Roger Pielke Sr. Attacks Messenger, Injures Self

Thu, 2008-09-04 16:58Richard Littlemore
Richard Littlemore's picture

Roger Pielke Sr. Attacks Messenger, Injures Self

UPDATE: Pielke pretends this argument is about science (Scroll to bottom of post for corrective.)

Hurricanes respond to their immediate environment, not a global average increase in heat!

- Roger A. Pielke Sr.

You can tell that science and good judgment are going out the window when writers start throwing exclamation points into their arguments. And Dr. Pielke certainly sacrifices science, objectivity and caution in a recent attack on AP Science writer Seth Borenstein.

Borenstein is one of those infuriatingly even-handed mainstream media reporters who are always guarding against accusations of bias. Borenstein clearly understands the science of climate change and he reports it accurately, but you can tell from this passage how carefully he couches his work:

“Global warming has probably made Hurricane Gustav a bit stronger and wetter, some top scientists said Sunday, but the specific connection between climate change and stronger hurricanes remains an issue of debate.”

“Measurements of the energy pumped into the air from the warm waters — essentially fuel for hurricanes — has increased dramatically since the mid 1990s, mostly in the strongest of hurricanes, according to a soon-to-be published paper in the journal Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems by Kevin Trenberth, climate analysis chief at National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.”

“Warmer water makes the surface air warmer, which means it could contain more moisture. That means more hot moist air rises up the hurricane, serving as both fuel for the storm and extra rainfall coming back down, said Peter Webster, professor of atmospheric sciences at Georgia Tech.”

This, however, is not careful enough for Pielke, who without even seeing the Trenberth paper quoted above, states flatly that global average temperature as NO effect on hurricanes.

Really? None? What if global average temperatures went up 10 degrees? What if net global average increases had gross consequences in specific regions (as we know they do)? How can Pielke, who argues so frequently for an “open debate” on science, be so certain of his rectitude that he sprinkles his prose with signs of his insistence!?!? Hmmm!?

Already on uneven ground, Pielke finally embarrasses himself with this statement:

The focusing on global warming as the reason for any hurricane (or making it more likely to occur or become more intense) ignores that natural variations are not only more important than indicated by the AP news story, but also that the human influence involves a diverse range of first-order climate forcings, including, but not limited global warming [which, of course, has not occurred since at least mid-2004!].

This last exclamation-pointed aside is unworthy a scientist of Pielke's background. Real scientists don't worry about the possibilities of warming becausea single year was warmer than another year. They worry because nine of the 10 hottest years in recorded history have occurred in the last decade. They worry because humankind has increased the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere by one-third and they worry because CO2 has an undeniable warming effect, easily proved by any first-year physics student.

Yet Pielke and his ilk cling to a three-year variation in a highly variable weather pattern as proof! that global warming has stopped!

He should be embarrassed! And when he gets over himself, he should phone Borenstein and apologize. That would provide the only hope that the good Dr. Pielke! has to be taken seriously in the future.

 UPDATE:

In a hasty response to this post, Roger Pielke complains that the foregoing commentary is ad hominem, saying: “If the Desmogblog were interested in the science, it would present counter arguments to the statements they quote from (Pielke's own blog) Climate Science.”

Let me say this about that:

1. The DeSmogBlog has only a passing interest in science and (as previously demonstrated, sometimes painfully) no avowed scientific expertise. Our interest AND our expertise is in public relations - particularly in the manipulation of the public climate change argument by people who have abandoned science in favour of advocacy, but who consistently fail to admit this shift. Careful (or even casual) reading of the above post will demonstrate that I didn't take issue with Dr. Pielke's science links. I took issue with his characterization of what those links might demonstrate, and particularly with the implied hysteria! of his repeated use of exclamation points - a piece of punctuation that I have never seen employed in actual scientific writing.

