Rebuttal to “The Amazing Story Behind the Global Warming Scam”
It seems strange that Mr. Coleman does apparently little to no research prior to making statements. In this article he relies mainly on insinuation, inference and emotional arguments to claim the science of global warming is wrong. Within the scope of his arguments he makes clearly obtuse errors that are sometimes even comical.
Earth with only a ‘tiny fraction’ of Co2 in its atmosphere. A little less forcing – an ice age; a little more GHG – global warming.
Note: The original publishing date for this article is Feb. 7 2009
Learn more about the science and myths of this global warming event:
Based on Coleman’s arguments he claims global warming is a hoax, bad science, hi-jacking public policy, no joke, and of course, the greatest scam in history. He uses no science in his argument. It seems he just wants you to believe him?
Note: All rebuttal comments and reference links are indented from left margin like this one.
By John Coleman
The key players are now all in place in Washington and in state governments across America to officially label carbon dioxide as a pollutant and enact laws that tax we citizens for our carbon footprints.
From a Centrist perspective we are recommending the tax be point of origin, or point of import. As far as Carbon Dioxide being a pollutant Webster is a good source on definitions:
1: the action of polluting especially by environmental contamination with man-made waste ; also : the condition of being polluted
Only two details stand in the way, the faltering economic times and a dramatic turn toward a colder climate.
Two problems here:
1. Economy is not as large an impediment as Mr. Coleman assumes as shown by the Mckinsey report (also see PDF [Note: Link Updated 2021] and general report coverage).
2. There has been no dramatic turn toward colder climate. Natural variation (ocean heat content overturn) and the solar cycle cause the strength of warming to lessen at times, such as during solar minimum.
The last two bitter winters have led to a rise in public awareness that there is no runaway global warming. The public is now becoming skeptical of the claim that our carbon footprints from the use of fossil fuels is going to lead to climatic calamities.
Mr. Coleman continues to confuse weather with climate. A ‘local’ cold spell does not reverse ‘global warming and a ‘local’ cold winter does not mean ‘global’ warming has stopped. Local, or regional, is not global.
Example: If the average winter temperature in your area is 13 degrees fahrenheit and the global average temperature goes up 1 degree to 14, does that mean you don’t get snow? Of course not. Remember weather is a short-term event, and climate is long-term trend. The global trend is up, and forcing and inertia as well as the atmospheric lifetime of CO2 will keep it going for a long, long time.
Note: With Global Warming, you can actually get larger snow storms. This is due to the warmer oceans evaporating more moisture into the atmosphere. Therefore, both snow and rainstorms can potentially be larger and more devastating. Does that mean you can predict these events? No, weather is still weather. Climate change merely changes the odds based on regional context.
How did we ever get to this point where bad science is driving big government to punish the citizens for living the good life that fossil fuels provide for us?
This is a classic straw-man argument loaded with non sequiturs, and contains only his opinion, no science. He is appealing to your ‘living the good life’ based on fossil fuels to prove that the science is bad. One has nothing to do with the other. The argument is absurd at best.
The Beginning – Roger Revelle:
The story begins with an Oceanographer named Roger Revelle. He served with the Navy in World War II. After the war he became the Director of the Scripps Oceanographic Institute in La Jolla in San Diego, California. Revelle saw the opportunity to obtain major funding from the Navy for doing measurements and research on the ocean around the Pacific Atolls where the US military was conducting atomic bomb tests. He greatly expanded the Institute’s areas of interest and among others hired Hans Suess, a noted Chemist from the University of Chicago, who was very interested in the traces of carbon in the environment from the burning of fossil fuels. Revelle tagged on to Suess studies and co-authored a paper with him in 1957. The paper raises the possibility that the carbon dioxide might be creating a greenhouse effect and causing atmospheric warming. It seems to be a plea for funding for more studies. Funding, frankly, is where Revelle’s mind was most of the time.
Another straw-man argument. Here Coleman is trying to say by implication that because a person was seeking funding, global warming is wrong? Again, absurd at best. To say a scientist would not want funding for research is kind of like saying a weatherman would not like money for doing the weather. It’s a red herring argument with no substance or relevance.
Next Revelle hired a Geochemist named David Keeling to devise a way to measure the atmospheric content of Carbon dioxide. In 1960 Keeling published his first paper showing the increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and linking the increase to the burning of fossil fuels.
These two research papers became the bedrock of the science of global warming, even though they offered no proof that carbon dioxide was in fact a greenhouse gas.
