Reply to post: Re: About time

President Donald Trump taken on by unlikely foe: Badass park rangers


Re: About time

@Geoffrey W:

"We all know that the democrats have been less than successful in many areas and made some mistakes, and that it wasn't entirely due to congress and senate being under control of the republicans, though that played a significant part in lack of progress and movement. But honestly, which side do you think represents at least some chance of movement in the right direction, R or D?"

The post of mine to which you originally responded wasn't about the candidates or parties in general; it was about whether Big John was worse than people on the left who don't hold their candidates accountable. I don't think that he is. I would go farther and say that some of his points had merit (even if they were exaggerated or brusque).

He's right that there are people on the left who've used shoddy evidence to try to shut up opponents or intimidate them. For example, both a sitting US senator and a former high-ranking federal prosecutor have advocated using RICO against oil companies despite a lack of evidence justifying that. They relied on an analogy to tobacco companies, but didn't offer a single example of an Exxon manager making a knowingly false statement about AGW.

For that you have to go to surrogates, and it becomes obvious that Sen. Whitehouse and Mz. Eubanks skipped the details because they were inconvenient:

Real Climate News said that "Exxon's Own Research Confirmed Fossil Fuels' Role in Global Warming Decades Ago," which is categorically false. Their article doesn't even include the right general type of data. Exxon took measurements of ocean acidity along a single shipping route over just three years, and any trend would have been buried in short-cycle noise:

The Exxon employees who warned about AGW were environmental specialists (not the allegedly-guilty executives), and their evidence was weak. Ars Technica's Scott K. Johnson has admitted that:

"So how do scientists build datasets that track the temperature of the entire globe? That story is defined by problems. On land, our data comes from weather stations, and there’s a reason they are called weather stations rather than climate stations. They were built, operated, and maintained only to monitor daily weather, not to track gradual trends over decades. Lots of changes that can muck up the long-term record, like moving the weather station or swapping out its instruments, were made without hesitation in the past. Such actions simply didn’t matter for weather measurements."

The other lines of evidence for AGW didn't exist in 1977: Landsat 3 hadn't been launched, and Landsat 1 and 2 had only been active for 5 and 2 years, respectively. Sea surface temperature buoys weren't standardized until sometime in the '70s and had notable biases (D. E. Parker [1995]). The trend-line was also quite a bit flatter prior to 1980, and David Anderson's paleo-index wasn't published until 2012.

So while Exxon managers didn't shut down the company and fire all of their workers at the first warning, there is no evidence that they hid proof of AGW in the late '70s and early '80s.

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