What Evidence Would Persuade You That Man-Made Climate Change Is Real?

How close are the models to reality?
How close are the models to reality?

Somebody named Ronald Bailey (he isn’t anybody I know) at the inaptly named Reason asked the good question which heads this post.

Second thought: the question is awful. No scientist I know disputes “Man-Made Climate Change Is Real”. None. What scientists like myself do dispute is that man-caused changes to climate are well understood and predictable. And I have proof.

But the idea behind Reason’s query is still good, even if Bailey himself doesn’t understand much about his subject.

Everybody out of love with any scientific theory should be prepared to say what it would take for amour to flourish. Just as everybody infatuated with a hypothesis should be able to state what would dim their ardor.

This does not only go for skeptics of global-warming-of-doom, but also for proponents. Tell us, if you dare, what would convince you that you’re wrong. I’m answering the question below, but I also insist you answer it, too. If your answer is of the form “Shut up”, “I don’t have to answer”, or “Your answer, Briggs, wasn’t to my liking, and here’s why”, as it is expected to be for many progressives, congratulations. You’re a True Believer. (Appell, I’ll even let you answer.)

I have already changed my mind about global warming. I was initially a believer that bad times were on their way. Why? Well, I was young, fresh to the field. I knew how smart my betters were; I knew how wonderfully complex their models could be; I saw the increasing success in weather forecasting and the improvements in short-term (out to a year or so) climate predictions.

The temperatures, back then, were on their way up, too, in accord with what some climatologists were predicting. I never made the mistake, like Bailey, to count the same piece of evidence more than once. Rising temperatures were consist with the theory that increasing CO2 caused increasing temperatures. But a melting glacier is a consequence of that heating, it is not additional proof of the theory. What an elementary mistake to think it was! Likewise, nothing that was a consequence of increased temperatures counts as additional evidence of why the increased happened.

That I saw people making these mistakes, in a big, enthusiastic way, was what started my path back to Truth. How many papers announced “This evil will befall us once the temperature increases past the point of no return”? Thousands; more; they continue in a steady stream. And all of them were taken as evidence that the CO2-theory was right.

That being impossible, and stupid, I began seriously looking into the problem.

That’s when I noticed climate model forecasts had no skill. Before, I merely took it for granted they had. The predictions models made were not as good as saying “next year will look like last year”, i.e. persistence. The models were poor globally, and even worse locally. The temperatures, for some two decades now, are not going in the direction the models promised.

This can only mean that the models were (are) broken. Why? Well, the theory which underlies them must be busted. Where? Who knows? It could be many things, or just one big thing. It’s not my job to find out, either. Though I and some pals of mine have some guesses.

Your car doesn’t start. You can then authoritatively state, “My car is busted.” It would be asinine and unscientific to say, “Even though my car doesn’t start, it really does work and really is taking me places.” Yet that is what supporters of the current models are saying. The models don’t work but proponents still claim they’re still taking us to the future. This is a form of politically correct lunacy.

But therein lies my answer to the question. I would change my mind and believe the models had a good, and not a dismal, handle on reality if they were to start making good predictions. About the future.

I had to add that, what seemed unnecessary, “About the future” because of the unfortunate habit of some modelers to claim their models make good “forecasts”—-of the past. Yes, they do this. It’s called “hindcasting” or “backcasting”. It’s a way of testing model fit with observed data. It can be useful to discover wild or egregious flaws in models, but no matter how well a model hindcasts, it’s no guarantee it will make good future-casts.

Future-casts, i.e. predictions, are the only test. There is none other. And models have so far failed that test.

But if they were to pass that test, and pass it consistently, then I’d have to believe the models were on to something, and that the theories which drive the models are likely true.


  1. obiwankenobi

    Rational discussion based on facts not rhetoric based on belief would engage my innate curiosity.

  2. James

    You’re a crazy person, Briggs! You are willing to change your mind if someone’s ideas yield accurate predictions? Don’t you know that scientists don’t lie? If their predictions don’t come true, it’s because of the data gathering, not the theory!

