July 04, 2012
Humans Causing US Southwest Forest Burn Out

Craig Allen of the US Geological Service thinks human-caused changes to the US southern Rockies forest ecosystem caused fire-burning patterns that are wiping out forests.

But beginning in 1900, when railroads enabled the spread of livestock, cattle devoured the grassy surface fuels and the fire cycle stopped. A decade later, a national policy of forest fire suppression formalized this new normal. Over the next century, forest density went from 80 trees per acre to more than 1,000.

80 trees to 1000 trees per acre is a huge increase in biomass density. The problem: Now when fire comes the heat is so intense that fires no longer stay on the ground. They burn up into the trees and wipe them out.

With so many trees crammed into the forest, fires climbed straight to the canopy instead of remaining on the ground.

Could partial removal of trees before a fire be done profitably to reduce the incidence of fires that totally destroy forests?

The Ponderosa forests have been mismanaged.

The emerging consensus is that the Ponderosa pine forests of northern Arizona and New Mexico have been mismanaged for more than a century. Small ground fires historically burned through these forests with some regularity, keeping the trees widely spaced. But decades of fire suppression have allowed trees to grow so thick that the forests are now referred to as “dog-hair thickets.”

Many trees evolved to do well with recurring low intensity fires. Some types of trees have serotinous cones (more on serotiny) that depend on low intensity fires to cause them to release their seeds. But a very intense fire in high density forests will burn the cones completely, leaving no seeds. Can seed planting help the recovery of forests in the US southwest? Or has the climate become too dry to enable replanting to work?

Share |      Randall Parker, 2012 July 04 03:58 PM  Trends Habitat Loss


Comments
PacRim Jim said at July 4, 2012 4:50 PM:

21st-century biotechnologists will be able to modify the genomes of any plant, to better adapt it (in the Darwinian sense) to its (or any) environment.
We're next.

Russ said at July 5, 2012 7:01 AM:

Every forester I know has been talking about this for years. If we can finally get some folks in policy-making to wake up and not help create another "dustbowl by mismanagement" effect, though, that'd be great.

Fat Man said at July 5, 2012 7:39 AM:

Let us be straightforward and honest about this situation. It is caused by the failure of the land's owner -- The United States Government -- to properly care for its land. It is not humans in general, nor even Americans in general who are responsible for this delict. It is the responsibility of the US Government, Congress, and the mad men who direct public policy. Bring tar, feathers, rails, and rope to Washington DC, and we can solve the problem.

Fat Man said at July 5, 2012 7:45 AM:

Let me go a bit further: This is a classic failure of socialism problem. The State cannot properly manage resources because its welfare is not changed by changes in their value. The only possible solution is to sell the land to private owners who can manage it as they see fit, but who will loose if the land loses value and profit if it gains in value.

David A. Young said at July 5, 2012 9:03 AM:

Bob Zubrin has an interesting perspective on this (link below). He lays the blame on a combination of an out-of-control Western Pine Beetle infestation -- which has turned millions of acres of forrest into dead, dry tinder -- and environmentalists, who have stood in the way of controlling the insects with pesticides as well as halting the logging practices that could have helped control the ability of fires to spread so widely.

His arguments seem sound, but I can't speak to the validity of his facts.

http://pjmedia.com/blog/incinerating-america%E2%80%99s-west/

Engineer-Poet said at July 6, 2012 2:52 AM:

The pine beetle infestations go as far north as British Columbia, and are due in large part to excessively warm winters.

It's the climate, stupid!

David A. Young said at July 6, 2012 10:04 AM:

Well, since the climate is causing it, I guess we shouldn't do anything constructive to try to stop the immediate spread of the infestation. We wouldn't want to offend Dear Mother Gaia.

Engineer-Poet said at July 6, 2012 10:54 AM:

If we cut atmospheric CO2 back to 350 ppm we'd probably fix both the overly-warm winters and the drought.

All we'd need is a reversal of our previous modus operandi:  build an economy on taking carbon out of the atmosphere and holding it in fixed form, rather than the reverse.  I'm sure it would involve a lot of uranium, but with half a million tons in inventory already the USA is technically ready to go any time the pols are.

Phillep Harding said at July 6, 2012 3:33 PM:

@PacRimJim, We already have the plants, they just need to be in the right places. They also need an entire ecosystem transplanted with them to prevent a kudzu type problem.

@Fat Man, you called it. The present set of laws awards those who bring lawsuits, no matter the merit, and the la-la's are in charge of EPA and the other fedgov agencies. They roll over in court so they are "forced" to do things they want to, but cannot legally do on their own.

CO2? Not an issue, really. The global warming "studies" are so flawed that they should get an "F" from any Jr High science class in the country. The scientific method was laid out to prevent exactly the sort of "Science by personality and politics" we are seeing on this subject. AGW is a money and power scam. (Note how Al Gore, one of the big names pushing AGW bought a house below where he was claimed 20 years ago that the ocean level would be by now.)

Engineer-Poet said at July 6, 2012 8:21 PM:
The global warming "studies" are so flawed that they should get an "F" from any Jr High science class in the country.
You do realize that you're making the same accusation about AGW and all its supporting science (and scientists) that young-earth creationists make about geology, paleontology, molecular biology and everything else?  That it's all one huge conspiracy?  And that it would have had to have been since Svante Arrhenius in 1896?

You really ought to be more aware of when your tribal loyalties are overriding your reasoning faculties.  This is one of those times.  It's an example of a favorite psyops technique, Obtain Disapproval.  You're being played like a fiddle.

The scientific method was laid out to prevent exactly the sort of "Science by personality and politics" we are seeing on this subject.
You mean, like Michael Crichton, Anthony Watts, etc?
AGW is a money and power scam.
The real money scam is the combined anti-AGW and anti-nuclear movement that keeps the USA from exploiting the 300 years of uranium that is already mined, refined and in warehouses, and instead keeps us extracting and buying coal, gas and oil.  You can't beat "free".

pipe smoking bear said at July 7, 2012 4:54 AM:

So how did the forests survive the regular fires before people moved in the area to 'tidy' it?

Forest fires are part of the life cycle, insect infestations are destroyed, the soil get fertilized and sterilized. Quite a few trees rely on fires to activate their seeds too.

It seems to me the problem is that people don't respect that reality and move too close or do not cut large enough safety margins between the forest and their homes.

bobby b said at July 7, 2012 4:56 AM:

"You do realize that you're making the same accusation about AGW and all its supporting science (and scientists) that young-earth creationists make about geology, paleontology, molecular biology and everything else?"

Umm, no, I'm pretty sure that what he was speaking of was that the studies that have been performed, the data that have been collected, the computer models that have been constructed, and the conclusions that have been proffered about the likely effect upon global temperature of the release, by humans, of carbon dioxide from a chemically-bound state to its gaseous state have pretty much all been shown to have been arranged, constructed, and presented in manners designed to produce a specific, spurious result that supports a political agenda that would, if believed, cause a huge shift worldwide of money, resources, and power to the proponents of those studies, data collections, models, and conclusions.

Specifically, the modeling parameters that suggest what has been referred to as "positive feedback" have not only never in history actually made an accurate prediction, but they have been shown mathematically to have no basis beyond fantasy.

Finally, the huge amount of intra-proponent communications that has been revealed has made it very clear - explicit in their own words, as a matter of fact - that the deceit has been intentional, and planned, and breathtakingly stupid.

And here you are helping them with your deceptive claim that people who disagree are just like the flat-earthers and the creationists!

