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'Gaia' Scientist Admits Mispredicting Rate of Climate Change 744

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the captain-planet-will-still-kill-you dept.
DesScorp writes "James Lovelock, the scientist that came up with the 'Gaia Theory' and a prominent herald of climate change, once predicted utter disaster for the planet from climate change, writing 'before this century is over billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable.' Now Lovelock is walking back his rhetoric, admitting that he and other prominent global warming advocates were being alarmists. In a new interview with MSNBC he says: '"The problem is we don't know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books — mine included — because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn't happened," Lovelock said. "The climate is doing its usual tricks. There's nothing much really happening yet. We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now," he said. "The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium. Twelve years is a reasonable time it (the temperature) has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising — carbon dioxide is rising, no question about that," he added.' Lovelock still believes the climate is changing, but at a much, much slower pace."
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'Gaia' Scientist Admits Mispredicting Rate of Climate Change

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  • Vindication (Score:1, Insightful)

    by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris.beau@org> on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @10:05AM (#39794109)

    This guy is saying the sort of things that have been getting me downmodded here on slashdot for years.

    Global Warming/Climate Change may or may not be happening. But if it is it ain't happening at anything like the rate that would justify dismantling civilization over, we still aren't sure whether it is us or a natural cycle we don't undertstand, etc. And he doesn't go there but I will: too many politicians with a preexisting anti-civilization (Western industrial captialism based ccivilization that is...) bias glommed onto AGW with the willing consent of a lot of brand name scientists, thereby (rightly) harming the public's trust of all science.

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @10:09AM (#39794175) Journal

    This guy is saying the sort of things that have been getting me downmodded here on slashdot for years.

    Really? There seems to be some discrepancy with your statement:

    Global Warming/Climate Change may or may not be happening.

    There appears to be no room for that "may not" area in his statements (and largely public sentiment). And the end of the summary:

    'Lovelock still believes the climate is changing, but at a much, much slower pace.'

    I could see how your sentiment would be downmodded, I think the scientific community largely agrees Climate Change is happening, man-made or not.

  • Re:Vindication (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @10:12AM (#39794209)

    Turning off the lights in the room you're not in is dismantling western civilization ?

  • Re:Vindication (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld&gmail,com> on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @10:14AM (#39794243) Homepage
    "if it is it ain't happening at anything like the rate that would justify dismantling civilization"

    And this is where anti-AGW is at its most dishonest.
  • Re:Vindication (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @10:15AM (#39794259)

    No, but the anti-consumer, anti-consumption attitudes most greenies have, is.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @10:16AM (#39794279)

    No, the original poster is right, regardless of what public sentiment says. What Lovelock says is that what he expected is that we'd be halfway to a cooked planet, and instead, climate is doing its thing, which is to behave unpredictably.

    There's one kind of scientific corruption, which is obvious and easy to see - saying something you don't believe is true. This is easy to avoid. The more insidious form of corruption is to overstate one's degree of certainty in what you do believe to be true: "You don't understand - if I include all of my doubts, outliers and provisos, a non-scientific reader is not going to understand." That's the kind of corruption that, unfortunately, is at play here. Lovelock is calling this out.

  • Re:Vindication (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jlehtira (655619) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @10:17AM (#39794285) Journal

    Sorry, you're wrong. He is saying different things.

    We know some things for certain. Global average climate has changed by a measurable, albeit small, amount. We know that emitting CO2 changes the climate. It is happening alright, and unless there are huge volcanic eruptions or other catastrophic natural disasters, it will keep happening. The rate of its happening has been projected to be quite modest, by IPCC, in 2007. Even before, the best scientific scenarios have been realistic - and more and more realistic all the time. Certainly we don't know exactly what the climate is doing, but our idea is getting better and better.

    It seems to me that James Lovelock has just taken 20 years to admit he was wrong in the eighties.

    I agree with you that we shouldn't dismantle civilization. Let's instead make a small effort, and put 5% of GDP into minimizing our contribution to climate change. That'd be a small contribution, hardly noticable, but would already do something.

  • by mofolotopo (458966) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @10:17AM (#39794287)

    Exactly right. Lovelock has finally realized what most climate scientists and ecologists have know for decades: Lovelock is out of his frickin' mind.

  • by jlehtira (655619) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @10:19AM (#39794315) Journal
    So we shouldn't have saved the ozone layer from CFCs, because nobody was certain about it? Because in science, nothing is ever really certain.
  • Re:Vindication (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mofolotopo (458966) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @10:20AM (#39794325)

    "Most" is an utter lie. Maybe most of the ones you see on Fox are like that, but in reality most people who are interested in and concerned about anthropogenic climate change realize that we need to balance economic necessity and long-term conservation priorities, and we aren't even remotely beginning to do that. It's very convenient to paint the people who disagree with you as enemies of civilization, unfortunately it is completely dishonest and counterproductive.

