60-second climate skeptic: A 20-second refutation (in about a minute)


Back in the life as a corporate consultant and occasional (too-seldom) lecturer, Perry W. Buffington and I got some good mileage out of our observation that, were you in need of delicate brain surgery, you’d probably cross off your list of potential surgeons the guy who had a copy of The One-Minute Brain Surgeon on his desk.  You wouldn’t trust your future to anyone who displayed The One-Minute Financial Planner.

Why in the world would you be ecstatic when your boss read a copy of The One-Minute Manager?

My recollection is that the first time I actually heard Buff use the line, he got an immediate standing ovation from the very large assembly of workers and middle managers (hey, he’s good — audiences really like his stuff). Someone whose study of their profession is limited to one-minute bon mots, should be regarded with great skepticism, or perhaps be ignored completely,  no matter how bon the motsOne-Minute [insert your profession here] makes a catchy title, and may even carry some good value in new ideas and good ideas reduced to readable length.  Ken Blanchard, the lead author of the One-Minute Manager series, did not intend his book to be the only text anyone used on a path to an MBA.  It’s frosting, it’s not the cake.  It’s quip, not quote, not prose.  Remember that.

One-minute experts do not exist.  (Some experts may refresh themselves with one-minute reviews of material — but you won’t take pharmaceuticals from the “One-Minute Pharmacist,” if you’re wise.)

Now comes Coyote Blog with a post, “The 60-second Climate Skeptic.”

One minute climate expert?  No.  That dog won’t hunt.

And here’s why, in 20 seconds:  Our concern for global warming is not produced by charts that show rising temperatures, but by two centuries of observations that natural plants and animals, and ice and weather, show effects from climate warming, and the thermometer measurements confirm that the planet is warming.  The Earth still warms, regardless what any chart says.

Here’s the 60 second explanation for the 20-second rebuttal.  Coyote blog makes eight statements or observations, all of them based on the science of carbon dioxide, a science which the author himself appears not to have mastered (he argues that additional carbon dioxide molecules in the atmosphere are immune from absorbing energy, if there are a lot of carbon dioxide molecules already present, apparently due to some magic mechanism he never mentions)

For 200 years scientists have measured carbon dioxide in the atmosphere — since at least 1960, with special concern for getting the measurements done accurately and right, because our industrial cultures dump a lot of CO2 waste into the air and any scientist understands that wastes cannot be absorbed without effect forever.  (Newton, Coyote.  You’ve heard of Newton?)  These measurements show increasing CO2.

Separately, botanists, zoologists, other biologists and especially those practicing ecology observed that plants and animals migrate north in the Northern Hemisphere, and south in the Southern Hemisphere, plus up mountain slopes where mountains exist, as if climate were warming, and it this warming were changing their climates, and hence, their habitat.

Beginning about 1965, atmospheric scientists have discussed what might be causing this warming.  At great length, after having eliminated every other known explanation (in true science and Sherlock Holmes fashion), CO2 is left as the likely culprit, the one changing thing that best explains the rise in global temperatures well past the time that paleoclimatologists rather expected a turn toward the cooler.

In short, the charts are used to try to explain the actual observations and measurements, and no matter how badly those charts may have been botched, the plants and animals have really moved, and the measured temperatures have really risen.

Coyote Blog tries to explain away reality as a figment of a scientist’s imagination.  But the Earth is still here.  As Galileo is reputed to have observed, regardless your religious views on heliocentricity, the Earth, she still moves.  Similarly, regardless one’s views on the dastardliness of scientists who carp in e-mails about unfair attacks on them, regardless how  badly one misunderstands CO2 chemistry, regardless any errors in creating charts for a UN agency, the Earth, she still warms.

Coyote Blog fails to discuss any of the effects or observations which lead to the charts on CO2.

“One-minute climate skeptics” can make a great contribution to science:  They are models of the Dunning-Kruger effect, and may be studied to understand that science.

 

Christopher Monckton out of focus

A dictionary could save space, using the same photo for definitions of "climate warming skeptic" and "Dunning-Kruger Effect." In the photo, Monckton is not quite so out-of-focus as usual.

19 Responses to 60-second climate skeptic: A 20-second refutation (in about a minute)

  1. Jim says:

    Hi Ed!

    You are asking what causes rising temperatures? Why, if you had been paying attention to the “experts” on the Tea Party Express — paragons of erudition and titans of intellect like Rand Paul, Christine O’Donnell and Ron Johnson — you would have your answer already.

    Haven’t you heard, Ed?

    Volcanoes. Got it? Good. Please make a note of it.

    (But seriously — that IS what they were claiming this summer. To quote someone whose name escapes me, “OH MY GOD! THE STUPID!!! IT BURNS!!!!!”

