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David Brin

David Brin
Location
San Diego, California, USA
Birthday
October 06
Bio
http://www.davidbrin.com David Brin’s novels have been translated into more than twenty languages, including New York Times Best-sellers that won Hugo and Nebula awards. His 1989 ecological thriller, Earth, foreshadowed cyberwarfare, the World Wide Web, global warming and Gulf Coast flooding. A 1998 Kevin Costner film was loosely adapted from his post-apocalyptic novel, The Postman. ............................................ Brin is a noted scientist, futurist and speaker who appears frequently on television (Life After People, The Universe), discussing trends in the near and far future, on subjects such as surveillance, technology, astronomy, and SETI. His non-fiction book, The Transparent Society, deals with issues of openness and security in the wired-age. ............................................. David Brin web site: http://www.davidbrin.com http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/ Twitter: http://twitter.com/DavidBrin Facbook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/David-Brin/22358129265

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 12, 2011 9:08PM

Arguing with Your Crazy Uncle About Climate Change

Rate: 12 Flag

Forget "left-versus-right." Or even arguments over taxes. The centerpiece of our current Phase Three of the American Civil War is the all-out campaign to discredit science.

Elsewhere I show that the War on Science is part of a much wider effort to destroy public trust in every "smartypants caste" -- from school teachers, journalists, medical doctors and attorneys to professors, civil servants and skilled labor. (Name a center of intellect that's exempt!) But nowhere is it more relentless than by savaging the one group in society that's unarguably among the smartest and best educated.

It's having the intended effects. Chew on this. Thirty years ago, in the era of Barry Goldwater and William F. Buckley, 40% of U.S. scientists were Republicans. Today that fraction has plummeted to around 6%.  Can you blame them?

Why is this happening? I go into it elsewhere -- the underlying motive for a campaign that will leave only one elite standing. In fact, I'll go so far as to say that everybody has this thing backward.  Scientists are not being undermined in order to argue against Human Generated Climate Change (HGCC). Rather, the whole HGCC imbroglio serves as a central rallying point in the campaign against science.

== The latest salvo  ==

Trust the once-credible -- now murdochian -- mouthpiece called the Wall Street Journal to publish a sophistry-drenched festival of talking points. Five Truths about Climate Change by Robert Bryce.

Yep, call it "truth."  The Far Left spent years devaluing that once-proud word on a hundred university campuses, in their own version of a War on Science. Now the Entire Right -- not just the far-fringe -- completes the devaluation of "truth" down to Orwellian levels.  Take this sampler from Bryce.

"The science is not settled, not by a long shot. Last month, scientists at CERN, the prestigious high-energy physics lab in Switzerland, reported that neutrinos might—repeat, might—travel faster than the speed of light. If serious scientists can question Einstein's theory of relativity, then there must be room for debate about the workings and complexities of the Earth's atmosphere."

Urk!  Gurggle (*strangling sounds*) -- I must let someone else answer this.  This cartoon from Sci- ence! will make you both laugh and sob for your civilization.

==  How can you help win this phase? ==

Trapped between the Far Left's own hatred of science and the Entire Right's lemming charge, lured by Rupert Murdoch over the cliffs of insanity, what are  all the pragmatic-moderate liberals ... plus those rare but admirable and deeply appreciated awakened paleo-conservatives and Smithian libertarians to do?

Why, what he have to do is fight this phase of the American Civil War, of course!  The "blue" forces were slow to rouse in the other phases, too, but finally got it together to rescue the Great American Experiment. Are we made of lesser stuff?

This fight won't be with muskets or civil rights marches, but by patiently prying open the skulls of our crazy uncles and neighbors out there who swallowed the anti-future, anti-progress, anti-science hype recreating the Know Nothing movement of the 1830s.  It is going to take all of us -- working on the smartest and most salvageable of these fever-racked neighbors, one by one. Getting them to calm down and re-join civilization.

 It won't be easy! Rupert's fox-machinery supplies endless talking-point incantations to stoke trog fury. Go prepared.  Here's a pair of sites to arm you.

==  How to answer your crazy uncle re: Climate Change ==

1) I offer my own  handy guide to engage intelligent people who only half swallowed koolaid.  Smart guys who proclaim they aren't climate science "deniers"...  but "skeptics" instead.

In fact, this distinction is very real! Moreover, science benefits from critical questioning by genuine Skeptics!

Still, given the pervasive villainy of fox-propelled denialism, a burden of proof falls on those who claim to be above the fray and not Rupert's hand puppets.  My article reveals half a dozen essential (if a bit intellectual) ways to test the claim. And if they pass? Then prove your own adaptability and lack of dogma! Engage and argue with such people, like adults.

2) Alas, most of those marching in Rupert's Lemming Army don't make such fine distinctions.  They're fine with anti-science denialism and my intellectual points will be meaningless.  But if you think your crazy uncle has a -- somewhere buried deep inside -- the remnant of an honest "paleocon" conservative, then your role -- your duty! -- is to gather stamina and wear him down, for the sake of civilization.

Each ostrich conservative who lifts his head is a victory for America. Worth hosannas and paeans of joy. When enough of them get angry at the real villians - the monsters who hijacked conservatism - we'll get back a conservatism folks can sanely argue with. Negotiate with. You can help, one crazy uncle at a time.

This site offers: simple rebuttals to denier talking points — with links to the full climate science. It's extended, exhausting and somewhat repetitious. Print it before your next crazy-uncle encounter.

But of course... I found some gaps!  So I went ahead and wrote a few more. Add these to the printout.

== Some additional rebuttals to Denialist talking points: ==

1. Practical minded people don't listen to Climate  Change chicken-littles:

The US Navy is spending a lot of time, money and effort planning for an ice-free Arctic.  The Russians are too, setting up sub-oceanic mining claims and outposts and reassigning a whole division of special forces.  Are the Russians and the US Navy and the Canadians and Norwegians all doing this for nothing? Because they are fools and chicken-littles?

 2.  Climate scientists are clueless:

The supposedly stupid climate scientists are in many cases the very same people who improved the Weather Forecast from a 4 hour joke (remember those days?) to a ten day projection so useful that you plan vacations around it.  Sure, climate is more difficult, but it uses the same equations and same modeling systems. If they proved titanically competent in one area, don't they deserve some benefit of the doubt in a closely related field?  Perhaps more than TV shills who work for coal czars and Saudi princes?

But of course Glenn Beck knows more than they do.

3. Scientists just follow the herd:

Top scientists are the most competitive human beings of all time.  Put three in a room and there's blood on the floor. Below them, "young guns" are constantly looking for some giant to topple or "wrong corner" of  current theory to shine light into and make a reputation.  If you believe the meek, herd-following nerd image, enjoy!  It clearly makes you feel better to express superiority over people who are smarter and know a lot more than you do.  But... it... is... a... lie.

4. Scientists are pushing climate change for grant money:

Really? They'd lie for a $50,000 grant? All of them? Even the vast majority who have no such grants and work in other (related) fields?  Or who have grants that are secure forever due to their wondrously successful work in weather forecasting? Vastly more is spent on weather than climate: these tenured guys have no "skin" in Climate Change... yet they all believe it.

 Oh, but Beck says they are all sucking up to the money gushers in Big Environmentalism. (Do you ever actually listen to your own words?)

How about the major prizes and grants offered by coal companies and petro moguls, for anti-Climate Change "research"?  Huge offers, often much bigger than those petty little grants from EPA, NASA, NOAA or private foundations.  Why don't those coal-co offers draw serious, top-rank climate scholars, if they are all such money grubbers?

