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Real Pragmatism for Real Climate Change: Interview with Dr. John Abraham

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By James Stafford, editor of OilPrice. Cross posted from OilPrice

At a time when extreme weather incidents are causing billions in damages, businesses, governments and the public need the right information to make the right decisions. The bad news is that nature of superstorms like Hurricane Sandy has a human fingerprint. The good news is that if man is harming the climate, man can also do something about it.

Dr. John Abraham is a thermal sciences researcher and professor at the University of St. Thomas, in Minnesota who has straddled many worlds in his quest for answers to climate change, from working with the US defense industry to pro-bono work creating low-cost energy solutions to Africa’s remote areas.

Dr. Abrahams discusses:

• What climate change REALLY means
• How the Earth’s warming bears a human fingerprint
• How we can do something now about climate change, with today’s technology
• How and why the public remains ill-informed on the issue
• How Hurricane Sandy can be viewed from the climate change spectrum
• How the Earth’s warming has a human fingerprint
• Where the silver lining in all of this is
• Why Keystone XL will probably (but shouldn’t) be green-lighted
• How ‘micro-wind’ may be a hot seller in our renewable future
• How the future could see a merger of interests in the fossil fuel and alternative energy sectors

James Stafford: It is hard to imagine that our industrialization is NOT contributing to climate change in some significant way; still, this message meets with myriad roadblocks when attempting to portray it to a non-scientific public. And politics has hijacked the debate to an extent that has polarized the public. What should the message be, and how should it be delivered? Is the polarization irreversible?

John Abraham: First, the main message is:

1. Humans are causing climate change, we’ve know that for well over 100 years
2. We can do something about it now, with today’s technology
3. If we make smart decisions, not only will we help the climate, we will create jobs, improve national security, and diversify our energy supply
4. Doing nothing about the problem is a choice, with tremendous costs

Now, you are right, what should be a scientific issue has become a political issue. There are a number of reasons for that. It is clear that a lot of money is spent by organizations that want to ensure we do not invest in clean renewable energy or conservation. But that isn’t the entire story.

A major indicator of how people feel about climate science is how they view collective action. Persons who think working together on a shared problem (like energy and climate) can lead to exciting and profitable solutions are much more likely to accept the science. People who reject collective action or government intervention are much less likely to accept the science. The real tragedy is that many people in this latter category could develop the technologies to lead us into the energy future; instead they have held our country back. We are now at a technological disadvantage and every year we delay taking action increases the future costs to ourselves and our children.

James Stafford: Earlier this month, we conducted an interview with former TV meteorologist Anthony Watts, whose thoughts on climate change have been very controversial. Watts describes himself as a “pragmatic skeptic” on climate change. In your opinion, why is this “pragmatic skepticism” so controversial and how do you think it contributes to the dynamics of the climate change debate?

John Abraham: The fact is that Mr. Watts is not a pragmatic sceptic. Real scientists are sceptical by nature. We don’t believe what our colleagues tell us until we verify it for ourselves. Scientists honestly develop views of how the world works and they test those views by experimentation. As a result of approximately 150 years of climate science, the vast majority of scientists are convinced that humans are a major cause of climate change. Mr. Watts, on the other hand, dismisses evidence that is counter to his viewpoint. That is not scepticism–that is plain denial.

Let me expand on this by going back to his interview. Mr. Watts’s claimed that:

“Global warming” suggests a steady linear increase in temperature, but since that isn’t happening, proponents have shifted to the more universal term “climate change,” which can be liberally applied to just about anything observable in the atmosphere.

First, scientists have never predicted a linear increase in temperature–we are not that naive. Things are much more complex than that.

Mr. Watts also argues that “proponents” have shifted from using the phrase global warming to “climate change”. He didn’t bother telling you that this was actually suggested by a conservative consultant, Frank Luntz, as a way to reduce public concern. Ironically, “climate change” is a better description of what is happening, and climate scientists use it to be more accurate. Let me give you some examples….

We are causing the ocean chemistry (pH) to change–that isn’t warming or cooling.
• We are causing some areas to become wetter and others to become drier–again, not warming.
• We are increasing humidity in the atmosphere.
We are cooling the upper part of the atmosphere (the stratosphere).
We are making weather swings more severe.
We are losing polar ice at a rapid rate.
• Warmer oceans make hurricanes more severe here and here.

In these areas, and others, the changes are not just “warming” but the far more complex reality: the climate is changing.

Mr. Watts and others who deny that humans are a major cause of climate change have helped to create an environment where scientists are attacked mercilessly for their science. I have been attacked numerous times on Mr. Watts’s website, as have my colleagues. How can we encourage young scientists to go into this field when they are promised personal attacks and vilification? Fortunately, young bright scientists go into this field anyway and I am excited about the new crop of young minds that are rising through the ranks.

James Stafford: Watts spends a great deal of time discussing the “heat sink” effect in urban areas. Can you offer us an alternative view on what this means in terms of climate change?

John Abraham: This issue has been the calling card of Mr. Watts. Unfortunately, he did not disclose much in his comments.

• He didn’t tell you that he actually published a paper on this subject a few years ago where he concluded that temperature sensor siting had no impact on temperature trends.
• He didn’t tell you that other groups have looked at this issue and made similar conclusions.
• He didn’t tell you that recently a Koch-funded study looked at this issue and concluded that the real climate scientists were right: locations of temperature sensors didn’t matter.
• He didn’t tell you that he initially supported the Koch-funded study until the results were made known.
• He didn’t tell you that measurements of the atmosphere made by weather balloons and satellites agree the Earth is warming.
• He didn’t tell you that measurements of the ocean show a significant and long-term increase in temperature.
• He didn’t tell you that the vast majority of glaciers are losing ice, as are Greenland and Antarctica.
• Finally, he didn’t tell you that in the last 30 years, approximately 75% of the Arctic ice which remains at the end of the melting season has disappeared.

It isn’t surprising that Mr. Watts disagrees with all of these other researchers. What I was surprised by was the fact he seems to disagree with his own research.

James Stafford: Would you describe your own view as “pragmatic”?

John Abraham: I work mainly in the private sector, and I am strongly motivated by the belief that while we are causing climate change, we can do meaningful things right now to slow it down. I am also truly pragmatic.

One outcome of being pragmatic is that I search for efficient and low-cost solutions to our problems. If someone were to show me that adaptation would be cheaper than mitigation, I would support adaptation. If someone were to show me that the “solutions” to climate change are more expensive than just ignoring it, I would opt for ignoring it.

I have, however, come to a few conclusions on this topic. It is clear that climate change is happening, humans are a main cause, and the consequences will be expensive. It is also clear that the public is not well informed on this topic. When we are not well informed, we are likely to make poor decisions. It is also clear to me that many of the solutions to climate change involve wiser use of our energy supplies and, as a result, we will save money.

Much of my work is pro bono. I have travelled to Africa multiple times, bringing low cost energy to remote locations at my own expense. I do not want to be accused of using energy/environmental issues to my own benefit. A fact that would surprise my detractors is that I have also worked for many years for the defense industry.

James Stafford: Is there any way to remove the “camp” element from the issue of climate change? How far do disastrous weather events—like Hurricane Sandy—go towards reshaping the climate change debate.

John Abraham: It is a piece of irony that a few weeks before superstorm Sandy hit, Mr. Watts wrote to me, forwarding demeaning comments in response to an interview I had given about hurricanes becoming more powerful in a warming world. In his remarks to you he stated…

The idea that Hurricane Sandy, a minor class 1 storm, was somehow connected to CO2-driven ‘climate change’ is ludicrous.

