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Global Warming Endangered by Hot Air?

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the picking-and-choosing-from-news-sources dept.

The Media 503

oldwindways writes "The BBC reports that leading climate researchers are concerned that the tone of speculation surrounding many reports (scientific as well as in the media) could be making it more difficult for legitimate science to make a case for the future. Is Hollywood to blame? Have we 'cried wolf' too many times with global warming? Or is this just a case of some researchers who are not ready to face the truth? Either way, it raises the interesting question of how greater public awareness of Global Warming might be affecting the course of research and vice versa. Not to mention what happens when public awareness is shaped by factors other than scientific findings. This is especially troubling during what some are calling the warmest US winter in years."

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The Truth Is Taboo? (4, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388301)

I supposed we should all stay quiet? We shouldn't talk about it? I guess then it won't exist at all.

Please disregard this post as it comments on the taboo subject de jour, and I would hate to make it worse.

And the summary is an example of that hyping (2, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388599)

The /. summary is an excellent example of such unscientific hype. Linking last winter to global warming is pure speculation that does nothing to promote rational discussion about global warming. A mild wointer might indeed be a result of global warming or it could be just a peak in some other climatic cycle that we don't fully understand.

Here in New Zealand, we have just had a very cool summer, following on from a very cool winter. Where's some of that global warming stuff? Could have used it at the beach!

To think that we (as a human race) have a very good understanding of long-term climatic processes is just arrogance. We have models which we are always refining, but they will always just be speculation. We look back mockingly at how ignorant some scientists were 40 years ago (eg. during the 1960s many/most geologists did not accept tectonic plate theory). It is silly to think that people forty years from now won't be doing the same about us. That should be particularly true of climatic modelling. There is no robust equation for climate. People essentially just sit down and tweak the models until they get the results they expect, then use them to generate best case and worst case analysis. That folks, is hardly science.

Re:The Truth Is Taboo? (4, Insightful)

thrawn_aj (1073100) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388629)

The "truth" is not taboo. However, if the so-called truth relies on your BELIEFS, then yes, it shouldn't be associated with science. It is a historical fact that any issue which gets politicized to such an extent as global warming has (other examples include evolution and abortion), has been firebombed out of legitimate scientific enquiry. And when this happens, the public makes "decisions" based on their emotions and that corrupts what used to be the truth. These issues are not the lame binary questions that are paraded in the media by brain-dead reporters who have no clue what the issue is or what the consequences are for the future. In short, if the people want to decide these issues, fine, let them. But we MUST require a certain level of education in this matter before that can be allowed to happen. Asking a random noob off the street a question is merely proves the intelligence of the examinee, not the merits of the argument itself.

You can't vote on scientific truth. For example, if even a majority of America is seen to believe in Global Warming in some kind of inane Gallup Poll, well tough noogies if the evidence shows otherwise (random pov, the reverse is also true). People's opinions DO NOT matter unless they are informed decisions rather than the "close-your-eyes-and-pick-one" sprt of decisions that are ruining this country.

Re:The Truth Is Taboo? (2, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388735)

You can't vote on scientific truth. For example, if even a majority of America is seen to believe in Global Warming in some kind of inane Gallup Poll, well tough noogies if the evidence shows otherwise (random pov, the reverse is also true). People's opinions DO NOT matter unless they are informed decisions rather than the "close-your-eyes-and-pick-one" sprt of decisions that are ruining this country.
Sadly, in America we do reduce most issues to inane Gallup Polls, and Media Outlets & Political Parties tell us what is true or not (usually based on as little information as we individuals have amassed ourselves).

Everyone's beliefs and emotions are directly involved in every decision we make and expecting the masses to make a logical and informed decision about anything is about as likely as getting everyone to agree on which lottery numbers to pick.

Re:The Truth Is Taboo? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18388877)

You can't vote on scientific truth.
Clearly you haven't thought this through. What if you are studying voting patterns? Ha!

Re:The Truth Is Taboo? (1)

uncadonna (85026) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388919)

> You can't vote on scientific truth.

Yeah, but you can vote on politicians, and so you affect policies.

If this were just a matter of science, there wouldn't be a controversy. The side of this trumped up debate (which side that is, I won't specify here) which is lying would not exist if a great deal weren't at stake. Then you could read your typical pop science sources and get a good picture without the sort of noise pollution that this issue is subject to.

The scientific community is healthy, friendly, and occupies a spectrum of opinion. The public is presented with a grotesquely inaccurate picture of a "debate" with two "sides". This is a consequence of vested interests trying (all too successfully) to inject uncertainty into policy by faking confrontation in science.

Many people think the safest thing to do is shrug and conclude "a pox on both their houses", and ignore the whole business. Unfortunately, the situation is not like that. At this point it is inescapably true that at least one side of the perceived debate is lying. (I suppose it's not excludable that both sides are lying, but you'd have to wonder where the real scientists are in that case.) The public is forced to determine which "side" is lying and which "side" is accurately representing the state of the science.

As a member of the scientific community I could tell you which "side" bears any resemblance to the underlying state of knowledge, but you'd still have to decide if I am real or astroturfing. You do actually have to do that in a sense, because abstaining is as a decision with consequences.

Not so... (4, Funny)

gbulmash (688770) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388317)

I don't believe Hollywood speculation about global warming will stop us from taking the threat seriously.

The Hollywood speculation about evil robots has not stopped certain dedicated men and women from taking seriously all threats of domination by artificial life forms. For example, I recently caught my Roomba building an IED. When I shared that information on a forum that shall remain nameless, there were people who believed and recruited me for the Roomba Resistance.

But perhaps I've said too much.

- Greg

Re:Not so... (2, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388369)

For example, I recently caught my Roomba building an IED.


You need to start worrying when it builds an IUD.


Note: The above content tests positive for sarcasm and should be taken with a pound of salt.

Re:Not so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18388479)

I don't believe Hollywood speculation about global warming will stop us from taking the threat seriously.

The problem is: WHAT IS THE THREAT? To most people, the "threat" is nicer weather. How many people can you talk with seriously about ecosystem destruction? The best you can do, that people will understand, is say "12 million people will die of a flood in NYC!!" (Obviously unlikely).

Re:Not so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18388901)

When the west Antarctic ice shelf comes apart, it's starting to, the sea level will rise about 5 meters. Then all you smart boys in NY at least will need a new tune.

British Societies (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388337)

There seems to be a bit or rivalry here going on in the press. Seems like a "not invented here problem" to me.

Skeptics are useful. (4, Insightful)

Kid Zero (4866) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388339)

We can't seriously believe either side, but must stick to logic and examine all the facts. Both sides have their hysterical evangelists and paid shills.

Re:Skeptics are useful. (3, Insightful)

vague disclaimer (861154) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388395)

Who would be a paid shill for the "global warming is a serious threat to us all" side? And who is paying them?

Re:Skeptics are useful. (0, Troll)

XanC (644172) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388445)

Lots of people have something to gain by hyping global warming. Politicians looking for power, actors trying to look "caring", socialists making another attempt to weaken the United States.

