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Gov't Proposes "National Climate Service" For the US 599

Posted by timothy
from the overcast-with-a-chance-of-death dept.
Standing Bear writes "NPR reports that 140 years after the creation of the National Weather Service, the US government is proposing the creation of a similar service that will provide long-term projections of how climate will change. 'We are actually getting millions of requests a year already about: How should coastal cities plan for sea-level rise? How should various other agencies in the federal government or in state governments make plans for everything from roads to managing water supplies?' says NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco. 'And a lot of that is going to be changing as the climate changes.' Under the plan, the new NOAA Climate Service would incorporate some of the agency's existing laboratories and research programs, including the National Climatic Data Center, the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory and the National Weather Service's Historical Climate Network. Meanwhile, as plans for the new climate service shape up, NOAA launched a new Web site, climate.gov, designed to provide access to a wide range of climate information."
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Gov't Proposes "National Climate Service" For the US

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  • Premature (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @07:04PM (#31131098)
    Climate science is in its infancy, as anyone who has been really following the "Global Warming" debate knows. Certainly we know the globe is warming, but the greenhouse gas aspect of it is still very much up in the air.

    Setting up a Climate Service today would be akin to setting up an Astrology Service. They would probably both give equally good advice.
  • Re:Premature (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 13, 2010 @07:11PM (#31131128)

    Do you know where you're going?

    No.

    Well go faster.

  • Recursion (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pifactorial (1000403) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @07:12PM (#31131132)
    Based on the mercurial history of climate science over the past few decades, we might also need a National Climate Service Service to help us track changes in the climate of climate science research...?
  • Re:When... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kimvette (919543) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @07:13PM (#31131144) Homepage Journal

    It's all about cap-and-trade. First alarmists were preaching global cooling, then global warming, and now that global warming is proving to be a farce and the numbers are skewed, it's "global climate change." Last time I checked, global climate has been changing since before hominids walked upright.

  • Re:Premature (Score:1, Insightful)

    by amightywind (691887) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @07:15PM (#31131154) Journal

    Climate science is in its infancy. But climate politics are highly evolved. Ever wonder were all the commies went after 1990? Today's green is yesterday's red. It is hard to see programs like this going anywhere when a GOP congress comes to power in November.

  • Re:Premature (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dr. Spork (142693) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @07:16PM (#31131156)
    Whoa, you think that climate science is like astrology? That's nothing but fucked-up denialism. Luckily, climate scientists disagree with you and (unlike astrologers) actually want to put their predictions on record because they have confidence in them. I say we let them.
  • Re:Premature (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Beezlebub33 (1220368) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @07:20PM (#31131182)
    The U.S. National Academy of Sciences [nas.edu] disagrees with you. The American Association for the Advancement of Science [aaas.org] disagrees with you. The American Geophysical Union [agu.org] disagrees with you. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [noaa.gov] disagrees with you. There are many more, but the point is that the scientists actually studying it are generally convinced. Do you have any scientific organizations that agree with you that the greenhouse gas aspect of it is still up in the air?

    At this point, I think that climate deniers are very close to creationists. In both cases, there are people and organizations that disagree with the science. They can talk a good talk, but fail in the actual doing of the science. They can ask more questions than can be answered currently, can take quotes (and emails) out of context, they can use the human failures of people involved in the science against them, and any screw ups (and they certainly exist in both cases) are taken as evidence that the entire science is incorrect. But, they are ignoring the basic science as a whole, discarding what we do understand, and blowing the uncertainties way out of proportion, in order to promote an unscientific point of view.
  • Great (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Hawthorne01 (575586) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @07:21PM (#31131188)
    Release the source code of your data models that tell us that "ZOMG!!!! Teh oceans are going to go to e1even!!!!!!" and then we'll talk. Until then, it's all smoke and mirrors.
  • Re:When... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by aurispector (530273) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @07:30PM (#31131236)

    I'd say it's all about creating another bureaucracy for democratic party patronage and to act as a mouthpiece for liberal/democrat ideas about climate change. Think of it as kind of like giving Al Gore his own personal branch of government so he can spew his nonsense on the taxpayer's dime.

  • by Chummy62 (1664845) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @07:41PM (#31131288)
    Science is repeatable, peer reviewable and changes as the truth becomes clearer. Science has never been about consensus, but has always been about pioneers seeking the truth. This leaves us with a quandary; Do we believe scientists who destroy data and refuse peer review, or do we attempt to gather our own data and find the truth. Currently the two barriers that will prevent us from finding the truth are those who believe that consensus is equivalent to scientific truth and the snow piled up so high in Washington D.C. that they are being forced to wait to open the office until after the blizzard of 2010 is cleared.
  • by ChipMonk (711367) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @07:45PM (#31131310) Journal

    climate scientists disagree with you and (unlike astrologers) actually want to put their predictions on record because they have confidence in them. I say we let them.