  • by SirBitBucket (1292924) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @10:21AM (#39794331)
    Conversely: Anthropogenic global warming would very convenient for all the scientists researching it, as it brings in tons of research money, therefore it must exist, and be ridiculously powerful. (The thing is that GW as a whole is being exaggerated by both sides one way or the other, and I fear not enough unbiased info is being collected either way.)
  • by PvtVoid (1252388) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @10:22AM (#39794349)
    So where's the news here? This nut was never a credible climate scientist in the first place, and I don't think any of his previous views were shared by anybody who is a credible climate scientist.

    Lovelock makes a living out of making sensational, half-baked pronouncements and selling them as science. Good for him for admitting he was wrong, but that doesn't discredit any of the actual science.
  • by ledow (319597) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @10:23AM (#39794363) Homepage

    There's a difference between agreeing the data is correct, and agreeing WHY it's like that.

    I would probably agree that their data is correct and temperatures are rising.

    Somehow linking that to humans, that's the REALLY controversial part and it's MUCH harder to provide fact in that case. Almost impossible. At least without a several-million-year-long scientifically controlled investigation (and, no, fossil records, ice-cores, etc. do NOT give us the reason, they give us some facts).

    WHY Earth is heating is still completely unknown - why it's EVER heated has always been unknown. We don't even know what prompted ice-ages in the past and they were seriously major events. Thus, forming government policy or charging me indirectly via my tax for related green initiatives because "humans are warming the planet" is ludicrous at best.

    Facts are easy to confirm or deny - and anyone who goes against them is usually an idiot. It's the WHY of the facts and the things that you CAN'T collect facts for - that's where science is made.

  • by operagost (62405) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @10:26AM (#39794415) Homepage Journal
    Actually, I was pretty sure because we had computer images that showed the hole, showed it was growing over time, and most importantly we could reproduce the effects of CFCs on ozone in a lab instead of just in a computer simulation. It also helps that we didn't have to dismantle civilization to get rid of CFCs.
  • Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dargaud (518470) <slashdot2@gdargaud . n et> on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @10:28AM (#39794441) Homepage
    Since when is James Lovelock a climate scientist ?!? His predictions on the subject always had the same value as just about any other rambling slashdoter.
  • by Eravnrekaree (467752) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @10:29AM (#39794465)

    The fact is he is wrong, there has been significant warming already due to global warming. Also he could be wrong about affects, there have been a lot of disasters and the frequency and trends could be increasing. The problem with human perception is that unless something happens immediately, it is not happening. Climate change will be a gradual trend, its not like we go to bed one day and everything is okay and the next day its a total disaster. With gradual worsening change, lets say 2% per year, people often end up seeing the new situation as the "new normal" and "just the way things are". For instance, the level of malnutrition has increased drastically to 1 billion, but because the rate of change has been 1% per year or whatever, it happens overnight, for many people this has just become the new background, the new normal, just the way things are. The earthquakes get news coverage and are immediately recognized as a disaster because it lies withim peoples short memory span, but, a longer term trend which takes centueries to occur, like malnutrition. All people see is the 1% change per annum, not the big picture of the really long term drastic changes. Humans have caused drastic changes to the earth in the past 100 years, vast areas of wildlife habitat have been destroyed, vast amounts of resources have been consumed, the CO2 level has increased greatly, and so on.

  • Re:Vindication (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RogueWarrior65 (678876) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @10:29AM (#39794475)

    What pisses me off are the people who think that wealth redistribution in the form of carbon-credit trading will do anything to solve the problem, if there really is a problem. Witness the latest insult by the UN that basically taxes the hell out of leading nations to support "green project" in third-world countries. There are ALWAYS sticky fingers in schemes like this. It would be one thing to require a leader nation to actually procure the solar plant equipment and set it up somewhere but that's not what they want. They just want the money.

    That aside, if global catastrophe is such a big deal e.g. An asteroid is headed directly for Earth, every person is going to be affected in the same way therefore every person is equally responsible for dealing with it. There will be no "all animals are equal but some are more equal than others" here. So, by that logic, nobody gets a pass on carbon emissions. Nobody gets to buy their way out of it and no industry or enemy of the regime gets punished. Note that the carbon trading in commodities markets has be severely scaled back if not eliminated. Take money out of the equation and oh look, gee whiz, the problem isn't such a big problem anymore.

