Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Earth News Science

Don't Worry About Global Warming, Say 16 Scientists in the WSJ 1367

Posted by timothy
from the no-true-scotsman dept.
An anonymous reader writes "According to an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, there's 'no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to 'decarbonize' the world's economy'. From the article: 'The lack of warming for more than a decade—indeed, the smaller-than-predicted warming over the 22 years since the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) began issuing projections—suggests that computer models have greatly exaggerated how much warming additional CO2 can cause. Faced with this embarrassment, those promoting alarm have shifted their drumbeat from warming to weather extremes, to enable anything unusual that happens in our chaotic climate to be ascribed to CO2. The fact is that CO2 is not a pollutant. CO2 is a colorless and odorless gas, exhaled at high concentrations by each of us, and a key component of the biosphere's life cycle.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Don't Worry About Global Warming, Say 16 Scientists in the WSJ

Comments Filter:
  • by Osgeld (1900440) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @06:37PM (#38851941)

    its rather nice having 62 degree days in the last weeks of January when it should be -3, let our children's children figure it out, they need to have something to do anyway as we keep doing it all for them as it is

    • by the linux geek (799780) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @06:41PM (#38851977)
      While we're playing anecdotal games, it was well below zero Fahrenheit last night when it should be around 10. Global cooling!!!!!!!
      • by rolfwind (528248) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:02PM (#38852145)

        To add my single data point.... I lived in my area my whole life.... the whole winter it was unseasonably warm except for maybe 7 or so days. We're talking late April/October temperatures. One of the days it was cold, it snowed on Halloween, and we never used to get snow before New Years/Christmas. Freakish.

        It used to be a mild area with no significant weather of any type. And the last 5 years was so much the opposite. Previous two winters we got so much more snow dumped on us than usual (this year almost nothing), every week more and more of it. High winds at certain times of the year. Blistering summers where the grass is parched now.

        I know I'm a single data point in a short amount of time, but compared to what it was like growing up, it feels like a real change has been taking place.

        • by SerpentMage (13390) <ChristianHGross&yahoo,ca> on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:19PM (#38852325)

          There is a change taking over. I have been living for 16 years in Zurich and this was the warmest winter yet. The mountains have plenty of snow, but in the valley it is just nuts. We are supposed to get some cold in the next week, but this winter has been completely out of whack. The fact that you are getting plenty of snow is actually correct. Having lived in Canada for 18 years snow = warm temperatures = changing fronts where cold meets warm...

          • by crutchy (1949900) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:35PM (#38852463)
            maybe its not the weather that is out of whack, but our expectation of it.

            maybe the seasons have decided they don't want to conform any more to the three monthly slots we've allocated for them.
          • by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @10:03PM (#38853529) Journal
            I don't know, people have been talking about weird weather for as long as I've been alive. They've been talking about it as long as my grandmother has been alive.

            I suspect that the natural cyclical variations in weather are longer than the human lifespan, and thus for any given human, he will always be seeing weird weather. Once I looked up the annual rainfall for my region, and the years it was 'normal' were much fewer than the years that were 'strange.'
        • by FPhlyer (14433) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @01:45AM (#38854701) Homepage

          Climate fluctuations over the course of a single decade, or a single person's lifetime does not allow for enough data to seriously consider the question of Global Warming/Global Cooling/Climate Change. We, as a species, have only been accurately recording global temperatures since around 1850. This record itself is not sufficient for providing a true picture of Earth's changing climate. For this we must resort to Paleoclimatology.

          Anecdotal evidence in the form of "this winter has been really warm" is totally unhelpful. Where I live this year has been pretty warm... but last year was one of the coldest that I can remember since I've lived here. Both statements are true, but neither of them indicates either a global or regional trend.

          Climate change is very real. The Earth's climate has changed dramatically over it's 5.5 billion (6,000?) year history. Change is inevitable whether it is caused by humans or other natural processes. What we as a species must decide is whether or not we want to affect that change in a way that benefits humanity or if we want to allow these processes, whether natural or man-created, to determine the fate of our species. I for one support the global engineering of climate to benefit humanity and preserve as many other species as we can in order to sustain nurture our species to create a better tomorrow.

