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A Rational Look at the "Settled Science"

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Oh, yes. Let's wait 40 years for the data to become clearer. And let's ignore all those "alarmists" with PhDs who are so readily eager to sacrifice their credibility to suck a few more research dollars out of the government.

So you are saying forget about data and evidence - lets just have faith in self appointed experts - experts who have been wrong more than they have been right. Why exactly do think that strategy makes any sense? Edited by TimG

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So you are saying forget about data and evidence - lets just have faith in self appointed experts - experts who have been wrong more than they have been right. Why exactly do think that strategy makes any sense?

Here's a little data and evidence. I will sit back and await the strawman you pull out of you know where to dispute it.

http://news.uci.edu/press-releases/west-antarctic-melt-rate-has-tripled-uc-irvine-nasa/

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Here's a little data and evidence.

They obscure the data by cherry picking data ranges. If you look at the graph the actual data you see a step wise shift which explains the observed increase but it does not support the claim of a exponential acceleration. Also - this data is only for the west antarctic ice sheet which is a tiny portion of the ice sheet on the continent. A rather important subtlety which was left out in your rush to create propaganda. Edited by TimG

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They obscure the data by cherry picking data ranges. If you look at the graph the actual data you see a step wise shift which explains the observed increase but it does not support the claim of a exponential acceleration. Also - this data is only for the west antarctic ice sheet which is a tiny portion of the ice sheet on the continent. A rather important subtlety which was left out in your rush to create propaganda.

Kind of like the keystone in a bridge is a "tiny portion", which cause the entire bridge to collapse. Hey but you tried.

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Kind of like the keystone in a bridge is a "tiny portion", which cause the entire bridge to collapse. Hey but you tried.

Except the WAIS is not the "keystone". It is just a small ice sheet (10% of the total) separated from the rest of the continent by a mountain range.

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Except the WAIS is not the "keystone". It is just a small ice sheet (10% of the total) separated from the rest of the continent by a mountain range.

Ever heard of the Thwaites Glacier? It is what scientists refer to as "the keystone" and it appears to be doomed.

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So you are saying forget about data and evidence - lets just have faith in self appointed experts - experts who have been wrong more than they have been right. Why exactly do think that strategy makes any sense?

First of all, your characterization of my views is a straw man all by itself - so I won't comment further on it. I have never said the science is settled and I believe that to be a political statement, not a statement of science. Science is about the investigation of the unknown and that investigation is a process. Through that process, there will be a lot of mistakes made. Those mistakes don't undermine the value of the process - they are inevitable and will lead us to the truth.

However, when large numbers of some of the most brilliant and educated people on the planet warn us that the path we're on may lead to dire consequences, and when we know that the changes we're making could take centuries to reverse, it's takes a special mixture of foolishness and arrogance to write them off because the initial models haven't been perfect.

The prospect of climate change is only one of a long list of reasons to phase out the use of fossil fuels. The others include air pollution, ocean acidification, habitat destruction, the loss of a hydrocarbon resource that could ultimately prove much more valuable in other ways and the horrible consequences of the politics of oil. But even the focus on fossil fuels is only one part of a much bigger mosaic.

As technological capability, population and the size of the economy all grow, we steadily increase our impacts on the planet. Each of those impacts can over time erode the ability of the planet to support 7 billion humans. If we aren't able to exert effective control over our own propensity to damage the systems that support us, sooner or later, we will cause the collapse of our own societies. I see the debate over climate change as a test case. Are we able to pull together for the common good or will a mixture of self interest and apathy undermine efforts to make things better. If it's the latter, that doesn't bode well for the long term survival of our species.

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They obscure the data by cherry picking data ranges. If you look at the graph the actual data you see a step wise shift which explains the observed increase but it does not support the claim of a exponential acceleration. Also - this data is only for the west antarctic ice sheet which is a tiny portion of the ice sheet on the continent. A rather important subtlety which was left out in your rush to create propaganda.

It's funny that you pick apart the evidence supplied by OGFT. You've repeatedly spoken on behalf of economists and engineers and I haven't seen anything to back that up yet.

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However, when large numbers of some of the most brilliant and educated people on the planet warn us that the path we're on may lead to dire consequences, and when we know that the changes we're making could take centuries to reverse, it's takes a special mixture of foolishness and arrogance to write them off because the initial models haven't been perfect.

1) Spare us the hyperbole. Climate scientists are no more intelligent than the top engineers and scientists working in the private sector (e.g. at oil companies). The only difference is the choice of specialty.

