Copenhagen and Common Sense 122


I have no expertise in environmental science, and have never made an intensive study. I realise that what I write here is so simple as to be taught to a six year old. But there is a reason I write it.

I am however trained as a historian. That mankind has changed the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is indubitable from a moment’s consideration of the evidence.

Early man lived in an earth covered by vast forest. Cultivation brought a cutting down of forest for clearings. Industrial development brought a cutting down of forests for fuel and raw material. We know this for certain because the process continued into historic times, and has never stopped but simply spread into lesser developed parts of the world, and because of the unlimited numbers of tree throws discovered by archaeologists in areas of prehistoric settlement.

The burning of the trees released carbon dioxide, but this process was greatly accelerated by the industrial revolution, where the start of intensive use of fossil fuels released the stored carbon dioxide of millennia. At the same time, of course, the destruction of the forests reduced the capacity to absorb carbon dioxide and replenish oxygen.

The Earth is big, but not that big. I’ve been round it a few times. The incredible scale is of human activity. It is impossible for an honest rational man to believe that the destruction of the forests and burning of fossile fuels on an ever accelerating scale has not had an effect on the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is of course not the only pollutant involved.

Now I do not claim to understand the complex science of the interaction between man made atmospheric change and the natural processes of climate change. But plainly, as we change the atmosphere it is going to have some effect on the movement of gases and vapours within the atmosphere, which we call weather, and might perfectly well affect the extent to which the atmosphere absorbs or reflects energy from the sun.

I doubt that the processes are fully understood. But the argument seems to me unanswerable that mankind should seek to minimise its effect on the environment that bred us, for obvious reasons of self preservation.

We should also seek to reduce the astonishing rate at which we squander non-renewable resources. I view most of the opposition to the Copenhagen process as missing the point entirely – be it from the ultra-rich fossil fuels lobbies, scientific dissidents [I don’t despise them; all accepted science was once dissidence, including global warming], those who think anything agreed by governments must be a plot against us, or those who just want to keep on personally enjoying the fruits of untramelled consumption. The point they miss entirely is that we should stop polluting anyway.

I can’t say I fully support the Copenhagen process because it is too timid, the “cuts” offered by the US are derisory, and the oil producers should also be paying much more to the developing world. Carbon trading and its derivatives show we have still, despite the banking collapse. not learnt that inventive greed is not the best motivator.

But thirty years ago I never thought we would have this much agreement by governments to an environmental agenda. The broad direction is better, and Copenhagen must succeed to keep the dynamic going.


122 thoughts on “Copenhagen and Common Sense

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  • Woobus

    Ingo I wouldnt worry about most land being flooded it seems that there has been gross lies about the effect it will have.

    Sea levels havent been rising and Bangladesh should be safe for a long time yet.

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/5595813/why-the-maldives-arent-sinking.thtml

    The President of the Maldives recently held a Cabinet meeting underwater, saying his islands may be submerged. In an open letter, taken from the climate change supplement in the latest issue of the The Spectator, Nils-Axel Morner assures him his country is safe:

    Dear Mr President,

    You are obviously very concerned about the effect that sea level rises may have on the Maldives. Your Cabinet has been photographed meeting underwater, and you have even declared that ‘we are going to die’ if the climate change summit in Copenhagen fails. I am now writing with what I hope will be some good news. The scientific side of the situation is quite different to that which you imagine. You are, in fact, not going to die.

    Before I continue, I should perhaps state my credentials. I have been a sea-level specialist for 40 years. I launched most of its new theories in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. I solved the problem of the gravitational potential surface, the theory that it changes with time; the rotation of the earth, how it affected the redistribution of the oceans’ masses ?” and so on. Last year, I was awarded a prize from Algarve university for my ‘irreverence and contribution to our understanding of sea level change’.

    We both know that the 1,200 islands of the Maldives are all low-lying with the highest point only some 2.5m (8ft) above sea level. Hence, your nation is vulnerable to extreme storms, tsunamis ?” and, of course, any possible sea level rise.