1957 Paper Roger Revelle, Hans E. Seuss, –– Paper: “Carbon Dioxide Exchange Between Atmosphere and Ocean and the Question of an Increase of Atmospheric Co2 during the Past Decades” [Plass 1956 – Calculations by Plass (1956) indicate that a 10% increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide would increase the average temperature by 0.36C.]
1960 Paper Charles D. Keeling, –– Paper: “The Concentration and Isotopic Abundances of Carbon Dioxide in the Atmosphere“
Clearly the 1957 paper did establish CO2 as a greenhouse gas (ref. 1st paragraph on the second page, Plass 1956). So Coleman is clearly wrong. That is one of the great things about science. Once something is fairly well established, it is accepted or considered on that basis, unless proven otherwise, or reasonably challenged.
It’s like gravity, it’s pretty well accepted that gravity exists, even though it is not fully understood. The ‘we don’t know everything’ argument applies here. But just because we don’t understand everything about gravity does not mean we all just start floating off into space.
In addition they failed to explain how this trace gas, only a tiny fraction of the atmosphere, could have any significant impact on temperatures.
I WANT TO MAKE THIS EXTREMELY CLEAR, THAT ‘TINY FRACTION OF CO2‘ IN OUR ATMOSPHERE HAS MUCH MORE THAN A “SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON TEMPERATURES”. IT IS THE ONLY THING BETWEEN US AND A FROZEN PLANET THAT COULD NOT SUPPORT LIFE AS WE KNOW IT.
Greenhouse Gasses (OSS Foundation)
Mr. Coleman also states that those papers offered “no proof that carbon dioxide was in fact a greenhouse gas”. Who cares? There are probably thousands of papers about climate that are talking about things other than carbon dioxide. His statement is a toothless lion, and a red herring that distracts people from the science while attempting to draw them into emotional arguments.
The Red Herring Distraction Argument:
Now let me take you back to the1950s when this was going on. Our cities were entrapped in a pall of pollution from the crude internal combustion engines that powered cars and trucks back then and from the uncontrolled emissions from power plants and factories. Cars and factories and power plants were filling the air with all sorts of pollutants. There was a valid and serious concern about the health consequences of this pollution and a strong environmental movement was developing to demand action. Government accepted this challenge and new environmental standards were set. Scientists and engineers came to the rescue. New reformulated fuels were developed for cars, as were new high tech, computer controlled engines and catalytic converters. By the mid seventies cars were no longer big time polluters, emitting only some carbon dioxide and water vapor from their tail pipes. Likewise, new fuel processing and smoke stack scrubbers were added to industrial and power plants and their emissions were greatly reduced, as well.
Again Coleman is building straw men and throwing red herrings at us to distract away from the science of global warming, with the science of pollution control. It’s a false dichotomy. One thing has little to do with the other in the context he alludes to.
Humans are putting around 36 billion tons (2008) of carbon into the atmosphere every year lately. The smoke stack scrubbers were installed to scrub out some aerosol and toxic pollutants, not CO2. The majority of CO2 still comes from burning coal, not gasoline.
He is also trying to say that by putting catalytic converters on cars, we reduced CO2 from the tailpipes. But the catalytic converters were not designed to reduce CO2. In fact, they were designed to PRODUCE CO2!!!
Three Way Catalytic Converter
- Reduction of nitrogen oxides to nitrogen and oxygen: 2NOx → xO2+ N2
- Oxidation of carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide: 2CO + O2 → 2CO2
- Oxidation of unburnt hydrocarbons (HC) to carbon dioxide and water: CxH2x+2 + 2xO2 → xCO2 + 2xH2O
Two Way Catalytic Converter
- Oxidation of carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide: 2CO + O2 → 2CO2
- Oxidation of unburnt hydrocarbons (unburnt and partially-burnt fuel) to carbon dioxide and water: CxH2x+2 + 2xO2 → xCO2 + 2xH2O
CATALYTIC CONVERTERS MAKE CO2 BY OXIDIZING UNBURNT HYDROCARBONS AND CARBON MONOXIDE AND CONVERTING THEM TO CO2 and H2O.
The Argumentum ad Infinitum
But an environmental movement had been established and its funding and very existence depended on having a continuing crisis issue. So the research papers from Scripps came at just the right moment. And, with them came the birth of an issue; man-made global warming from the carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels.
