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Global Warming: Make me an offer...

The theory of man made global climate change says that human co2 emissions, in fact, are a massive and immediate threat to the earth. This theory has been taken as token fact even though temperature models that formed the theory are now almost two decades into inaccurate projections of temperatures thought to have rapidly risen by now, but have actually been stable since the year 2000.

Pretend I'm a high ranking government official and answer this for me as though you were a policy analyst:

Is it logical for governments to enact policy that is detrimental to fossil fuel industries, global economies, and the families of those workers who are literally put out of work by the government based off of the increasingly unfounded and hotly scientifically contested theory of man-made global climate change?

Keep in mind these factors:
Renewable energy does not have a cheap and efficient answer currently.

As we've seen with the Stimulus Package- government subsidized "green" start-ups end in bankruptcy.

The country is in the midst of an economic crisis.

Fossil fuel is the most cost effective and profitable energy source.

Fear is a powerful tool for politicians and businessmen alike.

Have fun kiddos!

  • Aug 19 2013: Darlington,

    The article is written by Patrick J Michaels who works for Western Fuels Association. It seems to me that this is in line with the quote I gave from Upton Sinclair in The Jungle, it is hard for a man to see the truth when his employer is paying him not to.

    In 2006 ABC news reported that the Intermountain Rural Electric Association had given Michaels $100,000. He is a hired gun and has no credibility.

    This is the same guy who grossly misrepresented Hansen's 1988 study to congress at the time of the Kyoto Protocol, deleting 2 of the three scenarios presented in that paper including the scenario that Hansen had said was most likely and which has also been the most accurate to date. Instead, he chose scenario 3 which was the worst possible case scenario and said that it was flawed.

    Hansen replied "Pat Michaels, has taken the graph from our 1988 paper with simulated global temperatures for scenarios A, B and C, erased the results for scenarios B and C, and shown only the curve for scenario A in public presentations, pretending that it was my prediction for climate change. Is this treading close to scientific fraud?" Again, this person has no credibility.

    Nathan Urban has also accused World Climate Report, something Pat Michaels had written, of "doctoring their paper's main figure when reporting their study…I find the result of their figure manipulation to be very misleading…they intentionally took our figure out of the context in which it was originally presented, a form of "selective quotation" which hides data that does not support their interpretation…I find World Climate Report's behavior very disappointing and hardly compatible with true skeptical inquiry." Again, no credibility.

    There are numerous cases in which Michaels has deleted data which contradicts his argument that the planet will warm less than most scientists expect.

    So once again, do you have any credible research on "conflicted data"?
    • Aug 19 2013: Your point is valid, but works both ways. If this man is not credible because his being compensated for his work makes him a "hired gun" then all the grants given to Alarmist scientists to corroborate man made climate change should make them equally lacking in credibility. Scientific credibility is subjective when it comes to completely theoretical conclusions.

      See the following for more resources:

      Now proceed to poke holes in these fine folks via liable because you're running out of projections supporting your theory, my friend.

      P.S. Add this for some supplemental reading:
      • Aug 19 2013: Receiving grant money is not evidence of subterfuge. It is critical information, which in turn may point to a pattern of subterfuge. However, the fact that this person has consistently and repeatedly deleted data that is contrary to his theory, that is the basis on which I don't waste my time with him.

        Also, the conclusion that I am "running out of projections" is a non sequitor. To this point you have not eliminated a single scientific projection since the only reference you have given was a fraud.

        I will look at this reference as well, but it is you that is running out of credible references since your first and foremost one was rejected.

        Dr. Roy Spencer is famous for a few things. First, he believes that as the Earth warms from global warming (what he refers to as "radiative imbalance" that we will have more clouds and that these clouds will reflect more sunlight back to space. If he is completely accurate on this all it means is that the current models need to be tweaked. Radiative imbalance is currently something that has been underweighted in the models. We have discovered that as the ice melts we are absorbing more of the sun's energy as heat than was previously projected. But regardless of how heavily weighted it is it doesn't change the basic premise or theory. Only whether this will play out in my golden years or my children's golden years. He also points out that "climate change has happened before". This is true, but what is often not mentioned is that mass extinction also happened before and in conjunction with climate change. I think it is his use as an "expert" on the Rush Limbaugh radio show that has made him famous.

        The other theory that he is famous for is to argue that evolution is a flawed theory and that he supports intelligent design instead. As a person who believes the Bible I have to believe God formed man from the dust of the ground, hence I believe that evolution is according to the record in Genesis.
      • Aug 23 2013: From

        Larry E. Bell, Risk Manager--HollyFrontier Oil Corporation.

        Adams Resources & Energy

        Director Compensation for 2011
        Fees earned or paid in cash $60,000
        Total Compensation $60,000
        Stock Ownership for 2007
        Number of shares owned 1,000

        I think the term I am looking at is "POW! BIASED!"
        • Aug 26 2013: And the IPCC isn't? Come on man...

          Oh, and I'm sure that Fritz Vahrenholt (mentioned in the article above) is somehow in with big oil too, eh?
      • Aug 24 2013: Why do you still use the term "Global Warming" since scientists have pushed to change the expression to "Climate change"? On a hot summer day drinking a cold glass of ice tea no one says "hurry up and drink your ice tea before it gets warmer" they say "hurry up and drink your ice tea before the ice melts". The Earth is like a giant glass of ice tea with ice at the two poles. This keeps the Earth at a nice temperature for people, instead of getting too cold we just get more ice and instead of getting too warm we just lose some ice. However, if the ice melts then you will really see "global warming".

        The apostle Peter said that "with fabricated words they will make merchandise of you". Global warming is a fabricated word. If you tell people we have global warming then they ask how much the earth has warmed in the last 100 years, then they think, hey that's not so bad, I can live with that. However, if you called it global melting they would ask how much ice has melted. Then they would learn that based on Nasa satellite images the Polar ice cap is shrinking at a rate of 9% per decade. Since sea water absorbs much more of the sun's rays as heat than ice does this creates a very powerful feedback loop so that the more ice that melts the faster the ocean warms up and the faster the ice will melt.

        So please use "Climate change" or "global melting" to refer to the impact that CO2 is having.