Well, scientists studying this disagree with him. As the oceans warm, hurricanes become more severe. They have increased rainfall, more intense winds, and higher storm surges. We can even quantify some of the impacts. With respect to Sandy, the human impact was likely about 8-10 inches of the storm surge, about 15% of the precipitation, and the very warm oceans (partly human caused) off the Eastern Coast made Sandy larger and travel further north than it otherwise would have.

Finally, it is likely that Sandy took an unusual turn westward because of pressure zones caused by the loss of Arctic ice. So, were it not for humans, Sandy may never have hit the US at all! It isn’t just me saying this, it is experts in the field. There are many articles that clearly show human emissions are increasing extreme weather events.

In your interview with Mr. Watts, he claimed that the IPCC reports no “trends at all” in severe weather. He must not have read the IPCC reports, which state otherwise. The next IPCC report, called the AR5 report was leaked to the public early, partially with the help of Mr. Watt’s own website. Nevertheless, he must not have read the report. But it isn’t only the IPCC report that discusses extreme weather, it is other scientific articles like this one, this one, or this one. There are many many other articles that clearly show human emissions are increasing extreme weather events.

I look at the price tag of Sandy, and the price tag of the devastating drought of 2012, and the similar Texas/Oklahoma heat waves of 2011 and I ask two questions: First, are humans partly to blame for these expensive disasters (over $100 billion)? Second, if we are, is there something we should do about it?

My answer to those two questions is yes. I believe we can solve this problem with today’s technology. I think we can choose to use energy more wisely and efficiently. I think we can expand clean energy generation and power much of our country from the farm fields of the Midwest, create jobs, improve national security, and diversify our energy portfolio.

James Stafford: How is the issue of global warming, or climate change, being manipulated by the media in both directions?

John Abraham: No one wants to damage the environment and persons in the media don’t want to report poorly. But many media people believe that their duty is to “show both sides equally” as if this were some debate about foreign policy or which soda tastes better. Climate science, as all climate scientists know, is complicated. It takes years of study to understand the interconnections within the climate. When faced with this complexity, it is much easier to just find two representatives of each side to tell their story. Unfortunately, this leads to public misunderstanding, and the belief there is more controversy or uncertainty than actually exists.

Perhaps more important though is the ideology problem. Many people, Mr. Watts included, are committed to an ideology that precludes the ability to objectively view the science. As a result, they convey incorrect information to their readers who then are not able to make informed decisions. The business community is left with an information vacuum and there will be financial consequences because of this. The business community deserves better information than they are getting. They deserve to be armed with real facts so that they can make good decisions to protect their investments and their society.

James Stafford: Ultimately, then, do we have the ability to accurately determine how much of global warming is attributed to man-made causes and how much is evolutionary climate change, so to speak?

John Abraham: Well the first science on greenhouse gases was performed in the mid 1800s. This isn’t a “new” science. It is well tested. It isn’t just that the Earth is warming that convinces scientists. It is warming in the way scientists have anticipated. It has the fingerprints of humans. It doesn’t have the fingerprints of natural causes like the sun or changes to the Earth’s orbit – indeed, scientists have ruled out the possibility that natural causes can explain what we are observing worldwide. These two factors, more than anything else, have convinced scientists that humans are mainly responsible.

While that seems like bad news, there is a silver lining: it means we can take meaningful action to slow climate change. What would be more depressing, knowing that we are changing the climate but that we can do something about it or thinking the changes were natural and mistakenly thinking we were powerless?

James Stafford: Are there any genuine environmental concerns about the Keystone XL pipeline? Are there genuine long-term climate concerns over this pipelines dirty tar sands content?

John Abraham: In order to avoid the most serious and expensive consequences of climate change, we need to reduce carbon emissions. Expansion of Keystone is not consistent with that goal. The total amount of oil in the Alberta Tar sands is equivalent to six Saudi Arabia’s. Mr. Watts and others have claimed that the oil will be burned regardless but just because this statement is uttered doesn’t make it true. Approval of Keystone will increase production by about 35-40% and it will lock us into a long-term supply of the dirtiest of the dirty fossil fuels. Not only are Alberta tar sands dirtier than conventional oil, but their by-product (petroleum coke) is being used as a dirty replacement of coal.

Rather than approve this pipeline, and further contribute to driving society over the climate cliff, we should invest in long-term clean renewable energy production right here in the United States. If we did this, we would receive the economic benefits and the world’s climate would improve at the same time.

James Stafford: Will Keystone XL eventually be green-lighted? Do we really need it?

John Abraham: We don’t know what the Administration will decide: my personal belief is that it will be approved and the Obama Administration will propose a quid pro quo approach to the environment–approving Keystone but enacting other policies to reduce emissions. The problem is that a quid pro quo doesn’t help the climate. It changes a fast burn to a slow simmer. From a political standpoint, if the Obama Administration, with John Kerry as Secretary of State, cannot say “no” to the dirtiest of the dirty fuels, it would show that we cannot say no to anything. I hope I am wrong about this.

James Stafford: There is a lot of discussion right now about “Snowball Earth”—an event 635 million years ago in which Earth was covered by ice and now this was apparently reversed by an ‘ultra-high carbon dioxide atmosphere’. What can we learn from this and how can this contribute to the ongoing climate debate?

John Abraham: We have learned that the Earth’s climate has shifted radically in the past for natural reasons. Indeed, we have a good understanding of these changes. These shifts have occurred over very long periods of time. Human society has developed very recently, in a remarkably stable climate, and our infrastructure is tailored to the present conditions. We need to be mindful of pushing the climate into one of its wild swings that would cause significant economic costs.

Interestingly, the Earth recovered from “snowball” conditions by the same greenhouse gases we are concerned about now. It is a testament to the power of carbon dioxide.

James Stafford: Is nuclear power dead? Should it be dead? There is much talk about the development of smaller, safer reactors. How far are we from developing and commercializing new nuclear technology?

John Abraham: Perhaps the only thing Mr. Watts and I agree upon. Nuclear power can produce energy without reliance upon sometimes unreliable wind or sunshine. It can provide a low carbon alternative to coal. I think we should invest in the development of the next generation nuclear reactors that can play an important role in supplying a clean-energy portfolio.

James Stafford: You have been involved in numerous alternative energy projects. Which alternative energy sector has the most potential over the next 5 years … over the next decade?

John Abraham: I am particularly interested to see where microwind power goes. I have numerous articles on this topic here, here, and here for examples. This technology has the potential of supplying energy at the production site: to businesses, homes, telecommunication equipment, and other infrastructure.

James Stafford: Did the US jump the gun on the ethanol mandate? There seems to be a consensus emerging that we weren’t quite ready for this on a number of levels. There are two bills in Congress attempting to either delay or reverse this mandate and the commercialization of E15. What do you predict the outcome of this will be?

John Abraham: I wrote an important paper on this very topic in 2009. We looked at how viable corn ethanol is and compared it to other biofuel sources. We concluded that at best, corn-based ethanol is a bridge fuel that can help the development of the next generation of plant-based fuels which use less water and can be harvested on marginal lands.

James Stafford: Is there any room for a merger of interests here between the fossil fuels industry and the alternative energy industry?

John Abraham: When we can show that clean and renewable energy is the engine that will provide economic opportunity in the future, fossil fuel companies will, I hope, work to bring to market those technologies which not only produce energy, but create jobs and improve the climate. We aren’t there yet but there is always hope.

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64 comments

  1. Gaylord

    It boggles my mind how such a self-professed “pragmatist” could endorse nuclear power development, in view of the ongoing disaster of Fukushima! I also find it highly suspicious that he speaks almost exclusively in terms of the economic costs of failing to deal with climate change without acknowledging the human costs and the ultimate cost to all life on earth. Perhaps the two concerns go hand in hand, revealing a lack of conscience, which may also be evidenced from his past involvement with the “Defense” Department.