It is true that attention is given politically to issues that are noisy. However, the noise level of a given issue is still a non sequitur to the actual issue itself. Global warming was apparently first mentioned in the scientific literature in 1896 by Svante Arrhenius, and he though it was a good thing because it might prevent the next ice age. More recent analysis indicates a mixed bag of advantages and disadvantages with the majority of evidence indicating economic negatives on an increasing scale with continued warming.
Revelle and Keeling used this new alarmism to keep their funding growing. Other researchers with environmental motivations and a hunger for funding saw this developing and climbed aboard as well. The research grants began to flow and alarming hypothesis began to show up everywhere.
Again, red herrings and straw-man arguments. This is a political rhetorical tactic. If Coleman can keep your eyes on the political argument, you will be distracted enough from the science; and if his emotional appeals work, you will believe his opinion, and ignore the science.
The Non Sequitur Red Herring: Using Facts Out of Context
The Keeling curve showed a steady rise in CO2 in atmosphere during the period since oil and coal were discovered and used by man. As of today, carbon dioxide has increased from 215 to 385 parts per million. But, despite the increases, it is still only a trace gas in the atmosphere. While the increase is real, the percentage of the atmosphere that is CO2 remains tiny, about 41 hundredths of one percent.
First, his pre-industrial CO2 number is wrong. It’s not 215ppm CO2. The real number is around 280ppm CO2.
Second he is missing the point. CO2 ‘is’ a “tiny fraction” of the atmosphere, without which Earth would be a giant frozen ball in space supporting no life at all, as we know it.
Third, CO2 at “41 hundredths of one percent would be 0.0041 or 4100 ppm, but Coleman stated just two sentences prior that current is “385 parts per million” (ppm)? He contradicts his own numbers?
It is specifically because it is a “tiny fraction” that humans were so easily able to alter its influence on the global climate… because it doesn’t take that much to increase climate forcing. Facts out of context are meaningless.
Coleman repeatedly diminishes the importance of the tiny fraction of CO2 in our atmosphere: Which is the only think keeping Earth from being a froze ball in space:
Several hypothesis emerged in the 70s and 80s about how this tiny atmospheric component of CO2 might cause a significant warming. But they remained unproven. Years have passed and the scientists kept reaching out for evidence of the warming and proof of their theories. And, the money and environmental claims kept on building up.
What remains unproven? It’s now 30-40 years later and we know with solid confidence that humans have altered the climate system. What does a 40 year old question, that has already been answered have to do with today? Coleman could just as easily be telling you the Earth is flat with the same amount of relevance.
The Non Sequitur One World Government Red Herring
Back in the 1960s, this global warming research came to the attention of a Canadian born United Nation’s bureaucrat named Maurice Strong. He was looking for issues he could use to fulfill his dream of one-world government. Strong organized a World Earth Day event in Stockholm, Sweden in 1970. From this he developed a committee of scientists, environmentalists and political operatives from the UN to continue a series of meeting.
Emotional appeal as distraction, Red Herring argument.
Strong developed the concept that the UN could demand payments from the advanced nations for the climatic damage from their burning of fossil fuels to benefit the underdeveloped nations, a sort of CO2 tax that would be the funding for his one-world government. But, he needed more scientific evidence to support his primary thesis. So Strong championed the establishment of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This was not a pure climate study scientific organization, as we have been led to believe. It was an organization of one-world government UN bureaucrats, environmental activists and environmentalist scientists who craved the UN funding so they could produce the science they needed to stop the burning of fossil fuels. Over the last 25 years they have been very effective. Hundreds of scientific papers, four major international meetings and reams of news stories about climatic Armageddon later, the UN IPCC has made its points to the satisfaction of most and even shared a Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore.
Emotional appeal as distraction, Red Herring argument. The IPCC is one of the most conservative, vetted assessments of climate science in the entire world.
At the same time, that Maurice Strong was busy at the UN, things were getting a bit out of hand for the man who is now called the grandfather of global warming, Roger Revelle. He had been very politically active in the late 1950’s as he worked to have the University of California locate a San Diego campus adjacent to Scripps Institute in La Jolla. He won that major war, but lost an all important battle afterward when he was passed over in the selection of the first Chancellor of the new campus.