      • by danbeck (5706) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:02PM (#38852147)

        This morning it was very cold and I needed a jacket, but by the end of the day I had to take it off because it was so hot. It's getting real people. We are seeing massive swings in only a day's time. Our poor children will have to suffer because of our inaction and folly!

      • This isn't news... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Esteanil (710082) * on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:06PM (#38852195) Homepage Journal

        It's a biased op-ed from a right-wing newspaper. To quote Forbes:

        But the most amazing and telling evidence of the bias of the Wall Street Journal in this field is the fact that 255 members of the United States National Academy of Sciences wrote a comparable (but scientifically accurate) essay on the realities of climate change and on the need for improved and serious public debate around the issue, offered it to the Wall Street Journal, and were turned down. The National Academy of Sciences is the nation’s pre-eminent independent scientific organizations. Its members are among the most respected in the world in their fields. Yet the Journal wouldn’t publish this letter, from more than 15 times as many top scientists. Instead they chose to publish an error-filled and misleading piece on climate because some so-called experts aligned with their bias signed it. This may be good politics for them, but it is bad science and it is bad for the nation.

        • by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh@NoSpAM.gmail.com> on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:17PM (#38852297) Journal

          I think that says it all. What surprises me most is that the top denialist "scientists" dug up an old, easily disproven, barroom-grade argument ("No *atmospheric* warning in the last decade or two! IT'S A HOAX!") as their primary argument. It's like the response doesn't even matter, and they know it.

          • by Joce640k (829181) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:26PM (#38852387) Homepage

            Nope. What says it all is: "The fact is that CO2 is not a pollutant. CO2 is a colorless and odorless gas, exhaled at high concentrations by each of us"

            Lie. Lie, and um Lie.

            I'd like to give the authors of that a sniff of pure CO2 to see how odorless it is.

            • by tragedy (27079) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @11:10PM (#38853925)

              Absolutely agree. That's the scummiest lie on there. Just because something is natural doesn't make it not a pollutant. "The fact is that CO2 is not a pollutant. CO2 is a colorless and odorless gas, exhaled at high concentrations by each of us, and a key component of the biosphere's life cycle". The "high concentrations" bit is ridiculous. It's higher than standard atmospheric concentration, obviously, but they're completely icing over the fact that the carbon in the CO2 animals breathe out comes from a fairly closed cycle. We breathe it out because we got it from our food in the first place. Our vegetable food got it from the atmosphere. Our animal food got it from vegetable matter, or from other animals that got it from vegetable matter, etc. Some natural processes bring out more carbon from under the earth and the overall action of our biosphere is to sequester it under the earth again. Something that's already naturally present can be a pollutant if it's in the wrong concentration or in the wrong place. Too much oxygen would be a pollutant too (a very dangerous one since the world could catch fire). Ozone is a pollutant at ground level, but great for us in the stratosphere. The quote they give about CO2 applies equally well to excrement (well, minus the colorless and odorless part, and we don't normally exhale it, although those people who do are a great example of it being a pollutant when it's in the wrong place), but excrement is obviously a pollutant when there's too much of it in our water supply.

              Someone should see how many of these "scientists" are willing to spend an hour in a chamber with 10% CO2. Then we can ask them if they still think it's not potentially a pollutant depending on concentration afterwards. We won't get much of an answer since they will have died painfully, of course.

        • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:23PM (#38852359) Homepage Journal

          The National Academy of Sciences is the nationâ(TM)s pre-eminent independent scientific organizations.

          But they're all taking money from the ultra-wealthy Sierra Club and PETA members, while scientists associated with the hard-working middle-class, main street job creators at Exxon and Shell are ignored just because their PhDs are in political science and mechanical engineering instead of pseudo-sciences like Physics, Math, Geology and Climate Science.

          It's just not fair, I tell you. The left-wing bias of the so-called "hard" sciences is the reason I home-school my children The only textbook publisher we need is King James. If King James was good enough when Joseph and Mary home-schooled Jesus, it's good enough for me and my kids.

          I swear, those liberal elites are living in a different world than those of us who are reality-based.