Re:Skeptics are useful. (2, Insightful)

vague disclaimer (861154) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388657)

So are "actors trying to look caring" the paid shills or are they doing he paying? They are obviously wealthy enough to pay a shill, but then how would they look caring? Surely their shill would get all the kudos, no?

Are the politicians looking for power the paid lackeys of global capitalism....oh, hang on - global capital has huge amounts of sunk capital in existing technologies so that doesn't work...so are the politicians paid shills of the Chinese...no, hang on, they're building a coal fired power station a week so it can't be them. I think we should be told who the dastardly bank rollers are.

Could it be the socialist of whom you speak? It's a long time since I've seen a proper socialist with enough money to pay a shill, but maybe shills are cheaper than they used to be. Who are the leaders of this group? c'mon. Who are the hippy-dippy masterminds behind the great global warming conspiracy?

And just who was that on the grassy knoll? Eh? Eh?

Re:Skeptics are useful. (2, Insightful)

mike2R (721965) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388691)

Politicians looking for power, actors trying to look "caring", socialists making another attempt to weaken the United States.

While I agree with reasons 1 and 2, socialists making another attempt to weaken the United States is a myth.

You can accuse socialists of many things: naivety, idiocy, overweening bureaucracy, completely failing to understand how the world works, and being too incompetent to even be allowed to organise domestic rubbish collection. All of these are valid arguments to use against socialism and socialists.

That there is any sort of significant number of socialists (or any other group) out there who champion global warming out of a cynical desire to hurt the United States is simply incorrect. It's a myth that has been spread by the shills on the other side, it sounds convincing, apparently, to a lot of Americans, but it is simply not the case.

I'm not saying that all advocates of the global warming hypothesis are worth listening too. Far from it, many are crackpots who hurt their own side simply by their support (as TFA seems to be saying). And yes the current position of the US on this issue gives many of these people a happy overlap with their anti-Americanism. Maybe there are some who intellectually dishonest enough to allow their dislike of the US to persuade them on this issue, but there is no conspiracy. It's a meme that has been spread by those with a vested interest in global warming not being acted upon.

Re:Skeptics are useful. (1)

mrcdeckard (810717) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388727)

Lots of people have something to gain by hyping global warming. Politicians looking for power,


right on, brother.

actors trying to look "caring",

damn straight!

socialists making another attempt to weaken the United States.


Yea- . . . . WTF?!?!
[swallows puke in mouth]

mr c

Re:Skeptics are useful. (2, Interesting)

cunamara (937584) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388789)

Lots of people have something to gain by hyping global warming. Politicians looking for power, actors trying to look "caring", socialists making another attempt to weaken the United States.



LOL! The Republicans have weakened the US more in the past six years than the "socialists" could ever have hoped to achieve!



That said, it is indeed important to be sober and accurate about climate change. There have been huge atmospheric composition changes in the past 40 years, in particular, with the measured amount of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide increasing dramatically. There are multiple contributing factors including fossil fuel combustion and deforestation and desertification. At the same time, particulates in the atmosphere have resulted in a decrease in sunlight reaching the ground, and the sun is currently at its lowest output of total solar irradience in its 11 year cycle- and coincidentally the lowest in 30+ years despite a theoretical long term trend towards higher average solar output. That would seem to clearly indicate that the changes in mean global temperature seen especially in the past half-decade are terrestrial in nature. We're not all going to die tomorrow, but the long term trends are concerning.

Re:Skeptics are useful. (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388843)

Ironically (perhaps) by enacting many (and many expensive) socialist measures.

Re:Skeptics are useful. (3, Insightful)

phantomlord (38815) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388483)

Who would be a paid shill for the "global warming is a serious threat to us all" side? And who is paying them?

Anyone who manipulates their science, ignores contrary evidence or exaggerates the conclusions of the science in order to scare the government and/or people into more grant money.

Re:Skeptics are useful. (2, Funny)

vague disclaimer (861154) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388683)

Ah, right. It's all a conspiracy to secure more grant money. Thanks for sharing.

Blimey. (2, Insightful)

vague disclaimer (861154) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388863)

I get "Troll" while "Lots of people have something to gain by hyping global warming. Politicians looking for power, actors trying to look "caring", socialists making another attempt to weaken the United States." above gets +5 Insightful? Sheesh.

Re:Skeptics are useful. (1)

VON-MAN (621853) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388973)

Ah-hah, so it is sort off a battle between evil scientists scheming for grant money and big oil and stuff. Hell, you make sense to me!

Re:Skeptics are useful. (1)

0111 1110 (518466) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388673)

The entire nuclear industry for one. Horse and other pack animal breeders as well as any pack animal driven carriage manufacturers that may still be around. And the entire industry of surrounding horse care and feeding. As well as producers of alternative energy sources: photovoltaics, wind generators, construction companies that specializing in dams (we will need to dam up most large rivers). Also, manufacturers of air conditioners along with all the associated needs of OEM a/c manufacturers from air compressors to refrigerant producers. Sail and sailboat manufacturers. Especially if all 'non-essential' civilian aircraft are grounded. We will still have to trade goods. Firearm manufacturers will also be quite happy, since policing anti-combustion regulations worldwide will be quite an ambitious undertaking. There are always people who stand to gain from any political decision.

Re:Skeptics are useful. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388935)

Well there are a lot of people who want to go I was right. After Hitler and WWII people have been hyper sensitive on everything that is going on, trying to be the one when things go bad and they look for someone to blame they could be the ones who said, Yea I know and I warned people about it but they wouldn't listen. They don't want to be like the german citizens who turned a blind eye to the evils that were going on around them. Now it is easy for people to think something is evil if there are a bunch of people to say it is evil. So If you want to get a reputation that you are good and noble person and your idea is right you may want to pay people to spread the word to make you seem right.

Re:Skeptics are useful. (2, Insightful)

sweaterface (1074076) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388523)

I take it that by "either side" you mean those who support the claim that we are causing global warming and those that resist the claim. But, I don't see how we "can't seriously believe either side" simply because "both sides have their hysterical evangelists and paid shills." I would note, first, that both sides of *every* issue of any magnitude have hysterical evangelists and paid shills. And we can't take that fact as reason to not seriously believe either side of every issue of any magnitude. Moreover, I'm a philosopher, not a scientist. I don't take myself to be among those that can credibly resolve questions as complicated as those surrounding global warming. As such, I doubt whether my "logic" or ability to examine all of the facts will provide me with a better justified belief about the matter than I would have by relying on the considered opinion of the majority of researchers.

Re:Skeptics are useful. (0, Troll)

Goaway (82658) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388531)

There are only "sides" in the media circus and among non-scientists. The scientists are pretty much unanimous about basic facts, and only really disagree on the details.

Details such as "is it already too late to do anything?".