    I can’t believe how backwards you’ve gotten all of this. I hope that you’ll correct this unscientific garbage as soon as possible, otherwise we may have to ‘encourage’ you to do better with our ‘science-stick’. Just apply several times daily to the forehead until conditions improve.

  3. There are two parts to the scientific question:
    1) That temperature is increasing;
    2) That this increase is due to increased CO2;
    Even if one obtained a correlated increase in both, one would still have to eliminate other causes of temperature increase (solar output, cosmic radiation, ????, H2O reradiation)
    The temperature measurements would have to be undefiled by data massage and proximity to man-made heat sources, so probably uppper atmosphere temperature measurements should be used.
    The CO2 measurements might be made by satellite IR bands.
    But, say, hasn’t all this been done with a negative result?

  4. Gary

    I’d add one condition to your credibility requirement: that the models clearly identify the natural and artificial components when they accurately predict future conditions. Unless the black box is fully defined, who can say that successful prediction just wasn’t some accident of programming that emulated the natural cycles? Human causes could be 1% (although I think it likely to be a bit higher) and swamped in the noise, yet appear to be greater in a model unable to parse the components. As you say, the question really isn’t either/or; it’s how much along a continuum.

  5. Nick Milner

    The problem seems to be that what you demand is no longer on offer. We have RCPs and projections thereon, but no longer predictions. Also, projections made against unrepresentative representatives aren’t particularly useful, either.

  6. Ron Sinclair

    An excellent post in my view. I found it clarified some things in my own sceptic mind and for that I thank you.
    Ron Sinclair

  7. dusanmal

    “1) That temperature is increasing;
    2) That this increase is due to increased CO2;” (and more generally).
    All precise scientific work to address those two questions have been done. Problem is, results are ignored. I can’t be persuaded to believe in AGW because:
    1) For climate record we need trust-able, non-controversial, studied, examined and re-studied sources. We have them: ice core data. Precise, published, reviewed. By it, we are indeed warming in the last 200+ years. However, it is scientific to ask “from what initial conditions” and “how this compares with long term past”. There is a catch: we are warming since Little Ice Age period, the coldest period in last 12000 years (pro-AGW people would try to insinuate that we are warming from some eternal average). How it compares is also important: all ice core records show frequent, fast, dramatic climate changes. Up and down. Many faster than the current one. Even more importantly-despite 200+ years of warming, current temperatures according to ice core records are BELOW 10000 year average. Example from recent really warm period: medieval warming shifted the main wine growing belt to… Scotland, archaeological remains of extensive farming communities from that time are just emerging from retreating glaciers on Greenland… Don’t believe ice-core records, see history and archaeology.
    2) But, this warming coincides with higher human input of CO2 into the atmosphere, is it due to us? AGW/CO2 warming theory is based on one fundamental assumption/mechanism: greenhouse effect. Claim is that CO2 greenhouse effect overwhelms all other Earth temperature controlling mechanisms. Enter 1985-1999 NASA ERBS (Earth Radiation Balance Satellite) results. Precise results by highly competent and trusted institution, published reviewed,… ignored. By coincidence this period is one during which both CO2 rise and temperature rise were strongest in the recent history. Results?-Year after year proportion of energy Earth sent back to space to what it received from it… INCREASED, while warming. This result makes CO2 (or any other known or even unknown greenhouse causing source) greenhouse effect impossible as a source of observed warming. Not maybe, not further study, not plausible,… absolutely completely excluded as greenhouse effect behaves in the exactly opposite manner. We know that Earth is not warming from CO2 greenhouse effect with certainty to the legal and scientific level.
    Side note: what is mainly causing warming/cooling of the Earth? CERN 2011 Cloud Experiment gave the answer: it is not total energy received by the Earth but proportion of higher energy particles in the incoming radiation. Because water vapor in Earth atmosphere is way more efficient in warming Earth by higher energy particles. This type of warming, based on increased efficiency, also causes what ERBS have observed. (EX. Earth receiving 100 energy units from 100 particles of energy 1 will be cooler than Earth receiving 100 energy units from 50 particles of energy 1 and 5 particles of energy 10).

