back to article Poll: Climate change now more divisive than abortion, gun control

A recent poll has discovered that – in one US state, at least – climate change is now a more divisive issue than even the long-bubbling "pro-choice/pro-life" and gun-control dust-ups. The poll, conducted in January and February of this year by the University of New Hampshire's Carsey Institute and released last week, found …

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  1. Jim 59

    They were too busy arguing and then it was too late

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Quite amazing that the US can be so out of touch and so poorly informed. That AGW is happening hasn't been in any scientific doubt whatsosever for at least a decade now.

      The only thing we don't really know for sure is how bad will it get and how quickly....

      1. FreemonSandlewould

        Uh yeah there is still doubt about MMGW. You must not read much.

    2. FreemonSandlewould

      There were busy arguing and then it was too late.......for lying liberals to grab more cash using the global warming swindle: So they came up with another!

      Come on if it is one thing you liberals are good at it is making crap up to scam money. Don't worry...you'll find another "crisis"

  2. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    Yet another poll from the warmists

    We have already been told that, accordingly to impeccably peer reviewed scientific studies, if you don't believe in catastrophic AGW you are clinically insane, a wife-beater, a paedophile and personally responsible for all the deaths in the Third World since 1960.

    From this I surmise that the temperatures are still not going up like they said they would....

    1. Christoph Silver badge

      Re: Yet another poll from the warmists

      "I've got my eyes shut and a blindfold on, so obviously you can't be showing me any evidence."

      1. Fluffy Bunny
        Devil

        Re: Yet another poll from the warmists

        "I've got my eyes shut and a blindfold on, so obviously you can't be showing me any evidence."

        It's more that they thought they had suppressed the contrary evidence better. I once had an argument with a green, who was incensed at the thought that I could have found any evidence against CAGW.

        Regarding the other comment about all the peer-reviewed CAGW promoting papers...if I go from person to person until I've found somebody that agrees with me, what have I proven? There is no value in peer review if you only allow "the right sort of climate scientist" to work in the field. The entire scientific process has become corrupted by the threats and intimidation against any scientist that doesn't promote the cause.

        1. Geoff Campbell
          Boffin

          Re: Evidence

          Go on, then, post your links.

          GJC

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yet another poll from the warmists

      @Dodgy Geezer: Well, no – it's more that if you don't believe in AGW you're merely a fool.

      1. silent_count
        Thumb Down

        @the AC who calls someone else a fool

        Which will convince more people about the validity of your position; posting insults as an anonymous coward, or posting an insightful argument and links to evidence which supports your argument?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @the AC who calls someone else a fool

          @silent_count: May I quote The Good Book, Proverbs 26:4, King James Version: "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him." Or as Mark Twain was never proven to have said, "Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience."

          While I understand your point, silent_count, and appreciate your argument, there have been reams and reams of "insightful argument" and "evidence" published by legitimate, dedicated, thoughtful, and objective scientists proving AGW to near-certainty. Further argument in this forum is of no value – the question has been decided in the affirmative: human activity is exacerbating global warming, and global warming is causing climate change. Case closed.

          1. SundogUK Silver badge

            Re: @the AC who calls someone else a fool

            In science the case is never 'closed', idiot.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @the AC who calls someone else a fool

            I can't see that quoting from a book of fairy tales really help much.

        2. 's water music Silver badge

          Re: @the AC who calls someone else a fool

          Which will convince more people about the validity of your position; posting insults as an anonymous coward, or posting an insightful argument and links to evidence which supports your argument?

          I'm pretty sure it will be the former, although maybe not if you mean ...change the minds of... when you write ...convince....

        3. Tom 13

          Re: insightful argument and links to evidence which supports your argument?

          Well that's the rub isn't it. We skeptics hold that the political aspects have so overwhelmed the studies that even the evidence has been corrupted, which makes an insightful argument citing it impossible. There's only one way to get the discussion back on track, and the warmists refuse to do it:

          Publish the raw data, the correction equations and methodology, and all the parameters for the models in an open source style release so anyone can examine it from the ground up.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yet another poll from the warmists

        "if you don't believe in AGW you're merely a fool."

