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More Smearing of Scientific Scepticism

IT was once the case that if you didn’t believe in anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and the climate crisis you were a scientist in the pay of big oil.  That was also an accusation in Chris Mooney’s first book ‘The Republican War on Science’.  

Mr Mooney now has a second book out entitled ‘Unscientific America’.   I haven’t read the new book yet, but according to an interview Mr Mooney gave last night on Australian television if you don’t believe in AGW you aren’t even a scientist.   Indeed he told well-known ABC journalist and television presenter Leigh Sales that while society hasn’t agreed on the facts, the scientists have.

Ms Sales initially queried Mr Mooney, suggesting that many claim there is no scientific consensus on AGW.   But she didn’t then pursue the point when Mr Mooney reframed, side-stepped the question and then contradicted himself.  

Much of the preamble compiled by Margo O’Neill and the interview by Ms Sales suggested that being a climate change sceptic was equivalent to being part of the minority against vaccinating children or part of the religious right that argues against the teaching of evolution.    Their argument essentially went that there is always a part of a community that holds beliefs that are illogical.

The solution, Mr Mooney explained to Ms Sales, is a better educated population particularly in the area of science which he suggested provides a foundation in critical thinking. 

But there was no much critical thinking on display and a small amount of research ahead of the interview would have discovered that Australia’s best known climate change sceptic, Ian Plimer, fought a long and hard campaign against the teaching of creationism in schools.   But then again understanding what motivated Professor Plimer to speak out against the teaching of faith as science in our schools would have spoilt their story because the Professor might have explained that speaking out against AGW fundamentalism is really just a continuation of his campaign for critical thinking and real science.    

************************

Notes and Links

Public must engage with scientific fact: book
Australian Broadcasting Corporation,  17/09/2009, Reporter: Margot O’Neill
A new book called Unscientific America has put forward the theory that we are facing a dangerous divide between science and culture.
http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2008/s2689426.htm

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98 Responses to “More Smearing of Scientific Scepticism”

Pages: « 1 [2] Show All

  1. Comment from: sod


    do talk to my electricity company ACTEW. It says I used 17700 kWh over the last year; dividing that by the number of hours in a year yields 2.02 kW per hour. I see no need to change the unit.

    tell this to your physics teacher. he will most likely pull your ears.

    you can NOT simply divide 17700 kWh by 8760 h and keep the unit. units are divided as well, leaving you with kW…

    everybody with even the most rudimentary knowledge of physics would see a need to change the unit…

  2. Comment from: Louis Hissink


    Tim Curtin,

    Your calculation is quite correct as well the units – your household consumed 2.02 Kw over one hour. However you might need to call the pest control man to get him to rid you of the soddy nitpickers.

  3. Comment from: Tim Curtin


    More than averagely challenged sod: So I use 2.02 kW of electricity, costing just 25/60/60 cents. That’s a great help to my budgeting in these hard times.

    But using your method, our annual electricity usage of 17700 kWh means we used 155 million kilowatts over the year (not 2.02 as you have it). That means we used 574267 kW per sq. metre of our 270 sq m., which in Watts is

    574,266,666.67 W m^-2

    and again rather larger than the IPCC’s radiative forcing of just 1.66 W m^-2 p.a.

    Thanks, sod, for strengthening my case!

  4. Comment from: Derek Smith


    I’m sorry Petard but there has been some confusion. Taking the units at face value, you would of course be correct and as I am a Physics teacher(not a very good one at this stage, one of those teaching outside his field), I have been confused myself over this issue.

    However, doing the calculations you get 2.02kWh/h which should mean 2.02kW except that power consumption for a quarter or a year is actually calculated as kWh multiplied by the number of hours. Thus technically, Tim’s annual consumption was 17,700kWh^2. It’s just a convenient naming thing by the power companies.

    You say Tim’s house uses 2,020 joules per second average, times that by 3600 and you get 7272000 joules in one hour. This = 7272kWh which if you multiply by the number of hours in a year gives you 62 mWh, nothing like 17,700 kWh.

    Tim, how much of that 15,441 billion kWh of energy usage was actually converted to heat? Wouldn’t that be the only contribution to the “forcing” you mentioned?

  5. Comment from: Neil Fisher


    Tim Curtin wrote:

    I believe therefore my calculations are correct, that the RF is a tiny fraction of the much larger “forcing” from global electrical energy consumption of no less than 15,441 billion kWh in 2004. The same disproportion applies of course to energy usage in transport and all other sectors.

    Tim,
    510e+6 sq.km = ~510e+12sq.m total surface area of earth
    =~ 870e+12w total RF @ 1.7W/sq.m

    Energy consumption based on your figures is ~ 16e+12w/h / 8760
    (kW/h p.a. divided per hours p.a.)
    =~ 1.8e+9w/sq.m total forcing.
    =~ 4.5e+9w/sq.m total forcing @ 40% thermal efficiency for the power plant (therefore, total heat out)

    As you can see, there are roughly 3 orders of magnitude difference, and it’s in favour of the GH RF.

    However, as a guest post on Pilke Snr’s blog here:
    http://climatesci.org/2009/05/05/have-changes-in-ocean-heat-falsified-the-global-warming-hypothesis-a-guest-weblog-by-william-dipuccio/
    shows, it appears that the models have missed something – we are not seeing the upper OHC changes they suggest we should be. In fact, we seem to be seeing trends in the opposite direction – a major problem, IMO, that shows just how basic our understanding of the coupled non-linear chaotic system that climate appears to be really is. Whileever we have such discrepancies between the “leading” theory and reality, I am more than a little concerned that we are changing our energy supply system on the basis of such theory.
    Perhaps it’s just the engineer in me, but we really need a lot more data and a much better understanding of the system before we start down that road – let alone some of the geo-engineering that is currently being touted as a “stop-gap” solution.