        As for your seeking for the words "Boom, Roasted!" be careful what you seek for, you may just get it.
        • Aug 26 2013: Because for the ice to melt something had to warm it? What you're describing is a scientific classification geared toward the exact kind of fear mongering that the IPCC is guilty of.
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    Aug 19 2013: "The theory of man made global climate change says that human co2 emissions, in fact, are a massive and immediate threat to the earth"

    Paraphrased, from a denialist's perspective: "The theory of man made global climate change is a conspiracy and is a massive and immediate threat to political idealism and the economy - and furthermore I will pay any "expert" anything to help support my position."

    "...but [temperatures] have actually been stable since the year 2000":

    Does that mean that there are groups of disobedient eco-warriors conspiratorially using a chainsaws to cut vast chunks of sea-borne ice away from the Antarctic? - No. Are there yet more of them using blowtorches to thaw all those mountain glaciers in the Himalaya, Alps, Andes, Greenland, etc? - No. Is the global sea temperature rise an illusion, because someone forgot to put mercury in the thermometer? - No. Is there about to be a huge tonnage of methane emitted into the atmosphere in the northern hemisphere, because those pesky eco-warriors are eating bucketloads of baked beans? - No.

    Maybe that's a blindfold you're wearing, rather than rose-tinted spectacles.

    As for your "factors":

    Renewable energy is not cheap and efficient enough because R&D is not funded to the same extent as fossil fuels.

    Green Start-ups don't work because of the lack of political will, funding and the fact that it is not in the interests of fossil fuel industries for them to work.

    The country is in the midst of an economic crisis, precisely because: "Fossil fuel [WAS] the most cost effective and profitable energy source"

    "Fear is a powerful tool for politicians and businessmen alike": Fear works both ways.
    • Aug 19 2013: Points for the snark...

      Since "Eco-Warriors" are the kool-aid sipping grassroots of the green movement- I won't reply to that particular part of your sarcasm rendered hypothetical.

      Sure, all of those geological and environmental events mentioned occur. But why is it that they aren't meeting with the projections? Only fools jive with "conspiracy"- but I do have to admit that it seems a bit strange that scientists would doctor certain sections of their data to support the theory of Global Climate Change (which there are several documented cases of. I mean, who really wants to be the guy to buck the curve?

      Maybe they, like any other professional field, like to gain a little recognition for their work- bringing this full circle by me pointing out that fear works all sorts of fun and interesting ways! With a planet billions of years old its only logical to look at a few hundred years of temperature data as a barometer of our species fate, eh?

      R&D doesn't happen for renewable because its a high risk investment, i.e. they are not as reliable as burning something out of the ground. I might point out that millions of Stimulus money was ear marked for Green R&D like Solyndra that failed epically because it was misappropriated, being geared toward cronyism. In political terms its not surprising that people have an unfavorable view of that type of subsidization when their tax dollars aren't effective.
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        Aug 19 2013: Continuing the role-play. (not to you personally, Darlington!)

        As a high-ranking gov't official, I'm surprised that by "fools" you are effectively dismissing the work of NASA, Countless University research projects, The British Antarctic Survey, etc as something beneath your own intellect. How much kudos do you honestly think it would have with the voting public, when a politician, without tongue going anywhere near cheek, dismisses science as "foolish"?

        Do you have any idea how complex climate science is, and how potentially devastating the projections could be? It really is not worth the risk to perpetuate a "business as usual" attitude without questioning its likely effects on the fragile balance of ecosystems and the thin envelope of oxygen we (including you and your children) survive in. The planet and the scientists working hard to understand it, are just a tad more important than the votes you may or may not get.

        Data is NOT based on a few hundred years. A pretty clear picture can be gained by analysing ice core samples at depths that represent thousands of years previous - and from those, accurate climate trends can be established. It is those trends that are cause for alarm - but even more alarming is your denial of those clear trends and the evidence right in front of your nose of big changes taking place.

        I never said that climate scientists directly doctor their data. They are usually impartial, honest and extremely passionate about what they do. My gripe is towards those who wantonly "interpret" and skew research data in order to support their own dogma.

        Perhaps you think politicians and business leaders are still regarded as the lofty paragons of ethical practice, virtue and humanitarianism with only the interests of ordinary people at heart, despite what is habitually and publicly their wont? Well, I have some more alarming news for you...
    • Aug 19 2013: Renewable projects aren't uneconomical due to lack of R&D. Its all a matter of physics, or more precisely, the engineering involved.

      The sun simply doesn't have a very high output in terms of energy density reaching the earth's surface. Combine that with photo-voltaic equipment's low inherent efficiency (percentage in the single digits), and you simply don't get much power.
      Wind isn't much better--there is only so much energy in the wind per unit of surface, and that number just isn't very high. Much like solar, you need massive contraptions to gather enough energy for practical use, and massive contraptions are maintenance intensive and expensive to construct by their very nature.

      Being unable to control the on-off switch doesn't help. Even if you can produce enough power on average, you won't be able to increase production to meet with demand at peak hours, leaving you at the mercy of nature unless you have a reserve. Problem is, power storage technology today is nothing to write home about (and not due to lack of R&D, there is crazy amounts of money to be made with improvements here), so you need fossil fuel or nuclear power plants on backup anyway to make up for when mother nature isn't delivering the goods.

      Green projects don't fail because of lack of political will, they fail because they're fundamentally uneconomical. If green was economic, we'd be using it regardless of global warming, after all.

      Finally, on a different related topic, the correlation between CO2 and temperature may actually be caused by rising ocean temperatures releasing CO2 solvent in the oceans, rather than rising CO2 causing temperatures to rise.
      This would explain why the two graphs match going back 50,000 years, but stop matching around a century ago (temperatures actually went down between the 1920's and the 1970's roughly, despite CO2 in the atmosphere shooting straight up since the world began industrializing in the 19th century).
  • Aug 19 2013: In reply to Nadav Tropp it is hard to respond since you don't provide any links to your references.

    Now it is true that Europe has invested heavily into wind energy, is that what you are referring to?

