Thursday, May 25, 2006

Al Gore is "carbon neutral"?

Today as I read the headlines I realized that we are coming ever closer to the regimented and ignorant society depicted in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, featuring figures on the world stage straight out of Evelyn Waugh's most cartoonishly extreme political satires, with situational elements borrowed from the theater of the absurd. Samuel Beckett you ain't seen nothing yet!

We can start in Cannes, France with a story from Reuters:

A representative affiliated with "An Inconvenient Truth", a film about global warming involving former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, has stressed that the movie and Gore's tour to promote it are "carbon neutral".

Last week, Gore and his team were seen driving the 500 meters or so from a hotel to the Cannes festival headquarters in several cars. The representative said that arriving at events like photocalls and news conferences in cars was normal practice in Cannes. And Gore walked the shorter distance from another hotel to the festival for the movie's screening.

This hit a nerve because I have sorta been wondering lately about Mr. Gore's campaign to save the earth and all of the carbon that he has to burn to get his message across about the dangers burning carbon poses to the inhabitants of our planet. How do you stay so sane when you're such a superior being Mr. Gore?

I myself burn far less carbon than Mr. Gore does, not because I believe that it is a bad thing to do, but because I only need to drive to town once a week, usually on my way to or from work at the Bit & Spur or to give a tour. Otherwise I prefer to stay at home for at least five days in a row and to keep my car driving to the barest minimum. My electric bill is usually less than $40 dollars a month (for two buildings) and I fill my propane tanks once in the fall for about $500. I do admit to burning Kingsford charcoal to prepare my tasty feasts, but that is probably not very much carbon production compared to Mr. Gore's privately chartered jet. Oh-oh there goes another glacier Mr. Gore.

I find it ironically funny that I actually practice what he preaches and don't give two shits about global warming. The whole human race is always better off when they are thinking about ways of lowering their material desires. This keeps us focused on the land, the sky, each other and the comforts derived from a balanced awareness of what existence really is. From Buddha to Christ it has always been the same message: reduce, shed, discard, donate, just desire less and then, and only then, may you begin to realize your full spiritual potential as a sentient being.

As for people like Al Gore, a limousine liberal hypocrite, they come in all shapes and sizes. God put them here on earth to amuse and entertain us in these latter days of decline and fall.

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A recurring theme I like to write about, comparing the atmosphere of 1930's Germany with the current state of affairs in the USA, was admirably addressed in today's essay by Robert Higgs:
http://www.lewrockwell.com/higgs/higgs42.html

***************************************
And this day also saw guilty verdicts in the Enron case in Houston, with former CEO Ken Lay facing life in prison. Now do you all really believe that he deserves this fate when real criminals like George W., Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld will get to sleep comfortably in feathered beds until God comes to gently turn out their lights? Ken Lay may or may not have been a vile crook but I don't believe for a minute that he is as bad as the aforementioned politicians, who have perpetrated crimes against humanity that will take centuries to heal, if ever at all.

I guess if you want to get away with crime stick to government work where you always get your pension-----no matter what.

http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/05/25/D8HQU2G06.html

10 comments:

Audie said...

Beamis said "I ... don't give two shits about global warming," and yet quite a bit of space on this blog has been devoted to contesting the phenomenon's very existence and/or denying human beings' contributions to it. If Al Gore were being hypocritical about some other topic, I doubt we'd be reading about it here.

Anyway, I was wondering if you'd seen a copy of the speech given a few months ago by one of your heroes, Walmart president Lee Scott. Here's an excerpt (italics mine):

"... We are looking at innovative ways to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. This used to be controversial, but the science is in and it is overwhelming.... We believe every company has a responsibility to reduce greenhouse gases as quickly as it can."

When even the big corporate CEOs are recognizing it (because it's impacting their bottom lines), do we get to say "I told you so" yet? Or shall we keep waiting?

beamis said...

Stumpy it's still too big for us to know anything about.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

If I thought that we, as a species, could know this type of geologic "truth" I'd be way too optimistic and frankly naive to believe that mere humans could obtain such cosmic certainty. The limited set of intellectual capabilities possessed by homo sapiens ain't good enough, EVER, to "know" this type of information that the charlatan Al Gore spouts as fact.

We can't say with any certainty that recently active volcanoes aren't as much, if not more, responsible for the weather patterns we have right now than I can say that the Santa Monica Freeway is paving the way to a carbon induced planetery meltdown. On the cost benefit scale what is worse, the freeway or a raging volcano? Is one evil and another benign? Doesn't Al Gore just use a helicopter to get to his Malibu fundraiser, rather than risk being late because of a tie up on the Santa Monica Freeway, backed up past Robertson.....