        Quite - it isn't even a question of 'belief' - it's one of overwhelming observable evidence that AGW is happening and is already causing a significant impact to our climate.

    3. Tom 13

      Re: Yet another poll from the warmists

      Perhaps he should have included a question about how trustworthy Tea Party types think Social Scientists are. In my own admittedly small poll, I found they are the only group rated lower than "environmental" scientists.

    4. john-from-arizona

      Re: Yet another poll from the warmists

      The beauty of science is that true science is a self correcting matter. When addition studies are made science corrects itself. Yet this is also why one would see many "unsure"s in a poll of that nature. Vulcanism has altered weather as well as continental drift. Peer reviewed science declares "that the evidence at this point" indicates..... Yet a person who hugs desperately on to a certain framework cannot call themselves "science-guided". This is due to the complexities within research.

      Once many decades ago a researcher weighed a man before and after death. There existed a discrepancy of approximately minus 21 grams, as the experiment continued, the researcher thought this may be the "soul" of individuals. This being a very emotionally charged issue the experiment was augmented & furthered by many, with many more samplings. It was concluded this was a natural phenomenon of oxygen leaving the tissues & depending on the time elapsed may have been varied as decomposition set in; weighing less & at times more, etc.

      Therefore science allows for addition input & declares itself neutral in MANY areas. This is the beauty of research. Pure research must declare itself neutral to the point of the knowledge that exists up till the point of the question at hand. No one knows what the future will bring & those that are sure they do, are not practicing science but faith. There is NOTHING wrong with faith but it is not science.

  3. Ian Tresman

    No science

    If climate change was decisive, scientists would point us to "smoking gun" evidence in peer-reviewed papers. Instead, they resort to insults, inconclusive papers, and bullying tactics. That is not science.

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: No science

      I'm not sure you know what science looks like. Matter of fact, I'm absofuckingloutely certain you don't. There is never a 'smoking gun' in science. Find a scientist that will tell you (x) is 'this way' and that's absolute and I'll show you a PR person disguised as a scientist.

      Science is supposed to be fluid and dynamic. Science is nothing more than a formalized method of observing the world and until the world no longer exists it will be in a constant state of flux therefore any and all observations of the world will also be in flux. Absolutely nothing is universal, it just kind of seems that way sometimes because we typically don't hang around long enough to notice the changes.

      1. phil dude
        Boffin

        Re: No science

        Precisely. Scientists are (optimally) open to new evidence and adopt the theories to account for this new data.

        This is why the theory of evolution is so massively misunderstood (I might mischievously suggest, on purpose) by certain religious groups. Religion is based on human contrived dogma, no more data collection is possible. Biology is based on collecting data on the species in the natural world. It takes a particularly sort of selective observation to think the world is anything other than changing constantly.

        Of course, an important tool is feedback from systems. Here in is the problem with complex problems such a climate.

        A weather forecast you get feedback in 4 hours if it is not right. A climate model, 10 years? 50 years? 100 years?

        Either way, it would help if the scientific process was transparent, and less political. There are too many vested interests in certain political outcomes, to not be very cynical about the process of the "truth" in certain fields.

        Of course the same could be asked of government policy in general.

        P.

      2. TitterYeNot
        Coat

        Re: No science

        "Absolutely nothing is universal"

        FFS, don't tell the theoretical physicists, they'll be GUTted...

    2. Grikath

      Re: No science

      Not exactly... Science does need to provide a smoking gun to prove the "A" in AGW.

      The "Anthropogenic" bit in the theory is crucial to just about everything. It states that human behaviour is a major, if not near-exclusive contributor to the current change in climate, and to make that stick there needs to be positive proof that this is indeed the case, and to which extent exactly.

      So far, climate science has simply failed to do this to any degree of scientific standard. The "Anthropogenic factor" has not been quantified enough to tell whether it has an accelerating or even decelerating effect on the global warming that is happening anyway because we're still in the full swing of an interglacial period, and have just emerged from a period of extremely low global temperatures ( affectionately known as the "little ice age") .