Re:Skeptics are useful. (1)

slashkitty (21637) | more than 7 years ago | (#18389085)

There are many things that "the scientists" don't agree on. They certainly don't all agree on Al Gores take on it, and they don't all agree on the "Day after tomorrow's" take on it. They also don't all agree on how to fix it, or if it even can be "fixed".

Re:Skeptics are useful. (1)

dbzero (64544) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388537)

I agree. This video [youtube.com] seems quite revealing from a skeptics POV.

Re:Skeptics are useful. (0, Troll)

Goaway (82658) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388751)

It's "revealing" only if you ignore the facts that it contains well-known falsehoods and misrepresentations that have been debunked long before it was produced. What it "reveals" is that its producers were pushing an agenda, and that agenda did not involve telling the truth.

Re:Skeptics are useful. (1)

dbzero (64544) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388879)

TBH, I don't know all the arguments. What struck me from the video is how the supposed ice core data actually show temperature leads CO2 which sort of debunks the whole idea that human activity causing global warming. Has this particular aspect of the video been debunked?

Re:Skeptics are useful. (1)

vague disclaimer (861154) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388779)

You are aware that one of the scientists they featured has slammed the programme for deceiving him about its content and the context in which his contribution would be used?

Link [guardian.co.uk]

And Monbiot on the maker [monbiot.com] . I'm no big fan of Monbiot, but the factual base here rather goes to the credibility of the film maker. He has, as we say over here, "form"...

Re:Skeptics are useful. (3, Insightful)

Shadowlore (10860) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388681)

We can't seriously believe either side, but must stick to logic and examine all the facts. Both sides have their hysterical evangelists and paid shills.

This is true. It is also true that there is a risk and danger in public disasterbation.

And poster of the story/author of the blurb commits one of them. The poster referred to "the warmest summer US winter in years". This winter's temperatures are irrelevant to GW, AGW, NGW. Would the poster say that GW/AGW is obviously not a risk if this summer is one of the coldest US summers in recent years? The variance in annual temperatures is not part of the GW/AGW proponents' position - and rightly so.

First of all, the GW/AGW people say that the average temperature will rise. There are many ways this can happen, and a warmer winter is not necessarily one of them. Oddly most people understand this, sadly they don't think about it.

Furthermore, AGW==disaster proponents (the aforementioned disasterbators) are eager to tie anything to AGW. From tsunamis to finding whatever weather changes in your areas you wouldn't like and saying that will happen. Yes, this is the vocal minority doing it, but that's the problem; and some of them are doing it right here on /.. I'd say "you know who you are" but sadly, you probably don't. The man on the street sees these claims, sees they are full of hot air, and does what? Dismisses or discounts the entire thing.

The other side of the problem is econazis hitching all of their "solutions looking for a cause" to AGW disasterbation. There are a great many things we can do that might be good to limit AGW that are good ideas even if AGW is entirely bunk. How is this bad? The more stuff is piled on to a notion the more we tend to discount it. It is also bad in that by tying these things to AGW we increase any harm or delay any benefits.

For example, as long as their is public dissent or doubt about AGW, or the costs associated with changes to limit the alleged AGW causes, anything tied to to is delayed due to doubt and suspicion, and caution. Further, if it is shown that GW is more likely to be natural than anthropogenic, or it is shown that we can't stop AGW - i,e. we've reached the tipping point as some disasterbators have claimed (and other climate researches have dismissed) then these measures lose their impetus.

When they lose their impetus and the proponents of them come back with another one, then they lose more credibility because they are suddenly looking for a cause to be the solution for. Ultimately, however, we have the instigators of the AGW hypothesis to thank for this. They stated up front that they should be changing policy and some have been shown to favor hyping the negative and downplaying any positive or non-negative aspects in order to scare the public into taking action they want done. All in the name of them being experts and us being idiots of course.

The AGW disasterbators are the greatest thereat to civil discussion and thorough research, and are their own worst enemy. And in so being, are among mankinds worst enemies.

Re:Skeptics are useful. (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388885)

I wish I had mod points to give you.

You're absolutely correct that we're not going to get anywhere as long as everyone's running around screaming at the top of their lungs like chicken little.

Socialism by the back door. (4, Insightful)

ccmay (116316) | more than 7 years ago | (#18389003)

They stated up front that they should be changing policy and some have been shown to favor hyping the negative and downplaying any positive or non-negative aspects in order to scare the public into taking action they want done.

Like Canadian Environment Minister Christine Stewart (a nurse by training, if you can believe that):

"No matter if the science is all phony, there are collateral environmental benefits. . . Climate change [provides] the greatest chance to bring about justice and equality in the world."

As long as the public faces of the global warming scare are building vast energy-hogging mansions [sfgate.com] , flying around the world in private jets [nytimes.com] , and shooting down alternative-power proposals [cbsnews.com] that clash with their refined aesthetic sensibilities, I will assume they are all power-crazed liars and mountebanks of the ilk of Christine Stewart.

We are being asked to overturn the very edifice of free-market capitalism, on the basis of wild speculation about the significance of mere statistical noise, teased out of scant and questionable data by grant-chasing academics, and shouted hysterically by power-mad left-wing politicians who won't abide by the same draconian regulations they advocate for the rest of us. No thanks. I'm going to keep living my life as I please.

-ccm

Channel 4 documentary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18388813)

See this video from Channel 4 [google.com] for some critical commentary on global warming, and different scientists' beliefs on how/if we can stop it.

Re: Model chaos confuses issue (1)

evought (709897) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388825)

The situation is further complicated by the fact that the system in question is very complex and rather chaotic. The doomsday predictions are well within the range of outcomes of credible models. For instance, the film The Day After Tomorrow [imdb.com] , stripped of the over-dramatization, actually presents a real possibility which is a better explanation for the frozen mammoth (with buttercups in teeth and stomach) than the original papers on the subject (hypothesizing volcanic eruption and rapidly expanding CO2). That does not mean the outcome is probable. But, the sum total of nasty, improbable outcomes, though still not overly likely, is worrisome.

Many models, though not being able to predict real outcomes with certainty, do show a high likelihood that the climate will become highly unstable for a least a period of time. Weather models have not gotten good at predicting long range weather, but studies of the mathematics of chaos have at least made it possible to say when the weather can be predicted accurately and when it cannot, essentially picking out singularities in the models and degrees of instability in the actual weather systems. As global warming is put into the climate models, they become increasingly chaotic and increasingly unpredictable.

I think saying "the sky is falling" is going a bit far, but saying that we are likely in for a bumpy ride and maybe some major turbulence (please remain seated and fasten your seat belts) is quite warranted.

Then the question becomes: OK, what do we do about it? We cannot evacuate the coastlines due to a non-zero probability of catastrophic sea-level rises and increasing hurricane threats, especially while evacuating other areas for other non-zero threats. What we can do is a little risk management. In our small farming operations, we are laying groundwork for water storage and collection in case of extended drought, for (at least short term) utility independence in case the massive ice storm we got hit by this year is not isolated, and looking at storing seeds for hardier varieties of plants in case of climate drift. We are also looking at working through the Agricultural Extension and other means to encourage farmers to be more versatile in the face of change. It was not long ago here that the Ag Extension would not talk to farmers unless you had at least 40 acres and were raising beef cattle. Extended droughts have hurt beef here immensely and caused them to shift their policy toward greater versatility.