    1. Global investment in Green energy increased 17% in 2011.
    2. The US increased 57% and India increased 62%
    3. Photo voltaics dropped 50% in price and onshore wind dropped 5-10%
    4. New electric power generation was 44% renewable in 2011, up from 34% in 2010
    5. Total investment in solar power jumped 52%

    There is some dispute over how much power would have been produced using fossil fuel, but absolutely no one, other than your post, is asserting it would have been 100 times more. However, how much energy is produced per dollar is only part of the equation and is not looking at the total economic picture.

    I am providing this link to help you see the full picture:

    Also, please note, the European countries are avoiding the bulk of the Trillion+ price tag for the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. They can do this because they are much less dependent on the Middle East Oil.

    Now unless you think that the banks, financiers (including $850 million bond by Warren Buffet), companies and countries are all idiots, perhaps you need to redo the math.
    • Aug 19 2013: While I can't exactly provide links blaming the media and politicians for hitching a ride on the global warming bandwagon, or the climatologists and renewable energy industry for milking it for funding, I did manage to scrounge this up on the economics of energy production in developed countries.

      While it varies from country to country, you'll find that all in all, coal and gas are dirt cheap compared to the renewable stuff (from times 30 to times 200 cheaper, depending on where you look; even a 100% improvement won't save you from those numbers), and nuclear somewhere in between at 4 to 10 times the cost of the fossil fuels.

      Essentially, what you earn in fuel costs for renewable energy, you loose on in maintenance, low power output, and an infuriating inability to control the on-off switch.

      While I agree that coal has no shortage of environmental problems even without global warming factored in, natural gas is a lot friendlier in that regard. A properly built nuclear power plant also has minimal environmental impact, if your countries' politics allow you to build one.

      Its not that everyone is idiots, its just the general apathy towards the big picture you see in big corporations and government management.
      This sort of thing can very easily escape a politician or civil servant that doesn't understand how to/doesn't care for reading scientific data or cost/benefit analysis. Worse still, a lot of them just don't care--its not coming out of their own pocket after all, the treasury's footing the bill.

      A lot of them are in fact blinded by ideology, and many bought into the scare campaign by the aforementioned "global warming bandwagon" folk, which are making a killing out of the whole story. What's bad for the fossil fuel industry's bottom line is great for the wind turbine folk, or the climatologists that would only have a fraction of their funding otherwise.
      • Aug 19 2013: According to the article you provided "System costs in electricity markets are a major issue. While all technologies have system costs, those generated by variable renewables are of at least an order of magnitude larger than those of dispatchable technologies."

        1. An order of magnitude is 10x larger, not 100x.
        2. "System costs" are not all of the costs. Yes, if this is your only concern coal will look better than wind and solar, but soon the air will be like China, acid rain, etc. I have said repeatedly that destroying the air and water is a cost that must be factored in. Asthma and lung cancer are very real costs.
        3. System cost refers to implementing solar similar to coal as part of a large power company. I have already said that this doesn't make sense at present for solar power. It is much more cost effective to implement it at the retail level, on the end users roof. I have also noted that solar produces energy during peak hours, so it should be compared with the peak retail cost.

        So this study doesn't address the points I have made and I have already ceded everything it says.
        • Aug 19 2013: 1. I know what an order of magnitude is, don't catch me on the rough estimate I gave before the article.

          2. While that is a major issue with coal, its also very hard to quantify. Similar problems don't exist with natural gas (actually the cheapest option in many cases) and nuclear.
          Also, factor into account that in a developing country, a more expensive solution often means more people go without power entirely. In such a case, the human damage of coal may be a lesser evil if its less expensive than gas in that country (nuclear power is beyond the reach of most nations).

          3. I agree that solar is useful for user end power generation needs, like heating water for showers or producing small amounts of power for a home or small business (though for the latter, I believe it takes a few years to pay for itself--not a major enough point to be worth looking up an article though).
          The problem is, I've seen people trying to pitch it as a practical form of mass energy production, for which it is completely unsuitable, and occasionally even swindling a gullible government for money.

          Also, be careful which wars you're taking into account of your calculations.
          Ignoring for a second the cost in human misery, war has other benefits, such as showing off the strength of one's military, and its innumerable effects on foreign relations. It is not merely waged over economical matters.

          Finally, there is one point of mine you completely failed to address. Were I a policy maker looking to switch over my country to renewable technology at huge economic cost (as the price of energy affects everyone and everything), what guarantee do I have the other leaders will do the same?
          I could be crippling my own nation without making a dent on a global trend, while the other nations don't do the same, screwing over everyone, but putting my nation at an even worse position.
          The prisoner's dilemma, I believe its called. Only there are more than two prisoners.
  • Aug 11 2013: For a start, global warming isn't man made. Its a theory that gained popularity among climatologists whom use it to score budgets that would normally have been allocated elsewhere, businessmen looking for investors and government spending on "green" projects, politicians looking to get elected for a green agenda, and by the media who likes a sensationalist story.

    But ignoring all that, and for the sake of argument supposing global warming is all its cracked up to be, my bid is still pretty low, for an number of reasons:
    1. Renewable technology is frankly, crap. It costs an order of magnitude more to produce "green" power than it does to produce fossil fuel or nuclear power. The only exception is hydroelectric and geothermal, but for those two you have to be lucky enough to score a major river or volcanic vent in your territory, and most countries simply don't have those (or have already reached the limit of generation of what they do have).
    2. Even if my nation takes the hit of going green, I have no guarantee anyone else will. Seeing as no one nation can truly counteract the problem, all I'll be doing is hamstringing myself without solving anything.
    3. Developing countries are seriously crippled by going green, and there is simply nothing that can be done to persuade them to shoot themselves in the foot in such a manner. I would never go green as a developing country, and as a developed one, I would foster no illusions about convincing them, which brings me back to #2.

    The only step I'd really be willing to take is produce more nuclear electricity.
    Half the world can't touch nuclear power due to politics though (you'll be blamed for developing nuclear weapons), and the other half is afraid to use it due to incidents like Chernobyl.

    In short, its a good thing global warming isn't man made, because there is no real way of getting around CO2 emissions.
  • Aug 9 2013: Do not judge climate change based on temperature change, but on the melting ice caps and glaciers.