    I like his sense of optimism regarding reversing the warming trend through the sensible policies that he advocates, but I have become very doubtful of the efficacy of these given both the political climate and the absolute recalcitrance of businessmen investors to give up their profits in this rigid corporate capitalist system, and for the public to drastically modify their lifestyles and give up their fossil fuel consumption and freedom of procreation.

    Make no mistake: this ship is going down. We blew it. Those whom we allowed to take control have gained absolute power and no amount of damage from superstorms, droughts, fires, ocean and rainforest destruction, rising sea levels, and food shortages will deter them from their pursuit of limitless money/material gratification. All the efforts at conservation and renewable energy development are too little and too late.

    Not until corporate capitalism comes to an end, can we begin to find a way to heal the earth, if that is even possible, and to what degree one might ask. Any scientist who views the physical state of the world with blithe disregard of the political and economic basis of the observed destruction that is taking place, cannot arrive at an appropriate solution. But I admire his willingness to confront the climate change deniers.

    1. different clue

      “Those whom we allowed” . . . ? Really? We “allowed”? As in “chose to allow”? Considering the massive repression and assassination campaign waged against Occupied America by
      the Secret Occupation Government ( Kennedy, X, King, Kennedy, Aquash, numerous others . . . ) to make sure we were not able to stop the Secret Occupation Government from achieving its agenda; how would the Unarmed Majority have prevented said government from achieving it?

      Members of the Gun Control Community may have to face this question: if the only way to reverse course is through an ultra-violent citizen Revolution . . . as in the French Revolution with its guillotines and pitchforks that commenters keep invoking . . . then how does a gun-controlled population make such a French Revolution? By “gun-controlled” population I refer to the 30 to 50 million liberals and leftists who have imposed unilateral gun control upon their own selves. I am one of you, of course. I am as gunless today as the day I was born. But the question is a real question. The howls of pain and rage
      this question will recieve go to show just how real this question is.

      And if the Blue People choose to remain gunless, which is our perfect right, then they (we) will have to craft useful resistance and replacement methods against a gunned-up government. And where will the gunned-up Red People come down in all this?

    2. Zachary Smith

      *** It boggles my mind how such a self-professed “pragmatist” could endorse nuclear power development, in view of the ongoing disaster of Fukushima! ***

      I raised my eyebrows at that one too, and decided to see if Dr. Abraham was for real. My search satisfied me that the guy really is on our side, but since he’s sort of late to the game he’s still floundering in the Solution area.

      About all I could find was that he favors small scale Solutions – the kind of thing which used to be favored for Africa in the “village technology” field.

      He’s a bright guy, and needs to continue to get his act together. Human civilization has become a very big affair, and we’re going to need massive investments in safe energy production.

      Nuclear is neither safe nor cheap, and has some appalling side effects as well. Some idiot/terrorist who destroys a giant wind turbine will leave a pile of smoking rubble. Let the same character loose with a reactor and we’re talking major-league disaster.

      Those micro turbines he obsesses about are going to be expensive, dangerous, and mostly worthless.

      We’ve got to do a modern “Manhattan Project” and build tens of thousands of huge turbines at the best sites, and link them to a rebuilt power grid. Installing solar cells on the tops of big box stores, warehouses, and even home roofs is one place where small-to-micro makes sense. That’s because these can be linked to the national grid.

      1. James

        Solar power usage, should it ever come to pass in a meaningful way, is SITE SPECIFIC.
        It will not work hooked to the grid.
        EVERY home, business,any place that demands power is going to require its own power plant sized to its daily usage in amp/hours w/a cushion sized in. (refered to as “automony)
        If the world gets serious about power usage you can’t have little red lights on every appliance telling you “we’re ready to go”This is refered to as a PHANTOM LOAD-as in ALWAYS SUCKING POWER.
        The people of this planet WASTE more power than we use- especially homeowners.
        Their is a Co. called “REAL GOODS” that before it went corporate produced a yearly catalog that also provided technical info to build/maintain your own system.
        This was/is considered the “Bible” of any serious user of Solar/wind/geothermal/hydro.
        Anybody who is interested in advancing these technologies and learning more, well, you have a computer don’t you?
        The real problem is the end users who are used to leaving incadescent lights on-You should be using L.E.D.s-These hardly burn power @ all.
        12/or 24 volt dc Refridgerators can now run on very low power compared to your standard 110volt plug-in.
        A simple “Batch Heater” can heat your water or better yet solar puts out over 17volts and a regulator is used to step-down power so as not to destroy your batteries during recharge so this power that is put in a “Sink” (ie dumped) is transfered to the same type of unit currently heating your 110v ac water heater water.
        The last time this subject came up @ NC the trolls came out in force to slam it viability.
        I. DON’T. CARE.
        Until 1956 ALL water heaters in Florida were of the “Batch” type until the power co’s literally went door to door offering “FREE” electric water heaters. Gee, I wonder why?
        ‘Ya think we have been bamboozled folks?
        Their is not an area on this planet not capable of drastically reducing power usage.
        I don’t care what anybody contrarily says.
        I challenge NC readers to go ahead and try to throw me a curveball.I will answer.
        I’ve been in construction for over 3 decades and I assure you very little is being done to control energy usage.
        I also lived for 3 years off-grid w/ Solar.
        I could go on and on on this subject.
        Can anybody out there tell me the first targeted users for Solar was?
        It’s EVIL what is being done to this planet.
        For the hardcore Al Gore types out there how come we keep hearing about excessive co2 and “carbon taxes” and NEVER EVER here the fact that the planting of Bamboo trees eat four times the carbon of any other tree or plant.We need to plant.Where do you go when your hot outside? To the shade under a tree!
        I’ll stop now but I have more.

        1. different clue

          I remember those Real Goods catalogs. At some point they merged with something called “Gaiam”. Did they also merge with “Jade Mountain”? Does the mergered offspring still put out a catalog?

          I suspect most of us here (certainly me) are still living our conventional retail end-user residential lives on the grid. We (me) are reducing our power-use here and there while still-on-the-grid. Some of us (me?) don’t/won’t have the money to go off the grid for a long time if ever. But we can reduce our on-grid use in the meantime. Knowing the average per-capita retail end-user residential end use of gas and electricity per month or per day might inspire people to meet or beat that average. So what is the personal retail end-user’s personal residential end-use of electricity and natural gas per day? Does anyone even know?

  2. Newtownian

    “John Abraham: No one wants to damage the environment and persons in the media don’t want to report poorly. But many media people believe that their duty is to “show both sides equally” as if this were some debate about foreign policy or which soda tastes better. Climate science, as all climate scientists know, is complicated. It takes years of study to understand the interconnections within the climate. When faced with this complexity, it is much easier to just find two representatives of each side to tell their story. Unfortunately, this leads to public misunderstanding, and the belief there is more controversy or uncertainty than actually exists. Perhaps more important though is the ideology problem. Many people, Mr. Watts included, are committed to an ideology that precludes the ability to objectively view the science.”

    Abraham’s observation her reflects a fascinating contrast between science and journalism both of which lay claim to being the pursuit of truth. Science looks exhaustively at all sides of issues where theory is well developed – like climate change. But this ‘balance’ never suggests that all sides/viewpoints are equal – rather the aim of ‘balance’ is to lay all arguments out without fear or favor and develop/seek/test the truth – or if you prefer the most likely operational paradigm.