2) For the sake of argument lets assume the warning is worth heeding. What can we do? There are plenty of knowledgeable and brilliant people who have looked the options for reducing CO2 and concluded that it is not possible to do much about emissions given the economic and political constraints. You may disagree with them but their opinion is just as valid as yours (perhaps more valid if these people are working in the power generation industry).

For these people adaptation as required is the most rational approach to the stated problem. Why is this wrong? How can you say they are ignoring the science when they accept the science - they simply do not agree with your pet solutions. If you want to have a constructive conversation on CO2 you need to learn to accept that adaption is a legitimate course of action and it is reasonable to argue that the cost of reducing CO2 higher than the cost of adaptation given the available technology.

Edited by TimG

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1) Spare us the hyperbole. Climate scientists are no more intelligent than the top engineers and scientists working in the private sector (e.g. at oil companies). The only difference is the choice of specialty.

2) For the sake of argument lets assume the warning is worth heeding. What can we do? There are plenty of knowledgeable and brilliant people who have looked the options for reducing CO2 and concluded that it is not possible to do much about emissions given the economic and political constraints. You may disagree with them but their opinion is just as valid as yours (perhaps more valid if these people are working in the power generation industry).

For these people adaptation as required is the most rational approach to the stated problem. Why is this wrong? How can you say they are ignoring the science when they accept the science - they simply do not agree with your pet solutions. If you want to have a constructive conversation on CO2 you need to learn to accept that adaption is a legitimate course of action and it is reasonable to argue that the cost of reducing CO2 higher than the cost of adaptation given the available technology.

Speaking of hyperbole~ Oh well here we go:

1-you are naive enough to think were your paycheck comes from doesn't affect your opinion?

2-Apparently you have selecte brilliant scientist's because they suit your opinion. I could quite easily do the same and I bet I'd come up with a much larger quorum.

3-Adaptation won't begin until the naysayers accept the overwhelming data. But in the real world I think we have moved far beyond that hangup you seem to have.

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Speaking of hyperbole~ Oh well here we go:

1-you are naive enough to think were your paycheck comes from doesn't affect your opinion?

2-Apparently you have selecte brilliant scientist's because they suit your opinion. I could quite easily do the same and I bet I'd come up with a much larger quorum.

3-Adaptation won't begin until the naysayers accept the overwhelming data. But in the real world I think we have moved far beyond that hangup you seem to have.

Some kids have imaginary friends. Tim has a whole imaginary cabal of engineers, economists and scientists who agree with him. He just can't tell you their names.

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Some kids have imaginary friends. Tim has a whole imaginary cabal of engineers, economists and scientists who agree with him. He just can't tell you their names.

Perhaps they are sequestered on Arcturus.

Edited by On Guard for Thee

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Some kids have imaginary friends. Tim has a whole imaginary cabal of engineers, economists and scientists who agree with him. He just can't tell you their names.

What I provided was a rational and constructive framing of the discussion. Your response confirms that alarmists like you are childish fools who have no interest in constructive discussion of the issues. You don't give a damn about the science - you have jumped on an ideological band wagon and expect everyone else to blindly follow your religion.

As for the numerous engineers and scientists who do not blindly follow your religion: try talking to the people running the German electrical grid who have informed their politicians that if they want to keep the lights on they need to abandon their climate pledge and shutdown the nuclear reactors they will need to burn lots and lots of coal.

Edited by TimG

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What I provided was a rational and constructive framing of the discussion. Your response confirms that alarmists like you are childish fools who have no interest in constructive discussion of the issues. You don't give a damn about the science - you have jumped on an ideological band wagon and expect everyone else to blindly follow your religion.

What you provided was unsubstantiated opinion. You want the names of scientists who agree that C02 causes climate change, they're easy to find. The IPCC. All of the major national and international organizations.

You assure me that there are hordes of engineers and economists who think that the answers lie in natural gas fracking and nuclear energy but you can't tell me who they are or even where to find them.

Nice ad hominem attack, by the way. Shows what you have to debate with.

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What you provided was unsubstantiated opinion.

Unlike you I don't make arguments based on an appeal to authority. I make arguments by logic.

You want the names of scientists who agree that C02 causes climate change, they're easy to find.

A pathetic strawman. When I have a suggested that CO2 did not cause climate change? What I said is there no real way to reduce CO2 emissions without using technology which is politically unacceptable to the people who scream the most about CO2.

