The Hullabaloo over Climate Changeposted by The Vidiot @ 9:09 PM Permalink Bumped and added to by The Sailor after The Vidiot's post. And an addendum by The Vidiot after that!
You may or may not be aware of the fact that somebody hacked into the Hadley Climatic Research Centre in the UK and posted their emails and several PDFs on the internet (pertinent links here, here and here.) Anyway, some of the emails seem damning, or not, depending on your POV. If you don't believe in global warming, emails like...
I've just completed Mike's Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith's to hide the decline. Mike's series got the annual land and marine values while the other two got April-Sept for NH land N of 20N. The latter two are real for 1999, while the estimate for 1999 for NH combined is +0.44C wrt 61-90. The Global estimate for 1999 with data through Oct is +0.35C cf. 0.57 for 1998....could certainly seem damning. But, if you believe global warming, you're more likely to dismiss that email as being out of context or using language common to programmers who use words like 'trick' to describe elegant programming language.
I've done some research in my time (cancer research) and here's what happens:
You have a theory. You've run some preliminary experiments that might hold it up, but you need funding. So, you get funding from someone or something that most likely wants to support whatever your theory is. So, you take this money, and it's usually a lot and the money that supports you, your family, your employees and your institution, and you really begin to feel obligated to prove your theory right, whether it is or it isn't. You'll toss out a piece of bad data here (and call it an artifact), or you'll do a little mathematical thing to force the data to comply there and before your know it, your whole career is built upon a very weak foundation that needs to be supported and manipulated at every turn.
I've seen it happen. Hell, I've been instructed to DO it. (I don't need to hear from ethical researchers. I know there are many out there. But they don't have a lot of money or fame now do they, which means they don't get heard.)
So, that's what I think has happened with global warming science. It's shaky at best. It was shaky when I was studying it in grad school back in the early 90s. I know guys who worked at NASA GISS and said things like "Those models are silly. Flip on the lights, stave off the ice age because it's coming." But so much money has been thrown at the problem, and too many weak characters have entered the fray, that it's become a huge runaway train with just too much momentum.
Is there global warming or climate change? Sure, there's always climate change whether or not man has been around. ALL of the planets in the solar system are undergoing some sort of climate change and people aren't there to screw things up (yet). Is our planet's particular change in climate attributable to man? I haven't a clue. If it is, you can be damned sure that it's not caused by individuals. It's caused by corporations. Yet, in every single climate change regime ever formed, the focus is on taxing and controlling the general population, NOT the corporations.
And yes, I know that cap and trade tries to place limitations on corporations, but in the end, the bankers will be the ones who profit, and the corporations will just slap it on their balance sheets and manage it all with their profit motive. It will be completely ineffectual. Meanwhile, we'll be charged for every mile we drive, we'll not be able to sell our homes without the government regulated energy upgrades and the price of a plane ticket will become unaffordable for most.
How is that fair? It's not.
Addendum by The Sailor: The Vidiot and I have discussed global warming/climate change on back channels, but we've never stated our diametrically opposed views for our readers.
So here's a great opportunity for folks to understand how people can disagree, vehemently, and still have a civil discourse while explaining our differing viewpoints.
It's not global warming, it's climate change, and all peer reviewed science says that humans have caused/accelerated it. I don't see a profit motive in all of these experts confirming it. And just because it's colder or warmer for your area doesn't matter, that's weather, not climate.
We both work/worked in research science. Frankly, Vid's has been at a level that surpasses mine. Quite a bit of my experience has been with differing corporations asking research groups to do their work for them. Every time I hear how much money companies spend on R&D I wonder why they can't do it for themselves.
Here's why: If a corporation pays for the research they get to suppress it if they don't like the outcome. They can even cherry pick results, and suppress the data that disagrees.
The data is bought and paid for, they own it. What I disagree with Vid on is the scientists who did the work would fake their results just to get more funding.
I have never worked with any scientist or support person that would do that.
It's science, by definition it's repeatable, and if you get caught faking you can't work again in your chosen field. All of those years, all of that work has gone for nothing.