    Journalism on the other hand seems to use the balance concept as an excuse for airing total rubbish alongside understanding and knowledge of matters which were settled years ago – i.e. a bogus ‘balance’ rather than some approximation of truth as the endgame. This in turn provides the openning for every Madman, nutter, cynic, troll and paid stooge to air their views as though they were of equal value and deserved equal oxygen.

    It seems time for journalism to rethink whether in the name ‘balance’ they should continue to cling to the right to publicise nonsense under the guise of being broadminded and reasonable because the effect on intelligent discussion is quite the opposite.

    1. David

      There’s no consensus of experts as Abraham says. In his imagination he can say how Sandy would have been different if not for human effects, but I can hardly imagine anything less falsifiable; in fact I have never heard anyone else dare to venture such a comment.

      Personally I lean to the hypothesis of weather warfare. Like Hurricane Irene, all the recent storms hit primarily Republican areas, and Sandy was needed to provide cover for election shenanigans intended to make it look like Obama was actually reelected. There you think I am a kook, but I have evidence for what I am saying, unlike those scientists who push the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis.

      Well now though they have a moving target. I’d like to see all the people who want to put more restrictions on our use of fuel, specify what their hypothesis is, and what evidence they have for it. Stop claiming victimization by mean opponents who are uncivil to you. Prove your point, if you have one.

      1. Nealo

        At this point in time there’s a ton of solid research *and* a consensus supporting AGW/Climate change.

        Much of the evidence is easily found at realclimate.org.
        Read it.

      2. john parsons

        I read WUWT and Climate Audit among others nearly everyday, so I’ve seen a lot of “kookie” s**t. But the “David says: March 27, 2013 at 6:01 pm” post is the craziest by far. JP

  3. Chris Engel

    Keystone should absolutely be approved, as not only will it provide a little economic stimulus but it will give the pro-environment crowd a bargaining chip to really get stuff passed that normally wouldn’t in the future (strong cap ‘n trade?)

    Sure it’s unfortunate that there are sleazebags involved in the project, and it’s sure to disturb at least some areas it will be built. But in the end it’s like the anti-nuclear power liberals: they don’t have much reasoning behind their crusade, just emotions. And we’re going to need to use that shale oil up until we we develop a more sustainable diversified model (and even then it will still incorporate some oil).

    1. Gaylord

      Completely wrong! The KXL Pipeline represents a permanent commitment to the extraction of this dirty energy source, as well as a threat to the lands and aquifers over which it would traverse. This would be an international treaty that would preclude any future challenge to its existence. The companies involved have a poor track record in managing risk and cleaning up after leaks. Others have stated that the exploitation of the Tar Sands will continue with transport of the bitumen done by rail, but that is distinctly non permanent and would detract from its long term profitability.

    2. Moneta

      I would prefer seeing energy preservation for a decade. This would force innovation and take some power away from the 1%.

      1. David

        Looks like the Alberta tar sands extraction is a massive engineering project using amazing machines, designed to return the environment to its original condition, with the oily substance removed from the sand.

        If I have an outdoor oil tank and some of it leaks out into the environment (the dirt around the tank) I have a major environmental catastrophe on my hands that I may well have to pay over $100,000 to clean up. A neighbor has exactly this situation, she is trying to sell her house, and now she must do a massive digging operation in her yard. All because of some oily substance leaking INTO the soil.

        And now it’s so terrible that we are mining it in Alberta to take an oily substance OUT of the soil? Please don’t tell me they found a snail darter there too!

    3. different clue

      Anything which makes the antivironmentalists stronger makes the environmentalists weaker, and vice versa. It is a zero sum war to the “death”, where one side will march to victory on a road of the other side’s bones.

    4. jrs

      these bargaining chips sound much like “grand bargaining” chips to me (we’ll give you chained CPI and for it get – oh right nothing). Only with the environmental game the stakes are oh so much higher. We’ll give you Keystone and get … human extinction?

  4. gepay

    There are climate scientists or related that do not agree that global warming is causing hurricane related activity to change. William F Gray for one – Christopher Landsea quit the 4rth IPCC report becacuse in his words,
    “I personally cannot in good faith continue to contribute to a process that I view as both being motivated by pre-conceived agendas and being scientifically unsound.”

    senior scientist Martin Hoerling from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says no evidence exists for any influence of global warming, let alone human-caused warming, on the intensity of hurricane Sandy.
    Or William Kininmonth, a meteorologist and former head of the National Climate Centre. Bob Carter, palaeoclimatologist and a senior editor of the 2010 NIPCC report, Climate Change Reconsidered.

    Even Kerry Emanual who is not a climate skeptic and generally believes mam made greenhouse gases are causing global warming says: “Neither basic theory nor numerical climate simulation is well enough advanced to predict how tropical cyclone frequency might change with changing climate…”

    While the climate skeptics, some of them, get millions maybe 10s of millions from rich right wing types like the Koch Bros. AGW believers get billions from governments to do research furthuring man made climate change claims.

    1. Gaylord

      One can try disingenuously to refute one well-documented claim of an unprecedented weather event (Hurricane Sandy) having been intensified (not caused) by climate change, but one cannot deny the overwhelming body of evidence. I suggest you stick your lies about scientists getting billions from governments to deceive the public into your other orifice where the sun don’t shine.

      1. skippy

        Whats this government[s everyone talks about?

        All I can see is corporate - fire - mic - sector *action figures* occupying the institution some still call government.

        Anywho humans changing the planet... right.

        Alfred Russel Wallace (8 January 1823 – 7 November 1913) noticed human causality...

        Environmental issues

        Wallace's extensive work in biogeography made him aware of the impact of human activities on the natural world. In Tropical Nature and Other Essays (1878), he warned about the dangers of deforestation and soil erosion, especially in tropical climates prone to heavy rainfall. Noting the complex interactions between vegetation and climate, he warned that the extensive clearing of rainforest for coffee cultivation in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and India would adversely impact the climate in those countries and lead to their eventual impoverishment due to soil erosion.[112] In Island Life, Wallace again talked about deforestation and also the impact of invasive species. He wrote the following about the impact of European colonization on the island of Saint Helena:

        … yet the general aspect of the island is now so barren and forbidding that some persons find it difficult to believe that it was once all green and fertile. The cause of this change is, however, very easily explained. The rich soil formed by decomposed volcanic rock and vegetable deposits could only be retained on the steep slopes so long as it was protected by the vegetation to which it in great part owed its origin. When this was destroyed, the heavy tropical rains soon washed away the soil, and has left a vast expanse of bare rock or sterile clay. This irreparable destruction was caused, in the first place, by goats, which were introduced by the Portuguese in 1513, and increased so rapidly that in 1588 they existed in the thousands. These animals are the greatest of all foes to trees, because they eat off the young seedlings, and thus prevent the natural restoration of the forest. They were, however, aided by the reckless waste of man. The East India Company took possession of the island in 1651, and about the year 1700 it began to be seen that the forests were fast diminishing, and required some protection. Two of the native trees, redwood and ebony, were good for tanning, and, to save trouble, the bark was wastefully stripped from the trunks only, the remainder being left to rot; while in 1709 a large quantity of the rapidly disappearing ebony was used to burn lime for building fortifications![113] – wiki

        More stuff…

        Disease ecology at a crossroads: Man-made environments, human rights and perpetual development utopias – Duncan Pedersen∗

        Department of Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass., U.S.A.

