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Please let us not become angry about this - it is totally unnecessary and adds nothing to the discussion.

I don't think that Stratos has misunderstood anything from an outsider's viewpoint; he is simply saying that such a prediction is impossible to make.

My initial point would be that making such predictions is completely useless. We know we are warming and that we probably are significantly responsible for it - why not spend our time elminating the risk instead of wasting it on how bad it will be?

My second point would be that predicting effects is impossible when we do not even know the exact causes. It is like trying to predict the end of a complex Russian novel when you haven't even read the beginning.

We know what we need to do - why can't we just do it?

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Please let us not become angry about this - it is totally unnecessary and adds nothing to the discussion.

I apologise for my little outburst, but was it really unnecessary? It is infuriating, not to mention insulting, when someone repeatedly misinterprets, misrepresents and unfairly ridicules another person's posts. SF may have set himself up as some icon of perfect thinking, but his posts repeatedly demonstrate his unwillingness to accept other thoughts and opinions.

I don't think that Stratos has misunderstood anything from an outsider's viewpoint; he is simply saying that such a prediction is impossible to make.

If a verifiable prediction is impossible to make then the theory is not worth the paper it is printed on. Why should we have so much faith in a piece of science that is untested and, apparently, untestable? To use one of SF's favourite parallels, if the first aeroplane could have held forty passengers but had never been tested, what reason would any of those passengers have had for thinking they would ever get off the ground (let alone survive the attempt)?

My initial point would be that making such predictions is completely useless. We know we are warming and that we probably are significantly responsible for it - why not spend our time elminating the risk instead of wasting it on how bad it will be?

Why is making predictions useless? It's an absolutely essential part of scientific evaluation - if the theory holds true in the real world then there must be predictable consequences of that theory that can only happen if the theory is correct. If such predictions cannot be made then we are being asked to accept science on nothing more than faith - and Science and Faith are not cosy bedfellows.

How can we know that we are probably "significantly responsible" for the warming if we can't adequately assess our contribution to that warming? And how can we eliminate a risk that we can't assess? The best we can hope to do is to clean up our act (in the ways I mentioned in a previous post) and not make any more mess, but that doesn't mean that we can't also discuss the merits of the theory.

My second point would be that predicting effects is impossible when we do not even know the exact causes. It is like trying to predict the end of a complex Russian novel when you haven't even read the beginning.

If mankind is a main cause of global warming then how can we not even know the exact causes? The statement "Man is a main cause of global warming" presupposes an element of understanding. If we truly do not know the exact causes then we are in absolutely no position whatsoever to start making statements of likelihoods and projections of future trends.

We know what we need to do - why can't we just do it?

What do we need to do? Clean up our act? That's fine by me - let's do it. I do it every day, as do a lot of other people. What's so wrong with discussing a moot theory while we do it?

CB

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Please let us not become angry about this - it is totally unnecessary and adds nothing to the discussion.

Agreed - this is healthy debate. I appreciate that it gets very difficult to contain frustration when we all believe very passionately in what is effectively the same stance. Let us be thankful that we can have these sorts of debates and regardless of our standpoint that this type of debate ensures that genuinely selfish people in positions of power and influence cannot pull the wool over our eyes any longer.

My initial point would be that making such predictions is completely useless. We know we are warming and that we probably are significantly responsible for it - why not spend our time elminating the risk instead of wasting it on how bad it will be?

I agree we do need to take action but if you think about it we assess risk in all areas when we make a significant investment so that we make effective and informed choices about what type of action will yield the best results and maximise on our return on the investment. In the aerospace industry (an example quoted by SF) they don't just sit down and decide to build in duplex and quadruplex redundant systems - they spend billions of pounds assessing the risk attached to every single system on the aircraft and use predictions based on the outcome of the failure mode to decide which systems need additional redundancy. They are hardly going to make the in flight entertainment system triple redundant because that would be a waste of money based on the fact that considerable analysis will have been carried out to ensure that this and other trivial systems are decoupled from flight critical systems. A prediction based on a risk assessment!

My second point would be that predicting effects is impossible when we do not even know the exact causes. It is like trying to predict the end of a complex Russian novel when you haven't even read the beginning.

Fair point we don't truly know the source of the problem which is why it beggars belief that we are rushing headlong into solutions that may or may not have any impact on the eventual outcome (although I have stated elsewhere that if GW is the catalyst to get us to clean up our act then so be it). Let's just for sake of argument though say we are partly right that CO2 is responsible for all the current warming we are seeing. OK so we have a sea change in political climate and we pour billions of tax payers' and private money into investing in greener power generation. 50 years go by and then it turns out that new and ongoing research shows that another previously unaccounted forcing is causing the temperature to rise again - we have clean energy but it's useless to the huge areas of farming, dwelling and commercial land that is flooded in the ensuing thirty years.

OK a rather simplistic outlook but I am trying to make the point that predictions are all we have when it comes to taking effective action. Whilst scientists strive to look for the smoking gun, economists will continue to risk assess, using both scientific forecasts of what the risk in the future is weighed against their own predictions of what the economic impact will be. They will only invest if they see a sound return when they assess risk against losses (Thames barrier springs to mind - always been floods there but since the 70s the stakes are much higher when you consider the developments there now).

I feel like I'm sitting on the fence between two people with very strong views here but to sum up this post I think that you are both stating valid points - CB demanding the rigourous treatment of the science to ensure sound future investment and SF keeping the sense of relative urgency alive and driving the case for direct action.