  8. David in Cal

    Nice column, Briggs, but you’ve gone easy on the warmists. Other aspects of validating their models include:
    1. Correctly predicting all aspects, not just the overall global temperature.
    2. Not being based on guesses. I’ve seen too many models where some key inputs are POOMA. Any desired result can be obtained by particular choice of these inputs.
    3. Models with contradictory assumptions that happen to predict the same global temperature don’t support each other.
    4. Properly using available data. E.g. use of tree rings as proxies.

  9. Actually, there do appear to be some that deny humans have anything to do with climate, or at least that CO2 does.

    I agree with obiwankenobi. A rational, evidence-based discussion would certainly go a long way.

    I was not a believer of the CAGW theory. I looked at the studies and realized that I would have been flunked for doing such shoddy work in college. The models and statistics had been given far too much emphasis and were very, very rigid. You dared not question. The louder the warmists screamed that questioning was being anti-science, the less I believed they had any real evidence. It’s very hard to tell what is true due to this behaviour.

    To believe, I would have so see models predict accurately (within reason–everyone misses now and then, or to use Brigg’s example, I still call my car reliable even if once or twice a year something fails. Most of the time it performs as advertised.) I would have to see that there is a complete picture of how climate works and reasonable evidence we have accounted for these factors–and NO fudge-factors allowed.

    A better database would help. Currently, the data is so massaged and beaten it’s almost impossible to believe. Get some real data, very limited interpolation and extrapolation.

    Stop with the “Global Average Temperature”. I see no real value in using anomalies and averages. Look at the actual temperatures and see how they are changing. (I don’t mean how they are changing after NASA does their “adjustments”, either.)

    Stop rewriting the past. Removing historical global events and calling them local makes you look shifty and dishonest.

    Any scientific theory whose only solution is redistribution of wealth and extreme harm to mankind will probably never get my support. The theory may be correct, but the idea that the only solution to a scientific problem is a worldwide government dictating poverty and return to the past is not science. There are hundreds of solutions to this, and as long as the warmists scream there are not, I remain suspect of theory. I will read what is presented, but I’m going to read it very, very closely.

  10. The level of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere should concern everyone. That sort of unbalancing of the natural order can be very dangerous.

    But again, why fight to keep spewing pollution? What possible good can it do anyone except those who personally profit from the polluting?


  11. Briggs


    As predicted, you failed to answer the question. And thus you are a…

  12. DAV

    the problem with AGW vs. GW is that there is no theory that explains GW by itself. Something Bob Kurland was getting at. Reason (logical thought; not the magazine) tells us humans must have some effect but that effect is impossible to separate from the data. Without a good handle on GW it is impossible to subtract it from AGW to get the A part. Frankly, I don’t how this is possible. So the answer is: nothing either way.

    I still call my car reliable even if once or twice a year something fails

    But only because you recognized that it DID fail and you investigated the cause of the failure then removed it. This is only common sense — something climate modelers seem to lack.

  13. DAV—
    Agreed on the car. I just didn’t want someone saying I would demand perfection from the models. If, like the car, they can be repaired and then work, an occassional glitch is okay. Unfortunately, it’s all a glitch at the moment.

  14. Your answer, Briggs, wasn’t to my liking, and here’s why
    I don’t have to answer
    Shut up

  15. Ken

    Even accepting that human output is causing runaway global warming with dire results to come (if only for the sake of argument), the logical approach is to devote mitigation resources to where the marginal return was greatest. Where the marginal return would be greatest would be getting China’s industries to incorporate pollution mitigation equipment–even if the developed countries had to give it to them free (after all, the Earth’s future is at stake).