    I take it you haven't read the emails from East Anglia? Obfuscation, "hide the decline," discussion of how to destroy the careers of those who disagree with them, and subvert legal FOIA requests. Hardly the behavior of people who want to go on public record.

    When scientific research is used as the basis of public policy decisions, that research should automatically be made available for public scrutiny, along with any associated monetary interests of the researchers. Then taxpayers can find out how badly they got screwed.

  • Re:Premature (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tftp (111690) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @07:48PM (#31131318) Homepage

    Luckily, climate scientists disagree with you and (unlike astrologers) actually want to put their predictions on record because they have confidence in them. I say we let them.

    Sure, why not - let them put their predictions on record. After all, Nostradamus did the same.

    But acting on those predictions by ruining the civilization - well, that's something I'd like to think for a moment or two. Perhaps I will even go as far as to ask for a second opinion.

  • by Kythe (4779) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @07:51PM (#31131338)
    I've read them. Your characterization is literally full of crap. The propaganda win coming out of that computer crime sure has revved you guys up, though.
  • Re:Premature (Score:2, Insightful)

    by avtchillsboro (986655) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @07:54PM (#31131350)
    We are already paying for a National Weather Service / NOAA.

    On long range predictions, the AGW alarmists are doing just fine now voluntarily--OTOH, it might be worth it to pay them to STFU...

    ..."I say we let them."

    Agreed--let them do it on their own nickel.
  • Re:When... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kythe (4779) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @08:00PM (#31131380)
    Interesting revisionism. I'm pretty sure "climate change" was a term invented by denialists, not scientists.

    As for global cooling, well, either you have a really good memory or you've been listening to people really intent on spreading the crap. "Global cooling" was an early conjecture by a minority of scientists back in the 70's. Scientists haven't found that theory supportable for a long time. In fact, scientists at the time didn't really back it then, either.

    Even if they had, though, why scientists first getting things wrong should be grounds for doubting everything now is beyond me. As I recall, we didn't nail the germ theory of disease right off the bat, too--yet I'll bet you take your antibiotics.

    History will not be kind to the memory of folks like you. Of course, you won't be around to care. Your kids will, though.
  • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @08:05PM (#31131416)

    So the lab facilities, and possibly the employees, would be competed for by two separate bureaucracies? I can't see how that would work smoothly.

    Why can't they just throw some more money at the NOAA or NWS, telling them they need to take on some additional responsibilities?

  • by ProfM (91314) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @08:09PM (#31131438)

    ... we can change the climate to make things better

    No, this should read: we need your money to dump into a hole, so climate guessers can pull Punxsutawney AlGore out every August and tell us it's getting warmer out.

  • Re:Premature (Score:3, Insightful)

    by larry bagina (561269) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @08:15PM (#31131462) Journal
    If I predict the saints will win the superbowl but I also predict the colts will win the superbowl, where's the confidence? Last year the climatologists were touting their predictions that washington DC would never see snow again. This year they dug up their predictions that winters will be more severe.
  • Letter to Dr. Jane (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bodhammer (559311) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @08:24PM (#31131510)
    Dear Dr. Jane,

    Would you please produce a record of the millions of requests you have gotten. As you may know, there is a LOT OF INFLATED CLAIMS in this area and I would like to independently verify your statements without having to hack your servers.

    Thank you for your prompt reply,

    The Public Taxpayers
  • Re:When... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by dwillden (521345) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @08:26PM (#31131526) Homepage
    What happened to Obama's Spending freeze? Now they want to create a new bureaucratic government agency with all sorts of high paid administrators?
  • Re:Fix it quick! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by upuv (1201447) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @08:28PM (#31131538) Journal

    "You're also pretty damn arrogant - and ignorant - if you think your Prius - or my Suburban - makes a whit of difference to this "climate." "

    If we are talking of only 1 car vs 1 car in the context of a planet. Yep your right.
    However we are talking billions of people. With a good portion of those driving cars now. Most of which are P.O.S. spewing god knows what. So Mr. I'm not arrogant or ignorant the facts are you as an individual are a piece of the puzzle. It's only the truly selfish that refuse contribute to others. You however have decided Take from others. Hybrids are in the millions of sales now and climbing fast. The save huge amounts of petrol. The two together account for a noticeable change in the emissions.