(OMG they will both kill me now :D ) And as for you Yeti - thanks in advance for allowing me to use your previous post as a placeholder for my argument - very valid points despite the fact that I don't necessarily agree in totality..

(Oh no All three now - runs away very fastly and hides under the banana eating tortoise :lol: )

Wysi :D

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I apologise for my little outburst, but was it really unnecessary? It is infuriating, not to mention insulting, when someone repeatedly misinterprets, misrepresents and unfairly ridicules another person's posts. SF may have set himself up as some icon of perfect thinking, but his posts repeatedly demonstrate his unwillingness to accept other thoughts and opinions.

If you had just said this latter sentence, the 'initial outburst' would have been quite unnecessary. Calling somebody an 'idiot' is personal and insulting, bearing no resemblance to your argument. If he insults you then call a mod! Otherwise we descend into ad hominem arguments.

If a verifiable prediction is impossible to make then the theory is not worth the paper it is printed on. Why should we have so much faith in a piece of science that is untested and, apparently, untestable? To use one of SF's favourite parallels, if the first aeroplane could have held forty passengers but had never been tested, what reason would any of those passengers have had for thinking they would ever get off the ground (let alone survive the attempt)? Why is making predictions useless? It's an absolutely essential part of scientific evaluation - if the theory holds true in the real world then there must be predictable consequences of that theory that can only happen if the theory is correct. If such predictions cannot be made then we are being asked to accept science on nothing more than faith - and Science and Faith are not cosy bedfellows.

Undoubtedy all theories are capable of predictions but this does not mean that the latter will be particularly useful. In my opinion, we know enough about AGW to make predictions - and such predictions have indeed been made - but the key difference between this and other theories is the size of the laboratory. Our planet is enormous, containing ocean currents, clouds, rainforests, ice caps etc. which all affect our climate in ways which we do not fully understand. What is undeniable, in my opinion, is that more CO2 creates a warmer environment and that humans pump out more than enough CO2 to indulge in this process. This does not mean that we can accurately predict what building coal power station X will do to the temperature in years to come, but it does enable us to say that it will, by however small an amount, warm the planet. This is the only useful prediction: that we will warm by a certain amount. Other attempts at predictions should in no way affect our response to the situation and therefore are, practically speaking, useless. If A predicts a 1c rise and B predicts a 5c rise by 2100, ought we to react differently? Similarly, if C predicts a 3c rise and the actual rise is 1c, does this mean that the theory is incorrect? Perhaps aspects of it are, but in essence it remains correct in predicting a trend. I admit that the science is uncertain, but this does not mean it is useless. It still presents us with what is, in my opinion, overwhelming evidence for the impact we have on our planet even if we cannot quantify it.

Seeing as though the trend is upwards regardless of quantity, I think that we should do all we can to combat this - even if we can do but little (with which I disagree). 'Risk' is vital when looking at AGW, as it remains simply a risk, however large. We need to stamp out this risk.

What do we need to do? Clean up our act? That's fine by me - let's do it. I do it every day, as do a lot of other people. What's so wrong with discussing a moot theory while we do it?

Yes - but on a global scale; we need extreme measures to combat even a potential problem as there are no second chances. For me as a 17 year old, it often seems as though people are playfully throwing round another's treasured possession and wondering whether to return them - but the possession is our future. To return to Russian literature, when Tolstoy wrote Anna Karenina did he intend for us to know the ending at the beginning? No - instead, the picture becomes clearer and clearer as the narrative progresses. The beauty of our situation is that we can impact upon the ending in some way; let us use this power to the best of our ability.

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Let's just for sake of argument though say we are partly right that CO2 is responsible for all the current warming we are seeing. OK so we have a sea change in political climate and we pour billions of tax payers' and private money into investing in greener power generation. 50 years go by and then it turns out that new and ongoing research shows that another previously unaccounted forcing is causing the temperature to rise again - we have clean energy but it's useless to the huge areas of farming, dwelling and commercial land that is flooded in the ensuing thirty years.

Aah but this is precisely my point Wysi! Whilst such an outlook is plausible, look at the flip-side of the coin. Imagine if we invested all those billions and managed a 30% emissions cut. Imagine if the temperature peaked soon afterwards and CO2 concentrations began to drop. Wouldn't every body say, "money well spent": thousands of species could be saved.

I see both scenarios possible if the action was taken (though one more possible than the other, which is irrelavant to this objective point). In the former, many billions of dollars would be lost, but we could at least say, "man has done his very best". The money lost would mean little in the scheme of things in a world where, in my opinion, the West (which would bear the brunt of the cost) has enough already. In the latter, the human race could be saved. It would be a great sense of achievement for mankind.

It is not worth taking the risk of not doing everything we can to save our environment. At the worst the rich would not be as rich - if that is a bad thing. Far, far worse would be to do nothing and hope for the best. The sense of guilt if something went wrong would be unbearable.

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It is not worth taking the risk of not doing everything we can to save our environment. At the worst the rich would not be as rich - if that is a bad thing. Far, far worse would be to do nothing and hope for the best. The sense of guilt if something went wrong would be unbearable.

Whilst I agree with your first sentence, I'm afraid I strongly disagree with the second.