You almost had the world ready to deliver itself to you - finally, as you so richly deserve! - and the price would have only been the millions of people in the undeveloped world who would die because you would deny them the use of energy to improve their lot! Damn! So close, huh?

You lying sack of . . . . .

back40 said at July 7, 2012 5:05 AM:

The beetle problem is also, in part, a result of fire suppression. They proliferate in dense stands, when winter is comparatively mild, and fire is infrequent.

Prescribed fire is difficult in populated areas or where valued resources would be consumed. It's the monkey-fist problem. In earlier days Euro settlers set fires when nature didn't start enough on her own. They learned from the native population how to manage the land. Fire improves the range for grazing, and the native people liked to hunt the grazers, but it's a problem for fence posts and the other trappings of civilization.

Budahmon said at July 7, 2012 5:18 AM:

"If we cut atmospheric CO2 back to 350 ppm we'd probably fix both the overly-warm winters and the drought."

The key word here is probably. You have absolutely no proof that this would fix the problem. None. You also have no proof that so called overly warm winters have led to an increase in beetle infestations. I could make the same farcical argument that the building of large reservoirs in the southwestern states changed the water vapor content which in turn increased rain fall in the mountains of the affected states. This allowed an increase in the number of ponderosa pines that lived into adulthood, which led to an increase in the food supply that then led to an increase in the beetles. I have no proof, but it sounds pretty damn good. Same as global warming. Please show some unmanipulated temperature data that shows an increase in temperatures above 7500 ft in western mountains of the US. I do not believe you will find any unmanipulated data. BTW, models are not factual evidence of science.

Last...By your comment above I do believe you would agree that the Dust Bowl and Great Drought of the 30s was due to CO2....just thought it might be a little important to point out that drought is pretty common throughout history.

"The real money scam is the combined anti-AGW and anti-nuclear movement that keeps the USA from exploiting the 300 years of uranium that is already mined, refined and in warehouses, and instead keeps us extracting and buying coal, gas and oil. You can't beat "free"."

Now that is quite a reach and deserves no other comment....

Pettifogger said at July 7, 2012 6:07 AM:

Many, many, vocal scientists believe vehemently in AGW. Insofar as I can tell, however, few actual climate scientists do. I see the AGW scare as a lever to use to establish more government control over the economy, which the Left wants to achieve for many reasons unrelated to AGW.

Fat Man said at July 7, 2012 7:25 AM:

They are having a cold wet summer in Europe. This is not about global warming, if indeed there is such a thing. It is about the inability of the United States Government, or indeed any government, to manage its property as a prudent land owner would.

pipe smoking bear: "So how did the forests survive the regular fires before people moved in the area to 'tidy' it?"

The Indians burned overgrown areas on a regular basis. It was in their interest to maintain and improve forest productivity, and one of the tools they used was fire. See the work of Stephen Pyne, such as: http://www.amazon.com/Fire-Brief-History-Cycle/dp/029598144X/


pipe smoking bear said at July 7, 2012 7:57 AM:

Erm Fat Man, I meant 'before people moved in' :)

Forests have been around forever, an yes, controlled burning the old parts of the forests to refresh the area, or cutting fire corridors is the usual way of letting nature do it's thing safely. Clearing brush and old trees out is not however -- that just removes nutrients from the area and causes a whole host of other problems.

Also see: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-77ECQW

Larmanius said at July 7, 2012 8:31 AM:

Ask a Japanese scientist (or guy on the street) about this type of thing. The later Shoguns wanted to ensure building materials for forts, etc. So, they planted bamboo and cedar trees like crazy. Well..stuff happened, and people stopped needing those materials. Now the mountains are choked with bamboo and cedar trees...which have changed the eco systems and cause huge allergy problems.

There's always consequences to meddling...what society needs to figure out is what to do? How to fairly evaluate the benefits and risks? Nature will always win in the end. Who knows what will happen to the US midwest lakes and waterways due to Milfoil, Zebra mussels, and now the jumping carp.

Phillep Harding said at July 7, 2012 9:16 AM:

The Western Hemisphere (and, probably Europe and Asia) had tree eaters to keep the woodlands open. In the US, it was mammoths, mastodons, perhaps ground sloths, a camel that was turning into a sort of giraffe, maybe some others. These are all currently extinct. Humans altered the ecosystem by removing them, then altered it again by starting extra fires. The purpose of the extra fires was to increase the poundage of edible plants per acre for both humans and the remaining huntable animals, not some ultraistic worship of nature. And, returning parts of the US to the "pure and natural", as some dingbats want, is not going to happen without those extinct animals.

Phillep Harding said at July 7, 2012 9:21 AM:

No, Poet (you don't have the engineer mindset), scientific method requires full release and exposure and anyone who has taken a lab class KNOWS this. Scientific method says the data that cannot be released cannot be used in the research. Data supporting the research could easily have been placed in a computer with internet access, and it does not need to be one linked to the local LAN. (I'd advise against doing so; stick the OS and the data on a couple of CD's or DVD's and hackers become a non-issue.) Any clarifying data requested could also have been placed on that computer. Cheap, no fuss, no bother, just transfer the data along with where the data came from and "the calculations", meaning the source code for the computer program used.

Then, there's that lovely "hide the decline". Most think it meant "decline in temperature". Not so. It meant "hide the evidence that tree rings are not an accurate proxy for temperature readings".

In spite of the requirements of the scientific method, the people originating the global warming claims refuse to allow investigators full and unfettered access to their work. This is the hall mark of a quack or a fraud.

Mamut said at July 7, 2012 1:41 PM:

The Ponderosa forests would not be nearly as pervasive without human interference - not modern industrial civilization and the atmosphere, but paleo-indians and New World Megafaunal extinctions. The paleontological evidence indicates that mammoths, mastadonts, ground sloths, and other large herbivores impacted plant communities such that Ponderosa forest was not the climax plant succession community before the big herbivores were exterminated by humans.

Paul Rain said at July 7, 2012 2:39 PM:

Yup, as back40 said- no 'unseasonably warm conditions'- the pine beetles just love them some dense stands with plenty of over-stressed trees. Now, eruptions of beetle populations that let them colonize healthier trees may be aided by warm conditions- of the type that have occurred every ten years or so since the last ice age- but this isn't a good reason to panic and nuke China before their new coal plants start getting online. It's a good reason to use appropriate silvicultural techniques to make those forests healthier than they would be naturally.

Engineer-Poet said at July 7, 2012 3:13 PM:

If you want to see tribalism's triumph over rational thought, just see bobby b above.  His reward for this is a good, hard fisking, leavened with sarcasm.

You lying sack of . . . . .
I'm rubber, you're glue.  (To be more accurate, the people feeding you this nonsense are, but you're carrying water for them.)

Here's the conspiracy mindset in full flower:

I'm pretty sure that what he was speaking of was that the studies that have been performed, the data that have been collected, the computer models that have been constructed, and the conclusions that have been proffered about the likely effect upon global temperature of the release, by humans, of carbon dioxide from a chemically-bound state to its gaseous state have pretty much all been shown to have been arranged, constructed, and presented in manners designed to produce a specific, spurious result
Remember, this "spurious result" is supposedly to further the goals of people who started their work in about the 1970's.  This claim requires a lot of revisionist history, ignoring the expert panels of the 1960's and 1950's, work in the 1930's, and all the way back to Svante Arrhenius in 1896.  This is exactly the sort of thing that young-earthers do; any evidence contrary to the dogma is ignored, and denounced viciously if brought up.  The faith is integral to the world-view and sense of self, and an attack on the dogma is greated as an attack on the person.

