It’s cold, so there is no global warming

For those of us who are particularly proud of the power of representative government and free markets, climate change is a particularly painful issue to discuss. The challenge of human-influenced climate change plays on practically every weakness of our favorite political and economic system.

Climate change is generated disproportionately by the choices of the wealthy and politically influential while it’s impact falls disproportionately on the poor and disenfranchised. It develops on a pace too slow for our feedback mechanisms to detect and respond to. Because of its long, slow impact cycle and its critical importance, it manages to be both horrifying and boring at the same time.

Climate change is a global phenomenon, but human culture has only evolved mechanisms to cope effectively with social behaviors that occur at the nation-state level. Even within a nation-state, we are seldom very effective at coping with problems that occur above the tribal level.

With good reason, we place much value on the power of science to interpret and predict reality, but our scientific capabilities remain very weak in interpreting complex matrix-phenomenon. Climate is a problem, like economics, that challenges our capacity to model, interpret, predict, and remedy effectively because of the massive scope of potential inputs, including human inputs. With good justification we may trust what our best scientific minds tell us about the causes of climate change, but they still cannot tell us with much specificity what we can do about it or whether anything we try might work.

Last year continued our streak of accelerating global warming. However, it’s cold in Chicago. It snowed this week in Texas. So now we get to listen to the clever shaved apes on Fox News tell us that global warming doesn’t exist. Freedom isn’t free.

Excellent cartoon from the guy who produces xkcd:

xkcd

Tip for surviving the cold. Fill balloons with water and food coloring. Set them outside at none-degrees and they freeze solid in about two hours. Peel off the rubber and embed them in the walls of your snow fort. Make absolutely sure the kids understand that these are NOT snowballs. You don’t want to be that dad.

They look really cool when the light hits them. Now I’m the Martha Stewart of political blogging. You’re welcome

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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Posted in Climate Change
41 comments on “It’s cold, so there is no global warming
  1. flypusher says:

    The deniers remind me of the Quote by Dr. Isaac Asimov:

    “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’”

    The fraudulent “scientists’ petition” that Sternn dredges up yet again (is your memory truly that short, or do you just hope that ours are?) is a prime example. Do dentists and electrical engineers have the right to form and express opinions about the effects of human activity on the environment? Of course they do. Are they entitled to have those opinions carry the same weight as those from actual climatologists? No they are not, and anyone who tries to present them as equal is telling a perverse lie.

    I’m not going to lie. I am not a climatologist, and because I am not, I don’t have the knowledge and background required to critique the papers published in that field. But I do have relevant knowledge that so many laypeople lack (based on the statements I read from them about science). That knowledge is about the process of science.

    One accusation I hear constantly is that this is all a scam to get more grant $. Basically scientists are the intellectual equivalents of prostitutes, that we are so ready and eager to sell ourselves to whomever shows us the money. Of course the deniers never seem to consider that this accusation is actually a two-edged sword. If $ is what really drives the scientists to make their claims, consider that there are some very, very deep pockets on the denier side, i.e., big energy. So shouldn’t the love of all that sweet, sweet $ drive at least a few AGW-supporting scientists to change their minds? But when we look at prominent figures in this debate who have changed their minds, we see them going from denier to believer. Richard Muller is one of the biggest names, an actual qualified scientist, and he had even been funded by the Koch brothers (I wonder if they asked for their $ back), but he couldn’t deny the data. There’s also Bjorn Lomborg, who was a major voice for the denier side, seeing the error of his ways. These are science journalists who have changed sides: Michael Hanlon, Michael Shermer, and Gregg Easterbrook. I can’t say I had much luck finding people on the AGW side who converted to deniers; the closest thing would be Lovelock backing away from some of his dire predictions (which were overblown ITFP), but he hasn’t joined the denier side. So the hypothesis that scientists= whores isn’t fitting the data, but perhaps Google is just part of that vast conspiracy to funnel wealth to China.