We in the developed world live a cushy existence, we pretty much have everything we want and certainly everything we need, we have done for years. There are many, many parts of the world who aren't so lucky, by a long way. Are we right to deny them the opportunity to develop a standard of living which means they won't be impoverished, they won't die in their thousands? There is a very real risk, we in the rich, developed nations will seriously impinge on their chance to develop if the drive for carbon credits becomes a reality. Is it right that despite the high standard of living we've all enjoyed for years, will be curtailed for the likes of China just when they are approaching their goals. Let's not forget here, we've enjoyed the fruits of their cheap labour for years. Should other nations pay for the mess we've made?

It's imperative we establish a higher degree of certainty that not only is CO2 the culprit, but that we can be assured cutting carbon emissions will be effective. The predicted high temperature rises we've been promised in the future and the associated problems are based on all feedbacks being positive ones. We do not know if this is in anyway accurate; a new study released recently has shown that the increased temperatures in the tropics which had been presumed would cause more moisture and thus more heat trapping clouds (a positive feedback) is not happening. Not only is it not happening but the exact opposite is happening, high, reflective Cirrus clouds are decreasing which cause cooling, not warming - negative feedback.

I'm all for looking after the planet, I'm all for using resources wisely but lets not run before we can walk eh, we could cause more harm than good, felling the rain forest to grow bio fuels is a prime example.

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Aah but this is precisely my point Wysi! Whilst such an outlook is plausible, look at the flip-side of the coin. Imagine if we invested all those billions and managed a 30% emissions cut. Imagine if the temperature peaked soon afterwards and CO2 concentrations began to drop. Wouldn't every body say, "money well spent": thousands of species could be saved.

I see both scenarios possible if the action was taken (though one more possible than the other, which is irrelavant to this objective point). In the former, many billions of dollars would be lost, but we could at least say, "man has done his very best". The money lost would mean little in the scheme of things in a world where, in my opinion, the West (which would bear the brunt of the cost) has enough already. In the latter, the human race could be saved. It would be a great sense of achievement for mankind.

It is not worth taking the risk of not doing everything we can to save our environment. At the worst the rich would not be as rich - if that is a bad thing. Far, far worse would be to do nothing and hope for the best. The sense of guilt if something went wrong would be unbearable.

I couldn't agree more with what you say above Yeti. The problem is that I am not the one you need to convince - it's the ones holding the cheque books. I think the point that I was trying to make was that we should proceed based on well reasoned science that can demonstrate significant risk to current and future investments based on our best reasoned assessment of what impact GW will have. In reality, as you rightly say, we may dedcide CO2 reduction is the way forward and invest in a very viable solution, not just on the grounds of reducing the Earth's temperature but also far more importantly creating a cleaner place for us and our children to live in. It will never be a waste so it's a no brainer in my opinion - but try having that same argument with a Chinese or Indian industry mogul who has just invested huge amounts in new manufacturing that requires huge amounts of cheap power to make it cost effective - no dice imho.

However, have the same argument with said industry mogul whilst holding in your hand compelling scientifically verified evidence that his factory will be flooded in 30 years' time as a direct result of the warming caused by his energy usage and said mogul will invest a lot of money deciding how to best tackle preventing this from happening. We just have to hope that our mogul decides to buy into clean energy as opposed to moving his factory further inland.

My feeling is that at the moment the key missing link here is that we don't have that smoking gun to wave at the developing nations in the East and so in the meantime the West has to strike a very careful balance between reducing emissions, protecting against the likely impacts of climate change (regardless of what the cause is) and finally funding the scientists to continue their work so that we steadily improve our ability to clean our planet and minimise the impacts of GW in a cost effective way.

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Let's not forget that those Chinese and Indian industry moguls are producing stuff for us, without our demand, they wouldn't have such a successful market. The idea of cleaning up our act whilst other nations are penalised for producing things we buy, is a trifle lop-sided IMO. Sure we'll feel better about it, sure our emissions will be lower, we could all pat ourselves on the back but would it have any meaningful value if our emissions are shipped elsewhere?

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Let's not forget that those Chinese and Indian industry moguls are producing stuff for us, without our demand, they wouldn't have such a successful market. The idea of cleaning up our act whilst other nations are penalised for producing things we buy, is a trifle lop-sided IMO. Sure we'll feel better about it, sure our emissions will be lower, we could all pat ourselves on the back but would it have any meaningful value if our emissions are shipped elsewhere?

I think that the reality is that we wont stop buying these goods as they will still be way cheaper than anything we can produce in the West. I agree totally that we should not penalise the newly emerging countries to ease our conscience. I was trying to demonstrate the fact that whilst an idealistic argument about no quarter reductions in GHGs sounds very nice, the reality is that it is unlikely the emerging countries in the East will take a blind bit of notice of the West if the only arguments the West can put up are circumstantial and based on flimsy evidence of the link between GHGs and global warming and they certainly wont buy the idealistic arguments. However, if you can produce good science that demonstrates a high likelihood of Eastern buisness being threatened by the consequences of GW then you have a far better chance that they will look to protect their investment by investing in cleaner energy particularly if we can also demonstrate that there is more than a tenuous link between GW and CO2 emission.

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Whilst I agree with your first sentence, I'm afraid I strongly disagree with the second.

We in the developed world live a cushy existence, we pretty much have everything we want and certainly everything we need, we have done for years. There are many, many parts of the world who aren't so lucky, by a long way. Are we right to deny them the opportunity to develop a standard of living which means they won't be impoverished, they won't die in their thousands? There is a very real risk, we in the rich, developed nations will seriously impinge on their chance to develop if the drive for carbon credits becomes a reality. Is it right that despite the high standard of living we've all enjoyed for years, will be curtailed for the likes of China just when they are approaching their goals. Let's not forget here, we've enjoyed the fruits of their cheap labour for years. Should other nations pay for the mess we've made?

