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Climate Hustle

The contradictory nature of global warming skepticism

Posted on 11 September 2010 by dana1981

A major challenge in conversing with anthropogenic global warming (AGW) skeptics is that they constantly seem to move the goalposts and change their arguments.  As a consequence, they also frequently contradict themselves.  One day they'll argue the current global warming is caused by the Sun, the next that it's "natural cycles", the next that the planet is actually cooling, and the next day they'll say the surface temperature record is unreliable, so we don't even know what the global temperature is.  This is why Skeptical Science has such an extensive skeptic argument list.

It should be obvious that the arguments listed above all contradict each other, yet they're often made by the same skeptics.  As one prominent example, in 2003 physicist and skeptic Fred Singer was arguing that the planet wasn't warming, yet in 2007 he published a book arguing that the planet is warming due to a 1,500-year natural cycle.  You can't have it both ways!

It's a testament to the robustness of the AGW theory that skeptics can't seem to decide what their objection to it is.  If there were a flaw in the theory, then every skeptic would pounce on it and make a consistent argument, rather than the current philosophy which seems to be "throw everything at the wall and see what sticks."

It would behoove AGW skeptics to decide exactly what their objection to the scientific theory is, because then it would be easier to engage in a serious discussion, rather than the current situation where we're basically playing whack-a-mole with the favored skeptic argument of the day, which totally contradicts the favored skeptic argument from yesterday.

Just as one example, you can't argue that the Sun is causing global warming and that climate sensitivity is low.   Solar output has only increased by about 0.1% over the past century, and the way you determine the associated global temperature change is to multiply the change in solar radiative forcing by the climate sensitivity factor.  So they only way you could argue for a significant solar warming would be if climate sensitivity is high.  You just can't have it both ways - if climate sensitivity is low, it's not just low with respect to greenhouse gases, it's also low to solar activity, orbital variations, volcanic emissions, etc.  And if it's low, then the Sun has caused less than 0.1°C of the 0.8°C warming over the past century.  Similarly, arguing for a low climate sensitivity contradicts the climate has changed before argument for the same reason.  If climate sensitivity is low, it will prevent significant climate changes regardless of the cause, whether they be anthropogenic or solar or some other natural forcing.

If you want to argue that the warming is due to a natural cycle, then pick a specific natural cycle and research it.  Make sure there's a scientific basis to your argument.  For example, don't argue that it's due to a 1,500-year cycle when the planet wasn't warming 1,500 years ago!  But most importantly, don't contradict yourself by claiming that the planet isn't warming the next day.  These kinds of flip-flops are common on Anthony Watts' blog, which had a very schizophrenic six month period:

And that's when he's not arguing that the surface temperature record is so contaminated that we don't even know if the planet is warming.  Or that this supposedly unreliable data shows cooling.

But until skeptics start making some consistent arguments, Skeptical Science has set up a page listing all the skeptic arguments that contradict each other in order to make the mole whacking a little easier.

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Comments 151 to 200 out of 353:

  1. what WOULD be acceptable for those that believe in man-made warming

    HadCRUt is made up on land and sea temperature measurements only. Even if the temperature stayed level or cooled over a statistically significant period, but measurements of, say, ocean heat content continued to increase, I'd find that unconvincing.

    The case for anthropogenic warming is based on multiple converging lines of evidence. It simply does not follow that looking at a limited subset of one measurement can throw the whole thing into question. I know you're not claiming to be rational, so this critique is not aimed at you. You asked; I'm answering.
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  2. Baz,

    This is getting tiresome. The 0.1 decrease on the pH scale is what has been observed to date for a 40% (or so) increase in CO2, and we are easily going to double CO2 this century. The pH is going to continue to decline, a concern given that the impacts stemming from that relatively small decrease are already being felt . The lowering of pH is going to be yet another stress on marine life (i.e., cumulative impacts). There are plenty of useful resource son the web from reputable groups doing research into this issue. There are also some helpful links on this very site. I encourage you to get past your dislike of the term (as I did) and view the science with an unbiased eye.

    It took me quite some time to formulate my questions to you on global records, please do reply when you have a chance.

    If not, fine, but you should know that most of your objections/complaints etc. have been addressed by John and others on this very site, so there is no need to deal with them on this thread b/c as far as I can tell they are off topic.
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  3. I see this article has generated a lot of comments. No surprise there. But where there is a surprise is this: none of the comments home in on WHY the 'skeptics' rest content with such glaring contradictions.

    The answer is all too simple: stark and simple. The 'skeptics' have figured out what eludes many readers of Skeptical Science": they have figured out that their target audience doesn't care about the contradictions.

    "How can this be", the reader may justifiably wonder? The answer to that is also stark: the average citizen/voter in their target audience has never learned the value of logical/critical reasoning. Instead, to the extent that they think about it at all, they think that illogical arguments are perfectly OK, as long as they mesh with your feelings. It doesn't matter to them that their feelings are uninformed, and formed in an uninformed environment. They never read the saying of Ben Franklin, "He who rides a passion rides a mad horse". Nor does it matter to them that entire industries have arisen to take advantage of the gullibility such an acceptance of the illogical implies.