    I also hear plenty of accusations of fraud, that these scientists are just making things up. So let’s do a little mental exercise, something I call “So you want to commit scientific fraud for fame and fortune”. To have any hope of a big payout, you need to be working in a “hot” field. I use several criteria to define that: the field needs to have a lot of potential for advancing understanding and to be taken into applied science, it needs to attract a critical mass of talented people, and to generate some MSM buzz. To get that big grant, you need a big claim and a way to convince people that it’s right. So let’s suppose you decide to show that A causes B, something that would be a huge result, and guarantee funding. So you start up your research. With honest research you are able to show a correlation between A and B (so close!), but the significant demonstration of actual causation just isn’t quite there. But if you tweak a few data points just a little, viola! those P-values now look really nice. So you submit this for publication, in a top journal of course, and because you were prudent enough not to cheat too outrageously, you can get it past the reviewers. So now it’s published and you’re home free, right? Uh, no. Because it’s a hot field, you will now have many of your peers looking at it very closely. Some of them are working on different hypotheses, such as A causes C instead of B, or that Z causes B. Your conclusion, if it were right, would put their ideas out of business. So they are going to be very motivated to redo your experiment to see if they can duplicate your results, and they are doing it from the adversarial point of view. On the other side, others in the field may look at your paper and say “Hey, if A causes B, we predict that would result in C negatively impacting D”. They too would be interested in replicating your results, although from an allied point of view. But since your results are really false, none of them are going to be able to repeat them. So they’re going to start asking more questions about your result and exactly how did you get it, and would you be so kind as share everything, especially any raw data/samples you have, since everyone is having these difficulties. The bottom line is that when you make a claim in science, others can and will check your work, and the bigger the claim, the more checking that will happen. This makes it very, very difficult to sustain a fraud.

  2. kabuzz61 says:

    I think the right statement is Global Warming is cyclical. The sky is falling mentality comes from the left when they shout “man causes it” when there lies the question. But as always, the left gets it’s talking points and stays on them. Predictable and foolish.

  3. texan5142 says:

    And here come the Cap trying to convince us that he knows better than 97 percent of the scientist . Get real.

  4. RightonRush says:

    Global warming deniers are much like the people that laughed and made fun of Noah. We all know how that story ended.

  5. Doug says:

    “Last year continued our streak of accelerating global warming.”

    How can it be “accelerating global warming” when 2013 is cooler than 1998?

    • bubbabobcat says:

      Never took statistical sampling in your “edumacashun” Doug?

      Were 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, …1999 “cooler than 1998”?

      Picking and choosing data points that are statistical anomalies is not “science”. Or intelligence, rational thought, or…

      Willful ignorance is ironically laughable from those who don’t believe in scientific concepts like climate change or evolution as they prove prime examples of such as they don’t adapt, learn, and “evolve”…

      • DougH says:

        “Were 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, …1999 “cooler than 1998″?”

        2009 was. Also 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007. And yes, I aced two semesters of statistics in college. There is no “picking and choosing” data points. The fact is there has been little to no warming in over 15 years. No matter how you slice it, that is not “accelerating global warming.”

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Doug, you may have “aced 2 semesters of statistics in college”, but your Fox News worship of political spin and data manipulation would probably shame your professor of those grades he gave you.

        What is your “data” source Doug?

        From NOAA and NASA, “Both assessments noted that nine of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred during the 21st century. Only one year in the 20th century — 1998, an extreme El Niño year – was warmer than 2013, NOAA noted.”

        http://www.nbcnews.com/science/how-hot-was-it-2013-joins-top-10-temperatures-experts-2D11967298

        And how disingenuous (re: you lie) of you to select an outlier as 1998 for a reference point to compare with.

        “Aced” statistics, eh? Where? ITT or U of Internet?

      • bubbabobcat says:

        One more time Dougie,

        “Picking and choosing data points that are statistical anomalies is not “science”. Or intelligence, rational thought, or…”

      • bubbabobcat says:

        “NASA scientists say 2013 tied with 2009 and 2006 for the seventh warmest year since 1880, continuing a long-term trend of rising global temperatures.

        With the exception of 1998, the 10 warmest years in the 134-year record all have occurred since 2000, with 2010 and 2005 ranking as the warmest years on record.

        Scientists emphasize that weather patterns always will cause fluctuations in average temperatures from year to year, but the continued increases in greenhouse gas levels in Earth’s atmosphere are driving a long-term rise in global temperatures. Each successive year will not necessarily be warmer than the year before, but with the current level of greenhouse gas emissions, scientists expect each successive decade to be warmer than the previous.”

        http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20140121/

        “Aced 2 semesters of statistics”, eh Dougie?

  6. Tuttabella says:

    I’m not very interested in the subject of climate change and global warming — not in the scientific aspects and much less in the political bickering over the issue. I would say that I’m environmentally responsible in my personal life, not for activist reasons, but simply because I detest waste, so maybe I’m an accidental environmentalist. I keep my energy consumption to a minimum, I recycle, I own very few appliances and electronics and use them until they give out completely, instead of replacing them over the slightest reason. When I have no use for something, I donate it to neighborhood thrift shops, and I often buy used items — preferably antique and vintage.

    As for the human race or certain societies harming the environment as a whole, I think it makes sense to be environmentally responsible, if only to protect those who currently inhabit the earth. If we focus on keeping our air and water clean, and otherwise protecting the quality of life of the world’s population, does it really matter whether global warming is real or not? It’s become little more than a reason to have an intellectual, abstract debate, and another excuse for partisanship.

