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The Desultory Climate Change Debate ["With all due respect Mr. President, that is not true"]
NRO ^ | April 01, 2009 | Jerry Taylor

Posted on 04/01/2009 11:19:32 AM PDT by Tolik

On Monday, the Cato Institute published an open letter  [see below]  to the president regarding climate change. In that letter — which appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and elsewhere — over 100 scientists questioned Barack Obama’s assertion that "Few challenges facing America and the world are more urgent than combating climate change. The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear." 

Given that it was a big media week for those scientists not ready to cash-in their life insurance policies just yet (the New York Times’s profile of legendary physicist Freeman Dyson, who likewise is skeptical that the end is near, ran on Sunday) I thought it would be interesting to see what those on the other side of the scientific divide had to say. My chosen hunting grounds were RealClimate (“Climate Science from Climate Scientists”) where I found threads here and here, Climate Progress (edited by physicist and policy bombardier Joe Romm) where I found threads here and here, and the relevant blogs and comment boards (here and here) over at the New York Times, which often attract scientists interested in commenting on the stories covered by the Gray Lady.

While I did learn a few things about the scientific debate between the panicked and the not-so-panicked, the key word here is “few.” I came away more convinced than ever that those shouting the loudest about the need to do something about climate change are not the people we should be listening to. Why? A summary of the most common rejoinders to “the skeptics” — and the logical problems associated with those rejoinders — follow.

So-and-so receives corporate funding — So what? Even profit-hungry corporations may be right about some things on some occasions — an observation that environmentalists implicitly accept in the course of other policy discussions. The point here is that motive is not a reliable indicator regarding whether an argument is correct or incorrect.

So-and-so does not publish in this field — So what? The fact that a scientist does not undertake original research on subject x does not have any bearing on whether that scientist can intelligently assess the scientific evidence forwarded in a debate on subject x. 

So-and-so works for an ideologically-charged organization — So what? The exact same issues associated with the complaint about corporate funding apply here.

So-and-so lacks sufficient credentials to be deemed an expert on this matter and we should only be listening to the experts — Didn’t stop them from giving Al Gore a Nobel Prize, did it? Besides the simple observation that this objection is obviously used erratically and only at convenience, it ignores the fact that highly credentialed experts are as often found to be wrong as less credentialed individuals.

More experts disagree with so-and-so than agree — So what? Not only is this a variation of the argument above, it also assumes that truth can be reliably determined by a show of hands. Nothing — especially in science — could be further from the truth.

An argument’s merit has nothing to do with the motives of the arguer, the credentials of the arguer, or the popularity of the argument. Full stop. No exceptions

Judging an argument’s merit by these criteria reveals one of three things about the person doing the judging, none of which inspires confidence in their ability to play role of plaintiff, judge, jury, and/or executioner in the climate debate:

—They are too lazy or too unintelligent to sort out the claims being made so they repair to these dubious intellectual short-cuts to arrive at or justify their opinion.

— They cannot tell the difference between a logical argument and an illogical argument.

— They understand full-well the illogic of the argument they are forwarding but think that you don’t.  For them, the ends (persuading you to accept their argument) justifies the means (using bad arguments).

I don’t mean to suggest that climate alarmists are (necessarily) any more prone to this sort of thing than any other policy crusader populating the blogosphere. But I find it rich to see these people loudly tell me that they’re the smart experts whose judgment should govern when even at the most fundamental level they can’t seem to think straight. 


Full-page Ad Rejecting Obama's Climate Change "Consensus"



“Few challenges facing America and

the world are more urgent than combating

climate change. The science is beyond

dispute and the facts are clear.”


With all due respect

Mr. President, that is not true.

 We, the undersigned scientists, maintain that the case for alarm regarding climate change is grossly overstated. Surface temperature changes over the past century have been episodic and modest and there has been no net global warming for over a decade now.1,2 After controlling for population growth and property values, there has been no increase in damages from severe weather-related events .3 The computer models forecasting rapid temperature change abjectly fail to explain recent climate behavior.4 Mr. President, your characterization of the scientific facts regarding climate change and the degree of certainty informing the scientific debate is simply incorrect.

