Meanwhile, under the Arctic ice…


The most depressing thing about this campaign is the way the climate change debate has gone. Any hope that it might rise to the level of an informed argument about which strategy for cutting greenhouse gas emissions is better—the Tories’ suspiciously complicated cap-and-trade plan, or the Liberals’ more straightforward carbon tax—is all but dead.

Instead, this epochal issue is being reduced to merely one campaign theme among many, and Stéphane Dion is forced to reassure audiences that his Green Shift wouldn’t hurt them, rather than focusing on how it might be Canada’s first real contribution to the global effort to avert a planetary crisis. And while our election turns on the psychology of short-term self-interest, the real news is about science warning us that climate change is likely to turn into an even worse problem, even faster than we imagine.

FOR MORE: Meanwhile, under the Arctic Ice… (Part II)


Meanwhile, under the Arctic ice…

  1. I for one am quite happy this BS has been regulated to the back burner where it belongs. Even if AGW is real, (which I don’t buy) it can only benefit Canadians, and better allow us to helop mitigate any negatives that might occur elsewhere in the world.

  2. We’re doomed as a species, too greedy and lazy to do anything for our long term benefit. The only question is when.

  3. Sorry John, I blame the press on this one. The LPC and the Greens are more than willing to tackle climate change in this election but reporters aren’t interested other than to just repeat ad nauseum that the detail of their platforms are too complicated for us voters.

    Instead, the press seems content to follow Harper’s lead and focus on a so-called leadership issue. I’m still trying to figure out what the CPC platform is for this election and can’t understand how the media is letting them get away with their lack of one to date.

  4. take it from me boudica, blaming the media for anything is considered bad form around here.

  5. I agree with John. Our “civilization” only seems capable of moblizing collective effort and sacrifice when it comes to war. Even if you cling to the flat-earth inclincation of denying the evidence in favour of global warming, surely the objective fact that fossil fuels are finite ought to make the case.

  6. Greg, you’re simply wrong.

    Even though Canada is cold, global warming does not mean a nice smooth increase in warming. It means that the weather in general will become more volatile. What good is a longer growing season with no rain for 3 months of it, or significant flooding? Also, the increased warm temperatures make it far easier for pests and disease to spread and survive in Canadian fields.

    As for not buying whether AGW is real, there is currently no other credible explanation that addresses the facts we are now observing. All other significant forcers of global warming suggest we should be experiencing, at best, status quo, and possibly significant cooling. We aren’t. It’s only when greenhouse gas forcing, specifically CO2, is included do the observations about temperature make sense.

    That is, unless you buy into the “God’s just hugging us closer” theory.

  7. No need to say sorry, boudica, I don’t think blaming the media is out of bounds.

  8. If the linked Independent article is correct and very large amounts of methane are being released, how is reducing CO2 emissions going to help? *If* we are indeed going to switch to a warmer state inevitably, ISTM we have to adapt to it. Preventative measures only make sense if the switch is still preventable.

    That will need more analysis than is in the linked article.

  9. In Manitoba we’re digging a bigger ditch to “adapt” to flooding. Now can we cut the ghg’s?

  10. Science? Who needs science?

    Scientists ruling from their ivory towers know nothing. What’s important is what makes sense to me.

    Today, that would include eating 4 Johnsonville Bratwurst Chedder Sausages with cheeze wiz, along with a litre of cola. It just feels right.

  11. Could it be that the Canadian voter is much less concerned about climate change than our brightest and best think they should be? It is not very convincing to blame the media or voter stupidity when the great unwashed don’t follow the line you want them to.

    Democracy sucks when it doesn’t do what you think is the right thing!

  12. Yeah, I’m with boudica. If the press wasn’t obsessed with polling numbers, gotcha tactics, piling on Dion, lionizing Harper’s “strong leadership” and whinging about how they don’t get the Green Shift

    (lower income taxes, price carbon, revenue neutral, it ain’t hard)

    there probably would be an intelligent debate.

    But they are. So it isn’t.

  13. In once sense Navigator, you’re correct. If the methane from beneath the ocean is being released, it really is too late. Double check your insurance everyone, and you may want to pay extra for “weather related damage” — assuming you can find an insurer who will still offer it.

    However, in the other sense, we are still dealing with an energy supply that is of finite nature, and a demand for energy that is not only infinite in nature, but increasing in its intensity. Businesses and private individuals need every incentive we can provide to get them working on energy reduction solutions both so that we can get a jump on the competition and be prepared to sell when they start looking, and also so that we don’t have to buy from outside in competition with everybody else when the time comes.