And how does it feel parroting the exact same lines as the Tobacco Industry pushed, when they cried "the jury is still out" about the health effects of smoking, and Tobacco shills claimed that anti-smoking scientists were all in it to become millionaires off grants from the Heart Association? Have you no memory? No shame?

More to the point, if you are so sure about this slander - that all the scientists backing Climate Change are grubbing for grants - HOW ABOUT OFFERING IT AS A BET?  Wagers are on the table.  Free money, if you're sure! Follow the money, prove this and collect the bets. Only a coward would refuse. (Hint: when offered wagers, these folks always, always run away. Try it and watch them scurry for cover!)

5. Accepting the advice of 97% of the people who know about the climate would ruin the economy.

Wrong.  Accepting HGCC would only open us to finally arguing over the BEST methods to ease greenhouse warming.

Admitting that something needs to be done would not pre-judge the argument over what to do. It will just start that argument!  Many tools would be on the table and economic repercussions would certainly be a factor in negotiations and tradeoffs. We all want to keep the lights on. Given a choice, we'd all prefer the solutions that kept a vibrant economy.

 Stop portraying scientists - and those who respect science - as unreasonable people.  Stop portraying them as people like yourself.

6. Solving Climate Change would veer us in directions we shouldn't go.

Exactly the opposite of true. Most of the methods for reducing greenhouse gas emissions involve increasing our energy efficiency and stimulating new forms of energy.  In other words, exactly the same things we ought to be doing anyway!

Even if HGCC proved to be an utter myth, it would still be worthwhile to bend major efforts toward efficiency and new energy, if only to wean ourselves off dependence upon foreign oil and filthy coal.  An accomplishment that George W. Bush swore would be his top priority... and that he sabotaged at every turn. (Hmm... look at his family friends and guess why.)

Indeed, follow the money behind climate change denialism.  It leads directly to... foreign oil princes and big, filthy coal. Congrats. You are in good company.

7. The Earth isn't that delicate:

In many ways the planet is resilient. But here's a fact that you will hear nowhere else, though as an astronomer I'll vouch for it:

Our planet skates along the very inner edge of the sun's "Goldilocks Zone" (GZ).  The sun has been getting warmer gradually for 4 billion years. (This has NOTHING to do with the rate of warming re climate change. A separate, slow but inexorable shift over hundreds of millions of years.)  Now the inner edge of the GZ is right upon us.  That means we must expel almost all of the heat we get from the sun as infrared rays and cannot afford even the trace amounts of greenhouse gas increase that humans have caused.  It sounds unfair, and maybe it is, but them's the facts.

7. In the 1970s scientists were predicting an Ice Age.

An outright lie. There were a couple of very tentative papers, that's it.  But this lie is dealt with in the big list of rebuttals that I cite above. So why do I bring it up now?

Because of a big, popular movie that illustrates just how widely people were already talking about HGCC, even in the 1970s. Proving that science never swerved. Go watch Soylent Green.

8. I don't care, I hate science:

Yep, that is the fall-back refrain. Hatred of  people who know stuff.  Not just science, but also teachers, diplomats, journalists, lawyers, professors, medical doctors, civil servants, skilled union labor... you name a caste of knowledge and professional intellect -- of knowing stuff - and it's under attack.  Most vigorously by the foxed right (making Barry Goldwater and William F. Buckley spin in their graves) but also by the loony far-left.

 Pragmatic-moderate problem solving and negotiation were great American virtues. Culture War is betrayal.  Treason. And the chief purpose of denialism.

Again. Scientists aren't being dissed in order to detract from the theory of climate change.  Climate change denialism is being pushed in order to help know-nothing-ism win the War on Science.  If our generation fails this test - if you refuse to do your part by rescuing some salvageable conservative, luring him or her back to the version of conservatism professed by real men like Buckley - then welcome to the Dark Ages.

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Interestingly the whole argument is oriented on the level of idiots vs. knowledgeable scientific investigators. There are, no doubt, a rather large number of gullible idiots eager confront scientific investigations based on observation but the thrust of the anti-science is well supported by major partisan economic forces intent on profiting from the discrediting of honest science to promote their own financial gains. This is a very important element in the attacks on science and should not be disregarded
"Science" long ago left the realm of certainty in new analysis and hypothesis. What climate scientists today conjure up is mostly esoteric statistics. - as in Lies, Damned Lies, and.....
My training was in Psychology, a soft (statistical) science from the beginning. I used this not to social ends, but to analyze human thought for artificial intelligence projects.
The problem with "climate" science isn't the theory, it is the assumptions used in the statistical models. Statisticians don't lie, they are far too good at "verifying " their delusions to need to. Climate Science is not hard science, it is statistics.
There's a tribalism at work too. Because the left of center crowd were quicker to embrace the man-made global warming view, many on the right reflexively rejected it. I've told a few deniers who I couldn't persuade to be sure to explain their views to younger relatives so they could properly give credit when the time comes.
Geez Jan, I thought I clearly said that.

Too bad Token has decided to spin an incantation to excuse clinging to his position, after having not read a single point that I raised. A psychology major, he dismisses ALL of the experts in another field that he doesn't remotely understand... men and women who have successfully modeled the atmospheres of SIX planets... and who transformed the weather report from a joke to a miracle...

...he dismisses them ALL, because some paid shill waves his arm and SAYS that the statistics are wrong. And this fellow is a PSYCHOLOGY major! Jeepers Toke. Look in a mirror.
Right. Sorry, it slipped me by.
You remind me of "Gabby" Johnson's speech in "Blazing Saddles"- Who can argue with that? But as far as convincing anyone, all your crazy uncle hears from you is the self centered flatulence of a conceited ass. People like you are the reason "scientists" have a reputation right up there with "Come to Glory" preachers. You can attack me all you want, but that has not the slightest chance of convincing me to take you and your kind seriously.
Rather than waste a ton of time refuting all of your points let’s just focus on the most important one, MONEY. You think $50,000 is a fair estimate of the money being handed out? Or did you just make-up a really low number to help prove your point? Below is an article that clearly suggests the latter. But like all climate change believers, I wouldn’t expect you to read something that could refute your beliefs, so I took the liberty of copying a few paragraphs.
-Bill Jones was the recipient (or co-recipient) of some $19 million worth of research grants, a sixfold increase over what he'd been awarded in the 1990s.
-the European Commission's most recent appropriation for climate research comes to nearly $3 billion, and that's not counting funds from the EU's member governments.
-And all this is only a fraction of the $94 billion that HSBC Bank estimates has been spent globally this year on what it calls "green stimulus"
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703939404574566124250205490.html
I think the best answer is the science. CO2 levels in the atmosphere have been measured since 1958 and are rising. As far as I know, no scientist disputes the accuracy of the measurements and the facts.

Scientists have to predict what this will mean for the Earth and while there is a broad consensus that global warming is an effect, there is disagreement on the degree and the details. Predictions are always subject to unpredicted variation. You can go on at length about the difference between an accepted scientific theory and a theory that you thought up three minutes ago.

However, the question for the crazy uncle is this: Do you think changing the composition of the Earth's atmosphere is going to be good for us or the planet, given that we need oxygen not CO2 to breathe?

We need to get away from the predictions and back to the facts: the the Earth's atmosphere is changing.
I'm glad to see someone who isn't afraid to call a lie and lie. I hope the Occupy Wall Street movement is evidence that people are fed up with the nonsense, and won't be content to sit no the sidelines and "let someone else do it."
The Wall Street Journal opinion piece that "Johnny Fever" quotes disingenuously compares one sort of fossil fuel oil lobbying money to a sketchily sourced hodge podge of research and stimulus spending.