    • Tuttabella says:

      Please excuse me for my lack of knowledge about the issue of climate change and global warming. Perhaps I’ve confused it with environmentalism in general, although I would think it’s all related.

    • Tuttabella says:

      I wanted to add that I’m also a regular Metro rider.

      My point is that even if the major scientific journals were suddenly to announce that global warming is a hoax, a “manufactured crisis” (a crisis of manufacturing?), that doesn’t mean that corporations and individuals will or should suddenly forget their environmental responsibilities, that it’s carte blanche to poison the air and the water, recycling habits will not suddenly go “by the wayside.”

    • CaptSternn says:

      Being environmentally aware is great, waste is bad. As a Boy Scout and somebody that used to hunt, I know what it is like to be in the wilderness, to sleep out in the open looking up at the stars. It is always good to keep nature clean and to limit pollution as much as possible. Still doesn’t mean that we can control the global climate, but conservation is always a good thing.

    • John Galt says:

      Two comments. First, if everyone had your attitude, reducing waste and living a little more simply, we’d be in a lot better shape. I’m no paragon of virtue here, but I routinely haul trash bins that are nearly empty to the curb for weekly pick up while some of my neighbors are dragging overflowing bins, some of them more than one. How do you generate that much trash in a week?

      Second, this is not just an abstract debate because it has real consequences. The data is crystal clear that we are on a warming trend. Even if the ostriches like Sternn are correct and this has nothing to do with human activity, it has consequences for human societies. A few feet of sea level rise matters a lot for people living in Galveston. Are we going to prepare for this or wait until Galveston is destroyed by another hurricane? Should we try to anticipate what a warmer climate might do to agriculture? I think this is important enough to make some preparations, but I doubt that we will.

      • CaptSternn says:

        A warmner climate would be very beneficial to agriculture. The Medieval Warm Period showed us that much. Then the Little Ice Age brought famine.

      • John Galt says:

        It would be beneficial to agriculture in some places. It would be devastating in others. We have a few more mouths to feed now – roughly 25 times as many – so disruptions have the potential to cause substantial upheaval in the interim. The last few years have also seen temps well above the averages for the MWP.

        But you’re right. No need to worry since we didn’t cause any of this anyway.

  7. CaptSternn says:

    It’s cold outside, it wasn’t this way six months ago, must be anthropogenic global warming. Six months ago it was hot, must be anthropogenic global warming. There were bad hurricanes in 2005, must be anthropogenic global warming. There haven’t been many bad hurricanes lately, must be anthropogenic global warming. In the 1970s, we were dealing with global cooling, must be anthropogenic global warming. Up until the late 1800s we were dealing with the Little Ice Age, must be anthropogenic global warming. Before that was the Medieval Warm Period, must be anthropogenic global warming. 10,000 years ago the glaciers retreated, anthropogenic global warming. The dinosaurs went extinct, anthropogenic global warming. The earth formed over 4 billion years ago, anthropogenic global warming. About 14 billion years ago was the Big Bang, anthropogenic global warming. Seeing a pattern yet?

    Reality is that human beings are too insignificant to control or change the global climate, solar activity, tilt of the planet and distance from the sun. CO2 emissions? Minor greenhouse gas, and humans contribute very little compared to nature, maybe 3% total. Water vapor accounts for 95% of greenhouse gas.

    So what is this really all about? Politics and wealth redistribution. Restricting the top economies, boosting massive polluting nations like China, and redistribution of wealth from the top economies to poor nations.

    • John Galt says:

      “Reality is that human beings are too insignificant to control or change the global climate…”

      In 2011, human activity generated 34 trillion kilograms (~75 trillion pounds) of carbon dioxide. At standard density, this occupies an area the size of Texas to a depth of 80 feet. Yeah, no chance that could affect anything.

    • flypusher says:

      “It’s cold outside, ……[major hyperbole]…… anthropogenic global warming. About 14 billion years ago was the Big Bang, anthropogenic global warming. Seeing a pattern yet?” [hyperbole-o-meter explodes]

      Indeed I am. You have constructed a series of increasingly ridiculous strawmen. Also you keep invoking the Medieval Warm Period, but always leave out the fact that it was not a GLOBAL phenomenon. Very dishonest, that, and fooling no one.

      “Reality is that human beings are too insignificant to control or change the global climate,..”

      Teeny, tiny little microbes made a very significant change to the climate long ago; they did so much photosynthesis that they caused a major increase in atmospheric oxygen. So are humans less significant than microbes?