  6. Comment from: Tim Curtin


    Thanks Louis. And also to Derek; you are right about the Heat content, totally ignored by the IPCC. I have data on that on my laptop and will give it next time I’m here.

    Neil, re your calculations in 2nd para, should we not Multiply by Hours p.a. to get the absolute no. of kW of electricity Consumption?

    I agree with your 870E12, i.e 870,000 billion Watts for the aggregate CO2 forcing of 1.7 per sq. m. for the total global surface area. But I obtain the following for World Electricity Consumption in 2004 in absolute Watts:

    World Elec Cons 2004, bn kWh 15,441.26
    – in bn kW p.a. 135,265,435
    – in bn Watts p.a. 135,265,435,171
    and in watts per sq metre we get 265 W ^ -2

    With respect, I think my version is more consistent with the Pielke et al findings!

    And the reason is that the world’s electricity output is huge, while the CO2 output from generation thereof is tiny, especially after taking out solar, hydro, and wind, at only 7.4 billion tonnes of carbon, or 27 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2004 (that is

    0.00047765

    tonnes of carbon per kWh).

    BTW, the energy data I cite is for Consumption of electricity, so thermal efficiency is inapplicable, unlike when we refer to the Heat generated in the process of generating electricity, hence those cooling towers we see on SBS and ABC belching out water vapour from the cooling, athough David Karoly and Will Steffen clearly believe that is CO2, since those pictures are evidently their preferred backdrops for their regular appearances thereon.

    Am I right that your post was composed before my previous went up? (September 19th, 2009 at 10:49 am). The revised figures it contains derive actual Watts per sq. metre p.a. for my house at
    574,266,666.67 W m^-2

    All best Neil, and this has been most helpful in clarifying a slippery set of numbers.

  7. Comment from: Louis Hissink


    Neil Fisher

    The problem is not so much the incompleteness of the theory but the whole philosophical approach to science – I received an email from a retired geologist who pointed out that the present generation, academics included, don’t seem to understand the scientific method, and which I think I have identified as the Lyellian mode of thinking, started by Charles Lyell two centuries ago in England. It’s essentially the Platonists or deductionists who have taken control of science. This group believes that reasonable discussion and consensus can determine scientific truth. The school we came from rejects that and insists on empirical tests to falsify a theory.

    Given that AGW has been comprehensively falsified but that it’s adherents can’t accept this refutation, points out that we are not dealing with science per se but a sophisticated belief couched in scientific jargon. The Lukian reactions here are then instances of quite serious cognitive dissonance.

    Quite frankly I don’t know how to counter this – empirical refutation seems like water running off a duck’s back with this lot. Debate doesn’t sway them either, and as they are also the majority and in control of government, universities and schools, and the mainstream media, then things don’t augur too well for the future at all.

    And the latest economic statistics for the US on http://www.usagold.com/amk/disturbingtrends2009exec.html suggests the US might be heading for a Weimar Republic type of depression. Given that possibility plus the relentness pursuit of the ETS by the ALP and fellow travellers in Australia, I suspect we are in for interesting times.

  8. Comment from: Neil Fisher


    Tim Curtin wrote:

    Neil, re your calculations in 2nd para, should we not Multiply by Hours p.a. to get the absolute no. of kW of electricity Consumption?

    No Tim – you are billed on a power * time basis. That is, you use 2kW for two hours, and get charged for 4 kW/h. So to turn your kW/h p.a. into an average power consumption for each hour, divide by number of hours – in the example above, we divide 4kW/h by 2 hours and get 2kW, which is what we started with.

    BTW, the energy data I cite is for Consumption of electricity, so thermal efficiency is inapplicable

    Consumption of electricity is usually metered at the customers premises, so you don’t pay for losses in transmission etc. In terms of heating the planet, I think we must consider how much heat we are releasing into the environment, so taking the thermal efficiency of the plant into account (which is likely the largest “loss” in going from flame to appliance, as it were) is appropriate, I think – besides, I’m inflating the electricity usage by 2.5 times in your favour!

    The revised figures it contains derive actual Watts per sq. metre p.a. for my house at
    574,266,666.67 W m^-2

    Tim this is obviously absurd – 500MW per sq.m??? You would need the equivilent of a large power station to supply just one room in your house! Your usage would be 500,000 kw/h every hour per sq. metre! With a 200 sq. m house, you’d have consumed over 100 million kw/h every hour! Hope your bill isn’t for *that* much electricity – especially at retail pricing ;-)

    Louis Hissink wrote:

    Given that AGW has been comprehensively falsified but that it’s adherents can’t accept this refutation, points out that we are not dealing with science per se but a sophisticated belief couched in scientific jargon. The Lukian reactions here are then instances of quite serious cognitive dissonance.

    I think it’s probably going a bridge too far to suggest that AGW has been falsified. While there are without doubt a number of (climate) scientists who have crossed the line and become political activists (eg Hansen), the theory itself is quite reasonable and has much empirical data to back it up. However, it relies on the (tacit) assumption that “all else remains equal” – but as every empiricist knows, in complex systems this is rarely the case, and doubly so for coupled non-linear systems, and doubly so again where they exhibit chaotic behaviour. It may be the case that climate is unpredictable even in theory, except perhaps in the broadest possible terms (ie not “policy useful” if you like). I would not personally stake much on current predictions, for reasons I’ve outlined before.

    Quite frankly I don’t know how to counter this – empirical refutation seems like water running off a duck’s back with this lot. Debate doesn’t sway them either, and as they are also the majority and in control of government, universities and schools, and the mainstream media, then things don’t augur too well for the future at all.