      So yes, until the "A" is properly quantified , AGW is a political tool and not Science

      1. dan1980

        Re: No science

        @Grikath

        One thing I feel is important to point out is that something being a political tool does not, ipso facto, preclude it from being good science.

        It's an argument that gets pulled out a lot and even from other posters in this very thread.

        That something is beneficial for a group you distrust may be cause to take a closer look but, once you do take a closer look, however, you must divest yourself of all considerations of who is benefiting and to what ends things may be put.

        That is science, or at least good science.

      2. Mephistro Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: No science

        "Not exactly... Science does need to provide a smoking gun to prove the "A" in AGW."

        Errmmmm... Quite often, crimes are solved based in 'fractional evidence', as long as there's lots of it and doesn't contradict other available data. Smoking guns aren't always the norm in real life police investigations.

        Of course, in an 'ideal justice system', a sentence based on this kind of evidence should be continuously reviewed, new data should be researched and added to -or subtracted from- the body of evidence, and the sentencing changed.

        Luckily for us, that's precisely the way Science works. Otherwise we'd be teaching the phlogiston theory and going around in rickshaws pulled by hungry peasants (Caution: swap peasant every ten kilometres). So for the time being we must consider AGW as 'fact' unless contrary evidence surfaces.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No science

      This will be the year of Linux on the desktop and AGW isn't happening.

  4. DropBear
    WTF?

    That's a particularly dodgy question, as phrased there. Of course I do believe in "scientists" as a source of information about environmental issues (or about anything else) - but "which particular scientists" is a different issue altogether, meaning possibly not the ones you're thinking of. And not being a climatologist (or indeed a scientist at all) myself, answering that second question with any confidence is unfortunately much harder than one might expect...

    1. Fluffy Bunny
      Devil

      "a source of information about environmental issues..."

      A more important point, though. Even if we accept the claims about CAGW, irrespective of the lack of warming for 15 years - oh and by the way, I recently saw a graph presented, with a completely straight face, that claimed the warming had been continuing for the whole 15 years. The level of outright fraud in "climate science" is immense.

      Back to my point, though. Even if CAGW were real, do you actually let the scientist dictate government policy? No, of course not.

      Did I mention the claims in Australia that CAGW would make humans extinct? I really can't get over the immense levels of scientific fraud.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "irrespective of the lack of warming for 15 years "

        Warming has been continuing - at a slower rate when measured as average surface temperature - but it certainly has not stopped. You are very poorly informed with long out of date information if you think otherwise.

        This should help:

        http://www.theguardian.com/environment/planet-oz/2014/feb/12/global-warming-fake-pause-hiatus-climate-change

    2. despun

      good point

      Yes. The only climate scientist who I knew personally was a shit hot, top of the range, mathematical and computational physist. The type of bloke who when he says he's solved a set of coupled non-linear differential equations, you can believe has. Now very senior in the climate science field in the US. So, I've looked up some of his papers, and they're not "on message".

      As for the bulk of those calling themselves "climate scientists". Look at their c.v. s.

  5. Diogenes
    Childcatcher

    Ergo sum

    Leftists believe everything they are told and do not question authority :-)

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Ergo sum

      As opposed to rightists who are too busy following orders?

    2. Tim99 Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Ergo sum

      Nice sound-bite Diogenes, unfortunately it may not be true. As you post under the name of a seeker of truths, perhaps a look at published work may be helpful. Bob Altemeyer could be a good place to start - Link rationalwiki.org. A link to his book about Right-wing authoritarianism is on his University of Manitoba web page here.

    3. dan1980
      Meh

      Re: Ergo sum

      @Diogenes, Paul and Tim

      I'll make it simpler for you all - people believe what they are told when it accords with their pre-existing beliefs, reinforces their understanding of the world, justifies their prejudices, makes them feel safe or superior, absolves them of blame or responsibility, or at a baser level, when it provides some material benefit to them.

      Science is the way out of that quagmire - it's a method for testing beliefs.