    Lets take you feeble brain back a few decades. To the days before emission standards. I suspect you are fresh out of diapers so you might not remember this. Do you recall standing anywhere in a big city. Choking on the fumes from the cars. Do you remember the soot that was over everything. Do you remember that god awful haze over the city 24/7. Well for the most part cities are escaping this. Why emission standards forcing cars to clean up. Guess what the job still isn't done. We managed to attack the stuff we can see. Now we have to go after rest of the crap coming out of cars.

    So yes it does make a "whit" of difference if you drive one vehicle over another.

    And now to cut off a line of retort
    This style of argument that people so often use these days of well "why should I they don't." Is how kids in school argue. It's not how mature people argue. Ones that can understand the full consequences of their actions.

  • Re:Premature (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hey! (33014) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @08:32PM (#31131560) Homepage Journal

    . Certainly we know the globe is warming, but the greenhouse gas aspect of it is still very much up in the air.

    Unless we go for carbon sequestration.

    Anyhow, I've been following the "Global Warming" debate since the early 80s, before it was a political debate. It's simply ignorant to compare climate science to astrology. The debate has been scholarly and fiercely contested every inch of the way. Also at times ugly but if you've ever seen peer review comments you'll know that's par for the course. Science doesn't work because scientists are nice or wise or noble. But the process is a lot more honest than political debate.

    The problem is that a lot of things we'd *like* to know cannot be known with very much certainty. For example, most would say humans contribute to climate change, but nobody really say whether we can do anything to stop it. Politics doesn't deal very well with that kind of thing. Politicians want a scapegoat that can be thrown in jail or invaded, not the message that (a) we are contributing to a problem but (b) we don't know whether stopping that will make any difference.

    What we really need is some serious, deep *policy* thinking, one that takes into account uncertainty but doesn't think that the best course of action is to *assume* that everything will work out. It might be best to *act* that way, but only after a thorough examination of all the costs and benefits of acting and the best ways to hedge our bets if we are not going to take action.

    In any case, be careful of rhetorical excess. If you compare climate science to astrology, you can't cite *anything* climate scientist say, even when it is favorable to your position.

  • Re:Premature (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 13, 2010 @08:34PM (#31131578)

    Actually, you have it backwards - the global warming advocates are the creationists.

    Yes, we all agree that evolution is a true representation of history...we can verify this through the fossil record. And we can also all agree on paleoclimatology for the most part, and see the past variations of global warming and cooling at various points in time. Where AGW proponents fall of the track is by making unfalsifiable predictions.

    To fit the evolution analogy, AGW proponents are telling us that ever since CO2 started pumping into the atmosphere, there has been a marked increase in albinism, and that future evolution for all species around the planet will eventually lead to catastrophic albinism, where no animals will have any skin or scale pigment at all. Someone who "denies" this prediction of how evolution will proceed in the future cannot reasonably be compared to a creationist.

    The scientific point of view is to have a falsifiable hypothesis. When AGW advocates claim that both snow and the lack of snow fit their model, they've essentially admitted that their model has no scientific basis.

    Tell me, what evidence would convince you that the theory of AGW, or catastrophic AGW is wrong?

  • Re:Premature (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 13, 2010 @08:35PM (#31131586)

    How free are those scientists to disagree when they know that 1) this will make many other scientists want to break their bones and crush their face with a baseball bat in a dark alley (quoting the UK climatologists' wet dreams) and 2) yet more scientists will say that this desire for face-crushing is actually very understandable and normal and nothing anyone should be upset by?

    Would you want to say anything that would want your colleagues slobber at the thought of crushing your skull?

  • Re:When... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 13, 2010 @08:38PM (#31131600)

    Not to mention that so much of the climate studies are based off each other. Climategate wasn't just one unique thing, it's 'data' was nested and twisted in with so much of the other studies that it makes a house of cards look sturdy.

  • Re:Premature (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SteveFoerster (136027) <steve AT stevefoerster DOT com> on Saturday February 13, 2010 @08:45PM (#31131626) Homepage

    You're right that no major scientific organization is openly skeptical of climate change now. But the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, American Association of State Climatologists, American Geological Institute, American Institute of Professional Geologists, and Canadian Federation of Earth Sciences have all issued statements that are non-committal. If they're still uncertain, why is is it so irrational for anyone else to be?

    I'm not saying that climate change isn't real, isn't caused by us, or isn't a net bad thing for humanity. I don't know those things. But I do have experience dealing with academics. And when they fudge data, distort peer review to suppress dissent, and don't release the code they use in their all-important computer models, it's hardly unreasonable for someone to conclude that they're less than perfectly confident.