  14. My take is that the environment is “old news”. I know Dion continues to talk about climate change, but whether the press decides to follow up on this is their choice.

    But I do think that this will change after the debates.


  15. “Science? Who needs science?”

    Scott M

    If scientists were a little less political they might be more believable because right now they have sold out science in an attempt to get even more grant money.

    I don’t believe global warming is happening, and it certainly is not man-made if it is, but I would like scientists and others who claim AGW is occurring to explain the eras known as Roman Warm Period, Dark Ages Cold Period, Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age.

    There’s a pattern there, if you take the time to look into those eras, and it shows that mother nature likes to cool and heat the earth in cycles that have nothing to do with SUV emissions.

    And Bill Simpson is correct. I am getting tired of this view that people don’t understand the arguments and need to be ‘educated’ even more. They have thought about the issue and decided that agw is a load of bollocks and don’t want to pay billions of dollars to fix a problem that doesn’t exist.

  16. Thwim,
    Who is “we” in the context? Since you want “we” to provide incentives to businesses and private individuals (is there anyone else out there?), who is this “we”.

  17. jwl: Nobody’s arguing that climate change hasn’t happened before.

    The problem is if you look into any of the causes behind those various periods, none of them apply properly today. Not the sun’s energy output, not malkovitch cycles, not volcanic cycles, not orbital position, none of them.

    The logic you’re applying is basically, “Every previous instance of climate change before has been natural, therefore all climate change is natural.” It’s bad logic. It’s like saying “Every bird I’ve seen today has been black, therefore all birds are black.”

    Your second argument is an appeal to common sense. This is like saying “Look, everybody knows that heavier things fall faster than lighter things, so saying people simply have to get educated is wrong. We all just know it, okay?”

  18. Yes, jwl. All the impartial scientists are lying to you for grant money. The only people telling you the truth are the guys working for the companies that directly benefit from it.

    (It’s just like cigarettes that way! Phillip Morris was right all along! Light ’em up, it’s good for your “T-zone”!)

  19. (Also a lie: heliocentrism, the existence of the quark, gravity, the periodic table of elements, and Africa.)

  20. Bill: You’re right, I was unclear. The first We is in the context of “humanity” is dealing with the finite energy supply. But the second we that will provide incentives is Canadian society.. me, you, all of us in Canada.

  21. I seem to recall a survey reported on the National, some ten days ago, that showed the environment barely ranked among the issues of importance to voters (it was number five or so, if memory serves me).

    I think what we’re up against may be larger than this election, and the media coverage of issues. It may have to do with enormity of the problem, and the scope of behaviour change required to address it.

    It seems like folks are falling into two camps: first, those who think the threat is being overstated (remember Y2K?), and generally don’t trust/believe science (let’s not forget that significant proportions of our society don’t accept evolution as a theory – why should the case for global warming be any more persuasive?).

    The second camp consists of those who accept that we are damaging the planet in a profound and frightening manner. But I think many of those folks doubt that taxing or capping carbon output will do much good. At which point we’re asking everyone to make real sacrifices that may well have only symbolic merit in addressing the crisis.

    Now, I happen to think that doing something is better than doing nothing, and that the eventual end of fossil fuels represents reason enough to switch to alternative energies. But the shift in cultural mindset required to “do the right thing”, when little tangible benefit can be promised, probably explains why even those who want to stop global warming aren’t pushing the federal government to do much about it.

  22. “However, in the other sense, we are still dealing with an energy supply that is of finite nature, and a demand for energy that is not only infinite in nature, but increasing in its intensity.”

    Yes, but pricing mechanisms will take care of that part of it. And, yes, the gasoline tax should be increased (not that anybody has the guts to do it). But politics is the art of the possible. Dion should perhaps have read the advice of Robert A. Heinlein: “Never appeal to a man’s “better nature. ” He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage.”

    And more votes.

  23. Ah, so “humanity” is worried about fossil fuel energy sources and “society” is going to provide incentives to Canadians!

    But it is not as if you are making a few assumptions about your view of what “humanity” is concerned about and what goals “society” may have?

    Reality check: not even a majority of sampled voters agree with you on this.

    And can we please stop condescending on these hapless voters? It as though you simply can’t even acknowledge a different point of view on these subjects. Anyone who disagrees is stupid, misinformed or in the pay of someone.