      As you observe and measure and experiment and collaborate and predict and publish and read and listen and discuss and test and re-test it all, some beliefs are confirmed, others modified to better fit observation, and still others are discarded.

      That is the very point of science - to test what we think against reality in as objective a manner as possible.

      1. Tim99 Silver badge

        Re: Ergo sum

        Thanks dan1980, a good post, I reply as someone who has been a professional scientist in one of the core sciences for over 40 years.

  6. aidanstevens

    This tells us what's been obvious for years: that people choose to deny the science that doesn't fit in with their view of the world. If you look at climate change from a purely scientific viewpoint the consensus is undeniable.

    1. Micky Fite

      That climate change has happened and is happening? Then yes. Oh wait, you mean man-made climate change? Then no. That's why they trot out studies that show the ice is melting in the studied area and ignore the fact that total levels are increasing. So yes, sea ice is melting at high rates in that area and if it continues at that rate it will all disappear in X years.

      By that same logic I can predict that, given the rate the temperatures have been rising here lately, that we will all be dead by July. I mean six weeks ago it was 70F and now we are seeing spikes into the 90's!!!!

      1. dan1980

        @Micky Fite

        I get that you're being facetious in your closing paragraph (at least I hope you are) but if that line of thinking reflects what you think is being measured and how conclusions are being drawn then you have either:

        • Misunderstood the science, or
        • Understood but deliberately misrepresented it.

        The ice measurements you are talking about are not a comparison between one month and the next but between comparable recurring periods.

        Your argument is a classic straw-man, though not a very convincing one. You put forward a ridiculous situation - analysing temperatures 6 weeks apart to make long-term predictions - and equate that to how scientists are measuring the rates of ice melting.

        You can't honestly believe that's what is happening, right? You do know it's a bit more involved and rigorous, don't you?

        1. Fluffy Bunny
          Devil

          "You do know it's a bit more...rigorous"

          Actually, I think Mickey Fite has it pretty much right.

          1. dan1980

            @Fluffy Bunny

            Do you?

            It's all so simple - he didn't even need to talk about the fundamental difference between land ice and sea ice or the different factors affecting the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets,

            People like Mickey Fite hear a sound-bite ("overall ice coverage is increasing") and delve no deeper because it reinforces what they already believe or want to believe. He doesn't care that teams of scientists have spent grueling seasons on the ice and countless collective hours measuring and processing to try and come up with a complete picture.

            The simple causalities are what most people demand - the planet is warming so ice is melting, the planet is cooling so ice is expanding, the planet is steady so the ice is stable.

            Unfortunately it's just not that simple as the effects of all of this are complicated.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              "overall ice coverage is increasing"

              Due to the melting land ice and glaciers reducing the salinity of the sea water. So this is actually an expected effect of Global Warming.

        2. Tom 13

          @ dan1980

          No, his example is spot on.

          The only reason you think it's a strawman argument is that you've been through enough summer and winter cycles to KNOW that the temperature curve isn't linear. If you were to compare actual climate data with the time period Micky in Micky's example, we'd be maybe 3 minutes into the 6 weeks. And it doesn't matter how rigorously you reviewed that 3 minutes worth of data, it is worthless without at least one summer cycle.

    2. Fluffy Bunny
      Devil

      Consensus

      "the consensus is undeniable"

      No, no, no. The CAGW people bully and intimidate anybody that doesn't accept their peculiar world view. Once you have silenced the critics, you can claim that you have achieved consensus. But that still doesn't mean you are right.

      1. brainbone

        Re: "No, no, no. The CAGW people bully and intimidate"

        Just like the "Evolution through natural selection people" bully and intimidate anybody that believes the earth is 6000 years old?

        There is FAR more bullying and intimidation coming from both the intelligent design crowd and AGW deniers than any scientists. Explaining how any why your belief is wrong is not "bullying", no matter how gutted you feel afterwards.

    3. codejunky Silver badge

      @ aidanstevens

      "If you look at climate change from a purely scientific viewpoint the consensus is undeniable."