Shoring up coastal areas, better storm preparation, some real thought on what to do if climate change causes an upsurge in disease carrying mosquitoes in currently quiet areas, and so forth, are also probably quite warranted. Recent events show we are not prepared for what is happening now, let alone for possible increases, so these actions are prudent in any case.

It's all Kevin's fault (3, Funny)

cyberbob2351 (1075435) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388349)

There would be no issue with the public's misconceptions had Kevin Costner exercised more restraint [wikipedia.org]

hollywood (4, Funny)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388351)

Is Hollywood to blame? Only the day after tomorrow will tell.

Crying Wolf? (2, Insightful)

SubliminalVortex (942332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388353)

Legitimacy comes with the understanding, apparently. Hollywood to blame? "Oh, Puhhhhleeaze" (in my best drama queen ala Callas' voice) If you're going to blame anything on anyone, blame it on ignorance; excuse it and move on with our lives. (...and learn how to be less *ignorant* in the future)

Global Warming.. you need faith to believe (0, Troll)

brxndxn (461473) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388363)

Why can't people just say, "Hell.. I'm not sure which side I believe yet." ??

The problem with controversies that have become too political is there is NO WAY to get good definitive information about global warming or any other politicized issue. For every respected scientist that comes out in favor FOR global warming, there is another respected scientist that comes out against it.. Then, to add to skepticism, funding is often based on which way scientists are leaning..

Then, we have idiot Hollywood blowhards telling us if we don't believe in global warming, it's like not believing in the Holocaust or something to that effect. I do tend to believe that most Hollywood people that want to speak their minds are idiots. They're the ones that haven't gone to school or studied any amount of logic or reasoning skills.

And again.. 'some are saying this is the warmest winter on record.' Well, this fvcking winter (at least for Florida - where I am) is colder than most. And, it's NOT OVER. And, the NOAA report that the media based the 'warmest winter on record' claim tends to say this was nothing more than an AVERAGE WINTER.

So.. basically any claims made without fact or merit end up becoming better fuel for the skeptics.

Again.. I haven't decided which way I believe. Give me some real, unbiased facts, and I'll maybe make a decision. But if there's any hint of bias, I will see it and disregard said report. As far as I can tell so far, it really seems like claiming global warming in 2007 is nothing more than claiming global cooling as in the 1970's..

Re:Global Warming.. you need faith to believe (3, Informative)

Goaway (82658) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388509)

The problem with controversies that have become too political is there is NO WAY to get good definitive information about global warming or any other politicized issue.

You could try just listening to the actual scientists, and not the media circus.

For instance, http://realclimate.org/ [realclimate.org] .

Re:Global Warming.. you need faith to believe (1)

John_3000 (166166) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388565)

'Why can't people just say, "Hell.. I'm not sure which side I believe yet."'

I was scholar.googling the other day on the genetic determinents of political orientation and learned that people who describe themselves as conservatives tend to be made uncomfortable by ambiguity. Liberals are OK not having definite answers to everything but it causes pain on the right. I used to say "an engineer is a scientist with math phobia" but since my professors tended left and every engineer I know tends right, I think I'll add "an engineer is a scientist with ambiguity phobia."

Re:Global Warming.. you need faith to believe (1)

Skreems (598317) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388853)

That's complete hogwash. I know plenty of engineers who are fine with ambiguity, and tons of engineers who are extremely liberal (I'm one of them). Just because you don't know any doesn't mean they're rare. In fact, I would venture that conservative-leaning scientists seem more out of place, given what you said above. Scientists have to be able to accept that they don't know things, and understand and be comfortable with realistically defining the boundary between what they do and don't know. If you're uncomfortable with having large swaths of your subject in a very undefined state, you're not going to be a very good scientist, because you'll be pushed towards defining things sooner than you should.

Now, I'll agree with you that conservatives tend to like to declare that they know the answer to things, whether they do or not. I think it's at the root of their attitude towards welfare (that person's homeless, he must be lazy), the economy (rich people deserve tax cuts because they work harder than everyone else), and religion (it's okay to make laws based on the bible, because the bible is true, and God says we should) and a bunch of other issues. But to apply it to science-minded people in the way you have seems quite backwards to me.

Re:Global Warming.. you need faith to believe (1)

John_3000 (166166) | more than 7 years ago | (#18389031)

It's not me, it's just what I read. But you sorta fit what I'm talking about.

Mr. Engineer says "Scientists have to ... be comfortable with realistically defining the boundary between what they do and don't know."

Dr. Scientist says scientists are comfortable not being able to define such a boundary.

Re:Global Warming.. you need faith to believe (1)

duck0 (1073338) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388637)

This is certainly true, a local newspaper reported only yesterday that this is the warmest winter in 7 years IIRC, and also had a list which--to the critical observer--showed that the winter 8 years ago(as it were) was even warmer...

What really frightens me is the quite incredibly polarized posts on slashdot.

Re:Global Warming.. you need faith to believe (1)

WiFiBro (784621) | more than 7 years ago | (#18389017)

Could the local newspaper be true if the graph was for 'this country' and the print said 'in the world'? Quite often you have to check real close on graphs and statistics. And sources for reliability.

On polarization. It is remarkable how many discussions on Slashdot end up in the same controversies: Microsoft/Linux Firefox/Opera(/IE) Christianity/Atheism(/other religions) Republicans/Liberals.

Actually this topic made me increase the number of friends&enemies I have here, just to be able to filter shortsighted opinions so I don't have to spend time on them. Of course i am veeeery neutral and unbiased :P ;).

Re:Global Warming.. you need faith to believe (1)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 7 years ago | (#18389095)

Why can't people just say, "Hell.. I'm not sure which side I believe yet." ??

I've got an better question: "Why do I even need to believe in one of these two sides?" This issue isn't being treated like a scientific matter, it's being treated like a dodgeball game where we have to pick sides. I don't have to believe in global warming to know that I shouldn't pollute. I don't have to believe in catastrophic climate change to know that I should conserve resources. Duh!

There used to be a time when conservation was pragmatic thing. You turned off your lights when you weren't using them, because it lowered your electric bill. But that changed into a quasi-religious environmentalism, where today you turn off your lights when you aren't using them because it will save the planet and stop Baby Gaia from crying!

What? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18388409)

>>This is especially troubling during what some are calling the warmest US winter in years."

Seeing as how this is the winter with the two coldest 3-week periods (in Anchorage, Alaska) in history - where are you getting the above statement? The US does include Alaska you know...