It should be comparing this spending to the profits of the entire fossil fuel industry. THAT astounding sum is what is at stake.
Thomas Kuhn got it right in "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" just as the Old Testament did in making the Hebrews wander around in the desert f0r 40 years until the old guard bit the dust. Nothing is ever going to convince the denialists they are wrong. Ask them what piece(s) of evidence would change their minds; I ask all the times, and they never come up with an answer other than empty memes like "really convincing data", etc. As long as they can open their mouths and make the noise "I'm still not convinced" come out, they will interpret that as obvious proof that the evidence is clearly not sufficient, or they would not be physically able to make that utterance. It's a matter of educating the kids correctly in scientific knowledge and in reasoning; which of course the rightwingers fight tooth and nail, as they do public education in general. Whatever; by that time things will be pretty much gone to hell anyway. And that's why you don't see sentient species (I can't use the word intelligent here) flitting about space in the starships which they developed after developing sufficient technology and then solving the problems that created before they became insoluble.
"The Earth is resilient" is one of my favorite responses. Yes, it certainly was for the dinosaurs. The Earth will probably always be here but whether it's inhabitable for humans is another story. I sometimes think the anti-climate change people are being paid off by time-traveling, intelligent dolphins who want to ensure that we wipe ourselves off the planet.
Want to know what will change my mind?

We all know the ice has come and gone. Know why they call Greenland? So what temp is the That everybody agrees the temp of the planet should be?
The Republicans are against all science and the Democrats are against real science.

Not looking too hopeful.
Good work Dave!

But don’t tell us—tell these dumb doubters: (And these are just a few from a long list of dumb scientists)

Freeman Dyson, Professor Emeritus of the School of Natural Sciences, Institute for Advanced Study; Fellow of the Royal Society:

Richard Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and member of the National Academy of Sciences:

Garth Paltridge, Visiting Fellow ANU and retired Chief Research Scientist, CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research and retired Director of the Institute of the Antarctic Cooperative Research Centre:

Hendrik Tennekes, retired Director of Research, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute:

Antonino Zichichi, emeritus professor of nuclear physics at the University of Bologna and president of the World Federation of Scientists:

Khabibullo Abdusamatov, mathematician and astronomer at Pulkovo Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences:

Sallie Baliunas, astronomer, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics:
George V. Chilingar, Professor of Civil and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Southern California:

Ian Clark, hydrogeologist, professor, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa:

Chris de Freitas, Associate Professor, School of Geography, Geology and Environmental Science, University of Auckland:

David Douglass, solid-state physicist, professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Rochester:

Don Easterbrook, emeritus professor of geology, Western Washington University:

William M. Gray, Professor Emeritus and head of The Tropical Meteorology Project, Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University:

William Happer, physicist specializing in optics and spectroscopy, Princeton University:

William Kininmonth, meteorologist, former Australian delegate to World Meteorological Organization Commission for Climatology:

David Legates, associate professor of geography and director of the Center for Climatic Research, University of Delaware:

Tad Murty, oceanographer; adjunct professor, Departments of Civil Engineering and Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa:

Tim Patterson, paleoclimatologist and Professor of Geology at Carleton University in Canada:

Jan Veizer, environmental geochemist, Professor Emeritus from University of Ottawa:
Henrik Svensmark, Danish National Space Center:

Syun-Ichi Akasofu, retired professor of geophysics and Founding Director of the International Arctic Research Center of the University of Alaska Fairbanks:

John Christy, professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, contributor to several IPCC reports:


Go get ‘em Dave – why can’t they be smart like SiFi authors?

Jeeeze!
So we have "Token" who just wants to assert that "it's all statistics".
I'd like to see Token talk about the science-
- Is the increase in CO2 manmade?
- Does it trap infra red radiation on earth?
- Do we see the "greenhouse" gas signal in satellite and ground measurments of the earth and atmosphere IR spectrum?
- Are we tracking long term global temperatures in 3 independent data bases?
- Are we tracking increased heat content of the earth's oceans?
- Are the oceans getting more acidic?
That's just a start....or has Token just decided that he/she can ignore all this? Or should we just talk to the hand?

Then we have Catnlion who in trying to say what would change his/her mind can't formulate a coherent statement. What does determining the ideal global temperature have to do with whether we're causing the planet to warm?

And finally we have Spumey who cites a list of emeritus professors who with a couple of exceptions aren't publishing the field. You want to know how people respond to Christy?

Take a look here:
http://www.skepticalscience.com/skeptic_John_Christy.htm

or to to here about Lindzen
http://www.skepticalscience.com/Lindzen_Illusions.htm

(side comment - a friend of mine who also got his doctorate at MIT had Lindzen as his thesis advisor- his comment "He's a smart guy, but not as smart as he thinks he is")

Then you have the nerve to include Bailunas who publishes with Willie Soon... the paid petroleum industry hack. A couple of astronomers got paid to go after polar bear observations!

Have you read Happer's testimony to the US Senate? It would be a joke....and I would argue academic misconduct. In his introduction he represents himself as having technical expertise in the discipline...and in fact he doesn't. His work in an esoteric branch of spectroscopy bears no relationship to climate science.

You ought to note the number of these guys affiliated with the Marshall Institute as well.... a conservative think tank...with an agenda.

I could also add a couple of people you didn't list...but then I'd also point out that they are signatories of the Evangelical Declaration on Climate Change (the Cornwall Allliance)...which makes it clear that their religious views supercede science. But you didn't, so I won't.

You don't cite Roger Pielke Sr., which is probably just well, because he's at least in agreement that we need to stop putting the CO2 into the atmosphere, even if he thinks it's more complicated than Jones, Hansen, Trenberth, Schmidt in terms of other contributions (his bag is land use).

Any more?
@checkitout

http://climategate.tv/2010/04/20/mann-threatens-lawsuit-against-video-exposing-his-hockey-stick/

"Mann Threatens Lawsuit Against Video Exposing His Hockey Stick

April 20, 2010

I’m no lawyer, but believe that for a libel or slander lawsuit to be successful, the plaintiff must prove that the defendants knew what they said was false, and that truth is an absolute defense. Thus, if Michael Mann is foolish enough to proceed in his threatened lawsuit against Minnesotans 4 Global Warming for their Hide the Decline parody video, he will:
1. Need to prove that Phil Jones email to Mann about Mike [Mann's] Nature Trick to “hide the decline” doesn’t really refer to Mann “hiding the decline” in the tree ring data, which show decreasing temperatures after 1960.
2. Need to prove that Mann’s email to Phil Jones on June 4, 2003, stating “it would be nice to try to “contain” the putative “MWP” [Medieval Warming Period], even if we don’t yet have a hemispheric mean reconstruction available that far back” does not show scientific malfeasance.
3. Need to prove that Mann’s hockey stick isn’t one of the the most thoroughly debunked scientific papers of the 20th century
4. Need to prove that Mann himself has not repeatedly deliberately distorted highly critical reviews of his work
5. Need to prove that it is ok for Mann to continue to flip temperature proxies upside down even in his latest papers, even though this egregious error has already been pointed out to him in the past and which he still refuses to acknowledge.
and so on…ad nauseum.
Minnesotans 4 Global Warming hope Mann will proceed with his lawsuit so that the legal discovery process will force exposure of data and methods Mann has still not released and that the official whitewash inquiries refuse to investigate."

This is just one of the better known statistical manipulations of "proxy data"- any "science" you have cited is subject to the same problems of interpretation of data.

As I said, statisticians don't need to "Lie" they just choose their data carefully
for further study:

http://junksciencearchive.com/Hide_the_decline.html
Nice Token-

Way to pick a phony issue and get stuck on it.