Ants fart a lot, and they also happen to equal us in biomass (which I just read in a recent National Geographic at the dentist's office). Termites also emit gases, the ocean emits gases, cows, chickens, horses and turtles emit gases, hey shit happens and then decays dude....into more gases. Existence is a gas man!

I think our planet is way okay and will stay that way Stump.

We as humans got bigger fish to fry than fretting about the state of the heavens. It is not our place to decide or exalt leaders who will save us from the "gases".

Want less. Always be lowering your bar on material consumption. Learn about your spirit. The earth will be fine. We be fine. Hotter days to come? Your guess be good as mine.

SunLover76 said...

I live in Arizona and it's really heating up...but it does that every summer. I admit I'm not 10,000 years old so I don't know if it's gotten worse over that time. However, when I see politicians making movies about global warming I wonder why they are doing so. I don't notice anything different over the years. Maybe if they keep flying around in private jets and contributing to the problem they cry out over, things might actually get worse. Oh well...the movie's a bore anyhow...check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZSqXUSwHRI

Devastatin' Dave said...

Personally, I think so-called human-caused global warming will go down in history as one of the biggest hoaxes ever. Similar to Paul Erlichs's claims of a new ice age and mass starvation in the 1970s. And, if I'm not mistaken, the same conditions and data are being used to prove human-caused global warming that were used to predict the ice age.

*****the above statement has not been peer reviewed******

According to most articles I've read on the subject, the Earth warmed about .9 F over the 20th century. So what? Is this statistically significant? Did average daily highs increase .9 F or did the average daily lows increase? And why did most of the warming occur before 1940, when there was more emission of greenhouse gases after 1940? Also, isn't it possible that temperature measuring devices were more accurate in 1999 than in 1901, thus possibly skewing the results?

Audie said...

Well, DD, if your sources tell you that most of the warming of the 20th century occurred before 1940, that to me is a clear indicator of those sources' (poor) reliability. As with previous posts here citing Lew Rockwell, your information is outdated (but is still repeated by those with political motivation to do so, to their niche audiences which they believe, mostly correctly, will not question or double-check such information).

Beamis has chosen as his response to the overwhelming evidence that contradicts his position the strategy of discrediting virtually all climatologists, particularly those funded by governments, thus stopping the discussion (for it is about climatology) -- which, on this blog, is not an informed debate but is rather (as I've mentioned before) a covering of the ears and a singing of "LALALALALALA" in the face of facts and trends. So, I bother not because I think it'll do any good but because it's fun -- not to mention the fact that it's mildly fascinating to me to find such otherwise intelligent humans as you and Beamis staunchly clinging to increasingly undermined and discredited positions. And it's fun and curious to see you guys cram yourselves into increasingly tiny corners (for instance, Beamis going from "there's no such thing" to "OK, so what if the earth is getting warmer?" to "Al Gore's private jet is melting glaciers!" to, finally, and most curiously of all, "we should all consume less and drive less, for spiritual reasons" [the last position, by the way, I heartily concur with]).

So, even though the National Climatic Data Center, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine, the National Research Council, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, virtually all comparable national, international, European, and Asian agencies, AND private organizations such as insurance companies, oil and gas companies, and even Walmart, are recognizing the issue as a real one, the first in that list are disregarded here because they are publically-funded, and when the latter, non-public entities are mentioned (as in my recent commentary), the fall-back position here is, once again, a collection of unsupported claims about human epistemology (including, oddly, in what should be a scientific debate, cracks about such necessary components of the scientific process as peer review). OK, well, if the foundations of scientific inquiry are not allowed here -- not to mention the results of such inquiry -- then, of course, you are cutting yourselves out of a debate you seem to be highly interested in.

The debate about what, if anything, to do about the whole climate change issue is one thing, and in any case is not what motivates me to write here. What baffles me is your continued denial of the precedent question of whether or not the trends are in fact occurring.

The answers to all the questons, DD, in your comment above -- about measurement and so forth -- can be found in the most basic literature on the topic, easily found online. But I'll make one specific citation here. This is from a report issued this year by NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies (bolding mine):

Global warming is now 0.6°C in the past three decades and 0.8°C in the past century. It is no longer correct to say that "most global warming occurred before 1940". More specifically, there was slow global warming, with large fluctuations, over the century up to 1975 and subsequent rapid warming of almost 0.2°C per decade.

Recent warming coincides with rapid growth of human-made greenhouse gases....