    And you wonder why we can’t have a debate on substantial issues?

  24. Navigator: Oh they will, I agree, but wouldn’t you rather be ahead of the market than behind it?

    Not to mention, if we’re behind in this market people will literally be going hungry, because if we’re not prepared for the rising costs of fuel, we’re not going to be prepared for the rising cost of food that goes along with it.

  25. Ah, so now, according to Bill (and presumably jwl), science is done by consensus.

    (Of unnamed, unsourced public opinion polls.)

    Well, then, so long evolution. We hardly knew ye.

  26. Navigator,
    CO2 is used as a baseline greenhouse gas, and all gases are rated according to it. I haven’t looked closely into details but
    (1) CO2 emission is, by both total volume and total strength, the largest anthropogenic GHG, even though by unit of volume it is not at all the strongest (all according to US gov data on-line (EPA & EIA mainly))
    (2) presumably any global-warming plan will deal with both CO2 and other sources of GHG, in proportion to the cost/benefit of dealing with them. (eg, I’m assuming the 2 carbon tax and 2 cap-and-trade proposals on the table deal with all GHGs, not just CO2)

  27. No, public policy is done by consensus.

  28. And Thwim,

  29. , if this is a market we are playing in, how does it become a matter of public policy where “we” (humanity? society?) may be positioned since this is a matter of individual action?

  30. Demosthenes,
    It was in the court of public opinion that evolution gained acceptance as a theory, after a lot of difficult and heated debate. Global warming has to go through the same wringer; so far it has not convinced enough for it to become adopted as the basis for public policy.

  31. Bill, I’m not making any assumptions about humanity. Humanity will face an energy crisis. Period. This is simply established fact when one looks at our energy usage development in comparison with our energy supply development. Without some change occuring, there will be an energy crisis.

    I’m also not making any assumptions about society. I said businesses and individuals need the incentives we can provide them. Whether we as a society want to or not doesn’t change whether the need exists if we want to be able to deal with the energy crisis. Whether we want to or not? Okay, that can be debated, but that wasn’t what I was talking about.

    Whether voters agree or not is irrelevant to what the facts are. I don’t care how many people say that heavier things fall faster than lighter things, that doesn’t make it so. Similarly, anybody who disagrees in this case really is misinformed, or at least uninformed.

    The reason we can’t have debate is because there’s no debate to be had. It’s like debating the existance of Australia.

  32. Two Hats: My argument is actually based on a chain of events, which I should have made more clear. Although CO2 is the largest anthropogenic contributor, if it acts as a trigger to seabed CH4 [methane] *and that CH4 overwhelms the CO2 effect – which is what Andrew’s link could suggest* – and that, in term, causes irreversible warming – then ISTM the correct approach is to devote resources to adapting to the warming. But my point was also that it is too early to conclude that such a chain of events is unfolding, based on the linked article.

    Nevertheless, I believe that a carbon tax is the correct approach economically but will likely be impossible politically – not least because of overwhelming opposition in Alberta.

  33. “The reason we can’t have debate is because there’s no debate to be had. It’s like debating the existance of Australia.”

    Oh dear. This is not very scientific! You should look up some of the debates about evolution that continue to go on. One of the key mistakes that a lot of people make in considering evolution is to equate a “theory” with a “belief” and then reducing the discussion to its lower common denominator – your belief against mine.

    Thwim – if you are seriously denying the possibility of debate on this matter, I ask again: how do expect there to be a serious discussion of this in the public sphere?

  34. Bill S.,

    That’s why I think a focus on the eventual depletion of oil, natural gas, and coal is likely one that more of us can unite behind. That those supplies are finite is an objective fact, not a theory.

  35. Demosthenes

    Depending on what definition of ‘consensus’ your using, I would argue of course science is done by consensus.

    Theory of evolution is considered the best argument for explaining how life has developed over the millennia and only a few fringe scientists, and millions of evangelicals, question it. We are nowhere near approaching consensus on global warming, far from it in fact.

    T Thwim

    The variables you point as ’causes’ were not the same over the past millennia and than all of a sudden changed. Ebbs and flows.

    Your example of common sense is pretty bad as well because heavy things don’t, in fact, fall faster. The common sense argument would be something like: we see over the centuries that earth heats and cools itself and so until it can absolutely proven that this is not what’s occurring now maybe we shouldn’t mess around with mother nature because humans don’t have a good track record when we do.

