Global warming (just the facts, ma’am)

With the Live Earth concerts rolling and the wingnuts whining in the woodwork, I thought it might be useful to give the Shakers one of the best links I’ve seen for the facts about global warming. Just in case you find yourself contending with wingnut talking points. (The acronym being WTP, interestingly enough.) The New Scientist (May, 2007) had an excellent and complete rebuttal of WTPs: Climate Change: A Guide for the Perplexed. They cover everything.

From what I’ve seen without looking for it, the wingnuts seem to have moved away from the “hockey stick graph is false” bullshit. I guess because the new facts, with that nasty liberal bias they have, insisted on landing higher and higher up the curve until they got into the handle and then blew right off the top of the graph. (I’m exaggerating, but not by much.)

Now one favorite line is, “The glaciers are too NOT melting. Or if they are, only a bit. Or if it’s a lot, then it has nothing to do with global warming.” Suuuure. And the reason blacks average less income than whites is because A has less education, and B is short, and C lives in a part of town where the wages are lower, and D was ill from stress after being let go at his company. Discrimination has nothing to do with it. Fact: in a statistical relationship there will always be other factors besides the main one. The other factors have less of what the scientists call “explanatory power.”

Another one is, “Mars and Pluto are warming too! It’s nothing to do with humans.” As the New Scientist points out in its smackdown: “If increased solar output really was responsible, we should be seeing warming on all the planets and their moons, not just Mars and Pluto.” “The Sun’s energy output has not increased since direct measurements began in 1978 ”

They love bringing up Antarctica. Antarctica is cooling! Well, no, not exactly. The landlocked middle is cooling because the ozone hole (Remember the ozone hole? Still there.) has altered wind patterns and prevents warmer air from reaching the middle.

Another favorite: “The scientific link between [global warming and] increased tornadoes and hurricanes isn’t proved.” It’s logically impossible to prove a link between a specific hurricane/tornado and increased warming because the relationship is statistical. New Scientist: “It is a bit like throwing dice: getting one six proves nothing, but if sixes keep coming up more often than the other numbers, you know the dice is loaded.” “[T]he consensus among experts is that global warming will not lead to more hurricanes overall, but will increase the average intensity of storms. A growing number of studies of hurricane records suggest this trend can already be seen.”

But, of course, arguing against the facts is much less satisfying than simply throwing fact-free putdowns at Al Gore. Typical example (this one is someone named Ann Loder): “Al Gore’s environmental alarmism — much of it since heavily questioned — no doubt plays better in Beverly Hills.” Not among real people, of course. Only among those pencil-necks in Beverly Hills. And I’m sure Gore’s facts are heavily questioned … but only by the likes of Loder who seem to have trouble finding their bottom with both hands.

In actual fact, over 99% of climate scientists (not lawyers, not astronomers, not gym teachers, climate scientists, agree that global warming is real, is here, and is caused by human activities. (The Science link is from 2004. The 99% number is from tallying the viewpoints expressed in published papers. The consensus is even more solid now.)

You won’t see data on consensus in the media because agreement is boring. Fights raise ratings. Degree of consensus is something that, sometimes, you need a scientific background just to find. Kind of sad, really.

Update: Damn. I forgot the best / worst (depending on how much you like being terrified) link of all. BBC graphic of projected temperatures:
projected world surface temperatures in 2025 and 2095 showing effects of global warming

Other links:, a site for climate scientists to discuss the issues with each other and non-scientists.
A Nov, 2005 post of mine that discusses, among other things, what the likely prognoses for Earth mean, on the ground. It goes way beyond drowned cities, believe me.



Filed under 13_quixote

18 responses to “Global warming (just the facts, ma’am)

  1. Thanks for this link, Quixote. *tucking it into my resource satchel*

  2. Pingback: University Update - Al Gore - Global warming (just the facts, ma’am)

  3. Shade

    Me, too!

  4. NameChanged

    But the research is still out on global warming.


  5. Damn you Quixote! With all those facts, I have to stop believing my orthopedist turned “climatologist!”

  6. Graham

    In actual fact, over 99% of climate scientists (not lawyers, not astronomers, not gym teachers, climate scientists, agree that global warming is real, is here, and is caused by human activities.

    But what did Al Gore spend on his last haircut?

  7. Re: Live Earth – I watched some of it when I got home from the beach. I saw a bored looking David Tennant and Sophie Myles while Duran Duran were performing, and Alec Baldwin rocking out to The Police. I never liked Bon Jovi in their heyday (also known as my late high school/early college years), but they sounded pretty good and it was hilarious to see all the drunk dudes singing along – passionately – with Wanted Dead or Alive

  8. Pingback: National Review obsession with Al Gore and Global Warming at Shakesville

  9. Pingback: William K. Wolfrum » Blog Archive » National Review: Obsessed much on Al Gore and Global Warming?

  10. Paen

    I wonder how much coal and gas was burned in order to provide the power needed to put on these shows?

  11. Quixote, in reference to your first post (and requests for future posts), I would like to see a discussion of the potentials and problems of “hydrogen economy” (generation and use, etc.).

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  13. Thanks for this, Quixote.

  14. Phydeaux: yeah, the hydrogen economy is a fascinating topic, and one near and dear to my heart. On the one hand I can see a photovoltaic, pollution-free world running on fuel cells and water. On the other hand, there’s Bu$hCo and their black hydrogen. Lots of alternative energies are showing dark sides, now that the powers-that-be are getting their hooks into them.

  15. Paen: how much coal and gas was burned for these shows?

    Yes. True. But would it have a better overall effect to run concerts without any message, and to limit environmental activism purely to screeds on 100% post-consumer content paper using soy inks made in solar-powered production facilities in … where? I’m not sure it’s even possible to be totally pure about this. We’re human. We depend on our society. And our society is screwed up. You have to start somewhere. You know the line about it being better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.

    Even if it is a petroleum-based wax candle.

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  17. kenzrw

    I found this on the IPCC Final Draft report issued in July 2007 about the Antarctic cooling. It doesn’t mention the ozone hole:

    “Current global model studies project that the Antarctic ice sheet will remain too cold for widespread surface melting and is expected to gain in mass due to increased snowfall. However, net loss of ice mass could occur if dynamical ice discharge dominates the ice sheet balancd (10.7)

  18. Pingback: Petulant Rumblings: The Global Warming Freak Show on Hannity

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