    The case for renewable energy:

    1. Our trade deficit is primarily a result of importing fossil fuel. This is killing our economy and putting us into unprecedented debt. If we invest in renewable energy it will be manufactured in the US. It will create high tech and heavy construction jobs in the US. Instead of leaving the country the money spent will buy houses, pay for services, and pay US taxes. We will get 40% of everything we pay back as US tax dollars, and the other 60% will be spent here in the US. Therefore comparing the cost of fossil fuel with renewable energy is comparing apples and oranges.

    2. If you compare fossil fuel with renewable you have to also include the health care costs associated with the pollution. As a government policy you cannot isolate one cost from the other. So yes, the cost of generating electricity from coal appears on the surface to be cheaper, but it comes with a very huge hidden health care cost attached.

    3. When you consider the cost of wind energy you should not include the cost of transmission from the wind turbine. This cost is virtually half of the overall cost. The US govt subsidized the transmission of coal to power plants with roads and railroads. This involves a yearly tax. Therefore to have a fair comparison you should do the same for wind.

    4. When you consider solar you shouldn't compare that cost to wholesale coal, you should compare it to peak retail costs. Solar only generates power during peak hours, and it generally is installed at the retail level. Solar is already competitive at that comparison.

    5. When you consider fossil fuel you have to include the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the previous Iraq war, as well as some of our dubious allies and diplomatic expenses.

    6. As a policy if you want the US to lead the world they have to lead concerning Climate Change.
    • Aug 9 2013: Stuart- I appreciate the detailed answer! Great Stuff!

      If I'm your boss this is how I'm going to respond to your 6 point plan:

      The data points in regards to melting ice caps are conflicted by other studies that suggest that warmer sea water around those ice covered areas actually causes a barometric charge due to water vapor that mixes with the cold air and produces a snow storm, making more ice. Further, the earth is billions of years old and human beings studied and recorded history of data such as ice density and temperature patterns are in their infancy, chronologically speaking (though we know enough to know that Greenland was much warmer prior to the modern era, inferring an inconsistency).

      Scientifically speaking, there is not enough conclusive and indisputable data indicating that man-made global warming is an immediate (or otherwise) threat to the earth's ice caps or weather patterns (way more Hurricanes during the 1880's in the US than any other time).

      I disagree with you that any type of renewable energy is able to have the same bang for your buck as coal, oil, or the emerging natural gas market. Instead of the EPA giving those companies time to clean up the process of their industry in order to massively reduce "hidden Health Care costs", they threaten to out right close them down taxing/regulating them out of business.

      Imagine the health care costs of all those families that lose insurance benefits, let alone enough income to provide adequate meals for their kids. When they can't find work (because no one is buying the renewable industry) they go into an entitlement program which will cost more tax dollars in a precarious economy that is increasingly hard on folks. And I'd like to be re-elected sometime...

      Energy equals economic prosperity. You don't attach your economy's bread and butter when you owe other nations (who burn a whole lot of coal with increasingly successful markets) $17 trillion.
      • Aug 9 2013: Fascinating. I am a geologist. Can you give me a reference to that "conflicted" data. I have tried to follow this issue closely since the 70s when I had a professor who was doing research in Antarctica. Although the entire issue of human induced climate change is much more complicated than a simple catch phrase like "global warming" would suggest, I think the general thesis that the climate is changing due to a change in the chemistry of our atmosphere as a result of man is conclusive.

        Is this a threat to mankind? That is the big question which is why everyone in the Geologic community is so interested in the Permian Extinction. We had climate change then, too. It kicked off a feedback loop in which methane hydrates in the ocean percolated up into the atmosphere. This led to runaway warming, the evaporation of the ocean, and the extinction of about 95% of all species.

        Even so life on Earth bounced back, which is what gives me hope today since those holding the helm have decided to run us off the cliff.

        Yes, energy does equal economic prosperity. I also used to work in the oil industry so I am well aware of the history and impact that oil has had on the US economy. However I doubt you really understand or know the history of oil. As it turns out King Solomon was on the cusp of discovering the industrial revolution at a time when he controlled the largest oil reserves in the world. However, he got turned aside by the daughter of Pharoah and a 1,000 other women. That was man's one and only chance at making a seamless transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy. The "wisest" man on earth missed it. God said that had he not turned aside they would have been blessed in ways they couldn't even imagine, wealth, health, power, long life, etc. But instead he brought a curse on man.

        So, please, I am not interested in the logic my "boss" would make for turning this country into a wasteland. It is lie. The truth is he is powerless to do anything else.
        • Aug 16 2013: I am a geology student so I understand and approve of your point about life bouncing back even after a severe climate change but I am very worried about the future of our species if this trend continues. I am deeply concerned that so many people are oblivious to the signs that something is not right about the climate.

          I am only 22 and already have noticed that year after year summers are hotter and drier. I guess people tend to see Earth as too big and complex to be affected by their activities but I kid you not, if we don't start and inform people about the dangers of global warming, the world will be a hellish place to live.
        • Aug 19 2013: Stuart,

          I'll preface this by saying that I think a theory of relativism within one's philosophy shows weakness- So does answering generic questions on a web forum that you're "not interested in."

          Soloman could have done whatever the hell he wanted to because free will exists and if it did not it would dissolve the divinity complex of a hypothetical God. Making a choice is one thing but sticking your head in the sand if a leader asks your opinion on how to make progress happen is the epitome of being powerless.

          P.S. here is your case study on conflicted data

          And Daniel,
          I'm 23 and once came to that conclusion as well- but guess what? people have probably been thinking the same thing for all of time. A hunch is not science.
        • Sep 6 2013: Daniel Ștefan ,

          I have lived long enough to tell you age 22 doesn't provide you
          the background needed to discuss this issue.

          My Father was in the Weather-making business for 30 years or more.
          He made rain. He told me that their were weather changes about every
          16 years or so. So I have watched and he was right. When communities
          of peoples begin to feel that change will never occur, it moderates and
          change does occur, or sometimes not.

          The Scientists of today are slaves to the government grants.
          Without funding they would have to find a job. Do real work.

          Believe the CO2 nonsense. Believe the tipping point stuff.
          Believe all you want.
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    Aug 9 2013: Yes it is logical as the much bigger issue it causes us to deal with is what are we going to do for energy when oil gets too hard to find. Even if we do nothing that affects the climate we might just avoid WW 3 by looking into energy alternatives much earlier than would otherwise have happened.
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      Aug 9 2013: .