  • by MightyYar (622222) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @10:29AM (#39794479)

    Yeah, I read this as "Discredited Scientist Makes New Prediction!"

  • by Poorcku (831174) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @10:30AM (#39794483) Homepage
    No Model Fits This Data.

    Sorry. Show me a model made between 1995 and 2010 that fits the observed data of the last decade. Not one single fits. They were enough for policy making though.

    I hold nothing but skepticism for the people who say "scientific consensus!". Because for the Piltdown Man to turn from consensus to hoax it took 45 years. And many reputations of the people who said it was a hoax with it.

    Of course now Lovelock is declared to be a nut, an extremist, on the alarmist edge. But before he was:

    - elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1974. He served as the president of the Marine Biological Association (MBA) from 1986 to 1990, and has been an Honorary Visiting Fellow of Green Templeton College, Oxford (formerly Green College, Oxford) since 1994. He has been awarded a number of prestigious prizes including the Tswett Medal (1975), an ACS chromatography award (1980), the WMO Norbert Gerbier Prize (1988), the Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for the Environment (1990) and the RGS Discovery Lifetime award (2001). In 2006 he received the Wollaston Medal, the Geological Society's highest Award, whose previous recipients include Charles Darwin. He became a CBE in 1990, and a Companion of Honour in 2003.

    Just like De-Stalinization, his own kind reject him now. So excuse me while I say, Lovelock, you son of a b****! Go to hell.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @10:32AM (#39794513)

    Somehow linking that to humans, that's the REALLY controversial part and it's MUCH harder to provide fact in that case. Almost impossible. At least without a several-million-year-long scientifically controlled investigation (and, no, fossil records, ice-cores, etc. do NOT give us the reason, they give us some facts).

    This is a little like saying "evolution can't be proved without a several-million-year-long scientifically controlled investigation." We have very good evidence that humans are increasing the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We also have very good evidence that increasing the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes warming (and this evidence is NOT from ice cores; it's from physics).

    WHY Earth is heating is still completely unknown - why it's EVER heated has always been unknown. We don't even know what prompted ice-ages in the past and they were seriously major events.

    We don't know what caused ice ages, but we do know some things. For example, we know that if the sun increases its output, earth will get hotter. We know that if carbon dioxide is injected into the atmosphere, the earth will get hotter, at least for the short term (centuries to millennia). And we know that if albedo decreases, the earth will get hotter (again, for the short term of centuries to millennia).

    We also know that humans are doing a couple of those things.

    What more do you want?

  • Where does all this "dismantle civilization" stuff come from? Changing power sources is dismantling civilization?

  • by mvdwege (243851) <mvdwege@mail.com> on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @10:38AM (#39794605) Homepage Journal

    Don't be silly. Earth is warmer than its orbital position would indicate, so something is trapping solar heat. It has been known since the turn of the 19th century that carbon dioxide will do just that, even in small concentrations.

    So, we have an observed rising of CO2 in the atmosphere, an observed rising temperature, and a mechanism connecting the two: it's fair to say that CO2 is the main driver of the rise in temperature.

    We know the isotope ratio of carbon in naturally occurring processes. We know the isotope ratio of carbon in fossil fuels. Measurements confirm that the rising CO2 is mostly the product of burnt fossil fuel hydrocarbons.

    What other mechanism has been proposed to explain the above points? Elf farts?

    Mart

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @10:41AM (#39794637)

    Conversely: Anthropogenic global warming would very convenient for all the scientists researching it, as it brings in tons of research money, therefore it must exist, and be ridiculously powerful.

    People keep making this assertion over and over like it is proven fact, but nowhere have I ever seen any proof that there is substantial economic incentive for any given scientist to come out in support of global warming theory. In fact, the most likely Nash equilibrium if they were to game it would be to have half of them come down on either side of the issue so that they could use the debate to fuel research dollars. That is absolutely nothing like what is happening.

    The thing is that GW as a whole is being exaggerated by both sides one way or the other, and I fear not enough unbiased info is being collected either way.

    Okay, let's pretend that there is a bunch of bias like you are talking about. What portion of the 90+% of climatologists who purport to believe AGW is a real and dangerous thing do you think are being manipulated? Can you pick a high enough number to convince anybody that we shouldn't at least be highly concerned without also picking a number so high that it would be impossible without a massive global tinfoil-hat conspiracy?

  • by Artraze (600366) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @10:44AM (#39794677)

    I couldn't agree more.