    Jim

    Like

  2. Ed Darrell says:

    That’s not explanation. It’s less strident than most denialist screeds, plus, it doesn’t come close to answering my question.

    It’s a pretty simple question, really, Roger. Maybe you’re overthinking it.

    We see rising temperatures, with global temperatures up significantly in the past half century. The rising temperatures are not corroborated by volcanic action. They don’t correlate with any solar fluctuations — sunspots, solar wind, the 11-year cycles of the Sun nor the 84-year cycles. The rising temperatures do not correlate with anything except rising levels of CO2.

    CO2, we know from history and 200 years of research on the gas, acts as glass in a greenhouse for the Earth. CO2 in the atmosphere effectively traps solar radiation, preventing it from radiating back out into space, and thereby warming the planet. Rising CO2 levels appear to explain the rise in temperatures that have actually been recorded.

    Roger says the rising temperatures are not caused by CO2.

    What causes the rising temperatures, then, Roger?

    The question is important because warming will severely hamper life as we know it on Earth.

    If not CO2, how do we prevent temperatures from rising to economically intolerable levels, Roger?

    Like

  3. rogerthesurf says:

    Ed,

    The answer to your question is in the link I sent you.

    Please read and ponder upon it if you can and also ponder on your lack of maturity.

    Cheers

    Roger

    Like

  4. Ed Darrell says:

    I asked Roger to explain where it is I’m so grossly in error. So, he responded:

    I am sorry I commented on your site because you are wasting everyone’s time.

    I will not comment again.

    That’s been my experience with every dilettente who either claims there is no warming, contrary to every measurement, or who claims that CO2 can’t possibly be the cause, contrary to the last 30 years of trying to isolate causes, or who claims warming isn’t much of a harm, despite already-demonstrated problems. Challenged to explain the case, they can’t.

    Whose fault is it that Roger doesn’t know what he’s talking about? Oh, yeah, it’s mine.

    Farcical, were the stakes not real.

    Like

  5. rogerthesurf says:

    Ed,

    I have found that a number of defenders of AGW who act very much like you, including one who claims to be a member of the Skeptical Science team, turned out to be teenagers with barely a grasp of AGW and simply repeat what they have been told.

    You act and sound very like one of them.

    I am sorry I commented on your site because you are wasting everyone’s time.

    I will not comment again.

    If you want to read up on what the IPCC says, the link is below. Because of your youth and poor grasp of reality in this matter, you will probably not notice where they admit that nothing is actually proven.

    http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/tar/wg1/index.php?idp=260

    Cheers

    Roger

    http://www.rogerfromnewzealand.wordpress.com

    Like

  6. Ed Darrell says:

    Roger, can you explain where I go off the rails you claim I go off?

    No, I didn’t think so.

    CO2 and the greenhouse effect is not difficult to understand, if one doesn’t fight it too much.

    Like

  7. rogerthesurf says:

    Whatever,

    but it is obvious you do not even understand the theories you are defending.

    Cheers

    Roger

    Like

  8. Ed Darrell says:

    No one claims that CO2 in itself can block significant radiation, its all to do with the feedback theory and the interaction with other more powerful greenhouse agents in the atmosphere.
    Whether the feedback is positive or negative or neutral is really the issue.

    Really, I don’t mean to be impolite but you do not appear well read on the very theory you are defending.

    Roger, you’d do well to read up on carbon dioxide and how it acts as a greenhouse gas. I don’t mean to be impolite, but you’ve already made a great poster for the Dunning-Kruger effect, and for your good, let me suggest you get caught up with the last two centuries of science.

    Seriously.

    The greenhouse characteristics of CO2 are well understood, and not up in the air as you propose.

    Like

  9. rogerthesurf says:

    Ed,
    You are way above your head.

    No one claims that CO2 in itself can block significant radiation, its all to do with the feedback theory and the interaction with other more powerful greenhouse agents in the atmosphere.
    Whether the feedback is positive or negative or neutral is really the issue.

    Really, I don’t mean to be impolite but you do not appear well read on the very theory you are defending.

    Therefore your last answer was entirely nonsensical.
    Where do you think the heat goes to on a cold calm frosty night?

    Here is some reading for you.
    “The total amount of CO2 humans have added to the atmosphere in the last 100 years has upset the radiative energy budget of the Earth by only 1%. How the climate system responds to that small “poke” is very uncertain. The IPCC says there will be strong warming, with cloud changes making the warming worse. I claim there will be weak warming, with cloud changes acting to reduce the influence of that 1% change. The difference between these two outcomes is whether cloud feedbacks are positive (the IPCC view), or negative (the view I and a minority of others have).