    But that’s not was the alarmists are doing (not a peep about helping others–other nations–get their pollution under control when that pollution is starting to dwarf what the developed nations disgorge) :

    First & foremost now it seems, they demand attestations of belief, which if not presented induce them to label the offender as a “denier.”
    That’s cult thinking.
    What’s persuading the alarmists that human activitity is inducing runaway global warming is the mantra-like repetition of the theme (“hearing is believing” — See S. Hassan’s book, “Combatting Cult Mind Control”).

  16. RCase


    Since you seem to know… what exactly is the proper concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere?

    You do realize that we’ve gone from roughly 3 parts per 10,000 to 4 parts per 10,000 in the last 100 years, correct?

  17. Ray

    I’d need to see some predictions come true. I haven’t been impressed with the climate change zealots ability to predict anything. I remember in the 1970s we were going to die from global cooling. The Club of Rome was making doomsday predictions. Paul Ehrlich predicted that millions would die from famines in the 1980s as the crops failed. None of the predictions happened. Then the people did a 180 degree pivot and now we were going to die from global warming so just forget all those failed predictions about global cooling. Well, none of the warmist predictions have come true either.

  18. Paul W

    My belief won’t change in my lifetime. The Earth is apparently somewhat of a self-correcting system because we’ve had times in the past where there was more atmospheric CO2 and life still went on. If warming was going to “runaway” it would have done so then. I’m more concerned with not enough CO2 because, unlike pollution, it’s an essential ingredient for life to exist on this planet. I don’t hate people, view people as outside of nature or have any desire to control the population so there’s nothing in the belief politically for me. It’s mostly a non-issue for me right up until the time someone tries to use it as an excuse to take away my and my children’s freedom.

  19. RobR

    First; you would need to show the average Enthalpy of the world has increased, 100 degrees in Death Vally is not the same state as 100 degrees in New Orleans.

    Second; you would need to show that the Enthalpy went up everywhere or the heating is not global but regional.

  20. There is a model in the European Group that can predict what the temperature, precipitation, wind speed and direction 50 years hence to a kilometer. This model is supposed to provide planners with the ability to make decisions now about what to do.

    Take that same model and start predicting next year. Planners in every part of the world would be joyous for a model that could predict 6 months out effectively. If they knew 6 months or a year ahead of time that record snows would fall, they could allocate resources appropriately. Dam levels could be managed. Snow plows can be placed. Grit can be acquired. Salt ordered.

    The models can’t predict next year though. They can’t predict it for a section of the planet. The best they can do is approximate what might be the temperature anomaly and only over a 10 year average or maybe 30 year… They match up “statistically”. Cough. Cough. Cough….

    Ya… If you squint your eyes, ignore the axes and the definition of temperature…

  21. ROBR — Two Thumbs up. Unfortunately chanting enthalpy hasn’t worked for me. If I could get one of the believers to acknowledge the existence of enthalpy, I would start to breathe a sigh of relief… Start…

  22. Scotian

    The Reason website is worth checking out for the occasional article. It largely lives up to its subtitle “Free Minds and Free Markets”. The daily brickbat feature is worth a daily check.

    Ronald Bailey’s statement “However, in my best judgment the preponderance of the evidence suggests that the greenhouse gases produced by humanity are warming the climate and that it could be a significant issue later in this century.” You rightly point out that this preponderance is obtained by multiple counting of the sample basic observation. Bailey really should know better. I’ve got the feeling over the years of reading his articles that having changed his mind once it would be too embarrassing to change again and that this explains his one sided question. The other way he arrives at a preponderance of evidence is by accepting the standard method of ad hoc dismissals of contrary evidence. The heat is hiding in the oceans and other rather foolish attempts to dismiss the obvious.

    Now for my position. It’s evolution is essentially the same as yours and real skill in forecasting is a minimum requirement. I would add a few more things that would help me to sit up and take notice of the “warmist” side.

    (1) present the science in an honest fashion with no tricks or practices that often seem indistinguishable from fraud.