2. If Dr. Pielke is feeling put-upon by my critique, I apologize. According to the biographical link that I provided above, Dr. Pielke has had an honorable academic career and remains, even in what appears to be semi-retirement - a researcher in good standing at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at UC-Boulder. Given his academic record and current performance, Dr. Pielke compares extremely well against scoundrels and layabouts like Dr. S. Fred Singer or Dr. Tim Ball. But I come back to my point: Pielke's highly punctuated outburst does a disservice to his own record. His argument that three years of temperature records constitutes a reliable trend is, again, unworthy a scientist of his accomplishment. And his criticism of Borenstein - indeed, his implication that Borenstein is spinning the news - is unwarranted, unfair, unprofessional and, if we must resort to Latin, by implication ad hominem.

3. At the risk of talking science, Dr. Pielke takes specific exception to my reporting of the average global temperature over the past 10 years. I hate to get into duelling graphics, in part because it would encourage people to think that Pielke's choice of graphs is relevant, but here is the UK MET office Hadley Centre's most recent record of global average temperature. To the degree that this might be considered a discussion about science, I stand my ground.

Comments

Would you say his point about lower latitude aerosols and regional influence is worth thinking about?

Would you say the point that warmer water adds strength and more rainfall to hurricanes is worth thinking about real hard?

not really - everybody knows that - better to find out more than stick with what you always knew and close your eyes to everything else.

If by ‘everything else’ you mean evidence? If so then let’s hear it.

What a pathetic piece of silliness.

Fern Mackenzie

you’re talking about Richard’s hit piece on Pielke right? LOL - great fun to see dissent in the climate science community

Pielke’s comments are so blatantly ridiculous that even a lame old artsie like me could pick them apart in a heartbeat. Fern Mackenzie

not an effective argument. He’s the expert.

Look at his argument.

If you can’t see the logical fallacy there is no reason to continue this conversation.

Fern Mackenzie

When an “expert” says this:

“Hurricanes respond to their immediate environment, not a global average increase in heat!”

He loses that moniker and forfeits the right to call him/herself an expert.

Roger - A man of your past talent surely can see the logical flaw here, which Richard rightly pointed out.

And no Roger, it is NOT ad hom/a personal attack when someone says “You are wrong because of a, b, c…z. By the way, you’re an idiot.”

Do the right thing Roger, and apologize to that reporter.

wow - is this satire or what? a climate expert makes a few simple factual statements about hurricanes and you guys go nuts?

your breaking the first law of AGW theory - “the experts are always right”

This should all be put up at the Onion or something. Wait is this the Onion?

…we don’t need to go nuts. Roger and you are doing that nicely for all of us :)

FeMack was right. If you can’t see the logical flaw in Roger’s post, then there’s nothing to talk about. Have fun living in denial - I heard the weather’s pretty cold there. :)

http://climatesci.org/2008/09/04/another-example-of-bias-this-time-by-the-weblog-desmogblogcom/

sorry to say guys, but this seems right to me:

“DeSmog weblog is nothing more than the continuation of personal attacks at those who seek to broaden the discussion of the role of humans within the climate system. Hopefully, DeSmog will take this opportunity to present coherent, scientifically defensible comments on the weblog presented at Climate Science.”

you can do better than this Desmog

anybody turn to Desmog for scientific discussion? Sorry, Richard: your “training” by Al Gore does nothing for your credibility.

why? I don’t know - maybe I’m a glutton for punishment but here goes:

Roger’s point that you are all so horrified about - boils down to this:

a hurricane is a weather event in a specific location and it……

(go ahead and take a break - I’ll wait)

…. is governed by local conditions.

wow - lets just lock this heretic up for thinking such a thing!

Here’s a hint: how would an increase in global temperatures affect local regions?

thats whats hilarious here - it’s obvious that increased global averages are going to affect regional or locational temps. Nobody would ever hint or dream otherwise. You guys are desperately searching for something that isn’t there.