1) The hockey stick has been replicated by other studies. Studies that don't use bristle pine proxies at all.
2) There is no compelling evidence for a global medieval warm period. Those replicate studies don't show it either.
3) Mann's work has been investigated by legitimate scientists (not crank bloggers) and found to be honest.


And finally, even if there were a global medieval warm period, that wouldn't make any difference to what we're doing to the globe right now.

I have yet to see a denier do is propose a reason why there would be a global medieval warm period that could then explain why our warming now isn't due to Anthropogenic CO2. Just claiming "natural variation" doesn't cut it. The heat has to come from somewhere.

Again- deal with the science. The hockey stick may be a dramatic and compelling image, but it's just one small part of the avalanche of evidence that we are messing up the planet.
Checkitout,

Well you lose this argument. To lodge a personal attack against the person who asked the question to dodge the question means you have no answer and you are trying to dodge the question.

The planet has gone through warming and cooling periods long before man was around to do anything. Currently it's changing. It always change. You and the rest are claiming it's getting to warm and it's man's fault. So answer the questions, directly, and or admit you have no idea.

What is the temp the earth is suppose to be? Where did you get that number?

You can't say it's to hot and not be able to say what to hot is.

Sorry, but you LOSE!
It's a fake argument Catnlion. Bogus to the core.

But let me break this down for you- There are temperatures where the earth was a near ice balll, and it almost became a dead planet.

Some life adapted, and came back when the earth warmed again.

But, that's not the point. The rate of change now is far too fast for the ecosystems we have to adapt. That includes food crops, fisheries etc. Life will survive in some form, but human society may not, especially as we know it. It's not an acceptable outcome to have a MadMax world of scavengers and hunter gatherers.

The key is rate of change. It's unprecidented. Not what the ideal temperature is. Your arguement is a misdirection, a deceitful slight of hand, and in my view if you actually thought you were onto something with it, an attempt at an intellectual shortcut that bespeaks a fundemental laziness.
Cat:
Forecasts of future temperatures and their accuracy is not the important issue. The issue is that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is rising. This is measured in many countries, in the US by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Regardless of how much esteem you place in scientists' ability to forecast something as unpredictable as climate, changing the composition of the atmosphere is not good for us and the planet. This should be obvious, since almost all life on Earth consumes oxygen.

As for your question, given that temperature varies over time and geography, I think a number for the temp the planet ought to be would be meaningless.
This is a great post. Thanks for putting all the effort into it. I got into the climate change argument with a conservative member of my immediate family once. I said. "You would have me believe that from the beginning of the industrial revolution till now, the trillions of tons of crap that we have spewed into the air have had no effect on our planet?" She looked away and had no reply.

Spewing pollutants for 150 years is all the science I need to know.
Gregory,

I'm no happier with "150 years of spewing pollutants is all I need to know" than I am with "What's the right temperature". I detest anyone trying to take intellectual shortcuts with this.

Yes, it's been 150 years of pollutants, but it's also been 150 (or more) years of making human life less brutish, miserable and short.


The trick in all this is to keep our progress without destroying the environment that sustains us. I have yet to read a science fiction novel considering the problems of a post-AGW=disaster world confronting the lack of easy power from fossil fuels, trying to figure out a way back to a civilization with literacy, vaccines, communications, computers, arts and sciences....something more than brute survival. There's scrap steel, but it can't be remade because there's no energy source with a high enough power density...at least not on the scale we need for a global civilization. No plastics, most modern medicine disappears from the lack of infrastructure (no antibiotics, no diagnostics such as CT scans). My fear for a long time is if we blow it now, there will be no recovery.
Malusinka-

Your concern about oxygen is not well based. We won't be able to burn enough fossil fuel to change reduce atmospheric oxygen levels to anything life threatening. There is no value in handing deniers an easily demolished idea.

Warming oceans however CAN have have less oxygen in them and thus not support fisheries.
@checkitout

"I detest..." "I'm no happier..." ? As if I should have been writing to please YOU? A bit pretentious, isn't it?
No, you don't have to make me happy Gregory.... but I have no patience for ignorance on either side. This isn't a game of 'the friend of my friend and the enemy of my enemy'. This is about using science to determine what is true, not taking shortcuts. One of the other shortcuts I detest is "well if they really believed in global warming they would...and since they aren't global warming isn't real". I've reamed people a new one over that nonsense as well.

So pretentious or not, come back and play when you've studied up and can say something more sensible. Another way of putting it is..with friends like you...the cause of doing something about
AGW doesn't need enemies.
thanks david, appreciate the time you put in here on salon.

it's strange to see the misplaced passion on this issue, like from token here. it seems to me that facing the possibility of a threat to all of modern society, any of us would respond, 'jeez i'm glad someone is looking into this and trying to head this off! good work guys!' instead, however, they seem to see all the usual fingerprints on the vast conspiracy, i.e. george soros and thousands of scientists are involved in a big conspiracy to take away my monster truck and force coal plants to clean up! and put solar panels and stupid little cars everywhere!

is it just falling in behind a reactionary political view? is it just opposition because of natural politics?
This isn't even worth continuing with- Misplaced Passion? You guys certainly know how to put the "Fiction" in "Science" -
Argue "Science" with me after you've learned the difference between "Proxy Data" and "certainty", even lowly psychology students learn that.
As my crazy uncle Michael Mann would say" We are going to assume that the correlation between tree rings and temperature is valid for the last 2000 years because it appears to be valid for the approximately 100 years for which we have recorded actual temperature, up until the 40 or so years beginning about 1960 when it dramatically differs from recorded temperature. To hide the decline in reliability which is actually something on the order of 71% rather than the 99% we assert, we will use the recorded temperatures themselves after 1960 and hope that no one notices our little deceit.

Redo this again and again in too many of the "Climate Change" studies to be able to count. Climate "Science?" No, bad climate statistics.
Oh, and by the way, you can't check my study because the dog ate my data.
Token,

That's right...keep on lying about what the issue is... advertise that you're a propagandist.

Mann's work has been verified using non-bristle cone pine proxies. By many independent groups. The only "scientific" attack Mann was by MacIntyre and McKitrick (M&M). You can write off McKitrick because he's a signatory to the Cornwall Declaration. But more to the scientific side of things.. M&M's work was shown to be bogus.

But the point is that Mann's work (and the replications) don't affect what's going on. Yes, the hockey stick is a dramatic graph...but it doesn't have anything to do with the increased heat being trapped on the earth by increased CO2 in the atmosphere. It simply isn't all or even mostly about the hockey stick....it's about the physics.
You won't make your data available, you've been proven willing to lie about your studies, ample evidence exists that CO2 lags warming, not causes it, solar activity is the single largest determinate of earth's temperature, yet is is totally ignored by "Climate Changers", You completely lack credibility and yet insist on measures that won't work anyway because you haven't a prayer of getting China or India to go along with them.

In short, as an alternative I propose that for a small fee of 4 billion dollars, I will build a temple to Apollo and by praise and devotion save the earth from his wrath. It will be far less expensive and disruptive than your wealth redistribution by "cap and trade" schemes and will be every bit as effective in preventing "Climate Change".
When confronted, Token just expands from one lie to another.

The data is all available. Period.

CO2 lags temperature? Well in that case, where is the CO2 in the earth's atmosphere coming from now?

Why does CO2 amplifying orbital variation in insolation (lagging temperature) preclude CO2 being artificially being put into the atmosphere from doing exactly the same thing that the extra CO2 did in the paleoclimatic record?

Another outright lie is that AGW proponents don't take solar activity into account. Of course we do. It's just not doing anything significant right now or in the recent past to change climate. The models all include it. So do the basic physics.