    (2) treat your intellectual opponents with respect and stop trying to get them fired or thrown in jail.

    (3) Eschew the vicious ad hominems, especially the term “denier”.

    (4) spend less time figuring out how to massage the message and more time on honest scientific investigation.

    There is no single bit of information that I require to be convinced by either side. As a member of a cognate displipline to climate science I need free and honest debate from all parties involved as points 1 to 4 above.

  23. Alan McIntire

    I’m already convinced manmade climate change is real, but I’m also convinced that any changes due to CO2 are negligible. By replacing forests with cropland, and irrigating the deserts of the Western US, humans have certainly affected climate. Also, cities act as heat traps, and affect rain patterns downwind.

    I believe the Asphysicest’ models of the “Faint Young Sun” , which show the sun was only about 70% as luminous as it is now around 5 billion years ago, and has been warming ever since. I also believe the geologists, who discovered that there have been oceans and living organisms on earth for roughly 4 billion years. The only way we colud have a faint young sun and life for billions of years is with strong NEGATIVE feedbacks. I’ll believe in the serious of global warming when I find that Astrophysicists discover they were completely wrong about their stellar models, and stars DON’T heat up as they convert Hydrogen to Helium, or geologists discover they were wrong and there have been liquid oceans and life on earth for only a small fraction of earth’s existence.

  24. Dr Brigg’s answer is exactly correct and the only reasoned answer possible, given the limitations we have in the study of this field. If the Earth warms 0.2C-0.25C per decade on average, and then accelerates as predicted by models, to then reach 3C per doubling (near 1C of this having already been realised), then given all the other possible natural outcomes, it starts becoming unreasonable to dismiss such a result as something that happened merely by chance. Now, it could be chance, but the probability is low. We know from millennial temperature reconstructions (at least those containing no obvious major errors), that natural variability over hundreds of years is in the order of 1C or so. If we end up with 2X this variability within only 100 years, it’s not an unreasonable position to hold, given the fact that the prediction is consistent with the majority of climate model forecasts.

    (Note: It doesn’t have to be a perfect score, but the more imperfect the score, the more reasonable is our drop in confidence. It’s also reasonable to not penalise the climate model ensemble if we re-run their results with actual CO2 measurements over this time frame and the resulting doubling temperature number varies somewhat. Models should always be evaluated fairly.)

    So what would change my mind? Exactly the same thing that would change Dr Brigg’s mind. A scientific prediction that was reasonably accurate. Nobody should expect more. But nobody can expect less. Otherwise you’ve stopped doing science and you’re started doing something else.

  25. wrong question:
    What Evidence Would Persuade You That Man-Made Climate Change Is Catastrophic?

    So far it’s beneficial and it will be for the rest of our lifetime and even that of our grandchildren.

  26. This is a true story but serves as a parable. When I was in junior high a long time ago I attached a bath plug to a piece of fishing line and attached this to the side of my house and took a photo. When it came back from the photo developer a week later (yes this is long before photo editing software existed), I had a really cool looking UFO photo. (Leave aside the fact, for the moment, that nobody had ever seen a UFO but everybody knew exactly what they looked like.)

    I took it to school and showed it to a few fellow students and this immediately spiraled out of control. Within a short space of time I had hundreds of students gawking over the photo. Curiously, and by the way, also my first introduction to scientific skepticism and mass hysteria, nobody bothered to ask me about the authenticity of the photo. I decided I’d better intervene early before the situation got worse. “Guys” I said sheepishly, approaching the latest group studying the photo, “That is not actually a photo of a UFO… that is just a prop I hung from my roof…” And that’s when my problems really began. The reaction of the crowd was angry and several students became aggressive. But not because I’d faked the photo and played a practical joke. It was because I was one of those ‘UFO denier’ types. One of those really negative guys who always rubbishes everything and expects evidence and stuff. Fearing further anger from the crowd and also possibly physical violence, I departed the scene. I thought that was the end of the incident.