  • Re:Premature (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Paua Fritter (448250) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @08:56PM (#31131682)

    If they're still uncertain, why is is it so irrational for anyone else to be?

    Gosh I really can't imagine why Petroleum Geologists might feel reluctant to accept that CO2 emissions are the cause of dangerous climate change.

    If they're still uncertain, why is is it so irrational for anyone else to be?

    Is it so rational to ignore the views of the vast majority of climatologists on climate change?

  • Re:Premature (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jo_ham (604554) <joham999@noSPaM.gmail.com> on Saturday February 13, 2010 @08:58PM (#31131694)

    How exactly will moving to renewable energy, building homes/businesses that are more energy efficient and better insulated, reducing the carbon output of of major industries and moving toward more sustainable resource use "ruin" the civilisation?

    One of the good things about "doing something about climate change" is that even if we turn out to be wrong (and it doesn't look like we are, but just for the sake of argument) then all of those things haven;t done any harm whatsoever, unless you count breaking the grip of the fossil fuel industry and energy companies who are relying on super cheap coal. Their profits will likely go down, but there's nothing to stop them investing in new tech - do you have any idea just how much money is spent on oil field exploration every year? It totally dwarfs the money spent on green power research.

    Hell, if we swapped out every single coal plant for a nuclear one right now we would cut the amount of radioactivity released into the atmosphere by a gigantic amount, and the amount of CO2. Two birds with one stone.

    You can ask for a second opinion, and you are right to. I think you'll find the vast, vast, vast majority of scientists who have been studying the climate for the past 50 years or more will be happy to tell you all about it.

  • by rodox (1738564) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @09:00PM (#31131704)
    I live in Argentina and we've had the "Servicio Meteorológico Nacional" (SMN) or National Meteorological Service since 1872, and if you check the forecast on TV or the radio, it most certainly comes from the SMN. Despite the blatant corruption in our country, the SMN is one of the most (if not the only) unbiased and trusted government source of information.
  • Re:Premature (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SteveFoerster (136027) <steve AT stevefoerster DOT com> on Saturday February 13, 2010 @09:19PM (#31131812) Homepage

    Gosh I really can't imagine why Petroleum Geologists might feel reluctant to accept that CO2 emissions are the cause of dangerous climate change.

    Fair enough, and it's probably no coincidence that they were the last ones to switch from a position of skepticism to one of uncertainty. But that explanation doesn't apply to the other groups. Besides, if the implication is that their source of funding makes them unreliable, doesn't that mean that similar analysis of the funding for climatologists on the other side of the issue is also fair?

    Either way, I didn't say it makes sense to ignore the majority of climatologists who express concern. It doesn't. But it does make sense to ask critical questions about the methods they're using to make such dramatic predictions, especially when those predictions have policy consequences that extend far outside their own field.

  • Re:Fix it quick! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by upuv (1201447) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @09:24PM (#31131834) Journal

    "You're a moron spouting nonsense and everything you have is almost automatically mine unless you can elect others to appoint people that will take up guns and imprison those who don't agree with you."

    What the?

    You didn't even try a rebuttal. You attacked my grammar ( which is bad ) Then you just used the word "nonsense" as an opposing argument. Then you went on this weirdo trip elections, guns, prison and then daisies in the field love in moment.

    ---

    Do you find it disturbing that you mentioned war guns and prison when talking about climate? I do.

    I'm going to walk away slowly from this conversation making no sudden movements or noises.

  • by General Wesc (59919) <slashdot@wescnet.cjb.net> on Saturday February 13, 2010 @09:34PM (#31131874) Homepage Journal

    They're not trying to predict how many inches of rain Titusville, Florida will receive on February 13, 2110. Typically, the broader the prediction, the easier. When you get to the climate scale, you can't really extrapolate that predictability from the predictability of daily variations in the local weather.

    Even if that weren't the case, giving up on doing science because it's hard is a losing proposition.

  • Re:Premature (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Rei (128717) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @09:47PM (#31131942) Homepage

    Last year the climatologists were touting their predictions that washington DC would never see snow again.

    Yes, I remember those climatologists -- if I remember right, they were Patrick McDoesntexist and Jonathan Strawman.

    Since the beginning, there has been a wide recognition that winters will get shorter but wetter (for example, National Assessment Synthesis Team, 2001). Atmospheric moisture has increased over 5% since 1970, corresponding with warmer seas, as forecast by the models. Ever heard the phrase "too cold to snow"? Most snow, especially most large snowstorms occurs in warmer weather (Changnon et al, 2006). This is combined with the fact that storm tracks are generally shifting northward (also as forecast by the models).