You assure me that there are hordes of engineers and economists who think that the answers lie in natural gas fracking and nuclear energy but you can't tell me who they are or even where to find them.

Why is this even a relevant argument? It is a simple fact that governments everywhere are doing nothing. They are doing nothing because the people who know how to deploy solutions are telling them that that that there are no solutions that meet the economic and political constraints. Now I realize that your are likely a conspiracy nut job who thinks the moon landing was faked and "alternatives" are being suppressed by a cabal of bankers but the real world is run by pragmatic people looking for pragmatic solutions to problems. If solutions are not being deployed it is because they don't really exist.

Nice ad hominem attack, by the way. Shows what you have to debate with.

You have the self-awarness of a stone. The ad-homs started with you. I tried to engage you in a rational discussion of the issue. The trouble is you are unable to discuss ideas that do not follow your religion Edited by TimG

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Is 134 cubic km of ice. The total ice stored in the Antarctic is 26.5 million cubic km. Or if the current melting rates continue it would take 400,000 years to melt entirely.

Once again ignorant alarmists quote stats without context in order to generate headlines. The position of almost every skeptic is not that warming is not happening but that it is nothing to be alarmed about. Factoids like this only serve to support the skeptic case.

David Pollard studied this and concluded that a complete melt would take 1,000 to 3,000 years. However, sea levels don't wait for a complete melt before they rise. Pollard's study shows that, at current warming rates, a 2-3 foot sea level increase is likely by the end of this century. The cost of dealing with the sea level rise due over the next 80 years will make the price of hastening the transition to carbon free energy seem like a pittance.

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The cost of dealing with the sea level rise due over the next 80 years will make the price of hastening the transition to carbon free energy seem like a pittance.

I disagree completely. It will likely be a lot cheaper to deal with sea level rise because we have the technology to do it (The Netherlands are experts). And if worse comes to worse it is will be likely cheaper to move populations than to eliminate CO2 usage (largely because eliminating CO2 with the technology which enviros will accept is astronomically expensive - it it was to possible to address this issue AND ignore the whining from enviros it would be cheaper).

Of course you can run to your favorite alarmist who will grossly underestimate the costs of reducing CO2 and over estimate the costs of adaption in order to support the point you want to make but at this point it should be clear: we are debating economic predictions - not physics! Do I really need to remind you how unreliable economics is as a source of predictions?

Edited by TimG

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I disagree completely. It will likely be a lot cheaper to deal with sea level rise because we have the technology to do it (The Netherlands are experts). And if worse comes to worse it is will be likely cheaper to move populations than to eliminate CO2 usage.

Fossil fuel production has been massively subsidized for over a century. We already have the technology to seriously reduce CO2 output, yet we are still continue to subsidize these dirty, planet killing carbon sources. Righties complain about any money directed towards clean energy yet fossil fuels still receive public handouts at 5.5 times the rate of renewable energy projects. Much of our CO2 and pollution issues can be handled for free, simply be redirecting the global subsidies already in play.

When asked if you would poison your great grandchildren for cash, the answer shouldn't be 'how much?'

Edited by Mighty AC

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Fossil fuel production has been massively subsidized for over a century.

A total myth. In developed countries fossil fuels get no significant subsidies that are not offset by revenue streams like royalties or fuel taxes.

Much of our CO2 and pollution issues can be handled for free, simply be redirecting the global subsidies already in play.

You are delusional. There are no subsidies that can be simply "redirected". Fossil fuels produce a net economic benefit (meaning the value they produce exceeds their cost) which is why they don't need subsidies and allow society to direct resources to other priorities.

Renewables are a net economic drain which and could not exist at all without the wealth created by fossil fuels. The low CO2 solutions available are: nuclear, hydro and nat gas (a.k.a. fracking). Reject those and you are basically saying you don't care about CO2.

Edited by TimG

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You are delusional. There are no subsidies that can be simply "redirected". Fossil fuels produce a net economic benefit (meaning the value they produce exceeds their cost) which is why they don't need subsidies and allow society to direct resources to other priorities.

Hey kettle, it's the pot calling. Fossil fuel production shouldn't need subsidies, yet globally, it receives hundreds of billions in public funds and has accepted handouts for over a century. In addition the public and individuals are forced to contribute a fortune to cover the increased healthcare and pollution costs. These 'externalities' exist and are not free, even if fossil fuel companies have, thus far, successfully lobbied to avoid dealing with them.