    Not so. Apparently now classes had stopped. Groups of teachers were discussing the image. There were a few skeptics among them. There was much talk about getting the photo analysed by experts who analyse photos of UFO/bath plugs or something. I’m sitting in the corner during all of this because nobody wants to hear my opinions and I’ve realised it’s safer not to express them. Finally I get called to the Principle’s office. So what would you do? The Principle was skeptical but it seemed to me, given the frenzied state of the entire school, that it was a little too late for me to suggest that people were leaping to conclusions. Even though I knew more about the photo than anyone else. When pressed, I suggested I didn’t know what the photo was of. When asked about the movements of the object I suggested it had moved like a conventional airplane and it was probably a conventional aircraft of some type taken from a very odd angle, what with the reflection of the light– but I didn’t know and couldn’t be sure. Yes, I was now in the situation where I was lying through my teeth. Curiously, my skepticism towards the photo appeared to make the Principle less critical of the credentials of the photo, making the situation even worse. The happy ending part was that I was able to recover the photo and destroy it. On reflection I would have felt sorry for anyone who might not have been able to get their photo back, as the situation would have dragged on considerably longer.

    As for this being a parable: swap a few words as above with ‘climate modeler’, the crowd as a predisposed scientific community, and the teachers and principle as the IPCC, and you get the general gist of it.

  27. mysterian

    What would make me take CAGW seriously?
    1) Correct predictions of the future (near term and far)
    2) Correct predictions of the past. Specifically, the times when the atmosphere had an order of magnitude or more, of CO2 and did not runaway (an unstable dynamical system, which implies a tipping point, runs away at the first opportunity and never returns)
    3) The measurement accuracy is greater than the “signal.” (Does anyone learn about significant digits any more? Does anyone learn about error analysis and propagation any longer? Does anyone know the difference between accuracy and precision these days?)
    4) If the CAGW fundees didn’t act like they are following a script based on Langmuir’s Symptoms of Pathological Science.

    A justified true belief about the world only exists when predictions and hindcasts are correct and then only until the black swan appears…

  28. KuhnKat

    “But if they were to pass that test, and pass it consistently, then I’d have to believe the models were on to something, and that the theories which drive the models are likely true.”

    Why does that necessarily mean that the theories behind them are likely true?? Even outside the possibility of FRAUD, there is the slim chance that poorly implemented physics could conceivably give good projections for a short time fooling us into believing the theories were good.

    Remember the tired canard that the models don’t work without CO2??

  29. Larry Sheldon

    The only reason I am not a certified know-nothing is that I don’t know of an authority doing certifications in the area.

    But I do think I know a thing or two–among them is the fact that I don’t know very much, and the more I have learned these 75+ summers the more I have become aware of not knowing.

    Other things that I think I know is that there seems to be pretty strong and credible evidence that here where Elkhorn, Nebraska is was under a lot of ice at least once before.

    It follows, then, that the place is getting warmer, and has been for a long time (most of which time there has not been much coal and petroleum consumption by humans). It follows then that for most of that time humans and there use of fossil energy had NOTHING to do with the warming.

    Now. It appears from the same persuasive sources that the ice situation here was probably a one-time thing–it has apparently happened several times that the smart guys have been able to persuasively document. If I live another year or so I will have been through 7 cycles of a pattern that looks pretty predictable even if nobody know why it happens.

    So. I think I have seen evidence of two wave-forms and some indications that there are others at different frequencies. And I know from work I used to get paid for that if you mix signals of differing frequencies you get new signals (heterodynes, we called them) at a frequency equal to the sums of the inputs and at the differences. Sometimes the power in the input signals reach a peak at the same time and you get a very strong result (very loud, very hot, very cold …) and at other times they cancel each other out and get quiet or cold or …

    Now on what I think is really a different topic, I think about magnitudes. Stuff like the energy released in an earthquake as compared to the energy released in drilling a hole in the same rocks. Or the amount of energy released in burning coal or oil, and the amount absorbed from the sun. Or the amount of carbon dioxide released by all of the humans that have ever lived and the amount released by all the volcanoes known and unknown. (I have not looked for a long time but I used to see a graph of the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air at some volcano in Hawaii. My memory of the graph says the presenters selected scales that had the line marching upward at about a 45° angle. At the same time I have seen graphs of true, unadjusted temperature data that if depicted on my heart monitor would get me bagged and sent to the morgue.