    Seriously -- in your world, is it not global warming unless Winter Ceases To Exist? I mean, really?

    Oh, and a dingo took my baby [thedailyshow.com]. Therefore, dingos will take everyone's baby.

  • Re:When... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by schlesinm (934723) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @09:49PM (#31131954) Homepage
    If you read the article, you'd see that the writer is quoting a Russian press release [www.iea.ru] (pdf). If you speak Russian, you can translate it (or try an online translation). Don't disregard the message because you don't like the messenger.
  • by dachshund (300733) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @09:51PM (#31131960)

    and the snow piled up so high in Washington D.C. that

    Interesting point. But... should we take the snow in D.C. as an indication that climate change is bunk? Or should we take the desperate lack of snow in Vancouver as an indication that climate change is happening? Or should we just agree that the weather in one particular location has nothing to do with global climate change?

  • Re:Premature (Score:2, Insightful)

    by larry bagina (561269) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @09:52PM (#31131964) Journal
    how is this a troll? climatologists are making mutually exclusive predictions. No snow? Global warming. Lots of snow? Global warming. Cowboy Neal shits his pants after eating at taco bell? Global warming.
  • by timeOday (582209) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @10:02PM (#31132012)

    Currently the two barriers that will prevent us from finding the truth are those who believe that consensus is equivalent to scientific truth and the snow piled up so high in Washington D.C. that they are being forced to wait to open the office until after the blizzard of 2010 is cleared.

    I'm sorry, but anybody who thinks the current amount of snow in DC disproves global warming has absolutely nothing useful to add to the discussion. At this point it's not even worth explaining why. Some people just believe whatever they want to believe.

  • Re:When... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 13, 2010 @10:14PM (#31132054)
    Just look to the "Oh Noes, the Himalayan glaciers will melt by 2035" fiasco... Seriously, has anyone done a FOIA request to see if the guy who made that "typo" also put it on his recent $30 million grant application? I'm dying to see the results of that one.
  • Re:When... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dangitman (862676) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @10:17PM (#31132076)

    I'm really surprised that in a site full of supposedly technically savvy people that there are so many here who haven't really looked at the evidence,

    It's not really surprising. Slashdot is full of people who think that knowing how to use a computer makes them humanity's elite. For several years now, slashdot has been overrun by arrogant assholes whose only education outside of computing is reading Ayn Rand.

  • Re:Premature (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wrath0fb0b (302444) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @10:21PM (#31132094)

    How exactly will moving to renewable energy, building homes/businesses that are more energy efficient and better insulated, reducing the carbon output of of major industries and moving toward more sustainable resource use "ruin" the civilisation? One of the good things about "doing something about climate change" is that even if we turn out to be wrong (and it doesn't look like we are, but just for the sake of argument) then all of those things haven;t done any harm whatsoever, unless you count breaking the grip of the fossil fuel industry and energy companies who are relying on super cheap coal.

    Broken window fallacy. If AGW is not correct but we focus on "green tech" then we will have spent society's resources inefficiently. We will have build carbon-capture facilities that are entirely useless. We will have researched efficiency technologies of less utility than we thought. We will have built homes/businesses/cars that are more expensive than they needed to be because we improperly calculated the cost of future energy input. We will have made our major industries less competitive by pointlessly reducing their carbon output.

    These technologies that don't come for free -- any effort expended in making something less carbon-intensive necessarily either raises the price (thus denying us the money to spend elsewhere) or reduces some other desirable trait (houses with less open space, cars with less HP). To the extent that efficiency is favorable, there's no reason that consumers wouldn't already go for it (indeed, with rising energy prices that problem has solved itself to a large extent).

    Secondly, it's not "energy companies" that rely on super cheap coal but rather it's the consumers that do. Energy companies are only an intermediary who respond to market pressure to provide what the consumer demands. I happen to be quite grateful for the fossil fuel industry -- they have made possible the largest increase in human utility in the history of mankind. Each washer/dryer, for instance, saves thousands of man-hours of effort per year -- allowing us to spend more time on other things. I was talking to my mother the other day (yeah yeah, stupid anecdote follows) and she was remembering how her mother used to sew together torn socks when she was a child (1940s). Think about that for a second -- our time is so much more valuable now that we wouldn't dream of repairing a sock. It's a testament to how much "wealthier", in relative terms, we've become that repairing socks is now beneath us -- made possible of course by the use of a fossil-fuel powered economy.