Syun Akusofu, Ph.D
University Of Alaska
Arthur G. Anderson, Ph.D
Director Of Research, Ibm (Retired)
Charles R. Anderson, Ph.D
Anderson Materials Evaluation
J. Scott Armstrong, Ph.D
University Of Pennsylvania
Robert Ashworth
Clearstack Llc
Ismail Baht, Ph.D
University Of Kashmir
Colin Barton
Csiro (Retired)
David J. Bellamy, Obe
The British Natural Association
John Blaylock
Los Alamos National Laboratory (Retired)
Edward F. Blick, Ph.D
University Of Oklahoma (Emeritus)
Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen, Ph.D
University Of Hull
Bob Breck
AMS Broadcaster Of The Year 2008
John Brignell
University Of Southampton (Emeritus)
Mark Campbell, Ph.D
U.S. Naval Academy
Robert M. Carter, Ph.D
James Cook University
Ian Clark, Ph.D
Professor, Earth Sciences
University Of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada

Roger Cohen, Ph.D
Fellow, American Physical Society
Paul Copper, Ph.D
Laurentian University (Emeritus)
Piers Corbyn, Ms
Weather Action
Richard S. Courtney, Ph.D
Reviewer, Intergovernmental
Panel On Climate Change

Uberto Crescenti, Ph.D
Past-President, Italian Geological Society
Susan Crockford, Ph.D
University Of Victoria
Joseph S. D’aleo
Fellow, American Meteorological Society
James Demeo Ph.D
University Of Kansas (Retired)
David Deming, Ph.D
University Of Oklahoma
Diane Douglas, Ph.D
David Douglass, Ph.D
University Of Rochester
Robert H. Essenhigh
E.G. Bailey Emeritus
Professor Of Energy Conversion
The Ohio State University

Christopher Essex, Ph.D
University Of Western Ontario


John Ferguson, Ph.D
University Of Newcastle
Upon Tyne (Retired)

Eduardo Ferreyra
Argentinian Foundation For
A Scientific Ecology

Michael Fox, Ph.D
American Nuclear Society
Gordon Fulks, Ph.D
Gordon Fulks And Associates
Lee Gerhard, Ph.D
State Geologist, Kansas (Retired)
Gerhard Gerlich, Ph.D
Technische Universitat Braunschweig
Ivar Giaever, Ph.D
Nobel Laureate, Physics
Albrecht Glatzle, Ph.D
Scientific Director, Inttas

Wayne Goodfellow, Ph.D
University Of Ottawa
James Goodridge
California State Climatologist (Retired)
Laurence Gould, Ph.D
University Of Hartford
Vincent Gray, Ph.D
New Zealand Climate Coalition
William M. Gray, Ph.D
Colorado State University
Kenneth E. Green, D.Env.
American Enterprise Institute
Kesten Green, Ph.D
Monash University
Will Happer, Ph.D
Princeton University
Howard C. Hayden, Ph.D
University Of Connecticut (Emeritus)
Ben Herman, Ph.D
University Of Arizona (Emeritus)
Martin Hertzberg, Ph.D.
U.S. Navy (Retired)
Doug Hoffman, Ph.D
Author, The Resilient Earth
Bernd Huettner, Ph.D
Ole Humlum, Ph.D
University Of Oslo
A. Neil Hutton
Pastpresident, Canadian Society
Of Petroleum Geologists

Craig D. Idso, Ph.D
Center For The Study Of Carbon Dioxide And Global Change
Sherwood B. Idso, Ph.D
U.S. Department Of Agriculture (Retired)
Kiminori Itoh, Ph.D
Yokohama National University
Steve Japar, Ph.D
Reviewer, Intergovernmental
Panel On Climate Change

Sten Kaijser, Ph.D
Uppsala University (Emeritus)
Wibjorn Karlen, Ph.D
University Of Stockholm (Emeritus)


Joel Kauffman, Ph.D
University Of The Sciences, Philadelphia (Emeritus)
David Kear, Ph.D

Former Director-General, NZ Dept. Scientific And Industrial Research
Richard Keen, Ph.D
University Of Colorado
Dr. Kelvin Kemm, Ph.D
Lifetime Achievers Award,
National Science And Technology
Forum, South Africa