    Nor did they ever read about the theorem Aristotle first proved concerning the vanity of allowing contradiction: if you allow one logical statement to be both true and false, then ALL of them must be both true and false.

    But without ever leaning of either of these two principles, is it really any wonder they are content to remain in their fantasy lands? It is no source of wonder to me. The ideas of the "Age of Reason" never really did sink that deeply into the larger society's consciousness, and that Age is long over now anyway. We are now in an age of a new irrationality.

    But that is exactly why I gave the link a few weeks back for one of the first 'scientific' works on the subject of persuading such an audience, The Rhetoric of Aristotle. For despite being such a supreme logician himself, having practically invented the first Logic single-handed, he understood that the rhetorician's target audience is highly illogical -- and ironically, did a brilliant job of logically analyzing their psychology and the techniques to persuade them of the truth.

    There were, of course, other authors on rhetoric who taught their readers how to persuade of whatever conclusion -- true or not. But I won't mention their execrable names here;)

    So yet again: if you REALLY want to write persuasive articles to defeat the propaganda campaign, you MUST read this book -- and others that have built on his insights ever since.
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  4. Baz #106

    I did answer your question, but rather than framing an explicit answer, I answered in terms of other questions. This was an attempt to encourage you to clarify your position (Socratic Method if you like). At the moment, with the information you've given me, I fear that your point of view is subject to inconsistencies, and/or shallow thinking. (Nothing personal, this is the kind of language used in scientific debates from time to time).
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  5. Re: pbjamm (146), Baz (many comments)
    "I have been lurking on this site for 1+ years now and have never felt the need to make my voice heard before. Now I am going to defend Baz."
    I'm going to take a cue from Chris Canaris and agree with you.

    While I certainly feel Baz is mistaken in his beliefs WRT the science of AGW, and that his position that 5 years is enough time to consider AGW having stopped is not supported by the evidence, being wrong and under-informed should not be enough for the "Troll" appellation to be hung on him.

    Skeptic, yes. Skeptic-transitioning-to-denier, maybe. Troll, not yet.

    If, in forthcoming comments, he cannot iterate a science-based foundation to his skepticism, I will reconsider this judgment.

    For now I will continue to consider him a seeker of knowledge. Unless he ceases seeking.

    Until that time, I will welcome any science-based interpretation of the available evidence.

    But I also expect someone presenting what they consider a robust, physics-based alternative to the current thinking on AGW to forthwith seek publication of their postulate in a reputable peer-reviewed journal.

    The Yooper
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  6. Baz,

    The word "believe" belongs in a church or a masjid, not in science. Belief is based on faith, not on observation and analysis. Scientists do not "believe" in a given theory; they "accept" the theory given a preponderance of evidence.

    We accept AGW theory because of the overwhelming empirical evidence which validates the theory. We do not believe in it.
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  7. Matt J
    Excellent post. Beyond the logic and the structured argument, another useful system for understanding why people choose to believe what they feel, rather than accept what the evidence tells them, is Myers-Briggs (M-B). According to M-B, only 16% of humanity is of the type they call "rationals" - for good reason. So those 16% are willing/able to look at the facts and come to logical conclusions. The other 86% MAY come to the logical conclusion, but they probably won't come to it using strict logical analysis. About half will use their feeling - even to decide scientific questions (perhaps Baz is in this category?).

    For the other half, the issue itself doesn't matter - only how it impacts their life.

    So you can see that just structuring a logical, fact based argument doesn't get you very far (16% BEST case). One also has to appeal to feelings - "how will you feel when there is no polar bear habitat left?" and to practical concerns - "how will it affect you when all of lower Manhattan is under water?"

    Hopefully the idea comes through my terrible examples above.

    Sadly, logic alone won't sway the masses. And the vast majority of the climate scientists are M-B rationals - and they literally don't know any other way to interact with the world. Witness the frustration of trying to communicate with Baz on this site.

    Tom

    PS - kudos to Daniel Bailey and pbjamm - Baz I hope you will use the opportunity to actually learn. Get beyond feelings and beliefs and begin to understand the science. We would all like for AGW to be a disproved theory - but if you come at it scientifically - it is very hard to see a path out from under AGW - other than changing human behavour.
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  8. @Trueofvoice: "We accept AGW theory because of the overwhelming empirical evidence which validates the theory. We do not believe in it."

    Very well put.
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  9. Baz,

    I put some time into answering your question quantitatively and with a thought through argument.

    Your response was "that's fair enough" but you continue to say you do not accept the world is warming.

    This is contradictory, UNLESS you also share your rationale why.

    If you're not prepared to do that, then you are trolling - simply putting up provocative questions in order to elicit a response, without having the respect to engage.

    So please, show you are not trolling, and given the answers myself and others have provided on your specific question as to how long the temperature record would need to show a falling trend, tell us not just THAT you disagree but WHY you do.
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  10. archiesteel (#116) The roughly 200 polar bears killed (out of about 2000 around Baffin Bay) is in the link on the polar bear thread. About 100 were permitted (from another source), the rest poached.
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  11. Hello all. As I said before, you'll have to be patient on replies as I get precious little time to 'play'. However, I wanted to try and stop something which I've witnessed seems to happen on AGW forums so often. Please stop saying things that I haven't said! VeryTallGuy does it again above. Where VTG, do I say that I "do not accept the world is warming"? Let me state yet again, I DO NOT accept that there is sufficient evidence to show that we WILL get warming as a result of our emissions. I have even stated that I accept the physics behind it(!), and at NO POINT do I say that I do not accept the world is warming. Please people, read someone's posting before writing.