        • by Gibgezr (2025238) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:28PM (#38852399)

          I read the rebuttal letter, it was printed in Science magazine. It wasn't a "comparable" letter, it probably was scientifically accurate, but it only stated claims, no actual arguments. The letter in the WSJ actually gave arguments. All the letter in Science did was rely on the weight of the names behind it. What they should have done was stated some facts and then drawn conclusions. I am a little confused as to why the letter was such a poor rebuttal (I believe in climate change, personally). Maybe next time they could show a little science. At least the original letter gave the reasons *why* they thought climate change was overblown, the rebuttal letter should have done the same, told *why* they believed in climate change. Instead, they basically just said "there's 255 of us and you better believe us or bad things will happen!"

          • by PRMan (959735) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @08:11PM (#38852725)
            When scientists start appealing to popularity instead of arguments, you may want to reconsider what they're saying...
          • by alexandre_ganso (1227152) <surak@surak.eti.br> on Saturday January 28, 2012 @08:49PM (#38852989)

            I believe in climate change, personally

            Please, do not BELIEVE in anything. Question, prove, discover, argue!

            Believing is being controlled. It has been like that forever. Be it religion, the government or whatever.

        • by martyros (588782) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:41PM (#38852507)
          And here's the reference, for those who want to take a look for themselves: Remarkable Editorial Bias on Climate Science at the Wall Street Journal [forbes.com] The brief article contains a link to both the letter written by the National Academy of Sciences, and the WSJ.
        • They are the press (Score:5, Insightful)

          by symbolset (646467) * on Saturday January 28, 2012 @08:49PM (#38852997) Journal
          Once upon a time (very long ago) the purpose of the press was to tell us what was going on in the world. Now the purpose of the press is to align us with their goals. It's a sad thing to see. Thank goodness for the Internet where we can get a vast array of biased viewpoints instead of just one.
      • by cgenman (325138) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:20PM (#38852343) Homepage

        According to the NOAA, [noaa.gov] 9 of the 10 warmest years since 1880 (the first year we kept records) have been since 2000. And they've all been in the top 13.

        But it's the personal anecdotal evidence that people really respond to. And this is the year where Winter skipped the east coast. The past few years have been off, but it's crazy now. Everyone seems to see the weather doing something bonkers.

        • by jc42 (318812) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @08:11PM (#38852719) Homepage Journal

          ... this is the year where Winter skipped the east coast. The past few years have been off, but it's crazy now. Everyone seems to see the weather doing something bonkers.

          Yeah, but here in New England, we're hearing even more comments from the natives, to the effect that they think global warming sounds like a fine thing. ;-)

          And on a very tiny scale, we have at least one good bit of "anecdotal" evidence of the growing problem, in our yard. We have a lot of herbs planted (some invading the neighbors' yards). One our our real successes was a infestation of a rather nice variety of thyme. But last spring, it was almost all dead. Last winter was one of the mildest on record, though colder than this winter has been. The only clump of thyme that survived was growing on a small ledge with a northern exposure, next to a sidewalk that didn't get much sun. Its root system was frozen solid for the entire winter, which is just what it likes. Everywhere else, conditions were milder, with repeated thaws every few weeks. The thyme couldn't take those conditions, and nearly died out. It's likely that this spring, that one remaining clump will also be dead.

          Of course, our side-yard thyme crop isn't what you'd call a serious problem to the world. Our Greek and Italian oregano are still strong and healthy, and we can probably get a more heat-tolerant thyme variety. (We still bring the pot of rosemary in, because it isn't frost tolerant, and we have had several mild frosts.)

          OTOH, an important commercial crop in New England is its apples, which require a good frost to develop their fruit. If an apple tree dies, you can't just plant a few sprigs of another variety and have a crop next year. Migrating apple groves will be a much slower process. The farmers in both the old and new apple-growing areas will have go through the long process of learning to make a new crop profitable.

          Also, humans have imposed national borders in the paths of most crops' migration paths. This will further slow down the adaptation to the new climate regime.

          But around here, we're looking forward to the plant nurseries supplying palm trees, to replace all the old cold-climate trees that are on the way out.

    • Thank you, Mr. Murdoch. We can always count on you for honest journalism. (/sarcasm)

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:12PM (#38852245)

      1. Fill an ordinary pot with ice water.
      2. Set the pot on a hot stove eye to boil.
      3. Monitor the temperature of the pot's contents as the ice melts.