      Can we be most happy with about 1/10 energy we spend today?
      I think we can!

      The reason:
      Happiness is merely the feeling of a-step-better than the “immediate” step before.
    • Aug 9 2013: Peter,

      I agree that it would be prudent for individuals to create renewable energy sources that can rival fossil in both efficiency and cost effectiveness. The concept of oil declining off the back end of the bell curve is economically terrifying. But, there is not reason to derail the current economy in order to force the market to consume those products until the private sector feels that those renewable energy sources are up to par with traditional energy- that type of non-capitalistic approach is equally as detrimental to the global economy.
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        Aug 11 2013: The problem with a purely capitalist approach is that you never know how long the science is going to take. Look at fusion. We've been working on that for 50 years and we're no closer to achieving it. Sometimes waiting for market forces to push technological advancement just means you left it too late.
        • Aug 16 2013: That's not a limitation of capitalism, that's just nuclear fusion being difficult (read: nigh impossible)

          Its not that market forces haven't been pushing for its development, because they have (there's a crazy amount of money in it). The technology just isn't mature enough, and it wouldn't have been mature enough with or without market forces.
          Also, by the way, we are closer to it than we were in the past. Still so far that there is no practical nuclear fusion on the horizon, so its hard to see the difference unless you're up to date on research papers, but we are closer.

          The real problem with renewable technology is simply the physics of the matter. The theoretical limits are quite low--sun light and wind only have so much energy output in them to exploit, and they're simply not very good power generating sources.

          If you want a practical "green" solution, its either hydroelectric (if you strike lucky on a river), geothermal (if you strike lucky on a volcanic hot spot), or nuclear (if you strike lucky on a country that can invest in that sort of thing without being blamed for developing a weapons program).
          If you haven't struck lucky, than, what can I tell you, back to burning oil...
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        Aug 18 2013: We're closer to fusion in the same way we're closer to hover cars.☺ It's easy for the market to make bad calls when it comes to science and technology as alot of new discoveries are unexpected or considered not useful at the time. eg superconducters. Nuclear is a good example. aside from the political hurdles the one you hear most is that the set-up costs make it uncompetative, which is true in the short term. It's hard to get investors interested in a technology that won't make profit for ten years even if the long term outlook is very good. I think in the future we will end up using nuclear and geo-thermal but it might take government subsidies to get the ball rolling as they both have massive set-up costs but low longterm running costs.
  • Aug 31 2013: "Pretend I'm a high ranking government official and answer this for me as though you were a policy analyst."

    Sir, I'd recommend what ever brings in the most taxable revenue. The rest we can spin.
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    Sep 7 2013: @Scott,
    Agreed, there stations all over the world recording current local weather. Agreed, that data is fed into computers and predictions made of future weather patterns and climate. Those predictions are good for maybe 5 days. After a week, they are at best..... SWAGs.
    There are a number of "scientists" who have predicted dire climatic changes coming if we don't reduce manmade CO2 emissions. These same "scientists" predicted global cooling 50 years ago and predicted that lack of harvests by 2000 would cause world hunger and wars over food. They were just as sure then as now.
    In the spirit of fool me once....
    My skepticism is based on this one premise, if the world did all that that has been requested by "global change scientists" which could end a great deal of economic activity that would effect not only all those big rich corporations but the millions of workers that they had hired and now fired.... to what level of CO2 reduction would cause the climate to revert to a more ideal climate level that the world has enjoyed in the last 150 years. In the early 1900s, Niagara Falls froze over. In the '30s, the hot dry "climate" turned the middle of the US into dust bowl. I can probably go on to list similar climate effects in other parts of the world, but for brevity, just what great period would the world revert to. What I would like to see is: If we cut CO2 by... say...50% our global climate will be as nice as it was in...... (fill in a year).
    They can't??? but they can say that in 50 years, the polar bears will die and New York City will be under water from meeting ice caps... I would miss polar bears, but after being in NYC, not so sure....
  • Sep 6 2013: The Inquisition took care of most stupid ideas from inventors.
    They could have continued, and maybe should have.

    I wonder who out there remembers the dust storms in the US.
    Birds couldn't fly. Homes were made a mess. Windows couldn't
    keep the sand out. That was Arizona. in the 1930s-1940s.

    The grasslands of the US were decimated also. The great
    Depression references those bad times. CO2 was not even
    a gleam in your great-great-grandfather's eye.

    Stupidity enhanced by Government money.
    What a pair to draw to.
    • Sep 6 2013: Everyone's always so much smarter when looking at things in hindsight.

      Makes you wonder why we couldn't do things right the first time, if its so glaringly obvious today.
  • Sep 6 2013: Take an Airline flight. Up about 30-40 thousand feet. Look down.
    Then tell me how CO2 is causing global warming.

    Government study Grants are the real problem.
  • Sep 6 2013: Is it logical for governments to enact policy that is detrimental
    to fossil fuel industries, NO
    to global economies, NO
    to the families of those workers NO
    who are literally put out of work by the government NO
    based off of the unfounded and hotly contested theory
    of man-made global climate change? NO

    The USA had a 40 year head start on the rest of the World.
    They caught up.
    So much for our smart Politicians.
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    Sep 6 2013: " [temperatures] have actually been stable since the year 2000."

    Not actually true. The hottest year on record is 2010 which is tied with 2005.

    "increasingly unfounded and hotly scientifically contested theory of man-made global climate change"

    The truth is the evidence and scientific consensus around climate change has never been stronger. I encourage everyone to visit the page:

    Particularly noteworthy is the section titled "surveys of scientists and scientific literature. Highlights include:

    -a survey of 489 randomly selected members of either the American Meteorological Society, of which only 5 % believed that human activity had little or no effect and only 13 % believed there was relatively little danger.

    -a survey of 2058 climate scientists from 34 countries of which only 1.35% said they did not agree at all to the question "How convinced are you that most of recent or near future climate change is, or will be, a result of anthropogenic causes?"

    -a 2013 paper in Environmental Research Letters reviewed 11,944 abstracts of scientific papers, finding 4,014 which discussed the cause of recent global warming and reporting: Among abstracts expressing a position on AGW, 97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming.