        Abstract
        There is a growing body of critical literature on health, development and environmental sustainability in a world of finite resources and overburdened ecosystems. The ethics of progress and perpetual development in pursuit of unlimited economic growth and ever-expanding markets are no longer viable, given the constraints imposed on the life-support systems of the biosphere and a finite resource base, which poses the most serious threat to life on Earth. Despite increasing evidence of the linkages between economic growth and environmental deterioration and a rhetoric expressed in a growing body of laws, regulations, accords and global “agendas” at the national and international level, there are all too few success stories in reversing or even slowing down the current trends of ecosystem degradation and decreasing cultural and biological diversity. On the contrary, there is evidence that environmental stress and deterioration are increasing, and the impact on the mental, physical and social health and well-being of populations is more significant now than in any previous time in history. The fragmentation of countries, the rise of nationalism and ethnic conflict, the decimation of indigenous nations and human rights abuses are often closely interrelated with environmental degradation and development initiatives. This paper reviews some of the concepts and underlying values of the man “models” developed by health and social scientists for interpreting this reality, with the aim of stimulating debate that could lead to the adoption of a larger and more comprehensive framework for analysing the interactions between human health, development and environmental change.

        Really… at this point in time the burden of evidence is on the deniers – skeptics or what ever their going to call themselves next. The reality of such a massive amount and increasing amount of data, CrossRef and correlated, spanning anthropological time lines, from a micro to macro scales is conclusive to human activity’s and environmental change.

        Skippy… Market fundamentalism is a religious ideology that is founded on foundation myths (speculation errr) from antiquity… it has zero grounding in how the universe actually works… were still trying to figure it out… FFS

      2. MRW

        What “overwhelming body of evidence” that global warming caused Sandy? It was a tropical storm that hit two other fronts OVER THE NEW YORK BIGHT (that’s what it’s called, where NJ and NY meet at the shore, the bight is a 90-degree angle deep trench below the shore ocean floor). Bloomberg was warned in 2009 in a NYC Hazard Report that if a big storm hit at high tide it could inundate half of Manhattan in 13-20 ft of water, as it has in the past. Bloomberg ignored it, declared it global warming, and pawned it off on Obama as a federal government issue. He could have called in the Army Corps of Engineers to build a breakwater four years ago, but no. Storms like these happen all around the world–massive flooding–every year and New Yorkers don’t give a damn that people die from them until it happens in their backyard. Then the sky is falling, and the issue de jour gets a uniform. I’m an ex-Newyorker. I know the drill.

        HISTORICAL FACTS
        This is an illustration from hurricane experts KLOTZBACH and GRAY from one of their papers. Sorry don’t have the link to that. Only have this:
        http://members.westnet.com.au/jonas1/Hurricanes.jpg
        It’s an illustration of the CAT 3-4-5 hurricanes from two of the 20th C cooling and warming periods. They say hurricanes are dependent on the strength of the Atlantic Thermohaline Circulation (THC) or the Atlantic Multi‐decadal Oscillation (AMO).

        Here’s KLOTZBACH and GRAY’s Nov 2012 paper “U.S. Hurricane Damage — Can Rising Levels of CO2 Be Associated With Sandy’s Massive Destruction?”
        http://tropical.atmos.colostate.edu/Includes/Documents/Publications/grayklotzbach2012.pdf

        ABSTRACT
        Atlantic basin hurricane activity undergoes large yearly and multi‐decadal variability. A large portion of this variability, particularly the variability of the major or Category 3‐4‐5 hurricanes, is directly related to the strength of the Atlantic Thermohaline Circulation (THC) or the Atlantic Multi‐decadal Oscillation (AMO). On a long‐period normalized basis, major hurricanes cause about 80‐85 percent of US tropical cyclone destruction. There has been a downward trend in US landfalling hurricane activity over the last 50 years. This goes opposite to the upward trend of atmospheric CO2 levels over the last 50 years.

        Our hurricane research extending over many years indicates that Atlantic hurricane variability is driven almost exclusively by natural changes. The potential influence of human‐induced CO2 increase on Atlantic hurricane frequency and intensity is likely to be negligible. As extensive and tragic as Sandy’s 2012 destruction has been, it and other destructive hurricanes in recent decades are not beyond the range of what is known to be the natural variability of the atmospheric‐ocean system. What is more amazing than Sandy’s tragic and extremely damaging flooding, at least from an intellectual point‐of‐view, is the number of knowledgeable people and prominent government and private citizens who have concluded that Sandy’s destruction was largely the result of human‐induced climate change resulting from our over‐abundant use of fossil fuels. Our analysis of Atlantic hurricane activity variations over the last century does not support such a conclusion.

        These guys are the acknowledged hurricane experts, not Dr. Abraham (a mechanical engineer), many of whose assertions above I find too breathlessly hyperbolic; but I’m only going to take this one on.

    2. Binky Bear

      The lies of a paid shill or the ex post facto rationalization of someone in a Kubler Ross funk zone?

      Elevating quibbles is how lawyers think. Defending aristocrats who inherited wealth earned from Stalin’s slave laborers is abhorrent. Misrepresenting the reality of climate studies is repugnant. Telling people lies so they won’t prepare for the famines and storms coming in the next 5-10 years is shameful.

      It’s too late for make believe and it’s too late for bargaining. We are at a tipping point now and it is too late to prevent a disaster. It is already occurring. Scientists are biased towards steady states and equilibria and are more conservative than the data trends indicate. The systems of our environment are more sensitive than they thought, and the pervasive impacts of human industry and expansion are stronger than anticipated. Drought, famine, disease, economic collapse, and war are on the menu.

    3. Nealo

      William Gray for one. There are a handful of others. Mostly 3rd rate scientists and/or out-and-out laughinstocks among the scientific community. Skeptics Roger Pielke, Pat Michaels, Watts, McKittrick, Lonborg have been discredited.

      There are literally thousands of climate and other scientists who agree with the consensus.

  5. Craig King

    Such hyperbole as advanced by Mr Abraham is not really beneficial to the debate.

    Just the example of a low intensity hurricane/tropical storm as Sandy should suffice. It wasn’t extreme, it wasn’t unprecedented and it wasn’t unexpected. remember Hazel?

    As for trashing Anthony Watts, that is just bizarre. Watts has no power over people to prevent them from pursuing careers or innovation. The fact is that anybody coming up with better energy sources will do so if the profits are encouraging. That is what James Watt, Thom. Eddison and Tesla all did. They didn’t wait for government to offer subsidies or for the intelligensia to offer them approval and encouragement. Like the Wright Brothers they simply got on with it.

    1. Firstname Lastname

      Words words words from fracking boosters who can’t even solve

      7.3x dy/dx + 2.4xy = 6.2x

      Come on, solve it. First order, linear diffyQ, What’s the problem?

      …Oh you did it, by dint of frantic googling and 20 tries?
      Good for you!

      Now solve the system of millions of higher-order nonlinear differential equations, with no closed-form solution that you find in any decent climate model. Take your time, no pressure. You can use scratch paper. Come back when you’re done.

      Instead you think you’re gonna debunk the science with your words words words. It’s like the Special Olympics Debate Team or something.

    2. Wat Tyler

      Actually I do remember hurricane Hazel but only because I am 70 and live on the NC coast. I don’t understand your point. Hazel was ,in fact, extreme (Hazel killed all the way into Canada), unprecedented (entire coastal towns were destroyed that had stood for generations), and unexpected in the extent of damage and the timing of landfall at a full moon high tide (massive storm surge).

      I live where Hazel struck -again what is your point?

      http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/10/1014_041014_hurricane_hazel.html

      Respectively,
      Jim

      1. sarastro92

        If you actually read the link the substance would be apparent… so here’s a sample..

        “Abraham: It isn’t surprising that Mr. Watts disagrees with all of these other researchers. What I was surprised by was the fact he seems to disagree with his own research.
        He (Watts) didn’t tell you that he actually published a paper on this subject a few years ago where he concluded that temperature sensor siting had no impact on temperature trends.”