The Al Gore Red Herring Distraction Argument
He left Scripps finally in 1963 and moved to Harvard University to establish a Center for Population Studies. It was there that Revelle inspired one of his students to become a major global warming activist. This student would say later, “It felt like such a privilege to be able to hear about the readouts from some of those measurements in a group of no more than a dozen undergraduates. Here was this teacher presenting something not years old but fresh out of the lab, with profound implications for our future!” The student described him as “a wonderful, visionary professor” who was “one of the first people in the academic community to sound the alarm on global warming,” That student was Al Gore. He thought of Dr. Revelle as his mentor and referred to him frequently, relaying his experiences as a student in his book Earth in the Balance, published in 1992.
Note: Both Coleman & Lancaster refer to Revelle as the Grandfather of Global Warming. While Revelle did make major contributions along with many others, it was Fourier in 1824 that discovered CO2 traps heat. Svante Arrhenius asserted in 1984 CO2 would warm the planet. Guy Calendar asserted in the 1920’s that CO2 was already warming the planet. That was all before Revelle’s work.
So there it is, Roger Revelle was indeed the grandfather of global warming. His work had laid the foundation for the UN IPCC, provided the anti-fossil fuel ammunition to the environmental movement and sent Al Gore on his road to his books, his move, his Nobel Peace Prize and a hundred million dollars from the carbon credits business.
Emotional appeal as distraction, Red Herring argument.
What happened next is amazing.
The global warming frenzy was becoming the cause celeb of the media. After all the media is mostly liberal, loves Al Gore, loves to warn us of impending disasters and tell us “the sky is falling, the sky is falling”. The politicians and the environmentalist loved it, too.
This is a funny argument. The amount of media, left and right, hovers and waivers around 50% liberal, and 50% conservative, but 100% commercial. They market to their base because that is how they make money. Once again, Emotional appeal as distraction, Red Herring argument.
The non sequitur he said this, then that, Red Herring:
But the tide was turning with Roger Revelle. He was forced out at Harvard at 65 and returned to California and a semi retirement position at UCSD. There he had time to rethink Carbon Dioxide and the greenhouse effect. The man who had inspired Al Gore and given the UN the basic research it needed to launch its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was having second thoughts. In 1988 he wrote two cautionary letters to members of Congress. He wrote, “My own personal belief is that we should wait another 10 or 20 years to really be convinced that the greenhouse effect is going to be important for human beings, in both positive and negative ways.”
[Note: Maybe it is true: but 10 years later was 1998 and by then the confidence in increasing risk only became higher. 20 years later was 2008. By that time confidence was 95% that the science indicates continued warming from human causation.]
Did Revelle say this? Probably no [I was unable to find confirmation of this letter but that does not mean it did not exist either.]. Based on his views and recommended actions for Global Warming, it is doubtful. But that was 20 years ago, and Coleman may be taking it out of context? But Coleman does not cite the source, or link the letter?
If the letter does exist and the quote is correct and in context, it doesn’t matter. If it is correct and out of context it doesn’t matter. If it is incorrect, it doesn’t matter. Coleman is relying on 20 year old arguments to claim current scientific understanding is wrong… that is scientifically absurd.
It’s been 20 years, we know with extremely high confidence (95%) this global warming event is indicated to be human caused; and now we need to work on mitigation and adaptation as the situation develops.
He added, “…we should be careful not to arouse too much alarm until the rate and amount of warming becomes clearer.”
(See Carolyn Revelle, What My Father Really Said.)
This argument is like waiting until after Christopher Columbus sails across the Atlantic to prove the Earth is round; and then saying we should not fund a Christopher Columbus voyage, because there is not enough evidence to prove the world is round. We should not waste taxpayer money on such unproven endeavors…
The irony of the conception above is compelling as it is based on the myth promulgated by Washington Irving’s publication of ‘The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus’, which established and popularized a fictional account regarding the Earth is flat. The idea that even ‘that’ story is a myth is even more appropriate, as it exemplifies fiction used by denialists to prove that the science of human caused global warming is not real. Using myth to disprove science, what a concept!
It has been 20 years since Roger Revelle ‘may have written’ those words. We now know that CO2 and other human caused greenhouse gases are not only driving climate but have significantly altered the natural cycle of climate on Earth.
