibility back into the 'science', get some perspective into the discussion and then maybe we can begin to make some progress. Non human related climate change is probably something we will have to deal with anyway.

Just to clarify \ may etc above is just to indicate that I do not know for sure that we are causing it, not that I fully believe we are or are not.

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Re: Whatever.

Wait a minute..... so 30 degrees of global warming is a good thing, but 30.5 would suddenly be a catastrophe?

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Coat

Re: @ Burb - @ AC 0647hGMT - Whatever.

Google is your friend. Regardless of your AGW point of view, don't stand in your bully pulpit, ranting like a denier or believer idiot when ten seconds of searching produces:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_scientists_opposing_the_mainstream_scientific_assessment_of_global_warming

Pathetic? Likely, but the mirror isn't forgiving whether you bother to look into it or not. Geez.

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Trollface

Re: Whatever.

Jake, you are a troll.

Your first post was "Climate changes. That's a fact. We do not know why. Assuming humans are causing it, without actual proof, is hubris at best."

Now you follow up with "CO2 isn't (by an order of magnitude or so) the largest component of "green house gas". Good old dihydrogen oxide is."

Which is it? "We don't know why it's warming" or "it's warming because of H2O, not CO2".

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Facepalm

Re: Whatever.

The other fun fact about H2O as a GHG is that the H2O in the atmosphere is in equilibrium with the liquid H2O on the surface (bloody big oceans - you may have noticed them).

As long as the temperature doesn't go up H2O can't contribute to increased warming. Wait, what...

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Pirate

Re: Whatever.

What would "actual proof" look like, in this case? Can you put together a thought experiment that would convince you?

If not, you're just blowing smoke.

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Re: Whatever.

We who agree with the scientists and with some of the policymakers on this point think we have proof. Our reasons may not seem convincing to you but they are reasons, not assumptions. Have you looked at our reasons? Considered them in good faith?

(1) CO2 absorbs IR radiation. This goes back to John Tyndall and the 19th century. Pretty solidly established fact.

(2) The earth's heat balance involves sunlight in and IR out. To balance when the IR has to fight its way through a layer of CO2, the earth has to initially radiate more, at a higher temperature. This is pretty basic thermodynamics and it's confirmed by the fact that the moon, without any CO2 or water vapor to speak of, averages considerably colder than the earth.

(3) Atmospheric CO2 is increasing because of human fossil fuel use. This is pretty solid too. Who can pretend that we don't burn coal for electricity? Who can explain the rise in CO2 over the last century from about 300 parts per million to now near 400, as being a natural fluctuation?

(4) It's warmer than it was a century ago. This might be put down to natural events, but in view of 1, 2, and 3, it seems to us more likely to be our own doing.

(5) This is just a thumbnail sketch. For more details, go to realclimate.org or wikipedia.

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Boffin

Re: Whatever.

"Wait a minute..... so 30 degrees of global warming is a good thing, but 30.5 would suddenly be a catastrophe?"

Please define catastrophe, otherwise that has little to do with science.

All one can say scientifically is that

a) Current models estimate that the greenhouse effect warms the planet by ~30 degrees

b) Those models seem to do a reasonable job at describing (pre-)historic climates

c) These models correlate increasing CO2 in the atmosphere with increasing temperature

d) According to the models increasing global temperature has a number of climatic consequences

Anything beyond his is politics, and not science.

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Silver badge

Re: @ AC 0647hGMT - Whatever.

2. Tell me what their credentials are.

Real scientists don't give a shit what your credentials are. Only whether or not your data supports your theory.

3. Tell me what their theories are.

Show me you raw data first.

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because water evaporates and condenses continually (whereas CO2 doesn't).

So let me get this straight....

All H20 is constantly recycled. It never get trapped in ice or underground streams. And it certainly gets injected into the air as part of a Pacific Rim island having a volcanic eruption.

Furthermore, only humans produce CO2 in their manufacturing processes so CO2 must be continually increasing by whatever that industrial process is. There are no trees, bushes, mosses, or algae which convert CO2 to O2. And therefore there can't be any feedback processes which might increase as the temperature goes up.

Right.

Get back to me when you have two brain cells to rub together.

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Re:Jumping out of a building is totally cool,

Great! Let's climb the Eiffel Tower so the fall lasts longer.

Then, you go first.

We can resume our debate over your religion when you get back up here.

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Re: looking for an answer to this question for about 3 years now

Then you are an incompetent searcher or don't know much about basic science.

It took me about 3 hours with Google once to figure out how crappy the assertions of the The Holy Church of Man-Caused Global Warming are. I followed the link to a paper on the model and read some of the basic assumptions. One in particular caught my eye: the one where they assume constant solar output for their model to simplify things. Then I went and looked up measured solar radiative output. First up, the number on the charts I found for measure output was 1-3% above the assumed number for the calculation. That's a really bad start. Then I found measurable variation in the solar output. So they don't even make it out of the starting gate.

Full disclosure: I went looking for it because more than 20 years ago during the semester I was taking Astro 440 (which included calculating radiative outputs for the sun depending on certain assumptions about transfer), or as I called it Applied Mathematics, as my 3rd math course for the semester, I finally realized math and I don't get along well enough for me to have gone into the field. I did manage to understand a fair bit of the radiative transfer theory though. And the bottom line was, beyond some ideas about the nuclear reaction chain, we don't know squat about how the sun really shines. If you can't calculate that, you don't have a baseline from which to work your CO2 theory. If you don't have a baseline, you don't have anything.