    The IPCC vision is a rise that by the year 2100 may amount to between 30cm and 50cm. This is based on model calculations. Our figure is a 5cm rise, plus or minus 15cm. In a newspaper article, you have suggested that sea levels may rise by between one and eight metres. Those figures, however, do not concur with the physics and known rates of ice melting. So those figures must be dismissed as impossible.

    I have been on no fewer than six different field expeditions to the Maldives. We worked in the lagoon, we drilled in the sea, we drilled in lakes, we looked at the shore morphology ?” many different environments. We have always found the same thing: a total stability for the last 30 years, preceded by a 20cm drop in sea level in the 1970s.

    We have presented a detailed documentation of the sea level changes in the Maldives over the past 4,000 years. The record of the last 500 years may be of special interest to the situation of your islanders. It shows:

    The people of the Maldives had no problems surviving the 17th century, which was 50cm higher than now. Nor the last century, where it rose by 20cm. This bodes well for their prospects of surviving the next change.

    I recently visited Bangladesh, a country cursed by floods. In the Sundarban delta, I documented very strong coastal erosion despite zero changes in sea level. So, even here, there is no global sea level rise going on today ?” just as in the Maldives, in Tuvalu and in Vanuatu, to mention a few famous sites claimed already to be in the process of becoming flooded.

    By the end of this century, sea level may have risen by between 30cm and 50cm according to the various IPCC scenarios. Our records suggest a maximum of 20cm. Neither of those levels would pose any real problem ?” simply a return to the situation in the 17th and the 19th to early 20th centuries, respectively.

    So why the scare-mongering? Could it be because there is money involved? If you inhabit a tiny island and can convince the world that its very existence is under threat because of the polluting policies of the West, the industrialised nations will certainly respond. The money is likely to flow in more quickly than the ocean will rise.

    This is the fourth time I have written to you. Unfortunately, I think there is a problem with your email service because so far I have not received an acknowledgement. For this reason, I have decided to write this open letter in the pages of The Spectator.

    So, Mr President, you and your ministers in the Maldives really don’t need to worry about a future life beneath the waves. You should pass on this message to the people of the Maldives. It is high time to release them from this terrible psychological burden.

    Yours,

    Nils-Axel Morner

    A former lead reviewer for the IPCC, Nils-Axel Morner was head of Geodynamics at Stockholm University until his retirement in 2005.

  • David

    Just for reference, a link to the World Meteorological Organization press release:

    http://www.wmo.int/pages/mediacentre/press_releases/pr_869_en.html

    Including the following graph of the global surface temperature trend, from three Global datasets: NOAA (NCDC Dataset) , NASA (GISS dataset) and combined Hadley Center and Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia (UK) (HadCRUT3 dataset)

    http://www.wmo.int/pages/mediacentre/press_releases/images/NewImage.PNG

  • lwtc247

    @ Writerman.

    So because only a little of the leaked info is ‘useable’ by sceptics, therefore the issue of AGW is a non-issue? Is tht what one of your points? It certainly seems to be.

    Secondly. How on warmed-earth can “hide the decline” mean anything other than it’s face value? And the code that apparently if you feed random data into it generates a hocky stick?

    Lastly how can plots and all that they entailed be dismissed so whimsically by you?

    As for the consensus, You’ve heard of the Oregon petition right? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oregon_Petition

    tinyurl.com/ykt69cl – Ron Paul website says, it was signed by 31478 scientists quote: “3,803 with specific training in atmospheric, earth, and environmental sciences.”

    tinyurl.com/ylptv5z headlines with: “400 Prominent Scientists Confirm That Anthropogenic Global Warming Is a Hoax”

    Where is your list of scientists that you say form the consensus?

    I can’t imagine that none of those scientists don’t have a vested interest in saying so, but the counter argument is just as valid as the few pro-AGW’ers and those in the IPCC.

    You are being very silly conjuring up a straw man conspiracy saying “thousands of climate scientists are involved in global, left-wing, hoax, to undermine our western way of life”. Such a construct can be used to ‘prove’ there is never a conspiracy – c.f. Enron auditors.