    The problem is though, that people like Lovegood are very rarely called out on their crap. We have people (*cough* Al Gore *cough*) going around literally calling it a _crysis_. And what do we get from it? Politics. 'Action!'. But if anyone says that we ought to really just slow down (and even look at the data!), they get labeled a "denier" and all discourse is shut down.

    > Look at the data.

    Like... I dunno, maybe IPCC's claim that the Himalayan glaciers will be gone by 2035? But that turned out to be unreviewed speculation and the glaciers actually haven't lost any net ice over the decade... Oops!

    Now, I don't mean to extrapolate that to saying all climate data as bunk, but I _do_ mean to use it as an example of how data can be flawed, interpretations can be flawed, and just plain human stupidity and bias can get in the way (which is the only way you can 'excuse' the above reporting of a media interview as a scientific finding). There is far more room for discussion than is presently allowed by the various groups looking to use climate change as a blank check for political gain, personal gain, or simply a cause to blindly fight for. I just wish people were even half as interested in calling out the alarmists as are the 'deniers'.

  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @10:44AM (#39794693) Homepage Journal

    Where does all this "dismantle civilization" stuff come from? Changing power sources is dismantling civilization?

    That, Little Johnny, is what we call "over-the-top hyperbolic rhetoric spawning from extremist zealots."

    Typically, when someone starts screaming that this or that will lead to the end of civilization as we know it, you're best off to just keep on truckin' by...

  • by Eunuchswear (210685) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @10:46AM (#39794713) Journal

    No. Weather is chaotic. Climate isn't.

  • They did. Lovelock's "Gaia theory" approach has been greeted pretty skeptically by scientists, who've pointed out that in simple forms it's trivial, and in stronger forms it's unfalsifiable. The new-agey spiritual aspect of it hasn't been popular, either.

    Here is a frequently cited 1989 paper [berkeley.edu] that describes it as "untestable, and if taken literally as a basis for research, potentially misleading... ill-defined, unparsimonious, and unfalsifiable".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @11:04AM (#39794949)

    The exaggerating of climate change made it political and did more harm to rationality than anything else ever could. The "alarmism" was so intense that leftists took the opportunity to attempt government takeovers and management of productions, leaving economic conservatives on the defensive against outrageous claims. Since then it has fallen into left/right political realms with both sides frequently ignoring the real science. The alarmists have done a lot more harm than people think. It will take decades to get people to moderate on this issue again.

  • by Dishevel (1105119) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @11:04AM (#39794961)

    Our current civilization is built upon the ability to have relatively cheap and dense energy.
    Currently nothing comes close to hydrocarbon based fuels in these areas. That is not even taking into account all the non energy uses for hydrocarbons.
    Drugs, and Materials. Make all oil disappear tomorrow. You will see a very harsh dismantling.

  • by onyxruby (118189) <onyxruby AT comcast DOT net> on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @11:07AM (#39794999)

    People got alarmist over Global Cooling then Global Warming and then Climate Change when the first two didn't pan out by name at hyped levels. The biggest problem is that people are fighting the wrong fight, being too concerned about CO2 levels. These energies are well intentioned, however they are misplaced.

    Climate change is inevitable no matter what we as a species do or don't do. We have a fossil record going back billions of years proving this, forces like plate [umass.edu] tectonics and changes from our own solar [scientificamerican.com] system or even supernova's [theregister.co.uk] all impact our climate.

    People have forgotten their environmental basics and in their zeal have created a self feeding hype machine. Scheduled catastrophes kept turning out to be false alarms. The problem is that this is causing a loss of credibility in scientists and science. People need to be concerned about pollution, for the sake of fighting pollution.

    Were spending so much time worrying about whether or not the concrete being poured for a windmill is going to have the proper carbon offset. As a result were forgetting about bigger things like rampant unregulated coal power plants in China and the smelting of old electronics by hand in Africa.

    We need to get back to science, back to fighting pollution and away from the hype.

  • by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @11:07AM (#39795001) Homepage

    What pisses me off are the people who think that wealth redistribution in the form of carbon-credit trading will do anything to solve the problem,

    Ah, but that's a very different question from the question of whether carbon dioxide emissions are affecting the climate... and it is a question that gets almost no discussion at all, because the people who think that carbon-credit trading is not a good idea don't address it, but instead argue that the greenhouse effect doesn't exist, or it exists but is saturated, or it exists but volcanoes emit more carbon dioxide than humans so it doesn't matter what we do, or the weather data is wrong, or the scientists who study the problem are all frauds, or the cosmic rays are changing the climate more then humans do, or solar activity has gone up recently, or solar activity has gone down recently, or some hithertofore unknown feedback mechanism cancels out the changes created by humans, or... every six months there's a new purported explanation for why human-generated carbon dioxide doesn't affect the climate. (Yes, I've heard all those arguments, and many more that make even less sense.)