    Finally, looking practically at the experience in Spain gives me shudders. They lost 2 manufacturing jobs for every green job they created and they artificially priced electrical power way over market price which drove business elsewhere. http://www.juandemariana.org/pdf/090327-employment-public-aid-renewable.pdf [juandemariana.org] [PDF WARNING]

    Hell, if we swapped out every single coal plant for a nuclear one right now we would cut the amount of radioactivity released into the atmosphere by a gigantic amount, and the amount of CO2. Two birds with one stone.

    On that, I can agree with you, but for geopolitical, not environmental reasons. That said, no reason not to form a coalition, eh?

  • Re:When... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by reboot246 (623534) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @10:42PM (#31132190) Homepage
    Oh, yes, they were. You probably weren't even alive back in the 70s, but I was and I remember it very well. I was in college working on degrees in biology and chemistry.

    Most scientists didn't take part in the madness back then the way they're doing this time, but some did. The key word used back then was "imminent". Bah! The public never knew who to believe anyway, just like now. Junk science then; junk science now. Not much real science going on in the climate business.
  • Re:Premature (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tftp (111690) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @10:56PM (#31132258) Homepage

    lets avoid making panic decisions, such as banning oil and coal, but we should be working towards that goal sooner than later regardless of how bad global warming is.

    This is reasonable; but rare a green proponent goes that far. At the last AGW conference, for example, African countries just requested $67B [reuters.com] "to mitigate the impact of global warming on the world's poorest continent", as they put it. That money will be paid by working people because only working people produce wealth. And this is just one example.

    When there is smell of money in the air you'll be amazed how many con artists crawl out of the woodwork. Sure there are a few honest people who talk about valid issues, but their voices are not heard, drowned in the drumbeat. On every even week IPCC releases another dire prediction, and on every odd week this prediction is shown to be a fraud. At some point, perhaps, IPCC needs to either institute some quality control or to classify themselves as comedy performers.

    No one is stopping those countries from burning wood to keep warm or cook their food.

    Lucky you, not living in California. Here the government stops people from burning wood. New fireplaces and stoves are banned outright, and existing installations are prohibited from burning several days per winter. They justify this by wood smoke; I'd believe that if the restrictions only existed in cities; but no, they cover many counties, where you need a telescope to see a neighbor!

    If we put more money into research we'll get answers sooner.

    I agree about wars, they are a waste. However money does not guarantee a scientific breakthrough. Even if we somehow get to 100% efficiency of panels, it's only 1.3 kW/m2. It's not that much, considering night, winter, clouds. There are other problems too; on a large scale the panels will absorb more sunlight than before and will result in Earth getting warmer (this time for real.) In general, though, I believe solar energy will be successful - there are many lands that will benefit from the shadow (like deserts, for one.)

    Nuclear plants in the USA were a bad word for decades. Fusion research gets plenty of money, but even if you shower the scientists with cash they won't think faster. Everything takes time; and if we look back, our science is expanding at amazing rate now.

  • Re:When... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Goaway (82658) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @11:19PM (#31132356) Homepage

    Most scientists didn't take part in the madness back then the way they're doing this time, but some did.

    And that certainly doesn't mean the last one was a dumb fad and this one is real, no, it clearly means it's this one that is completely untrue! Clearly the more scientists who agree on something, the less true it is!

  • by rubycodez (864176) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @11:38PM (#31132418)

    over the past ten years, the "climatologists" (not real scientists) have wasted billions of dollars saying "climate change will cause drought", then "climate change will cause stronger storms, then "climate change will cause flooding"...depending on what the global weather at the time seemed to be doing. Thus exposing their basic methodology of cooking the books to conform to what answers they wanted, including taking a 25 year period and extrapolating into the future to get the "hockey stick". They when planet earth went off the hockey stick, "where is the heat going?" the "climatologists" were wailing, and now the public is awakened to their scam.

    We don't need a government organ devoted to spewing unscientific nonsense to support the agenda of Al Gore and his ilk. We don't need to continue the funding of utterly useless and bogus "climate models" that have nothing to do with what the sun-driven climate of this planet (and all the other planets, as real scientists have noted).

    The real purpose of climatology as practised has to do with channeling of trillions of dollars of wealth through the World Bank in "cap and trade" fraud, and the pumping up of carbon emission derivatives for the money cartels such as Goldman Sachs.