    “it’s a fact that many of them are financed by energy companies.” – Could you supply documentation to back up that claim?

  • writerman

    Wow, Lwtc247, you caught me out, damn it! Everything I wrote was pure fabrication, just off the top of my head. How could I have been so silly, so foolish, to imagine I could get away with it, and on site like this, of all places?

  • ingo

    Thanks for that snippet woobus, I am glad that the spectator is read in the maledives, all is well then.

    Ecpet that the british antartic survey reporting this month, has upped the anti slightly and is talking of a sea level increase of not 2mm, but 3mm/annum.

    here in the east of England were the sinkage of the landmass is some 0.7mm/annum this will increase the sea levels by something between 80-100 cm in the first 100 years of this millenium.

    Copenhagens agenda is concerned with those who scream loudest and are at the heart of the process, it is yet to find a fair formula to involve all developing nations, otherwise they would not scream to be ‘let in’.

    it seems to me that carbon low economies will be advanced according to who goes ahead, not a reversal of the industrialisation process, hence the reluctance of some western antions who have left it too long. the fattest of us have to jump through the most hoops first and they don’t like it.

    As for Ron Paul, the oregon petition et all, millions believed that Adolf was the next best thing to dunking biscuits, people thought that Einsteins equation was final and all explaining, today its taken apart, so, I’d rather act with a precautionary mind, than oppose and argue until its too late.

    If it is wrong in principle, we will find out in future and I have no qualms to saying sorry and/or eat humble pie.

    I also believe that we represent a cancerous growth on the earth surface, as yet, it can be lanced at a certain rate and with precision, to use nuclear weapons to do it would be futile, although some are contemplating such option, otherwise they would not modernise trident , a weapon system without a future.

  • lwtc247

    # ingo.

    If GW is happening independently of mans activities, say for point of argument the Sun was primarily responsible for climate change, then there isn’t anything we can do about the methyl hydrates ?” they are at the mercy of the Sun’s heat. All we could do is collect them and burn them turning them into less harmful CO2.

    But if AGW is a reality, then the danger of methyl hydrates doesn’t make much sense because history apparently shows in the past (e.g. medieval warm period, MWP) that earths temperatures were significantly higher than they are today. I find it very hard to believe that the supposed /vast/ quantities of trapped methane that could have formed from the MWP (about 1000 years ago) to today. That seems very counter intuitive to what I’d call earth science in that the earth was laying the seeds for it’s own doom in just 1 millenium. And on top of that you’d have to ask, why was there no methyl hydrates formed before the MWP and why they didn’t cause a disaster previously.

    The medieval warm period is rarely discussed by pro-AGW’ers esp. as a standard and model of what is likely should AGW ever be beyond the realm of uncertainty.

  • lwtc247

    @ writerman.

    Not sure what you’re talking about, but it seems like an avoidance of discussion to me. If you could just address the points I made like supplying a link to the documentation, that would be better. cheers.

  • Duncan

    “A separate point on the conspiracy theory that scientists are all in it together to keep their research grants:

    1) Getting scientists to agree on anything is like herding cats; it’s an astonishingly implausible scenario in the first place.”

    “What strikes me is how this amazing idea, the ‘ultimate conspiracy theory’ that thousands of climate scientists are involved in global, left-wing, hoax, to undermine our western way of life, is taken seriously by so many people.”

    I think a lot of people have a rather naive idea of what noble creatures scientists are.

    Here’s an example (from WUWT) of how scientists are coerced by the control of funding:-

    { Paul Vaughan (07:53:54) :

    norris hall (05:10:11) “[…] it is possible that this is just a big conspiracy by climate scientist around the world to boost their cause and make themselves more important. Though I find it hard to believe that thousands of scientists […] all agreed to promote bogus science. […] Pretty hard to do without being discovered.”

    Actually not so hard.

    Personal anecdote:

    Last spring when I was shopping around for a new source of funding, after having my funding slashed to zero 15 days after going public with a finding about natural climate variations, I kept running into funding application instructions of the following variety:

    Successful candidates will:

    1) Demonstrate AGW.

    2) Demonstrate the catastrophic consequences of AGW.