An expert simply says - there is more to hurricanes than global average temp increases - NOT THAT THOSE INCREASES ARE MEANINGLESS - nobody ever said that. His point was that by focusing on that one thing - an incomplete or even a blurred picture was being presented

there is nothing even slightly controversial here - you guys are just seeing ghosts behind every door. Your bias has overtaken you.

No, there’s no need to search for anything as RPSr. has laid himself out in the open.

Pielke’s major point in his post was not that hurricanes activity increases due to AGW, nor is it that hurricanes are local/regional. It was that Borenstein’s article was a “gross oversimplification of hurricane dynamics.” However, having read the whole AP article (NOT the extract in RPSr.’s blog), I think not. Borenstein cites Chris Landsea and Hugh Willoughby as the opposing view and gives them ample article space (i.e. “…natural cycle”). How is this judicious reporting “incomplete or blurred”? Richard was spot on to note this.

In a sense Pielke is right. He is also wrong. He is right in that average global temperature has no effect on hurricane formation. He is wrong in that he implies there is actually an average global temperature. There isn’t and the concept is meaningless. Climate is not global. It is by definition regional. Temperature averaged globally is an artificial construct that has no importance in climatology. This is one of the reasons why the computer modelling is so flawed. What will determine cyclone development will be the weather and oceanographic (as opposed to climatic) conditions in the regions where they form. The PDO, AMO, El Nino and La Nina have much greater impacts on cyclone formation than the mythical global air temperature.

I think Richard’s comment is too sensible for DeSmog. It doesn’t fit in with the usual paranoia we have going on here. I recommend everybody jump up and down and call Richard names. LOL

no “average global temperature”. What’s increasing is average temperatures, world wide. Why is this such a difficult concept? And if average temperatures are generally increasing, it will have an effect on all regional weather events including PDO, AMO, El Nino and La Nina, as well as the intensity of storm activity.

Fern Mackenzie

Temperature averaged globally is an artificial construct that has no importance in climatology. This is one of the reasons why the computer modelling is so flawed.

“No importance?” Wow, sweeping statement alert. I would like to know your definition of “climatology” that allows for that statement.

At the risk of going OT, what are your other reasons why computer modeling is flawed?

“He is right in that average global temperature has no effect on hurricane formation. He is wrong in that he implies there is actually an average global temperature. There isn’t and the concept is meaningless.”

Isn’t the average global temperature arrived at by a formula that includes all the local temperatures?
Therefore, if the average goes up it means…..?
Am I missing something?

intensity of storm activity is not at all established as a sure affect of increasing average air temps (except in Al’s phony movie show) There are too many variables. Some believe storms will decrease in intensity due to all the variables. Thats why Roger brings up aerosols. Everybody throws that out because they want a simple movie explanation that AGW = Bigger hurricanes. Nobody knows if that’s true or not and they really can’t know.

Are you referring to Roger’s aerosol link on his original hurricane post? It links to a written testimony entitled “A Broader View of the Role of Humans in the Climate System is Required In the Assessment of Costs and Benefits of Effective Climate Policy.”

Wow. And little ol’ me thought it would be some peer reviewed paper…

On a serious note, after reading that wonderful peer-reviewed testimony, I think RPSr. is referring Matsui & Pielke in GRL (2006). Strange - I don’t see the explicit claim that “observations of the spatial distribution of human-caused aerosols in the atmosphere in the lower latitudes, that the aerosol effect on atmospheric circulations, as a result of their alteration in the heating of regions of the atmosphere, is 60 times greater than due to the heating effect of the human addition of well-mixed greenhouse gases!” in the text or the abstract.

Apart from my skepticism about the longevity of aerosols in the atmosphere relative to GHGs, and the fact that a follow-up article “Satellite-based estimate of the direct and indirect aerosol climate forcing” by Quaas et al. in JGR-A (2008) concludes that the indirect forcing by aerosols from CCN may be overestimated…are you suggesting that aerosols are more important that warmer SSTs in the evolution of strong hurricanes?