        Watts: “LOL! Well, right in the abstract it says:

        Comparison of observed temperatures with NARR shows that the most poorly sited stations are warmer compared to NARR than are other stations, and a major portion of this bias is associated with the siting classification rather than the geographical distribution of stations. According to the best‐sited stations, the diurnal temperature range in the lower 48 states has no century‐scale trend.

        Looks like an effect to me.”

        I agree with Watts… he was slandered… and not very effectively at that.

    3. c=8

      Gee, if petty gossip was arithmetic, you could do all the GCM numerical methods in your head, and then you wouldn’t have to talk out your ass about the substance!

    4. Nealo

      Watts is a piss-poor scientist but clearly it’s too hard for many to see it.

      Read realclimate.org

      1. sarastro92

        Sorry… meant this as a reply to c=8 and Nealo

        If you actually read the link the substance would be apparent… so here’s a sample..

        “Abraham: It isn’t surprising that Mr. Watts disagrees with all of these other researchers. What I was surprised by was the fact he seems to disagree with his own research.
        He (Watts) didn’t tell you that he actually published a paper on this subject a few years ago where he concluded that temperature sensor siting had no impact on temperature trends.”

        Watts: “LOL! Well, right in the abstract it says:

        Comparison of observed temperatures with NARR shows that the most poorly sited stations are warmer compared to NARR than are other stations, and a major portion of this bias is associated with the siting classification rather than the geographical distribution of stations. According to the best‐sited stations, the diurnal temperature range in the lower 48 states has no century‐scale trend.

        Looks like an effect to me.”

        I agree with Watts… he was slandered… and not very effectively at that.
        Read more at http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/03/real-pragmatism-for-real-climate-change-interview-with-dr-john-abraham.html#wYj3TSe2jOwKPlVx.99

  6. TomDor

    I side with Dr Abraham; climate change is real and, climate change offers an unprecedented opportunity for the human species, as well as all other species to thrive on this planet… a higher living standard for all. To those who are pessimistic about our capabilities to effect change, I can only say I do not share your views. I agree that we humans have set-up unsustainable economic obstacles that lead to the denuding of our only habitable ecosystem. I particularly point to the crux of our economic system that does the most harm, that being, the economic rent extractors and the economic support system that encourages that destructive behavior with no brake in place – such as taxes. Economic rent extraction mechanics translates well to environmental quality extraction, standard of living extraction, inequality, famine, war…etc.

    To the climate deniers, I laugh at your single facet arguments and hope that you remove your blinders. ‘Climate Change’ should well be expanded to a term like, for instance, ecosystem change. We know that human activity has changed the chemistry of major components of our ecosystem…ocean acidification, ground water pollutants, bio-engineered crop production (was never to increase yield or quality but, instead used to enable the mechanization of harvest within the supply chain…standard height corn, tasteless tomatoes, roses with no smell etc.), air chemistry, land reflectivity and absorption pattern changes, de-forestation et al. These rapid system changes are being reacted by the planetary system… a system with much longer response times.

    The hubris of the human species….we live on a planet of plenty and we have famine. We want to extract oil from any source but, because of our man made structures of human interaction and piety, egoism and self ascribed perfection…we fail to take advantage of our technological developments to conserve our natural resources….we refuse to change our economic structures and -Neanderthal predatory instinctual ways to align with what the planet demands of us. We go so far as to play stupid, pretend it is all outside our means, that we are innocent, refuse culpability for our actions….why? Is it because we feel ourselves so superior that we can trash the only place we have to live? The planet’s ecosystem does not care if we as a species lives or dies. The ecosystem does not pass judgment about our committing suicide and killing other species before we pull the trigger on ourselves.

    There is more work that can be done by generations to come, more wealth creation that can last far off into the distant future – endlessly….if not for our own stupidity.
    Population explosion? I know our ecosystem has well built buffers to deal with that type of imbalance – it is happening now with the great die-off of species diversity, chemical changes to our ecosystem and all other MAN MADE changes.
    Resource depletion? What, does matter disappear? E=mc2
    Human stupidity? A resource that will disappear with the end of the last human.

  7. gozounlimited

    Man can stop causing climate change by stopping geoengineering. Warming of the planet has been cause by aircraft disseminating substances into the atmosphere that warms the planet in order move an agenda that creates a financial market for the mouseoles who enjoy the power to create fear, misinformation and monetary control. Geoengineering does more than warm the planet….. IT created Hurricane Sandy….but unfortunately NY CAN”T WAKE UP!!!!!!!! It’s About The Money Jack…..Stop Being Ignorant.

  8. Gerald Muller

    As long as the climate models do not explain the temperature surges of roman past, early middle ages or even the little ice age, I will remain sceptic about this climate business. A few things are certain: it helps a lot of people get research grants.
    Being septic does mean I think those scientist who believe in climate change are right or wrong. It seems to me that climate is far too complex to model. Time will tell whether they were right or wrong. What I do believe is that all the money spent to “combat climate change” probably would be better used elsewhere.

    1. TomDor

      Don’t care where money is spent as long as it is spent into the real production and consumption economy — employing labor to create wealth. Not spent into capturing an ever larger economic rent….predatory economic rent.

      Heck, I would like to see SS benefits paid at twice what they are now because, I would know that cash is being spent on real things – not financial services economic rent extraction processes and asset inflation schemes that have no wealth creation effect.

    2. sarastro92

      Correct Gerald… Nor do the models explain the current 17 year hiatus in warming… Recently the CAGW have made some attempts to claim the ocean swallowed up almost two decdes of warming. Somehow this massive heat miraculously sunk to the 700 to 2000 meter level below the sea surface… without atmospheric warming or increas SST in the top layers of the ocean.

      These are but the few reasons to be skeptical of claims made by the catastrophic global warming crowd… Many of the climate models — such as Michael Mann’s “hockey stick” — have been exposed as fraud by Steven McIntyre… Steve showed that no matter what data is entered, even trendless white noise, Mann’s model always ends in a hockey stick.

      Nature — Mann’s publisher– magazine eventually acknowledge McIntyre’s expose, but only in a footnote, not a retraction.

      Terrible excuse for science and scientific methods.

      1. Losers must kiss ass & die

        Word words words! I look forward to laughing my ass off when sarastoIQ92 is driven from his arid dust-bowl Pulte Homes shack to wait compliantly in line for powdered milk at his designated FEMA camp like any other potbellied, kwashed-out, third world victim. You know who else will be laffin’ it up? Koch. Poor pathetic dupes.

        1. Lady in Red

          This is, exactly, the level of argument of those supporting carbon chit trading: NO argument whatsoever.

          Just carrots in their ears and a refusal to read, to learn, to think. ….Lady in Red

          1. skippy

            And motivation is revealed[!!!].

            Skippy… as my comment up thread above reveals, Human ecological terraforming has been observed anthropologically on a regional scale, with consequences.

            Please inform your self…

            Ecopsychology

            Ecopsychology studies the relationship between human beings and the natural world through ecological and psychological principles.[1] The field seeks to develop and understand ways of expanding the emotional connection between individuals and the natural world, thereby assisting individuals with developing sustainable lifestyles and remedying alienation from nature. Theodore Roszak is credited with coining the term in his 1992 book, The Voice of the Earth. He later expanded the idea in the 1995 anthology Ecopsychology with co-editors Mary Gomes and Allen Kanner.

            This subfield extends beyond the traditional built environment of psychology in order to examine why people continue environmentally damaging behaviour, and to develop methods of positive motivation for adopting sustainable practices.[2] Evidence suggests that many environmentally damaging behaviours are addictive at some level, and thus are more effectively addressed through positive emotional fulfillment rather than by inflicting shame. Other names used to refer to ecopsychology include, Gaia psychology,[3] psychoecology, ecotherapy, environmental psychology, green psychology, global therapy, green therapy, Earth-centered therapy, reearthing, nature-based psychotherapy, shamanic counselling, ecosophy [4] and sylvan therapy.