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18388485)

from where ? NOAA to be exact

http://news.google.com/news?q=warmest+winter [google.com]

do try to keep up old chap

Re:What? (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388571)

From NOAA [noaa.gov] :

"The December 2006-February 2007 winter season temperature was marked by periods of unusually warm and cold conditions in the U.S., but the overall seasonal temperature was near average, according to scientists at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C." (emphasis added)

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18388593)

Seriously - we have had some of the coldest spells here in Maine that I can remember over the past few decades. Maybe we're experiencing 'local cooling' that is offsetting the 'global warming'. Who knows.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18388643)

where? everywhere else but anchorage apparently. i'm sure it's a shock to discover that your local climate is not always 100% representative of the rest of the globe.

Re:What? (1, Insightful)

d34thm0nk3y (653414) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388693)

The troubling issue really is the amount of records being set. Global climate change is going to have varying localized effects but will likely result in more extreme cycles due to more total energy in the system. So warmth records in some areas, cold records in others, floods in some, droughts others, etc. Basicall all anyone can say is that things will change, how is uncertain.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18388775)

What's most important is the global temperature average. From NOAA:

he December 2006-February 2007 U.S. winter season had an overall temperature that was near average, according to scientists at the NOAA National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. Precipitation was above average in much of the center of the nation, while large sections of the East, Southeast and West were drier than average. The global average temperature was the warmest on record for the December-February period.

Re:What? (1)

meme lies (1050572) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388997)

Seeing as how this is the winter with the two coldest 3-week periods (in Anchorage, Alaska) in history - where are you getting the above statement? The US does include Alaska you know...

I always thought the biggest mistake in the "Global Warming" movement was using the term "Warming." It gives easy ammunition to anyone trying to discredit it by pointing out freak snowstorms and cold spells. Think how triumphant the Fox News pundits and Drudge Report headlines are when they point out "It's the coldest day in recorded history", as if that proves Global Warming is a sham-- when it should be raising warning flags itself...

They should have called it "Global Climate Change" or "Global We're All Fucked." You may think I'm kidding but that one simple word-- "Warming"-- has allowed doubt to be planted in our collective buzzword-addled minds and basically handed detractors the easiest possible way to shut down any legitimate argument. Remember what a good laugh they had when Al Gore gave a lecture on "Global Warming" on what turned out to be the coldest day of the year?

 

Maaan. It is not that hard to understand (4, Informative)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388475)

See now ;

Haliburton & co supporting and paying Bush & co in the u.s. presidential races and then securing no bid contracts to iraqi oil fields.

sony, warner & co creating RIAA and paying senators to further their terror regime and then getting juicy laws protecting their interests in return

Is it too hard to understand that there are HORDES of scientists who are paid and maintained by big buck industry interests ?

Is it too hard to understand that these scientists, who are in fact little more than laymen, do their payers' bidding and bark at people who are trying to fix some matters ?

There are people in this world, who care for nothing but their short term profit, you know.

The micro climate here, where i live, is too different from what it used to be 10 years ago.

No need for statistics either - for 15 years the micro climate have followed an EXACT pattern here, almost TOO exact.

However for the last 4 years, we are increasingly having erratic weather to the extremes that old people are much anxious about.

this winter, there was NO winter. really. it was spring/autumn all along.with very rare rain.

just the goings here, leave aside my relatives' my colleagues' my internet friends' experiences all over the globe are enough for me to deduce there IS something wrong with the climate all around, and there are greedy bastards spewing out fud in order to conceal it.

From this point on, yes, i will look upon these fud spreaders with an evil eye - it is readily deductable that such people have hidden agendas.

Re:Maaan. It is not that hard to understand (1, Insightful)

pavera (320634) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388605)

"No need for statistics either"

And this my friend is why I will always be a skeptic of all environmentalist causes. This is almost always the tact that environmentalists take. "We don't need proof, we don't need scientific evidence its obvious that change is happening and the EVIL MAN must be causing it".

Environmentalism is much more like a religion than anything else. They constantly ask everyone to change their lives based on their "say so" that man is causing irreparable damage. They rarely if ever release actual methodologies to their studies, and when they do they are quickly debunked or have huge holes in them (Like recent climate studies that dont take temperatures over the ocean into account at all, or have data collected solely from urban centers)
 

Re:Maaan. It is not that hard to understand (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388755)

Let me put it this way - if my microclimate changes to the extent that where i live becomes unlivable, i dont care what statistics say.

Would you ?

Would you actually be content if statistics told that climate around the world was normal in general, but where you live, your relatives, friends live would become unlivable ?

Having no winter i dont object to. however if this can happen, different things can happen too. having no summer would be an annoyance.

Re: (1)

WiFiBro (784621) | more than 7 years ago | (#18389103)

"And this my friend is why I will always be a skeptic of all environmentalist causes. This is almost always the tact that environmentalists take."

I read your comment and I fear your skepticism is biased. This is based on the terms 'all', 'allways', 'more than anything else'. And the use of the word 'skeptic', probably means you've read Lomborgs never-changing half~empty~glass opinions.

Actually when you study the literature on climate, you will find the other camp is acting the way you accuse the scientists of that are warning about climate change. Funny how they manage to turn the public opinion around. I have been wondering how they do it for almost twenty years now and might write a book about it soon.

A self-reinforcing idea (1)

udamahan (468338) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388805)

>However for the last 4 years, we are increasingly having erratic weather to the extremes that old people are much anxious about.
>
>this winter, there was NO winter. really. it was spring/autumn all along.with very rare rain.

A major reason global warming will take hold of public opinion is that people are beginning to think about it *every* time the weather does something unexpected. Doubly so if it feels unusually warm. Even if people are skeptical, the idea will cross their synapses.

I'm not saying this proves or disproves any actual effects of global warming. I just think it will be a self-reinforcing idea for most people. And that's a tough thing to shake.

Re:A self-reinforcing idea (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#18389073)

And everytime when the situation is exposed i get the same response 'weather does something unexpected and you are taking it serious'

You didnt read my post in detail probably.

We are mediterranean people. we know erratic weather, unusual weather and what is NOT unusual in these parts.

NO winter is not something not unusual. it IS unusual and it IS unexpected. theres no volcano eruption, no meteor hit, no nuclear plant leakage or any other sort of environmental cause nearby to do this.

first you have a mild summer, which is unseen for not only 15 years, but much longer, (here in mediterranean it gets 40 Celsius in shadow and 99% humid every summer) then you have a no winter. (which should have been raining like hell, and i dont like to say this but 'cold' as the last 15-20 winters). im saying no winter. not a mild winter or a 'warm' winter. im talking spring or even early autmn.

we are not talking about once upon a time/weather goes erratic once. there has been rains like hell in the summer where you couldnt cross the street without getting wet to your underpants in the midst of hottest day of june, there has been so warm days that even natives of these parts were able to go to the beach in the winter.

this does not need reinforcing, and its not old womens' tea talk. its affecting the whole tourism sector here.

HA (3, Interesting)

Kryptonian Jor-El (970056) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388499)

Global Warming?? I live in Maryland and we just got the heaviest snowfall of the winter, midway thru MARCH.