      Actually if you look from a scientific point of view we still dont know. We dont know how climate works and our educated guesses have the predicting accuracy of mystic meg and a similar vagueness. The absolute facts we can all be absolutely 100% certain of is there have been some severe lies told under the guise of science to put man made climate change co2 theory into the spotlight. There are 2 groups- the scientific (still looking/waiting for credible answers) and the denier of science (basically the believers and the absolute non-believers).

      The only people certain and loving the XFactor style consensus are the deniers of science who are just as nutty as people who think nothing changes even naturally. I feel sorry for actual scientists looking for the truth because the truth will not be believed regardless of the answer. All because of morons shouting 'consensus' and drawing hockey stick graphs without any science to back it up. We have passed however many deadlines to prevent the end of the world yet another pops up quickly after the last one. And yet odd behaviour in the climate temperature (such as not accelerating as per 600 predictions all varying our doom) is dismissed as 'oh, it must be hiding somewhere'. Yeah very scientific.

      Sorry but I prefer my science with a pinch of science not bull

      1. Mephistro Silver badge
        Alert

        (@ codejunky) (Re: @ aidanstevens)

        aidanstevens wrote: "If you look at climate change from a purely scientific viewpoint the consensus is undeniable."

        codejunky answered: "Actually if you look from a scientific point of view we still dont know"

        Perhaps you should ponder carefully the meaning of 'scientific consensus'. What aidanstevens wrote means that a majority of scientists working in climate related areas believe AGW exists, and that's quite undeniable. You read that as if the conclusions that the actual consensus believe true are undeniable.

        'oh, it must be hiding somewhere'

        FYI we know pretty damn well where it's hiding. In the Oceans, whose temperatures have risen very noticeably in the last decade or so, and whose acidity (read CO2) has been also rising over the same period. And no, they don't know exactly when or how these heat sinks and carbon sinks will fail, but most of the bets are on it being quite catastrophic.

        And if you think that a (more or less) stable system can withstand and survive a continuously growing amount of pressure in one direction, you should think again.

        Seriously, I can understand people finding it difficult to believe that we, tiny puny human beings can affect climate, but that fact was proved back in the seventies, when climate scientists discovered a precipitation/temperature cycle affecting the USA , a cycle whose length didn't correspond to any known natural cycle. Namely, a weekly cycle.

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: (@ codejunky) (@ aidanstevens)

          @ Mephistro

          "Perhaps you should ponder carefully the meaning of 'scientific consensus'. What aidanstevens wrote means that a majority of scientists working in climate related areas believe AGW exists, and that's quite undeniable."

          From a scientific point of view a consensus of a select few people who sing the right tune is not scientific. The blurring of meaning, the fudging of figures and the outright lies is not scientific. Scientifically we are certain that we dont know how the climate works to a reliable degree. As demonstrated by the lack of reliability in predictions from the 'scientists' who have a consensus.

          "FYI we know pretty damn well where it's hiding. In the Oceans, whose temperatures have risen very noticeably in the last decade or so, and whose acidity (read CO2) has been also rising over the same period. And no, they don't know exactly when or how these heat sinks and carbon sinks will fail, but most of the bets are on it being quite catastrophic."

          Yes that is the revised history that they knew all along where it was hiding. Obviously after the surprise that the predictions didnt match reality. And the doomsayers are betting on quite catastrophic so maybe they should go up the hill and wait for the UFO to pick them up because its the end of the world. And like the rest of the doomsayers we will watch them walk back down that hill in shame. I will rely on science thank you.

          "And if you think that a (more or less) stable system can withstand and survive a continuously growing amount of pressure in one direction, you should think again."

          What stable system? How many extinctions have their been? How many catastrophic events that would wipe us out? A stable system or some natural equilibrium is a wet dream of those fearing change. It also isnt there.

          "Seriously, I can understand people finding it difficult to believe that we, tiny puny human beings can affect climate, but that fact was proved back in the seventies, when climate scientists discovered a precipitation/temperature cycle affecting the USA , a cycle whose length didn't correspond to any known natural cycle. Namely, a weekly cycle."