What India and China do is not relevent to the truth or falsehood of the proposition that we are altering the earth's environment.

But, does anyone notice that in advancing this proposition that Token contradicts himself? If CO2 follows warming, and the CO2 we're putting into the air isn't causing warming, then what China an India do or don't do won't make any difference either.

Token isn't even a good or consistent propagandist. An outright liar yes.
Your self righteous BS is precisely what is killing the "climate change " agenda. You have your "Scientific" explanation, your opposition has its own. Neither is hard science, both are statistical and theoretical statistical speculation. Yours allows you to position yourself at the moral high ground and dictate the lives of millions. Mostly those millions would rather you go back to your "Scientific" circle jerk and leave them alone. None of this is science, most of it is merely psychology.

have fun with your circle jerk.
More lies and misinformation from Token.

The physics of CO2's effect on the earth's energy balance isn't a matter of statistics.
Nor is the decline in Arctic Ice, the continued melting of glaciers, the increased record high temps and decreased record low temps...
Now you can manufacture statistics out of anything. But you could also take the denier blindfold off, take your fingers out of your ears and actually study up instead of trying to take shortcuts.

I just love the slight of hand of saying "both sides". Oh lord of false equivalencies. There is no coherent theory from the other side, just nitpicking about what AGW is about. There is no explanation from the other side. "Natural Variation" isn't an explanation, it's handwaving.

And again with the confusion of issues- Whether Global Warming theory is correct is an entirely separate issue from getting people to do something about it. Jumbled thinking.

But here's an analogy I like.... at least a circle jerk is consensual sex- as opposed to what Token is doing...which seems a lot more like masturbation.
Just read "Five Truths about Climate Change" by Robert Bryce. His first four points go something like this: energy production and CO2 production are skyrocketing and there's nothing we can do about it, so don't worry. Just turn up the A/C.

Not unlike a person who dismisses the idea that their partner is cheating on them, because they are completely unprepared for that possibility. Therefore it can't possibly be happening.

The fifth is the denial: if relativity is now false, maybe, so is climate change.

According to the wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OPERA_neutrino_anomaly, even the scientists who did it don't believe they've exceeded the speed of light; they're requesting help from other scientists to figure out what's going on. It's just 64 nanoseconds off. The whole system includes CERN (world's largest accelerator) and the whole GPS satellite system - plenty of opportunity for glitches.
Excellent piece. Thank you. Of course there are those who deny...I do believe Galileo was imprisoned by the Church for his support of Copernicus's theories of heliocentrism. As a kid my general practitioner always had wealth of National Geographics in his waiting room They were a delight...but I also remember an oft repeated ad on the back cover of a man in white lab coat and stethoscope claiming that 9 our of 10 doctors smoked Camel Cigarettes. The tobacco industry was not about to let science get in the way of profits. It's the same with coal and oil. But this time the stakes are higher....instead of being threat to an individual's health...it's an issue concerning the whole planet.
I was going to point out that it is fortunate for us that a circle jerk can only breed by recruiting from outside, but why bother

If you would like to see and understand what Science is about, visit this OS blogger:

http://open.salon.com/blog/suresh_emre/2011/10/16/faster_than_light

and:

http://open.salon.com/blog/suresh_emre/2010/08/09/anthropic_principle_in_physics_and_spiritual_philosophy

Not to put to fine a point on it, but Scientists like this man are why I will always believe in Science, and Mr Brin will remain an entertaining(?) purveyor of science fiction.
Token,

Thanks for showing your true colors. You prefer passionate speculation by someone who can't be bothered to actually do the work on his ludicrous arguments to the scientists who do grapple with the problems. Suresh is what is commonly known as a crank.
"They've ignored this, they've ignored that"- is his refrain. Let me know when he publishes an alternative theory in a peer reviewed journal. When someone just tosses off (your metaphor is a gift that just keeps giving) that climate models don't predict very well.... without any kind of examination of them, their families....no comparisons with real data, I know I'm dealing with a person who is not engaged by basic scientific standards of truth finding.

You know, seeing your comments about your experience at Ohio State- and your being in psychology let me construct a little narrative for you.

My graduate advisor tells this story about himself as a undergraduate at Harvard... he was taking a math class...and at the beginning of the term, the class was assigned a problem set. He worked very hard at the set, filling pages with calculations and logical statements...and handed it in. After class one day the professor called him up and asked him how long it took him to do the homework. "5 hours", my advisor replied. The professor told him to forget about a career in mathematics.... the homework should have been obvious and taken no more than 5 minutes.

He tells this story to point out to people that they need to work within their strengths.

You it seems have developed an animus against that which is too hard for you to understand and a visceral distrust of the people who can do the work- possibly a compensation mechanism for your own lack of ability.

Get over it.

And if anyone else finds Suresh interesting go read the conservation laws of the 3 gunas.
http://open.salon.com/blog/suresh_emre/2010/08/08/conservation_law_of_three_gunas

Hindu mysticism translated into quantum mechanical speculation. Laughable.
@checkitout

my god what an arrogant little prick you are.
So full of the "Truth" of your parroted statistical bull shit. The difference between a scientist and a poseur is that a scientist accepts that there are things that he does not understand. It's fortunate that you think of a "Circle Jerk" as your own particular form of consensual "sex"- social or sexual intercourse with a female holds no attraction for you, and that's probably just as well, because it decreases the odds that you will ever find anyone willing to help you reproduce. Your social skills already make that unlikely.

Are you a "practicing" scientist of any sort, or simply a nerd suck up? I'm betting someone's TA. So, enlightened one, instead of just cranking out hate, give me the highlights of what experiments and theories "prove" man made global warming to you. I'll checkitout, convince me.
Token,

You really, really don't understand the meaning of the word arrogance. Arrogance is when someone who has confessed to being unable to do the math or physics decides that they are right and everyone else, thousands of people working on the problems for decades are wrong. Me, I'm quite humble in the presence of people like Ramanathan, Jones, Trenberth, Schmidt, Hansen, Mann... the most visible people puzzling this out. The ones who have published papers, gotten them through peer review, taken some hits, come back for more. Hell I even respect Roger Pielke Sr., even if I think he's wrong on a bunch of things. My condescension is reserved for people like you and Suresh.

My first post in response to you list a number of points about global warming. You ignored them to rant about statistics. I repeat them:

I'd like to see Token talk about the science-
- Is the increase in CO2 manmade?
- Does it trap infra red radiation on earth?
- Do we see the "greenhouse" gas signal in satellite and ground measurments of the earth and atmosphere IR spectrum?
- Are we tracking long term global temperatures in 3 independent data bases?
- Are we tracking increased heat content of the earth's oceans?
- Are the oceans getting more acidic?
That's just a start....or has Token just decided that he/she can ignore all this? Or should we just talk to the hand?

I guess my remarks about compensation mechanisms for things you can't do hit home. For the listening audience, my older son did his undergraduate work at MIT. Since I got out with my doctorate I've worked on the industrial side of things ever since. Which means what I do better damn well work, or no profit, no profit=no job. And that's enough personal information. Freedom of speech isn't imposed on employers.
@Checkitout

My, my, my compensation mechanisms anyone?

Here's my problem with your "Climate Scientists".

http://www.drroyspencer.com/2009/01/increasing-atmospheric-co2-manmade%E2%80%A6or-natural/

http://www.drroyspencer.com/2009/01/the-origin-of-increasing-atmospheric-co2-a-response-from-ferdinand-engelbeen/

http://climaterealists.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=207

etc. etc. etc.