I actually view world poverty and combatting AGW as the same problem. Let me first point out that the effects of GW on many third world countries would be far more catastrophic than curtailing their development. The monsoon could disappear; the African rainy season etc. - this would cripple Africa and leave them in a far worse position than they currently are.

What I think is necessary is to develop the third world as sustainably as possible entirely at the expense of the West. How much would it cost us as one country, to give a simplistic example, to contribute to funding an enormous solar farm in the sahara desert, capable of delivering electricity to the whole of Africa? Perhaps a few billion pounds - nothing in the scheme of things. This could all be done proportional to GDP - richer countries pay more; poorer countries pay near nothing. This would do two things: significantly improve the quality of live in the developing world and secure its future without them having to pay.

You will probably be sitting there thinking "as if". In all honesty I cannot agree more - this is an idealistic proposition and would simply never happen:

I couldn't agree more with what you say above Yeti. The problem is that I am not the one you need to convince - it's the ones holding the cheque books.

And Wysi highlights the problem perfectly. Would this ever happen? Almost certainly not - ruling parties are simply too selfish. However, this does not stop it from being the correct way forward. We could at least give significant financial incentives to developing countries e.g. debt cancellation or investment proposals. This would allow them to develop whilst encouraging sustainability. I certainly do not see fighting AGW and world poverty as mutually exclusive. Indeed, combatting the former could eventually effectuate eliminating the latter.

It's imperative we establish a higher degree of certainty that not only is CO2 the culprit, but that we can be assured cutting carbon emissions will be effective. The predicted high temperature rises we've been promised in the future and the associated problems are based on all feedbacks being positive ones. We do not know if this is in anyway accurate; a new study released recently has shown that the increased temperatures in the tropics which had been presumed would cause more moisture and thus more heat trapping clouds (a positive feedback) is not happening. Not only is it not happening but the exact opposite is happening, high, reflective Cirrus clouds are decreasing which cause cooling, not warming - negative feedback.

I'm all for looking after the planet, I'm all for using resources wisely but lets not run before we can walk eh, we could cause more harm than good, felling the rain forest to grow bio fuels is a prime example.

My feeling is that at the moment the key missing link here is that we don't have that smoking gun to wave at the developing nations in the East and so in the meantime the West has to strike a very careful balance between reducing emissions, protecting against the likely impacts of climate change (regardless of what the cause is) and finally funding the scientists to continue their work so that we steadily improve our ability to clean our planet and minimise the impacts of GW in a cost effective way.

You are both making the same point here which I believe is entirely incorrect. There simply is not enough time to wait for infallible evidence regarding AGW - we would already have advanced too far into the abyss. We need to act now in case everything were to go pear-shaped - and if that were to involve helping third world countries to develop at the same time then so be it.

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Whilst I agree with your first sentence, I'm afraid I strongly disagree with the second.

We in the developed world live a cushy existence, we pretty much have everything we want and certainly everything we need, we have done for years. There are many, many parts of the world who aren't so lucky, by a long way. Are we right to deny them the opportunity to develop a standard of living which means they won't be impoverished, they won't die in their thousands? There is a very real risk, we in the rich, developed nations will seriously impinge on their chance to develop if the drive for carbon credits becomes a reality. Is it right that despite the high standard of living we've all enjoyed for years, will be curtailed for the likes of China just when they are approaching their goals. Let's not forget here, we've enjoyed the fruits of their cheap labour for years. Should other nations pay for the mess we've made?

It's imperative we establish a higher degree of certainty that not only is CO2 the culprit, but that we can be assured cutting carbon emissions will be effective. The predicted high temperature rises we've been promised in the future and the associated problems are based on all feedbacks being positive ones. We do not know if this is in anyway accurate; a new study released recently has shown that the increased temperatures in the tropics which had been presumed would cause more moisture and thus more heat trapping clouds (a positive feedback) is not happening. Not only is it not happening but the exact opposite is happening, high, reflective Cirrus clouds are decreasing which cause cooling, not warming - negative feedback.

So, Jethro, if either CO2 isn't as climate changing as we think, or it's effects can be masked (this it the 'Your leg hurts? Then hit the other one to mask the pain' approach) we should just carry on shoving it into the atmosphere until we have an, undefined, 'higher degree of certainty'? Oh, and your study is not 'shown' at all. It is one study not so much backed up by others as flying in the face of others. Why do you accept one controversial study a 'shown' but not the thousands of studies backing up the case people like yeti make? It's almost as if it's because it's what you want to hear :)

I'm all for looking after the planet, I'm all for using resources wisely but lets not run before we can walk eh, we could cause more harm than good, felling the rain forest to grow bio fuels is a prime example.

Felling what's left of the rain forest...

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Guest diessoli

Hi CB,

Actually it's my point that strikes you as weak, not Hansen's.

I believe that is what SF meant, i.e. that your "Hansen point" is weak :)

Hansen (et al) made the predictions (his scenario A, B and C predictions),

but I am saying that even though his prediction apparently "came true" it does not

necessarily validate the models he used. If we are in a warming trend then the

temperature is going to increase, so by following trends on a graph we can

extrapolate where those trends might go and we would likely arrive at a similar

conclusion to Hansen's prediction - his models worked insofar as they were able

to extrapolate the warming trend, but it doesn't actually prove anything.