    I do not see how we can state that positive feedbacks will occur to dramatically warm the planet, when we don't understand - and cannot adequately model - the climate system. Please understand that I'm not trying to frustrate or argue a 'sceptic' point, I'm saying that as we don't understand the system then modelling and analysis is little good. I lean toward ocean circulation patterns determining our climate, and look forward to see what changes in the PDO/AMO bring in the next 20 years.

    Trueofvoice. Sorry, but I do not accept that at all, not one bit. Read conclusions on scientific papers and they are littered with "we believe". Science is rife with "we believe".

    actuallythoughtful. In order to win over people like me it's necessary to be realistic. I'm middle-aged, and I've seen a few scare stories come and go. Each time we're treated to 'Scientists say that the effect could see millions die' - that effect never happens! It's incumbent upon scientists to be truthful, to let journalists know the truth without putting any emphasis on the worst-case scenario. I agree that's very difficult (having been a journalist many years ago). The ridiculous comments that have been made about the Arctic is classic.

    kdkd 154, no offence taken. Shallow thinking maybe, but I can reasonably analyse and decide. As I say above, I've seen a lot of "we're doomed" in my life, and the only thing that really concerns me is an asteroid hit, nothing else. Even massive population is workable.

    Albatross, re: acidify. If you run a bath of saline water and you add a teaspoon of sugar, you haven't 'sweetened' it - do you see? On the wider issue (and the subject of this thread) this is what turns the public off. You should not use terms, nor scare stories, that are just not applicable. The whole idea of AGW is suffering from this. Tell us the most likely, tell us the truth about computer models, tell us the incomprehensibility of the climate system. THAT we can understand. We don't swallow "we're doomed". Having seen Hansen's Scenarios we know he got it wrong. Admit it! Sometimes, listening to scientists, it's remarkably like listening to politicians. Now that's a sad state of affairs, isn't it? Science has always been riddled with egos and personality, now we've thrown dependent-grants into it. But to return to my point to you, stop callig it ocean-acidification - IT ISN'T!

    Will return when I can.
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  12. Baz wrote : "We don't swallow "we're doomed". Having seen Hansen's Scenarios we know he got it wrong. Admit it! Sometimes, listening to scientists, it's remarkably like listening to politicians. Now that's a sad state of affairs, isn't it? Science has always been riddled with egos and personality, now we've thrown dependent-grants into it."


    You really are going through all the tactics of the so-called skeptics, aren't you ?

    First you claim to have been a "believer".

    Then you claim to have stopped 'believing' because of a 5 year period of...well, something that made sense to you - you still haven't explained anything about the reasons, beyond generalisations.

    Then you claim to be here to see what the "believers' think - forgetting that you claim that you used to be one, of course.

    Now you identify yourself with the common people or something : "WE don't...", "WE know...".

    Plus, you make a claim about Hanson (one of the bogeymen to the so-called skeptics), without trying to explain what it is you are trying to claim.

    Finally you equate scientists with politicians, so you can belittle them in comparison, and you bring in the old chestnut of all that lovely money being wasted on grants to the scientists who believe - who are producing studies only so they can get rich quick and join in that great big conspiracy.

    You are busted.


    Oh, and to help you out with your difficulty over acknowledging ocean-acidification, perhaps you might like to attend this, where all will be explained :


    A consortium of institutions and organizations from Monterey, California has successfully bid to host the third symposium on The Ocean in a High-CO2 World in autumn 2012. The symposium aims to attract more than 300 of the world’s leading scientists to discuss the impacts of ocean acidification on marine organisms, ecosystems, and biogeochemical cycles. It will also cover socio-economic consequences of ocean acidification, including policy and management implications.

    The symposium is sponsored by the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR), Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, and International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), which selected the Monterey consortium from eight bids to host the meeting. The international Planning Committee is led by Prof. Dr. Ulf Riebesell of the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences (Germany), and the local organization is led by Dr. Jim Barry of Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and supported by a consortium of institutions.

    The symposium is the third in a series and will build on the successes of the Paris and Monaco symposia in 2004 and 2008, respectively. The Paris meeting was seminal in identifying the magnitude of ocean acidification for marine ecosystems and the outcomes of the Monaco symposium, focusing on the advances in knowledge of the affects on marine organisms, also made an impact on a broader audience through a Summary for Policymakers and the Monaco Declaration.



    Hang on, the UN are involved : must be a conspiracy, right ?
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  13. Baz,

    More off-topic comments. This thread is about "The contradictory nature of global warming skepticism".

    Re Hansen's predictions being wrong. I'm afraid that assessment (made on contrarian pseudo-science blogs) has been shown to be wrong. Early projections by Manabe et al. (1992) and Hansen (1988) have been shown to be remarkably good given the knowledge, fairly limited sophistication of the models at the time, and assumptions that had to be made about GHG emissions.