    I don’t know if I have persuaded anybody, or even if I have said anything worth reading, but I don’t think of anything else to say and that has always been a sure signal that I should shut up and sit down. But it does seem to me that I have again given support to my belief that global warming IS occurring (or was), it started in the current turn of the merry-go-round at the bottom of the last ice age and will (or did) continue until the turn back down.

    AND. Humans have little to do with it–didn’t cause it, can’t stop it

    The tragedy is that we have pissed away so much time and so many resources that we were capable of using to better advantage and might have gotten prepared to survive the die-off on the way into the next ice age.

  30. Bert Walker

    1) That the global temp changes at least as positive as the change in partial pressure of atmospheric (pap) CO2.
    2) That increases in ppa CO2 from preindustrial times is shown to be at least 95% due to anthropogenic sources.
    3) CAGW theory is based on a principle of positive feedback due to an initial positive forcing of increased ppa CO2 driving increased ppa H2O, triggering increased temperature driving further increased ppa H2O (hence the positive feedback) until the ultimate outcome of the theory when every molecule of H2O is irreversibly trapped as vapor in the troposphere, reflecting maximum surface origin space bound infrared radiation back to planet Earth. Therefore, of course any forcing (CO2 or otherwise) that initially increased ambient temperature or the ppa H2O would of triggered to the positive ppa H2O feedback causing CGW prior to the existence of any industrial anthropogenic source. -remember (if one is interested in the biblical model) originally the adam and Chava (Eve) were vegetarian and didn’t have fire.
    Since we know that there were many times in the past environmental temperatures were higher than they are today, one must conclude the irreversible CGW positive feedback cycle was initiated a long, long time ago.
    Therefore to believe in the positive feedback CAGW theory I would have to see that all life on earth was previously permanently wiped out due to “runaway global warming” 🙂 /Yes I admit there is a little snark in there, but really it was all in jest.

  31. Larry Sheldon:

    Such words you say. My teachers at Oregon State used to make my charts red with the words “START FROM ZERO”. I didn’t start from zero, because if I used the default settings of the graphing software, I got this nice beautiful curve. When I started from zero like they suggested, FLAT LINE! Boring, BORING I tell you.

    So I kept ignoring them and they kept correcting my chart.

    It took a long time for me to appreciate what they taught me. Magnitudes. Charts are wonderful at showing you relative magnitudes. If you muck with the Y axis though, the magnitudes start wandering away to meaningless locations.

    Even experts reading charts forget to check the scales. Always make the scale start at 0. KNOW what they 0 means. 0C — Water Freezing. 0F — Salt water freezing. 0K –> no resistance to electron travel? 0 lb/in^2 gauge — 0 lb/in^2 abs?

    When plotting the derivative of a function, and the 2nd derivative of a function, always keep the plot of the original at hand.

    Temperature anomalies are derivatives.

  32. Larry Sheldon

    Post edit: I said “Now. It appears from the same persuasive sources that the ice situation here was probably a one-time thing–it has apparently happened several times that the smart guys have been able to persuasively document. If I live another year or so I will have been through 7 cycles of a pattern that looks pretty predictable even if nobody know why it happens.”

    I intended to say “Now. It appears from the same persuasive sources that the ice situation here was probably NOT a one-time thing–it has apparently happened several times that the smart guys have been able to persuasively document. If I live another year or so I will have been through 7 cycles of a pattern that looks pretty predictable even if nobody know why it happens.”

    Note: The “cycle” I refer to is the 11-year cycle I learned at around junior high school time.