    By denying that a possible problem even exists, the discussion of solutions ends up being completely one-sided. No one critiques carbon-credit trading, because the people who would do so are spending their efforts denying that the science.

    if there really is a problem.

    See? You can't even complete a single sentence before you start suggesting the greenhouse effect isn't real.

  • So because fringe enviro-kooks have a problem with anything other than reverting to bronze-age living nothing is viable. Nuke, wind, solar, plus hydro and geothermal where they won't cause too much harm should be fine. And don't forget tidal.

  • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris.beau@org> on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @11:15AM (#39795133)

    > Don't be silly. Earth is warmer than its orbital position would indicate, so something is trapping solar heat.

    Oh bullpoop. The Earth has been warmer than it is today and colder. And guess what, it's orbit has been pretty darned constant. The problem is somewhat more complicated and we are still discovering new variables every couple of years. They just recently started considering the effect of solar effects other than direct radiation and are finding it to be at least to the same rough scale as the CO2 variable. And it isn't in ANY model from the 20th Century being touted as predicting DOOM! Are we now arrogant enough to think that was the last piece of the puzzle or do we have the humility to consider that we will find still more.

    We only have halfway reliable data for a century, really good sat based data for less than half that. But we have pretty good knowledge that the Earth's temp has been far beyond the top and bottom of the observed ranges in the last 100K years. So we have a very poor data set. To try to make firm predictions based on such poor samples and the piss poor things they are calling 'climate models' is laughable. In another couple hundred years we still won't have very much direct data compared to the time scales we are talking about. On the other hand it is hard to argue that we can make the sort of changes we are making to our environment and expect no changes.

    It isn't an easy problem. Which is why it pisses some of us off when funding grubbing hucksters in lab coats team up with watermellons like Al Gore to scam the world into poverty to enrich themselves. By debasing science it makes it hard for real science. Why did so many fall for the vaccine/autism scam? Yup. Folks don't trust science anymore. And that is dangerous.

  • Re:Vindication (Score:2, Insightful)

    by roman_mir (125474) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @11:17AM (#39795169) Homepage Journal

    If it is mandated by the government agencies, enforced by government violence and inflated and fake money, then yes.

  • by doston (2372830) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @11:19AM (#39795187)

    You clearly didn't work in the cooling business. To them, they sky WAS falling, and it was falling on them. Until they found a replacement (which was more expensive and less efficient, but legal). Dismantling is a very harsh word.

    And I'm sure if the cooling business had its way, we'd still be arguing about CFCs and have a massive, inexplicable hole.

  • by lgw (121541) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @11:26AM (#39795287) Journal

    Japan has just finished turning off all nuclear power over a "disaster" that proved just how safe modern nuclear can be. Wind, hydro, tide .. these are all bullshit: they will never matter in the big picture, they'll feelgood measures that's don't actually accomplish anything large scale, just like most green initiatives.

    Solar is different. There's plenty of solar power. But current solar-electric panel are still bullshit (I drive past the Soylendra buildings every day). Solar-thermal remains viable (just heat a working fluid so that it pushes a turbine). Solar thermal can be baseload if you supplement with natural gas for the cloudy days. California did a plant like that - it was great, and 90% of power came from solar overall. It was shut down, due to concerns by the environmentlists.

    And where's the actual proof that CO2 does harm? We're still in an Ice Age. We're still in an interglacial period that has lasted thousands of years longer than they usually due. When the climate reverts to the long-term norm, all of Canada and most of Europe and the old USSR states will be covered by glaciers, a far worse fate than the seas rising a few meters. Even if mankind's CO2 release actually matters (and we don't understand the usual mechanism by which CO2 falls significantly every 100k years, so we don't know that it matters), do we want the climate to be warmer or colder than its likely to become without us?

  • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris.beau@org> on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @11:32AM (#39795391)

    > And don't forget tidal.

    You mean forget the horrid ecological cost to vital spawning grounds for (whatever blah blah).

    > So because fringe enviro-kooks have a problem with anything...

    Yup, because they are the, to a high enough percentage to ignore the outliers, the exact same set of people who are pushing AGW. Whether AGW is true or not doesn't really matter either. It is just one weapon all leading to the same result. In the 1970's it was Global Cooling. Same policy prescriptions. When the Soviet Union fell and the ChiComs moved to a more viable mixed economy the Reds occupying our elite institutions (universities, media, etc.) simply took down (well some of em) their Che and Lenin posters and replaced them with Green ones. And suddenly almost all of the same policy prescriptions were rebranded as saving the earth. Now we need a world government regulating every sparrow that falls to control carbon instead of the equally dishonest redistribution of wealth/elimination of poverty, etc. crap.