Madhav Khandekar, Ph.D
Former Editor, Climate Research
Robert S. Knox, Ph.D
University Of Rochester (Emeritus)
James P. Koermer, Ph.D
Plymouth State University
Gerhard Kramm, Ph.D
University Of Alaska Fairbanks
Wayne Kraus, Ph.D
Kraus Consulting
Olav M. Kvalheim, Ph.D
Univ. Of Bergen
Roar Larson, Ph.D
Norwegian University Of Science
And Technology

James F. Lea, Ph.D
Douglas Leahy, Ph.D
Peter R. Leavitt
Certified Consulting Meteorologist
David R. Legates, Ph.D
University Of Delaware
Richard S. Lindzen, Ph.D
Massachusetts Institute
Of Technology

Harry F. Lins, Ph.D.

Co-Chair, Ipcc Hydrology And Water Resources Working Group
Anthony R. Lupo, Ph.D
University Of Missouri
Howard Maccabee, Ph.D, Md
Clinical Faculty, Stanford Medical School
Horst Malberg, Ph.D
Free University Of Berlin
Bjorn Malmgren, Ph.D
Goteburg University (Emeritus)
Jennifer Marohasy, Ph.D
Australian Environment Foundation
James A Marusek
U.S. Navy (Retired)
Ross Mckitrick, Ph.D
University Of Guelph
Patrick J. Michaels, Ph.D
University Of Virginia
Timmothy R. Minnich, MS
Minnich And Scotto, Inc.
Asmunn Moene, Ph.D
Former Head, Forecasting
Center, Meteorological
Institute, Norway

Michael Monce, Ph.D
Connecticut College


Dick Morgan, Ph.D
Exeter University (Emeritus)
Nils-Axel Mörner, Ph.D
Stockholm University (Emeritus)
David Nowell, D.I.C.
Former Chairman, Nato Meteorology Canada
Cliff Ollier, D.Sc.
University Of Western Australia
Garth W. Paltridge, Ph.D
University Of Tasmania
Alfred Peckarek, Ph.D
St. Cloud State University
Dr. Robert A. Perkins, P.E.
University Of Alaska
Ian Pilmer, Ph.D
University Of Melbourne (Emeritus)
Brian R. Pratt, Ph.D
University Of Saskatchewan
John Reinhard, Ph.D
Ore Pharmaceuticals
Peter Ridd, Ph.D
James Cook University
Curt Rose, Ph.D
Bishop’s University (Emeritus)
Peter Salonius M.Sc.
Canadian Forest Service
Gary Sharp, Ph.D
Center For Climate/Ocean
Resources Study

Thomas P. Sheahan, Ph.D
Western Technologies, Inc.
Alan Simmons
Author, The Resilientearth
Roy N. Spencer, Ph.D
University Of Alabama—Huntsville
Arlin Super, Ph.D
Retired Research
Meteorologist, U.S. Dept.
Of Reclamation

George H. Taylor, Ms
Applied Climate Services
Eduardo P.Tonni, Ph.D
Museo De La Plata (Argentina)
Ralf D. Tscheuschner, Ph.D
Dr. Anton Uriarte, Ph.D
Universidad Del Pais Vasco
Brian Valentine, Ph.D
U.S. Department Of Energy
Gosta Walin, Ph.D
University Of Gothenburg (Emeritus)
Gerd-Rainer Weber, Ph.D
Reviewer, Intergovernmenal Panel On Climate Change
Forese-Carlo Wezel, Ph.D
Urbino University
Edward T. Wimberley, Ph.D
Florida Gulf Coast University
Miklos Zagoni, Ph.D
Reviewer, Intergovernmental Panel
On Climate Change

Antonio Zichichi, Ph.D
President, World Federation Of Scientists




1. Swanson, K.L., and A. A. Tsonis. Geophysical Research Letters, in press: DOI:10.1029/2008GL037022.
2. Brohan, P., et al.
Journal of Geophysical Research, 2006: DOI: 10.1029/2005JD006548. Updates at
3. Pielke, R. A. Jr., et al.
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 2005: DOI: 10.1175/BAMS-86-10-1481.
4. Douglass, D. H., et al.
International Journal of Climatology, 2007: DOI: 10.1002/joc.1651.