    Dr. Gavin Schmidt at RealClimate concluded:

    "My assessment is that the model results were as consistent with the real world over this period as could possibly be expected and are therefore a useful demonstration of the model’s consistency with the real world. Thus when asked whether any climate model forecasts ahead of time have proven accurate, this comes as close as you get."

    You can read more about Hansen's projection for yourself here at SS, or at RealClimate.

    As for ocean acidification, I'm afraid whatever you might believe is the correct terminology is irrelevant. Like I said before, but which you seem to have ignored, for better or worse, that is the term the EXPERTS use....deal with it. If you have an issue email NOAA-PMEL, WHOI, Scripps etc. Even better, write a paper in a peer-reviewed journal making your case why they are wrong.

    I could address a bunch of other misguided comments that you have (about uncertainty and internal climate modes, for example), but that would ALSO be off topic. Please go to the appropriate thread for each of your arguments--you will see that your concerns and "arguments" have been addressed before. Thanks.
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  14. You make excellent points though...but one small nit pick, it is Hansen.

    JMurphy, I'm beginning to think "concern troll".
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  15. #161 Baz at 00:17 AM on 15 September, 2010
    I've seen a lot of "we're doomed" in my life, and the only thing that really concerns me is an asteroid hit, nothing else.

    Why, a supervolcano comes close. It happens more often and can hit hard.

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  16. @Eric: you have still to provide concrete evidence that hunting represents a bigger threat to the global polar bear population than climate change.

    Hunting also doesn't explain why polar bears are venturing further south - into brown bear territory - than they've done before. In fact, it doesn't make sense that bears would risk getting closer to such an existential threat if that was the case.
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  17. Baz,

    Thanks for the clairification. As I can't put all the comments on one page here, it's too hard to search all yours for precisely what you said, but it was along the lines of:

    "I stopped believing in AGW when the blue line went down", followed by "fair enough, but I still don't accept AGW" which I read as not accepting continued warming was compatible with the temperature data.

    So to be clear:

    1) You do accept that the earth is warming and that the surface temperature record supports this
    2) You don't accept that the earth will continue to warm

    In order for these not to be in contradiction (the point of the article) you need to

    1) Reconcile the current warming with something other than an anthropogenic source
    2) Predict that the alternative source of heat has or is about to stop.

    I'd love to hear your response !

    VTG
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  18. archiesteel, my response was on the polar bear thread basically that hunting 10% of a bear population per year makes all other hypothetical threats moot. My main point for bringing it up is giving a complete (not one-sided) depiction of the problem.
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  19. @Baz "If you run a bath of saline water and you add a teaspoon of sugar, you haven't 'sweetened' it - do you see?"

    Actually, you *have* sweetened it, in the sense you've made it a bit sweeter.

    "Sweet" is not a binary state, i.e. sweet/non-sweet. Sweetness, like the pH value, is a continuum. So if I put a little bit of sugar in my spaghetti sauce, I'm sweetening it, even though it'll still be more salty than sweet.

    Similarly, if you're lowering the pH, you're making it more acidic (i.e. you're increasing the number of hydrogen ions), even though it's still a base.

    Again, if you have an alternative to the scientifically-accepted term "acidification," please share it with us.

    "However, I wanted to try and stop something which I've witnessed seems to happen on AGW forums so often."

    Nice way to show your bias here. Putting words into soemone else's mouth is much more prevalent on anti-AGW forums than on a scientifically-oriented site such as this one. The fact you feel this is mostly a feature of AGW forums illustrates selective bias. Try to be more objective.

    "I DO NOT accept that there is sufficient evidence to show that we WILL get warming as a result of our emissions."

    Well, let me use your rhetorical tactic and as you how much (and which) evidence would convince you that increased CO2 will increase the warming? Right now, it appears you simply don't *want* to consider evidence that supports AGW theory.

    "Each time we're treated to 'Scientists say that the effect could see millions die' "

    Do you have repeated examples of such claims? It seems to me you're engaging in hyperbole, here. How about the claims made by contrarians that transitioning away from fossil fuels would cause millions to die? Are you also skeptical of these?

    "I do not see how we can state that positive feedbacks will occur to dramatically warm the planet, when we don't understand - and cannot adequately model - the climate system"

    The fact is we understand it better than you seem to believe. That's why GCM predictions, by and large, have been confirmed by observation.

    "We don't swallow "we're doomed"."

    Don't say "we." You're only speaking for yourself, here.

    "Having seen Hansen's Scenarios we know he got it wrong. Admit it!"

    Really? Care to provide some evidence?

    "Sometimes, listening to scientists, it's remarkably like listening to politicians. Now that's a sad state of affairs, isn't it? Science has always been riddled with egos and personality, now we've thrown dependent-grants into it."

    When all else fails, attack the integrity of scientists, right?

    There's no indication that grants are dependent on a research's outcome. Additionally, since you claim scientists are ego-driven, then if someone was making false claims other reputable scientists would quickly show how he's wrong. Yet, we have a near-consensus...how could that be?