      Amazingly, the temperature of the water will not begin to rise until the ice has melted. All the heat applied to the pot goes into melting the ice, not heating the water.

      This is called a "phase change [zonalandeducation.com]" (a reference to the phases of matter), and is a possible explanation for the Earth's not having burst into flames despite humans' venting unprecedented amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

      I suspect once the ice caps melt, the real fireworks will begin.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 28, 2012 @06:38PM (#38851947)

    No action will be taken anyway.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @06:43PM (#38851987) Journal
    Here is the sentence I would choose as the thesis of their article:

    Speaking for many scientists and engineers who have looked carefully and independently at the science of climate, we have a message to any candidate for public office: There is no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to "decarbonize" the world's economy. Even if one accepts the inflated climate forecasts of the IPCC, aggressive greenhouse-gas control policies are not justified economically.

    Actually that's two sentences. The first is the one I would choose as the thesis, and the second one to back it up. I don't know if there is much evidence they are wrong on that point.

    • by cr_nucleus (518205) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:12PM (#38852247)

      ...aggressive greenhouse-gas control policies are not justified economically.

      The key word here is "economically".

      Of course it makes no economical sense to do that.
      That's because we're not trying to solve an economical problem.

      You could also add that there's no economical reason to have children and you would certainly be right while totally missing the point.

      • by epine (68316) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @08:04PM (#38852671)

        Of course it makes no economical sense to do that.
        That's because we're not trying to solve an economical problem.

        You've completely failed to grasp the scale of the actions proposed. The large sums of money sloshing around in the middle mediate one form of harm (climate) against another (e.g. setback of the fight against world poverty). Decreasing world economic growth rate to mitigate environmental changes due to the carbon economy will have severe impacts on many populations, most likely the least fortunate.

        At this scale, all problems are economic problems.

      • by inglorion_on_the_net (1965514) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @08:17PM (#38852757) Homepage

        The key word here is "economically".

        Of course it makes no economical sense to do that.
        That's because we're not trying to solve an economical problem.

        I think this is something that can be argued about, too. It sort of depends on what you include in your definition of economics. Is it about how much money the large corporations make? Is it about the gross domestic product? GDP per capita? Adjusted for inflation? Does it go beyond money - do we include things like having food on your plate? Perhaps average quality of life? Do we try to factor in externalities, e.g. effects on other countries or other generations?

        I think there is no question that both taking measures or not taking measures to reduce COâ emissions will have _some_ effect under any reasonable definition of economics. But people like to pit the economy against the environment, and I think that is doing the world a disservice. They interact, and it's not one or the other. It's entirely possible that they would go hand in hand. Numerous green tech companies are likely to agree with me. Some people save money on their cars now that they don't have to put in as much gasoline.

        In other instances, you may have to choose between more money and something else. I think that is an entirely economical issue. Even if you choose something else, that's entirely within the realm of economics. You're optimizing for something, and that something doesn't have to be money.

        So, I would argue that we _are_ trying to solve an economical problem. We are concerned about the environment and what effects our activities may have on our future quality of life. We are trying to factor that into the big economic equation, and trying to figure out if we will get the best results with laissez-faire or with some sort of regulation. I think that we will find that (1) it is impossible to figure out exactly where the optimum is, but also (2) it won't be completely laissez-faire and it won't be completely puppet strings, either, and (3) there will be some terrible ideas, some brilliant ideas, and a lot of incremental improvements.

  • by microcars (708223) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @06:43PM (#38851989) Homepage

    say 16 Doctors*,
    "you're just going to die anyways."

    *not necessarily medical doctors"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 28, 2012 @06:47PM (#38852015)

    The fact that water is not a pollutant. It's a colorless and odorless liquid, consumed and expelled in high volumes by each of us, and a key component of the biosphere's lifecycle.

    And therefore we should disable all flood and tsunami advanced warning systems.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 28, 2012 @06:47PM (#38852019)

    You will die without it. You will also suffer greatly if you have too much of it. Urine is natural. Do you want to swim in it? Poop is natural. Do you want to live in it?

    Lots of things are natural, the concentrations are what matter. I don't need to read the flaming article if the summary is going to quote such moronic and specious reasoning.