  36. “Your example of common sense is pretty bad as well because heavy things don’t, in fact, fall faster.”

    Poorly written, not true. Please ignore.

  37. Um, jwl,

    How do you know that the earth has cooled and warmed “over the centuries”?

  38. Bill – global warming denials aside (jwl, I’m disappointed in you), we don’t have 100 years to debate whether to “believe” the consensus opinion of the world’s scientists. Human society is a giant system and that system will only change slowly with massive effort.

    The global climate is an even bigger system and at some point once it really starts to move it will be damn near impossible to influence/stop.

    Knowing that, the urgent recommendation of the world scientific community is to begin reducing carbon emissions NOW before global warming becomes a runaway phenomenon completely out of our control.

    The situation calls for leadership. We’ve had a gross failure of leadership in North America for 15+ years and we can expect a continuation of that failure in Canada if Harper is elected.

    Incidentally, if I heave to listen to one more media report about people “believing” in evolution I’m going to scream. It’s creating a false equivalence between faith in the unknown (ie religion) and a theory based on observations of things that actually happen in our world.

  39. Sean S

    Google Roman Warm Period, Dark Ages Cold Period, Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age and you will see what I am referring to.

  40. jwl – I responded to you earlier but two links means the comment is awaiting moderation. Short answer is that those earlier episodes of warm/cool climate correlate with sun activity, while this warm period does not.

    Also, you said: “We are nowhere near approaching consensus on global warming, far from it in fact.”

    That is incorrect. There is overwhelming consensus in the scientific community. It might be wrong (that’s science) but there is little disagreement.

    e.g. (I think this is free access):
    “In this Essay, Oreskes analyzes the existing scientific literature to show that there is a robust consensus that anthropogenic global climate change is occurring.”

  41. Last week’s evil AGW gas was Nitrogen. This week it’s Methane.

    The hoaxers are getting desperate in their efforts to keep us scared; yet their champion Stephane Dion throws the green shift under the bus as soon as it becomes a vote loser.

    So much for the urgent ‘climate crisis’, even the alarmists don’t believe their own rhetoric.

  42. dailybayonet, don’t you believe that humans dumping chemicals into our environment might have an adverse effect? Why is that so difficult for you to believe?

  43. TJ – yes, this is the clincher isn’t it: if we don’t act now, civilization as we know it will disappear!

    So we have to change everything NOW otherwise we are all doomed!

    Hmmm…huge ponderous global climate systems…massively complex interactions of many factors……huge changes and adjustments to our economy and lifestyle…but no time to wait – act now! Panic! Alarum!

    No wonder the electorate is unconvinced!

  44. jwl,

    I was being too obtuse. What I meant was that most of our knowledge about prior periods of warming and cooling are based upon geological and scientific evidence and theory, and thus are somewhat out of bounds to use in refuting current arguments put for by geologists and scientists. (You smartly stuck to historically documented eras, but I’d point out that some of those you mention are debatable as to their global scope – they may have been local phenomena only).

  45. Ian, let’s not conflate pollution with climate change.

    I agree with cleaning up pollution, it’s reasonable and a sensible policy.

    Pretending that CO2 causes climate change is junk science, nothing more. It represents such a tiny fraction of the atmosphere that it is impossible for it to have the disastrous effects attributed to it, no matter how many times you watch An Inconvenient Truth.

    The entire global warming hoax exists because of computer models that take no account of atmospheric water vapour, clouds, dust and particulates or the output of the sun; all of which have far greater potential to affect temperature than poor benighted CO2.

    Your question above belies the great flaw in the climate hoax. I should not have to ‘believe’ it; it should be proved beyond doubt. So far it is far from proven.

    David Suzuki and James Hansen would rather throw non-believers in jail than debate them. When I see bullying behaviour like that, I ask questions. I recommend you do the same.

  46. Bill,jwl, et al:
    Scientists have been talking about climate change for nearly 30 years. That consensus was reached long ago. It only became a political issue 10 years ago. The deniers are like the modern-day evangelicals who deny evolution. And despite ~100 years of study, it is still referred to by scientists as the “theory of evolution” and not the “law of evolution”. That should give a clear indication of how cautious the scientific community is in stating things with unanimity.

    CO2 is a reference. All other GHGs and pollutants are given a CO2 equivalent. Methane is given a CO2 equivalent. Doesn’t matter if someone talks about nitrogen one day, methane another, it still goes back to CO2 equivalents.