    I'm sorry, but your arguments aren't convincing, nor did you adequately respond to the (polite) counter-arguments you've been presented with. You have to approach this in a more rational manner, which means you first have to accept that changing your belief about AGW based on a five-year period is an irrational decision.
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  20. @Eric: "archiesteel, my response was on the polar bear thread basically that hunting 10% of a bear population per year makes all other hypothetical threats moot."

    A single population out of 19 surveyed. As I said, you're cherry-picking in order to minimize the threat climate change poses to polar bears, and ignore my other points (such as bears migrating further south, with at least one recorded instance of a polar bear-brown bear mating).

    That said, I still can't find the mention of 200 hunted in the Baffin Bay area in the links you provided. Can you repost it and indicate where the figure is in the article?
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  21. archiesteel, from http://pbsg.npolar.no/en/status/status-table.html. That "single" population is the worst by percentage, but smaller populations like Western Hudson Bay can't sustain a harvest of 44 out of 1000 either. If I am supposedly "minimizing" the CC threat, the other thread is deceptive by leaving out hunting entirely.
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  22. Baz,

    The intransitive of "believe" has two uses: One is to have firm religious conviction; the other is to have an opinion based on thought, meaning "acceptance". The papers in which you will see the word believe will invariably qualify it, as in "We believe a continued downward trend in ice volume is likely". This is called acceptance. No scientist will "believe" in a theory as absolutely true.

    You have stated, "I stopped believing in AGW when the blue line went down". This essentially means your belief was based on nothing (akin to religious faith), as a five-year trend is simply insufficient to draw conclusions from.

    Answer me this question: does a five-year period outweigh 130 years of increasing temperatures?
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  23. Eric #171, as I pointed out there, the 'other thread' was a response to skeptic claims that polar bear numbers are increasing. They cited a 2006 study showing polar bear populations decreasing due to habitat loss. Leaving out that hunting also reduces polar bear numbers is in no way "deceptive" in a thread aimed at countering claims that numbers are INcreasing.

    That said, the very site you reference says, "Annual harvest is between 500 and 700 bears or 2-3% of the world population of about 25,000 bears and is thought to be sustainable."

    The total polar bear harvest is thought to be sustainable. They have concerns that individual sub-populations are currently over-hunted, but the quotas are adjusted regularly to address such problems. Over hunting would be a problem if there were no controls in place to stop it. Since there are, and the total polar bear population increased for decades under those hunting controls, it is simply insupportable to claim that hunting is a primary cause of declining polar bear numbers over the past few decades. Habitat loss is a very different story - in that it has caused those trends of increasing polar bear numbers to stop and now reverse and we can't just 'set a new quota' to fix it.
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  24. CBDunkerson, the site says that in various sub-populations hunting is a problem (e.g. Davis Strait), and warming in others (e.g. WHB). Clearly if the total harvest is sustainable, then climate change is too on a total basis (since it is only a factor for some sub-populations).

    The deceptive part is that populations are declining as a whole because of hunting as the primary factor. Climate change is secondary along with other factors especially when you count climate change as a benefit for some sub-populations. The deceptive part is that the entire hunting discussion is missing as if it doesn't exist.
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  25. OT, but can we please refrain from using the word "harvest". Not to be pedantic, but wee harvest things that we plant like crops and trees in plantations (i.e., not old growth). We most definitely do not "harvest" polar bears. It is a polar bear hunt.

    This term has slowly crept into the literature overt the years (thanks to industry reports if I recall correctly), to the point that even conservation and wildlife biologists are now using it. Sigh.
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  26. Trueofvoice 172: No, it does not, but 95 years of that was rising solar factors. Only since 1975 (according to Tamino) have we been significantly influencing the climate. [From this site: Early 20th century warming was in large part due to rising solar activity and relatively quiet volcanic activity. However, both factors have played little to no part in the warming since 1975]

    VeryTallGuy...
    "1) You do accept that the earth is warming and that the surface temperature record supports this
    2) You don't accept that the earth will continue to warm

    In order for these not to be in contradiction (the point of the article) you need to

    1) Reconcile the current warming with something other than an anthropogenic source
    2) Predict that the alternative source of heat has or is about to stop."

    1. Surely (in science) just because we cannot attribute warming to anything else, doesn't leave CO2 etc. does it? Is correlation causation? In fact, there is no correlation though, is there?

    2. The Earth hasn't continued to warm significantly. I'm happy to accept bumps in temps along the way, but we have had 10 years now of remarkably stable temperatures.
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    0.49? (2010)
    How so - against ever-increasing emissions of CO2 and methane? Why isn't the temperature rising Guy? This is exactly why I came on here. I wanted to know what would it take for man-made global warming to be falsified?...Is it, for example, a 10-year long downturn in global temps, or a 10-year period of reduced ocean temps?

    I think we settled on a period of 15-20 years. We're 10 years into that. Not only that but there's been no cooling from any volcanism in that 10-year period. With increasing CO2 we should surely see that mercury rising, shouldn't we Guy? What's happened to the heat? I'd love to hear your response!

    Albatross. Quote realclimate again and I'll counter with Lord Monckton!