    It's like the wags who try to get people worked up with some flippant story about Dihydrogen Monoxide being a toxin, only to reveal it's water. Well, la-de-dah, but I happen to live somewhere we spent quite a few millions to stop flooding, so you know what? I'm going to regulate the stuff and be happy with interrupting that part of the natural process.

  • by RichMan (8097) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @06:48PM (#38852023)

    Think about how much a can of fuel weighs. Think how many of those you put into your car in a year. Think how many cars are out there. How many trucks delivering food. All that weight, all that fuel goes into the air and converts oxygen into CO2 as it goes. That is a lot of mass of CO2 that is being added to the air that was not 100 years.

    We know stuff we dump in the environment comes back to us. Lead, Ozone, Mercury, these are chemicals we have dumped into the air in the past and found they were affecting us. So we know our outputs can affect the global condition.

  • by Hnice (60994) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @06:48PM (#38852025) Homepage

    That's how I removed myself from this jackassery.

    Personally, I think that the preponderance of the scientific evidence suggests that we ought to be worried about climate change. However, there are people who seem to have a chip on their shoulder about this, and they seem to be centralized in the very states that are going to have it worst if they're wrong. Frankly, I hope they're right and that their already-sun-belt homes don't wind up in the middle of a new desert, and that their kids don't end up with some kind of mutant skin cancer.

    But if they do? I don't care. Maine could use an extra degree or two, and it'll be funny to watch all the Red States run around begging the federal government for disaster relief like they do when a river floods or there's a hurricane in the gulf. "Oh, noes! Hotness! Who could have guessed! Please help us, evil socialist elitists. Our kids can't play outside and we're all so THIRSTY!!!! Waaaaaah!"

    I'm smiling just thinking about it.

  • by Albanach (527650) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @06:48PM (#38852027) Homepage

    Obligatory cartoon [usatoday.net]

    • by jmichaelg (148257) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:00PM (#38852127) Journal

      What if it's a hoax and we incur societal costs we can't afford?

      California is levying carbon taxes on business and as you might expect, businesses are leaving California. That means more unemployment in a state that already leads the country unemployment figures.

      There are very real costs to carbon reduction.

      • by gtall (79522) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @09:21PM (#38853239)

        A hoax? From the scientific community? Maybe you could lay off the magic mushrooms for a bit.

        I'm a scientist. We live or die by how well our theories explain the natural world. You seem to be suggesting that there's a cabal of scientists who are for various reasons trumpeting "the hoax" for precisely what? Our reward system would make any of us fabulously rich if only we could conclusively prove man-made warming is wrong. It hasn't happened.

        And that's the rub. Can anyone conclusively prove that we aren't forcing the world to warm? But that only leads to the real point. If we do not know, why should we conduct an experiment for which there's no turning back?

        This somewhat reminds me, and here I'm betraying my own bias, of the controversy over smoking. Does it cause lung cancer or not? It took years and many "scientists" on the take form the tobacco industry to swear it didn't before it was finally resolved. And it wasn't resolved within the scientific community (they were adamant that it did), it was resolved when the public finally decided whom to believe.

        So we have the current debate? It will not be resolved by scientists, per se. Most have already decided. It will be resolved by the public and what they can see with their own eyes. But then if we have turned the world into one with a runaway greenhouse effect, does it matter? Do you feel lucky? Should we wager the planet on, "Gee, I don't think it could happen" when most scientists are telling you it could?

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@@@hackish...org> on Saturday January 28, 2012 @06:48PM (#38852029)

    This reads, unfortunately, like a WSJ op-ed, with lots of polemic, and relatively little science. Have the 16 scientists in question written up a more sober whitepaper that I could read? I'd actually be interested in reading their analysis, if there were a version with more data and less rhetoric about "those promoting alarm", drumbeats, and CO2 being colorless.