    It’s certainly a concern, I agree, and I don’t know how to counter it either. My main concern WRT what happens in the future is not so much what we look set to do to our economy – it might hurt, but should be reversable – but instead what the results of the backlash will be if, as and when the general population decides they’ve been duped. The consequences for science in general seem quite alarming – we may end up putting ourselves into a new dark age because of lack of belief that science tells us the truth, and makes our lives better. Evidence will not help you in the face of an angry mob intent on getting revenge!

  9. Comment from: Neil Fisher


    I Wrote:

    The revised figures it contains derive actual Watts per sq. metre p.a. for my house at
    574,266,666.67 W m^-2

    Tim this is obviously absurd – 500MW per sq.m??? You would need the equivilent of a large power station to supply just one room in your house! Your usage would be 500,000 kw/h every hour per sq. metre! With a 200 sq. m house, you’d have consumed over 100 million kw/h every hour! Hope your bill isn’t for *that* much electricity – especially at retail pricing ;-)

    Oops! My mistake – missed the “p.a.”. Even so, this number appears to be larger than your electricity consumption for the year of 17MW/h, so there is clearly an error somewhere.

  10. Comment from: Graeme Bird


    Mooney is a child. He’s just a young kid really. And yet his nonsense has been taken up as a sort of international meme. We keep hearing about the Republican war on science over here in Australia. The Australian (ie the newspaper) war on science. All stupid-talk but its odd that this was taken up on the basis of this know-nothing youngster.

  11. Comment from: Tim Curtin


    Thanks Neil for pointing out what may well be my errors, but I don’t give up without a fight!

    Neil: I agree with you re billing per KWh, but that is not what we are talking about, which is the absolute TOTAL consumption over a year.

    According to Wiki, “Energy in watt hours is the muliplication of power in watts and time in hours.” So to get energy usage over the year we multiply the hourly rate by (365*24).

    ACTEW told me my average daily 3Q usage was 90 kWh, so ignoring that was winter, over a year that is 32,850 KWh, or 287.766 million KW p.a. But although I am billed per KWh, my actual usage in Watts – in Watt years if you like – was 287.766 Billion Watts p.a.

    That means 1.07568 BILLION watts per sq metre of my 270 m^2 abode over the year. That is an order of magnitude more than the IPCC’s piffling Radiative Forcing of 1.7 Watts per sq. metre p.a.

  12. Comment from: Tim Curtin


    Neil: my turn to say “oops”, but my home still appears to heat more than the IPCC’s planet (thank goodness).

    My average daily consumption was 90 kWh in the last quarter (despite AGW). That is an hourly average of 3.75 kWh. and 32,850 kWh over the year at that 3Q rate. That is 32,850,000 Watt hours, which is 121,666.6667 WattHours per sq.metre of a 270 sq.metre dwelling, or 2027.777778 Watts per sq. metre, as against the IPCC’s Radiative Forcing of 1.7 W m^ -2.

    I hope I’m right this time. Sorry about blips in previous.

  13. Comment from: Derek Smith


    G’day Neil, my concern is not so much WRT a backlash against scientists because most people are aware that there is a skeptical voice out there plus there are lots of different types of science. My big worry is when people realize that the entire environmental movement deliberately set out to use the fear generated by AGW hysteria when they knew that it might not be true, for their own agenda, which is forcing the world to use non-nuclear alternative energy etc etc.

    If everybody turned their backs wholesale on environmentalism it could very well undo all of the good work that has been done and remove any barriers to the wholesale raping of the planet by big corporations.

    Remember, CO2 emissions are just one part of the fossil fuel problem and even if CO2 isn’t a pollutant, most everything else that gets produced from burning fossil fuels is.

  14. Comment from: Tim Curtin


    Derek – like me you can get a bit carried away!

    1. eg when you say “if everybody turned their backs wholesale on environmentalism it could very well undo all of the good work that has been done and remove any barriers to the wholesale raping of the planet by big corporations”. Nobody in “my team” is asking for that, environmentalism is admirable when it addresses real pollution, eg SO2 (too much of that in most wines!). I briefly worked for a big corporation in the mid-70s, it did more to raise incomes in Africa than total global UK aid, eg the Kenana Sugar scheme in Sudan on which I worked, providing employment for many thousands, and sugar for the likes of Bin Laden et al. Kenana soaks up more CO2 per hectare p.a. than any other project you might care to name – but without [CO2] it would produce no sugar at all.

    2. Then you said “Remember, CO2 emissions are just one part of the fossil fuel problem and even if CO2 isn’t a pollutant, most everything else that gets produced from burning fossil fuels is”. What, even your computer usage fuelled by same ff? Do take note that on average nearly 60% of all ff CO2 emissions every year are taken up by NEW sugar, wheat, rice, wheat, apples, grapes, roses, production (see http://www.globalcarbonproject.org, or yours truly on “CO2 and Food Production” in Energy & Environment, October 2009, just out). If Copenhagen succeeds, it will reduce world food production to the 1970 level.

  15. Comment from: Louis Hissink


    Derek Smith

    You err in one important respect – oil, coal etc are not fossil fuels.

    They are surface seepages of hydrocarbons from the Earth’s mantle to the Earth’s surface, and according to Tommy Gold, the products of a rather large deep hot biosphere.

    While writing this thought it suddenly occurred to me that this explanation is sufficient for natural gas, but as I am also a diamond geologist, I have always wondered why diamond can exist on the surface of the Earth, since it is clearly metastable, and hence while black coal can be explained by the replacement of vegetable matter by carbon from subterranean exhalations of methane, replenishment of oil fields is another. I suddenly realise that our understanding of “pressure” is incomplete.

    Thanks for arriving here with your ideas – you have caused me to reconsider previous ideas anew.

  16. Comment from: Louis Hissink


    In case anyone cares, we have documented cases of Archaean diamonds – diamonds believed to have formed 2500 Ma ago and still existing as a diamond at the Earth’s surface to this present day.