What follows shows the psyop technique of Obtain Disapproval again:

that supports a political agenda that would, if believed, cause a huge shift worldwide of money, resources, and power to the proponents of those studies, data collections, models, and conclusions.
It's something "they" would want and "we" oppose "them", so this must be fought.  Facts never get into it.

When people are using rhetorical techniques to deflect attention from the facts, it's almost always because they find the facts inconvenient.  Accordingly, the claims merit a closer look.  The "proponents" of the studies (a vague term indeed) must be someone other than the people performing the studies, namely climate scientists.  Climate scientists have little or nothing to gain from any change in policy based on their results; a lot of them could probably get lucrative gigs if they changed their public positions, went to work for think tanks and went on speaking tours (note, both Bjorn Lomborg and Anthony Watts have done speaking tours).  They're leaving money on the table; they can't be in it for any of the things bobby b says they are.

Given that the accusation is hollow, it's worth looking to see why it's being used.  Nuclear power is the most direct answer to the problem of atmospheric CO2.  Coal is the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel, and most of it goes to generate electricity; nuclear power is a direct replacement for large coal-fired powerplants.  Current designs can also provide lower-temperature process heat, replacing fuels like natural gas (the two-reactor plant abandoned in Midland, MI and converted to gas turbines was intended to supply process steam to Dow Chemical).  Who has the most to lose from this?  Coal and gas interests, coal-state legislators, railroad and barge operators, etc.  Uranium is extremely cheap, costing a fraction of a cent per kWh; coal at $50/ton delivered, 909 kg/ton and 2.0 kWh(e)/kg costs close to 3¢/kWh.  Clearly, a conversion to nuclear would mean a lot less money changing hands.

The accusation looks a lot like "tu quoque":  accusing the science community of doing what the fossil-fuel interests have been doing all along.  The people doing it are, of course, prevaricating flexible containers of digestive end-product... and "bobby b" is pushing the line that keeps them in business.  How's that feel, "bobby"?

the modeling parameters that suggest what has been referred to as "positive feedback" have not only never in history actually made an accurate prediction, but they have been shown mathematically to have no basis beyond fantasy.
I'm not quite sure what bobby means by this, but the facts are that climate models do not reproduce recent temperature trends without incorporating the effect of added greenhouse gases.
the huge amount of intra-proponent communications that has been revealed has made it very clear - explicit in their own words, as a matter of fact - that the deceit has been intentional, and planned, and breathtakingly stupid.
We're back to "hide the decline", aren't we... which was about the thickness of tree rings, not temperatures, and noted that higher CO2 counteracted the effect of lower rainfall (hid the decline in ring thickness that otherwise would have occurred).

I agree:  the people who created that whole "climate scientists are lying" meme are themselves lying sacks of shit (and the conspirators who stole the e-mails are criminals who should be doing hard time).  But that's not what you wanted to hear.

And here you are helping them with your deceptive claim that people who disagree are just like the flat-earthers and the creationists!
I'm not trying to deceive anyone; evidence shows they are.  This is Obtain Disapproval yet again, plus guilt by association.  See, bobby, I have solid factual reasons to believe what I'm telling you here, while you're throwing slurs straight out of the psyops playbook.  Forget me, why do you take your own position seriously?
You almost had the world ready to deliver itself to you - finally, as you so richly deserve! - and the price would have only been the millions of people in the undeveloped world who would die because you would deny them the use of energy to improve their lot!
You mean, like the millions in Beijing and Shanghai who endure air pollution worthy of 1950's London and are dying of avoidable heart and lung diseases at the rate of 150,000 a year?

Speaking of lying sacks of shit, bobby b here completely ignored what I said about nuclear energy (which I think everyone should be able to use, and appears to be proliferation-proof in forms like LeBlanc's Denatured Molten Salt Reactor) in order to set up a straw-man argument.  He just did what he accused me and the whole climate science community of doing.  How does hypocrisy look on you, bobby boy?

Engineer-Poet said at July 7, 2012 3:23 PM:

Budahmon shares many of the same character flaws:

Now that is quite a reach and deserves no other comment....
If you want to ignore reality.  Uranium in the US inventory could supply 1 TWe for 590 years without mining another gram; it could supply the total national energy demand for about 400 years.  If you think I'm wrong, show me the math.
By your comment above I do believe you would agree that the Dust Bowl and Great Drought of the 30s was due to CO2....
The tactic of putting words in people's mouths is intellectually dishonest and morally reprehensible, so why do people do it?  Atmospheric CO2 in the 1930's was likely under 300 ppm (no time to search).
You also have no proof that so called overly warm winters have led to an increase in beetle infestations.
You don't bother looking before accusing, do you?  You just proved that your "skepticism" is a dogma, not a reasoned position.  Here's your proof:
Why is the Pine Bark Beetle Infestation so Massive Today?

During the last few years, there has been a combination of factors that have allowed the bark beetle to thrive as never before. First, there have been exceptionally warm winters. The beetle is controlled if the winter is cold enough. Temperatures below -20F (-27C), which are sustained for several days, are the only way to kill the beetle. Since this has not occurred in the last few years, the insect is growing uncontrollably.Now, do you have the honesty to admit you are wrong and change your position, or is your self-image and tribal membership connected to the dogma?  I guess your next response will show, one way or the other.

Engineer-Poet said at July 7, 2012 3:25 PM:

Pettifogger lives up to his pen name:

I see the AGW scare as a lever to use to establish more government control over the economy, which the Left wants to achieve for many reasons unrelated to AGW.
You can tell the difference between the Left and people with real concerns, because only the Left's proposals involve things like massive subsidies to the third world.  The absence of policy proposals from the right (Republicans ignore their own climate scientists) leaves no counterweight to the Left's agenda.  This appears to be by design, trying to deny anyone the option of supporting GHG controls without switching political camps.  Neat trick, huh?

Engineer-Poet said at July 7, 2012 3:28 PM:

And in the "inventing objections" column, we have Phillep again:

Poet (you don't have the engineer mindset)
Oh, personal slurs certainly prove your reasoning correct!  NOT.
scientific method requires full release and exposure and anyone who has taken a lab class KNOWS this. Scientific method says the data that cannot be released cannot be used in the research.
So what you're saying is that the fact that some countries which keep their historical temperature records as copyrighted proprietary data and only release it under license prevents any scientific analysis of global temperature trends from being done.

Your position is absurd, and you should be ashamed of having written anything so silly.

Data supporting the research could easily have been placed in a computer with internet access
I understand that much of it is (just not the proprietary stuff).  The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project didn't seem to have any problem getting data to confirm what's actually been happening (historical trends, not models).  Your objections are baseless.
Then, there's that lovely "hide the decline". Most think it meant "decline in temperature". Not so. It meant "hide the evidence that tree rings are not an accurate proxy for temperature readings".
Oh, sophisticated:  you admit that the original spin on the phrase was a lie invented by the "skeptical" propagandists, but spin that into another lie about data reliability.  You could have said "there is more than one factor which influences the thickness of tree rings", but that wouldn't go right back to the conclusion pre-determined by your conspiracy theory.  This is the sort of thing that a prevaricating flexible container of digestive end-product would do.

And as long as I'm on the subject of a phrase from a stolen e-mail, why don't you tell me why the thieves stole e-mails, instead of going after the temperature data which you're all telling me would prove that the climate models are all wrong?  Wouldn't that have been the obvious high-value target... if there really is a conspiracy to promote AGW, instead of it being the truth?

the people originating the global warming claims refuse to allow investigators full and unfettered access to their work. This is the hall mark of a quack or a fraud.
Those wishing to reproduce the work can negotiate access to proprietary national data the same way the original researchers did.  Nothing is stopping them... except the need to have a reason to deny the science and its implications.  Excuses work much better for that, and have the virtue of being cheap.