    JMurphy. Not worthy of a response, I'm afraid. But if you want to re-write that in a more-polite manner, then I'd be happy to.
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  27. just because we cannot attribute warming to anything else, doesn't leave CO2 etc. does it? Is correlation causation? In fact, there is no correlation though, is there?

    No, correlation is not causation. Greenhouse forcing is not merely correlated with warming, it has certain characteristics which can and have been experimentally shown to account for warming. Satellites have measured less heat escaping to space at the wavelengths which are known - through proven principles of physics - to be absorbed by GHGs. Instruments on the Earth's surface have measured thermal radiation commensurate with that absorbed energy, showing that it is being added to the energy balance of the Earth.

    With increasing CO2 we should surely see that mercury rising, shouldn't we Guy? What's happened to the heat?

    Ocean heat content is still rising. So as I'd said before, merely looking at a small portion of one set of data is not sufficient cause to conclude that warming is not occurring, or that the current state of understanding is wrong.

    what would it take for man-made global warming to be falsified?...Is it, for example, a 10-year long downturn in global temps, or a 10-year period of reduced ocean temps? I think we settled on a period of 15-20 years. We're 10 years into that.

    As noted, ocean heat content is not decreasing, so even your assertion fails on its face. As I'd also said before, the understanding of global climate change is based on multiple converging lines of evidence. Even if one were to posit that a five- or ten-year drop in surface temperature measurements was statistically significant, you'd still have to contend with the other lines of evidence (ocean heat content, downward radiation at CO2 absorption wavelengths, faster warming at night than during the day, etc.) which indicate warming.

    So your question has been asked and answered. May I be permitted a question of my own? What evidence would you find convincing of a human fingerprint on global climate change?
    0 0
  28. "Quote realclimate again and I'll counter with Lord Monckton"

    Umm, a reference to realclimate is to the opinion of working, publishing climate scientists, carefully referenced to published works. You seriously believe that Monckton's fantasies are of equal worth?

    You value clueless amateurs over publishing professionals?
    0 0
  29. @Eric: "That "single" population is the worst by percentage, but smaller populations like Western Hudson Bay can't sustain a harvest of 44 out of 1000 either."

    That is a bit above the 2-3% that is considered sustainable, but nowhere does it claim the number reductions are due to hunting alone. In fact, details about the WHB region seem to indicate that most of the decline is due to climate change, not over-harvesting:

    "Between 1987 and 2004, WH declined from 1194 (95% CI = 1020, 1368) in 1987 to 935 (95% CI = 794, 1076) in 2004, a reduction of about 22% (Regehr et al. 2007). In particular, the survival of cubs, sub-adults, and old bears were negatively correlated with the date of breakup, i.e., the earlier the breakup, the poorer the survival and conversely. Before 1998 the subpopulation had apparently remained stable (Stirling et al. 1999), indicating that, prior to the onset of a decline brought about by the negative effects of climate warming, the annual harvest of approximately 50 bears had been sustainable."

    http://pbsg.npolar.no/en/status/populations/western-hudson-bay.html

    "The deceptive part is that populations are declining as a whole because of hunting as the primary factor."

    You haven't established that as a fact. Please provide concrete evidence that the biggest cause of overall declining numbers is over-harvesting.

    "Climate change is secondary along with other factors"

    That's not what the research you linked to suggests.

    "especially when you count climate change as a benefit for some sub-populations."

    How are polar bear populations benefitting from climate change, exactly? Do you have evidence for this, or is it one more of your faulty assumptions?

    "The deceptive part is that the entire hunting discussion is missing as if it doesn't exist."

    Actually, as I've shown above, the research *does* take hunting into account. Only, there's no indication that the hunting by itself had a negative impact on bear population, while it's becoming increasingly clear that climate change does.

    In other words, you've been shown wrong. The right thing to do at this point would be for you to admit it so we can all move on.

    Also, I'm noting you (once again) completely ignoring the reality of bears venturing further inland than before (and increasingly foraying in human settlements).
    0 0
  30. @Baz: "The Earth hasn't continued to warm significantly. I'm happy to accept bumps in temps along the way, but we have had 10 years now of remarkably stable temperatures."

    Only if you cherry-pick time frames. You have to realize that, if the last 10 years don't show "significant" warming, they also don't show "significant" stability. In fact, it shows *nothing* significantly. So your statement (that we've had remarkably stable temperatures) is just as incorrect as claiming there's been statistically significant warming over the past 10 years, significant cooling over the past 6 years, and dramatic warming since the past 4 years (even though the trend for the last 10 and 4 years has been positive, and the last 6 is negative).

    In other words, you cannot claim that we are in a cooling or stable period, because the signal-to-noise ratio is too low. Ergo, as long as you continue to make this claim you will be wrong (from a scientific point of view).

    "With increasing CO2 we should surely see that mercury rising, shouldn't we Guy? What's happened to the heat?"

    ...but we *are* seeing that mercury rising:
    Here are the trends for the last 10, 5, 4 and 3 years

    "Albatross. Quote realclimate again and I'll counter with Lord Monckton!"

    ...except Lord Monckton has been caught fabricating facts, while RealClimate hasn't. Careful, your bias is beginning to show...

    "JMurphy. Not worthy of a response, I'm afraid. But if you want to re-write that in a more-polite manner, then I'd be happy to."