    3) Explore policy implications stemming from 1 & 2.

    Follow the money ?” perhaps a conspiracy is unnecessary where a carrot will suffice.

    Opposing toxic pollution is not synonymous with supporting AGW.}

  • MJ

    “Opposing toxic pollution is not synonymous with supporting AGW”

    Very true. Ditto reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. They’re going to run out sooner rather than later irrespective of whether temperatures are rising, falling or staying the same. An alternative to the internal combustion engine anyone? Worth spending billions in research grants, surely.

  • writerman

    There’s phrase that springs to mind, about not being able to see the wood for the trees, or should that be leaves?

    How much detail should one go into on site like this? What level of ‘proof’ does one need to supply? How much time have we got?

    Anyway, in my rough estimation, I think for every ‘climate expert’ that questions the scientific evidence for climate change being man made, there are about a hundred who are part of the consensus among climate scientists that global warming is a reality, and that human activity is responsible.

    For example, Lomborg, who is surely the most famous and influential critic of the global warming scenario, isn’t a qualified climate scientist at all, though listening to him one wouldn’t realize it. He’s a slippery character. He is lavishly funded by the right-wing Danish government and has received funding from the energy industry as well. Another Dane, Fensmark, famous for his bizarre theory about sunspots, isn’t a climate scientist either, he’s an astro-physisist, if I remember correctly.

    These are merely two examples, and what to they ‘prove’. Not a lot. Though they do indicate the presence of a pattern. It is really quite difficult to find professionally qualified climate scientists who actually question the basis of the consensus, that global warming is real, and a problem, and human activity is pushing it along.

    Recently I read two books on the subject of who is financing and supporting the critics of human induced global warming. The Heat is On by Ross Gelbspan, and Climate Change Cover-up by Hoggan and Littlemore.

    In a nutshell both books a filled with information about the financing of critics of climate change by the fossil fuel industry, and the systematic attempt to manipulate and influence public opinion. There are myriad, concrete examples in these two books, and lists galore for those who love lists.

    To imply, or state, that there isn’t a strong, really an overwhelming concensus among climate scientists, is simply not true. One can dream up reasons for why this consensus exists, and one is free to do so, but that doesn’t alter the fact that the consensus exists.

    There is no comparable body of qualified climate scientists on the other side, only a handful of scientists with more or less ‘exotic’ theories that, frankly, don’t stand up to scrutiny.

    Finally, the figures, given for the number of scientists who have expressed misgivings about the science behide global warming are misleading, without going into too much detail, non climate scientists aren’t really the first people one would go to for information or analysis of the data relating to global warming, one would go to ‘experts’ wouldn’t one? Also the way in which the number of scientists critical of aspects of the global warming debate is suspect in itself. Which seems par for the course.

    Those who are critical of the science surrounding global warming are primarily motivated by a political agenda, not science, and that political/economic agenda is based on their adherence to the limitless growth paradigm, so beloved by neo-classical economists and neo-conservatives in general.

  • glenn

    Any scientist wanting to really “make it big” would prove that global warming was a myth, and in any case nothing to do with human activity, get that proof peer reviewed and publish it. The oil/ coal/ etc. companies would fall over themselves to give such a scientist very large amounts of money. After all, Exxon-Mobile have paid for the hacking of these emails, over which the Saudis et al are squealing with delight.

    Forget global warming research grants – the Real Money is in denying climate change.

    How odd that this has not occurred to any of these unscrupulous, lying, result-faking scientists!

  • hawley_jr

    “Climate lobbyists working for major industries outnumber those working for environmental, health, and alternative energy groups by more than seven to one.”

    “If you add it all up, the fossil fuel industry outspent the environmental groups by $36.8 million to $2.6 million in the second quarter, a factor of 14 to 1. To be fair, not all of that lobbying is climate change lobbying, but that affects both sets of numbers. The numbers don’t even include lobbying money from other industries lobbying against climate change, such as the auto industry, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, etc.”

    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/12/07-1

  • lwtc247

    @ writerman.