Phillep Harding said at July 7, 2012 3:40 PM:

I agree that moving to nuclear power is the most sensible course of action, but that's not going to happen until the "Equal Justice" act is modified to remove the financial incentive for lawyers to sue and the enviro's embedded in the USDA, EPA, and some other agencies are removed. (The lawyers find something to sue over and the enviro's do not offer a fight. The judge rules in favor of the lawyers bringing suit and the enviro's get to do what they wanted to but were not allowed to do by law. Thus we have irrigation ditches declared "navigatible waterways" and, well, the other examples would take a lot of back story. Pretty silly stuff, really. A cow pasture declared protected habitat for a mouse, but it was suitable habitat only because the cows were grazing there and the pasture became not survivable habitat when the cows were removed per court order. Several other idiotic things like that. College grads are a pain.)

Yes, the people who started the climate warming quakery have been around for a long time, except they were calling it "run-away green house effect" back when I first heard of it, right after the "impending ice age" scare died out.

How long foolishness has been around does not make it more credible. AGW only took off and became a well known issue /after/ some politicians realized the profit and power potential.

And the studies still deserve an "F". Go check the archives of Anthony Watts' website, and see how much trouble he had finding out where the weather recording stations were that were used to support AGW, and the photos of where they really are.

BTW, I was hoping AGW was real, originally. I love fresh fruit straight from a tree and we cannot grow much unless the climate does warm.

Tj Green said at July 7, 2012 4:07 PM:

The northern hemisphere jet stream works because of temperature differences between the equator and north pole. It does seem likely that we will see a weaker jet stream and therefore a hotter dryer U.S.

JM Hanes said at July 7, 2012 4:23 PM:

Engineer-Poet:

"You do realize that you're making the same accusation about AGW and all its supporting science (and scientists) that young-earth creationists make about geology, paleontology, molecular biology and everything else?  That it's all one huge conspiracy?"

[....]

"The real money scam is the combined anti-AGW and anti-nuclear movement that keeps the USA from exploiting the 300 years of uranium that is already mined, refined and in warehouses, and instead keeps us extracting and buying coal, gas and oil."


Shorter E-P: My conspiracy theory is better than your conspiracy theory!

Chazz said at July 7, 2012 6:28 PM:

The area around Mormon Lake in northern Arizona is forested almost exclusively in Ponderosa Pine. According to a Coconino National Forest information sign I remember reading while there a number of years ago, the forest composition was quite different as recently as 1920. At that time, it was mixed deciduous with a large component of Aspen. Cattle grazing interests put pressure on the government to reduce the native wolf population and the government responded by placing a bounty on wolves. Within a very sort time the wolves were gone and there was a population explosion of deer. The deer ate virtually everything but the pine. So the pine won out at the expense deciduous plants, wildlife, and ranchers. Fire is evidently nature’s way of restoring a balance; yet another “negative” feedback on this wonderful planet.

Phillep Harding said at July 7, 2012 7:09 PM:

"So what you're saying is that the fact that some countries which keep their historical temperature records as copyrighted proprietary data and only release it under license prevents any scientific analysis of global temperature trends from being done."

The reason for not releasing data is not relevant. If the data are not released, the study is "unreliable" (jargon for "garbage"). Proprietory information is, therefore, useless, scientifically speaking.

The scientific method calls for everything the researchers used (meaning notes, with explanations as to why something was done if there is a possibility of questions) to be released by the researchers. None of this "Look it up yourself" foolishness, none of this "write your own program" stupidity. The real numbers used. Consider if someone grabbed the wrong column, or used the farenheit numbers instead of celsius.

"Hide the decline" was on the email. It was not "invented" by skeptics. The other factors involved with changing tree ring thickness were not considered, there was no discussion I read as to offering alternative explanations, just "hide the decline".

As for "going after the emails and not the data", we don't know who pulled the information (which had been requested several times in FOIA requests), so we don't know what they were able to reach.

And, no, I doubt that you are a hard science engineer. Perhaps a "social engineer", considering your skill at personal attacks and use of logical fallacies.

Budahmon said at July 7, 2012 9:24 PM:

Engineer-Poet, you definitely have problems with reading comprehension. You make a statement with reference to Uranium..."You can't beat free". My response to that statement is that it "is quite a reach and deserves no other comment". Maybe I did not make myself perfectly clear, let me be more specific, it's a stupid statement. Let's do a small fisking shall we:

You stated:

"The real money scam is the combined anti-AGW and anti-nuclear movement that keeps the USA from exploiting the 300 years of uranium that is already mined, refined and in warehouses, and instead keeps us extracting and buying coal, gas and oil. You can't beat "free"." Later, you state "If you think I'm wrong, show me the math."

I don't think you can handle the math. Let's just look at a few small facts. The cost of a nuclear power plant....The insurance borne on the backs of the consumer for that power plant...The cost of fuel rods...the cost of storing spent fuel rods...The transportation of those spent fuel rods...The insurance cost of those spent fuel rods...The cost for building facilities for those spent fuel rods...The cost of forcing people via taxation to build the infrastructure. We could keep going here, but I think I've made my point. What's really funny is that the only way you can transport this material is with Gas-Diesel. So guess what...it's not free! There aint no such thing as a free lunch.

Now let's go to your other point:

You don't provide proof at your link, just someone writing:

"During the last few years, there has been a combination of factors that have allowed the bark beetle to thrive as never before. First, there have been exceptionally warm winters. The beetle is controlled if the winter is cold enough. Temperatures below -20F (-27C), which are sustained for several days, are the only way to kill the beetle. Since this has not occurred in the last few years, the insect is growing uncontrollably. In addition, sustained drought over the last few years has debilitated many pine trees, which makes them a fertile ground for beetle infestation. The successful control of fires also conspires against pine trees. Fires were a natural way to control beetle growth: if there are less fire, there is more beetle growth."

There is nothing in that statement that would lead one to conclude that AGW is to blame. Yet, you think there is....I do believe you have some slight issues here. The key words in that paragraph are "last few years", few means a "limited number" (n) or "some, though not many" (adj)....now what has that got to do with AGW..... I also see that you convienently forgot the main point "if there are less fire, there is more beetle growth.". I can only presume here it was an oversight, not a deliberate effort to obfuscate.

Finally, with this above point still in mind...I asked for the following: "Please show some unmanipulated temperature data that shows an increase in temperatures above 7500 ft in western mountains of the US. I do not believe you will find any unmanipulated data." You haven't provided that proof. You have provided a link that states an opinion. Maybe that's just your dogma showing....we will leave it at that....