Re:HA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18388705)

I hear that all the time from (pardon me, there's no other way to say it) ignorant people. Global warming doesn't mean it's going to be warmer everywhere all the time. Weather patterns are complex. Global warming is changing them. All kinds of changes are forecast for different places. Some storms will get more violent. Some places the weather will get more variable. You could learn about all this if you wanted to but I don't think you'll enjoy it.

Re:HA (1)

VON-MAN (621853) | more than 7 years ago | (#18389019)

In Maryland?? Oh, than global warming can't be true.

In my case, yes. (2, Insightful)

MarkPNeyer (729607) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388501)

I've got a bachelor's in physics, and although that doesn't make me a climate scientist, i think it at least qualifies me to evaluate scientific arguments on the basis of merit. . I've never read any of these papers, because I don't have the time to make myself an expert on another field. I consider myself a climate change agnostic - I have no idea whether or not it's happening.



When I hear "oh noes we are all going to die unless we stop global climate change," however, I am very skeptical. My mind puts such arguments in the same bin as the overpopulation fears of the 70's. I'll take Julian Simon over Paul Ehrlich any day. The fact that scientists who disagree are called "deniers" and "shills of industry" pushes me further away from seriously considering global warming as a possible threat, because ad hominem attacks are not science. I've read enough stories like this one [canada.com] , written by a candian newspaper, to at least consider myself extremely skeptical of claims that the earth is getting warmer, humans are to blame, and that drastic changes are necessasry.



That said, I know all too well that people can make terrible arguments in support of true statements. Therefore, Until I read a series of papers about global climate change, papers that publish all of their source data, algorithms used in simulations, justifications for the use of those algorithms, and statistical analysis by qualified statisticians, I will refrain from forming a solid opinion one way or the other. Of course, the chances of that happening are exactly zero, because I don't have time to spend doing something like that. So I'll remain skeptical.



Re:In my case, yes. (1)

DDLKermit007 (911046) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388713)

I'm in the same boat with you there. It's largely the same groups touting global warming now, that touted global cooling back in the 70s. The science back then seems just as sketchy as it is now.

Re:In my case, yes. (2, Insightful)

vague disclaimer (861154) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388833)

Apart from the 30-odd years of extra empirical evidence...

Re:In my case, yes. (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18389005)

Until I read a series of papers about global climate change, papers that publish all of their source data, algorithms used in simulations, justifications for the use of those algorithms, and statistical analysis by qualified statisticians, I will refrain from forming a solid opinion one way or the other

That's kind of been a sticking point to me. Ideally, in any scientific field, if someone predicts something is going to happen based on a computer model, anyone should be able to audit the entire source code and all assumptions (including formulas and scientific laws) going into the model, and each assumption should have a justification and a link to any evidence used as a basis for it. Anyone should be able to run the model with their own changes. Science is "all about open source" everywhere else. (It's not what you know, it's what you can repeat.)

That's quite a bit to ask of course, so it's understandable if it can't be done everywhere. But when major policy changes could be made based on it? Well, then there's no excuse.

(No, the link you're about to post doesn't count. Re-read the requirements.)

All you Chicken Littles should watch this.... (-1, Troll)

whatthef*ck (215929) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388503)

Re:All you Chicken Littles should watch this.... (1)

Kenoli (934612) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388645)

You mean http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-452066547 4899458831 [google.com]
RIP global warming.

Re:All you Chicken Littles should watch this.... (1)

whatthef*ck (215929) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388871)

Thank you. The link I posted was working a few days ago. I should have checked first.

Re:All you Chicken Littles should watch this.... (3, Informative)

killbill! (154539) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388823)

The movie The Great Global Warming Swindle is a fraud. The filmmaker has been convicted in the past of "creative editing". And sure enough, Professor Carl Wunsch from MIT, who is shown in key moments of the movie, is crying foul [independent.co.uk] .

Another funny fact: many of the "scientists" shown in the movie are introduced as members of renowned academic institutions... which they left long ago. In other words, the movie is misrepresenting lobbyists as scientists. That should speak volumes about the integrity of the filmmakers.

As for the science in the movie, I'll let Real Climate [realclimate.org] debunk it.

Politics (2, Insightful)

gnu-sucks (561404) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388541)

Just like cold fusion, the amount of uninformed people making extremist claims about this diffuses the issue. And the main people making these claims are politically-motivated. Either they are politicians themselves, or talk show hosts, news paper writers, etc.

What we need is a good, honest look at climate trends. Because words like "global warming" and "el niño" are so overused, diffused, and politicized, we have to look at this purely as a scientific study about climate trends, and the study has to be carried out by multiple parties.

Re:Politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18388819)

You can start here:

          http://www.sciencemag.org/ [sciencemag.org]

Type "global warming" into the little search field top right and stand back.

St. Pat's is colder this year (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18388547)

but it did seem like a warmer winter, here in Chicago

Irony. (1)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388549)

It's time mother nature died from exposure. She's taken enough people in the same fashion!

The deciding factor (1)

Koby77 (992785) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388607)

You know what will get me to buy into the global warming hype? It's if they can get countries such as China and India to play by the rules of the CO2 reduction pacts. Currently they are exempt under Kyoto! If you think job outsourcing is currently bad in the U.S. just wait until we sign onto this. The jobs and the pollution will simply go over there where pollution controls are more lax, thus costing us jobs and taxes for the government, while actually increasing industrial emissions.

Until someone can get the emerging polluters to get on board with the 21st century, it seems like this is just an attempt to flog the U.S. economy. It doesn't matter what the science says if the pollution output relocates to China and India.

Re:The deciding factor (1)

cokane2 (600954) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388659)

Actually China, which has a higher population than ours currently emits about 60% of the GHGs the US emits. By making China reduce its emissions while those in the US and Europe are per capita way above theirs, is basically saying: We got to industrialization first so we get the privileges of polluting the atmosphere... You will NEVER get a developing state to agree to such logic. The only fair way to regulate global GHG's in my opinion is to have some per capita ceiling. Your logic would make that ceiling much higher in developed states. Is that fair? If you were the president/parliament of a developing state why would you ever agree to such an arrangement? According to Jared Diamond's "Collapse" if the Chinese polluted as much per capita as the United States, world co2 emissions would increase by about 94%, almost doubling. That should give you an idea of how much more of the atmosphere America is owning, so to speak.

Re:The deciding factor (1)

0111 1110 (518466) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388923)

Only zero emmission treaties with military penalties (enforced by Global Warming Alliance countries) need be considered here. Kyoto is just a huge strawman. The real issue is not reducing the rate of human produced CO2, but eliminating it entirely. Outlawing all combustion. All else is nothing more than political posturing. Is delaying doomsday by a few years or even a few decades really going to matter? We are talking about the end of all terrestrial life on our planet here. If it truly is going to happen, we should be stopping it instead of just slowing it down a bit. Or is your goal to just live out your normal lifespan after which the next generation dies like a bunch of microwaved cats as a result?