    The only answer is to realize that playing their game at all is to lose. So don't.

  • by medcalf (68293) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @11:34AM (#39795421) Homepage
    What amuses me about this is the total lack of irony or self-awareness. You are accusing jmorris42 of "hyperbolic rhetoric spawning from extremist zealots" for saying that the prescriptions of CAGW "extremist zealots" are aimed at "dismantling civilization," while ignoring that the CAGW zealots themselves frequently engage in "hyperbolic rhetoric" about the end of the polar bears, the end of the ice caps, the end of winter, the end of life on Earth and the like. Even ignoring that, yes, many of the policy prescriptions of the CAGW extreme (not all CAGW advocates, mind you) would in fact be adequately and accurately summarized as "dismantling civilization," the failure to note the extreme of one claim while noting the extreme of the other is beautifully obtuse.
  • by stdarg (456557) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @11:36AM (#39795449)

    Why's that? Not many people would stop using refrigeration just because the coolant is more expensive. The cost of coolant is a relatively small factor in most Americans' lives.

    On the other hand, AGW proponents want us to change transportation, construction, agriculture, etc, making almost everything in life more expensive. So you've got increased costs in many areas, plus legislation that often comes off as petty or patronizing. I mean, a tax on plastic grocery bags? And the point is to get all those evil oil users to change their behavior and be more good and eco friendly.. that's a far bigger role for government than I'm comfortable with.

  • Right now, yes, but nuclear can provide the base load (comes from the ground but doesn't release fossil CO2 into the air) and a range of renewables can do the rest. Then over time we can shift to less nuclear and more renewable as the tech matures.

  • by p51d007 (656414) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @11:49AM (#39795645)
    12 years worth of data, combined with the AGE OF THE EARTH is what....a few seconds worth of data? If "man made" global warming was happening, explain the unearthed silver mines that had been covered in glacier ice? Obviously, it was warm enough back then to support someone mining something. Explain how rivers were routinely "walked on" all winter long, but now they never freeze over? It's called A CYCLE. The earth warms, the earth cools. I'll betcha if you really did the research, you would find an almost parallel to the earth cycles and the sun cycles. Amazing! When the sun heats up, has a ton of sunspot cycles, CME's...it effects OUR EARTH. But, this "researcher" saying he was wrong about man made global warming won't get much press, because it doesn't fit the "global warming" agenda of our current administration, the anti capitalist and the "one world order" idiots in the UN.
  • by Sarius64 (880298) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @11:53AM (#39795709)

    You clearly didn't work in the cooling business. To them, they sky WAS falling, and it was falling on them. Until they found a replacement (which was more expensive and less efficient, but legal). Dismantling is a very harsh word.

    And I'm sure if the cooling business had its way, we'd still be arguing about CFCs and have a massive, inexplicable hole.

    Actually, the cooling industry for many enterprise systems was very happy they got to retool entire cooling systems as it made them tons of money.

  • by ArcherB (796902) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @11:57AM (#39795769) Journal

    Where does all this "dismantle civilization" stuff come from? Changing power sources is dismantling civilization?

    No. ELIMINATING power sources is dismantling civilization. We could gladly change power sources. Unfortunately, none exist.

  • by doston (2372830) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @12:00PM (#39795819)

    Why's that? Not many people would stop using refrigeration just because the coolant is more expensive. The cost of coolant is a relatively small factor in most Americans' lives.

    On the other hand, AGW proponents want us to change transportation, construction, agriculture, etc, making almost everything in life more expensive. So you've got increased costs in many areas, plus legislation that often comes off as petty or patronizing. I mean, a tax on plastic grocery bags? And the point is to get all those evil oil users to change their behavior and be more good and eco friendly.. that's a far bigger role for government than I'm comfortable with.