Engineer-Poet said at July 7, 2012 10:56 PM:

Quoth Phillep:

The reason for not releasing data is not relevant. If the data are not released, the study is "unreliable" (jargon for "garbage"). Proprietory information is, therefore, useless, scientifically speaking.
Strangely, both the CRU team and the BEST team (and perhaps others I don't know about) managed to make scientific use of this "useless" data.  I'd like to know your qualifications to make that pronouncement.  Are you a research scientist?  In climatology?  Have you ever done work in a field where essential data was proprietary and given to researchers under license?  (I think I can safely answer that one "no".)
"Hide the decline" was on the email. It was not "invented" by skeptics.
Both of the interpretations you gave were invented, and you put scare quotes around the wrong word; they belong around "skeptics".  The "skeptics" are not monolithic, but the vast majority of them move the goalposts every time their criteria for convincing data are satisfied.  That's the definition of denialist.
As for "going after the emails and not the data", we don't know who pulled the information (which had been requested several times in FOIA requests), so we don't know what they were able to reach.
All the better reason to find those people.  Of course, finding them means they'll be prosecuted....
I doubt that you are a hard science engineer.
You have doubts about a lot of things that are irrefutably true.  My degree-related coursework included quantum mechanics, thermodynamics and calculus of complex variables.  I can talk shop with people in all kinds of different disciplines, because my work requires that I deal with their stuff on the edges of mine and understand what's going on in it.  I've been paid for everything from liquid-vapor equilibria to counting gear teeth on an engineering drawing.  My skill in BS detection comes from 30 years of dealing with dishonest people of all stripes, from creationists to UFO believers to chemtrails enthusiasts to 9/11 "troofers".  You throw BS at me, you get counterattacked with facts; that's how it works.

Who the fuck are YOU?

Engineer-Poet said at July 7, 2012 10:59 PM:

Quoth Budahmon:

you definitely have problems with reading comprehension
You have a problem with specificity; if you make vague references, it's your fault if you're taken the wrong way.
You make a statement with reference to Uranium..."You can't beat free". My response to that statement is that it "is quite a reach and deserves no other comment".
My response to that is that there is roughly 700,000 TONS of depleted UF6 in the US inventory from enrichment activity from the Manhattan project through very recent history, and that stuff IS free.  It's actually cheaper than free, because it costs money to store it.  Taking it off the government's hands, say by converting it to metallic U to go into the breeding blanket of an IFR or S-PRISM, would save money.  This stuff is stored in 18-ton containers.  At roughly 1 ton U per GW-yr of generation, a 300 MWe plant would use about 1.4 container's worth over a 60-year lifespan.  If you went the IFR route, you'd reduce this material and load it at the reactor as part of the pre-start procedure; no fuel or products would enter or leave until it was time to decommission it.
I don't think you can handle the math.
I note that you don't even attempt any.  I think you're avoiding math because you can't do it, or because you're afraid of being humiliated in front of a sophisticated audience.  This stuff isn't multivariate calculus or even linear algebra, so bring it on.
Let's just look at a few small facts. The cost of a nuclear power plant....The insurance borne on the backs of the consumer for that power plant...The cost of fuel rods...the cost of storing spent fuel rods...The transportation of those spent fuel rods...The insurance cost of those spent fuel rods...The cost for building facilities for those spent fuel rods...The cost of forcing people via taxation to build the infrastructure. We could keep going here
Before you've provided a single number?  Handwaving is not an argument.  What you implied is that you had the quantitative, definitive argument to settle the question.  You welshed on that one.
What's really funny is that the only way you can transport this material is with Gas-Diesel.
Never heard of electrified rail, have you?  Not that it would pay to maintain a rail line to a nuclear plant, there's just not enough physical stuff going in and out over its working lifespan to make it worthwhile.  Maybe you could use the right-of-way for the transmission lines for temporary rail during the construction and decommissioning process, but trucks might be more economical for that.

The physical quantity of fuel going to a nuclear powerplant is minuscule, a truckload or two per year for a 1 GWe plant.  Compared to the daily trainload of coal delivered to a 1 GWe coal plant (at 500 g/kWh, 1 GWe consumes 12000 tons PER DAY), you'd have to be crazy or a propagandist to make the comparison you just made.  So which are you?

I asked for the following: "Please show some unmanipulated temperature data that shows an increase in temperatures above 7500 ft in western mountains of the US. I do not believe you will find any unmanipulated data."
In other words, you are asking me for increasingly specific and detailed information to disprove the handwaving argument you're making, while refusing to take seriously the information already presented which calls it into question and giving nothing of your own.  This is the classic tactic of "moving the goalposts", and also attempts to reverse the burden of proof.  It's dishonest, reprehensible and despicable.

Engineer-Poet said at July 7, 2012 11:07 PM:
Shorter E-P: My conspiracy theory is better than your conspiracy theory!
Oh, it's not theory.  It's well-established history that the NRC was established despite the AEC doing just fine, with a charter which pushed "safety" without any sanity checks or relationship to the safety of the energy sources with which nuclear was competing.  It's also irrefutable that the Three Mile Island Unit 2 accident was caused in large part by the malfunction of an instrument mandated by the fledgling NRC; TMI Unit 1 was completed pre-NRC, and continues to operate to this day.  It just received a 20-year license extension.

It's also well-established history that the Integral Fast Reactor project (and the entire US fast-breeder program) was killed in 1994 by political skulduggery on a very narrow Senate vote, and that the vote cost the US money by forcing Japan's contributions to the IFR project to be refunded.  Who has the lobbying clout to buy swing Senators?  Not a bunch of flower-power hippies shouting "No nukes!", that's for sure.  Who benefitted from the US abdicating its leadership in that technology?  You'll find the fingerprints of Big Coal all over that one.

Phillep Harding said at July 8, 2012 10:51 AM:

I'm an old man who fell for many scams when I was a kid and studied why I fell for them. I spent over a year in a library, reading everything in there regarding con games, crackpot science, quacks, fraud, cults, and related bad reasoning, and did nothing else for the entire time. No, no degree in anything related. Wish there had been something offered, by someone who knew what he was talking about. The local philosophy Prof was a ditz.

It does not take a PhD in Culinary Science to know burnt beans. The AGW papers stink and AGW is a scam. CRU did NOT "do science". They did proprietary research (if not simple crackpottery).

Back to basics: The AGW papers are are fundamentally flawed for many reasons. Proprietary information that cannot released for everyone to see. Attempts to pass off adjusted figures as original data. Refusal to even name the sources (which would have been inadequate anyhow). Refusal to "show the math" (release the source code on the computer program used). Anyone who uses such fundamentally flawed papers in their research is a fool producing fundamentally flawed research papers.

Back to basics: What is the scientific method? Are secret data and methods acceptable science? Do the papers adhere to the scientific method? Did CRU meet the requirements for basic good science and release the backup information?

Why were the FOIA requests even needed? This information should have been out as soon as it was requested. This is not classified work. It is not defense related. Why the secrecy? In the "stolen" emails, why did the authors discuss erasing information requested instead of releasing it? (We still don't know if the emails and other information were stolen or if they were slipped out by a whistle blower who decided to satisfy the many FOIA requests.)

Are you so tied in with beltway politics, etc that you forgot exactly what the scientific method is? Have you replaced scientific integrity with "political reality"?

I cut my teeth on political groups on usenet and you don't amount for a fart in a hurricane compared to the keyboard commandos there. Keep it up, though. I'm finding your pathetic attempts at intimidation amusing, especially as you have no handle on my retirement account, unlike the poor hapless fools who's funding you can destroy.

Phillep Harding said at July 8, 2012 10:58 AM:

But, Thanks for the info on the conspiracy (not science) behind why no nuke reactors. Senator Byrd, I assume?

Have you noticed the overlap in the supporters for AGW and the anti-nuke people? Mercs? or just "useful idiots"?

PacRim Jim said at July 8, 2012 3:26 PM:

Humans are part of nature, not apart from it.
Ipso facto, human activities are part of nature, not apart from it.
Is nature to be condemned?

Proust Enkanter said at July 11, 2012 8:03 AM:

The great green anti-human crusade manifests itself from time to time in this otherwise very fine website. "If we could only reduce the human population down to 10% of its present level . . . reduce CO2 levels to 350 ppm . . . reduce energy consumption radically . . . yada yada yada."