The highest global surface temperature in more than a century of instrumental data was recorded in the 2005 calendar year.... However, ... 2005 is practically in a dead heat with 1998, the warmest previous year....

Record warmth in 2005 is notable, because global temperature has not received any boost from a tropical El Niño this year. The prior record year, 1998, on the contrary, was lifted 0.2°C above the trend line by the strongest El Niño of the past century.


Etc. And the report includes further information about how the data were gathered, how other influences were factored in, and plenty of references.

The full report can be found at the first of the links below. I realize that these links are not to lewrockwell.com, and therefore will have no credibility with you and Beamis, but perhaps a reader or two of this blog will find them useful.

One of the links shows a list of the 20 hottest years since 1880 (the generally accepted period in which modern, reliable measurements began to be taken and recorded). 19 of those 20 hottest years are more recent than 1982.

http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/2005/

from the National Academies:

http://dels.nas.edu/basc/Climate-HIGH.pdf

from the Union of Concerned Scientists:

http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science/recordtemp2005.html

Etc.

stumpy

P.S. Paul Ehrlich predicted that if then-current population-growth trends continued, massive starvation and hardships would occur due to our natural systems' inability to produce enough more food than would be necessary to feed the resultant larger population, given then-current agricultural productivity levels. What happened instead was that, in so-called 'developed' (mostly Western) nations, population growth rates levelled off (a fact that seems to unnerve Beamis) -- thanks mostly to expanded societal roles for women in said countries, and expanded availability of birth control. By contrast, in so-called 'developing' countries, population growth rates are still high (due to a lack of availability of birth control and a repressed role for women in those societies), and, well, guess what, you find high levels of starvation, agricultural systems tested to the max, and other basic hardships in those countries. So, Ehrlich's if-then scenarios are not necessarily proved wrong, just because the "if" part did not come to pass universally.

Similarly, we might all become spiritual homebodies like Beamis and stop driving so much, and stop consuming so much, which will slow down factory emissions, and therefore the possible futures predicted in climate-change modeling will, as with the population scenarios of the 1970s, not come to pass. But that doesn't mean we should count on that happening, or that we should ignore the data now (e.g., the precise correlation between temperature trends and greenhouse-gas concentrations in the atmosphere), or not ask the questions (such as, what will happen if the trend continues?), or not consider lifestyle changes that will mitigate consequences for the future which, in all likelihood, will be more negative than positive if the trends continue (an assumption based on the best knowledge we have, not on some epistemological 100% certainty that, apparently, is Beamis's only standard, if we're to judge from his writings on climate change, anyway). As Beamis points out, those lifestyle changes will have other positive, spiritual benefits anyway -- so why all this resistance?

Devastatin' Dave said...

First of all, I never mentioned that my articles for climate data were gleaned from Lew Rockwell. I've read articles from other sources stating the pre-1940s data. If these sources are unreliable, how am I to be sure that the current sources are reliable? Are they gonna change later?

Secondly, I've never denied the warming trend, I've just voiced my skepticism that it is human caused. Correlation is not causation. Plus, has anyone questioned whether a warming trend is necessarily bad? Since all of the solutions for this problem are restrictions on human activity, then shouldn't these things be determined prior to enacting these restrictions?

Thirdly, you seem dismayed that otherwise intelligent people would cling to "undermined and discredited positions." I could counter by asking how an intelligent person such as yourself would be taken in by the latest fear-mongering bogeyman that has become the leit motif of the current political/scientific atmosphere. To wit, the "it's coming....really it's coming....seriously, any day now the Asian Bird Flu pandemic is coming." Or how about my belief that the Twin Towers collapsed as the result of a controlled demolition? That certainly is a "discredited" position.

Which leads me to my crack about "peer review." What do you think the peer review would have been for Galileo or Einstein or any other person that dares to deviate from orthodoxy? In 2003, Bush declared that Iraq had WMD. When this was found to be incorrect, they fell back on the excuse that all their intelligence data from both US and international sources concurred that Iraq had WMD. Is that was I can expect from peer review?

I also find this statement curious, "Recent warming coincides with rapid growth of human-made greenhouse gases...." What was the growth of non-human greenhouse gases during this time? The run-up of the stock market in the late 1990's coincided with a run-up of my weight over the same time period. I'm not gonna blame Dow Jones for my weight gain.

By the way, I'll take the crew at Lew Rockwell over any crew of politicians or academicians any day.

Devastatin' Dave said...

Let's take a seemingly innoucuous statement such as this from a peer-reviewed, scientific source - NASA...