      “to control or change…. solar activity, tilt of the planet and distance from the sun.”
      And who exactly has claimed that? Other than you?

      “So what is this really all about? Politics and wealth redistribution. Restricting the top economies, boosting massive polluting nations like China, and redistribution of wealth from the top economies to poor nations.”

      Why would climate scientists want China or India or any other country that’s not their home to get richer? Exactly what’s in it for them?

    • flypusher says:

      One other point about China – their chickens are starting to come home to roost, environmentally speaking. They are learning the hard way that you just can’t ignore externalities. They will not be able to keep going the way they are going. The gov’t isn’t going to be able to mollify the people with a booming economy when they realize that economy is slowly choking them to death.

  8. rightonrush says:

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A qualifying race for Alaska’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race has been canceled due to warm weather, the second mid-distance Iditarod qualifier to be called off.

    Race officials called off the Tustumena 200 sled dog race on the Kenai Peninsula on Friday.

    A run of mild weather and rain wiped out much of the snow in south-central Alaska, the Anchorage Daily News reported (http://bit.ly/1cftNMp). Earlier this week, the Northern Lights 300 at Big Lake was also canceled.

    The high temperature Friday in Anchorage reached the upper 40s, according to the National Weather Service.

    Race director Tami Murray says the forecast forced their decision on the race, which usually runs from Clam Gulch to Homer and back.

    “We just don’t have the snow and way too much water in the hills to put together a quality race,” Murray said in an email. “We’ve looked at all possible options and with the 10-day forecast (trust me we’ve looked at them all) we feel this is the right decision.”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20140125/us-iditarod-qualifier-canceled/?utm_hp_ref=politics&ir=politics

  9. RightonRush says:

    I’ve spent the better part of the morning undressing our orange trees. The Missus built teepee type contraptions and covered them with an assortment of blankets, mattress covers etc. with heat lamps stuck under those coverings. Damn covers were wet and frozen solid. It almost gave me a hernia lifting them. ^%#^ $$^@
    Global warming is real, anyone that does extensive traveling is more apt to notice how the world is heating up and fresh is water running out.

  10. DFC says:

    Not sure it’s a good idea to de-weaponize the colored balloon torpedoes, Chris. In snowball fights as in life, Доверяй, но проверяй.

    • flypusher says:

      ” Fill balloons with water and food coloring. Set them outside at none-degrees and they freeze solid in about two hours. Peel off the rubber and embed them in the walls of your snow fort.”

      Pix, or it didn’t happen!!! 😉

  11. bubbabobcat says:

    And how do we get the right (except the most Darwinian dead end die hard willfully ignorant) to acknowledge the reality of climate change? Hit ’em in the sacred sweet spot. Their worship of the almighty $$$.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/24/science/earth/threat-to-bottom-line-spurs-action-on-climate.html?ref=science&_r=0

    • DFC says:

      DanMan will be along shortly to demonstrate that willful ignorance is the crucial and most non-negotiable pillar of right-wing thinking.

      • Turtles Run says:

        His twin brother is here to represent the willfully ignorant role.

      • DanMan says:

        man it would have been tough to be clicking a keyboard at 1:30 pm yesterday DFC, way too nice outside for that

        Yeah, this is a pretty stupid and boring subject to me and it gave me an opportunity to lay low and laugh about the Perv of Bellaire cracking about my anatomy last week when he lost another argument.

    • flypusher says:

      Also if unchecked industrial activity makes the planet less hospitable to human life, then it is a massive fail for capitalism. If you believe in that system you ought to be motivated to find free market solutions that slow/ mitigate/ help people adapt to the change.

      • DanMan says:

        you mean like those found in East Germany when the wall fell? oh wait, maybe you meant the documented beauty of the Chinese landscapes around their industrial centers…eh, um…I mean Russia. Russia does it right don’t they? except for Chernobyl and that lake they dried up that huge inland sea trying to promote agriculture in Siberia

        Nice to see come out and attack capitalism though, you should get points for honesty

    • DanMan says:

      from the link…

      “I’d be shocked if people supported anything other than a carbon tax — that’s how economists think about it.”

      There’s that solid science flypusher is asking for. Political science but at least its science.

  12. flypusher says:

    A topic shift in the discussion in a very recent post of yours provided a perfect example of the problem (JG & TR attempting to explain the science to one of the resident trolls). You have people who don’t like the politics/ policies that could result from the attempt to deal with the problem, so they attack the science. But they attack the science with politics, not science. They offer conspiracy theories about wealth redistribution rather than alternative models that can be tested via the scientific method. They offer false equivalences, such as influencing something is the same as having absolute control.

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