    So far, neither side has been able to prove their case. That uncertainty even exists on this core issue is not appreciated by many scientists!”
    http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2010/07/dr-roy-spencer-open-to-possibility.html (Concluding Remarks)

    Cheers

    Roger

    Like

  10. Ed Darrell says:

    Have you ever noticed that on a clear still night how the temperature drops?
    Ironically this is empirical observation of the earth radiating heat out into space.

    Close, but no cigar. Yes, clouds close in act as blankets; no, lack of clouds doesn’t dramatically increase radiation of heat to space. CO2 gets in the way, among other things.

    Like

  11. rogerthesurf says:

    “No, I’m saying that in order to disprove the hypothesis of CO2 being the current most salient cause of the greenhouse-style warming we’re experiencing, you have to propose a better hypothesis.”

    Absolutely not true,
    YOU are the ones that are proposing the hypothesis, that if carried through according to the IPCC assertions, spells disaster for us all, so it is quite reasonable to expect a very good standard of proof.
    You have found some empirical evidence showing the causation link of CO2 with global warming have you?
    This is what you need to show that the current warming (if it exists) is different from all the historical ones.

    As an aside, you do say some clueless things.

    “Alas, for Earth, we have no way of opening a CO2 “window” to let the heat out.”

    Have you ever noticed that on a clear still night how the temperature drops?
    Ironically this is empirical observation of the earth radiating heat out into space.
    Do you know why it stays warmer when it is overcast?
    This is because of the greenhouse effect of the H2O in the atmosphere.
    Why dont you guys try banning water?

    Cheers

    Roger

    Like

  12. Ed Darrell says:

    Your reply is incoherent except for perhaps the last phrase.

    Take off your denialist lenses and read it again.

    “What cause do you posit, and where is your research to support it? Make your case.”

    I think you are saying that in order to make a case, you must supply research to support it.

    No, I’m saying that in order to disprove the hypothesis of CO2 being the current most salient cause of the greenhouse-style warming we’re experiencing, you have to propose a better hypothesis.

    This isn’t rocket science. It’s Sherlock Holmes: Eliminate all the things that are impossible, and whatever is left, no matter how improbable, is the case. Since about 1950 scientists have checked into causes of the warming we’ve measured (which you deny — those denialist lenses of yours are a real handicap). CO2 is the last cause standing.

    You say it’s wrong, but you can’t offer any explanation for the warming that better fits the facts. You lose.

    Absolutely correct, and this is what people like ME are asking of people like YOU.

    Lazy people and policymakers in the wrong have long asked others to do their homework for them. Do your own homework.

    YOU are telling us that the world is going to burn up from anthroppgenic CO2, WE have looked at YOUR case and see great holes in it, and YOU are unable to answer OUR questions about these holes.

    No, the Earth won’t burn up. Temperatures will rise a few degrees at a time — and that’s enough to end life as we know it. Were there evidence that such warming would provide benefits, no one would be concerned, but there is no such evidence. There are a few benefits — Inuit may be able to grow some wheat, if they don’t get flooded out — but they can’t replace wheat from the American Midwest, nor can their villages take the migration from Kansas.

    Sure, there are holes in the hypothesis, and everybody wishes it were wrong and there were a nicer cause which would be easier to fix. But there are fewer holes in this hypothesis than any you have proposed and investigated. Truth be told, you haven’t investigated any. As I noted earlier, scientists have been checking out alternatives for several decades — you haven’t even bothered to look at those cases.

    Time to catch up on your homework, Roger. You don’t have the portfolio to criticize the current standing hypothesis of CO2-caused warming, because you don’t understand it, and you don’t understand why it’s the best hypothesis we have.

    Heck, you started out denying that warming has occurred, after the warmest decade in human history. You don’t even pass history, and that’s the easiest part of this course of study.

    Now simply get YOUR head into perspective and think about finding answers to OUR questions.

    Like providing empirical evidence to support the “anthropogenic CO2 causes global warming” hypothesis for a start.

    Earth has warmed. Accept that, because it’s a fact.

    The warming looks to be in a pace with the rise in resident CO2 in the atmosphere. Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, when humans started mining fossil fuels to burn, which fuels release massive amounts of carbon dioxide, the levels of CO2 in the air have risen dramatically. A couple of centuries ago it was discovered the CO2 in the atmosphere acts as the glass in a greenhouse, allowing radiant energy into the Earth’s atmosphere to warm, but not allowing the altered wavelengths of that energy to escape, causing rises in temperatures. In short, because of CO2, much less energy has been radiating out of Earth into space than radiated out prior to about 1800, and that heat has been building up.

    Botanists and commercial plant growers learned that greenhouses (or “hothouses”) can get too warm for the plants they cultivate, so they install windows that open, to allow heat to radiate out.

    Alas, for Earth, we have no way of opening a CO2 “window” to let the heat out. So we have to reduce CO2 emissions, and allow CO2 in the atmosphere to cycle out. Otherwise, we get a runaway heating effect in our greenhouse Earth. That spells disaster.