TOPICS: Editorial
KEYWORDS: climate; climatechange; globalwarming; jerrytaylor

1 posted on 04/01/2009 11:19:32 AM PDT by Tolik
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks; xcamel


2 posted on 04/01/2009 11:24:39 AM PDT by Tolik
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To: steelyourfaith


3 posted on 04/01/2009 11:27:02 AM PDT by Tolik
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To: Tolik

There is an AP photo in today’s Orange County Register showing “Carbon Dioxide from the coal-fired Pawnee Power Plant near Bush, Colo.” The picture has an immense cloud of white colored gas spewing from a plant ...

The problem is that ... carbon dioxide is colorless — meaning that it is invisible to the human eye.

4 posted on 04/01/2009 11:36:01 AM PDT by OldNavyVet
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To: Tolik
So-and-so receives corporate funding

Why does this make them less credible than those who get their funding from from a left-wing foundation? ;-)

So-and-so works for an ideologically-charged organization

Like what? The most ideologically-charged organizations I can think of at the moment are the EPA and the UN IPCC.

Both these arguments are at best a wash!

5 posted on 04/01/2009 11:37:09 AM PDT by maryz
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To: OldNavyVet

99.9% water vapor (OMG!! Just realized - water vapor is a GREENHOUSE GAS!!!!)

6 posted on 04/01/2009 11:43:49 AM PDT by beethovenfan (If Islam is the solution, the "problem" must be freedom.)
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To: Tolik
So-and-so receives corporate funding — So what?

So what indeed!

As demonstrated recently, no "corporate funding" can compare in magnitude to the unlimited taxing powers of goevernment; which funds all or most of the "warming alarm" groups.

Self interest includes, above all else, the ability to live and to enjoy a national podium without actually having a meaningful and productive real job.

7 posted on 04/01/2009 11:43:51 AM PDT by Publius6961 (Change is not a plan; Hope is not a strategy.)
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To: beethovenfan
99.9% water vapor (OMG!! Just realized - water vapor is a GREENHOUSE GAS!!!!)

... whch is totally unaccounted for in all the computer models on which the "global warming" apocalypse is based...

8 posted on 04/01/2009 11:46:35 AM PDT by Publius6961 (Change is not a plan; Hope is not a strategy.)
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To: Tolik; OKSooner; honolulugal; Killing Time; Beowulf; Mr. Peabody; RW_Whacko; SideoutFred; ...
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

FReepmail me to get on or off

Ping me if you find one I've missed.

9 posted on 04/01/2009 11:50:08 AM PDT by xcamel (The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it. - H. L. Mencken)
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To: Tolik; Normandy; According2RecentPollsAirIsGood; Fiddlstix; TenthAmendmentChampion; Horusra; ...
Thanx !


Beam me to Planet Gore !

10 posted on 04/01/2009 12:06:01 PM PDT by steelyourfaith (What new from the Thief-in-Chief?)
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To: Tolik

11 posted on 04/01/2009 1:04:27 PM PDT by doug from upland (10 million views of .HILLARY! UNCENSORED - put some ice on it, witch)
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To: Tolik
Not mentioned as a motivation to promote "global warming" is peer pressure and the fear of job loss at universities.
12 posted on 04/01/2009 1:15:13 PM PDT by TaxRelief (Walmart: Keeping my family on-budget since 1993.)
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To: OldNavyVet

I'm not sure if this is the same photo, but this is the Pawnee Station, and that immense cloud is 100% water vapor coming off the plant's cooling towers. The smaller plume coming from the short stack in the center would also be 100% water, in this case, reject steam.

The CO2 and other flue gases would only come out of the very tall stack, but you can't see any of it.

J-school grads are mostly idiots and easy prey for eco-hustlers.

13 posted on 04/01/2009 1:29:42 PM PDT by Ditto
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To: Ditto

It appears (99.99% confidence — the newspaper copy is black and white) to be the same photo. And I agree with you on the imbecility of non-scientific graduates coming out of universities and colleges.

14 posted on 04/01/2009 2:01:49 PM PDT by OldNavyVet
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