    The scientific consensus around climate change is certainly stronger than the consensus among economists around that causes of current recession and the appropriate course of action.

    People who claim that the human caused climate change is not real are no less at odds with scientific evidence and the scientific community than those who refute evolution or claim vaccination should be avoided for health reasons.

    Don't put your head in the sand for fear of losing your job.
    • Sep 6 2013: Unfortunately, the climatologists all have a vested interest for there to be global warming.

      Ever since global warming became a thing, their budgets skyrocketed. If global warming was suddenly proven defunct as a theory, all of that goes away (climatology becomes boring again), and a whole lot of climatologists find themselves out of a job. These climatologists are smart people. I'm sure they're perfectly aware of this.
      Not to mention that speaking out against global warming in certain academic circles can easily get you fired. These things are a lot less liberal than they'd like the public to believe.

      Add to that the media picking up on any sensationalist story that comes its way (and probably exaggerating it even further while they're at it), politicians trying to get elected on a "green" agenda, and various green industries trying to make a buck (they've got as much of a will to make money as the fossil fuel industry after all), and you end up with a whole lot of people interested in making global warming a thing.

      Just because its popular doesn't make it true.
      Personally, I've been led to believe that the historic correlation between temperature and CO2 is a result of warming oceans spitting CO2 dissolved in the water into the atmosphere.
      This explains the fact that CO2 levels have been steadily rising for the past 150 years, but temperature has been a lot less monotonous--rising temperature leads to CO2 rise (over however long it takes the ocean to warm up, a matter of years), but CO2 rise doesn't lead to rising temperature.
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        Sep 7 2013: The idea of global warming has been around for decades. Most of that time the governments of the world did absolutely nothing. Only after the evidence was absolutely enormous did governments form the international panel on climate change. They get funding.

        As far as the scientific communities of individual countries I highly doubt that their funding has "skyrocketed". I know that in Canada funding for climate science has decreased. This is because climate change is a huge problem for the government. The fossil fuel industry is one of the most powerful forces on the planet and provides a lot of funding to the political parties. On the other hand, many of the voters want the problem addressed. Its easier to cut funding to climate science than it is to deal with climate change.

        Also, climatologists and meteorologists do not study climate change. They study climate and weather. We study climate and weather because it is very important to understand. It is crucial for agriculture, fisheries, infrastructure planning, insurance, shipping, air travel and arctic resource extraction. That information is very valuable so I highly doubt that these experts would be out of work if people quit believing in human caused climate change.

        If anything, scientists would get more funding if they denied it. There are mountains of money to be made by denial human caused climate change. The most powerful corporations in the world have literally trillions of dollars in assets and infrastructure at stake over this issue. They are fighting back with one of the largest PR campaigns in human history.

        "Just because its popular doesn't make it true."

        I'm not saying that it is popular. I am saying that there is general scientific consensus. The popularity of the idea that humans are causing climate change is decreasing, even though the scientific consensus is increasing. When the vast majority of scientists in their specialty agree, its probably true.
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      Sep 7 2013: Scott,
      A lot of the information you have quoted has been found suspected... proponents of global climate change has used numbers that show increases in summer temperatures in... for example the US, citing desert conditions in the southwest with higher temperatures and little rain all true. What they don't elaborate is that the temperatures in Russia have been 20 degrees below normal at the same time. There may be little question that the climate in general is more active, what disturbs me is that the venom expressed by those who say it's all due to CO2 generated by man to those who question their findings. True science only bases findings on provable facts and never refers to others as "deniers" and other derogatory terms.
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        Sep 7 2013: Climatologists do not believe in global warming because of a hot summer in the american southwest. They believe global warming because of a vast network of weather stations around the globe that have been keeping records for as long as 150 years in some cases. Modern weather stations are link via computer and combined with ocean data as well as a network of satellites.

        The reason the word "denier" gets thrown around is because there are people literally paid to deny and subvert public faith in science when it comes to climate. The most powerful companies in the world are being asked to reduce their economic activity and they are fighting back. The myths that they propagate are in this very thread.
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    Sep 2 2013: Al Gore has friends. Sec of State Kerry told a conference in Guam that Global Warming is irrefutable. "We have to stop denying the inevitable and take action" My suggestion is to take some giant space ship and send all those so worried about global warming here to another plant (of their choice) where global climate is not a problem. Wait, am I to understand there is not such place? How about we send them all to Australia... Wait, I like the Aussies, not fair to them. How about the south pole.... its cool there.
    Will these Chicken Little's ever stop!
    • Sep 2 2013: My guess is never.
      There is a lot of money to be made scaring people.

      Its also a quick and easy way to get into the public eye, without actually doing anything productive or groundbreaking. In other words, a politician's dream.
      The media eats it up like candy, they love a sensationalist story, after all.

      A person is smart. People, are dumb, panicky dangerous animals, and you know it.
  • Aug 26 2013: Darlington,

    Are you serious about this point that for something to melt something has to warm?

    The term "warm" indicates a temperature change. There is no temperature change when water changes from solid water (ice) to liquid. It requires heat to change phase or state, but does not result in a temperature change.

    Your comment is the "exact kind" of ignorance that those pretending to debunk the science are banking on.
    • Aug 26 2013: Stuart,

      Ask yourself this. Does ice melt in a freezer? No, because the molecules don't speed up below freezing temp. If that comment is considered "ignorant" then the junk science perpetrated by the completely bias and political motivated IPCC is right up your ally.

      I might not be a scientist but I understand the concept of molecular state change.
      • Aug 26 2013: Good, if you understand that then you understand that ice is melting because heat has been added, yet while the ice melts we do not expect to see temperatures rise. As long as we have ice caps we are in the "Global melting" phase. Once the ice melts then we are in the "global warming" phase.
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      Sep 3 2013: If we had a temperature measuring device which indicated the "Temperature of Planet Earth" would it be trending upward (warmer), downward (colder), or constant (stable)? Also, are you saying that "Global Warming" is not an appropriate phrase for what we are experiencing currently? You propose the use of the phrase "Global Melting"?
      • Sep 4 2013: If you understand that the way to determine if we have global warming is to take the temperature of the earth then yes, it is not an appropriate phrase.