    So why have these diamonds not equilibrated back to graphite or elementary carbon – they had 2500 years to do so.

  17. Comment from: Louis Hissink


    Whoops – 2500 Ma years to do so.

  18. Comment from: Derek Smith


    Tim, you’re correct, I do get carried away at times and am also prone to sweeping generalizations. Of course I don’t think anyone here would be environmental vandals, I was thinking more along the lines of a resurgence of “gas guzzling”V8′s and rampant logging of rainforests etc.. I should have said CO2 emissions are perceived to be part of the problem, I don’t think higher CO2 levels would make much of a difference.

    As for corporations, sweeping generalizations again, sorry.

    Louis, I’ve read about this idea only recently on this site and find the concept interesting and compelling. I’ve read that there is twice as much water in the mantle as on the Earth’s surface so the idea of hydrocarbons forming in the mantle is not much of a stretch. Of course I was using fossil fuels as a generic term and didn’t mean to comment on their origins.

    Archaean diamonds, wow. When I was at Uni I was “playing” with my molecular model sets(I bought 2 so I could make dodecane) and discovered that there were 2 allotropes of diamond, one based on the chair conformation of cyclohexane and the other based on the boat conformation. I can’t remember which one but it dawned on me that one of them looked just like a distorted version of graphite but with sigma bonds where the resonance electrons should be. I found out then that diamond can turn into graphite.

    Louis, does it make any difference which allotrope it is as far as rate of equilibration as from memory, the structure of diamond found in many textbooks would require a more complex structural change than the one I’m thinking of.

  19. Comment from: Louis Hissink


    Derek

    Could you summarise your thoughts more concisely please?

  20. Comment from: Luke


    Derek – I hope you’re observing the subtle sleights at hand gameplay indulged on here.

    “If Copenhagen succeeds, it will reduce world food production to the 1970 level.”

    This is fanciful stuff and incredibly simplistic. Ongoing agronomic and genetic improvements are conveniently forgotten.

    Impact of rainfall – might be an overwhelming factor as drying of sub-tropics is showing. cO2 ill do nothing is other factors are limiting – it’s not magic dust.

    FACE (free air CO2 experiments) don’t show near the yield increases that laboratory trials do.

    Savanna woodlands might become thickets as woody C3s are preferred over C4 grasses. Interesting to see the red leaves of Eucalypts at savanna free air sites – red tinges – but the acacias are fine. So C/N ratios and P absorption affected. Acacias seem to have an edge. One experiment – but hiow little we know.

    Extra CO2 makes some plants more frost prone.

    You don’t get balanced arguments from denialists. A lesson for your class !

  21. Comment from: Tim Curtin


    Derek, as ever I agree with most of what you say, many thanks. But I think with respect you are not quite right when you say: “I was thinking more along the lines of a resurgence of “gas guzzling V8’s and rampant logging of rainforests etc.”

    Even V8s help feed the world’s people, given that 60% of their emissions end up as CO2 producing extra food and other useful stuff, whether in the form of crops fish and livestock, or Timber for building, paper for our books, etc.

    Ironically, the Greens with their campaigns against forestry in effect espouse use of cement and iron/steel for building etc all of which involve massive generation of CO2. My cousins still live in what used to be the Abbots of Glastonbury’s manor farm at Meare, where the roof beams have just recently been carbon dated back to 1227.

    Not only that, I worked for many years in Nigeria and PNG, where there has been little or no ‘rampant logging’ of rainforests etc. Try Google Earth for the main logging areas in PNG, namely SE Western Province (Wawoi-Guavi) and across the prov. border, SW Gulf, namely Turama. They have been logged for 20 and 30 years respectively. Show me if you can the logged areas. I was there in 2007. Sustainable logging involves taking out only the marketable trees per ha., with dbh of 50-60 cm, why would you do anything else, as the Chinese wont buy logs with less than 50-60 cm dbh? On average, at any given point in time a hectare only has a couple of trees with that dbh – but in a few years there will be a couple more ready for harvesting. That is a concept deliberately suppressed by the Greens.

    Thus Greenpeace with their habitual dishonesty will never admit there is something known as sustainable logging, namely at around 0.7 cu.metre per hectare pa. Turama was originally managed by the UK’s Inchcape, whose forest bloke was the late Ian Grassie, worthy of a Nobel far before Gore. Both Turama and W-G are now operated by the Chinese Malaysian firm Rimbunan Hijao. With their usual racism, Greenpeace (and Chatham House) deem all forestry managed by this firm to be ‘illegal’ or worse, yet in PNG alone it has been in business for more than 30 years,with no sign of resource depletion and employing 10,000 PNGers in its operations. And that is what sticks in the craw of the Greens. They believe the kanakas should stick to living in the trees from whence they came, and not aspire to a Green lifestyle with all its modern appliances – and computers. I worked in PNG for over 12 years, I know of what I speak.

    FACT: more timber is logged in white OECD countries (c28) than in ALL (all non-white) other countries of the world put together. Greenpeace and its affiliates (WWF et al) are the most racist organisations since the pre-Mandela government of South Africa. I can document this in spades.

  22. Comment from: Tim Curtin


    LUke: you disappoint me once again.

    1. You quote me as saying “If Copenhagen succeeds, it will reduce world food production to the 1970 level.” and add “This is fanciful stuff and incredibly simplistic. Ongoing agronomic and genetic improvements are conveniently forgotten”. No they are not, see my E&E paper, I will send it to you. What is says inter alia is that rising [CO2] is a NECESSARY condition for increasing yields from agronomic and genetic improvements. The Wong-Garnaut target for reductions in increases in [CO2] to nil from now for ever means that CSIRO’s agronomic efforts should be terminated NOW, a step too far for a gormless bureaucrat like Luke.