Next, Coleman admits he relied on Dr. Singer, whom we know lied about Revelle’s Scientific assessment, that Singer pushed in to Cosmos, while he was receiving funding from oil industry lobbyists. By the way climate became his focus after he was finished lobbying for the cigarette companies saying second hand smoke does not cause cancer:
And in 1991 Revelle teamed up with Chauncey Starr, founding director of the Electric Power Research Institute and Fred Singer, the first director of the U.S. Weather Satellite Service, to write an article for Cosmos magazine. They urged more research and begged scientists and governments not to move too fast to curb greenhouse CO2 emissions because the true impact of carbon dioxide was not at all certain and curbing the use of fossil fuels could have a huge negative impact on the economy and jobs and our standard of living. I have discussed this collaboration with Dr. Singer. He assures me that Revelle was considerably more certain than he was at the time that carbon dioxide was not a problem.
Revelle ‘begged’ scientists and governments not to move too fast? Extremely unlikely. He was a conservative scientist and doubtful he would have been prone to begging.
(See Carolyn Revelle, What My Father Really Said).
Here is a statement from Justin Lancaster that worked with Roger Revelle and links to testimonials regarding the Cosmos article. “My personal conversation with Roger shortly after the publication of the Cosmos article gave me the very strong sense that he was intensely embarrassed that his name was associated.”
Fred Singer is notorious for supporting corporation profit at the expense of human health (see here, here, and here). Emotional appeal as distraction, Red Herring argument.
Did Roger Revelle attend the Summer enclave at the Bohemian Grove in Northern California in the Summer of 1990 while working on that article? Did he deliver a lakeside speech there to the assembled movers and shakers from Washington and Wall Street in which he apologized for sending the UN IPCC and Al Gore onto this wild goose chase about global warming? Did he say that the key scientific conjecture of his lifetime had turned out wrong? The answer to those questions is, “I think so, but I do not know it for certain”. I have not managed to get it confirmed as of this moment. It’s a little like Las Vegas; what is said at the Bohemian Grove stays at the Bohemian Grove. There are no transcripts or recordings and people who attend are encouraged not to talk. Yet, the topic is so important, that some people have shared with me on an informal basis.
Here Mr. Coleman plants an unsubstantiated, and most likely untrue, idea in your head (read statement from Justin Lancaster) that doesn’t even matter. Humans are clearly indicated to be causing the planet to warm. It’s a scientific fact based on the known relevant science.
Global Warming (OSS Foundation)
Roger Revelle died of a heart attack three months after the Cosmos story was printed. Oh, how I wish he were still alive today. He might be able to stop this scientific silliness and end the global warming scam.
Singer claimed in the Cosmos article that warming in today’s century will be“well below normal year-to-year variation.” That means 0.2C.
Fact: Revelle expected warming in the 21st century would be 1-3 degrees Celsius.
“Revelle was hoodwinked (by Fred Singer), in my view. Perhaps more severe terms are deserved.” – J. Justin Lancaster
Here Coleman lies by relying on his incorrect assertions above, while inferring Roger Revelle apologized for misleading people on global warming. When in fact it was S. Fred Singer that misrepresented Revelle in the Cosmos piece and Coleman then relied on Singers lies and misrepresentations. Roger Revelle was clear he believed the warming would be 1 to 3 degrees Celsius. Singer misrepresented that fact in the Cosmos piece. Thus, Singer lied. Coleman not understanding the science, then repeats Singers lie:
Al Gore has dismissed Roger Revelle’s Mea culpa as the actions of senile old man. And, the next year, while running for Vice President, he said the science behind global warming is settled and there will be no more debate, From 1992 until today, he and his cohorts have refused to debate global warming and when ask about we skeptics they simply insult us and call us names.
This is an interesting bit of reasoning here, or lack thereof. There is no evidence Revelle changed his mind about global warming. In fact the existing evidence is quite to the contrary. If ‘by calling us names’ Mr. Coleman is referring to the term denialist, that depends on whether Mr. Coleman and those he is referring to have actually read the real scope of the evidence and assimilated the confidence intervals in context. If so , then denialist is appropriate. If not, naive or ignorant may be better descriptives.
It is complex science and if you have not reviewed the broad scope of evidence and assimilated the relevant contexts, it is then much easier to come to incorrect conclusions.
So today we have the acceptance of carbon dioxide as the culprit of global warming. It is concluded that when we burn fossil fuels we are leaving a dastardly carbon footprint which we must pay Al Gore or the environmentalists to offset. Our governments on all levels are considering taxing the use of fossil fuels. The Federal Environmental Protection Agency is on the verge of naming CO2 as a pollutant and strictly regulating its use to protect our climate. The new President and the US congress are on board. Many state governments are moving on the same course.