Re:The deciding factor (2, Insightful)

cokane2 (600954) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388717)

Just look at this it makes my point way better: CO2e t/person -- USA: 24.09 China: 3.05 India: 1.34 The whole human race needs to find a way to reduce global emissions. According to these numbers, where should that start?

Science is not politics (2, Insightful)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388641)

Don't mix up science with politics. Whether it is happening or not has been established by scientists. Whether it was anyone's fault (and more importantly, whether we're going to do anything about it) is a political issue.

First of all, you can start by calling it "Climate Change" instead of "Global Warming". If we just focus our efforts on the slow increase of merely one factor of the complex global climate system -- average temperature -- we're not going to convince anyone that there's been a significant man-made difference. However, if we could start focusing on how the climate of individual regions has changed drastically, it becomes much simpler to see and establish causality on how man-made activity has beat back glaciers, leveled mountains, polluted ecosystems, etc.

Anyway, now that we're playing politics, anything goes, including Hollywood sensationalizing. Just remember to draw clear lines between scientifically-proved fact and political slander ;P .

It sucks that science is getting attacked by political groups lately. But in the end, this will hopefully be helpful for science. People will fund "scientific" studies such as "Industrial activity has No Correlation with Climate Change" and "Creationism Explains the Origin of Species" and science will be bolstered when the data disproves these null hypotheses, which is after all how scientific method works in the first place :>

Selling Fear (1)

fenix23 (1077099) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388677)

Let's face it our climate has been changing since pre-industrial revolution, so how much are we really affecting change? This is not clear (you have scientist & businesses on both sides), but it is really annoying when you get the Al Gore political types who are the worst offenders of global warming ( http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,257958,00.html [foxnews.com] ). Forget the argument of affecting global warming - how about stop polluting our planet and reduce our carbon foot-print, so our children have a clean place to live in. Let's stop selling the fear and giving idiot politicians more clout to push their personal agendas.

Warmest winter in years? Pulease. (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388697)

Last year's winter was very warm too. So obviously your claims have no merit. jk

Public awareness is better than ignorance (1)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388719)

At least if the general public is aware of the issue, it provides those equipped
to know more precisely, and politicians assigned to take the lead on fixing
the issue, with the mandate and resources to gather better information on
the problem and to take significant measures.

Without public awareness, people pointing out a large but nebulous
problem tend to be labeled lunatics.

I'll take all manner of exaggeration and minimization as a side effect
of more public awareness, and thus more political action.

It is crystal clear to the well informed that we are way, way, way,
way underperforming on the necessary, effective actions on this issue,
so more action is all good.

These days, with the Internet and Google available, there is really no excuse for a person
of average mental wattage not to be well informed.

The real question and challenge is whether they WANT to be well informed on
a given topic.

So it's a GOOD THING that people now want to be well informed about climate
change and what to do about it.

get your analogies right (1)

nanosquid (1074949) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388733)

Have we 'cried wolf' too many times with global warming?

"Crying wolf" applies if people repeatedly warn about something and it doesn't come to pass; it implies that there is evidence of incompetence or deliberate deception, based on repeated incorrect predictions.

In the history of climate research, scientists have seriously warned about global warming only once so far. The evidence is strong, the consequences are potentially devastating, and it appears to be happening faster than anybody initially thought.

If anything, boneheads that ask questions like you do still don't get how f*cking serious this is. Even if, against the odds, global warming turns out to be less of a threat than current scientific consensus says, acting decisively is completely justified.

No need to cry wolf (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388979)

We can already count lost sheep. Yanking this off the firehose even though it was slowly rising:

Science Daily is reporting that researchers at the Carnegie Institution and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have found that crop losses owing to global warming exceeded $100 billion between 1981 and 2002 http://www.sciencedaily.com/upi/index.php?feed=Sci ence&article=UPI-1-20070316-15391700-bc-us-climate change-crops.xml [sciencedaily.com] . This is of interest not just because this indicates that warming is not good for crops, at least in the way that we grow them now, but that attempts to reduce warming through substituting biofuels for fossil fuels may be squeezed by this effect.

The estimated cost of crop losses is about 25% of the cost of the Iraq war so far http://nationalpriorities.org/index.php?option=com _wrapper&Itemid=182 [nationalpriorities.org] .
--
Do something: http://mdsolar.blogspot.com/2007/01/slashdot-users -selling-solar.html [blogspot.com]

Re:get your analogies right (5, Insightful)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 7 years ago | (#18389065)


In the history of climate research, scientists have seriously warned about global warming only once so far. The evidence is strong, the consequences are potentially devastating, and it appears to be happening faster than anybody initially thought.


Not so. My parents' generation (now 50) was told that if they didn't stop driving their gas guzzling cars NOW, the majority of the world would be desert by the time their children (me) reached 20. I'm a bit over 20 now, and the precipitation levels in the semi-arid area in which I live have been, while not record highs, quite a bit higher than in the previous decade.

Do you have any idea how many times the 'earth doomers' have said we were going to kill ourseles off? If not global warming, then global cooling, over-population, thermonuclear war, genetic (plant) modification, etc. - and all their projected times for extinction or some other cataclysmic life-ending event are well in the past. For instance, I distinctly recall hearing in elementary school that by the year 2000, the world would be too over-populated to feed itself. This, to gullible and impressionable kids! That's reprehensible.

Here's what I've been saying all along (1)

Pluvius (734915) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388749)

Since global warming is so politicized and proof as to the extent of human responsibility for it is so tenuous, why don't environmentalists go after things that everyone can agree is bad for the planet and 100% caused by humans? Water pollution, deforestation, acid rain, smog, reliance on fossil fuels... the list goes on and on. And as an awesome bonus, fixing some of these problems would also reduce our greenhouse gas footprint, thus killing two birds with one stone.

Does anyone know why environmentalists keep beating the global warming horse when it's clear that people aren't going to listen?

Rob

Re:Here's what I've been saying all along (1)

fenix23 (1077099) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388807)

Unfortunately, it's the next thing as polluting our planet has faded in popularity. Maybe a raising sea level to threaten those Malibu beach-front houses will get some momentum to have us stop polluting our planet!

Whatever the cause is... (2, Insightful)

LMNTK (759645) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388781)

Even if humans are not contributing to global warming in any way, the steps that can be taken to fight global warming would lead to less pollution and more efficient use of energy. How is this a bad thing?

Even those who support fossil fuel derived energy and the like are not immune to the cancer it causes...

3....2.....1 (1)

chuckymonkey (1059244) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388811)

Rabid foaming at the mouth flame war in 3.....2......1......

One Thing People Forget About Global Warming (3, Insightful)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388839)

Is the scientific basis for saying it should be happening.

The simple fact is that carbon dioxide has an extremely strong infrared absorbance and will act like the glass panes of a greenhouse. Very effectively.

It's about the same as knowing there is gravity so you can predict an apple will fall when released.

Couple that with knowing humans are spewing billions of tons of it into the atmosphere - with rates of release increasing every day - and you have a very solid basis to say that the effects of global warming will get stronger. Period.