            The main premise of ecopsychology is that while today the human mind is shaped by the modern social world, it is adapted to the natural environment in which it evolved.[5] According to the biophilia hypothesis of biologist E.O. Wilson, human beings have an innate instinct to connect emotionally with nature,[2][6] particularly the aspects of nature that recall what evolutionary psychologists have termed the environment of evolutionary adaptiveness, the natural conditions that the human species evolved to inhabit. – wiki

            More stuff…

            Current Research

            Anna’s current research covers a diverse range of topics, including: how socio-politically situated perceptions of development, consumerism and fake or unsafe food intersect with attitudes to health and pollution in the Chinese countryside; environmental health activism; lay cancer aetiologies; home care for illness and attitudes to formal healthcare provision; how coexisting moral economies of subsistence and the market are articulated in everyday life; the interplay between eating practices, Bourdieusian taste and social status in rural China; historically formed perceptions of fatness and health; and a more layered understanding of the ‘state’ and local agency.

            Anna’s monograph Fighting for Breath: Cancer, Healing and Social Change in a Sichuan Village is based on a total of 16 months of fieldwork in rural north-east Sichuan province starting in 2004. It is the first book-length ethnography to offer a bottom-up account of how families strive to make sense of cancer and care for sufferers in contemporary rural China. It explores lay perceptions of illness causality and everyday practices of care as prisms to understand how relationships with family members, locality and the state are reproduced or contested since the socio-economic reforms.

            Since 2006, her interests in cancer and in the mutual relationship between health, human activity and environment have led Anna to focus more closely on pollution in rural China, and she has organised and taken part in several interdisciplinary workshops on these topics. Her ongoing research on ecological knowledge, land use and people’s engagement with farm chemicals and food markets has resulted in two articles in the leading journals The Journal of Contemporary China (2010a) and Social Anthropology (2009a), which unpack the relationship between farmers’ agency and the perceived connection between illness and water pollution in rural China. Her related work on Chinese farmers’ socially, culturally and economically generated sense of lack entitlement to meat and milk (2007), and to hospital care (2010b) engages with debates around the social reproduction of inequality. Anna’s most recent work examines the impact of perceptions of environmental damage to health on patterns of response by comparing two sites affected by pollution in rural Yunnan. She is currently working to expand this project to involve Chinese medical geographers, with whom she also plans collaborative research on local reactions to pollution from mining and environmental health governance. – snip

            http://www.geog.ox.ac.uk/staff/alorawainwright.html

            To be blunt… there is a preponderance of evidence wrt human socio-economic activity’s and reduction – change of the environment affected going back thousands of years, the only difference between the – time lines – and now – is scale, with China as a leading indicator (the west exported its most damaging activity’s due to legacy issues imo).

            Skippy… the idiomatic trench warfare over T / F statements wrt – all environmental changes – is regrettably driven by socioeconomic factors and not discovery’s application, climate is only – one factor – of a multifaceted problem set. You and yours suffer from self induced fundamentalist economic myopia… cough… tribalism.

  9. Dope sez What?

    Oh my. It seems to Robert Oppenheimer here that climate is just way too complex to model. Because he has thoroughly looked into it and brought to bear the awesome, spoon-bending mental power of his C+ Algebra II and Trig at Our Lady of Thermodynamics H.S. from 20 years ago.

    This is cigarette PR, reciting slogans that dopes can say. You should go where there’s more dopes, you’ll have better luck with this shit.

  10. Susan the other

    When the technology is there big oil will commit suicide? Probably not. And no discussion @ coal particulates, also a carbon energy product/byproduct. Things get twisted. Abraham refers to CO2 both causing and solving the previous snowball earth glaciation. I’m pretty sure there were other more important factors, like the atmosphere finally clearing itself out and the sun once again warming the planet. That only took 50,000 years, right?

  11. Wat Tyler

    I am amused when I hear that we are “destroying the planet”. The sun will accomplish this feat in a few billion years at the end of it’s life but ,until then, the earth will do just fine thank you very much. A million years from now there will be a massive and diverse biomass present just as there was a million years ago.

    I seriously doubt that mammals will be part of that biomass however.

    We humans are a tiny blip on Mother Nature’s memory. She just doesn’t care – so relax.

    Jim

    1. Ben Johannson

      Sorry, but your total lack of ethics isn’t going to guide my policy preferences.

      Mother Nature doesn’t give a damn because Mother Nature has no brain. You do and therefore have no excuse. I’m not particularly concerned about what happens to humanity; if we cease to exist thanks to climate change it’s a self-inflicted wound and we will reap what we sow, but I do care about potentially millions of other species we’ll be driving into oblivion in the process.

      They have the right to live and die not subject to our rapacious greed and contempt for life.

  12. ToivoS

    Abrahams opening line 1. Humans are causing climate change, we’ve know that for well over 100 years is just a little off putting. Perhaps it is the definition of “known”.

    Arrhenius predicted, based on some really good scientific intuition that man made CO2 release could warm the globe. This is not really in dispute. When I first became aware of this problem in 1970 there was no scientific consensus that global warming would be the result. There was then a perfectly valid hypothesis that suggested a homeostasis model. Basically, the warming would increase atmospheric humidity, increase cloud cover that would then reflect more sunlight back into space thereby attenuating the warming.

    It has only been in the last 20 years or so that the homeostasis mechanism has lost support and empirically we can see that Arrhenius’s original prediction seems to have been correct at least so far.

  13. Zachary Smith

    I suppose it’s a compliment to the influence of the nakedcapitalism site that the Denier trolls are beginning to notice it.

    But IMO they’re going to be more and more of a nuisance with their contributions of Clutter and Claptrap.

  14. WorldisMorphing

    #1. There’s no such thing as clean energy. It’s a buzzword for journalists and politicians.

    #2. People need to understand that electricity cannot be stored. Electricity that is not guaranteed is by definition less valuable than electricity that is there on demand. Yes, the midwest could probably produce enough for themselves and perhaps a few neighboring states, but they probably would still need thermal power plants for back-up(be it gas, coal, or nuclear) The rest of the US however is another matter…

    I’ve heard of a little wind power generation physics issue that everyone should bear in mind. A turbine going at twice its speed generates 2³ its former power output. Yes, you read that right, 8 fold difference …
    In Europe a transnational study compiled wind farm total hourly power generation. The study revealed that output produced is, for intermittent bursts, at best, half the advertised maximum potential power output. The average output is really a small percentage of the installed potential.

    An engineer who went to an energy related conference reported that the gas industry loves wind power too…

    In my opinion, the only constant and reliable energy source is wave energy, but the devices built so far to harness it are pathetic…

    Sorry to burst you bubble.

    1. Zachary Smith

      Googling the phrase “electricity storage” turned up with quite a collection of links and ‘ways to do it’ including this one.

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

      Since it’s late I could only scan it, but didn’t see “synthetic fuels” at first pass.

      That’s when you take some electricity and use it to turn some carbon-bearing material into gasoline/propane/whatever just like the Germans did during WW2. Liquid fuel storage is something we do pretty well, by the way. They do mention hydrogen, and that’ll likely be the main conversion method, for the stuff can be stored locally or transferred by pipeline to converted natural gas power plants. Or used in fuel cells in homes or automobiles. Or for space heating.

      Don’t know where you got the idea “There’s no such thing as clean energy.”

      That one is almost amusing.