    “Fensmark, famous for his bizarre theory about sunspots, isn’t a climate scientist either, he’s an astro-physisist, ” – Is this the reason why pro-AGW’ers are loathe to talk about the influence of the Sun, because not being astrophysicist?

    You know, It’s about time I put my book budget to good use. I quite fancy buying those books. As you already have them, let me ask you for a couple of page numbers that I can quickly look up afterwards to see the damning evidence. Shouldn’t take up too much of your time.

    “To imply, or state, that there isn’t a strong, really an overwhelming consensus among climate scientists, is simply not true.” The 3,803 scientists, 3,803 of whom have specific training in atmospheric, earth, and environmental sciences, in amongst the 31478 scientists who disagree with AGW does rather suggest no consensus for AGW. In no way can it show there is a pro-AGW consensus especially when you still haven’t provided a count to validate you claim,

    Let me ask you again. What is the tally of pro-AGW scientists and how many of them have ‘specific training in atmospheric, earth, and environmental sciences’? To say there is a consensus you must have some grasp of the numbers

    “non climate scientists aren’t really the first people one would go to for information or analysis of the data relating to global warming” – Who is going to these people ‘first’ for information or analysis of the data relating to global warming. I doubt very much that you have much scientific training yourself if you imagine one scientist doesn’t know how to statistically process raw data in a an unbiased way to reveal trends.

    Data processing requires no specific climate science knowledge.

    “Those who are critical of the science surrounding global warming are primarily motivated by a political agenda” – I must be the exception then having none of those traits you suggest.

    Hide the decline,

    Plots to trashing scientists who hold a different opinion,

    computer code that outputs hockey sticks,

    no consensus due to 31478 scientists.

    No count of pro-AGW’ers

    All points still not addressed.

  • anno

    schkwe-e-r-r-i-o-u-w

    That’s the sound around the hot countries of the world of the old HFCs being released into the air because the old equipment will now be replaced with new HCFC equipment. Thus, the problems of ozone depletion are accelerating with change. Here you have to buy a fancy £1,000 refrigerant charging machine. Everywhere else you just discharge the gas with an old fridge compressor on a flying lead.

    In other words the gonks in Copenhagen will have no impact on climate change. But they will have a huge impact on the vast, looming industry of heat pumps running on lovely green or horrible nuclear electricity, that are going to replace fossil fuel as a heat source for buildings. A nice little stove that burns waste wood will do a millionth part of the global warming that all these signed sealed and delivered treaties will do. And carbon trading of human-allocated carbon quotas is as much Interest as money interest is Interest. In the same way that bankers’ bonuses come out of our monthly mortgage payments, the carbon quotas allow rich countries to increase pollution , rather than restrict it. If you see what I mean.

  • writerman

    lwtc247.

    You do take this kind of thing rather personally, don’t you? I have absolutely no intention of being bullied by you, or bowing to your demands. Do the work yourself. And no, I won’t be providing you with page numbers. I think it’s better that you buy the books I mentioned yourself and read them carefully, rather than just plucking out a couple of pages, examining them out of context, which is, of course what is being done with the famous e-mails.

    This kind of technique is typical of a certain style of debating, which I loathe. It’s very much like a trial situation, but instead of getting at the truth, one does the opposite, one obscures the truth, by focusing on tiny details which aren’t really relevant. It’s destructive, which I suppose is the whole point, to divert attention from the whole picture by concentrating on unemportant details. Like pressing ones nose up against a giant mural on a wall, one loses perspective.

    You know as well as I do that the vast, overwhelming, majority of climate scientists support the science around global warming, and only a handful are sceptics, why do you insist that this isn’t so? You are obsessive about me answering your questions to your satisfaction, but that’s difficult, if not impossible, because fundamentally I think they are based on a form of gross misrepresentation, and a lack of understanding of the nature of scientific equiry.

  • lwtc247

    @ writerman

    “You do take this kind of thing rather personally, don’t you?” Actually I was hoping for a worthy scientific discussion on the matter. I think anyone examining what I’ve previously written will agree that I haven’t taken it down to the personal level.