  • And Forbes shot back (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RichMan (8097) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @06:50PM (#38852045)

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/petergleick/2012/01/27/remarkable-editorial-bias-on-climate-science-at-the-wall-street-journal/

    Quote --
    The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board has long been understood to be not only antagonistic to the facts of climate science, but hostile. But in a remarkable example of their unabashed bias, on Friday they published an opinion piece that not only repeats many of the flawed and misleading arguments about climate science, but purports to be of special significance because it was signed by 16 “scientists.”
    --

  • Claude Allègre (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 28, 2012 @06:51PM (#38852049)

    I see Allègre in the list of scientists. He is a very competent *geologist*. He has no clue in climatology. That did not stop him from writing a book about the topic in which he *falsified* data to fit his own personal views that are not supported by science. Here is one of several examples http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/04/claude-allegre-the-climate-imposter/ . No need to say that the people who published the original data are horrified by his fraud. So in the end the WSJ publishes crap. Nothing unusual.

  • by v1x (528604) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @06:52PM (#38852057) Homepage
    I recall reading about these sort of opinions before with regard to both climate change and evolution, and the common thread seems to be the amount of attention given by the American news media. Differences of opinion, although common in every field, don't quite seem to get that kind of attention unless someone conveniently benefits from giving them press. Would be interesting to find out years later, if this latest opinion-piece was somehow published in response to the recent interest by the NCSE to start educating people about climate change [ncse.com], also explained further here. [richarddawkins.net]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 28, 2012 @06:52PM (#38852063)

    Here are the hottest ten years on record, in the past 130 years, in order: 2005, 2010, 1998, 2003, 2002, 2006, 2009, 2007, 2004, 2001
    Notice a pattern? How about the fact that they are all in the past decade.

    I notice also that of the 16 scientists, only 2-3 have titles that directly related to the study of climate and atmospheric sciences. The rest are the usual mismash of experts in other subjects who (as "smart" people are won't to do) apparently claim equal expertise in global warming, who are simply doing the classic trick of "donning a labcoat" to look authoritative.

  • Just remember.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SwedishChef (69313) <(ten.slaitnessekrowten) (ta) (giarc)> on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:03PM (#38852165) Homepage Journal

    The same guy who owns the WSJ owns Fox News.

  • by jayhawk88 (160512) <jayhawk88@gmail.com> on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:05PM (#38852179)

    "16 Marketing Managers,HR Directors, and First-Level Help Desk Technicians have decided that routinely testing backups is a waste of effort and not needed at all".

  • by JabrTheHut (640719) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:08PM (#38852219)
    I'm willing to concede that the clear majority of scientists, who do believe in man-made global climate change, may be wrong. We just don't know yet. But I'm not going to believe that a geneticist or an engineer know more about climate change and climate change modelling than those who have been studying it for 30+ years now.

    I wonder why they signed it? They aren't subject matter experts.

    The fact is that CO2 is not a pollutant. CO2 is a colorless and odorless gas, exhaled at high concentrations by each of us, and a key component of the biosphere's life cycle.

    CO2 levels in the atmosphere are the highest for 450,000 years. There's been a steep rise since the 1950s, from 315ppm to 370ppm (parts per million). And, in case the WSJ has forgotten, we can't breathe CO2. Too little and too much oxygen will kill us. Too much CO2 would eventually lead to too little oxygen, among other things.

    Oh well, maybe we'll start burning fossil fuels to create enough energy to split off oxygen from water and sell it in supermarkets, resulting in even less oxygen available. Oh, and we need oxygen to burn fossil fuels, so eventually we all lose...

  • by RichMan (8097) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:20PM (#38852341)

    "exhaled at high concentrations by each of us" is wrong.

    The air that enters a person's lungs is 78% nitrogen 21% oxygen, 1% argon and less than 1% CO2.
    The air that leaves a person's lungs during exhalation contains 14% oxygen and 4.4% carbon dioxide.

    since when is 4% high concentration ?

    The article is trying to hard.

  • by overshoot (39700) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:25PM (#38852379)

    the smaller-than-predicted warming over the 22 years since the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) began issuing projections

    Ah, yes. Dr. Curry uses an inappropriate statistical model (simple linear regression) to the team's data set, which ends with two unusually cold months. The result is to nearly eliminate the warming trend in the result (end points have unusual weight in a simple linear regression.) Drop those two months and you get about the same warming trend as the models predicted, or add the following two months (which were unusually warm) and again you match the models.

    Impressive work, and the WSJ makes the most of it.

  • by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:29PM (#38852427)

    It makes a number of key points that have been left out of the public debate.