Not only can and do I find refutation of your climate change THEORIES by reputable scientists, as easily as "yahooing" , I also can and do understand the arguments. I find that in each case, your research starts out with an assumption about the model of the data and the nature of what you expect to find. all one need do to topple the "research" is prove the statistical data invalid. An easy enough task.

Suffice to say it really doesn't matter even a small damn, though it is unfortunate to learn that you have reproduced.

Your and Brin's problem can be summed up as "You must coax, cajole, threaten, or trick your crazy old uncle into financing your schemes. "

Being arrogant self righteous assholes, convincing people doesn't come naturally to you, so you fall back on sneering insult. Even if I were your crazy and delusional uncle, your lack of any understanding of "people skills" would prevent my funding your nonsense. Enjoy believing you are right, (who knows, it's possible you might be) and have fun in your circle jerk. No money for you.
Thanks for this great information on dealing with nutjob relatives who think themselves expert on this hugely important issue.
Token,

Roy Spencer isn't a reputable scientist. He is a signatory to the Cornwall Declaration...a statement of religious belief superceeding scientific research. Spencer's and Christie's errors were responsible for over a decade of mistaken collection of satellite temperature data. That you turn to Spencer without this context makes sense in that your guru is a guy who relates the three gunas to quantum mechanics. But I don't have to persuade you... I have to stand up to your nonsense in a way that persuades other people. With reasonable people I adopt a reasonable tone.... with nutjobs like you, the only appropriate voice is derision and scorn. That and telling good stories and providing reasonable statements of what the facts of the matter are. It's my pleasure that you continue to impeach yourself by citing questionable sources.

The isotope signature of CO2 in the air is unmistakably from fossil fuels. If it weren't from fossil fuels you need to explain where else it can come from to have the same signature. The oceans....no..because the oceans are increasing in CO2 content. But even without the isotope signature, the mass balance argument is irrefutable. There is less accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere than the amount humans emit. Until the accumulations exceeds the amount humans emit there can be no contribution from a natural source...otherwise a little basic law of nature called conservation of mass is violated.

Btw let me tell you a little first hand story about Hindu mysticism. There's a Ayurvedic concept called Stiphathya Ved... equivalent to Feng Shui. (I'm assuming you do know what that is). The school led by the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi teachs one sort of good alignment for a house. I picked up a newspaper in New Delhi when I was consulting there back in the late 90's and found an advert from a rival philsophical/mediation school. The orientations were precisely the opposite.

So you know what that makes me think of anyone who take stuff seriously, or people who take those people seriously. Or people who take Roy Spencer seriously...on anything.
@checkitout

yawn-- so far as i am concerned (as your crazy uncle who has the check book) you and your outraged band of sneering "scientists" are welcome to go indulge in your circle jerk to your hearts content. Just don't whine to me when you can't recruit people to your cause by being arrogant assholes.
Token,

You've done the classic- you've shifted the goalposts. Now it isn't about the evidence that you don't understand, the facts that you can't assimilate, the math you can't do...it's about winning your pathetic heart (the mind part is already clearly absent).

Denier arguments and strategies and habits are actually catalogued in places. And yes, changing the topic to something else is a classic. One of the things we've learned from so-called debates with deniers is that this goalpost shifting, telling so many lies you don't know where to start rebutting them all and above all being confident and abrasive about what you say does have an impact on audiences. If you don't like being given the Lord Monckton treatment, well consider how you opened your remarks here. Basically, you asked for it.

Now c'mon , defend the idea that CO2 increases in the air aren't anthropogenic. What's wrong with the isotope data? What's wrong with the mass balance argument? Why hasn't Spencer published his proof that the increase isn't man-made in a peer reviewed journal? Hey, did you know that the last editor of peer-reviewed journal Spencer published in resigned because the peer review was rigged behind his back and the paper was blatantly wrong? There was a time when Spencer might have been called a scientist. Now he's a farce.
@token
" Statisticians don't lie, they are far too good at "verifying " their delusions to need to. Climate Science is not hard science, it is statistics."

It may have escaped your notice, working as a psychologist who apparently had no faith in his work(?) that ALL science is based on statistics. You think Newton came up with F=MA because he noticed that the equation was exactly and precisely true 100% of the time no matter when, where, what, who, or how? This is akin to the curious denialist phobia of scientific models. Once you get past the "birdwatching" stage of just cataloging observations, ALL science consists of modeling the underlying processes and phenomena; model is another word for theory.
" Nothing is ever going to convince the denialists they are wrong. Ask them what piece(s) of evidence would change their minds; I ask all the times, and they never come up with an answer other than empty memes like "really convincing data", etc. "

"Want to know what will change my mind?
We all know the ice has come and gone. Know why they call Greenland? So what temp is the That everybody agrees the temp of the planet should be?"
-Catnlion

Well, thank you for proving my point. I don't mean this to be a personal attack, since it's just business as usual in the denialist mindset; but the belief that your answer above is a valid answer to the question "what piece(s) of evidence would change their minds?", posed with the comment that denialists never answer that, no less, is proof positive of how deeply the denial has distorted normal logical processes.

Or have you actually convinced yourself that your answer is valid, and that there actually is some number that would answer your question, "what temp is the That everybody agrees the temp of the planet should be", which would make you change your mind, and the fact that nobody can come up with that number is proof that AGW is bs?
I also resent Comrade Brin's superior sneering tone. With an immensely complex geo-physical science like climate change it requires a series of serious, OPEN mega conferences, on the scale of the Solvay Congresses in Europe in the 1920s and 30s that engaged Einstein, Bohr, etc. on debating the problems in quantum mechanics to now engage climate science issues. Comrade Brin's scientific colleagues should have the integrity to invite all the climatologists and skeptical scientists to such conferences and continue the debate. Oh, wait. Comrade Brin says there is no debate about the fundamental issues. Let me just add ONE possible serious point of contention that such a mega conference might have to face that would CHANGE the entire debate. What if it begins to seem that the climatic tipping point has already been reached, within the irreducible margin of error we are dealing with in climate science, and especially given the feasible projected fossil fuel CO2 emission reduction regimens conceivable in the global economy. In that case such proposed mega conferences as I'm suggesting would REVERSE the pompous comrade's exhortations to continue to spend scarce global resources on green energy tech and CO2 abatement strategies because....it would be too late. Closing the barn door after the horses have gotten out. And in that event only GEO-ENGINEERING solutions, such as possibly a space based sun shade of some kind, made of many millions of tiny prisms injected into the path of the incoming solar radiation by a mass driver or something like that, might be humanity's only reasonable solution to greenhouse warming. What is so wrong with the kind of Solvay like congress I'm suggesting Comrade Brin?
By the way I just read Robert Bryce's article in the WSJ. Thank you Comrade for that link. It was a well reasoned article and your highlighting the one example of hyperbole by Bryce about the FTL neutrinos was misleading because Bryce writes mostly about the fact that the world's CO2 emissions have gone up dramatically and continue to do so. That was his major point, and not the validity of climate science as much. So, regardless of the outcome of future climate conferences, even if the orthodox scientific view prevails, the fact of a recalcitrant global economic system pushing the global climate beyond the tipping point remains unchangeable. All the more reason a sci-fi guru like you Comrade should begin seriously touting different approaches to geo-engineering. Space based solar radiation modulators anyone?
One last point. This post and all the comments were a damn fine read. The skepticism, the vitriol, the bandying back and forth of credentials and pseudo-credentials, arguments and fallacious arguments, etc. ...all of this would be exposed to the public if an OPEN Solvay like congress were convened with wall to wall TV coverage. All the more reason the unctuous swami Al Gore and the Politburo comrades like Brin, checkitout, etc. would axe that kind of open debate in preference for Kremlin like orthodoxy...wink
Well comrade Podiatrist, of course implementing geo-engineering will require the same socialist workers paradise as green technologies so we win in either case, unless of course we continue the slide into corporate fascism in which case we’ll surely be able to conscript slave labor from the genetically undesirable to do the heavy lifting on geo-engineering projects. Of course the Nomenklatura or Ubermensch in either case may simply decide that they can survive and hold onto control without taking any kind of action and let the world suffer whatever it will suffer. As a technocrat, I will probably survive and thrive under either regime, just as I do under our current quasi-capitalist system, so I’m not personally worried. I’m sure you’ll find a place in the new regime weeding out the politically incorrect, or class traitors, or counter-revolutionaries... something will come up in your line of work I’m sure.

