Via: Dark Roasted Blend
So I wrote to Monce, and he courteously replied with his thoughts on the controversy:
Now back to that ad in the Post: Who ARE these people? "Scientists," is the answer, but what kind of scientists? Are they climate experts?
Let's take a look at "Michael Monce, Ph.d., Connecticut College":
"His area of expertise lies in atomic and molecular physics, particularly atomic collisions."
Probably a smart guy. But why do we care what he thinks about climate change? How many of these people have actually published something on climate change in a peer-reviewed journal?
"Wow... I guess I've suddenly become a lightning rod, and in some sense I can see why which leads me to answer your first question:"
No, I have never published about climate change in peer reviewed journals.
My response to Achenbach would be along the lines as: As a physicist I understand energy fairly well. Also as an experimentalist I have some experience in looking at physical data and analyzing what it means, What lead me to my present thoughts on climate change was when I was researching the topic in preparation for a course I was going to teach on energy issues about 4 years ago. As I looked more into the data and also the models that were being generated, a lot of it didn't add up to me. There's fairly good data that there was a warm period greater than what we are experiencing at the moment during medievel times when CO2 was much less than today. Also in historic terms, the current warming actually started in about 1840 when the earth emerged from the Little Ice Age. Why would it do that without a large human CO2 emission? The IPCC models generated in the late 1990's seem to have failed to predict the current leveling of temperature for the past decade. There are many more instances I can cite all of which tend to lead me to think that perhaps the current temperature trends are more due to natural variabillity than due to human causes. So, as a scientist, I came to the conclusion that many of the IPCC's basic premises may not be valid. If the data changes I will change my view.
As to your third question, if a climatologist had an opinion on a new finding in atomic physics, yes I would be skeptical. However, any scientist should always approach any new finding with some skepticism; that's our job. New findings must be verified independently by other researchers, and even then we may continue to try and find holes... that's what drives science. However, maybe that climatologist may have a different insight into the atomic physics finding that would be useful. Here's the real point as an example of how science really works: even today we are trying to find flaws in Einstein's work. Why? Because by finding the flaws we learn more about how nature runs. Wasn't it a physicist (Alvarez) who came up with the idea of the asteroid/comet impact extinction of the dinosaurs? Cross disciplinary discoveries do happen and are often met, appropriately, with great skepticism. However, such discoveries, when verified, lead to greater understanding of nature.
The atmospheric CO2 levels at Hawaii’s Mauna Loa observatoryThey're bound to cover up such a ridiculous claim, so here's the screen print:have declined since 2004. How can this be when humans keep emitting more greenhouse gases? Could declining atmospheric CO2 levels mean that the whole Greenhouse Warming theory is collapsing?
In the meantime, though, scientists - and environmentalists - have figured out a more important reason to worry about coal-fired power plants, and that's the carbon dioxide they spew into the atmosphere. This is what causes global warming, and the scrubbers PSNH is talking about will do nothing to remove it from the exhaust. Which is too bad, because if the scientists are right about climate change, soon New Hampshire anglers will be able to catch salt-water species in their own living rooms.Perhaps he meant this last sentence as tongue-in-cheek -- I honestly can't tell. If he did, he didn't set it up properly or pull it off. If he didn't, as I suspect, then it's exactly -- exactly -- the kind of completely ludicrous statement that makes people immediately dismiss him and his ilk and, with them, the entire case for anthropogenic climate change.
Quite accurate records of the amount of fossil fuel consumed in the world each year show that in the past 100 years man has added about 360 billion tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. As a result the atmospheric concentration has increased by about 13 per cent. The carbon dioxide theory predicts that such an increase should raise the average temperature of the earth one degree F [0.6 deg C]. This is almost exactly the average increase recorded all over the world during the past century! If fuel consumption continues to increase at the present rate, we will have sent more than a trillion tons of carbon dioxide into the air by the year 2000. This should raise the earth's average temperature 3.6 degrees [2 degrees C].Instead of 2°C, the world warmed about 0.5 - 0.6 °C. It concludes:
We shall be able to test the carbon dioxide theory against other theories of climatic change quite conclusively during the next half-century. Since we now can measure the sun's energy output independent of the distorting influence of the atmosphere, we shall see whether the earth's temperature trend correlates with measured fluctuations in solar radiation. If volcanic dust is the more important factor, then we may observe the earth's temperature following fluctuations in the number of large volcanic eruptions. But if carbon dioxide is the most important factor, long-term temperature records will rise continuously as long as man consumes the earth's reserves of fossil fuels.
"It's no secret that after Bruce Springsteen saw the Ramones in Asbury Park, he went home and wrote "Hungry Heart" for the Forest Hills legends. Of course, Jon Landau convinced the Boss to keep the song and it went on to become one of his biggest hits. The Ramones, meanwhile, remained just outside the mainstream, always lacking the one massive single that would have brought them the fame they deserved. Now, three decades later, the Gaslight Anthem are like something out of speculative fiction: this is what pop music would be if Springsteen hadn't listened to his producer, let the Ramones record the song, and launched the C.B.G.B.'ers into megastardom."