I’m sorry, did I fail to mention the Webster definition of pollutant:
1: the action of polluting especially by environmental contamination with man-made waste ; also : the condition of being polluted
We are already suffering from this CO2 silliness in many ways. Our energy policy has been strictly hobbled by no drilling and no new refineries for decades. We pay for the shortage this has created every time we buy gas. On top of that the whole thing about corn based ethanol costs us millions of tax dollars in subsidies. That also has driven up food prices. And, all of this is a long way from over.
Ok, I’m finally agreeing with Coleman on something. The corn based ethanol thing is not the best idea by the assessments I’ve seen, but that does not mean there are no better ideas.
And, I am totally convinced there is no scientific basis for any of it.
If, for example, I am totally convinced that elephants can fly when my eyes are closed, does it make it true?
Global Warming. It is the hoax. It is bad science. It is a highjacking of public policy. It is no joke. It is the greatest scam in history.
Hmmm… Well, see all my notes above and of course:
John Coleman’s unsupported claims it’s all a scam.
To email John Coleman, click here (No longer available).
For more info on (Coleman’s perspective on) the global warming scam, check out Coleman’s Corner [No longer online (http://www.kusi.com/weather/colemanscorner)].
Nov 08, 2011 04:20 PM
41 hundredths of one percent is .0041, or .004100, which is 4100ppm.
John P. Reisman says:
Nov 18, 2011 04:19 AM
Good catch. Adjusted the section. Thanks.
Nov 29, 2011 10:20 PM
Lots of snarky commentary, very little true rebuttal. Sad, really. More young people today should have been taught the Scientific Methoc, which encourages skepticism. It’s healthy, and it should cause re-examination of the facts. The biggest Achilles Heel for the Global Warmists is their assertion that “the science is settled”. Science, by definition, is NEVER settled. So interesting to see arrogance and ignorance simultaneously displayed.
John P. Reisman says:
Nov 30, 2011 01:44 AM
Your comment is naive at best. The commentary above is scientifically based and can be proven in the literature. Coleman’s positions are opinion based and not founded in the science.
You mention the scientific method, but you don’t practice it in your conclusions. Thus you render your opinion generally moot.
There is a big difference between never settled and useful information.
Nov 30, 2011 03:27 AM
I was in Hawaii last year during the Japanese Tsunami event. From shortly after the earthquake occured, we knew to the minute when the first wave would hit us from an event thousands of miles away. This was simple physics. Where it got a little more complicated was in trying to determine the amplitude, or height of the wave that was coming. Even with numerous ocean buoys and complete mapping of the ocean bottom, the “experts” were unable to predict if the wave would be 2 feet or 20 feet. And this is a relatively simple physics and fluid dynamics problem with few variables, compared to something as complex as a climate model. To say that NOAA, the same agency that is a leading light in the climate debate, can tell us what the climate is doing without all of the information verified, but can’t tell us what one wave will do with all the variables identified says it all. To think that we have a handle on climate is ignorant at best, and destructive at its worst. One word says it all for you my friend – Hubris.
John P. Reisman says:
Nov 30, 2011 03:34 AM
You think I’m exercising hubris? Can you tell me what the total surface radiative forcing of an increase of 1.66 or 1.8 W/m2 equals in joules per year?
Do that calculation and check the CI index in the literature on those components of the science that have high CI verses low CI and then see if you still think hubris is applicable.
Dec 27, 2011 06:11 AM
You seem to be confused about what climatology is about. It isn’t about coming up with the number of inches of rainfall in New York in 2100. It is about predicting the general trends in various global average values.
Are you saying that we are totally confused about the current global average surface temperature evidenced because we can’t know the height of a tidal wave?
Climate predictions is akin to saying that tidal waves are likely to come to a number of islands and that overall a certain amount of energy will be transferred away from Japan. It is a low resolution prediction that focuses on average energy content of large regions, especially at “steady state”.
John P. Reisman says:
Jan 02, 2020 01:26 PM
Non sequitur: while various climate models use different methods the increasing temperature on Earth continues to follow the predicted path of warming with increased(ing) CO2 added to the atmosphere. Thus warming is predictable. As to steady state, we have left the natural cycle path due to the CO2 increase.
Sam Jacks says:
Jan 10, 2012 08:14 PM
Coleman states that on May 20th a list of over 31,000 scientists global warming was released” Released by whom?? To whom was it released? Where is the list? How many on the list were climatologists?