If you want to save the planet, find a way to get rid of the green anti-human mindset. The planet is doing relatively well, overall, experiencing global temperatures lower than were experienced during Roman Empire times, and finally raising batches of humans who know how to make air and water cleaner and help forests grow.

Hating humans may help boost your sense of self righteous narcissism. But it doesn't help the Earth even a tiny bit.

Budahmon said at July 11, 2012 4:33 PM:

Engineer-Poet,
I used the same type of quantitative argument that you have used.
"Before you've provided a single number? Handwaving is not an argument. What you implied is that you had the quantitative, definitive argument to settle the question. You welshed on that one."
Your original post was nothing but hand waving. Is the stuff free...no it is not. There are plenty of cost that are not included in typical government or pro-nuke energy cost estimates. Case in point, the taxpayers will have the burden to perform any cleanup because the insurance companies will not bear the entire burden. Too big to fail, heard that before! I say Natural Gas is cheap, plentiful and it burns awfully clean. I really don't have to worry about decommissioning costs, accidents, storage, earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, or terrorist incidents (aahh to some extent). The upfront cost of natural gas vs nuke is a pretty decent cost savings. There is better financial incentive to invest in natural gas than nuke. I am pro-nuke, but not somone who extrapolates the word "few" from an article not based on a scientific paper to show proof of global warming and then claim that nukes will magically restore Carbon Levels, stop drought, forest fires, kill pine beetles and restore pristine Ponderosa Pines to there 1900 population.

Now for changing the goalpost! I must admit that my original post included that request based upon your statements wrt AGW, so if that's changing the goalpost or you just ignoring the original post because you could not answer it....I'll leave the sophisticated audience to judge that.

I took several courses (4 - all electives) with a professor who worked on the Manhattan Project, it's been 30+ years since I studied Nuke Engineering and Nuke Physics...but I did sleep in a Holliday Inn one night back then and produced the differential equation for the decay chain of Uranium-238 to Pb the next morning.

Ronald Brak said at July 11, 2012 9:12 PM:

I certainly agree that tribal loyalties shouldn't override reasoning faculties.

Engineer-Poet said at July 12, 2012 8:52 PM:

Phillep Harding:

I'm an old man who fell for many scams when I was a kid
Some things never change.  I remember the headlines of the ice age and other scams, but I was onto most of them at the time and have read the paper on the ice age prediction in particular (the paper says nothing about anything imminent; the sensationalist articles were written to get lurid cover art to sell magazines).
It does not take a PhD in Culinary Science to know burnt beans.
Because almost everyone eats beans.  Would you claim to be able to judge a drug trial or a bridge design without anything more than your own common sense?  What makes you think you can judge the entire field of climate science as bunk?  You're way over-rating your own abilities.  I asked you if you were any kind of scientist, and opined that you were not... and I see I called that one too.
The AGW papers are are fundamentally flawed for many reasons. Proprietary information that cannot released for everyone to see. Attempts to pass off adjusted figures as original data.
I suppose you'd insist on doing your own analysis of every blood test and physical exam of the trials of any drug you'd consider taking, right?  Even though the full data are not released, because that would violate privacy laws including HIPAA?

But until your post above I didn't realize I was dealing with a paranoid:

Are you so tied in with beltway politics, etc that you forgot exactly what the scientific method is?
...
I'm finding your pathetic attempts at intimidation amusing, especially as you have no handle on my retirement account, unlike the poor hapless fools who's funding you can destroy.
The only time in my life I've been inside the beltway was when I went on vacation to visit my girlfriend's family and we spent a couple of days in the Smithsonian.  Your talk about threatening funding is laughable; the only thing I have is facts, not the huge PR apparatus and lobbist army of the denial industry.  When you attribute to me the power to make threats, you show you're just paranoid.

You are decent at rhetoric and repeating canned talking points, but your lack of logical consistency sinks you.  The science has withstood everything thrown at it; multiple charges of data falsification have been made, examined, and found baseless.  People like you are simply wrong, need to recognize that you're wrong, and start considering policy based on the information that you've been denying.  Hint:  mass-produced nuclear reactors and plug-in vehicles.  Taxes on carbon-based fossil fuels and goods made with them.  Use fuel and carbon to rebate income and employment taxes; this is not difficult!

Engineer-Poet said at July 12, 2012 8:54 PM:

PacRim Jim:

Humans are part of nature, not apart from it.
Ipso facto, human activities are part of nature, not apart from it.
If you want to put things that way, fine... but natural history is full of species which destroyed the ecological basis of their own existence and went extinct.  That's one element of nature I'd rather use my intelligence to avoid, if it's all the same to you.  If you don't have the intelligence to deal with that, could you please leave the decision-making to others of greater ability and forethought?

Proust Enkanter:

"If we could only A. reduce the human population down to 10% of its present level . . . B. reduce CO2 levels to 350 ppm . . . C. reduce energy consumption radically . . . yada yada yada."
Pop quiz:  which one of these things does not belong?

Many parts of the Earth would be more pleasant with smaller populations.  The USA in particular would be a much better place if the 1965 immigration changes and the 1986 amnesty had never been passed, and we didn't have the resulting floods of immigrants.  But we don't need to reduce populations so long as we can reduce the ecological footprint of each person.  Switching from carbon-based fuels to nuclear energy shrinks that footprint radically.

Engineer-Poet said at July 12, 2012 9:01 PM:

And Budahmon again:

Your original post was nothing but hand waving.
So refute me already.  If the data's there in the original, you should have no difficulty.  I gave you my post which cited the source of my 700,000 ton figure, to give just one example.  Your hypocrisy and burden-shifting is noted.
Is the stuff free...no it is not.
The fuel is.  When you're paying to store and monitor nearly 3/4 million tons of poisonous gas in canisters, your source material has a negative cost; it is actually cheaper than free.
There are plenty of cost that are not included in typical government or pro-nuke energy cost estimates.
Utilities pay into their own reserves for decommissioning.  For decades they were paying a 0.1¢/kWh fee for disposal of spent fuel, a service they were not receiving.  They're the ones getting screwed.
Case in point, the taxpayers will have the burden to perform any cleanup because the insurance companies will not bear the entire burden.
Who paid for the cleanup at TMI Unit 2?  Not the taxpayer.

Cleanups for Fukushima and similar incidents may not be necessary:

Daniel Billen in Radiation Research 1990
DNA is not as structurally stable as once thought
Natural background of lesions: thermal and oxidative insult
Cells have mechanisms to bypass or repair these lesions
• Spontaneous rate = 2 x 10^5 DNA alterations/cell/day
• Radiation-induced: 10-100 DNA alterations per cell/cGy
1 mGy/year radiation < 3 x 10^-2 DNA alteration/cell/day
This is > 6 million times lower than spontaneous rate!!!
So radiation is not a significant cause of cancer.
We’ve known this for more than 20 years!
Cleanups may not even be desirable up to a rather high point, but I await further evidence on this.