    2. Luke added “Impact of rainfall – might be an overwhelming factor as drying of sub-tropics is showing. CO2 will do nothing if other factors are limiting – it’s not magic dust”. If there is AGW, it will lead to increased evaporation, and therefore increased precipitation, as even the imbecilic IPCC sometimes admits.

    3. “FACE (free air CO2 experiments) don’t show near the yield increases that laboratory trials do”. But they are still very substantial (+ 10%).

    4. “Savanna woodlands might become thickets as woody C3s are preferred over C4 grasses. Interesting to see the red leaves of Eucalypts at savanna free air sites – red tinges – but the acacias are fine. So C/N ratios and P absorption affected. Acacias seem to have an edge. One experiment – but how little we know.” A light at the end of the tunnel – acacias are brilliant at nitrogen fixation, but you wouldn’t want to know about that would you? (I saw that in operation in Northern Nigeria, and helped to steer some EU funds in that direction from 1983-1988).

    5. “Extra CO2 makes some plants more frost prone” – but you believe there will never ever be any frosts again!

  23. Comment from: Derek Smith


    Thanks Tim, lots of points taken. What about the illegal rain-forest timber trade in Indonesia that I’ve heard about on the ABC radio and the clearing of Amazonian jungle for cattle farmers?

  24. Comment from: Tim Curtin


    Hi Derek.

    Never believe all you hear on the ABC! Actually even at the ANU I have heard that cattle raising in Amazonia has declined because forest soils do not produce good grazing (that was part of the problem with the great British Socialist Government’s groundnuts debacle in Tanganyika in the late 1940s – forest soils tend to be thin, and reducing the canopy reduces rain, so no big deal).

    Part of the Greenpeace et al racism is that they believe all brown people are stupid, especially in Indonesia, so they do forest clearing just for the hell of it, rather than because they see they can raise their standard of living more by not watching moribund old growth trees do very little for them rather than instead switching to oil palm or other food crops, ALL of which uplift more CO2 per hectare per annum than said moribund virtually dead trees.

  25. Comment from: SJT


    Jennifer, there is no scepticism here. It reminds me of the time when I was younger and someone started telling another person at the table about ‘crystals’ and their amazing powers. I could’t believe it, the other person did not question anything at all about what they were hearing, but accepted it all uncritically.

    That is exactly what happens here.

    “Abiotic Oil’ ? Wow.
    “G&T”? Tell me more.
    “Beck and CO2″? Amazing.

  26. Comment from: Louis Hissink


    SJT:

    Describes you to a tee “I could’t believe it, the other person did not question anything at all about what they were hearing, but accepted it all uncritically.”

  27. Comment from: Derek Smith


    SJT, there is truth in what you say ““Abiotic Oil’ ? Wow.”, I did not disagree with Louis’ correction but then, unlike many on this blog, I have no expertise in that or any other field covered on this site. I have also pondered the question myself on occasion so I am open to the possibility. I’m completely with you on the whole crystals thing but then some things seem foolishly obvious to the rational, skeptical(in a generalist sense)mind, whereas other things may not be so clear cut.

    As an example, my lab manager is also an amateur fossil hunter and has several rooms full of specimens from the Narracorte caves. They have a number of Thylacaleo(?) fossils and found a nearly complete skeleton with extra bones that suggested a tail. When they reported this to the experts, they were told in no uncertain terms that this was ridiculous and that there was no evidence for such a thing. Well since then a skeleton has been found with an unmistakable tail thus vindicating their claim.

    My point is that we have often been told by experts that a thing isn’t so but which has later on been found to be correct, so I’m not yet ready to close the book on abiotic oil.

    By the way, I have been following the debate on abiotic oil on this site and have found ALL of the contributions very helpful.

    PS, if the crystals thing turns out to be true one day I’ll happily admit that I was wrong.

  28. Comment from: Neil Fisher


    Tim Curtin wrote:

    My average daily consumption was 90 kWh in the last quarter (despite AGW). That is an hourly average of 3.75 kWh. and 32,850 kWh over the year at that 3Q rate. That is 32,850,000 Watt hours, which is 121,666.6667 WattHours per sq.metre of a 270 sq.metre dwelling, or 2027.777778 Watts per sq. metre, as against the IPCC’s Radiative Forcing of 1.7 W m^ -2.

    Well Tim, at least we are going in the right direction ;-)
    But to get it into the same units as the GHG RF, we take the 3.7kW, and divide by the area, which as you say is 270 sq.m and get 13.7W/sq. m. Of course, this is only your house – it doesn’t include the land area, which we do for the GHG RF. So, assuming your land is, say 700 sq. m, we would be down to 5.2W/ sq. m. However, that’s not all of it either, because there are parks, roads, vacant lots, rivers, lakes etc etc – people, after all, have not covered the entire surface of the planet with houses (not even all the land area!). So in terms of heating the planet, we should look, as you initially did, at total consumption and total area – and when we do, as I posted previously, we are looking at several order of magnitude less.

    Derek Smith wrote:

    If everybody turned their backs wholesale on environmentalism it could very well undo all of the good work that has been done and remove any barriers to the wholesale raping of the planet by big corporations.

    Yes, that is indeed a concern – one I take very seriously, BTW. I think you are wrong though, about it not affecting science in general – an angry mob is rarely rational.

    SJT wrote:

    Jennifer, there is no scepticism here.