          I dont find it difficult to believe humans can affect climate. Application of enough pressure and we can affect most things. But the absolutely brain dead religion which has built up for the end of the world can go with the other nutters with a sandwich board and get out of my way. I will accept science and I am waiting for the scientific understanding to be formed. All the politicians and morons can stuff their x days to save the world because they are talking absolute rubbish. It is scientifically proven.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Then you get people who want to "divest" from fossil fuels companies

    Yes the school I went to for 1 year (it was in New Hampshire even) in the 3rd form has a bunch of people who want to "divest" from fossil fuel companies.

    My comment: If you desire this, set an example. Don't use fossil fuels in your life. Of course this means that you can't use petrol fueled automobiles, you can't heat your house, and can't use about 2/3s of your electricity. Other than that, there are things like the food we eat that necessitates use of fossil fuels, and the list goes on.

    Simply put it is quite difficult to live without fossil fuels.

    p.s. I don't contribute to said school. The didn't invite me back, so I reciprocate in kind.

  8. Herby

    Is Al Gore a "scientist"?

    I didn't think so either!

    1. M7S

      Re: Is Al Gore a "scientist"?

      Amongst other things, a computer scientist of some sort. Apparently.

      0:50 in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnFJ8cHAlco

      Climate scientists may be judged by the company they keep.

    2. veti Silver badge

      Re: Is Al Gore a "scientist"?

      What, in the name of sanity, does Al Gore have to do with anything?

      Yes, he talked about global warming. You know who else talked about it? George Bush: "I have put our nation on a path to slow, stop, and eventually reverse the growth of our greenhouse gas emissions. In 2002, I announced our first step: to reduce America's greenhouse gas intensity by 18 percent through 2012."

      Who else? Well, the first politician of global stature to raise the issue was Ronald Reagan's BFF, Margaret Thatcher.

      So if you don't like Gore, by all means ignore him. But pay attention to someone.

      1. dan1980

        Re: Is Al Gore a "scientist"?

        @veti,

        I think the implication is that no real Scotsman scientist does, would or could agree with human-caused warming so those people who say they agree with 'scientists' about warming must be mistaking people like Al Gore for scientists, rather than listening to the real ones, who would, presumably, confirm that it's all hogwash.

  9. willi0000000

    *sigh*

    if only the side that is wrong in this "debate" would just shut up and go away there wouldn't be any problem.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: *sigh*

      Setting aside the question of who is wrong, I dispute the term 'debate' used in this context.

      A debate needs two sides that are advancing arguments towards their position. What we actually have is one side doing that, and the other side declaring preemptive victory, that the "debate is over," backed up by the politicians and the press, plus of course certain 'scientists,' many of whom have been exposed as liars and cheats.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: *sigh*

        One side doing that? Bollocks. It's like watching Windows fanbois and Linux fanbois going at it interminably. And you're one of them.

  10. dan1980

    I think the most interesting part of that graph is that Tea Party folk are the only one of the four party groups who have a higher percentage of people responding that they 'do not trust' than 'do not know/unsure'.

    To the poster above who said that if there was proof, scientists would be able to trot out the 'smoking gun' (sorry - can't see you know in this reply), there are two flaws in your argument.

    The first is your assumption that there needs to be a 'smoking gun'. I know it's just an idiom but think about it for a moment - 'smoking guns' represent a very simple level of evidence. Very compelling, yes, but very basic. Taking the figure of the idiom - a murder - if we refused to accept any evidence short of a 'smoking gun' then we'd be in a very sad state indeed.

    The second assumption is that people would even accept such evidence. One of the take-aways is that those who believe that climate change is either not occurring or not exacerbated by human intervention are far less likely to believe scientists. So what matter if a scientists comes out with a smoking gun - nearly half of the Tea Party respondents wouldn't trust them anyway!

    You might say a smoking gun doesn't require trust but take a look at arguments over the age of the earth. Those who insist on a 'young earth' can be shown any number of lines of evidence (most of which reinforce each other) and will discount it all. If not the evidence itself, then the premises on which the evidence is based, such as the various dating methods.