  • Re:Premature (Score:3, Insightful)

    by blindseer (891256) <blindseer@@@earthlink...net> on Sunday February 14, 2010 @12:26AM (#31132648)

    There is more than one way to reduce the carbon output from our modern society. I agree that nuclear power would reduce both the CO2 and radiation output from electricity generation but it does not appear that it is high on the list of things the government wants to do to reduce our impact on the climate.

    The problem I have with so many of the proposed solutions to the problem of carbon output is the impact it has on my standard of living. Just about every proposal requires an increase in taxation and/or an increase in the government dictating what I can or cannot do. California wants to ban the use of incandescent bulbs. My experience with them have not been pleasant. They do not meet the advertised life span (not lasting even as long as the incandescent bulbs I bought recently), take longer to get to full brightness, and interferes with my TV remote. So, instead of mandating the use of nuclear power (which has a proven track record of performance and does not inconvenience me) they want to mandate the use of CFL bulbs (mandating that I choose between darkness or hanging mercury filled glass bulbs over my bed and kitchen table).

    The lengths that the government will go to in order to "save me from myself" is reaching the absurd. Offering tax incentives to insulate my house is one thing, taking control of my thermostat is another. There are people in the government debating if we should be allowed to have a black car because the black paint would absorb more sun which requires more air conditioning.

    I have come to the conclusion that the "green movement" in government is not about freeing the nation from foreign oil, or saving the whales (or is it polar bears we're supposed to save this week?), or improving my chances of survival, or keeping the sea levels from rising. All they want to do is grow government. By using the scare of "climate change" they can make the growth of government seem not only pleasing but absolutely necessary. If they truly wanted to reduce the CO2 output they'd doing everything they can to see nuclear power plants getting built.

    By opening domestic drilling for oil we'd see jobs get created, a reduction in our nation's wealth getting shipped out of the borders, a reduction in the influence foreign nations have on us, and the reduction of the potential for oil spills in our, and other nation's, waters. (Domestic oil is largely brought to shore with underwater pipes. These pipes rarely have leaks on the scale of even the smallest oil tanker spill.)

    I'm OK with trying to save the planet. The problem I see is the government is only getting in the way of many trying to do so. This is like so many "war on ???" plans the government has. If the war is won then the government agency created to fight that war has no more reason to exist. I feel too many in the government don't actually want to win any of these "wars" they've declared cause if they did that could mean a congresscritter would have less federal money flowing into their constituent's pockets.

  • Re:When... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by timmarhy (659436) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @12:52AM (#31132744)
    getting all bitter and attacking anyone that questions global warming by calling them "deniers" and quoting Al Gores fantasy film isn't going to get you any credability.

    You've also just proven what i've always said about the peer review argument - it's a circular reference, you don't take anything not in a peer reviewed mag as valid, but the people publishing the peer reviewed articles won't publish anything anti global warming. with climate gate you've got evidence that "peers" are in fact pushing an agenda of their own and actively seeking to derail any descenting views.

    if the global warming crowd could stop foaming at the mouth for long enough to make a non emotive arguement you might actually sway some of us skeptics over to your side.

  • Re:When... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JackieBrown (987087) <dbroome@gmail.com> on Sunday February 14, 2010 @12:59AM (#31132774)

    I swear, I'll never understand your obsession with Gore. It's the views of ~97% of climate scientists [uic.edu] that we care about. Gore's opinions have no more bearing on the science than Christopher Monckton's or Michael Crichton's do.

    It is hard to say that his views do not have bearing when he won the Nobel prize for that sham of a movie he made.

  • Re:When... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rei (128717) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @02:05AM (#31133012) Homepage

    Climatology has about as much overlap with biology and geology as it does with meteorology. Meteorologists start at current and look into the future until the locations, intensities, etc of various systems ceases to reliably match up. Climatologists start at any point in time (past or present) and extend the trends past the chaos to compile averages of events, not when said specific events will occur. Meteorologists don't care about the "why". They don't care why the level of insolation is what it is, why the current average level of water vapor is 5% higher than it was in the 1970s, etc; a meteorologist would never even dream of looking at sunspot levels in their forecast, or how the current level of galactic cosmic radiation is affecting our climate. These sorts of things are critical to climatology. The fact that decreased rainfall in China would mean increased dust levels over the Pacific which would seed greater algal growth which would lower CO2 levels which would alter temperatures in the US doesn't even begin to factor into the equation to a meteorologist. But that sort of thing is very important to climatologists. Meteorological models are greatly simplified because of this; climatologists don't use anything like the GFS. Meteorologists wouldn't dream of looking at tree rings, or ice cores, or boreholes. I could keep on going.

  • by Torodung (31985) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @03:12AM (#31133164) Journal

    We in the U.S. have decided that separation of church and state is a good idea.