John P. Reisman says:
Jan 10, 2012 09:25 PM
The 31,000 scientists gag is pretty old now. Where did Coleman state this? The majority on the petition are not climate scientists though. Here’s some info on it:
Jan 22, 2013 05:36 AM
I was really interested in reading a superior rebuttal on Coleman’s commentary, because many of the issues he speaks on I see all over. Unfortunately your passionate responses fall just short of the mark. This is purely intended as constructive criticism.
I’m not suggesting you don’t have some very effective arguments; I am merely suggesting as written it plays best to an audience already in agreement with you. If that’s your intent, that’s cool — but I think you’re missing the bigger opportunity.
If Coleman is a nut job (and I am not saying he is; just making a point), he and others on that end of the spectrum won’t listen to anything you have to say. But you DO have an opportunity to convince real independents, like me (a registered Republican, who voted for a Democrat in the California Congressional primary, and whose favorite radio station is KPCC in Southern California), who believe there are nut jobs on both sides of any argument. Ultimately, fighting Coleman’s passion with yours doesn’t move the needle of an independent. It’s a zero sum game.
Also, I use Larry Mantle at Southern California Public Radio as a great example of dispassionate argument. Clearly he’s liberal, but he doesn’t let another liberal slide by with an argument that may be answered, anymore than he would allow that of a conservative. He also understands that in an issue like this there may be some level of truth in an opposing argument, and he addresses that by stepping in the shoes of the opponent, understanding why they may make a certain argument, and giving credit for what valid points they may have. Being dismissive doesn’t win a debate.
Also, most readers (and I’ll count myself in that batch) are basically lazy. You have a lot of single source links that jump to other websites. I think it would serve you better to summarize the point you want to make with the link, and then provide the link as the source for your commentary.
I write, so believe me, I know I’m suggesting you do some major work. But I believe if you did that, this site could become the go-to place to find the real answers to a question that is as alive as ever. And your fact-based arguments will either be accepted or not based on the believability of the facts and their sources. That of course is your call. Thanks!
John P. Reisman says:
Jan 22, 2013 06:25 AM
Thank you for your considerations. While this particular argument was written many years ago I’m not convinced it is overly passionate. One mans overly passionate is another mans understatement. Can you point out specific sentences that you consider ‘passionate’?
To address your point of summation, I did write a rather detailed book called: Exposing The Climate Hoax: It’s All About The Economy
which clearly details the state of the science and presents economic concerns and considerations.
I also directed a movie for the National Academy of Sciences called Climate Change: Lines of Evidence, and helped write the accompanying booklet
There is no single link as the source for my commentary. My commentary derives from years of analysis of the vetted evidence. The links are there for those that want to go deeper.
Aug 17, 2014 01:00 PM
I am increasingly baffled and frustrated that I have yet to see any mention (anywhere) of a major man-made source of Climate Change…and that is over-development. Concrete, asphalt, tarmac, and a huge variety of man-made materials make wonderful heat-sinks. I cannot fathom that any rational person would not consider that displacing natural foliage with roadways and structures galore (i.e.- concrete & pavement retaining heat from solar radiation as opposed to it being diffused by plantlife)would be as important a problem as fossil fuels. A secondary (but not lesser) concern would be that this defoliation (mankind seems to want the world to be one giant parking lot with a neat little landscaping)is increasing mankind’s carbon footprint for the simple reason that there are subsequently fewer plants to convert CO2 into oxygen (not sure how oxygen producing algae and plant life in the oceans are faring nowadays but, I am not hopeful). So, considering that CO2 is the main greenhouse gas in the limelight( my understanding is that future methane production may be a bigger threat), the lack of national attention on this puzzles me. I would love to hear any constructive response…
John P. Reisman says:
Sep 20, 2014 08:03 PM
Hello Bokonon, You have brought up many points. Over-development is a key factor, but understanding that scientifically, in relation to economic impact, requires additional parsing of subjects.
– Concrete can increase reflective albedo and thus reducing conversion to long-wave infrared, which reduces heating capacity.
– Asphalt is black and therefore increases conversion to long-wave infrared.
Natural foliage that is darker, like rainforest helps heat the planet, while clearing forest can expose lighter colored dirt that can increase reflectivity thus introducing a cooling component.
Generally: Delta T derives from how much energy comes in + how much goes out + how long energy hangs out in the system; more detail gets into how energy is converted in to heat and how long we hold it before that energy goes back to space. Delta T is the resulting temperature from all the underlying interactions.