-- Sobriquet Magazine
I asked Wallace Stegner if he could define the history of the West, expecting a Frontier Thesis answer consistent with his Wilderness Letter and “the geography of hope.” He leaned forward as cool as his heavy drift of snowy hair and said:
“One big real estate deal.”
“A Nobel scientist is more likely to figure out Washington than a career politician is to figure out how to deal with carbon sequestration."
-- Dan Leistikow, Energy Department’s director of public affairs, NY Times
The government has dictated that nobody at anybody of these companies is deserving of incentive-based compensation, unless their household income is less than $250,000 per year.
Just think about some of the implications of this. A senior engineer at General Motors, who shepherds the production of a new hybrid vehicle that will turn out to be a best-seller, shouldn't get a bonus for that. Really?
Well... yes. If this Sr engineer's great invention is supposed to be such a great seller, then why is GM's stock price scrapping along near zero? Apparently no one on Wall Street thinks he has a viable product, or that he can't break it through GM's no doubt impenetrable bureaucracy... so why should he be rewarded for it?
I thought the capitalistic system was about rewarding the winners, not just those who try.
If this Sr engineer's hybrid idea is so great, why hasn't it reached the market? And if it hasn't, why should the American taxpayers pay anything extra for it?
For that matter, why should this clearly intelligent, skilled Sr engineer not leave GM and go start his own company making hybrid cars. Let him put his idea on the line, not bury it under 8 layers of management at GM. We're not paying for his idea, we're paying for GM's implementation of it. This John Galt deserves no more than his company can achieve.
If he has any stones, he will quit his $250,000/yr job at GM and start his own company making hybrids, and if his idea is a good one he will be a significant impact in the market and make a huge amount of money.
Isn't that what all this is supposed to be about? Or are we just supposed to reward middling engineers too afraid to risk their ideas with their own capital and/or initiative, forever kowtowing to upper management to just please, please release their product, and if not, oh well, I'll still get a safe retirement.
By those lights, Bill Gates would be a division manager at IBM, living in a really nice house in Westchester County, with great ideas that never made it past his executive director. And we would all be the poorer for it. Should he be rewarded for just making a decent effort? And if he should, why shouldn't you or I?
Consider one example of how that money changes lives: global deaths from measles have fallen from 750,000 to 197,000 in just seven years, in part because the foundation started focusing on vaccinations for such diseases.That's in deaths per year -- still 22/hour.
"Schmitt argues that the current warming is part of a natural cycle that began in the 1800s, as Earth began emerging from the "Little Ice Age" — a warming that began long before industrial emissions could have played a role. Schmitt believes changes in the sun have effects on Earth's climate that are at this point poorly understood by scientists.I'd like to see his detailed calculations. Anyway, Schmitt is speaking at the Heartland Institute's skeptic conference, taking place in New York City over the next few days.
"It's a political issue," Schmitt said of global warming fears in a recent interview. "It's not a scientific issue."
Efforts to curtail greenhouse gas emissions, Schmitt said, "would be disastrous to our economy and actually our liberty."
According to a Steve Milloy-inspired blog, Robert Kennedy Jr. said the following at this past weekend of activism on behalf of the climate in Washington DC:
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. said at today’s Capitol Climate Action rally that Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship “should be in jail… for all of eternity.”
Kennedy also said that coal companies Massey Energy, Peabody Energy and Arch Coal are “criminal enterprises.”
I'm unable to confirm this right now (write me if you can), but it sounds quite plausible. It also sounds juvenile, immature, and ridiculous.
I don't trust vaunted leftists like Kennedy Jr., who I suspect is only trying to keep his career in the media going, any more than I trust the noted climate skeptics on the right.
If, for example, the power in Kennedy Jr's home in Massachusetts or wherever it is were shut off because all the coal power plants in the US were suddenly terminated, he'd be one of the most prominent (if warbly) voices on the radio bitching for investigations and criminal convictions and who knows what else.
He is a blowhard whom I just cannot respect.
Sure, coal is bad for the climate, compared to other energy sources. That hardly means you have to demonize the people providing it. I grew up in a house with a coal furnace, and for many years remember my mom and my dad taking turns going down into the cellar to shovel coal into the furnace at 3 am in the morning. It kept us warm.
Yes, we need to transition to non-carbon energy sources, and we need to move away from coal. But calls like Kennedy Jr's are just arrogant and stupid, and are exactly why I cannot and will never be an activist. There are no grays in their world, only sharp divisions of black and white. And worse of all, Kennedy Jr. well knows this and deliberately chooses to ignore it for the sake of his personal publicity.
(Let's not even get in to his opposition to the wind farm off Cape Cod, or his extremely misleading article in Salon about vaccines and autism.)
The extreme left and RFK Jr. and Bill McKibben and 350.org and all those people are never going to accomplish anything at this rate. Their language is so inflammatory it is easily written off. Aren't there any adults in their movement?
"A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism."
-- Carl Sagan
PS: I'd down with the flu, so won't be posting much for a few days....