    I wonder how long until we decide that separation of science and state is also a good idea.

    This sounds like it will be an office of propaganda, not a scientific establishment.

    --
    Toro

  • by bradley13 (1118935) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @07:54AM (#31133960) Homepage

    Great, yet another federal bureaucracy. Guess what, there are plenty of professional consultants who will help with city planning, etc. Using private industry will be a lot cheaper than building another monstrous federal bureaucracy. The services will be paid for by those who use them, rather than by everyone, whether or not they are needed.

    AGW had made no, none, zero long-term predictions that have been correct. Increased hurricanes? Wrong, at historical lows. Continued decrease in arctic ice? Wrong, increasing for 2-1/2 years now. Continued increase in global temperature? Wrong, decreasing trend since 1998. Rapid sea level rise? Wrong - increasing at the same rate it has done for hundreds of years. And on and on...

    At the moment, AGW fanboys are saying that anything and everything is proof that they are right - hot weather, cold weather, heavy snow, you name it. The problem is, they have predicted none of these - it's all after the fact, and hence worthless. Given false assumptions, you can prove anything at all.

    But, sure, have them make public predictions - put them on record. Also generate control sets (randomly generated predictions). If the AGW predictions exceed the random predictions by a substantial margin, over the course of several years, then and only then should anyone pay any attention to them.

    None of this, however, is any justification for the government to establish yet another public agency.

  • Re:Premature (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 14, 2010 @09:10AM (#31134186)

    The problem with the "climatologists all agree" argument ad populum is that the tribe of climatologists are a self selected group, who refuse to admit anyone who doesn't agree with their conclusions. So naturally, they all agree with each other.

    It makes even less sense to draw any conclusions about climate change by reading what all the nattering nabobs on Slashdot have to say.

    If you have only a handful of independently generated data sets, the derivation of which are largely kept secret, you could have a millions climatologists all agree about what they mean, but you're really resorting to populism, not science. All the noise on Slashdot, the MSM, and other ignorant venues may convict the ignorant, but does nothing to advance the science.

  • Re:When... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kdemetter (965669) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @10:08AM (#31134470)

    Yes , because if you are not with it , you are against it , right ?

    The only thing getting feathered here is the truth : with all this nonsense, it's almost impossible to know the facts, as everyone seems to have an agenda.

  • by fyngyrz (762201) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @10:10AM (#31134478) Homepage Journal

    First we have the NWS, a service that predicts ten days ahead, but often (usually, where I live) can't get the prediction correct within a reasonable margin eight hours into the future, because what they do is astonishingly difficult; many things are not yet understood, and some things that are understood are so complex, so under-sampled, so skeletally simulated, that it's often not much more than hand-waving.

    To this, we (apparently) want to add a service that deals with climate predictions... a domain where the global warming alarmists have amply demonstrated that forming even one hypothesis that gives rise to working laws (meaning, predictions that don't turn out to be falsifiable) is so difficult as to be beyond our present abilities.

    Well, on the plus side, because the problem (predicting climate) appears to be impenetrably difficult, the agency should be able to continually increase its budget for computers and programmers. Maybe it'll grow so large we can no longer afford to mire our military in a war in the Middle East and bankrupt ourselves for the next half-century to secure access to the last big reservoir of the polluting, nonrenewable energy source of the 20th century. (that last bit was quoted almost verbatim from Tim Kreider, a very funny and cynical fellow.) Consequently we will have to actually focus on other sources of energy.

    Oh, wait. We couldn't afford to engage in those wars anyway -- we borrowed that money from China. Your kids will be paying it back. Or perhaps learning to speak Chinese.

    Yeah, hey. A climate agency. After all, what could it hurt? It's not like decisions taken on wrong, incomplete, or outright fabricated information might cause problems, is it?

  • Re:When... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aurispector (530273) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @11:07AM (#31134856)

    It's simple, Gore took an issue and propagandized it into the biggest "save the earth" crusade he could. The point of this was political: to draw as many people into the democratic party as possible. Gore is a politician, not a scientist. Why is this so hard to understand? The science was never the point, he successfully personalized AGW for anyone fool enough to believe him. Everyone with a ration of sense knows there isn't a damn thing you can do about CO2 emissions. The US could cut emissions to zero only for china and india to pick up the slack and china in particular has absolutely no intention of doing anything about it. China is putting up coal fired power plants as fast as they can and people over there are buying cars as fast as they can make them. Besides, it's not the CO2, it's the CFC's and we already banned them. Go play outside.

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