Recent warming coincides with rapid growth of human-made greenhouse gases....

I'm assuming that NASA wants to be precise and accurate and that this statement is analysis based on statistical data. Why the use of the word "coincides" and not a more precise statistical word such as "correlates" or "is caused by?" Did the peers overlook a small, yet vitally important use of verbage or weren't the scientists able to prove correlation or causation from the data? If "coincides" is being used correctly, were they at least intellectually honest by following up the above statement with something in the ballpark of, "...although correlation or causation could not be determined...?" I hope a humble layperson like myself wasn't the first to notice this, since that may prove embarrassing to the august peers that reviewed this. The Bumpass reunion coincided with roller derby, but the the reunion didn'tcause roller derby.

Devastatin' Dave said...

Let's take another statement from the NASA report...

Global warming is now 0.6°C in the past three decades and 0.8°C in the past century. It is no longer correct to say that "most global warming occurred before 1940". More specifically, there was slow global warming, with large fluctuations, over the century up to 1975 and subsequent rapid warming of almost 0.2°C per decade.

It used to be stated that most warming in the 20th century happened prior to 1940 and then levelled off until present. Now all of a sudden it is "no longer correct." Since this report was released this year, did all other scientists prior to this report do the math wrong? Did someone go back in time and retake more accurate measurements? Were previous reports that stated that most warming occurred prior to 1940 not peer-reviewed? Forgive me if I smell a rat. Once again, I hope it doesn't take a Midwest rube such as myself to point this out.

Devastatin' Dave said...

More from the NASA report. Thanks for the link Aud-man, this was a goldmine for me...

Our ranking of 2005 as warmer than 1998 is a result mainly of the large positive Arctic anomaly.

Anomalies are something that are out of the ordinary and probably shouldn't be used to prove a trend. In any event, lets see the the scientific rationale behind the Arctic warming anomaly...

Our analysis differs from others by including estimated temperatures up to 1200 km from the nearest measurement station (7). The resulting spatial extrapolations and interpolations are accurate for temperature anomalies at seasonal and longer time scales at middle and high latitudes, where the spatial scale of anomalies is set by Rossby waves (7). Thus we believe that the remarkable Arctic warmth of 2005 is real, and the inclusion of estimated arctic temperatures is the primary reason for our rank of 2005 as the warmest year. Other characteristics of our analysis method are summarized in footnote (8).

I wanna start by saying, "Are you kidding me?" First, maybe your analysis differs because no one else has the gaul to estimated temperatures from 1200 km away. So, with the use of these suspect measuring techniques you believe the Arctic warmth of 2005 is real. You believe!? Does that mean you're kinda sure or mostly sure? There are millions that "believe" that Jesus was born of a virgin birth.

So, let's use an anomaly from the Artic to try to prove a world-wide trend. And don't the precious few that actually live in the Arctic deserve a warm up?

If this NASA report is what passes for science, then God save us all.

Audie said...

Go, Dave, go!

I feel another wasted hour coming on.... So, here goes....

The paragraph regarding the Arctic in that report was to explain NASA's conclusion that 2005 was hotter than 1998, whereas other agencies' conclusions were that 1998 was hotter than '05 -- what is not in dispute is that the two years were the two hottest, and in a virtual tie. For those (such as yourself) that have a terrible problem with estimations, OK, fine, leave them out -- and 2005 was merely the second hottest year in the past 125 years, not the hottest. This does nothing to refute the trend. Do you think we need a thermometer at every square inch of the earth's surface and atmoshere to detect a trend?


If these sources are unreliable, how am I to be sure that the current sources are reliable? Are they gonna change later?

Maybe! And maybe the earth really isn't round, also. Those that said it was flat turned out to be unreliable, so let's disregard what anybody says about the shape of the earth! Jesus....

(The most reliable people, I would say, are those that held one position, but then had the humility to change their position once the evidence became overwhelming.)


has anyone questioned whether a warming trend is necessarily bad?

Another reflection that you and I are definitely reading different materials on this issue. In what I am reading, it is a central question. Is it not mentioned in these still-unstated sources of yours? Well, that would be interesting....

Anyway, the National Academies (one of the other links in my previous post), has this to say:

Global warming could bring good news for some parts of the world, such as longer growing seasons and milder winters. Unfortunately, it could bring bad news for a much higher percentage of the world's people. Those in coastal communities, many in developing nations, will likely experience increased flooding due to sea-level rise and more severe storms and surges....

There is still legitimate debate regarding how large, how fast, and where these effects will be....