    Will Nitschke: I know of a similar story involving a picture that I believe to be of a 1950s chiropractor’s diathermy machine or maybe a surgeon’s flood light. (I have seen the picture, I do not know for sure what its backstory is.

  33. Noblesse Oblige

    As always with the Cult, you have to keep your eye on the pea. You can be sure that the key questions are never engaged, indeed never even asked. The jerk in question sets up his own shell game and moves the pea deftly to the shell he wants it to be under, then invites you to play the game.
    All this under the veil of reason and rationality.
    A shell game. Play at your own risk.

  34. Larry Sheldon

    Jersey McJones: “The level of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere should concern everyone. That sort of unbalancing of the natural order can be very dangerous.

    But again, why fight to keep spewing pollution? What possible good can it do anyone except those who personally profit from the polluting?”

    Here we have a classic statist segue from marginally truthful to totally irrelevant.

    “The level of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere should concern everyone.”

    Easy to defend as “true” even if functionally meaningless. But pressing on:
    “That sort of unbalancing of the natural order can be very dangerous.” “Balancing” implies two objects, only one was mentioned. Empty procedural scare words.

    Aha! Here it is, the horse shoe in the glove: “But again, why fight to keep spewing pollution? What possible good can it do anyone except those who personally profit from the polluting?”

    Where did polluting come from. Natural products from natural processes is not “pollution”. How did we get from causing me to worry about what would happen if the concentration of a life-gas drops too low to suggesting that somebody thinks that pouring sex hormones (“Viagra”, “birth control pills”) into the rivers is profitable?

    I grew up in the infamous “Los Angeles” basin and learned, probably in grammar school, that the problems with smog from the Fontana Steel mills, and the butadiene plant in El Segundo, from vehicle exhausts (buses, e.g.) and backyard incinerators were carbon monoxide and a wide variety of liquid and solid aerosols.

    And I think we learned that the rap on incinerators was bad and shutting them down nearly killed us all because the activated charcoal from the had been removing much of the more deadly stuff from the air.

    Now you came close to winning me (or joining me, unless you are older than 75) with the “…except those who personally profit from the polluting?” because I for a very long time have thought that producers should have all along been required to shoulder ALL of the costs of production including returning water to the system after use at about the temperature it had at input and consisting only of water and dissolved clean air; and returning air to the system scrubbed of all particulates and aerosols with only carbon dioxide and water allowed as additives. (Far more urgent might be a requirement that embedded waste in product–packaging and so on–be eliminated and if not eliminated subject to a deposit to provide for its disposal.)

  35. Okay – I’ll take your challenge.

    First, let me state the belief: that we have neither the data nor the definitions needed to know either whether the climate changing or, if it is, in which direction.

    If you want me to rethink this:

    1 – produce and defend definitions (e.g. global average temperature) that aren’t laughable;

    2 – produce and defend a compelling data set; and,

    3 – show that it is possible to draw defensible conclusions from 1 and 2, above.

    What’s really needed, of course, is a physical model of climate – not a statistical one. The one I mentioned in my zdnet column for August 17/05 (now available only on http://www.winface.com/zdnet/2005/aug17_05.html ) works as an example. We’re probably further from being able to do it now than we were then – back then I certainly didn’t see the Pelosi 2006 budget and the consequent slowdown in tech development coming – but something along those lines should, politics permitting, become possible again.

  36. Tom

    Why is the greenhouse effect that is attributable to H2O molecules naturally present in the atmosphere “dropped out” of the discussion with the resulting focus on primarily CO2. Besides, burning gasoline or other petroleum or natural gas combustible products adds more “new” H2O molecules to the atmosphere than it adds “new” CO2 molecules.

  37. Larry Sheldon

    Why? Because it was somewhere between “wrong” and “irrelevant” from the get-go and the more it was talked about, the sillier if became.

    The goal is and was the destruction of the nascent capitalist system and the subjugation of all people and processes to the will of the elitist statists.

  38. Larry Sheldon

    ….sillier it became.

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