        If you take a glass of ice tea full of ice and put a thermometer in it you will not see much of a change in temperature even though heat is being added to the system. Instead what you will see is that the ice is melting. Yes, because there is poor circulation you might see a slight change in temperature, but that is really not relevant. However, once the ice melts, then the temperature of the water will quickly rise from freezing temperature to air temperature and this will continue all the way to the boiling temperature.

        What we know is that the temperature of the planet is cyclic. The trend is up, but any given year could be lower. However, that is only because of the ice caps. If we lost the ice caps then there is nothing to keep the Earth from warming up.

        However, if we call this phase of climate change "Global Melting" then people will measure it by how much ice has melted. Much clearer and less confusing. So yes, I think Global Melting is a better expression than global warming. Less confusing.
  • Aug 26 2013: Unless I believe the economy is "that important?" What exactly are you asking me? If business is important to the economy? Vital. It is the economy. That is fairly intuitive- so I'll assume I'm missing something here... please elaborate
  • Aug 23 2013: to me this seems a matter of looking at the possibilitie. if global warming data is incorrect or misinterpreted, good. if not, bad. either way, controls on pollution and excesses of industry will do much more good than harm, unless you believe that the economy is that important, and that the profit margins of large corporations are essential to the economy.
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    Aug 20 2013: Have fun, Darlington!

    Important videos from Friendsof Science:

    Just to make myself clear - the fact that there are electric cars parked outside my doorstep and loading when electricity comes from natural sources - turbines, dams on water supplies - and that I don't get smoke into my face when taking a walk (facts)? - good. Electric cars loading when electricity comes from burning fossil fuels which creates emissions... what? Hmmm... Wait... But those emissions are only up to 7% of CO2 on the whole so... and the subsidies for renewable-energy companies are high...and universities get money... a lot of people profit from the fear... Rambling, sorry.

    By the way - there is an interesting playlist here on TED - the world without oil, recommended.
  • Aug 20 2013: Nadav Tropp "Finally, there is one point of mine you completely failed to address. Were I a policy maker looking to switch over my country to renewable technology at huge economic cost (as the price of energy affects everyone and everything), what guarantee do I have the other leaders will do the same?
    I could be crippling my own nation without making a dent on a global trend, while the other nations don't do the same, screwing over everyone, but putting my nation at an even worse position.
    The prisoner's dilemma, I believe its called. Only there are more than two prisoners."

    I have addressed this. The last time this could have been done elegantly without a hitch was at the time of King Solomon. At that time you wouldn't have to worry about other leaders since his country would be the only one with this technology. He was on the cusp of discovering the industrial revolution but then got distracted. As a result it was another 2,000 years before we discovered the industrial revolution.

    If Solomon had discovered this 2,000 years earlier he was sitting on the largest natural reserves of oil in the world. Perhaps after 200 years, like us they would have discovered trains, planes and space ships. Although they would have had all of the environmental issues that any other industrialized nation has, it would have been confined to a very small region of the world and with a very small fraction of the population of today. By the time the rest of the world adopted this technology they could have leapfrogged fossil fuel.

    But that didn't happen. That failure on his part has led the world to where we are now. But no one can point fingers because every government is the same. They are in bed with so many different interests that the idea of switching power supplies is completely unworkable. Hence the world is going to speed over the cliff without so much as tapping on the brakes.

    All this proves is that Jesus is Lord.
    • Aug 20 2013: Its a shame that the one thing we can agree on is that if global warming is real, than we're all screwed.

      King Solomon was nowhere near developing industrial technology however.
      There is more to industrialization than burning fossil fuels. Its about banking systems which give out loans to entrepreneurs. Its about practical use of the scientific method, not to be developed for centuries to come. Its about machinery and automation, both alien concepts so long ago. Its about the methodology of mass production, at the time non-existent.
      The larger populations supported by the agricultural revolution that occurred a century before the industrial one was also a perquisite. The ability to drill for and refine large amounts of oil or mine for coal are also necessary, and at the time, unthinkable.
      And in the end of the day, it still all has to be cheaper than slaves and pack animals, the readily available power source of the day. We never got as far as this practical test however, because the other requirements were never filled.

      King Solomon didn't go industrial for the same reasons the Greeks didn't, despite the fact that they were familiar with the concept of steam power (they used it to make simply spinning toys).
      Industrializing isn't as simple as oil in->industry out, its the product of centuries of technological, economical and social development. While it certainly began taking effect very quickly once all the perquisites were in place in 19th century Europe, I don't think its fair to say it was just short of happening at any earlier point in history.
  • Aug 19 2013: (Role Play inferred here)

    Pump the breaks there Toby Ziegler- I was dismissing paranoid schizophrenics, not accredited institutions of study. And I DO have an idea of how complex our climate is- so complex that it is arrogant for mankind to think we have it figured out enough to derail the economy in the name our limited knowledge.

    Secondly, the voters are not going to jive with a business a usual approach. We have to clean up the traditional energy industries- but we have to give them ample time in order to do so- not lay off the whole plant cause we THINK they are killing the human race off in the next 5 days. We're taking about a compromise between business and the alarmists. Neither can get everything they want- which is why I like living here.

    No one is going to give a damn what the weather is like if there is a global economic shutdown because the US collapses in on itself without steady, reliable energy. I can bet whoever gets the blame for that won't rock the vote next cycle and neither will his friends. I can't be that guy.
  • Aug 16 2013: Daniel Stefan,

    In the book the Jungle Upton Sinclair said it is very hard to convince someone of something if they are being paid to believe something else. There is a fortune being paid for people not to believe that burning fossil fuel is destroying the climate of the Earth for man. Also, those who are being paid the most are also the most influential and powerful at the moment. As a result there is only one way that this will all play out. There is going to be a catastrophic crash in the stock market. It is that crash that will put a stop to burning most of the fossil fuel. Following this crash there will be a play for the middle East oil reserves as that will be the only stop gap survival strategy that China, Russia or the US can figure out. Besides, having the soldiers die in battle will be a second way the government leaders can solve the problem of economic collapse (a win win solution for them, get the people who would revolt out of the country, if they seize the reserves, great, if they die, also great). However, Europe is moving away from dependence on fossil fuel so they may try some kind of draconian style economic control, but it will be very bleak for them with the collapse of the global economy.