You can argue all you want that the weather conditions people are seeing now are not global warming. And maybe they aren't. But global warming is happening and the trends will be for stronger effects.

How strong those effects are and will be can be debated, but the fact that they are coming cannot.

This is the wrong question to ask... (2, Insightful)

BenSnyder (253224) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388949)

First of all, like everything else we like to bitch about here on Slashdot, it comes down to money. There's gold in them thar hills! What you're actually hearing is the gearing up of industry to support products that are "environmentally friendly". Not that there's anything wrong with that.

The problem with this question and the increasing vocalization of man made climate change die hards is this:

1. Regardless of the causation of climate change, there seems to be universal agreement that it is happening. To the degree that we don't want to be like the vast majority of critters that have ever been on this planet and become extinct, we should focus on ways of planning to adapt to the possible outcomes of climate change. Arguing over who is responsible, at some level, is simply counterproductive.

2. Once man made global warming becomes politically attractive we will begin to spend lots of tax payer money to reduce our impact on the environment. This invariably will siphon away money from other places or prevent that money from being used for something that could do more good. I don't mean to sound cold or uncaring, or even worse, ignorant on the subject of climate change. What I am suggesting is that there are a limited amount of funds to be used for what amounts to public works projects. Will funding for reducing man's impact on the environment do more good than, say, AIDS prevention? Folks smarter than me with more letters after their name than I have suggest that it will not.

Bottom line: There are more rational ways to go about this process of identifying problems and developing solutions but causes have always needed some flash and sizzle to sell to your average American. Right now, man made climate change is about as sexy an idea as you can think of that has many supporters in the scientific community. Think about it, you have natural disasters, money hungry multinational corporations, underdog scientists, Hurricane Katrina, talk of cute animals going extinct, Al Gore, dramatic film clips, the idea that the big corps are fucking it up for the common man, themes of Armageddon, etc. It actually sounds like it has elements of every thrill movie ever made. I mean, goddammit! That's a show!

So can we sit down, be rational, and allow scientists to conduct their research without having to deal with the celebrity of what they're researching? 'Fraid not.

If you feel I've said things that are provocative, watch the TED Talks lectures from the brilliant physicist David Deutsch [google.com] and the thought provoking economist Bjorn Lomborg [youtube.com] for more information.

warmest winter? so what. (4, Insightful)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 7 years ago | (#18388983)

So what if we've just had the warmest winter in years? That means absolutely nothing on its own, particularly when you consider the fact thta it's an El Nino (El Nina? I forget wihch is wihch) year, and that the respective seasons are going to be less severe. Maybe some people remember how mild last summer was? I don't believe there was a single day last summer when I didn't feel comfortable to wear long sleeves.

The reason global warming has no credibility is because of reactionaries, yes, but also because the arguments made have not been internally or scientificially consistent for 30 years. You cry wolf long enough bolstering your points with manipulated data, and nobody is going to believe a word you say. Whether it's 'global cooling' from 30 years ago, 'global warming' a year ago, or what they're calling 'global climate change' today (yeah, apparently calling it global warming or cooling doesn't work anymore, because nobody believes a word of it), it doesn't matter the slightest.

It's inconsequential to most people, in no small part to the fact that we've passed a dozen 'population extinction' dates for not only Earth becoming a huge desert, ocean, or desert, but claims that the world's population is going to surpass what the planet can provide (claims which often go hand-in-hand with the global warming hysteria). Nevermind the readily observeable information that while not only Earth's climate is getting warmer, so is Mar's - due to the rotational temperature changes in the Sun. IE, there's not a fucking thing we can do about it, and worrying about it, let alone doing anything for it, is just reactionary fear mongering.

"Global warming" is the Left's "imminent emergency" scenario which they utilize to the greatest political end economic manipulation as possible - just like the Right's "war on terror" is its "imminent emergency".

We've "cried wolf" too many times, period (2, Insightful)

Jerf (17166) | more than 7 years ago | (#18389027)

Have we 'cried wolf' too many times with global warming?
We've cried wolf too many times, period.

We've lived under the constant spectre of doom and gloom for a long time. Everything is bad, bad for us, and going to cause the death of civilization as we know it. Even just enumerating the big bad ones would take me a while; I caught the tail end of nuclear doom, just in time for a segue into environmental doom. I remember the tail end of "Communism is going to crush us". I remember numerous predictions that basically had us all dead by now. I know we were supposed to run out of oil in the mid-90s. I remember when the Japanese were going to crush us with their mighty economy. I remember how our school system was going to doom us. (That story hasn't changed much in 20 years, really.) I remember how Reagan's policies were going to cause certain world war. We've been on the verge of major plague now for years and years, bird flu is merely the latest virus du jour. I remember just this last year stories about the interest rates going up and how that was bad and going to hurt the economy, followed a few short weeks later by stories about how the interest rates going down was bad and was going to hurt the economy. So help me, I've seen stories about the low unemployment rate being proof our economy was doomed!

I remember more doom than I can even enumerate in a single paragraph.

I also think it's important to point out the ever-increasing sophistication of marketing techniques, especially as they increasingly feed back into politics and these claims of doom. Regardless of the truth of global warming, many people are selling global warming doom. Why are they selling it? Because it's being bought. The news sells doom, because bad news brings more eyeballs. Doom, doom, doom everywhere.

And only a vanishing fraction of what we're being sold, be it doom, consumer product claims, or politicians is true. After a while, we can't help but notice this, and I think the general public is becoming increasingly suspicious of this sort of selling, on all levels. What's so special about today's predictions of doom? Why should I trust that this shampoo will make me sexy? I think this skepticism is all of a kind.

I don't know how this is going to turn out in the end, but at least for the topic at hand, I think you can expect a growing AGW backlash over the next few months. For some reason, in these past few months AGW-advocates turned up the volume to eleven and starting selling like never before, and I think they've seriously overplayed their hand by selling it too hard. Anybody who can survive economically in the US in this environment is becoming increasingly cynical about "selling" of all kinds.

(I say the US specifically because we seem to be farthest along the advertising/selling curve; even my English acquaintances who have lived here tell me we seem to be deluged in ads by comparison to them. If you don't become cynical about people selling you things, you will go bankrupt in the US; even as we have become immensely more wealthy, the number of things available for purchase has gone up even faster. Who in 1960 could bankrupt themselves on buying DVDs? Even if you say "but they had albums", well, so do we, only even more so.)

Of course, there will be two natural responses: The AGW advocates will try to make their presentations that much more slick, while the AGW-skeptics will become increasingly organized and therefore creating slick sales pitches too. Very few people have been seriously fighting AGW in a large-scale, organized way. (Not zero, but very few.) I expect that will change. It's going to be a warzone out there, with the biggest casualty being the truth.

(All-in-all, I expect the AGW people who seem to have cranked the volume up would have been better off leaving well enough alone.)

This is all independent of the truth or falseness of the AGW claims.

Increasingly, the market for doom is just getting tapped out. There's only such much worry available, even if you stoke it, and there's just too damned many people trying to tap it.
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