What I am looking for is a prediction that could only come true if such-and-such

a phenomenon could only be caused by man's influence. (In much the same way,

Einstein's Relativity "predicted" orbital paths of the planets, but Newton's

theory explained this (mostly) anyway - it was the specific predictions of

gravitational lensing and the curious movement of Mercury around the Sun that

validated his theory over Newton's: things that could only be explained if

Einstein was right and Newton was wrong.) So, any predictions? CB

If I understand you correctly you are saying that because twenty

(or whatever) years ago someone could have sat down and "predicted" the future

climate by means of extrapolation and that this person happened to get the same

result as Hansen, it shows that Hansen's predictions are not validated.

I believe that this argument does not hold up. And in your second part about

Einstein and Newton you show why. Both (the extrapolation and the climate model)

might have gotten the rough order of increase (the "orbital paths)" right , but

only the model shows (if it is any good) some of the internal variability

(the "gravitational lensing"). In a model you can also include additional

forcings (like volcano erruptions) and test what effect they have. Hansen did

this by assuming a volcano eruption in (I believe) 1995. Luckily (in some sense)

there was an eruption in 1991 so we can compare the model against reality and

find that it did not bad. Your extrapolation would have missed that temperature

dip. If you do a simple linear extrapolation on, say, the 5 year averaged

trends in the 1980's this would have "predicted" much higher temperatures for

today than the ones we see in reality.

Some links:

the original paper (5.9 MB)

graph of predictions and observations

Cheers

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Hi CB,

I believe that is what SF meant, i.e. that your "Hansen point" is weak :lol:

If I understand you correctly you are saying that because twenty

(or whatever) years ago someone could have sat down and "predicted" the future

climate by means of extrapolation and that this person happened to get the same

result as Hansen, it shows that Hansen's predictions are not validated.

I believe that this argument does not hold up. And in your second part about

Einstein and Newton you show why. Both (the extrapolation and the climate model)

might have gotten the rough order of increase (the "orbital paths)" right , but

only the model shows (if it is any good) some of the internal variability

(the "gravitational lensing"). In a model you can also include additional

forcings (like volcano erruptions) and test what effect they have. Hansen did

this by assuming a volcano eruption in (I believe) 1995. Luckily (in some sense)

there was an eruption in 1991 so we can compare the model against reality and

find that it did not bad. Your extrapolation would have missed that temperature

dip. If you do a simple linear extrapolation on, say, the 5 year averaged

trends in the 1980's this would have "predicted" much higher temperatures for

today than the ones we see in reality.

Some links:

the original paper (5.9 MB)

graph of predictions and observations

Cheers

Hi diessoli,

Yes, you have understood my point correctly, but we disagree on my point's validity. A prediction that can be arrived at by a variety of means doesn't help with scientific verification. Whilst it is true that any Tom, Dick or Harry could plot a trend line and extend it into the future by means of extrapolation, the application of trends can be done scientifically by taking data and applying algorithms to them. The fact that trend analysis can be performed scientifically (and such analysis back in 1988 would likely have predicted increasing temperatures into the future) means that Hansen's results are not the only scientifically legitimate way of arriving at the same (or a similar) conclusion.

If AGW is real then surely there must be something that can be predicted to happen that could only happen because of man's influence? But then, as others have pointed out recently, our predictions of warming effects on cloud formation were wrong, our predictions of polar ice coverage were wrong and our predictions of other "freak" weather phenomena were wrong (or at least have not, as yet, been proved to be right). Since we get so many things wrong, from where does the confidence come to assert that we are responsible?

:)

CB

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Just a bit of Devils advocate here...But if you believe that the wheels were coming off so called 'Band Wagon', then would you not have believed the wheels were on at some point?

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You are both making the same point here which I believe is entirely incorrect. There simply is not enough time to wait for infallible evidence regarding AGW - we would already have advanced too far into the abyss. We need to act now in case everything were to go pear-shaped - and if that were to involve helping third world countries to develop at the same time then so be it.

Correct - both the same point stated didfferently. Also correct that we probably on balance need to act sooner rather than later. Reality is that without the evidence we can't act.

So, Jethro, if either CO2 isn't as climate changing as we think, or it's effects can be masked (this it the 'Your leg hurts? Then hit the other one to mask the pain' approach) we should just carry on shoving it into the atmosphere until we have an, undefined, 'higher degree of certainty'? Oh, and your study is not 'shown' at all. It is one study not so much backed up by others as flying in the face of others. Why do you accept one controversial study a 'shown' but not the thousands of studies backing up the case people like yeti make? It's almost as if it's because it's what you want to hear :lol:

I didn't see any references in Jethro's post about masking. There is a difference between masking and negative feedback. We know too little yet about the carbon cycle to understand just how the environment deals with increased CO2. By the IPCC's own admission one of the greatest uncertainties is the cooling effect caused by aerosols.

I would be careful in your use of glib statements regarding science and the number of studies. I would be very impressed if you can show me anywhere near a thousand studies that do more than just speculate and correlate temperature records and atmospheric CO2 levels.

Rigourous skeptiscism is not about believeing in the science because it's what you want to hear - that would be folley and if that final remark had been aimed at me I would have found it a little offensive tbh. It is the responsibility of science to produce thorough analyses based on all possible factors. Without the sceptisism it would be too easy to be carried along by 'popular' consensus and we would still be living on a flat world at the centre of the universe.

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I didn't see any references in Jethro's post about masking.

Nor did I - I made a point.