Occasionally that does happen, but THEY GET CAUGHT! (See Cold Fusion.)
The climate change work has been mostly funded in this country by our Gov't. And while the previous administration did their best to appoint political people in top jobs that denied science facts (See Evolution) they failed because science doesn't care. The science exists or it doesn't.
Here's where hubris comes into play. Most every scientist in the world in your field wants to prove you wrong if they disagree with you. But if they can't they grudgingly support your conclusions.
These things, like the speed of light, the earth rotates around the sun, we're not the center of the galaxy, evolution ... are facts.
I'm not a climatologist, but climatologists around the world agree, climate change is being accelerated by humans.
And the profit motive is completely on the other side, e.g. clean coal.
Addendum by The Vidiot:
In the comments, I explained that I'm not one of those 'climate change deniers.' The human race is definitely a part of some of the environmental degradation that is going on now right here on Earth, just not as much as the global warming crowd would have you believe. I think there's a solar component to climate change that is barely considered in any of the discussions, and it's taking its toll on all the planets in our solar system. To disregard solar input is just bad science. Additionally, it's just not all humans that are causing the problems, it's particular groups of humans that are doing it.
Cui Bono? Who benefits from either proving or disproving global warming?
For the climate deniers, energy companies are funding what they want to fund, and if you're into anthropogenic global warming (AGW), well, you'll fund those folks. Both sides will benefit from whatever it is their 'experts' publish and you're right, those who pay can suppress what they want to suppress. And more than likely, researchers aren't being unethical, but you cannot argue that researchers have a vested interest in proving their theories and some researchers will do whatever it takes to pull in a lot of the almighty dollar. You know as well as I do the pressure that is on many researchers when it comes time to renew their funding. Just because you agree with AGW doesn't mean those guys are more ethical or moral when it comes to their research.
Also, most folks overlook the fact that there's a profit motive for AGW as well. There's cap and trade which Matt Taibbi wrote about. He said that Goldman Sachs is poised to profit from the upcoming carbon credit bubble. LOTS of money will be made by the bankers and businesses on the inside before it all comes crashing down and the rest of us will be holding the bag once again. Not only that, look at all the taxes they can pile on people if AGW is considered fact. They can tax us for the amount of miles we drive. They can tax us if we don't upgrade our homes with the allotted technologies. They can tax us for the food we buy that's not local. And they can tax us with all sorts of things I can't even think of because my coffee hasn't kicked in yet. The State can rake in all sorts of tax dollars if AGW is "supported by the research." Oh, there's definitely a profit motive for AGW, just like there is for climate deniers.
The problem I have, again as I stated in my comments, with the whole global warming debate is that the folks less likely to cause the bulk of the pollution are going to be the ones most likely to end up paying for it.
I don't want to have to pay the State all sorts of my hard-earned cash because the State enabled corporate greed to the point that the environment has been completely destroyed. Where's the corporate punishment? I mean, if Teen Vidiot messes something up, whether it's intentional or not, he suffers for it. Either we take his Wii away or whatever it is he's done will bite him in the ass. Either way, he will suffer the consequences. But corporations don't suffer any consequences. It's like if Teen Vidiot punches some kid in the face and the kid who got punched ends up expelled from school. Even if the kid was taunting Teen Vidiot, Teen Vidiot was the aggressor.
So, whatever the State chooses to do with regards to AGW, it's the little guy who will get hit and then suffer the consequences, not the big corporate bullies who caused the problem. Sure, the little guy was dumb enough to buy into the corporation's lies -- purchasing, needing, wanting and supporting the corporation -- but it's the corporation that is at fault, not the little guy.
Bottom line, a la George Lakoff, the issue needs to be framed in a more correct way. Instead of calling it anthropogenic global warming, which has a human component as part of its definition, it should more rightly be called corporation-induced atmospheric destruction or even profit-based environmental calamity. Either of these terms more aptly describe what is occurring AND they both firmly place the blame on the guilty parties.