    That's rather convenient, isn't it? We've shown you where you made a mistake (after you admitted yourself you weren't "rational", a strange admission to make in a scientific thread), and yet you insist on repeating the same debunked claims. How should we treat you, exactly?
    0 0
  31. @PDA: "What evidence would you find convincing of a human fingerprint on global climate change?"

    I already tried asking that question (or one quite similar) and didn't get an answer. I think this says a lot about Baz's intentions in posting these contrarian opinions.
    0 0
  32. archiesteel (#179), for WHB you are correct that the ice breakup date is more significant than hunting. The venturing of polar bears you seem to want me to talk about is anecdotal and speculative. For all other "very high risk of decline" populations (Baffin, Davis, Kane, etc) hunting is more important than ice breakup. The exceptions are SHB and WHB. In Norwegian Bay the problem is too much ice so breakup would help. The concrete evidence is written in each link in the left column of the status table.

    Contrary to your assertion that I am wrong about the research not taking hunting into account, I never said anything like that. What I said was that the thread I linked to leaves out the most important current detriment to polar bear sustainability (except along Hudson Bay). Not mentioned, not explained, nothing. In fact some of your protests and explanations should have been part of that thread. The credibility of the CAGW argument as a whole suffers when important facts (the most important facts) are left out.
    0 0
  33. @Eric: actually, of the three other examples you give, the only one where the decline *may* be related to over-harvesting is Kane.

    "The exceptions are SHB and WHB."

    ...and Baffin, Davis, Southern Beaufort Sea, etc. That's according to the link *you* provided.

    Again, you have failed to make the case that hunting is the main reason behind polar bear population decline.

    "The credibility of the CAGW argument as a whole suffers when important facts (the most important facts) are left out."

    What about the credibility of those who make claims without backing them up, or worse, who misrepresent the research of honest scientists?

    I think we're pretty much done, here.
    0 0
  34. Baz,

    I fear you're trying to prove the article correct.

    You seem to hold the simultaneous view that

    1) the last 10 years of data is a problem for the teory of AGW:

    "we have had 10 years now of remarkably stable temperatures."
    "With increasing CO2 we should surely see that mercury rising, shouldn't we Guy?"

    AND

    2) 15-20 years data is required to be significant:

    "I think we settled on a period of 15-20 years"

    Can you spot the contradiction ?
    0 0
  35. archiesteel (#183), you say "Again, you have failed to make the case that hunting is the main reason behind polar bear population decline."

    The populations you listed as not threatened by hunting (e.g Baffin Bay) clearly are. The reference I provided refers to studies by Taylor who says in a letter http://www.ff.org/centers/csspp/pdf/200701_taylor.pdf that Baffin Bay is "over-harvested" and the decline is "not due to climate change".

    Then you say "What about the credibility of those who make claims without backing them up, or worse, who misrepresent the research of honest scientists?"

    That's exactly what this site did at this thread http://www.skepticalscience.com/polar-bears-global-warming.htm where Dr. Taylor was "rebutted" with a "what the science says" innuendo which implied that Dr Taylor was not a scientist or at least not an knowledgeable of climate change which is false. He clearly describes all aspects of climate change and its impacts in his studies.
    0 0
  36. Albatross wrote : "JMurphy, I'm beginning to think "concern troll"."


    I think you are right. Baz is good proof that it's not just skeptical arguments that are contradictory - the so-called skeptics themselves are even worse.
    The strange thing is, though, that it is blindingly obvious what Baz is up to but he thinks no-one notices !
    0 0
  37. "I DO NOT accept that there is sufficient evidence to show that we WILL get warming as a result of our emissions."

    You seem to claim: as long as there is no absolute certainty, I don’t accept the evidence. Well, tough luck, the certainty is never going to be a 100%, not even after the earth has warmed up 6 degrees or more. It is always possible – although HIGHLY unlikely- that some revolutionary new theory is developed that conjures a whole new climate factor out of its hat to explain the current global warming. Until then we have to make do with the knowledge and understanding we have, assess the risks and act upon it.

    If there was even a 10% chance that your house will burn down, you would be alarmed and take immediate action (at least get a fire insurance). Now there is a 90% chance that due to CO2 emissions the climate will drastically change, making the earth possibly a hostile environment for life, you demand absolute certainty before taking action ?
    0 0
  38. Baz #161

    If your argument was reasonable, you would have answered my previous question. However, despite acknowledging it, you have made no attempt to answer. Therefore I declare your position as shallow, incoherent, and not based on the available evidence.
    0 0
  39. With regard to polar bears, has anyone posted a link to Polar Bears International ?


    The greatest challenge to the conservation of polar bears is ecological change in the Arctic resulting from climatic warming, according to the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG). [July 6, 2009, Copenhagen]
    0 0
  40. Paul Daniel Ashe (177) you ask: "What evidence would you find convincing of a human fingerprint on global climate change?"