    Finally, yes the biosphere is highly complex and regulated. It can handle perturbations to a point, and that point is close to being reached. If anyone here studies complex systems, they would appreciate that as perturbations to a system reach a threshold point and are consistent, the system becomes more unstable. When that threshold is exceeded, the system collapses and a new set point is reached.

    But if you are going to die within the next 20-30 years, I suppose I could understand why y’all couldn’t care less.


  47. Well then. The scientists better get on board the Know-Nothing express. The research funding basket may stay the same but it can easily be made “flexible” and redirected to , oh…. say, the effect of flag-waving on support for the military.

  48. Right Bill – so we should ignore the consensus of thousands of scientists who’ve spent their lives studying the climate in order to give geniuses like ‘dailybayonet’ time to decide whether they “believe”.

    Or maybe we should write the whole thing off as a global conspiracy, like jwl recommends.

    Either way, what do all those climate scientists know about the climate? pfft, so-called experts, it’s cold outside today, therefore you don’t “believe” in global warming. Plus? There was this ice age one time, so this must be “normal”.

    There’s nothing hugely complex about an observable massive buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution and a coincident increase in global average temperature. What’s hugely complex is how this will play out going forward – the consensus is that it will have a huge impact on human society and the only way to mitigate that impact is to start now.

    Seriously Bill, do you really think you know better than the world’s population of climate scientists? Do you really think (jwl) that there’s a global conspiracy to – what – get more research funding? Are you really that obtuse?

  49. dailyboyonet “It represents such a tiny fraction of the atmosphere that it is impossible for it to have the disastrous effects attributed to it, no matter how many times you watch An Inconvenient Truth.”

    CO2 is 385ppm in the atmosphere. Since that is so small a number as to be insignificant, would you like a similar concentration of Aflatoxin in your bloodstream?

    “it should be proved [sic] beyond doubt”

    Clearly you don’t understand science. How can you spend so much time trying to refute it?

  50. TJ – there are a lots of ways that this may play out, and lots of ways that we can mitigate the impact of climate change.

    What I am not prepared to do is rush at the problem and jeopardize our local and current way of life in favor of ill-defined and nebulous goals for the future. Do you think that people do not recognize that Canada’s work in this area is purely symbolic, since we account for such a small part of the GHG emissions? This is what the carbon tax represents and this is why the electorate is very skeptical.

    Again – why is this so hard to debate without reverting to personal abuse?

  51. TJ, the consensus you credit with so much importance is a sham. The IPCC reluctantly had to release the details of their consensus when challenged with a freedom of information request.

    Here’s what they found:
    A total of 308 reviewers commented on the SOR, but only 32 reviewers commented on more than three chapters and only five reviewers commented on all 11 chapters of the report. Only about half the reviewers commented on more than one chapter. It is logical that reviewers would generally limit their comments to their areas of expertise but it’s a far cry from the idea of thousands of scientists agreeing to anything.

    So the ‘consensus’ is really 308, not 2,500, and I’m still being generous. Most of the IPCC members are bureaucrats, not scientists, and many of those scientists have no background in climate science.

    Like it or not, these are facts. If you don’t like them, I refer you to Bjorn Lomborg’s Copenhagen Consensus. That group do allow that global warming is happening, but that most of the solutions proposed are too expensive and have no impact.

    Oh, and warming stopped in 1998. Google it.

  52. Abuse? Read it again. Calling an obtuse point of view obtuse is hardly “abuse”.

    Again: Do you think you know better than the population of the world’s climate scientists?

  53. Okay, dailybayonet, I’m bored so I’ll take the bait…

    If one were to accept your premise that the global warming crisis is a hoax, being perpetuated by thousands of people, I would assume you can explain why they are doing so. Enlighten us, please…

  54. Ian,

    Water vapour accounts for 95% of the greenhouse effect in the atmosphere, but the models exclude it.

    If I show you only 5% of a complex math equation, can you claim to accurately solve it?

    If the IPCC or others can show that CO2 has any effect on temperature after including water vapour, dust & particulates, solar energy and clouds, I’ll sell my SUV. But they can’t.

    Also, please note; I don’t need to resort to name calling, straw men or ad hominem attacks. Why do you, are your facts not robust enough?

