Archive for March, 2007

Gore-goading

Posted on timeMarch 30th, 2007 by userPali Gap    flagNo Comments


There is a highly amusing post by Mark Steyn about the “Rev. Al Gore” in the Chigago Sun-Times March 4, 2007

I Particularly liked this:

“…George W. Bush’s ranch in Texas is more environmentally friendly than the Gore mansion in Tennessee. According to the Nashville Electric Service, the Eco-Messiah’s house uses 20 times more electricity than the average American home. The average household consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours. In 2006, the Gores wolfed down nearly 221,000 kilowatt-hours”

And this on the concept of conscience-salving by “carbon offsets“:

“How do “carbon offsets” work? Well, let’s say you’re a former vice president and you want to reduce your “carbon footprint,” but the gorgeous go-go Gore gals are using the hair dryer every night. So you go to a carbon-credits firm and pay some money and they’ll find a way of getting somebody on the other side of the planet to reduce his emissions and the net result will be “carbon neutral.” It’s like in Henry VIII’s day. He’d be planning a big ox roast and piling on the calories but he’d give a groat to a starving peasant to carry on starving for another day and the result would be calorie-neutral

More of this excellent knockabout stuff here

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Orthodoxy heavyweights lose climate change debate

Posted on timeMarch 16th, 2007 by userPali Gap    flagNo Comments


For those who are naive about the consensus on global warming it should come as a big surprise that three of the top hitters for the climate change orthodoxy could be taken on – and beaten – in a public debate. Yet this happened just recently in a ticket-only event hosted by the Rosenkranz Foundation (March 14 2007)

The Motion: “Global warming is not a crisis

Prior to the debate the motion had only 30% support from the audience.

After the debate – 46% of the audience had been convinced that global warming was indeed not a crisis, while just 42 percent continued to believe it was a crisis.

For the orthodoxy there were some big hitters:

  • Gavin Schmidt ~ a climate modeller at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space. Gavin is chief guru-in-residence at realclimate.org (the prime resource for those seeking to stock up on anti-contrarian weaponry)
  • Brenda Ekwurzel ~ works on the national climate program at the Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Richard Somerville ~ University of California, San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Who could the so-called ‘contrarians’ field to match this fearsome firepower?

  • Richard Lindzen ~ Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Philip Stott ~ Professor Emeritus of Biogeography at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
  • Michael Crichton ~ MD Harvard Medical School & Postdoctoral Fellow at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. (Also a writer and filmmaker…)

If you favour an epistemology that respects argument & reason, then the result of this debate is interesting and thought-provoking. But of course not ultimately especially conclusive.

On the other hand if you hold to an epistemology that offers no better than ‘knowledge by authority‘ you will see the debate as quite insignificant and indeed ill-advised: only the “priesthood” should make up the audience, and presumably only certain “approved priests” should be permitted to conduct the argument in any case. Attitudes such as this can be found on show at the inquest that followed the debate held at realclimate.org here as in this kind of comment:

Our experience and that of all the scientists we know is that public debates with sceptics or denialists are not useful at all

By “useful” one supposes this contributor means: “convenient to our authority“.

Or take this counsel against public debate:

You’re guaranteed a hostile audience and a rhetorical ambush of some sort, your mere presence legitimates the proceedings, and they can always count it as a win with some justification afterward

I would have thought that advocates of sound scientific theories (Boyle’s law, Archimedes’ Principle, Relativity) have no fear of public debate. On the contrary how could a public airing be other than entirely welcome and quite “un-threatening“?

So why plead a “special case” for AGW (anthropogenic global warming)?

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I have a transcript of the debate in PDF (255KB) here.

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Czech President breaks ranks

Posted on timeMarch 4th, 2007 by userPali Gap    flagNo Comments


They say our atmosphere is getting laden with CO2 – in fact I imagine it’s so thick you could cut it with a knife when Czech President Václav Klaus gets together with European and World leaders at their regular jamborees. According to Klaus:

“Global warming is a myth”

Other top-tier politicians do not express their global warming doubts because a whip of political correctness strangles their voice”

Environmentalism as a meta-physical ideology and as a world view has absolutely nothing to do with natural sciences or the climate itself”

“…as a scientifically inclined man, I know how to read science articles about these questions, e.g. about ice in Antarctica. I don’t have to be a climate scientist myself to read them. The papers I have read simply don’t lead to the conclusions we may see in the media”

…environmentalism is a new incarnation of contemporary leftism”

(These quotes are from from Luboš Motl’s blog)

It seems that Václav Klaus is planning a book soon and one chapter will be reserved for expressing his scepticism over climate change.

Go for it Václav!

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