There is a difference between masking and negative feedback. We know too little yet about the carbon cycle to understand just how the environment deals with increased CO2. By the IPCC's own admission one of the greatest uncertainties is the cooling effect caused by aerosols.

In fact we know an awful lot about the Carbon Cycle - one can google it or go to a library - the Exeter Met Office one is excellent. It is quite clear both how much CO2 mankind produces and where it goes.

I would be careful in your use of glib statements regarding science and the number of studies. I would be very impressed if you can show me anywhere near a thousand studies that do more than just speculate and correlate temperature records and atmospheric CO2 levels.

Glib? I made no reference to atmospheric CO2 levels in my post. I was think of the general AGW/what we should do case yeti makes.

Rigourous skeptiscism is not about believeing in the science because it's what you want to hear - that would be folley and if that final remark had been aimed at me I would have found it a little offensive tbh.

Then you chose not to see the :lol:

It is the responsibility of science to produce thorough analyses based on all possible factors. Without the sceptisism it would be too easy to be carried along by 'popular' consensus and we would still be living on a flat world at the centre of the universe.

Do you know anything of the kind of effort science has put in over the decades to understand climate? Do you know how long the GH effect has been understood? Do you really think science is being carried along rather than doing what it should: observing, analysing, testing theories? I don't and I'd need rather better evidence than being called glib or the simple dismissal of a vast body of science as 'speculation' for my mind to be changed.

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Then you chose not to see the :lol:

I saw it - I was mearly making the point that there was really no need for that statement being aimed at an individual - it adds nothing to the debate and I'm sure that Jethro and I and everyone else on here respect your views and intellect just as you should (and I'm sure you do) respect theirs.

Do you know anything of the kind of effort science has put in over the decades to understand climate? Do you know how long the GH effect has been understood? Do you really think science is being carried along rather than doing what it should: observing, analysing, testing theories? I don't and I'd need rather better evidence than being called glib or the simple dismissal of a vast body of science as 'speculation' for my mind to be changed.

I'm not saying the science is being carried along at all. I am a scientist and I have some experience of how the science communities function. It is the general public that get carried along and my point on several occasions was that science has a responsibility to present rigorous evidence and accept that it will be the target of scepticism because that's how cutting edge science works and that is how we prevent science being used as a tool to manipulate the population for individual gain.

The fact that I called your statement about thousands of studies glib does not imply that I dismissed it in an attempt to change your mind. I apologise for the use of the term glib. You are absolutely correct in summarising that there is a vast body of science relating to AGW - much of it is still speculation and hypothesis and these terms in no way invalidate the science, they just label it as inconclusive. There is an even more vast body of science relating to GW and climate in general that in my opinion sits at the same level of progress as we debate i.e. inconclusive.

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I saw it - I was mearly making the point that there was really no need for that statement being aimed at an individual - it adds nothing to the debate and I'm sure that Jethro and I and everyone else on here respect your views and intellect just as you should (and I'm sure you do) respect theirs.

Of course, and, again, there was a wink. I will though express frustration that one tangential study that backs up a personal view is describes as 'shown' yet the literally thousands of other studies in the AGW fold are never so described. The opposite is, imo yes, the reality.

I'm not saying the science is being carried along at all. I am a scientist and I have some experience of how the science communities function. It is the general public that get carried along and my point on several occasions was that science has a responsibility to present rigorous evidence and accept that it will be the target of scepticism because that's how cutting edge science works and that is how we prevent science being used as a tool to manipulate the population for individual gain.

The fact that I called your statement about thousands of studies glib does not imply that I dismissed it in an attempt to change your mind. I apologise for the use of the term glib. You are absolutely correct in summarising that there is a vast body of science relating to AGW - much of it is still speculation and hypothesis and these terms in no way invalidate the science, they just label it as inconclusive. There is an even more vast body of science relating to GW and climate in general that in my opinion sits at the same level of progress as we debate i.e. inconclusive.

Ok, I get what you're saying :lol: . I mostly agree, and while I do not think much of the science is speculation, it can clearly be called that until the time it apples to comes to pass.

But I don't think prediction of how the continents will move in the future is speculation, nor do I think prediction that the Earth's atmosphere (lowest part) will warm by 2-5C by the about the time of CO2 doubling, that have been around for decades, are speculations either. Theories make predictions that can be tested, I think using the word speculation for those predictions undermines what science is about.

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But I don't think prediction of how the continents will move in the future is speculation, nor do I think prediction that the Earth's atmosphere (lowest part) will warm by 2-5C by the about the time of CO2 doubling, that have been around for decades, are speculations either. Theories make predictions that can be tested, I think using the word speculation for those predictions undermines what science is about.

Hi Dev,

I think both of your first predictions could be classed as speculation, in that our predictions of how the continents will move are founded on the assumption that plate tectonics is correct (which is likely, but not certain), and our predictions of warming are founded upon the assumption that the relevent climatological theories are correct. Neither prediction will be proved true or false for quite some time to come.

You are quite right that theories make predictions that can be tested, but what pulls those predictions squarely out of the realm of speculation is the ability to test those predictions within a reasonable time frame. If there were a prediction that could be tested now then that would be ideal.

The dictionary definition of "speculate" leads us to this: "to conclude or suppose from grounds or evidence insufficient to ensure reliability." (American Heritage Dictionary) Can we yet ensure the reliability of the aforementioned predictions?