    Here, study the science (it’s a pretty good summary, all research based). Briefer and therefore better, study the simple science.

    And try leaving off the ad hominem attacks, it only weakens your case.

    You really don’t like facts of any sort, do you.

    Like

  13. rogerthesurf says:

    Your reply is incoherent except for perhaps the last phrase.

    “What cause do you posit, and where is your research to support it? Make your case.”

    I think you are saying that in order to make a case, you must supply research to support it.

    Absolutely correct, and this is what people like ME are asking of people like YOU.

    YOU are telling us that the world is going to burn up from anthroppgenic CO2, WE have looked at YOUR case and see great holes in it, and YOU are unable to answer OUR questions about these holes.

    Now simply get YOUR head into perspective and think about finding answers to OUR questions.

    Like providing empirical evidence to support the “anthropogenic CO2 causes global warming” hypothesis for a start.

    And try leaving off the ad hominem attacks, it only weakens your case.

    Cheers

    Roger

    http://www.rogerfromnewzealand.wordpress.com

    Like

  14. Ed Darrell says:

    John Mashey, were you not so correct, you’d be considered absolutely vicious!

    Like

  15. Ed Darrell says:

    Roger, you been hanging with Rip van Winkle for the past couple o’ decades?

    Roger said:

    However without proof that the current warming (if there actually is one) . . .

    Of course, there is proof. We have thermometers. We have solid, hard data from some sites going back 400 years. There is no doubt that there is current warming.

    No doubt. Nor can you point to anyone who is fool enough to deny it, with data.

    . . . is NOT caused by the same factors that caused the many warmings when there was no anthropogenic and lower levels of atmospheric CO2, it is unlikely that the current warming can be attributed to the current atmospheric CO2 levels.

    Which non-human cause is it you claim has not been falsified? Cite the papers, please.

    The fact that there is no empirical evidence to prove CO2 as the causation of the current warming (if there is one) . . .

    You mean, “The liar’s claim that there is no empirical evidence,” or your sentence doesn’t make sense, or isn’t truthful.

    We’ve known of the greenhouse effects of CO2 for 200 years. We’ve known that without this effect, the planet would be too cold for life. If you’re denying that 200 years of science, please cite a source, and tell us who won the Nobel in chemistry or physics for that discovery.

    Otherwise, you’re just blathering.

    . . . further makes it less likely that CO2 has any role in accounting for the current alleged temperatures.

    Again I ask: What cause do you have evidence for, that has not been disproven? Solar cycles, both the 11-year and 84-year, have come and gone, and still the warming continues apace with the increase in CO2. Orbital oscillations over that time have come and gone, but the increase in temperatures tracks the increase in CO2.

    20 years ago climate scientists wondered, “What happened to the usual cooling we see about this point in the Earth’s climate cycles?” We’re overdue for an ice age-type of fluctuation.

    But the temperatures rise instead.

    What cause do you posit, and where is your research to support it? Make your case.

    Like

  16. John Mashey says:

    This is wonderful. A mention of D-K brings out someone so D-K-affleicted as to show Ernst-Georg Beck’s ideas of wild CO2 variations.

    Like

  17. rogerthesurf says:

    “Just because previous warmings were NOT caused by CO2 does not mean this one cannot be. Just because CO2 was not the culprit in other warmings in the past 10,000 years does not mean this one is not due to CO2.”
    However without proof that the current warming (if there actually is one) is NOT caused by the same factors that caused the many warmings when there was no anthropogenic and lower levels of atmospheric CO2, it is unlikely that the current warming can be attributed to the current atmospheric CO2 levels.

    The fact that there is no empirical evidence to prove CO2 as the causation of the current warming (if there is one), further makes it less likely that CO2 has any role in accounting for the current alleged temperatures.

    Cheers

    Roger

    http://www.rogerfromnewzealand.wordpress.com

    Like

  18. Ed Darrell says:

    Same result, especially as to cause of the warming.

    Just because previous warmings were NOT caused by CO2 does not mean this one cannot be. Just because CO2 was not the culprit in other warmings in the past 10,000 years does not mean this one is not due to CO2.

    Got another candidate that hasn’t been disproven? No, I didn’t think you did.

    Like

  19. rogerthesurf says:

    “And here’s why, in 20 seconds: Our concern for global warming is not produced by charts that show rising temperatures, but by two centuries of observations that natural plants and animals, and ice and weather, show effects from climate warming, and the thermometer measurements confirm that the planet is warming.”

    If I read your blog properly, the above is your assertion right?

    If that is the case, I think you absolutely need to change the 200 years to 2,000 years and check what the data says then.

    Cheers

    Roger

    http://www.rogerfromnewzealand.wordpress.com

    Like

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