Workers in the industry know that the standards are bunk:

“You know,” he said, “we really ought to do something about this. We know the dangers of radiation are highly exaggerated and we know that the public is being misled on this issue. There ought to be some way we could reach the public on this issue. We ought to put out a statement or something.”
...
Some people in the press are starting to catch on. One columnist recently commented, “The more you listen to the experts about nuclear radiation, the less concerned you become. The more you listen to the experts on global warming, the more concerned you become.”
I've been listening to the experts long enough to recognize the propaganda when I see it.
I say Natural Gas is cheap, plentiful and it burns awfully clean.
That's propaganda.  The truth is that the US glut of gas is based on an investment bubble, pollutes groundwater like crazy (a huge fraction of well cement seals fail over time), and even contributes as much greenhouse effect as coal because of fugitive methane during the drilling and fraccing process.  I still like gas because it's not OPEC oil, but I'm realistic about what needs to be done.
The upfront cost of natural gas vs nuke is a pretty decent cost savings.
"Penny wise, pound foolish."  Words to live by.
claim that nukes will magically restore Carbon Levels, stop drought, forest fires, kill pine beetles and restore pristine Ponderosa Pines to there 1900 population.
I'm going to take your strawman and stuff him into my gasogene.

Nuclear energy isn't guaranteed to restore atmospheric CO2 to the 350 ppm a lot of climate scientists think is the max safe level, but we're not going to get there without it.  Even if industrial society collapsed today it would take a very long time for natural processes to pull CO2 back down to 350 ppm again (tens of thousands of years if we have reached the zone of positive feedbacks).  We need to take active measures to achieve that; active measures require energy, and nuclear energy is on the short list of carbon-free energy sources.  It's the only one which generates 24/7 and has the smallest ecological footprint to boot.

I have ridiculed the "Green Freedom" concept for nuclear-generated synthetic gasoline, not because it's nuclear but because synthetic gasoline is silly if you're already generating electricity.  Somebody has to sanity-check these ideas, and there aren't many minds not compromised by the various strains of madness.

Phillep Harding said at July 13, 2012 10:40 AM:

So, Paul McIntyre, who made a living chasing down falsified data, now supports AGW?

What is obvious about the Had CRU study is that they did not release their backup or their data.

A degree is not necessary to know that a study that is not supported by released data is not valid science. The reason for the backup to not be released is not relevant. "Not released" = "not science"

Back to basics. No release, not science.

Engineer-Poet said at July 13, 2012 11:22 AM:

You're not merely not a scientist, you're a broken record.

Phillep Harding said at July 13, 2012 3:04 PM:

Why don't you answer the question?

I'll agree that a degree, or at least extensive training that I don't have, is required to evaluate the evidence. But, where is the evidence?

Basic science. No degree needed. When did Had CRU release the backup? Did they?

Engineer-Poet said at July 13, 2012 7:44 PM:

I'm not answering you because your question assumes a lie.  Scientists generally do not bother publishing data.  In this case, the data aren't even the property of the researchers; they come from national weather services, NASA and other agencies.  I've downloaded hundreds of megabytes of this stuff myself.

When Dave Summers (contributor to The Oil Drum) retired and cleaned out his office, he discarded a great deal of stuff from his files.  Some of what he discarded was old data.  Nobody is interested in re-analyzing old data if it is reproducible; if the analysis was incorrect it should have been caught in peer review, and new papers would be based on new data using improved methods.

As I said, you are very good at repeating talking points of the propaganda agencies, but they imply falsehoods; in short, they are lies.  If you had the BS-detecting capabilities you claim to have developed, you'd recognize that.

Phillep Harding said at July 14, 2012 12:14 PM:

Ahhh. I see. My physics and chem lab prof's lied about including original data along with the methodology. (Viet Nam interfered. I'm "era", not "theater".)

"Do not bother" unless challenged and they have been challenged. They must release, and they cannot release selectively (as they apparently have) without laying themselves open to charges that they are only releasing to people who support them, exactly what has happened, per Watts.

If the science community has started accepting "can't release because it's proprietary data" then they have drifted away from the basic scientific method and /that/ suggests, strongly, that a shakeup is in order as the science community is laying it's self open to exploitation by crackpots and frauds. (hmmm, Korea and cloning)

"Nobody is interested in re-analyzing old data..." but the data Had CRU refused to release was not old, and the research was not old. It was, and is, in fact, a current issue, and anyone doing their own research (step two after analyzing the original research) who comes up with other results merely invites the accusation that they did not properly replicate the original research, which they cannot do without the original data and methodology.

What peer review? Wasn't one of the things uncovered in the "stolen" emails the fact that the AGW supporters were influencing peer review? In any case, peer review at the publication level is suppose to be an analysis of the form, not content, and it's by a small group doing a thankless task, and not something that draws the best and brightest. The scientific method calls for total release of the content upon demand so people like McIntyre can check for things like good math, improper rounding, number inversions, and entering numbers from the wrong column, and people like Watts can see if the data were collected from good sources.

You are the one coming across as an "agent", someone using talking points to push a position, especially with the authoritarian "tone" to your writing, and attempting to suppress dissent without using reason.

As I said previously, I started looking into this in hopes that I could start growing a garden. I also currently live in an area that was glaciated only a few thousand years ago. Minor changes make a big difference here, very quickly, and that makes errors in judgment expensive, potentially lethal. I'm not qualified to critique the actual data, but I can see if the general form sounds solid and if the proponents sound reliable. This is not the case. I repeat: AGW stinks.

BTW, exactly which side is pushing the idea of throwing those who disagree with which side of the issue in jail for not agreeing? That sort of thing is a cultural indicator of being a cult or fad belief system, and other indicators suggest political motivation for pushing changes in laws.

Phillep Harding said at July 15, 2012 6:11 PM:

I have a carburator that allows a car to get 100mpg, of water. Sorry, the data was lost 50 years ago, and was proprietory then as well.

That's what the AGW supporters are trying to pawn off on us.

Engineer-Poet said at July 17, 2012 6:55 PM:
exactly which side is pushing the idea of throwing those who disagree with which side of the issue in jail for not agreeing?
I'm sure there were people in Minimata who would have advocated the jailing of Chisso executives for denying that they were doing anything harmful or wrong, had they known of the emissions, and the same for the Bunker Hill smelter owners who decided to keep operating after their bag house caught fire.  They would have been correct to do so.

Obviously, if the climate-change models are even close to correct there is a huge amount of damage in store if we don't slash carbon emissions (which means putting huge pressure on Asia-Pacific emitters... but that's another story).  Since you said there are refutations accessible at the level of Jr. High science, I'd love to see them.  Just how heavily do they get into temperature-lapse rates and optical depth, BTW?  My 7-9 science barely touched on the former and never referred to the thermodynamics behind it.

The global warming "studies" are so flawed that they should get an "F" from any Jr High science class in the country.
...
I have a carburator that allows a car to get 100mpg, of water. Sorry, the data was lost 50 years ago, and was proprietory then as well.
You believe one and claim the other mockingly, not realizing that they have (a) exactly the same amount of supporting evidence and (b) exactly the same amount of scientific credibility.  And you say you became adept at seeing through BS...

The irony is almost as thick as you are, but that's because you're unusually thick.

Phillep Harding said at July 18, 2012 9:40 AM:

What do your examples have to do with global warming? Deflect and distract?

Had I turned in such sloppy work back in JC, I'd have gotten an "F". Even in High School, I'd have gotten an "F" for trying to submit such sloppy work.

Your defense of AGW: "Scientists have gotten sloppy about following rigorous scientific procedures, therefore following scientific procedure is no longer necessary." Nope. Not going to fly.

In regards my calling AGW a cult: Would you like a list of articles on the web related to demands that skeptics, deniers, heretics, and blasphamers who speak against the AGW faith be thrown in prison or killed? It would take only a few seconds to check google.

Herbal Infusion Bagger said at July 18, 2012 1:01 PM:

Pettifogger said:

"Insofar as I can tell, however, few actual climate scientists do."