    I’m not bullying or demanding anything. What a nonsense to suggest so. You aren’t able to engage in discussion of the points I raised or supply proof of your claims for reasons even someone of limited intelligence can conclude.

    I wonder what “hide the decline” /in context/ actually means?

    I wonder what kind of confidence it is that doesn’t allow for your sense of reason to activate when computer code used by the CRU generates hockey stick graphs when random data is fed into it.

    I wonder how you consider something numberless/unmeasured to be a consensus.

    “You are obsessive about me answering your questions to your satisfaction,” yet another example of how your losing the argument – more attempts at smearing the questioner.

    Starting to address the points whether to my satisfaction or not would be a worthy fisr step but alas I think it’s evident that such a think isn’t going to happen.

    Oh dear.

    If in your last attempt at a smear, you really believe that I’d suffer from as you say a “gross misrepresentation, and a lack of understanding of the nature of scientific equiry” then discussion of the points I raised will be validated (or contradicted) as the discussion proceeds. What better place to start than the fundamental science of mathematics and how the property of a consensus is measured.

    At the moment, we have 31,478 scientists who have registered a sceptical opinion. A not unreasonable value necessary for a consensus would require at the very least 31,479 scientists registered with an opinion in favour of AGW.

    So, lets start with that.

    After I’d like to discuss the computer code.

    I look forward to your reply in the falvour of your usually respectible and worthy contributions on this site.

  • glenn

    lwtc247: I have to say, your style with writerman (who I do not know, and with whom I have never communicated) is that of an inquisitor, with the default position (should he fail to meet with your satisfaction) being of course that your position is correct. You are framing this “debate” as one in which writerman is challenging a conventional wisdom held by yourself… a very old tactic.

    With all due respect, yours is the lazy style of sitting back and demanding more and more proof, all the while assuming a background snickering that your opponent just isn’t in your league. Your answering of very partial quotations, taking segments of sentences utterly out of context, smacks of intellectual dishonesty. The most recent example is not a one-off. You’ve selectively quoted an incomplete sentence and answered a straw-man – even when the original post is immediately above your reply! So it’s kind of hard to take your concerns at the integrity of quotes (hand-picked words from tens of thousands of emails) terribly seriously.

    References produced just in this thread – never mind doing independent checking – would explain to all but the most stubborn fool _exactly_ what the emails’ meaning and intent was. Yet still you are so concerned, only wishing to get at the truth, and press on with the matter of these terribly troubling questions about what “hide the decline” might possibly mean. Such deep concern for The Truth is inspiring indeed.

    Did you look at the troubling e-mail remarks in full context? Of course not! That isn’t your game at all. You are not interested in any truth, or you would have found it yourself. Did you follow up with any research whatsoever on the subjects you raised yourself? Absolutely not. Much better to throw around doubt.

    I wonder if you are paid to further this “debate”. That’s where the money is – in climate change denial – after all. Are you sponsored by, or have an interest in, those who promote fossil fuels?

  • Jaded.

    I am openminded on this issue, but would tend to agree with Craig. I have seen the climate in southern England change before my eyes since 1995. It just seems a bit fast to me. My father is in his late 70’s and has been in the area all of his life. He says the same thing. That’s nothing conclusive I know, but still. All the skeptics are heavily influenced by the fact that we are going to be ripped off over this by some insane organisation and I don’t really blame them. When I was growing up in the 80’s it was always the big governemnts, especially the U.S., denying manmade climate change! Now the elite scum probably figured out it really is best they do a ‘little something’, as climate change can hurt them economically, and get more rich of us too. Cue the cynicism…

  • nobody

    Hullo Craig,

    I have trouble reconciling the following –

    Non-Media Truth

    -The climate changes. It always has and always will.

    -Previous climate changes could not possibly have been caused by humans.

    Media Truth

    -The climate is changing! There has never been anything like this before!

    -Current climate change could not possibly have been caused by anything but humans.

    It’s poor of me I know but I view this as an insult to my intelligence. And to add um, injury to insult, for me to even say so somehow means I am pro-pollution or anti-environment or something.