    Isn’t it strange that Jennifer, like many of the so-called “sceptic” blogs, let’s pretty much anyone post – even those like yourself who are “believers” and tend to be on the abusive side. Meanwhile, at the “believer” blogs like RC, Tamino’s “Open Mind” (ironic name, really) and so on, even those like Pielke’s – who are published academics – get comments edited and/or dropped. Hell, even Lucia – who is a “luke-warmer” – complains that comments are edited! And it’s not just abuse that gets cut – polite, pointed questions on the actual science get “moderated” into oblivion, while those who spout the “party line” are allowed to post ad-hom attacks! If you don’t believe me, try it yourself. A truely “open mind” and really real “real scientists” don’t act like RC and Tamino, they act like Jennifer, Pielke Jnr and yes, even Steve McIntyre – they may snip off-topic and/or abusive comments, but serious questions about the actual science are entertained, and data and methods are king. It’s quite telling, the various attitudes – and yes, I know that doesn’t mean the actual science reflects these peoples attitudes, but hey, I’m just on the outside looking in, and like most people (the “rest of us” that need to be convinced, remember) my initial reactions affect how I view the rest of my interactions with those people. So it is an important aspect, regardless of who is “right”.

  29. Comment from: Louis Hissink


    Neil,

    The real issue is that science has been hijacked, yet again, for political purposes. It happened two centuries ago with Lyell and the Whigs, and it’s happening again. Given the price of gold and the Baltic Dry index heading south again, I am preparing myself for another depression. The problem is that these government created economic disasters then allow the more extreme politicians the opportunity to get control and “save us”.

    Actually the AGW debate has been put into historical perspective by James Rust-

    “ARYAN PHYSICS REVISITED

    James H. Rust [jrust@bellsouth.net] writes: “Herewith is an essay I have been thinking of writing for years because of the unprovoked name calling by climate alarmists:

    Aryan Physics Revisited: A Comparison of 1930s German Physics and Global Warming Science Today

    By James H. Rust, Professor of Nuclear Engineering (ret.)

    For more than a quarter century controversy has embroiled the scientific community over whether carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas formed from burning fossil fuels, is causing increased global temperatures with catastrophic consequences. This is also called anthropogenic global warming (AGW). Many supporters of AGW are adamant in their views and refuse to acknowledge the existence of scientists or the science that refutes their views. Some advocates could be described as self-assured, arrogant, and using unflattering terms to describe those who disagree with them.

    The possible threat of AGW spawned research funds from the United States government to study climate science. An excellent paper by Joanne Nova titled “Climate Money” traces the way money was spent from 1989 to 2008 in the amount of $79 billion. Research supporting AGW was able to generate more money; so the financing system fed upon itself. If initial research proved AGW did not exist, future funding would have ceased. Yet to be reported, the United States economic stimulus funds for 2009 will allocate billions of dollars spent in anticipation of AGW.”

    Rest on John Ray’s Greenie Watch for Friday 18 September.

    We are watching one group of people pillaging the taxpayers for specious reasons and hopefully the US Tea Parties will wake enough to stop the herd from self destruction. I am not too sure about Australia, and the Europeans, well, I suggest they learn Russian.

  30. Comment from: Neil Fisher


    Louis Hissink wrote:

    The real issue is that science has been hijacked, yet again, for political purposes.

    ‘Twas ever thus. And ever will be. C’est la vie!
    The interesting part will be what science and scientists learn from the whole process.

  31. Comment from: SJT


    Isn’t it strange that Jennifer, like many of the so-called “sceptic” blogs, let’s pretty much anyone post – even those like yourself who are “believers” and tend to be on the abusive side. Meanwhile, at the “believer” blogs like RC, Tamino’s “Open Mind” (ironic name, really) and so on, even those like Pielke’s – who are published academics – get comments edited and/or dropped. Hell, even Lucia – who is a “luke-warmer” – complains that comments are edited! And it’s not just abuse that gets cut – polite, pointed questions on the actual science get “moderated” into oblivion, while those who spout the “party line” are allowed to post ad-hom attacks! If you don’t believe me, try it yourself. A truely “open mind” and really real “real scientists” don’t act like RC and Tamino, they act like Jennifer, Pielke Jnr and yes, even Steve McIntyre – they may snip off-topic and/or abusive comments, but serious questions about the actual science are entertained, and data and methods are king.

    Steve McIntyre won’t allow a lot of discussion on the basic science, and doesn’t audit the denialist garbage. Pielke Snr doesn’t allow comments at all. Jennifer is just creating the appearance of a ‘debate’, which is more than much of what is posted here as topics deserves. Creationists have to do the same thing. If there is no debate, they just become irrelevant.

  32. Comment from: sod


    this topic is titled: More Smearing of Scientific Scepticism

    Tim Curtin chose it as the right place, for a comparison between the CO2 forcing in his garden with the electricity use of his house.
    even when we ignore his dozens of errors, his approach still reamains utterly unsceintific (the number he produces is completeley irrelevant) and non-sceptic. (he demonstrated multiple times, that he will except every bizarre result, as long as it fits into his believes)

    other people brought up abiotic oil. “aryan phyiscs” is compared to AGW. Greenpeace et al racism.

    in short, “Scientific Scepticism” is NOT smeared. what we saw here is a clear demonstration that it is impossibble to smear such nonsense.

    the only sceptic who showed some scepticism under this topic was Neil. i am glad that there are a few voices of reason in the denilaist camp. thanks for writing comments that are worth reading!

  33. Comment from: Louis Hissink


    SOD,

    well, the topic is quite apt – “in short, “Scientific Scepticism” is NOT smeared. what we saw here is a clear demonstration that it is impossibble to smear such nonsense”, which is still smearing us.

  34. Comment from: sod


    SOD,

    well, the topic is quite apt – “in short, “Scientific Scepticism” is NOT smeared. what we saw here is a clear demonstration that it is impossibble to smear such nonsense”, which is still smearing us.</i<

    "smearing", in a wider sense, is "damaging reputation".

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smear_campaign

    how could i damage the reputation of Tim Curtin (or yours, or that of any other denialist) by just pointing out, what you guys are saying?

    it is not me, who is "smearing" you. your own claims and words are damaging your "reputation".

    show this discussion to any person with some basic understanding of science, and they will cry in pain.