Stefan’s law shows that energy (emitted radiation) is proportional to the fourth power of the temperature. A slight increase in temperature greatly increases the available energy.
Caribbean water temperature has increased substantially, due to what else? but global warming. Therefore more water is evaporated, the moisture in the air is known to feed hurricanes.
The energy from the extra sunlight has to go somewhere. One way to dissipate the energy is hurricanes.
Think of lung cancer: almost all cases are certainly caused by tobacco smoke. Can we say any one case is definitely 100% caused by tobacco smoke? Not really.
Our climate is, as Pielke states, affected by many factors, several of them human, and the mechanisms by which the extra energy is released are complex. It is still true that there have been changes in the earth’s heat balance engendered by human activities, significantly by adding carbon dioxide, and that increased severity of hurricanes is one consequence. I am comfortable with the broad, simple, statement that Gustav was worse to due global warming. Expect more and worse, coming down the pike. (Soon, but perhaps the recent Volcanic eruption will knock down the global temperature for a little while, the exact details aren’t predictable.) You will not like the future consequences of more warming.

That is the funniest retard babble I’ve ever heard. If you read the post above and thought there was some sort of scientific point made here, do us all a favor and kill yourself.

The “extra sunlight” theory in the third paragraph is revolutionary! From a comedy standpoint that is, not a scientific one…

Sorry that the context was clear to you.
30% more carbon dioxide means that more incoming solar radiation is captured, adding energy to the earth’s atmosphere.
Not a revolutionary theory. Been around for a hundred years.

Meant “Sorry that the context was UNclear to you.”

? Under high humidity conditions such as the Caribbean an increase in C02 has no effect on temperature. The radiation you’re concerned with is already absorbed by water vapor.

This is part of the reason that the theory predicted warming first at the poles. for CO2 to increase temperature in the tropics to any significant extent we’d need a new mechanism.

I don’t totally disagree with you about the energy involved but the driving force in large storms is largely pressure and temperature difference, not the temperature itself. Which increased CO2 should decrease this difference. If warming could increase the temperature diffence between the tropics and the poles than hurricanes should strengthen but this is the opposite of what the CO2 caused warming theory predicts.

Wind Shear raises another question. Will it increase in the tropics under GW conditions?

Hurricanes require water surface temps of only 26 c to form. They have that year round in the tropics now - no warming is necessary. Wind Shear prevents their formation most of the year now. Will wind shear increase or decrease? Does anyone know?

How about reading IPCC AR4 WG1 section 3.8.3.2, p. 306-307? It covers that over the past decade, the 4 conditions (warmer SSTs, reduced wind shear, pronounced subT ridge & favorable African jet) that RPSr. covers have been present in the Atlantic basin and that they have corresponded to stronger storms in that region.

As for wind shear; Vecchi and Soden (2007) published “Increased tropical Atlantic wind shear in model projections of global warming” in GRL. Using future simulations based on IPCC GCM runs, they concluded that wind shear would increase for the Atlantic basin. However, I am skeptical whether this projected increase in wind shear will offset the warmer SSTs, and whether the weakening of the Walker circulation was properly accounted for in their simulations. Still, lets see if there’s a follow up to this paper in the future.

Interesting reference about hurricanes affecting Halifax.
why do I pick Hlifax? It’s North and represents the extreme reach of powerful storms

There are no observable trends over 150 years of global warming

1871 said to be hurricane strength with much damage in Halifax
1873 Aug 25th 1,000 killed in Nova Scotia 1,200 ships grounded from a hurricane that moved up the eastern seaboard. This system is listed as a brush above because it passed nearly 200 miles to the south.
1891 oct 15th 90mph moving NE
1893 aug 22nd 110mph
1896 oct 14th 95mph
1908 extratopical system hits just east with 85mph winds.
1924 aug 27th extratropical system hits with 95mph winds.
1927 aug 25th extratropical system hits with 105mph winds while moving rapidly NE
1936 sept 25th extrtatropical system hits with 80mph winds.
1971 Hurricane Beth passes just east with 75mph winds dumping 10.5 inches of rain
1996 sept 15th Hurricane Hortense hits just east with 80mph winds while moving ENE. Large power failures,Flooding & Damage to homes.
2003 Sept 28th-29th Hurricane Juan hits with 100mph winds 973mb, moving at 40mph. Many trees down & over 100,000 without power. Flooding, 2 killed, some roof damage.