You are a refreshing if unimaginative change in taking the ‘too late’ point of view. Maybe you can get Token to come around to that as well.

Anyhow, no one is suppressing debate. We’re doing it here. It happens in the peer reviewed literature. There are conferences all the time. You just may not be aware of them. You ever hear of Heartland? They had one not too long ago. Of course they didn’t invite anyone from the ‘warmist’ side of things, and certainly no one from the ‘it’s too late side of things.’ The fact that you are unaware of how open everything is doesn’t mean it isn’t, it means you’re just another person arguing from ignorance.

Incidentally, from the warmist point of view, we are concerned that it could be too late. And too late could not just be inconvenient but catastrophic. Are you familiar with the runaway scenario that comes from release of methane from frozen tundra, permafrost and methane clathrates? Did you know that there is an emergency expedition going on right now in the Siberian Arctic continental shelf to investigate the recent appearance of methane emitting areas of the ocean?

In terms of what it takes, Sokolow has published an update on his 2004 analysis on what it would take to bring CO2 emissions under control. The link policy on this site prevents me from linking but look up Sokolow and Union of Concerned Scientist (I hope the organization is Red enough for you!)

I’m not convinced that it’s impossible yet....and I think the investment in green technologies is worthwhile in any event because continued CO2 emissions will be very dangerous for the ocean ecosystems even if we were to somehow reduce insolation via your farfetched scheme of mass-drivers and sunshades. Personally, if any geo-engineering solution is likely it will be a GMO that is modified to survive in the open ocean, soak up CO2 at a much higher rate w/o requiring Fe or other trace supplements and it will be combined with GMO fish etc to eat the organisms and rev up the ocean food chain. Because it’s self-replicating, and could be loaded with a kill switch, it’s probably much more cost effective than a “Pigs in Space” scheme.

The folks over at Skeptical Science ran a cartoon the other day.... I like the caption and I think it might apply to you:
“So we’ll be talking to Dr. Jenkins of the National Institutes of Health about the results of his three-year study. And then for a different take we’ll talk to Roger here who has reached the opposite conclusion by just sitting on his couch speculating”
Comissar checkitout, glad that the KGB, or FSR, whatever, could release you from your Arctic Ocean methane bubble capture submergence to make a return appearance here. Yes, I'm aware of the methane clathrate runaway scenario. Yes, I'm familiar with the Heartland Institute and their Abbott and Costello foibles. But let me put the following observation to you: If anthropogenic climate change is the most dire geophysical emergency facing humankind today then why isn't there a push to have one mother of all conferences, on the Solvay model, to bring this discussion to the public, big time. Why doesn't the public know the names of the world's top two or three climate scientists? Why aren't their names as prominent as Einstein's and Hawking's in fundamental physics? Why have the IPCC panels had such a low profile? Huh? You know why Comissar. The decision was made long ago by UN elites not to scientifically democratize the process of inquiry into the phenomenally complex earth science of climatology precisely because a widely publicized mega conference such as I'm suggesting would result in ambiguity, subtlety, and perhaps conclude inconclusively, and thereby....confuse the public! Much better to genuflect to the received wisdom of a privileged science elite, in the style of the academicians of the now-defunct Soviet Union, for the greater public good of course.

I am so impressed by your theological certainty checkitout. You're as certain in your ideological commitment as the great Doctors of Medicine, in the Western world, who, until rather recently, would swear up and down that stomach ulcers were caused by 'stress', and who laughed at upstarts who proposed that a micro-organismic infection might possibly be the causative factor. But today, as you probably know, the infection hypothesis has been triumphant and revolutionized ulcer treatment. Ditto for so-called mainstream nutrition and dietary theories of obesity, it now seems, with the beginning acceptance of a new paradigm...oh, and in the earth sciences, why, just half a century ago plate tectonics was heretical. My, my, could orthodox climate science be the SINGULAR bastion of modern science immune to possible revisions? More...
I, and the critics in the comments thread, stand for free, open scientific inquiry. Maybe many of the professors emeritus who have been cited as critics have not been published in the relevant journals, or done relevant research....oh, but wait, in the good old Soviet Union any biologists questioning the dominant orthodoxy of Lysenkoist non-genetically based biology were also refused publication, or even a hearing. Come on, just ask for one gigantic, epic Solvay like congress to debate these issues...why, maybe your side might even WIN. But of course you prefer skullduggery in the back alleys of science orthodoxy rather than a more open and honest process.

Just think about the following simple example...if you can imagine an X-axis which is labelled with magnitudes of greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere today. It is amazing that your side claims, a priori, that it just so happens that, whatever the atmospheric gas concentration is today, that that particular concentration just happens to be one where serious CO2 mitigation efforts will be of value. But what if the Earth is located a bit to the left or right of that magical numerical value. A bit farther to the left and we don't have to worry too much for many decades, including the acidification of the oceans. Or, alternatively, what if we're somewhere to the right of the value on the abscissa...the 'too late' values. My, my, there's a huge range of X-axis values, but, you have theological certainty that we're just in that sweet spot where serious global concerted action would make a difference. Wouldn't it be nice to have a Solvay like conference to examine today's purportedly solidly established, and magically conducive to your policy prescriptions, X-value?
Finally, a word about the motives of the genuflecters to 'scientific orthodoxy.' The rather juvenile accusation has been made by the critics that the motivation for this adherence to orthodoxy is greed for picayune environmental ideology-based research grants. Of course, as Comrade Brin points out, that is nonsense. The real reason for adherence to orthodoxy is not trivial corruption but a deep hatred of Western white man technology, fossil fuel based. The dominant paradigm in the Marxist social science university environment in North America today, and for the past 40 years, has been hatred for white European culture...from Columbus opening up the New World to rape and conquest, thus destroying the physically dirty, but beautiful (in the eyes of the Marxist university elites) aboriginal societies, all the way to today's glorification of the marginalized...brown, disabled transexual welfare recipients, etc., you know your heroes. So, in this ideological context, of course green technologies are inherently so congruent with your ideology...progressive, small-scale, communal, small footprint, Gaia friendly, revolutionizing. Of course coal and oil are EVIL, the stigmata of wicked white man technology. So we must be progressive and EMBRACE our progressive world-communal future, dethroning the white male, and enthroning the downtrodden global proletariat through a green/brown? revolution. And THAT is the hate-filled subconcious font of energy (green energy?) fuelling the UN elite scientific establishment, Lysenko-like, adhering to the absolute dialectical material necessity of punishing fossil fuel use and liberating our collective consciousness. But you totalitarian zealots are going to LOSE!...comrades and comissars all, because Amerika is too conservative and common sensical to be seduced by your cant.
Oh, and my ultimate point. Why are all of you so afraid of introducing the need for serious research into geo-engineering? Maybe because you know that two gigantic publicly funded Manhattan projects can't be done simultaneously, huh? You want all the technological and capital resources to be committed to green energy development and CO2 abatement. But let's let an open mega conference discuss the alternatives. Again, what are you afraid of? Don't want an open and fair process now do you Comissar?
Ah, Apparatchik Podiatrist,

You've just done one of the classic arguments "If they really believed in this stuff" and other strawmen. You've set up an arbitrary goalpost of a major world conference, and assigned responsibility to someone else (not you) to do this. And the failure to do this proves something to you. Wait, a vision swims before me, it's, it's yes it's a global conspiracy!!!!! Yes, it must be. You must really, really miss the cold war....back when there was a red under every bed.