    However, the good news is that Economic collapse and world war is also usually associated with pandemics. Since the problem of climate change is a result of the world's economy burning fossil fuel, and also can be measured on a per capita basis an extreme collapse of the world's economy along with a drastic drop in the world's population is exactly the remedy that is called for. As a result we will see a dramatic and virtually overnight drop in the consumption of fossil fuel. This should signal the beginning of a new age of restoration in which the Earth moves towards homeostasis. This could take as little as 1,000 years if the nuclear reactors can be shut down safely.
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      Aug 16 2013: Is any money being spent in an effort to convince the undecided people that GWCC is not a trumped-up politically motivated non-issue? You make it sound as though only the opponents of GWCC are promoting their agenda. I know Al Gore has made millions from the issue so there must be a money trail there somewhere.
      • Aug 16 2013: The world has been consuming more than 70 million barrels of oil per day since 1995, if you use $100 a barrel as a nice round number, the world is spending $7 billion a day on oil (natural gas and coal are other expenses you could add to that). When you see a car commercial what you are really seeing is an advertisement for oil (or in the case of electric vehicles for coal). Whenever you buy an electric appliance you are buying coal. I think it is safe to say the world is spending more than $10 billion per day on fossil fuel consumption or items that run on fossil fuel. So then, over the course of a year it is about $3-4 trillion as a very conservative estimate. $3-4 million spent on raising awareness about climate change is 0.0001% of the money being spent on fossil fuel promotion. So 99.9999% of the money is spent promoting a "fossil fuel" lifestyle and 0.0001% is spent warning of the dangers of this lifestyle.
        • Aug 17 2013: Actually, its pretty much opposite. Its the "green" folk making the real killing off the issue.

          For a start, look at all the money being poured into green projects by government. You could have produced a hundred times the electric output using fossil fuels or nuclear with the same investment, but they chose to go green instead, and the money got invested in different hands.
          Second, politicians being elected on a green agenda. You can't put "I won't change a thing about our energy infrastructure because its doing fine" on your campaign.
          Third, the media loves a sensationalist story. "Nothing new under the sun" doesn't have quite the same appeal as "global warming threatening to kill us all".
          Finally, the climatologists themselves; they wouldn't be getting a tenth of the budget they have today if it wasn't for the whole global warming scare. Same argument as media, except replace "sensationalist story" with "sensationalist research". Negative results=people calming down and slashing the budget now that its no longer scary.

          In fact, without the whole global warming scare, we wouldn't even be touching renewable energy. Its just that bad. Wind and solar are a full two orders of magnitude behind coal in terms of cost per energy unit.
          Battery technology today is poor enough to render electric cars and aircraft impractical, and biodiesel compromises your food supply, meaning that there's no getting away from burning oil for engines in the foreseeable future.

          We're not using fossil fuels because the big oil companies bought us all. We're using them because they're the best option for any country that didn't strike lucky on geothermal or hydroelectric (both at the mercy of geography), and can't produce nuclear power due to political reasons (looks too much like a weapons program).
          Finally, developing countries would go bankrupt trying for green while still maintaining development--you can't ask them to do that.
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          Aug 18 2013: Apples and oranges.
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    Aug 16 2013: .

    My 4-steps offer:

    (1) Ban invalid (harmful) happiness.
    (2) Greed dies out.
    (3) Economic crisis disappears.
    (4) Global warming goes away.
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    Aug 13 2013: Today the Feds are closing 600 weather reporting stations amid suspicion that they were chosen for their location in order to provide unbalanced data in support of GW/CC. Hmmm. Kind of makes you wonder doesn't it?
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    Aug 13 2013: I think politicians rather talk about problems that can not be resolved then solving those that can. I am not sure why.
    Much of the renewable energy sources lack consistency, sun sets, winds stop blowing, etc. Using food stuffs takes food away from people.
  • Aug 13 2013: I have similar feelings but also wonder why so much is spent on reducing CO2 emissions instead of "cleaning" up the emissions. You hear about plants and algae consuming some of the CO2 but I also think there are many other potential solutions to rid ourselves of the CO2 WHILE cutting down on emissions. My simple searching found this:

    Carbon dioxide is also introduced into the oceans through hydrothermal vents. The Champagne hydrothermal vent, found at the Northwest Eifuku volcano at Marianas Trench Marine National Monument, produces almost pure liquid carbon dioxide, one of only two known sites in the world.

    In the late 1970s, scientists who study the deep seas made a surprising discovery of vents of hot water rising from the sea floor into the cold waters of the Pacific Ocean, according to marine biologist, Dr. Tony Rice. Since the 1970s a number of vents have been located in all of the world's main oceans, usually at depths between 2,000 and 3,000 meters (6,560 and 9,840 feet). What was also surprising is that animal communities thrive around these vents. This is the home for the giant vent mussel.

    These are from 2 different sources but I like the idea of finding a solution to our CO2 problems with already developed natural solutions. Could these areas of high CO2 emissions produce natural solutions like the mussels, shrimp and other organisms that not only survive but THRIVE in these areas?
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    Aug 11 2013: If I am not wrong , I feel, you are talking about US government.....
    I don't feel , when US government plan is not that myopic....only focused to one or two years as it sounded in the post above.
    Understand your point about inaccurate projection of temperature....but is it that simplistic to conclude about climate change ?
    As human being with our all science and technology we fail to predict natural disasters earth quake but some animal can feel it ......(well in villages of my country , many farmers still predict flood looking in to the movement of ants).. In such case do you think extinction of species can be a predictor of climate change ?

    You are right , today renewable energy is not a profitable venture.....not every technology is cheap at the beginning at least that doesn't mean it will never is not there any need to have plan for that ?

    Last not least, points to ponder why J F Kenedy decided to invest behind space exploration in early 60s.....?
    • Aug 19 2013: I dig waht you're saying but, the earth is billions of years old. Recorded temperatures only go back for a few hundred years and conjecture is made based off of soil samples from deep in the planet. We're looking at an inch of data to explain 500 feet of big data.

      And, on a lesser not, JFK invested in NASA because of the space race with the USSR during the Cold War paranoia- fear based policy initiatives and ear marks existed back then too.