  55. dailybayonet – cheap strawman. The IPCC is one panel of scientists. The fact that every climate scientist in the world wasn’t included in the panel is irrelevant, as is the number of people who commented on any given chapter.

    As for Bjørn Lomborg, it took all of 3 seconds to get to his Wikipedia article, including, under the heading “Accusations of Scientific Dishonesty”:

    The DCSD cited The Skeptical Environmentalist for:
    Fabrication of data;
    Selective discarding of unwanted results (selective citation);
    Deliberately misleading use of statistical methods;
    Distorted interpretation of conclusions;
    Deliberate misinterpretation of others’ results.

    So you have this one discredited source vs the consensus opinion of the world’s climate scientists. Hardly convincing.

  56. Earth:

    Climate history to date:

    1. 15 Ice Ages

    2. 15 Global Warmings

    3. Continued

  57. TJ – well, maybe I am getting oversensitive (it’s this weather, dammit…), but these debates seem to run into the sand very quickly.

    Bjørn Lomborg is worth another look, particularly a recent symposium he chaired. His main thrust is about the costs of particular lines of action in respect of climate change against the benefits they may confer.

    So – do we think that the carbon tax is going to provide a benefit to Canada commensurate with the disruption and cost? Is our climate going to be measurably improved, notwithstanding any action by the other larger economies in the world? If no-one else acts, then we would be better to save our many for the possible problems in the future rather than spend it on symbolic gestures right now. If others act, then we can follow according to some better sense of the likely best course.

    I mean – if the climate over my house is going to change radically over the next 20 years, what is my best course of action? Should I move, change my furnace, fit new windows, put in a swimming pool, what exactly?

  58. “Also, please note; I don’t need to resort to name calling, straw men or ad hominem attacks. Why do you, are your facts not robust enough?”

    Where did I do this? I’m just providing established rebuttals to your claims. And if you want “proof without a doubt” you’re not going to get it from science.

  59. Sean S.

    I have no good answer, it’s the best question yet, and it defeats me. Here’s what I think, but these are thoughts in progress.

    There may be thousands of people involved in climate science, I would estimate that very few of them don’t believe sincerely in what they are doing. Some may have added a ‘climate change’ angle to get grants, but that’s not unusual to try to make research relevant to a hot topic – it’s just good fundraising.

    Maurice Strong might be the spark, or Rachel Carson. Al Gore popularized the idea of global warming, and David Suzuki does the same.

    I’ll clarify that I don’t think this is a global conspiracy. I hate conspiracy theories. I think it’s more like Y2K hysteria.

    People watched a movie, thought jeez, that’s bad and it entered the collective conciousness. News organizations picked it up, the weather channel covered it and suddenly we’re all supposed to run back to the caves.

    I was happy to recycle and do some of the other small things that reduce waste. I got interested when people started saying the debate was over before I heard a question asked. Usually that kind thuggery is hiding something else. So I peeked under the hood and have been blogging about it ever since.

    What irks me the most is that people that have spent zero time looking at the issue tell me to shut up; when did holding an opinion become a crime?

  60. TJ,

    Let’s correct the DCSD smear of Lomborg:
    on December 17 2003, the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation completely rescinded this finding. It released a 70-page evaluation criticizing at least 13 points in the DCSD report, three of which individually would have led to it being rescinded. It found the DCSD verdict “dissatisfactory”, “deserving [of] criticism” and “emotional.” Most importantly, the Ministry found “that the DCSD has not documented where [Lomborg] has allegedly been biased in his choice of data and in his argumentation, and that the [DCSD] ruling is completely void of argumentation.” The case was finally dropped by DCSD March 12 2004.

    Also, I referred in my post only to the IPCC. No other group has been so responsible for the current climate alarmism.

    The IPCC is the group that touted consensus as proof of their viability. I showed you that the IPCC exaggerated their claim of consensus almost ten-fold.

    Facts, got to love them.

  61. db: Water vapor does comprise 95% of the greenhouse gas effect. It also rains out fairly frequently. When diamonds start dropping from the sky, then we can write off the carbon in the atmosphere similarly.

    And yes, CO2 does compose a very small part of our atmosphere. However, its effects are far disproportional to its physical amount. Add two drops of food coloring to a bowl of water, the whole bowl turns color.

  62. Ian,
    The dig about personal attacks wasn’t meant for you, but I see how you thought it was. My error, sorry.

  63. T,
    CO2 is absorbed by plants and trees, which equals your rain comparison. Unlike lead (Pb) in your body, atmospheric CO2 is not forever.