I noted earlier that the intellectual laziness of trying to judge scientific truth by the behavior of people is something I look on with great scorn. If Global Warming were true Al Gore would be wearing sack cloth and ashes, stop flying around talking about it. Obama would be talking about it all the time. etc., etc., etc.. Strawmen.

One of the interesting things about the Solvay conferences is that they are by invitation only. I suspect what would result from a process of finding the most compelling and contributing scientists to participate in such a forum is that the "it's not happening" deniers wouldn't get any representation at all. Lindzen, Christy etc, just don't have the standing.... when you're think about Bohr, Einstein as a point of comparison.

As for the 'it's too late crowd...tell me, who is a scientist who's a world class advocate for that position?

But perhaps you want to pick another kind of forum than the Solvay conferences.... something a little more open and riotous.

And of course, you've misrepresented what the warmist position is on mitigation. Every passing decade makes it harder. Go get out of your armchair speculation and read Sokolow for heaven's sakes. No one says "now is the time to start" what people say is the longer we wait, the harder and more expensive it gets...we should have started 20 years ago. Your imaginary graph is just another strawman. You imagine the warmist positions that are comfortable for your ideology rather than what they really are.

Each and everyone one of your examples of challenges to mainstream science happened because someone had solid data, not because someone speculated about doubt and uncertainty from an armchair. Got some solid data to back up anything you insinuate...or are you just a typical blowhard merchant of doubt?

Now instead of talking in generalities, let's talk about specifics.

First- what's your position- not warming or too late? Pick one.
Second- what's the supporting evidence in peer reviewed literature?

By the way..... um exactly who is your intended audience for this "comrade" stuff....or are you typing one-handed?
Oh, by the way.... I have no problem with discussions of geo-engineering.... I already noted that the most effective geoengineering scheme would likely be the use of GMOs to soak up CO2. Soaking up CO2 is after all one of the categories of geo-engineering response, typically the discussion is about adding iron to the ocean. Other kinds of projects, mass drivers etc., that's the stuff of fantasy. I also have no problem with the admittedly risky use of nuclear power as a bridging technology.... a position I had for over 30 years (I have a letter published in C&EN to that effect back in 78 or 79). Why don't you go raise funds and organize a conference.... it would be a better use of your time.

But if you insist on talking about strawmen, and misrepresenting people's positions, and in general thinking this is some vast conspiracy theory....you'll not raise a dime.
Three papers on geo-engineering discussed here- note the diversity of opinions and approaches.

http://www.skepticalscience.com/Three-studies-illustrate-significant-risks-complications-geoengineering-climate.html
And Speaking of Geoengineering conferences- it looks like they had a good one in 2010-

The Asilomar International Conference
on
Climate Intervention Technologies
March 22-26, 2010
Asilomar Conference Center
Pacific Grove, California

Why weren't you there Podiatrist?
Well checkoutcounter, the vast majority of the public is in an armchair or couch, not on a rack in the Lubyanka, sentenced for the most pernicious evil in Al Gore's syllabus...THOUGHT CRIME! Funny that you should mention 'doing something' about my beliefs. I have used my spare time to email politicians, the relevant cabinet or parliamentary environmental ministers, etc. to be open to a grand conference where everyone of sufficient, ah, but that's the sticking point, eh?, 'sufficient', standing could attend. The fine details of vetting the conference participants are not in my purview, but, oh my, here is my suggestion...why not have a preliminary 'tutorial' conference where the orthodox position is well presented, with the expressed acknowledgement that the 'poor unwashed deniers' could be educated, and then present their rebuttals, maybe at the ultimate conference a few months later. What's wrong with that idea? Would it cost too much mazoo? Too many hotel reservations, plane tickets, fax paper, paper clips for a government to spend on...2, or 3, 0r 4, 5 conferences to show the public this is a genuine geo-physical emergency of unprecedented proportions? Educate the neanderthal Republican party. Shame their ignorance! Why, a panel of eminent personages in North America, the obstinate bastion of non-compliance with the Politburo received wisdom, should be formed. And if it is not formed already, and is not going to, it is because neither side, the deniers nor the affirmers, are really serious about this 'unprecedented global geo-physical emergency.' Don't you understand that it is your side that should be pushing for this idea, to have a chance to rebut the deniers in a BIG forum, so that the ignorant rednecks, the better educated among them, can be convinced that no trickery is at play. As it stands now the Republicans in the US will block any meaningful CO2 abatement programs, backed by Big Oil and Big Coal. There will never be a 'cap and trade' bureaucratic nightmare imposed on the US, or a carbon tax. Enough blue dog Democrats will see to that. And you have only your side to blame.
Oh, and about Geo-engineering. Didn't know about the Asilomar conference. Funny coincidence, it being at Asilomar, venue of the recombinant DNA scare conference of the late 70s. Maybe the Politburo is trying to insinuate that....oooh-ooh, geo-engineering is...BAD, evil, bwana white man's technology. Not nice decentralized, non-patriarchal, feminist Earth mother friendly back yard green tech.

As long as there is a perceived cultural subtext to the back door political maneuvering via so-called objective conferences like the upcoming UN Durban one, ha ha, your side loses because the suspicion remains among the conservatives that you're pulling a fast one. And then, as the 'too latists' start arising, as catastrophic ice sheet melting occurs, if it does, we don't know yet, but if the indications are there then the big bad industrial areospace sector, and rocket, etc., booster boosters, and the orgiastic Aerospace and Space Technology publications will be salivating at the possible windfall. And Republicans will certainly back that kind of white man mojo, not your sissy windmills.
Podiatrist- The Republican party in the US has shown that it is cabable of any perfidy in the pursuit of power. They will spin and rebrand anything. What they oppose when a Democrat proposes it they endorse when they are in power. Rather than trying to persuade Republicans, I simply want to vote them out of power. Unfortunately, the guy in the the White House is a DINO.

Now if you could show that you could persuade a clown like Token that AGW is real, then maybe. But Token is typical. The crew over on Tamino's blog have been trying to pick denialist bloggers who seem like they're amenable to a rational discussion, only to find that at the base they aren't.

You are right in one respect. Much of the rejection of AGW is tribal politics. Their howls are simply a means of advertising which identity group they belong to. That, and as you also point out, waving their dicks around. I don't know what it is with conservatives and their castration complex, but it's pretty impressively sick.
I think the following post uploaded yesterday is relevant to this discussion:

Hot Dog Bites Skeptical Man: Koch-Funded Berkeley Temperature Study Does “Confirm the Reality of Global Warming”

I still haven't found anyone who can explain to me which natural phenomenon generates observations that are located 10 standard deviations away from the mean. In other words, the probability that the temperature we have observed over the last 20 years is not caused by human activity is equal to 1 /131,236,127,521,095,000,000,000 (in essence, 0):

Global Warming: A 'figure' is worth 1,000 words
Who knew the Crazy Uncles would come out so quickly and with such vehemence. Major kudos to Mr. Brin and checkitout for taking them on.