Climate change will affect ecosystems and human systems--such as agricultural, coastal, transportation, and health infrastructure.... There will be winners and losers from the impacts of climate change, ... but globally the losses are expected to far outweigh the benefits.... Bangladesh, one of the poorest nations in the world, is projected to lose 17.5% of its land if sea level rises ... 1 meter, displacing millions of people.


Now, if you, who live a mile above sea level, want to say "Tough shit," that's fine. I'm not arguing the issue of what to do about it (so please spare me a going-on-and-on about whether or not people should be living at sea level or whether we should give a shit if their environment changes). Our main point of disagreement seems to be the issue of whether the warming trend is human-caused or not. But I include the above quotes and references to the full reports to counter what appears to me to be a presumption on the part of you and Beamis that the "scientific" position is a hubristic and presumptively omniscient one. It isn't. It's quite modest, and is upfront about the uncertainties, the questions, the regional variations, etc. But, on the one hand, you guys accuse them of pretending to know too much (a charge not supported by the literature), and then when they do express modesty and uncertainty, you say things like "Oh my god! This is science?!? They said 'might'! See, they aren't even certain! [An understanding of science would know that they never are -- science isn't a body of facts, anyway, it's a process.] So, you have rendered the opposing side to your debate damned if they do and damned if they don't -- another way of covering your ears and singing "LALALA."


I could counter by asking how an intelligent person such as yourself would be taken in by the latest fear-mongering bogeyman that has become the leit motif of the current political/scientific atmosphere.

It's a fair question. But my stance has nothing to do with fear -- you and Beamis used to see me running at Zion in 100+ degree heat -- I love heat -- in the words of our great leader, I say "Bring it on" -- I've simply looked deeply into the issue and read a lot of original research and looked at a lot of data and simply come to the conclusion that, Yep, makes sense to me. I don't give a hoot whether Hollywood or Al Gore or anyone else wants to take it on as a cause. I wouldn't even know their positions if it weren't for you and Beamis. But what they think seems about as irrelevant a factor as possible -- and yet it seems to have certainly influenced your conclusions much more than it has influenced mine. Well, you're the ones with the TVs and the AM radios....

;-)

And, I just happen to find your positions on the bird flu non-epidemic and the cause of the Twin Towers falling a lot more agreeable and compelling. In all these cases, I've simply looked at the evidence, and didn't let my concerns over whether there was going to be some later attempt by the government to enact legislation over it or not, or my fuming hatred of Al Gore or any other non-Libertarian politician, influence my conclusions.

Yes, I am suggesting that fear -- fear that there will be an increase in legislation (and I'm not saying this fear is unfounded) -- clouds you and Beamis's position here much more than it affects mine.


What do you think the peer review would have been for Galileo or Einstein or any other person that dares to deviate from orthodoxy?

And what do you say ultimately proved Galileo and Einstein right? Uh-huh, peer review.

Thanks for proving my point.


Correlation is not causation.... Why the use of the word "coincides" and not a more precise statistical word such as "correlates" or "is caused by?" .... The Bumpass reunion coincided with roller derby, but the the reunion didn't cause roller derby.... The run-up of the stock market in the late 1990's coincided with a run-up of my weight over the same time period. I'm not gonna blame Dow Jones for my weight gain.... etc.

The statement in question is: "Recent warming coincides with rapid growth of human-made greenhouse gases." The very next sentence, which your comments suggest you failed to read, says "Climate models show that the rate of warming is consistent with expectations," which in turn references a report that -- I think it has already been established here -- carries no weight with you and Beamis because it is the product of mostly publically supported scientists and international collaboration, but which in any case discusses at length the undisputed rise in greenhouse gases, why this rise cannot be attributed to natural causes alone, and how this causes a rise in earthly temperatures (the last of which is as basic a concept as mercury rising in a closed cylinder when heated).


It used to be stated that most warming in the 20th century happened prior to 1940 and then levelled off until present. Now all of a sudden it is "no longer correct." Since this report was released this year, did all other scientists prior to this report do the math wrong? Did someone go back in time and retake more accurate measurements? Were previous reports that stated that most warming occurred prior to 1940 not peer-reviewed?

Does the data supporting your mysterious sources date to the mid-1980s or thereabouts? If 19 of the 20 hottest years in the past 125 were 1983 or more recent, then it very well may have been correct at that time to say that most of the warming (up to then) in the 20th century had occurred prior to 1940. But now there is simply new data -- not because of the revision of old data but because we simply have new data -- i.e., new, more recent years -- that show a spike in recent decades -- one that is well outside natural fluctuations.