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In the recent past you would have correctly said that I had a very open mind regarding the many complicated issues surrounding global warming. I would have told you that I understand that the Earth is probably a degree and a half warmer today than 150 years ago, that this is not warmer than we have experienced in the past (e.g. Medieval times) but that there are people debating whether in fact that is true. I would have told you that the biggest concern in the science is that it is young, with very little recent data, and that almost all of what we know about current trends is that they are not really able to fit the hypotheses of the climate models (yes models, more on that soon), that climate forcings are subject to myriad negative and positive feedbacks and that we don’t really have a good way to model those, that the economic impacts of a warmer planet are virtually nonexistent today but have the potential to be fairly large and negative if the models are right, etc. Indeed, what has been me in the slightly alarmist camp is the possibility that our models and understanding are wrong, but in a direction opposite to what a skeptic might argue. I don’t see any reason why the models can only be wrong in one direction, but I am not of course a climate modeler.

I really was slowly going through the science to try to understand what is going on. But when I have to face a steady barrage of this nonsense it really does lead me to seriously question which part of the dog is wagging what other part. Yes, you read that link correctly, “Mental Illness Rise Linked to Climate Change.”

What a freakin’ sham. I decided to read AW Montford’s Hockey Stick Illusion. If anyone had faith in the IPCC or the character in the “consensus” climate scientists, this study will shake you to your core. I’ll blog some of it soon. In the meantime, expect to see a bit more from me on the economic aspects of the debate, and we’ll focus a little bit on the difficulty of modeling complex systems.

Mental illness! I think studying climate change causes mental illness.

4 Responses to “Maybe It is Time for Me to Start Blogging on Climate Issues”

  1. Harry says:

    Another great post, Mike.

    Today on NPR was another interview show, this one featuring a former Weather Channel “climatologist.”

    Believe it or not she differentiated between global warming and climate change. Climate change is the extreme weather that occurs, and global warming, which is the long-term trend. Both are caused by man-made CO2 produced by man. She said there were a hard core of deniers — to be fair, she used more perjorative categories to describe me and you — who are stupid and deny scientific fact.

    I appreciate Wintercow’ s concerns — after all, if the data are only accurate to one degree, it may have warmed up three degrees since the 1848 revolutions in Europe.

    What bothers me is being categorized as a know-nothing racist when reciting simple lab technique from my Trinity physics professor, the aptly-named F. Woodbridge Constant.

    Indeed I wonder about how signifigant man-made carbon dioxide is in causing planetary climate change, and I surely resist grand schemes to dismantle civilization. As far as the IPCC is concerned, they want to move my civilization to them. I do not trust them to read a thermometer, and when the US is blamed for a bad anchovy harvest in West Aftica, or for a few bad days in Long Island, I tune out.

  2. Harry says:

    But yeah, wintercow, it’s about time you stop ignoring climate problems. Get on it, and call Senator Schumer to outlaw incandescent light bulbs.

    I dare wintercow to go to the faculty club for lunch, and as one of his colleagues is about to put his tofu salad in his mouth, ask him what he thinks the economic value is of those stupid bulbs.

    OK, that is too harsh, especially if it is the Dean. Maybe a discussion of Plato versus Aristotyle, and Bastiat.

  3. Rod says:

    The simple fact is this: the global warmers are only the most recent crowd to use lies to justify revolution, or at least the transfer of wealth from those who make it to those who want it. Once we allow Al Gore or the weather channel babe to make a claim on science, we’ve lost the high ground of the truth. The truth, incidentally, is about to bite us on the backside as the effects of stimulus spending unfold.

    Last night on Kudlow an investment manager whose name I forget now was trying to make a case for his recent failure to beat the averages when he “bet” against treasury bonds in the belief that interest rates would rise over the last year. He told Kudlow that he did not agree with Larry’s wholesale belief in the Kudlow Creed, and that the economy is now destined for zero growth or worse, as there is no government action left for the president to take. For that reason, he said he was going to load up on Treasurys. Inflation would not be a problem until unemployment drops to six percent (the gospel according to Samuelson).

    Back in the 80’s, Kudlow and Henry Kaufmann were almost automatically opposed — Kudlow the optimistic supply-sider and Kaufmann the Hair Shirt Taxer. Kudlow was always right on the financial markets and was the best advice one could read in the financial press. Kaufmann was always wrong.

    Me, I’m scared witless about inflation. Indeed, inflation seems to be the last resort for the deficit: just create the federal reserve notes or even treasury notes it takes to soak up the $1.5 to $2 trillion we will run up in the current year (Hurricane Irene is an excuse for more big-scale infrastructure and transmission repair funding). And why not? Wasn’t the president left with the biggest economic mess since the Great Depression? It takes some time to pull that car out of the ditch, especially when there are so many Republicans riding in the back seat.

    Which reminds me — there is a sale on ammo at Cabela’s. Apparently production of ammo has caught up with demand. I think you can get AK-47 rounds for less than a half a buck. I’m also thinking of declaring myself a member of the Unami Nation, a status that is effective upon assertion, sort of like climate data. Can I have a casino if I’m a member of the Unami Tribe? Can I sell cigarettes tax-free like they do in Southampton?

  4. Ben says:

    This is not my website, but it is a very thorough look on the history of climatology. There are many very good essays, and, to me, sound very much reasonable. The basic over-arching hypothesis/conclusion is that the climate is a series of feedback cycles that do a pretty good job of balancing the climate naturally.

    The issue that leads to the strongest conclusion that humans can effect the climate comes from a measure of the total carbon in the atmosphere (I believe it is measured in ppm, but I have not read the papers in several years). That measure is the root of the “hockey stick” charts that float around from time to time, but they themselves are very misleading without the context.

    This essay covers the historical study of carbon in the atmosphere

    This essay has a more model based coverage of climate

    There are a handful of other essays that are also interesting. These were all written by a physicist named Spencer Weart, who changed his career and enrolled as a grad student in a history program. http://www.aip.org/history/climate/author.htm

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