    And yes, the water changes colour. But it’s still water.

  64. “If one were to accept your premise that the global warming crisis is a hoax, being perpetuated by thousands of people, I would assume you can explain why they are doing so.”

    Sean S

    Al Gore has made more than $100 million since he generated so much hysteria with his ‘documentary’ but continues to fly in his own private jet and lives in a mansion that consumes more electricity in a month than the average home does in a year. If he really believed the earth was in peril, would he continue with this behaviour?

    And Dan Gardner’s article today could also explain it. I don’t think all scientists believe global warming isn’t happening but want that the rest of us to believe in it. As Gardner writes:

    “Psychologists have demonstrated repeatedly that when we have a strong feeling something is true, we do not think about it consciously and carefully. We just go with our gut.”

  65. Sorry, that doesn’t compare to rain. Excess water rains out, the physical nature of H2O molecules causes this to happen. Excess CO2 remains present until it is absorbed by these natural processes. The problem is that we’re releasing CO2 a lot faster than the natural intakes can pull it back in.

    And while the water is still water, can you say that the coloring hasn’t had a significant effect? Similarly CO2 in our atmosphere. It’s still our atmosphere, but the CO2 is having a significant effect.

    Not that any of this matters, because at this point I think Bill and Bjørn are correct in the respect that there’s little we can do now that will slow or stop climate change, especially given the article referenced at the top here.

    It looks like instead of relying on human ability and ingenuity to moderate our CO2 output, we’re going to rely on the earth’s methods instead — disease, famine, and the resultant depopulation.

    That all said, a tax on carbon remains a solid proposal even still. The energy crisis will still occur, and the alternative to developing a lower energy lifestyle at a rate we can control is being forced into one at a rate controlled by the market.. and the market has no sympathy for whether it’s a good lifestyle or not.

  66. Bill – no worries, happens to me too :)

    I’m simply unwilling to give Bjorn Lomborg credible standing. 3 more seconds at his Wikipedia article reveals “The Union of Concerned Scientists strongly criticised The Skeptical Environmentalist, claiming it to be “seriously flawed and failing to meet basic standards of credible scientific analysis”, accusing Lomborg of presenting data in a fraudulent way, using flawed logic and selectively citing non-peer-reviewed literature.”

    Everybody loves an iconoclast, but this guy sounds for all the world like one of those scientists with a PhD who loans his credibility to the Intelligent Design/Creationism “movement”. The typical role is to be just credible enough that those who are determined to “believe” can convince themselves.

    I don’t have the experience to properly assess this guy myself (just like dailybayonet doesn’t have the experience to throw statistics around in any meaningful way) but the bulk of the world’s climate scientists seem to say he’s a charlatan. You can’t seriously expect me to give him credibility under those circumstances?

    As for the carbon tax, how do you assess the disruption and cost? Why do you assume that our current tax structure is the natural order and that shifting taxes over to polluters is unnatural?

    And Canada’s net impact will be small because we’re a small population. But we’re one of the largest per-capita energy consumers in the world. If we resolve to reduce our collective and individual carbon footprints, we will:

    – Show the world (while we learn from more progressive nations) how to drive efficiency into a nation and an economy

    – Get a jump on the rest of the world’s economies in the nascent field of energy-efficient technology

    – Stop lending our credibility to the US – stop acting as a fig leaf for their inaction. We punch above our weight on the world stage because Canada has a reputation for integrity. If Canada were to commit to action, it could have a disproportionate effect on the rest of the world.

    – Reduce our dependence on the Alberta Tar Sands, and maybe reduce the ungodly pollution associated with them.

    And where is the downside? The Green Shift seems to be more about equipping the tax system with the levers necessary to effect this change.

    As for individual preparations, personally, I have no idea. I worry less for myself than I do for my kids, but I don’t know what the right course of action is within the budget and lifespan of an individual person.

  67. TJ,
    I gave you direct quotes from the Danish government’s review of the Lomborg case. The DCSD even withdrew its complaint, but you dismiss him based on wikipedia?

    CO2/water analogies aside, we agree on other items. I don’t like carbon taxes, or offsets, they funnel cash into the wrong things in the name of global warming. I like the Copenhagen Consensus solutions best, human inventiveness and dealing with real issues today will likely have better outcomes all round.