    That aside those CRU ’emails’ (they were much more than that) are barely the tip of the iceberg (ha ha) when it comes to the odour-of-rat science behind this world-saving tax regime. Hmm… I wonder why they don’t call ever call it that in the media? Because it sounds too stupid for its own good?

    For the record I am an organic bircher muesli-eating hippy who several years ago was a true believer in global warming (sorry ‘climate change’) and then turned when the inconsistencies, lies, and the obviousness of the cui bono perpetrators became to big to ignore.

  • Vronsky

    @lwtc

    On the Oregon Petition, Wiki is informative: the article supporting the petition was forged to appear to emanate from the National Academy of Sciences, even giving a date of publication and a bogus volume number. In so far as it was scientific, it was based on superseded and invalid satellite data, and considerable latitude seems to have been allowed in the use of the word ‘scientist’ to describe its signatories.

    “”it’s a fact that many of them are financed by energy companies.” – Could you supply documentation to back up that claim?”

    Here’s a list of companies spending more than $100,000 on anti-AGW campaigning:

    Chevron ($6,485,000), Exxon Mobil ($4,657,000), BP America ($4,270,000), ConocoPhillips ($3,300,000), American Petroleum Institute ($2,120,000), Marathon Oil Corporation ($2,110,000), Peabody Investments Corp ($1,110,000), Bituminous Coal Operators Association ($980,000), Shell Oil Company ($950,000), Arch Coal Inc ($940,000), Williams Companies ($920,000), Flint Hills Resources ($820,000),Occidental Petroleum Corporation ($794,000), National Mining Association ($770,000), American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity ($714,000), Devon Energy ($695,000), Sunoco ($585,000), Independent Petroleum Association of America ($434,000), Murphy Oil USA Inc ($430,000), Peabody Energy ($420,000), Rio Tinto Services Inc ($394,000), America’s Natural Gas Alliance ($300,000), Interstate Natural Gas Association of America ($290,000), El Paso Corporation ($261,000), Spectra Energy ($279,000), National Propane Gas Association ($242,000), National Petrochemical & Refiners Association ($240,000), Nexen Inc ($230,000), Denbury Resources ($200,000), Nisource Inc ($180,000), Petroleum Marketers Association of America ($170,000), Valero Energy Corporation ($160,000), Bituminous Coal Operators Association ($131,000), Natural Gas Supply Association ($114,000), Tesoro Companies ($119,000).

    C’mon now, think hard – what have they got in common?

  • writerman

    Just for the record. Something about the fanfair surrounding the ‘Oregon Petition’ and its impressive tally of 31,000 ‘scientists’ who are apparently critical of the validity of the current scientific concensus relating to climate change, jogged my memory last night. I knew I’d heard about it before, but I’d trashed it, and moved on. Then, last night, it all started to come back to me, the reason I’d trashed it.

    The Oregon Petition is basically a fraud. Which sounds harsh, but let’s not beat around the bush. The impressive sounding number of 31,000 scientists is highly, grostesquely, misleading. If one thinks the climate e-mails are cause for concern and ‘proof’ of some conspiracy to hoodwink the public, then one should have a field-day with the Oregon Petition! This thing has more holes than a Swiss cheese. It’s a disgrace. It’s highly controversial, to say the least.

    Once again it’s difficult to know where to begin with it. First, the vast majority of the scientists who apparently signed the petition, aren’t climate scientists, but they are entitled to their opinion. As far as I

    can find out, only around 200 of the 31,000 names are qualified in the field of climate science.

    Many of the names are clearly fakes, as are the academic qualifications they pretend to have. Virtually no one takes this petition seriously, as it simply doesn’t stand up to even superficial scrutiny or examination. To produce the Oregon Petition, of all things, as some kind of ‘proof’ that a counter-consensus exists, consisting of ‘real scientists’ who reject the basic tenets relating to climate change, is absurd.

  • lwtc247

    @ glenn

    I’m not in the least bit interested in personalising the matter. I’d rather discuss the issues at hand.

    I’m looking for a persuasive scientific arguement here stronger than that of what has been observed over the last couple of weeks.