    Everything that should have been more expensive to begin with. I don't know where people get off thinking they can spend 5% of their income on food when throughout history it required practically 100% of their labor. How about spending 25%. I really don't care about people's corporate propaganda induced need for "small government". If it wasn't for government regulation and unions, you'd be working 7 days a week, breathing foul air, drinking very filthy water and God even knows what else. Left to its own devices, business is pretty nasty and only out for one thing: profit at *any* cost. The bastards need more regulation, not less.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @12:02PM (#39795839)

    Sorry, the end of the ice caps is not hyperbolic - it's well under way (and when the ice goes, so do the polar bears that depend on it). Every year the sea ice recedes further in the summer, and doesn't form as thickly in the winter. Meanwhile the glaciers are flowing into the sea and melting at a tremendous rate. While we in the temperate regions aren't yet dramatic warming, the poles are another story, especially in the Arctic - the positive feedback loops are considerably stronger (Ice reflects sunlight, seawater doesn't), and as the temperature gets closer to that of the temperate regions the jet streams are beginning to slow down and meander, allowing that cold Arctic air to reach much further south than usual, and causing weather patterns to pass by more slowly, meaning more flooding, freezing, droughts, heat waves, etc. A lot of that isn't even that the weather is getting more extreme, just that it's moving more slowly. If a storm system takes a few days to pass, no big deal, you get a few days of rain and then you dry out and your downwind neighbors get rained on. If the same storm takes few weeks to pass... well, you get flooding, and your neighbors get a drought. On average little has changed, but we don't live in the averages.

  • by Geof (153857) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @12:05PM (#39795871) Homepage

    That aside, if global catastrophe is such a big deal e.g. An asteroid is headed directly for Earth, every person is going to be affected in the same way therefore every person is equally responsible for dealing with it

    You are wrong in fact and wrong in logic.

    The impact of climate change is not equal. The poor live disproportionately in vulnerable areas. This is true not just for climate change, but for environmental disasters in general. It is mostly the poor, not the rich, who live on the deforested hillsides that collapse in landslides. It is mostly the poor, not the rich, who live in flood-prone areas. It is mostly the poor, not the rich, who make a living from dry and marginal soils susceptible to droubt. And it is the poor who lack the resources to cope when the water dries up, when food prices rise, when hit by torrential rains or brush fires. Global warming is not like an asteroid. It will not wipe out all life. But it will create great suffering, and that suffering will fall disproportionately on the poor. That is your error in fact.

    Your error in logic is your claim of equal responsibility. If you and I are in a car crash, are we equally responsible because we both suffer the same loss? Even though I was speeding, talking on my cell phone and weaving in traffic while you were driving predictably and defensively, but were unable to avoid me when I suddenly swerved in front of you? Of course not. Responsibility results from the actions we take and the choices we make. We in the developed countries have produced most of the emissions and reaped most of the benefits. We are far more responsible for climate change than the peasants of India or Mexico or Bangladesh. Responsibility flows from actions, not consequences.

  • by kenboldt (1071456) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @12:24PM (#39796153) Homepage

    You do realize that the term "global warming" implies that it is global right? The sea ice in the Arctic has indeed been on a decline in the satellite era, however, during that same time period, the sea ice in the Antarctic, you know, at the other end of the planet, has been increasing. uh oh.

    That doesn't even cover the fact that there is plenty of anecdotal evidence from various sources which predate the satellite era which suggest that there has been as little or even less ice in the Arctic as there is now. Uh oh.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @12:49PM (#39796561)

    Yes, because a large (massive) government that heavily controls industry is soooo much better for the environment. *cough*China*cough*USSR*cough*.

  • by taiwanjohn (103839) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @12:59PM (#39796721)

    AGW proponents want us to change transportation, construction, agriculture, etc, making almost everything in life more expensive.

    It's odd that so few /.ers seem to know this, but "going green" is actually much cheaper than business as usual. Amory Lovins has been demonstrating this for decades already. RMI [rmi.org] makes most of its money by consulting with the likes of 3M, IBM, the Pentagon, etc. on how to save TONS of money by investing in efficiency.

    It's time to put this myth to bed, once and for all. Going "green" is NOT more expensive, it's actually much cheaper. And this is why more and more companies are ALREADY investing in this area.

  • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris.beau@org> on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @01:04PM (#39796781)

    > #1 Japan didn't turn off all nuclear. For one, it would take far longer than a few months to do so. For two, they're taking
    > them offline for security checks. They plan on bringing them back online.

    If you seriously think they will ever go back online you aren't paying attention. Nope, the lights just went out over there for good. Germany is shutting their nuke down. Frace would if they weren't so utterly dependent on them, and being French and just electing a Socialist government I still wouldn't bet a lot on them still having nukes a decade out.

    > #2 Solar panels work great. I have em, and they cut my bill in half.

    Nope. Take the government subsidies out of photoelectric and you wouldn't have bought them. Because the total value of the electricity derived from one over it's normal service life doesn't equal the TCO of the equipment. Large scale solar is close to net positve vs fossil fuel and will eventually get there but the greens are already mobilizing against the large scale installations that are required to generate useful quantities of electricity.