“The DeSmogBlog has only a passing interest in science…”

That’s right Richard lying is more your speed and a lot easier on your taxed intellect.

When you start attacking someone’s use of an exclamation point, you’ve really lost the argument. People with only a “passing interest in science” should never write about things they know nothing about. It makes them look foolish and intellectually barren. Why are AGW alarmists such a nasty group of people? It’s like watching the bully in the playground beating up on the nerd. Now that’s unbecoming.

true - alarmists can be a nasty group but they’ve got nothing on Derek. He’s very nearly operating at a championship level of nastiness. Go Derek! but why not drop the science bit and just tell us about your personal greatness that sets you above the stupid mortals.

All this whole discussion is is a nagging matter of cognitive dissonance. These are the facts:

Global Mean Temps HAVE NO EFFECT ON HURRICANE FORMATION. That is the fact, and there are many sound reasons, apparently much to complicated for Rick the Dick to grasp. Here’s a small primer for those of you who may still yet be salvageable. First and foremost Hurricanes, like tornadoes form as the result of a temperature gradient, NOT HEAT ALONE. This is why they form most often where two bodies of air/water meet (ie hurricanes in the south Caribbean and Pacific/Indian Ocean boundary). THE BIGGER THE TEMPERATURE GRADIENT, THE BIGGER THE TORNADO OR HURRICANE, FACT! The bigger the difference in temperature in air masses, the more turbulent the flow of heat from the warm to the cold is. With a bigger gradient you get things moving so quickly one way, they “overshoot” and shift the gradient such that they are then drawn back where they came from. This oscillation is what drives the cyclone effect tornadoes and hurricanes share. This is the direct manifestation of the First Law of Thermodynamics which has stood as unassailable law for centuries (though Richard likely has his doubts). Thus, the reason we have had a strong hurricane season is the same reason we had one in 2004, the Atlantic is much cooler than the Gulf. I lived in Florida then, the Atlantic coast waters were 65 degrees in JULY. Of course, this is a clear and verifiable fact to anyone not wearing a tinfoil helmet. And while I’m sure some of you will try to crowbar some AGW based rationale into the reasons why, the facts are as follows. The Atlantic is cooler due to oscillation cycles that are independent of climate, and the Gulf is hotter because the southeast had a dry spring and early summer, and thus less solar heat was lost to above-surface humidity and instead absorbed by the gulf. In short, Pielke’s assertion is exactly right (in addition to being the only one offering science rather than insults). The heating of the Gulf, cooling of the Atlantic, and frequency of hurricanes does not correlate to either global mean temps or manmade CO2 emissions. Another easily verifiable fact.

Let me also note that some real scientists have found that Hurricanes tend to grow more intense when they are void of overlying high pressures, ie a hurricane will be more intense if it has COOLER air above it. Of course this widely accepted theory implies:
1) temperatures aren’t getting too much hotter
2) the “upper tropospheric warming” once predicted as part of AGW has not happened. Though the conspirists already knew that and have been avoiding the topic entirely

And of course all of this science and logic is why Richard and ol Seth Boringtheme are revving the engines of cognitive dissonance. It is becoming harder to ignore the facts and not sound like an idiot these days.