    If you could persuade me based on the science I feel no disgrace in changing my mind. Afterall, what’s the point in searching for the truth if when one stumbles upon it, your not prepared to accept it.

  • lwtc247

    @ writerman

    The consensus issue still isn’t settled. How many climate scientists are pro-AGW? Do you actually know? Be honest.

  • writerman

    But there isn’t a ‘consensus issue’, that the point. The vast majority of climate scientists agree, a tiny, tiny, minority do not. Nobody seriously disagrees with this widly known fact. What they disagree about it is not, how many, but why, and are they right, or fools, or duped, or what’s their hidden political agenda.

    I don’t know exactly how many climate scientists are pro-AGW, and it isn’t even important. Who cares if it’s 95% or 90%? What’s important is that there is a consensus which has been established, and there is no counter-consensus among climate scientists. There is no real debate about the fundamentals of climate change either, but obviously there will be debate about particular details within the framework.

    I fail to see what you gain from repeatedly questioning and denying that a consensus exists among the overwhelming majority of climate scientists, when this simply isn’t true. One can disagree with the conclusions of the general consensus, it’s methodology, models, premises, standards… but one cannot honestly pretend that there isn’t a consensus which is actually becoming stronger as emperical data, and observations in the real world, increasingly support the developing theory, and the models.

    I fail to see what your motive is for continually denying what is patently obvious and non-controversial.

    For you, what would ‘settle’ the consensus issue? Am I supposed to provide the names, addresses, academic qualifications, and a list of articles relating to climate change, from all climate scientists who are pro-AGW? What would that prove exactly? And would you even be satisfied then? I don’t believe you would, to be honest.

  • Chris, Glasgow

    “The consensus issue still isn’t settled. How many climate scientists are pro-AGW? Do you actually know? Be honest”

    Lwtc24/7

    Q. How many of the scientist that you speak of work for the companies mentioned in Vronisky’s post?

    A. Probably most of them.

    There will always be a difficulty in scientists providing 100% evidence humans increase in CO2 emissions has lead to global warming beacuse the scale of the subject matter is so huge and wide ranging. We account for around 8% of CO2 built up in the atmosphere the rest being made up naturally but even this is too much and it is increasing. But to verify this 100% is very difficult. That is why there will always be people like you questioning the detail and use that as a basis for disputing AGW. However, there is a large amount of evidence that has been collected over 200 years that lead many scientists, hundreds or thousands of them, to believe that AGW is to blame. Most of the scientific evidence that anti AGW scientist use is pockets over the last 25 years escpecially the cooling of the last decade but most of their evidence is based on just disputing details of existing evidence on AGW.

    If you want to still argue over details then that is fine but the general debate has moved on from anti and pro AGW. It is now with the politicians to decide what to do because unfortunately scientists don’t make those decisions they just collect data and make informed conclusions based on the evidence.

  • Chris, Glasgow

    “The consensus issue still isn’t settled. How many climate scientists are pro-AGW? Do you actually know? Be honest”

    Lwtc24/7

    Q. How many of the scientist that you speak of work for the companies mentioned in Vronisky’s post?

    A. Probably most of them.

    There will always be a difficulty in scientists providing 100% evidence humans increase in CO2 emissions has lead to global warming beacuse the scale of the subject matter is so huge and wide ranging. We account for around 8% of CO2 built up in the atmosphere the rest being made up naturally but even this is too much and it is increasing. But to verify this 100% is very difficult. That is why there will always be people like you questioning the detail and use that as a basis for disputing AGW. However, there is a large amount of evidence that has been collected over 200 years that lead many scientists, hundreds or thousands of them, to believe that AGW is to blame. Most of the scientific evidence that anti AGW scientist use is pockets over the last 25 years escpecially the cooling of the last decade but most of their evidence is based on just disputing details of existing evidence on AGW.

    If you want to still argue over details then that is fine but the general debate has moved on from anti and pro AGW. It is now with the politicians to decide what to do because unfortunately scientists don’t make those decisions they just collect data and make informed conclusions based on the evidence.

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