:lol:

CB

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But I don't think prediction of how the continents will move in the future is speculation, nor do I think prediction that the Earth's atmosphere (lowest part) will warm by 2-5C by the about the time of CO2 doubling, that have been around for decades, are speculations either. Theories make predictions that can be tested, I think using the word speculation for those predictions undermines what science is about.

Agreed - speculation is a little too emotive - but I'm struggling to find a better word - hypothetical maybe less emotive. I am more sceptical than you about the projected temperature rises in relation to CO2 levels, my sceptisism isn't related to either the increased temps predicted or the increased CO2 levels - just the causality between them.

At the other side of the argument relating to consequences I am still not convinced about those either. I am hoping that we are progressing the science well enough in the right direction so that we can make much better predictions as to how the Earth being warmer will actually affect humankind in real terms. I also hope that we are going to stop (as scientists) being so hung up on the CO2/Temperature conundrum and start realising that CO2 is a relative inconsequence in the greater scheme of the widespread destruction that is occuring as a result of unchecked consumerism. It would appear that the science relating to general environmental vandelism has been lost in the furore of this obsession with CO2 emissions.

Finally I think that a lot of the frustration seen on here (particularly from sceptics like me) is the fact that the science is being quoted totally out of context in many cases by the media. This one sided and biased treatment (mostly in the media and political circles) of sceptics as non-believers and deniers is nothing new in science but it does lead to frustration. (thank our stars that religion does not control science anymore - we would all have been burned at the stake by now for these views :lol: ) As I alluded to in an earlier post in this thread - there is a place for activists and a place for sceptics - side by side - in this argument and their collective and often opposing views do not mutually exclude each other. We will reach the right place at the right time if we tread carefully and question everything. If we race in eyes shut we will not imho.

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Hi Dev,

I think both of your first predictions could be classed as speculation, in that our predictions of how the continents will move are founded on the assumption that plate tectonics is correct (which is likely, but not certain), and our predictions of warming are founded upon the assumption that the relevent climatological theories are correct. Neither prediction will be proved true or false for quite some time to come.

You are quite right that theories make predictions that can be tested, but what pulls those predictions squarely out of the realm of speculation is the ability to test those predictions within a reasonable time frame. If there were a prediction that could be tested now then that would be ideal.

The dictionary definition of "speculate" leads us to this: "to conclude or suppose from grounds or evidence insufficient to ensure reliability." (American Heritage Dictionary) Can we yet ensure the reliability of the aforementioned predictions?

:)

CB

I'm English :) Speculate "Form a theory or conjecture without firm evidence". I don't think science is doing that wrt predicting* future climate - imo it's doing something more sophisticated than that, besides the word speculate has obvious -ve connotations that devalues something when it's called specualtion.

*Predict "state that (a specific event) will happen in the future" humm, I don't think it's that either :lol: since models come with % likeliyhoods, though it literally it means 'make known beforehand, declare' which is closer to what i thought it was :) .

I think (climate) science has produced results from it's theories that so far have proved to be what can be called accurate (see Hansen's models for example) and that there is very good reason to believe will also do in the future.

Anyway, I'm going way OT into the obscure...

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Agreed - speculation is a little too emotive - but I'm struggling to find a better word - hypothetical maybe less emotive. I am more sceptical than you about the projected temperature rises in relation to CO2 levels, my sceptisism isn't related to either the increased temps predicted or the increased CO2 levels - just the causality between them.

At the other side of the argument relating to consequences I am still not convinced about those either. I am hoping that we are progressing the science well enough in the right direction so that we can make much better predictions as to how the Earth being warmer will actually affect humankind in real terms. I also hope that we are going to stop (as scientists) being so hung up on the CO2/Temperature conundrum and start realising that CO2 is a relative inconsequence in the greater scheme of the widespread destruction that is occuring as a result of unchecked consumerism. It would appear that the science relating to general environmental vandelism has been lost in the furore of this obsession with CO2 emissions.

My pat answer to that is that these are climate forums and we discuss 'environmentalisim' wrt climate, or vice versa. I wholeheartedly agree we're not exactly doing a great job caring for this planet, but I am of the opinion that mucking with CO2 is something it's very unwise to do, and high on the list of worst problems. I think doubled CO2 will have very marked consequences, and I think the science, data, evidence shows that (and I mean shows, not proves). My evidence? See the IPCC.

Finally I think that a lot of the frustration seen on here (particularly from sceptics like me) is the fact that the science is being quoted totally out of context in many cases by the media. This one sided and biased treatment (mostly in the media and political circles) of sceptics as non-believers and deniers is nothing new in science but it does lead to frustration. (thank our stars that religion does not control science anymore - we would all have been burned at the stake by now for these views :lol: ) As I alluded to in an earlier post in this thread - there is a place for activists and a place for sceptics - side by side - in this argument and their collective and often opposing views do not mutually exclude each other. We will reach the right place at the right time if we tread carefully and question everything. If we race in eyes shut we will not imho.

I'm not sure there is a debate, I think the science is pretty clear, and has been for a long time. It is being tested all the time, look how people are reacting to some short term cooling due to La Nina, but, I think the next decade will see more warming. If it does, some will still argue it's not happening but the case for further delay will be even less easy to make, if it doesn't would measures to curb CO2 have been bad for us? I think not.

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I'm English :) Speculate "Form a theory or conjecture without firm evidence". I don't think science is doing that wrt predicting* future climate - imo it's doing something more sophisticated than that, besides the word speculate has obvious -ve connotations that devalues something when it's called specualtion.