    > #3 One solar thermal plant wasn't built because the company didn't want to immediately fork over the money to alleviate environmental concerns..

    Probably because they realized the money would tip the project to uncompetitive, or because they realized that paying off this group would not solve the problem, the lawsuits would be endless until they abandoned the project. Alleviating 'environmental concerns' are like achieving diversity, there is no way to actually do it but you can waste an unlimited amount of time and money trying.... or relocate to a more friendly climate.

    #4 Even if we are in an ice age (and we really aren't), that doesn't matter one lick.

    Actually, if we are heading into an Ice Age there probably isn't anything we can do about it. WIth the current state of Climate Science we probably can't say and with the politics in it no sane person should trust it anyway.

    > What matters is that there are drastic changes coming to our civilization, which has been built
    > according to the climate variations of the past 300 years. That's going to cost money.

    Considering that the only longterm constant in the environment is change that is almost certainly true. Whether it is going to change in the ways predicted by AGW theory, whether it will change BECAUSE of the influence of man, which influences but doesn't determine the BIG question of whether we can control the changes are all pretty open questions at this point.

  • by bennomatic (691188) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @01:23PM (#39797103) Homepage

    You clearly didn't work in the cooling business. To them, they sky WAS falling, and it was falling on them. Until they found a replacement (which was more expensive and less efficient, but legal). Dismantling is a very harsh word.

    And I'm sure if the cooling business had its way, we'd still be arguing about CFCs and have a massive, inexplicable hole.

    Actually, the cooling industry for many enterprise systems was very happy they got to retool entire cooling systems as it made them tons of money.

    It's funny, isn't it? A lot of change works that way. Big money fights it and fights it, and then profits significantly when they finally concede. Think safety regulations in cars. The big auto makers fight every new regulation that comes their way, and then when they're forced to do it, they immediately work to make a selling feature out of it over their competition who don't rate nearly as well in the rating system that they didn't want in the first place.

    A few years ago, the IIHS celebrated their 50th birthday by doing a head-on collision between a 1959 Chevy BelAir and a 2009 Malibu [youtube.com]. Chevrolet has certainly had their lean years, but in general, it's a multi-billion dollar corporation which has managed to turn nearly every regulation to their advantage. There's no reason to think that stricter fuel standards and alternative fuel requirements couldn't see the same level of success over the next 50 years.

  • by causality (777677) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @01:32PM (#39797199)

    What amuses me about this is the total lack of irony or self-awareness.

    Like, say, the irony of accusing me of directing my comment at a single individual, whereas the text of it does not distinguish a particular philosophy, thus indicating that it applies to extremists of all philosophies, then subsequently falling into an extremist rant yourself? Here, this should help: http://abcteach.com/directory/reading_comprehension/ [abcteach.com]

    Hehe yeah, you sure did turn that around on him didn't you? Sure, if you had a solid position you could have falsified what he said, argued against his reasoning, etc., but hey who has time for all of that? Just cut corners, be intellectually lazy, take a shortcut, fail to admit he made a point because you don't have the integrity, or all of the above?

    Just say "well Criminal A is a robber and you might think that's bad, but Criminal B is a murderer so obviously Criminal A didn't do anything wrong!" Or if you point out some of Obama's stupidity and someone doesn't like that, they just have to mention some of Bush's stupidity and that magically makes what Obama did ok!

    Do you have any idea how fucking infantile that is and how absurd it is for you to think you're making a point here?

  • by Belial6 (794905) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @01:34PM (#39797227)
    Your post points out one of the problems with progress in a lot of controversial areas. The language is half the problem. You say "going green". The going "green" that saves money is not the same "green" that is being recommended to stop AGW. If you suggest that buying a more fuel efficient car is a way to "go green", that MAY save me money. If you suggest that I get rid of my car and switch to public transportation/bicycles to "go green", it would cost me dramatically more money if it didn't crack my ability to keep my job completely and drive me into poverty.

    Sure, there are lots of things that are both better for our environment, and saves money. Those are not the things that the parent is talking about. The parent is talking about the bad ideas that get wrapped up with the good ones. A large part of the problem for the "green' folks is that they don't recognize this, and keep proposing bad ideas. So, yes. Going "green" IS more expensive if you are going to use the "environmentalist's" definition.

    We see the same bad language being used with "Climate Change". Of course the climate is changing. It always has, and always will. What we see is that the AGW alarmists like to use that definition to get everyone to admit that "Climate Change" is happening, and then change the definition of "Climate Change" to "The world is burning up because someone drove to the store instead of riding a bike".

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