  35. Comment from: Louis Hissink


    Sod,

    Ah, the standard lefty position of denying any responsibility for your actions, and blaming us for our smearing.

    At least you seem a good graduate of the Frankfurt school.

  36. Comment from: sod


    Sod,

    Ah, the standard lefty position of denying any responsibility for your actions, and blaming us for our smearing.

    At least you seem a good graduate of the Frankfurt school.

    look Louis. if i would introduce you to a scientific audience as a proponent of abiotic oil, a person not believing in plate tetonics and in earthquakes being “thunderbolts”, you would be the laughing stock of the lot.

    it is NOT “smearing”, when i accurately describe your position!

  37. Comment from: Neil Fisher


    SJT wrote:

    Steve McIntyre won’t allow a lot of discussion on the basic science, and doesn’t audit the denialist garbage.

    Steve Mc wants, according to his postings, to focus on individual bits of the “evidence” – but only the stuff he calls “main-stream”. That is, the stuff that IPCC present. I’m sure you’d be the first to suggest that the “denialist garbage” is most definately NOT main-stream. This seems to me like a good idea for an “audit” site – there’s no point in looking to audit Svensmark for example, if it’s got no traction and is all but ignored by the “main-stream” people advocating change. The evidence that needs to be audited is, quite simply, the evidence that is being put forward!

    Pielke Snr doesn’t allow comments at all.

    No, he doesn’t – he does, however, offer many people a guest post. Pielke Jnr positively encourages an open and honest debate, focused not so much on the actual science, but on how it interfaces with politics. Hardly surprising since that’s his job.

    Jennifer is just creating the appearance of a ‘debate’, which is more than much of what is posted here as topics deserves.

    Jennifers blog is similar to WUWT – wide ranging topics written for everyday people who have an interest.

    Creationists have to do the same thing. If there is no debate, they just become irrelevant.

    So that’s why you refuse to debate, then? Just like Hansen, you think that if you ignore the nasty people, they’ll go away? You certainly seem to think that pointing and laughing at people who really are examining the science is somehow a defense against them.

    Why don’t you take up the challange SJT? Try writing an on-topic, polite, “hairy” question on RC and see if it gets past moderation. Then try it at Tamino. Then CA. Then Lucia. Your RC and Tamino posts, if they show up at all, will be heavily edited to make you look like a fool. CA & Lucia, OTOH, will not dump the post as long as it meets blog rules – if the question is good enough, you might even start a new thread! Report back with links to your comments – even better, post a copy of them here as well.

    Or perhaps, if you are so sure of yourself, you could answer Steve Mc’s request for an engineering level study on the AGW evidence – all assumptions explicitly stated, all likely variations noted, all decisions with written justifications (with extracts and references). Sure, it would need to run to several thousand pages, but it certainly looks like no-one has been able to produce such a document yet. How can this be, SJT? How can a large proportion of the worlds govts be moving to change the whole basis of their energy systems without such a document? It would be completely unacceptable for pretty much anything else – in govt or for a private company. Bear in mind, I’m not suggesting that such a document would need to be correct in every detail, but something that lays everything out in such a fashion would be invaluable to “the cause”, don’t you think? Odd then, that it doesn’t seem to exist, innit?

    Odd too, that in Steve Mc’s latest series of posts, he documents – once again – that a paper published in a journal whose policies specifically state that data must be made available to any interested reader as a condition of publication, is being deliberately and willfully withheld by the author. Why would you do that? Perhaps it’s so that by the time you have to relent and make the data available, “the team” can suggest that they’ve “moved on”, and that it “doesn’t matter”. Of course, the press release over-represents the findings, but it’s being done for the “right” reason, innit? Does not this sort of behaviour raise a red flag for you? Doesn’t it concern you that these people are distorting the science to suit their agenda? I mean, even if you agree with their agenda, that’s just asking for trouble, innit? Sorry, but I just don’t “get” this sort of behaviour – it’s political, it’s anti-science, it’s… it’s just bloody amazing that they get away with it, frankly. The whole “denialist” side is actually growing, in large part, because of this sort of thing! Why don’t you call them on it?

  38. Comment from: sod


    Neil, i agree with you on editing posts.

    but the problem is a difficult one. you need a method to stop the spam. (watch this topic and Girma on deltoid)

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/08/matthew_england_challenges_the.php#c1951317

    wattsup has an extremely hard line on opposing views. there is hardly a single “sceptic” comment among thousands of replies.

    i never had a problem while posting on CA.

    i like what Jennifer is doing, but i don t know whether that is possible on a bigger site.

  39. Comment from: Tim Curtin


    Dear all, I have no claims to perfection. Could sod kindly explain that if as Wiki says, one Watt equals one joule (J) of energy per second, what does the IPCC’s RF of 1.7 Watts per sq. metre p.a. mean?

  40. Comment from: Louis Hisssink


    Sod,

    Perhaps you should do some homework – there is far more opposition to plate tectonics, fossil fuel etc than you seem aware of. You are simply a gullible supporter of institutionalised science hiding behand a pen name, to boot.

    And I am not being laughed at by the way, perhaps among the crowd you associate but as I said before, do some research on the topic before digging yourself further into the hole.

  41. Comment from: Louis Hissink


    SOD,

    I am in good company – mainstream science is pure Lyellianism.

    “Charles Lyell was a lawyer by profession, and his book [Principles of Geology, 1830-1833] is one of the most brilliant briefs ever published by an advocate … Lyell relied upon true bits of cunning to establish his uniformitarian views as the only true geology. First, he set up a straw man to demolish … In fact, the catastrophists were much more empirically minded than Lyell. The geologic record does seem to require catastrophes: rocks are fractured and contorted; whole faunas are wiped out. To circumvent this literal appearance, Lyell imposed his imagination upon the evidence. The geologic record, he argued, is extremely imperfect and we must interpolate into it what we can reasonably infer but cannot see. The catastrophists were the hard-nosed empiricists of their day, not the blinded theological apologists.”