    I can’t continue here, work to do, but thanks for a lively debate :)

  68. dailybayonet: you seem to think that random facts constitute an argument.

    Read my reply to Bill Simpson re: Bjorn Lomborg. He’s simply not a credible source.

    Also: The credibility of the IPCC rests on the quality of the work and the reputations of the scientists who produced it, like any science. It does NOT rest on the number of comments included in the final text. Again: total strawman.

    Also: yes there is a carbon cycle through which CO2 moves in and out of the atmosphere. But the carbon cycle is very, very slow and – especially in an age of massive deforestation – is not capable of removing the vast amounts of CO2 that humanity has been pumping into the atmosphere for 200 years. That’s why atmospheric CO2 has been climbing steadily for decades.

    Worse – and this is THE POINT – we’re nearing or already in a positive feedback loop through which the continued warming frees more greenhouse gas, which drives further warming etc.

    jwl – seriously, you think Al Gore is in this for the money? Surely you know that all profits from his film and book have been donated to a foundation dedicated to education. He didn’t keep the money.

    And I know from your previous posts that you don’t “believe” in carbon offsets, but Gore has made his life carbon neutral as well as the production and marketing of the film. And yet you cling to a conspiracy theory that this is all about lefties making profits?

  69. TJ:
    – Show the world (while we learn from more progressive nations) how to drive efficiency into a nation and an economy

    >>Sorry – don’t care about this!

    – Get a jump on the rest of the world’s economies in the nascent field of energy-efficient technology

    >>We can do this without the carbon tax.

    – Stop lending our credibility to the US – stop acting as a fig leaf for their inaction. We punch above our weight on the world stage because Canada has a reputation for integrity. If Canada were to commit to action, it could have a disproportionate effect on the rest of the world.

    >>China, India? I doubt it.

    – Reduce our dependence on the Alberta Tar Sands, and maybe reduce the ungodly pollution associated with them.

    >>This one is the toughie!

  70. Regarding my previous post – ‘Milankovich cycles’ are the phenomenon I mentioned above. Google it for some extra reading, jwl. The name had escaped me.

  71. CO2 is absorbed by plants and trees, which equals your rain comparison. Unlike lead (Pb) in your body, atmospheric CO2 is not forever.

    Actually, no.

    Pb in your body is not forever. You body is able to clear it out, albeit at a slower rate than other metals.

    When there is constant source of Pb (lipstick, makeup, think Roman empire), your body accumulates it because the rate of exposure exceeds that of clearance. And guess what, eventually, your kidney fails first, and then there is no clearance. Then you get all the overt symptoms of something gone wrong.

    Atmospheric CO2 is the same.


  72. Bill S,

    Sorry, the first point should have read “show the world how to drive *energy* efficiency into a nation and an economy”

    On the assumption that $20/bbl oil is gone, this has inherent value. The carbon tax is an incentive to speed this effort.

    Get a jump on energy-efficient technologies: sure, we can do it in the absence of a green shift, but the green shift will support and drive innovation. It’s the difference between the usual technology/product development vs. ‘eating your own dogfood’. If the whole country is working to drive energy/carbon efficiency it will spur developments that wouldn’t be pursued on their own. God knows Canada needs to develop its potential in high-tech and we’re being outpaced by the rest of the world right now.

    China? India? Not at first. But it will incent the US which is one of the biggest contributors to the problem. Ultimately it will position the western world to demand improvements on the part of India and China. Right now it’s a giant game of “I’m not doing anything until you do” and we’re actively supporting that stance.

    The Tar Sands – yup, a toughie. And a potential national disgrace if we keep developing before we know how we’re going to deal with the pollution, the devastated landscape, the massive water consumption and the carbon emissions.

  73. jwl, the little ice age was a -0.55C cooling, medieval warm period a 0.25C warming. We’re at about +0.8C and locked in for almost as much. It is +2C or so that worries physicists, 8x more than your example. IPCC candidly states where they are uncertain, ie) water. That’s why their projections are from +1.5C to +7C. I’m starting to think we’d be better off if the USSR won the Cold War…

  74. TJ Cook,
    You really are a dishonest fool.
    The Danish government overturns the scientific criticisms of Blomberg but you prefer smears on a wikipedia article?
    Also, Lomberg believes in anthropomorphic global warming, he just doesn’t think that the current plans to reduce CO2 emissions pass a cost-benefit test.
    Oh, and Cambridge University Press published ‘The Skeptical Environmentalist’.

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