You want to know why we keep working to refine the measured distance of an AU, even though we know it to more than 4 decimals in the Celestial Goofy Shit* system (CGS, or centimeter, gram, second for you non-astro types)? It's because when your baseline is long enough, those missing decimal places work out to billions of light years. The same thing applies to repetitive feedback mechanisms.

*Why the name? Because, I mean really?! When you know from the outset that you're going to wind up putting a 'x 10^Y' in your notation, why would you intentionally add more digits to the exponents than you need to?

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Re: Can you put together a thought experiment that would convince you?

Sure.

A model that accurately predicts the climate for the next 15 years and then matches it.

Which is why I reject the current warmist agenda. Five years ago you said we couldn't claim the current lull in global warming proved anything because until you got to 20 years of data you weren't outside the normal variability of the system. Now that we're closing in on the magic number from your last defense, you've thrown out a new number. Just like those end of the world preachers who finally gave up.

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Re: Whatever.

Except that even armchair scientists know

(2) While ultimately the radiative transfer is responsible for cooling, at lower levels the density of the atmosphere makes convection the dominating cooling transfer. In some locations you also have conduction as the primary cooling transfer. Also, what exactly are the data on the CO2 densities at which atmospheric levels? If you're assuming it is constant as a percentage through out the whole atmospheric shell, I don't need a reference article to know you've got your ass hanging out the car window on the autobahn.

(3)a The output of CO2 from burning coal can be readily calculated. A decade of us burning across all the continents on the surface of the planet is less than the CO2 output of a single volcanic event like Mt. St Helens. Furthermore, the volcanic eruption will put the CO2 into the atmosphere at much higher altitude than a factory smokestack, so it has less chance of interacting with trees and plants to be converted to sugar. If CO2 were to have the strongly coupled affect on temperature as claimed, we should see measurable shifts that correspond to each similar volcanic eruption in history. We don't.

(3)b 1. Lack of evidence of a natural source to increase CO2 is not proof of a lack of natural sources. 2. I gave you one such source in (3)a above, but you deny it's truth.

(4) Do you see that bit above where I mention my astro background? Yeah, I got news for you baby. This Creationist can guarantee you that even for a 6000 year old Earth, your data baseline isn't nearly long enough to predict anything. If I put it into the context of a 6 million year old Earth as required by Evolutionists, your data baseline ain't even a pimple on a gnat's butt.

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Re: Whatever.

You are in error in the claim that the Mt. St. Helens incident released more CO2 than a decade of world industrial activity. In fact, the release was insignificant by comparison to our industrial output. This can be seen from a glance at the graph of CO2 concentrations, month by month, as measured atop Mauna Loa in Hawaii. The same goes for any other eruption since the beginning of the collection of the CO2 data for that graph.

It shows no significant spike. Certainly nothing comparable to the total of any ten recent year over year changes. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keeling_Curve for details.

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Re: @ AC 0647hGMT - Whatever.

Perhaps you should spend less time writing on "denial industry" and go to e.g. http://climateaudit.org/ and check how crappy the "climate change science" is.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @ AC 0647hGMT - Whatever.

@Slawek

Perhaps you should spend less time writing encomiums about a website run largely by Steve McIntyre, a non-scientist mining-industry veteran and CGX Energy (oil and gas exploration) consultant who attempts to discredit true, peer-reviewed client science, and instead get a copy of the McIntyre (and McKitrick) paper, “Corrections to the Mann et al. [1998] Proxy Database and Northern Hemisphere Average Temperature Series" published in the industry-centric Energy and Environment in 2003, which famously tried to discredit Michael Mann's "hockey stick". Read it, and then try to justify their removal of a shedload of Mann's publicly available proxy data, and their misunderstandings – distortions? – of other of Mann et al.'s data for any reason other than merely to prove him wrong.

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Boffin

Re: @ Burb - @ AC 0647hGMT - Whatever.

See http://cosy.com/y12/NewsLetter201212.html for a link to a brilliant video of Dyson dismissing the hysteria . Also links to Burt Rutan , Richard Lindzen , and Physics Nobel winner Robert Laughlin .

The notion that changes in CO2 concentration at these already saturated levels makes even a measurable change in our global mean temperature is profoundly stupid nonscience beyond any mass delusion I ever expected to see in my lifetime .

It illustrates what a small portion of the population can actually independently think and analyze even rather basic physics .

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Boffin

Re: Whatever. : Tyndall

@ doughensley : I found it quite interesting that in his 1861 talk Tyndall pointed out that a good absorber is also a good radiator . CO2's spectrum cannot , for instance , explain the surface temperature of Venus being 2.25 times a gray ball in its orbit .

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Re: Whatever.

No, it wouldn't be a catastrophe, but neither is it negligible.

The present average temperature of Earth is +15 Celsius. The projected increase is in the order of 2-6 degrees Celsius. You, and everyone, will notice that difference. By comparison it's how much colder the Earth was during maximum glaciation in the ice ages, and close to the world maximum attained during the Cretaceous, when the entire planet was tropical or subtropical, including the polar areas.

The "comfort" temperature window for our civilization is very narrow.

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Anonymous Coward

Cold enough yet? No? Just wait...

New satellite dataset finds global temperatures decreased from 1982-2006 http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.co.nz/2013/08/new-satellite-dataset-finds-global.html

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cold enough yet? No? Just wait...

Yawn... Dream on, dream on, dream on.

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