    Stephen Jay Gould, “Catastrophes and Steady-State Earth”,
    in Natural History, February, 1975, pp. 16, 17.

    “Gradualism was never ‘proved from the rocks’ by Lyell and Darwin, but was rather imposed as a bias upon nature. …has had a profoundly negative impact by stifling hypotheses and by closing the minds of a profession toward reasonable empirical alternatives to the dogma of gradualism. …Lyell won with rhetoric what he could not carry with data.”

    Gould, S. J., Toward the vindication of punctuational change.
    In: W. A. BERGGREN & J. A. VAN COUVERING (Eds.):
    Catastrophes and Earth History: The New Uniformitarianism,
    Princeton University Press, Princeton (New Jersey), pp. 14-16, 1984.

    «…I have been trying to show how I think geology got into the hands of the theoreticians who were conditioned by the social and political history of their day more than by observation in the field…In other words, we have allowed ourselves to be brain-washed into avoiding any interpretation of the past that involves extreme and what might be termed “catastrophic” processes».

    Ager, D. V., The Nature of the Stratigraphical Record,
    The Macmillan Press Ltd, London, pp. 46-47, 1981.”

  42. Comment from: peterd


    Tim C: “Could sod kindly explain that if as Wiki says, one Watt equals one joule (J) of energy per second, what does the IPCC’s RF of 1.7 Watts per sq. metre p.a. mean?”
    Tim, where does the IPCC quote this number and units?

  43. Comment from: peterd


    Tim, as it appears the mob has moved onto another topic, then it appears that I am left to answer my own question. I really think that the IPCC does not quote any such datum as ” 1.7 Watts per sq. metre p.a.”. What the IPCC says is that 1.7 W/m^2 is the net radiative forcing, since the beginning of industrialisation, due to the extra GHGs. There is no “p.a.” in there at all. This is just the usual carelessness that I am so accustomed to seeing at this site.

  44. Comment from: peterd


    Tim C,
    I am glad I did not waste my Saturday, much of which was spent listening to our ABC’s symphonic offerings, or even my Sunday, spent mostly with my kids, on the nonsense pursued in this thread.

    I remain puzzled by your quixotic attempt to “prove” that your own personal energy use is far more important than the radiative forcing due to CO2. It seems plain to me that you have never even attempted a comparison of the total world energy use with the power involved in radiative processes in the earth’s atmosphere. Were you to do so, you would surely come to the conclusion that the radiative forcing far outweighs the energy-use, as also suggested by Neil Fisher. Let’s do what physicists call a “back-of-envelope calculation”, and run through some numbers, to compare the total radiative forcing, in watts, with the average power generated by people, over the whole Earth.
    The surface area of the Earth is 5.1 x 10^14 m^2.
    The total RF due to additional CO2, at 1.7 W.m^-2, is therefore 8.7 x 10^14 W.
    Energy data for the world can be found in the BP statistical review.
    http://www.bp.com/productlanding.do?categoryId=6929&contentId=7044622

    For 2008, the world total was approx. 11,300 million tonnes oil equivalent.
    Conversion factor: One million tonnes oil equiv. heat is 42 gigajoules.
    Total energy (J) = 11,300 x 10^6 x 42 x 10^9 = 4.74 x 10^20.
    The average power consumption, in W, is therefore this number divided by the seconds per year.
    The result is 1.5 x 10^13 W.
    As can be seen, this is very much smaller than the radiative forcing.

  45. Comment from: peterd


    Somebody needs to do something about the formatting of these pages. The way I view them (with IE), the text is gradually moving outside the grey borderline, producing an ungainly vertical line through the text, as we scroll down the posts. Ugh!

  46. Comment from: derek smith


    That’s your problem Petard, you should be using a Mac and Firefox.

  47. Comment from: Rob Spooner


    I’m a skeptic and as such, it bothers me to read someone who shares my position support it with nonsense. Tim Curtin’s pathetic inability to handle units is an embarrassment.

    Those who think ClimateAudit should also debunk anti-AGW nonsense misunderstand the role of that site, which is to take serious research and detect subtle errors. Gross errors both pro and con are assumed to be obvious to the readers without assistance. There’s a certain quality control threshold, and people who can’t distinguish kilowatts from kilowatt-hours don’t rise above it.

  48. Comment from: Tim Curtin


    Thanks peterd: but (with ht to Mike Hammer) your and my 60 watt bulb consumes 60 joules per second. In the case of the earth we need to talk about power density and energy density because the power is not a property of a discrete object like our light bulb. Instead it is distributed over a surface so that the amount received depends on the area being considered.. Thus we talk about watts/sqM and joules/sqM. In this case the IPCC’s 1.66 watts/sqM (at AR4, WG1, p.141) means that about 36 sq meters of the earth’s surface will be receiving the same power as consumed by our 60 Watt light bulb over one sq.metre.

    That means for a given area with respect to power consumption, the ratio is not as you have it, but 36:1 in my favour, not your 56:1 in favour of RF. That is why the UHI effect outweighs the IPCC’s RF of 1.66/sq.metre for any given urban area, and why the RF has no visible impact on temperature at Mauna Loa, even if the Observatory there probably covers say 5000 sq metres. The BP energy figure you cite is restricted to a very small portion of the globe at any given time.

    BTW, like you I enjoyed the Symphonic countdown although I did not agree with the No.1 – Beethoven’s 9th should have been out front.

    But dear oh dear, I fear I may still be embarrassing Rob Spooner.

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