But cognitive dissonance is a b-i-t-c-h. Once you sign up for the agenda, facts don’t matter. And when you have a website tailored to the agenda, you have definitely signed up. So Richard, you have done what everyone expected. You met science with opinion and insult, and when you were called out for it, you opted for deeper insults. Yet all the while you make yourself look stupider and stupider to those who are not living in the same state of delusion. And as the science becomes clearer and clearer, and the experts more and more learned, you just look like more of a jackass.

But hey your whole: “What if the temperature goes up 10 degrees?” counterpoint to the First Law of Thermodynamics was priceless nonetheless. A smart-ass totally irrelevant hypothetical scenario, that you yourself don’t know the answer to. That’s how you shoot holes in perhaps the most firmly established scientic law? Sorry I doubted your brilliance. What a joke you are…

winning others over with warmth and humility - good job bud

Wow. such rich irony here. I found it hilarious when you let your opinions translate as “facts” :)

The heating of the Gulf, cooling of the Atlantic, and frequency of hurricanes does not correlate to either global mean temps or manmade CO2 emissions. Another easily verifiable fact.

Au contraire.

Santer et al. 2006. “Forced and unforced ocean temperature changes in Atlantic and Pacific tropical cyclogenesis regions.” Proceedings of the NAS, 103(38): 13905-13910.

“…human-caused changes in greenhouse gases are the main driver of the 20th-century SST increases in both (i.e. Atlantic and Pacific) tropical cyclogenesis regions.”

Let me also note that some real scientists have found that Hurricanes tend to grow more intense when they are void of overlying high pressures, ie a hurricane will be more intense if it has COOLER air above it…Of course this widely accepted theory implies:
1) temperatures aren’t getting too much hotter
2) the “upper tropospheric warming” once predicted as part of AGW has not happened.

O RLY?? I’m interested to know who are they, and where are their papers, pray tell? Did they really explicitly state your two implications in their work, or are those implications yours?

But hey, don’t let the facts get in the way of your entertaining rant. :)

Wow, you sure showed me. Presenting the comments of some unknown committee as a counterpoint to the first law of thermodynamics. Hilarious! If you were even smart enough to understand how dumb that is, you would be laughing at you too. As a physicist (what are you?), I get a belly laugh out of twits like you who think that this is even remotely how science works.

I stated facts, not information that lives in recently theorized hypotheses, or between the error bars of temperature graphs compliled from random sources to fit a predetermined outcome. That you refuse to accept them is your own problem (likely one of many), but not surprising. It’s pretty obvious that you are in way over your head on this one seeing as how you can’t discern fact from hypothesis or Law from theory. Your sources are a joke, and your understanding of real science is an even funnier joke. I gave you a comprehensive explanation about the formation of hurricanes that nobody who knows anything would refute. Yet you somehow think you just handed me my scientific comeuppance by pasting a quote from a propaganda paper and asking me for sources?

Science actually involves more than just copying and pasting someone else’s unverified statements from a website you Douche! Take your kiddie science somewhere else…

some unknown committee

Erm, that’s a scientific peer-reviwed paper, published in a top scientific journal. If you didn’t recognize that, let alone attempt to read through it, I must surmise that you are a neither a physicist nor a scientist. :)

And judging from (a) your avoidance of my questions to your previous post, (b) lame personal attacks, and (c) lack of logical reasoning, you have no concept of climate science, let alone physics.

So, to repeat: I’m interested to know who are they (i.e the “real scientists” you claim), and where are their papers, pray tell? Did they really explicitly state your two implications in their work, or are those implications yours?

Unknown committee?!!!
I googled most of these people in the research paper:
#
Pubs.GISS: Abstract of Santer et al. 2006
Santer BD, Wigley TML, Gleckler PJ, Bonfils C, Wehner MF, AchutaRao K, Barnett TP, … Forced and unforced ocean temperature changes in Atlantic and Pacific …
pubs.giss.nasa.gov/abstracts/2006/Santer_etal.html

They have many research publications and are associated with universities and premier science institutes, like Lawrence Livermore and NASA/GISS.