    This may surprise you, though it won't if you've been reading my replies... Actually very little evidence. It's not so much of a "human fingerprint" as whether or not (even if we are causing it) that we need to be worried. I'm not convinced that the climate system will roll over at our emissions. All that I require is that global temperatures resume - that's it! As I said above, HadCRUt's last 10 years:
    0.40
    0.46
    0.47
    0.44
    0.48
    0.42
    0.40
    0.32
    0.44
    0.49? (2010)
    ...for me shows that we aren't getting worrying positive feedbacks. However, if those temperatures (that we were getting in the late 1990s) resume then I'll be back on board. As it stands I see no reason to worry. If heat is being absorbed by the oceans then we won't have to wait long. But if the warmth we have witnessed is nothing special, has happened recently before, is checked by the climate system, or is caused by ocean current patterns - then we have nothing to worry about.
    0 0
  41. Ann, see above.
    0 0
  42. kdkd 188. You say you posed a previous question. I clicked on that link of yours and the only question mark was against a sentence where you were 'wondering' something. If you have a question then please pose it. As you'll see going right back here, if there was a question presented in a polite way then I most likely answered it. If it was smart-assed, then I did not. Some people just like to read their own words, rather than engage in a worthy debate.
    0 0
  43. VeryTallGuy. Can you spot your own error? I was referring to the last 10 years temp as being remarkably stable. I read the (very) few answers I got from those here on what THEY believe is a reasonable period to show that AGW is 'not a problem'/'does not exist to any great degree'. It was THAT which is 15-20 years. You may have to read all the contributions again!
    0 0
  44. "Troll", "Strawman", and "Cherry-picking" so far. Oh dear! Now I know this site is better than that, because I've been reading it. Please people, I may frustrate you because I don't know as much as you, and I may fail to see your point, and I'm on the border of scepticism, but please try and not trot out the same tired old forum cliches. I won't answer your 'question' if you cannot write in a polite manner without using hackneyed phrases.
    0 0
  45. scaddenp 178. I don't value either of them!
    0 0
  46. Re: Baz (198, et al)

    I am on record as according you time to present your case, backed by references, before any label-attachments are made to your name. You haven't helped me out much. You cite one data source (HadCRU) which has the known weakness of omitting the Arctic, where other temperature series reflect the significant warming there. To form an opinion based on partial data doesn't reflect well on credibility. Hence some calling you out on a "cherry pick". The explanation that is best representative of the whole of the data is most credible.

    You also need to understand that, when dealing with noisy datasets such as temperature anomalies, short time series (5, 10, 15, 20 years) simply fail to achieve statistical significance relative to time series' of greater than 30 years or more length.

    The bare minimum, under theoretical optimum low-noise conditions, to achieve significance significance is 15 years (Tamino did a post on this some time back). The scientific consensus for significance in temperature changes is 30 years or more of data. Look it up.

    Help me out here and show you understand this much. No one here wants to see anyone come here and "not get it". We're here to help, that's why we try very hard to understand (we each have differing abilities in communication skillsets as well). This site is about outreach.

    You also state that you don't value the contributions of publishing professionals in the field. Help me understand, why are you here if not to either:
    1. Increase your knowledge on the subject

    Or to

    2. Waste our time with pointless debate?
    Let me know which. If you choose #1, I'm here to help.

    The Yooper
    0 0
  47. @Eric: "The populations you listed as not threatened by hunting (e.g Baffin Bay) clearly are."

    Actually, *only* the Baffin Bay population is cited in the study as being over-harvested. Meanwhile, Taylor claims there is no decline, and that the population as a whole is not over-hunted (thereby destroying your argument):

    "For the most part, polar bear populations have increased or remained stable under the current regulatory regime. Reductions to some populations due to over-hunting were identified, and these populations appear to have recovered or are recovering."

    So Taylor argues there is no reduction, which puts him at odds with both the Norwegian researchers (who claim populations are going down due mainly to CC) and you (who claim populations are decreasing due to over-hunting).

    This is exactly what I mean by cherry-picking: the only reason you'll cite Taylor is not because you agree his methodology is sound, but simply because you can mine his letter for a single instance where he appears to support your position (when in fact he doesn't, as the Baffin population is the only one he mentions suffered from over-harvesting).

    So, again, you have utterly failed to indicate that over-harvesting is the main factor responsible for the decline in polar bear numbers. Sorry.
    0 0
  48. @Baz: Daniel Bailey explained it better that I could. Personally, it seems clear to me you are not interested in a rational exchange of ideas since you continue to estimate the slower warming in the last 10 years is significant enough to warrant you "changing your mind," when from a statistical standpoint it clearly isn't.

    *You* don't get to decide what is statistically significant.

    You've made your case. People have provided counter-arguments. You've ignored the counter-arguments, restating your initial position. In other words, you are not here to learn, but to push your opinion. This isn't the right forum for this. Please go repeat your debunked claims elsewhere, thanks.
    0 0
  49. All that I require is that global temperatures resume - that's it!

    You'll forgive me if I find this an unserious reply.

    As Daniel Bailey says above "The explanation that is best representative of the whole of the data is most credible." Can you explain what you find lacking in this approach?

    Any response to the other information in my comment?
    0 0
  50. @Baz: one last point, since you seem not to care about statistical significance.

    What do you think about the fact that there has been a tremendous warming increase for the past three years? Isn't that enough to tell you that global warming has restarted?
    0 0

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