      1. WorldisMorphing

        ["Don’t know where you got the idea “There’s no such thing as clean energy.”

        That one is almost amusing."]

        It’s physics believe it or not.
        There are energy that are cleaner than others…but absolutely not scalable to the present consumption demand. Furthermore, if you mean by “clean” that their existence did not necessitate that we pollute and disturb the earth’s ecosystem and finite resources reserve than yes, the word “clean” is very misleading and gives people a warped idea of the situation we’re in and of the orders of magnitude that we have to deal with.

        I suspect if you actually read and understood those links, you wouldn’t have questioned the veracity of my post…

  15. fatman51

    in heavens name. Enough already!
    The climate is cooling .Stop it, get off this bandwagon, or this site will have to be labeled as hopeless.

    Stop now.

    1. different clue

      If the climate is cooling, wouldn’t the various glaciers, ice fields, and arctic ice be growing, extending, and/or re-thickening? Are they in fact doing that?

      But if you believe the general overall climate is cooling, there are parts of the US that will benefit from that cooling and/or re-cooling. You should move there to prepare for The Cooling.

  16. Lady in Red

    That is a bizarre interview! There is no “there there.” Do you realize that, beyond the pompous platitudes, there’s no meat?

    Anthony Watts is no “denier.” He is an advocate of science, real science. Like, ah, physics. “Climate science” is a newly minted field for young liberal shepple to program temp recrods, preferably backwards, eliminating, for example, the MWP.

    Does anyone realize how incredibly complicated understanding the world’s oceans and atmosphere are? We, still, haven’t a *clue*!

    Now, Dr. A. said (pompously) that, if he felt adaption were superior, he’d vote for that. What is it not superior? And, who is in charge of the Magic Climate Knob, and how will it be controlled? When we sell the carbon chits and China pollutes and the UK does not, where’s the net benefit?

    The climate has been changing for millions of years. We are a blip — and we are not affecting the climate. More CO2 in the atmosphere has brought us cooling. And, worst of all, the science — like Lysenko in the USSR in the 1930′s is fraud. Millions of fed bucks are spent *only* to confirm and do mitigation research. A researcher can’t get bucks to do an honest study.

    And the problem is becoming so exposed that fraud is now supported, as research science. An “important new paper” by Marcott et al is just out in Science. It purports to confirm Michael Mann’s “hockey stick,” indicating a massive upswing in temperature, of recent. The paper appears not, even, to have made some mistakes, some whoops. But, it is hard to say anything other than the paper is fraud — and the hope was that the fraud would not be exposed, that people would trust, trust in “the experts.”

    Read about the paper at WattsUpWithThat.com or JudithCurry.com (She’s head of atmospheric sciences at Georgia Tech and *very* smart and was told she risked her career by breaking rank.)

    And to read a (very gentle) analysis of the Marcott et al paper, a tad hard, but not impossible for a layperson, try ClimateAudit.org, Steve McIntyre’s internet home.

    One day Steve McIntyre will make the history books as a science great, a simple semi-retired Canadian engineer who saw Mann’s “hockey stick” graph and thought it looked similar to fraud graphs crafted by unethical mining operation folk. McIntyre spent a decade trying to get access to the data, held by “the establishment” for use only by “the experts” — who will tell you what to think.

    McIntyre’s patient persistence won the day. The world owes him much. He’s quite brilliant.

    Oh, and, beyond calling the real scientists and the skeptics names, “the experts” will *never* debate one of them. Never. Sneer, smirk, invoke expert status, yep. Debate? Never.

    And, Dr. A. says scientists are questioning and skeptical. Mostly, the “climate science” community in the entire world has been bought by political interests — and the damn banksters, wanting to make money on a brank new commodity: carbon chits!

    It’s a scam. At the very least, we haven’t an honest inkling if we are, or not, affecting anything in the climate. It’s all hokum. …..Lady in Red

    PS: And for 100 years, Dr. A. says, we have known man’s affect on the climate. Do you know that in the 1970′s both Time and Newsweek did cover stories on the Coming Ice Age?

    PPS: If one looks backwards, the computer models of these “experts” have failed over and over and over.

    1. different clue

      I am at a public library computer of near-zero capability, including zero link-fetching capability. Otherwise I would bring a link.

      Instead I will just say: I remember those 1970s -era warnings of Ice Age to come. I remember a Plowboy Interview with University of Wisconsin Climatologist Reid Bryson about the Coming Ice Age. It can be googled under that whole combination of names and words. I remember in-briefest the logic. Bryson and others looked at thousands of years of annual pollen deposition records in bogs and other annual pollen layer fallout preservation “archives”. Since the pollen falling in a “pollen archive” each year depended on the plants releasing the pollen into the air above the “pollen archive”, the pollen in each yearly layer was a strong fingerprint of the plant species alive at the time to release the pollen. Studying a few thousand years worth of species come-and-go cycles as read from the pollen layers allowed Bryson and others to say: “if the same cycles as readable in the pollen layers till now keep naturally cycling as before, we are due for a cyclically scheduled cooldown.”

      So what happened to the cooldown? Were the Brysonites wrong at the time? And should that lead us to intuit-by-analogy that the current MMGWists are just as wrong today? I think not. I think MMGW helped the earth-surface store up so much heat as to “melt-down” and prevent the “Coming Ice Age”. And ongoing MMGW will keep injecting so much fresh heat into earth surface as to bring on the Big Heat Age.

      1. different clue

        Oh . . . that Reid Bryson Plowboy Interview was in Mother Earth News Magazine. That should help find the link. I think it is GOOD that old magazine covers and old interviews can’t be erased. Otherwise how would we remember that The Coming Ice Age was indeed predicted? And how would we know to ask . . . well? what happened to it? I offered my own thoughts on what happened to it just above.

    1. Your friend Vlad

      Spaciba, Red Lady, my little nesting doll of nekulturny catchphrases. Thank you, I say, for helping my beloved Russia become bigger and stronger as your collapsing capitalist shithole turns to storm-smashed desert. Our overwhelming preponderance of boreal earth, once challenging and hostile, is milder year by year. Our vast Siberia will soon be as welcoming as Yalta, as fertile as Ukraina. As you cook the planet and deny it, Russia will increasingly dominate its struggling American rivals in keeping with her portion of the soil.

      You have saved us the trouble of dismantling your crumbling infrastructure with swarms of MIRVed Iskanders. Most of your benighted anti-communists will be starved or dead by the time we take your land mass in hand and turn it to productive use.

      So thank you for playing into our hands. When we bring the gift of world order to your desperate refugee camps, I will see to it that you are rewarded with a modest sinecure of amero-rubles and tabak.

      1. different clue

        Dear Mr. Vlad,

        Even though your comment was not addressed to me, I must say with a heavy heart that your fraternally international vision of Russian leadership benefit to benighted American peoples may not play out as all progressive-minded people might wish. The same Big Heat that warms your subarctic regions will turn your present breadbaskets (and those of your fraternal neighbors Ukraine and Kazakhstan) into burnbarrels where no grain grows. And a rising ocean will flood most of your near-sea-level subarctic, even as melting permafrost and gassing-off carbon from the thawed-out permapeat lowers the actual elevation of at least a million miles of subsiding Siberal lowlands even as the sea level rises. A rising ocean going up will meet a subsiding Siberia going down.

        1. different clue

          But at least the cultural boredom of Siberia will be relieved by exciting new diseases like malaria and dengue fever and yellow fever and etc.

    1. different clue

      Thank you. We all hope we are helpful. If the net effect of every electron pushed around to power this blog and these comments is to inspire every reader to preVENT the pushing around of two other electrons in their off-blog lives; then this blog and these comments will have done a small bit to de-warm the global right there.

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