I suspect that the Derek character is in fact a parody since it is hard to see how someone could be that wrong on the science and still offer somewhat scientific sounding discussion.

Of course if anyone is taking his stuff seriously one need only ask him if humid air plays any part in the intensification of a hurricane. From the description above it would appear not ;-)

Regards, John

This thread proves one thing for sure. Talking about climate eliminates humor and increases self centered bitterness. I knew Global Warming was good for something.

I’m gonna go to some other site and discuss subjects that lend themselves to more pleasant convos hmmmm politics and religion should do it!

And Derek, your entertainment value notwithstanding, profanity and pejoratives like “you douche” are uncool. If you want to rant here, please clean it up.  

Ya know, Richard, over the last few weeks I have spent a lot of time lurking here without posting much, because frankly, I have a job & I can’t spend every waking minute responding to the Ricks, Robs, Zogs & JRWakefield’s of this world. But there is a trend floating up from all of the dreck. They seem to think that the whole AGW thing is in panic mode, collapsing in on itself and flailing about to find a toehold in scientific reality. I am not quite sure what this confidence is based upon. Haven’t seen anything new to suggest they have a point. This unfounded confidence seems to be egging them on to post increasingly insulting and patronizing posts. There was that little thing last week about my status as an aging hippie, etc…

Meanwhile, I am following the science on the ice shelf situation and so on. The disconnect between what I am reading in the scientific sources and what these folks are claiming is happening grows and grows and grows …

I am not quite sure what to make of this apparant delusion. Is there somewhere they can get help? Like AA? (no disrespect intended, to AA, that is)

Fern Mackenzie

Chris Landsea Science and Operations Officer NOAA/NWS/National Hurricane Center http://icecap.us/images/uploads/Dear_Marc_and_company.pdf

Sun Tsu said you should always leave your enemies of a line of retreat - because soldiers with no chance of escape will fight with such viciousness that they are sure to do you an injury even if though they know that the battle is lost. \

Presumably, the author of the Art of War would also have counselled that you should leave yourself a line of retreat - a point that our denier strategists seem to have overlooked.

On one hand, I find it remarkable that these gys are clinging so desperately to their fiction, even after longtime and self-interested parties like Exxon, George W. Bush and Stephen Harper have acknowledged that the globe is warming at an unprecedented rate and that people are causing the change.

On the other hand, the deniers' only alternative is to admit that they are, well, totally and incontrovertibly wrong - that they have been duped by the “think” tank campaign of disinformation or blinded by their own ideology, or that through inattention or force of habit, they jumped too early to an appealing, iconoclastic conclusion and now they don't know how to climb down without admitting the idiocy of their position.

The problem is that they still sow confusion on an issue that a shocking number of people don't understand very well. And as long as there appears to be confusion, that will provide an excuse for the inattentive to remain inactive, as well..

It's too bad, because Gary's spelling handicap notwithstanding, he seems to be bright enough to grasp the (not-very-complicated) basic science (CO2 is a greenhouse gas - check; burning fossil fuels releases more greenhouse gas into the atmosphere - check; in two centuries humans have burned enough fossil fuels to increase the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere by one third - check; during the same period, the earth has warmed at a pace unprecedented in the last millennia, at least - check; and that compelling correlation suggests that we humans should start getting cautious about how much more CO2 we loft into the atmosphere. CHECK).

Alas, I don't expect Gary or Zog or Rick or J.R. to have an epiphany. They have left themselves nowhere to run.

http://www.almanac.com/timeline/
Excerpt:
Over the past century, climatic conditions have run from cool in the 1900s to warm in the ’30s to cool in the ’60s to warm in the ’80s (scroll the time line above), and many of us have come to believe that mankind has been responsible for the swings. Scientists have blamed us for generating warming greenhouse gases, then polluting the air with sun-blocking particulates, and raising temperatures through urbanization, deforestation, and greenhouse gases.

Ice age is coming … again.

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