    There is no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to "decarbonize" the world's economy. Even if one accepts the inflated climate forecasts of the IPCC, aggressive greenhouse-gas control policies are not justified economically.

    That's right, climate scientists are generally not keen to study economic effects, which means they are not any more qualified than anyone else to propose economic solutions. Most economists believe eliminating carbon emissions today would be disastrous, well beyond the scale of that climate scientists have predicted.

    If elected officials feel compelled to "do something" about climate, we recommend supporting the excellent scientists who are increasing our understanding of climate with well-designed instruments on satellites, in the oceans and on land, and in the analysis of observational data. The better we understand climate, the better we can cope with its ever-changing nature, which has complicated human life throughout history. However, much of the huge private and government investment in climate is badly in need of critical review.

    Even though we've learned a lot about the climate in the last 30 years, we still know next to nothing about it. We shouldn't be accepting the results essentially heuristic computer models as rock solid predictions for the future, and we should still be working to understand the climate better first and foremost.

    I would like to add that improving the water infrastructure in most of the world would go a long way toward mitigating the effects of global warming, and that it's something that is badly needed today in any case. So if they wan't to put money into that, that would probably be ok too.

  • So who signed it? (Score:5, Informative)

    by IICV (652597) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @07:36PM (#38852469)

    Well, let's look at the sixteen climate scientists who signed this, shall we?

    Claude Allegre, former director of the Institute for the Study of the Earth, University of Paris: Sounds reasonable, though it looks like the proper name for the "University of Paris" is the "Paris VI University", or "Pierre and Marie Curie University". Unfortunately, it looks like the man is kind of a crank [wikipedia.org], and he hasn't been the director of that Institute since 1986, which makes it weird that it's the one thing they list about him.

    J. Scott Armstrong, cofounder of the Journal of Forecasting and the International Journal of Forecasting: That's pretty reasonable, but forecasting and climate science aren't exactly the same thing; forecasting is the study of what's going to happen tomorrow or next week in any topic, while climate science is trying to figure out what will happen in the next year or the the next ten years with the weather. Also, Armstrong's professional background [wikipedia.org] seems to be primarily in advertising, not forecasting, and he hasn't actually published any papers on climatology that I can see.

    Jan Breslow, head of the Laboratory of Biochemical Genetics and Metabolism, Rockefeller University: I'm not exactly sure what he's doing on this list, since presumably it's a list of climate scientists? I mean, just because he's a researcher in one field doesn't automatically qualify him in others; it's like taking your car to ten mechanics and ignoring what they say, then asking your doctor about it and following his advice.

    Roger Cohen, fellow, American Physical Society: This dude seems to be a writer [nytimes.com] for the NY Times, and I can't seem to find anyone by that name on the list of Fellows of the American Physical Society [aps.org]. Maybe he received his fellowship before 1990? In any case, it doesn't signify much in terms of his ability to evaluate any kind of science; those fellowships are kinda prestigious, but they're handed out for all sorts of things.

    Edward David, member, National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Sciences: What can I say? He's an electrical engineer [wikipedia.org]. Would you trust him to diagnose a heart condition? An expert in one subject is not automatically an expert in all subjects.

    William Happer, professor of physics, Princeton: What can I say? Damnit Jim, he's a physicist, not a climatologist! Sure, they're related - but would you trust this guy if he was talking on the way that chemists all over the world are trying to fool us about the mind control properties of fluorine? (as a side note, he's also [wikipedia.org] a Fellow of the American Physical Society - why didn't they mention that?)

    Michael Kelly, professor of technology, University of Cambridge, U.K.: This dude is kinda hard to Google because he shares a name with a fairly famous guitar company and a well-respected journalist (who died in 2003); however, it looks like he's done some pretty awesome work [cam.ac.uk] on semi-conductors. Unfortunately, that doesn't have anything to do with climate research.

    William Kininmonth, former head of climate research at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology: Well, for one thing, he hasn't been the head of the ABM since 1998 (this seems to be a theme, you know?); for another, he's trained as a meteorologist, not a climate scientist. Just because they both deal with the weather doesn't necessarily mean that his word carries extra weight, but I do have to admit that he's one of the better signatories of this list.

    Ric

"Marriage is low down, but you spend the rest of your life paying for it." -- Baskins

Working...