Yeah, according to a 2009 survey published by EOS, the journal for the AGU, a piffling 85% of climatologists do: and only an insignificant 98% of those actively publishing on climate change topics.* But hey, what's life without a few contrarian bets?

http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf

You'll notice a distinct trend in that survey: the more you know about climate science, the more convinced you are about AGW.

[*2% means not many outside of Lindzen, Christy and Spencer, and their post-docs and grad students.]

Engineer-Poet said:

"Obviously, if the climate-change models are even close to correct there is a huge amount of damage in store"

The ocean has acted as a heat-sink which has moderated temperature rises, and the residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere is ~50-200 years, so even if we cut CO2 emissions to zero overnight, we'd still have more warming in our future (although not as much). Acidification of the ocean from increase CO2 absorption shifts the hydrocarbonate-carbonate equilibrium to make it harder for shellfish to mineralize CO2 into carbonate shells.

Plus we're building (especially in the developing world) the electricity generation capacity that's going to be used up until 2040-2050. At least in China and India, that's mostly coal. Delaying action now makes changing our infrastructure more expensive in the future, and the necessary CO2 emission cuts more difficult and expensive to achieve. And depletes the natural buffers that have saved our asses as of now.

10 years ago I thought we could avoid the sh*t hitting the fan at a cost of around 1% of GDP. Now I'm pessimistic: that the costs of mitigation, adaptation, and the damages from AGW will be more expensive than that because of our delaying action right now.

Engineer-Poet said:

"The truth is that the US glut of gas is based on an investment bubble, pollutes groundwater like crazy (a huge fraction of well cement seals fail over time),"

I thought the major problem was poor grouting initially, rather than long-term failure of the cement.

"and even contributes as much greenhouse effect as coal because of fugitive methane during the drilling and fraccing process. I still like gas because it's not OPEC oil, but I'm realistic about what needs to be done."

Poet, has there been good data released on fugitive emissions during fracking? I work with folks who are knowledgeable on this question, and my impression talking with them was that it was still an open question: I haven't read the literature directly myself though. You don't need much (~10%) of the methane to be released as fugitive emissions for fracked gas to be worse than coal as far as greenhouse emissions go, though.

I'm pro-fracking (treating groundwater contamination is a Solved Problem, but mitigating AGW isn't, and cheap natural gas is displacing coal in power generation), but would change my mind if the fugitive emissions from fracking are known to be significant.

Phillep Harding said at July 18, 2012 2:18 PM:

Poet has not commented on McIntyre's statements that the maths do not hold up. (McIntyre made a living chasing down fraudulent claims regarding mines and mineral discoveries. He knows more about statistics and how people lie with them than anyone else I've heard of.)

I think you have the correlation backwards, though. Few will be recognised as a climate scientist without supporting AGW, or "climate change". It's a requirement to get funding and publish papers.

Swing by http://wattsupwiththat.com/ and read up on "the other side".

Herbal Infusion Bagger said at July 19, 2012 4:01 PM:

"Few will be recognised as a climate scientist without supporting AGW, or "climate change"."

BS, frankly. Lindzen, Christy and Spencer, despite being skeptics, were co-authors on chapters of AR3 for the IPCC. Lindzen was the *lead author* of Chapter 7 of the AR3. You have read AR3, right?

Unfortunately, their arguments (the Infra-Red Iris for Lindzen, discrepancy of satellite and surface data for Christy and Spencer) didn't stand up the test of time - miscalibrations for Christy and Spencer, and for Lindzen that the heat trapping effect of increased absolute humidity with increased temperature outweighs any increase in cloud cover. Lindzen lost the argument in the scientific literature to Fu around 2004; Christy & Spencer around the same time.

Herbal Infusion Bagger said at July 19, 2012 4:10 PM:

"I think you have the correlation backwards, though. Few will be recognised as a climate scientist without supporting AGW, or "climate change". It's a requirement to get funding and publish papers."

If that's the case, why did Richard Muller, a UC physicist and former skeptic who got funding from the Koch Bros., who had loudly claimed he'd show up those climate scientists, after extensive review of the science sheepishly concur with the AGW hypothesis and state the science was sound?

Phillep Harding said at July 19, 2012 5:08 PM:

You mean this?

http://conservapedia.com/Climategate

"To be fair, an independent analysis cleared the scientists involved of any wrongdoing,[13] and, in 2011, a study conducted by global warming skeptic Richard A. Muller, largely funded by the oil industry,[14] confirmed the results of the scientists involved in climate gate, concluding that "Global warming is real."[15] However, the study makes the baseless conclusion that just because the Earth is warming, humans are causing it ('anthropogenic global warming' versus 'global warming'), falling victim to the old liberal 'bait and switch' technique.[16]"

Thanks for the clue, if no link. First I heard of it, I've been otherwise occupied recently so I've not been tracking the latest.

Hmmm. "13" refers to a CNN article. It says both that Had CRU was guilty of misleading and hiding evidence and yet innocent of wrong doing. How odd. I have downloaded the final report to see if I can make sense of it.

Herbal Infusion Bagger said at July 21, 2012 1:04 AM:

Conservapedia. I'm citing primary academic literature (i.e the Fu et al. paper in 2002 that put the boot into Lindzen's infra-red iris hypothesis (http://dx.doi.org/10.5194%2Facp-2-31-2002), or secondary literure like the IPCC third assessment, and you're citing Conservapedia? Don't you think that's admitting you lost?

"However, the study makes the baseless conclusion that just because the Earth is warming, humans are causing it "

Oh for God's sake. Baseless? This hasn't been an argument anyone paying attention can make with a straight face since at least 2005, if not before:

http://scrippsnews.ucsd.edu/Releases/?releaseID=666

"In the new study, Barnett and his colleagues used computer models of climate to calculate human-produced warming over the last 40 years in the world's oceans. In all of the ocean basins, the warming signal found in the upper 700 meters predicted by the models corresponded to the measurements obtained at sea with confidence exceeding 95 percent. The correspondence was especially strong in the upper 500 meters of the water column.

It is this high degree of visual agreement and statistical significance that leads Barnett to conclude that the warming is the product of human influence. Efforts to explain the ocean changes through naturally occurring variations in the climate or external forces- such as solar or volcanic factors--did not come close to reproducing the observed warming."

Engineer-Poet said at July 21, 2012 8:37 PM:

Mr. Hardeng loves to claim that climate scientists are violating the rules of scientific discourse, while failing to supply the least bit of evidence to back his claims.  I asked him to show me refutations that are accessible at the level of Jr. high science, and he hasn't even specified the name of such a paper, much less linked one.  He threw out the name McIntyre, but hasn't cited any specific work he alleges to be on-point.  What's someone to do, go read everything McIntyre has ever written just so that Hardeng can say "no, I didn't mean that thing, I meant something else"?

This is reminiscent of the rhetorical technique used by creationists and sometimes called the "Gish gallop", after Duane Gish:  throw out good-sounding phrases incorporating falsehoods at the rate of several per minute, knowing that each falsehood would take ten minutes to explain and refute to an unsophisticated audience.  That works great in time-limited debate panels and on-line echo chambers, but it's not how science is done.  It proves that Hardeng has no interest in the actual science.

But I think the most conclusive proof of his closed mind and wrong-headedness, perhaps aside from his single specific cite to Conservapedia, is his link to Anthony Watts' site wattsupwiththat (the homepage, nothing any more specific than that).  Watts is funded, not by science grants, but by the Heartland Institute to the tune of $90,000 for the year 2012 alone!  Watts is a paid propagandist... and Hardeng, his claimed experience in BS detection aside, treats Watts' words as gospel.

Really, nothing further needs to be said.

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