Or L (1-alpha) / 4 = Epsilon Sigma Ta^4
So light energy (blackbody – albedo) /4 = blackbody boltzman constant * T^4
But let’s not get into underlying equations. David Archer did a great class on this which is available online.
Defoliation is interesting and environmental balance needs to be considered. However, the Earth is indicated to be getting greener based on NASA satellite data and other measures, likely due to the increased CO2 content in the atmosphere. Keep in mind, greener does not necessarily equate to better for humans. There are many factors to be considered. More leaves, that are not edible do not counter the yield drops in crops due to thermal limits being increasingly exceeded.
Oceans are experiencing issues and the net positives and negatives still have some large scale uncertainties wrapped around them. There are clear net negatives described and some possible positives that can provide offsets to the negatives. Science is digging deeper into these questions of course but science is not as fast as our desire for reliable answers.
As to methane, keep in mind that CH4 is measured in pp billion (PPB) while CO2 is measured in pp million (PPM). The media tends to use hyperbole rather than relevant context in their stories. Gavin Schmidt (Dir. NASA/GISS) did a good context piece on this on RealClimate.org regarding the hype about the methane hole/bubble in Siberia saying:
“If the bubble was pure methane, it would have contained about … wait for it … 0.000003 Gtons of methane. In other words, building a Shakhova event from these explosions would take approximately 20,000,000 explosions, all within a few years, or else the climate impact of the methane would be muted by the lifetime effect.”
I reviewed a methane paper a few years ago after similar methane catastrophe headlines hit the media and found the paper described a 0.7% increase in CO2 (after down-converting from CH4 post atmospheric degradation), which we do about every 3 years anyway in our current scenario.
It is important to keep things in context. CO2 is clearly indicated to be a more significant issue due to atmospheric lifetime and magnitude of impact potential based on current understanding.
Oct 24, 2014 11:20 PM
If I may add my 2-cents… IMO: I wish people would start calling this issue what it really pertains to: POLLUTION
I think the naming of it that got changed to “climate-change” (no pun intended) has really confused and muddled the issue. It makes it seem like a junk-science because, well duh, the weather always changes. … Why did we allow the marketers to take this issue over?
If we focus on the harms of pollutants in our environment, it will solve the negative changes. Almost everyone I know can agree that pollution is bad, but not ever agrees on the warming or cooling part.
John P. Reisman says:
Oct 25, 2014 12:41 AM
Because it ‘is’ pollution the EPA has the right to regulate. Of course some are arguing with the idea that the ‘extra’ CO2 is pollution. But as we point out above in the article the definition clearly includes “contamination with man-made waste”. It is not really possible to claim that the exhaust pipe on a car or an industrial plant is not a man-made emission device.
I do think that calling it what it is helps, but it will help even more when more people understand that it really is pollution ‘by definition’. Educating the public is clearly the task at hand:
Keep spreading the science.
Dec 06, 2014 05:56 AM
Here’s a flaw.
According to “http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/greenhouse-gases” greenhouse gasses are mostly water vapor.
But whoever wrote this – “To get that in perspective, think about it like this. the natural greenhouse gases are CO2, CH4, and N2O. These gases comprise less than 300ths of a percent of our pre-industrial atmosphere. Then of course add water and stir 🙂
If it were not for that tiny fraction of greenhouse gases, in our atmosphere, Earth would be a giant frozen ball in space. It’s as simple as that.” (from: http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/atmospheric-composition)
Is trying to make someone think its all about the trace gasses – excluding the MAJOR factor of water vapor.
John P. Reisman says:
Dec 06, 2014 05:23 PM
[Note: erowe is referring to articles I wrote on the OSS Foundation web site regarding Greenhouse Gasses and the effect of the gases in Earth’s atmosphere. erowe claims H2O is ignored on those pages. But the opposite is true.]
Yes, GHG’s in total mass amount are mostly water vapor. But the most significant ‘change factor’ is CO2 due to it’s atmospheric lifetime and the fact that it is an imposed change factor on the natural cycle system.
Thus there is no flaw in the argument. Water vapor is significant and in fact, due to the CO2 loading, is increasing as Earth warms due to the increase in CO2 pollution from fossil fuels.
When examining evidence it is important to make sure you are looking at ‘all’ relevant factors. This will help you avoid taking facts out of context.
For a good overview of the H2O and CO2 factors I recommend you watch the movie from the National Academy of Sciences called “Climate Change – Lines of Evidence” on the front page of the OSS site:
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