Asthma and other respiratory disorders, increased sick days, contaminated fish stocks, rehabilitation of water bodies, contaminated drinking water, premature deaths, a warming planet, sea level rise, etc. are all unaccounted costs of fossil fuel use. Fossil fuels are far too big of drain on society and the planet and we simply cannot afford to use them going forward.

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.... Fossil fuels are far too big of drain on society and the planet and we simply cannot afford to use them going forward.

Oh yes "we" can...and will. Fossil fuels drive past, present, and future economic vitality, regardless of the costs.

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Hey kettle, it's the pot calling. Fossil fuel production shouldn't need subsidies, yet globally, it receives hundreds of billions in public funds and has accepted handouts for over a century.

Complete BS. While it is true that some developing countries subsidize fossil fuels there are no significant subsidies in the developed world today. Fossil fuels are a net revenue generator for states. As I said, there is no pot of money to redirect.

Fossil fuels are far too big of drain on society and the planet and we simply cannot afford to use them going forward.

The modern technological society we have today would not exist without fossil fuels. More importantly most of the "externalities" you complain about can be mitigated with proper pollution control technology. Those that can't we have to live with because the benefits vastly outstrip the harms.

In the ideal world we would not burn stuff to get energy, however, until some other economically viable energy source is found we will need to keep burning fossil fuels in order to keep society going. So far there is nothing other than nuclear which comes with its own downsides.

Edited by TimG

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Complete BS. While it is true that some developing countries subsidize fossil fuels there are no significant subsidies in the developed world today. Fossil fuels are a net revenue generator for states. As I said, there is no pot of money to redirect.

Annual Direct Subsidies (US Dollars)

Fossil Fuels: $523 billion Renewables: $88 billion

However, annual total fossil fuel subsidies which include direct subsidies, consumer rebates and avoided taxes comes in at $1.9 trillion US dollars. http://www.ewea.org/blog/2013/04/global-fossil-fuel-subsidies-amount-to-1-9-trillion-imf/

Even if direct fossil fuel subsidies are low in advanced economies the public is still forced to heavily subsidize the industry. In just direct health care costs, which excludes any environmental, wildlife and climate related damage, our old coal plants cost the public 12 cents per kilowatt hour. That's a subsidy worth several times the listed cost of the energy produced. When the cost to wildlife, the environment and the climate are included along with security and military costs the total subsidy being provided by the public is astronomical. Fossil fuels do not provide a net benefit when all factors are included. The public is paying a fortune to harm itself.

The modern technological society we have today would not exist without fossil fuels. More importantly most of the "externalities" you complain about can be mitigated with proper pollution control technology. Those that can't we have to live with because the benefits vastly outstrip the harms.

Our modern society has benefited from many technologies that have been left behind as we advance. The time has come to move beyond fossil fuels as well. The 'externalities' have not been mitigated and cannot be mitigated to the level of safety provided by renewables. I say we shift the burden of pollution, health, emission, cleanup and military costs being paid by the public back on to fossil fuel producers and if they can still compete, great. Then we can spend public money on advancing energy systems that are not slowly killing us.

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Fossil Fuels: $523 billion Renewables: $88 billion

Like I said: Complete BS. The figures you quote come a IEA report and almost all of the $500 billion is in developing countries. In developed countries the subsidies are near zero. And if you want to compare to renewables the figure that matters is $ per unit of energy produced and renewables receive extremely generous subsidies as is.

However, annual total fossil fuel subsidies which include direct subsidies, consumer rebates and avoided taxes comes in at

Again - more BS created by calling tax deductions that every company is entitled as a "subsidy".

No matter what fictions you create there no pot of money for you to grab.

Fossil fuels are net revenue generators for developed country governments.

Renewables are net revenue consumers.

The time has come to move beyond fossil fuels as well.

Human society moves beyond technologies when and only when better alternatives are available. At this point in time there are NO better alternatives which means we will keep using fossil fuels whether you like it or not.

Then we can spend public money on advancing energy systems that are not slowly killing us.

There will be no money to spend unless we have energy sources which are net producers of wealth. Renewables are net consumers of wealth and our society cannot function with them. They are next to useless toys for the idle rich. Edited by TimG

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Fossil fuels are only profitable because the tab for the negative health, environmental, emissions and military costs are being picked up by the public. What's worse is that, every day, by continuing to use dirty energy we are only increasing that liability. Fossil fuels are drain on society that we cannot afford. It's time to price in the real cost of fossil fuels and move on to cheaper, cleaner solutions.

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