*Predict "state that (a specific event) will happen in the future" humm, I don't think it's that either :lol: since models come with % likeliyhoods, though it literally it means 'make known beforehand, declare' which is closer to what i thought it was :) .

I think (climate) science has produced results from it's theories that so far have proved to be what can be called accurate (see Hansen's models for example) and that there is very good reason to believe will also do in the future.

Anyway, I'm going way OT into the obscure...

Well, British English or American English, the words mean basically the same (some words don't, I grant you, but these ones do). My definition was of the verb form of "conjecture", which I was led to by this definition of "speculate": A conclusion, opinion, or theory reached by conjecture. I'm not sure I agree that climate science is doing anything more sophisticated than that, but I accept the word "speculate" has negative connotations (though this doesn't necessarily invalidate the use of the word :) ).

I think I may bow out now, not for reasons of personal grudge, not through defeat or frustration but simply because of the fundamental mismatch between the "Pros" and the "Antis". What it all comes down to is the fact that "Pros", by and large, feel that the science is good enough, and the "Antis" feel that it isn't. I don't know of any good way that one "side" can convince the other of their viewpoint - it's not a matter of producing evidence, because Pros will usually defend the science and skeptics will usually attack it. The only science on which both sides can pretty much agree is that which isn't in the slightest bit contentious.

I think I have run out of steam - I do keep going over the same points I always do because those points are never fully resolved. We have tried resolving points in the past, making dedicated threads for them and so on, but in the end it just doesn't work. I'm happy to carry on doing what I always do - using energy-saving bulbs, driving the car as little as possible, keeping my heating down, recycling my waste, and all the other things we are now being told we should do anyway - and wait and see how things pan out. I am doing my bit for the environment, so I have nothing to feel guilty about should it all go pear-shaped: I did what I could. I disagree with a lot of the suggested measures for "sorting out the planet", but at the end of the day it's the guys in charge who make these decisions - the sooner we get off fossil fuels and start forcing the producers to clean up their act the better off everyone will be anyway.

I don't know what more I can add - I can keep pressing my points, but it hasn't got me anywhere yet really. The next few years will be very interesting, climatologically speaking, and by 2013 (just to make sure the Mayans weren't right all along!) we should start to have a clearer picture of what is going on in our world.

All the best to everyone!

:)

CB

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I'm not sure there is a debate, I think the science is pretty clear, and has been for a long time. It is being tested all the time, look how people are reacting to some short term cooling due to La Nina, but, I think the next decade will see more warming. If it does, some will still argue it's not happening but the case for further delay will be even less easy to make, if it doesn't would measures to curb CO2 have been bad for us? I think not.

I have not been a member for that long but I recall saying on a number of occasions that if the AGW debate is the tool that drives an agenda for a cleaner environment then so be it.

As CB has stated that does not mean we should stop the debate relating to the science and the wider issues surrounding this fascinating subject. I think you and I have very similar views Dev but that I am just taking a slightly more fence-sitting attitude. Kudos to you for being committed enough to clearly state your views.

In reality I think that everyone on here who comments constructively has the same thing at heart - it's just that they are stated by strong, passionate individuals and in the context of this forum the views come across as very polarised. Hypothesis - if you could quantify the views expressed on this forum and in the wider world and then plot them on a graph - we would fit in a fairly small anomoly of people that actually care enough about the planet to have this debate in the first place.

I don't wish to change peoples' minds - only they can do that for themselves. But if any one of us causes one apothetic person who happens by this forum to stop believing the hype and start trying to understand what is really going on then we have made a difference for the better. In other words this forum/debate forms a very good conduit between some extremely complicated (and quite frankly tedious in its detail) science and the average person's greater understanding of what is really going on - something we didn't have prior to the internet imo.

Now I'm rambling too :lol:

I think I may bow out now, not for reasons of personal grudge, not through defeat or frustration but simply because of the fundamental mismatch between the "Pros" and the "Antis".

I think I have run out of steam

You bloomin big drama queen :) - hehe j/k

Seriously, don't give up on the debate - as I said above. It's not the people on here you need to convince or the people outside for that matter. What matters to me (and I hope you can see this too) is that we constantly challenge what is out there and that new people come into this debate because they want to get to the truth. i know it can be frustrating at times and it's a shame that sometimes our inability to communicate accurately and our unwillingness to concede on certain points leads to a feeling that we are becoming personal in our responses.

I say ride over that stuff, stick to your guns and keep this whole thing well and truly under a microscope that we can all look through.

Wysi :)

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You bloomin big drama queen :lol: - hehe j/k

Seriously, don't give up on the debate - as I said above. It's not the people on here you need to convince or the people outside for that matter. What matters to me (and I hope you can see this too) is that we constantly challenge what is out there and that new people come into this debate because they want to get to the truth. i know it can be frustrating at times and it's a shame that sometimes our inability to communicate accurately and our unwillingness to concede on certain points leads to a feeling that we are becoming personal in our responses.

I say ride over that stuff, stick to your guns and keep this whole thing well and truly under a microscope that we can all look through.

Wysi :)

Ahem! That's "bloomin big drama king", i think you'll find! :)

Once again, though, I am going to step back, give it some time and see where things stand further down the line. There's plenty of people on here making rational arguments, including your good self. I will keep an eye on the threads, as ever, and maybe jump back in if it seems appropriate or if some new way of discussion makes itself plain to me. :)

Thanks for your thoughts, and keep up the great posts - you're a rational thinker if ever I saw one! :)

CB

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