    I remember watching a recorded debate of the creation-vs-science stripe (I think it was the Ham/Nye but most are pretty much the same) and the recall that the creationist discounted the various dating methods by pointing out a few anomalous results. That one result said a sample was a hundred thousand years old and the other showed a million is apparently proof that it must be 6,000.

    I mention that because there is a line of argument that goes: the models predicted 2.4 degrees but the measurements showed 1.8, therefore the real number must be zero.

    In short, there doesn't have to be a 'smoking gun' and even if there was, a fair proportion of the population would simply claim it was bunk anyway.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ok lets agree that you dont need a smoking gun.

      However, it would be useful to review the verifiable evidence.

      Now where have they put that?

      I cant seem to find it at the moment.

      1. dan1980

        Verifiable evidence?

        @AC

        Verifiable by whom?

        Scientists overwhelmingly agree on the point but some (many it seems) just don't trust them. So what is to be done then?

        For that matter, verifiable how?

        Again, the people actually doing the research, taking the measurements and working out the models are (again, overwhelmingly) satisfied but (again) many people just don't trust them.

        So whom do you propose we get to review the evidence and verify it?

        Also, where are you looking? Please list the websites you have visited, the conferences you have attended and the journals you have read that have so far failed you in your (presumably exhaustive) search for evidence?

        I'll put it as simply as I can, with the knowledge that it is a simplification: CO2 and other gases reduce the heat energy radiated back out into space and thus contribute a warming effect. Humans are generating these gases.

        There are of course other factors too but it's near impossible to assert that humans are not contributing a 'positive radiative forcing'. There are arguments around how sensitive the planet is to such contributions and how much we balance it out with negative forcings, such as aerosols and clearing land (which increases reflectiveness) but none of that gets around the basic fact that the greenhouse gases we pump into the atmosphere contribute a warming effect.

        These man-made factors are joined, of course, by natural factors and much of the fiddling is in trying to account for these. That solar cycles are at a low or trade winds at a high* might mean that net warming is lower than might otherwise be expected but that does not mean that somehow the human-caused positive forcings are somehow magically less. The way you lessen those is to stop (for one) pumping these gases into the atmosphere.

        * - Causing more ocean mixing.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Verifiable evidence?

          So whom do you propose we get to review the evidence and verify it?

          The NSA?

      2. Fluffy Bunny
        Devil

        Verifiable evidence - a good point. An important principle in scientific research is the ability to independently verify results. So, if scientist A collects data, processes it and makes a conclusion, then scientist B should be able to come along later and collect the same data, do the same processing and be led to the same conclusion.

        Unfortunately, too often (and yes, once is too often), when you go back to check the original data, you can't find it. Data is available, but it isn't original. In America, there are collections of temperature records that purport to cover long time periods. But when you check, it turns out that they were "reconstituted" from multiple thermometer reading in the same or nearby locations. These are then presented as original data. The looseness of the science wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the fact that the reconstituted data somehow creates a large temperature increase that wasn't present in the original thermometer records.

        While I'm writing, I notice the immediately previous writer's comment about "positive radiative forcing". This is used in the computer models, but there is a fundamental problem with it. It is only one mechanism that control's the air temperature. The principle of ratiative forcing is that the Earth can be treated like an onion - heat only transfers between layers by radiation. Unfortunately, there are more - most notably convetion. With convection, the equator receives most of the heat, the poles least. As a result, a tremendous updraft of warm, moist air rises at the equator and heads towards the poles. They get about to the Sahara Desert in the north and the Simpson Desert in the south, before the drop as cold, dry air. This is why these areas are so dry and baren. Computer models that only work by radiative forcing predict forst land in areas you couldn't live in - unless they use "adjustment factors".

        Any computer model (ie theory) that doesn't do ground truthing, ie verifying it's predictions, will forever be wrong. And yet, time and again, untried computer models (theories) are trotted out as if they provide evidence of yet more catastrophic warming. There comes a point where you can't talk about being just wrong. You have to accept that it was deliberate fraud.

        1. dan1980

          @Fluffy Bunny

          I think that an important point is to distinguish between global warming and climate change.

          The warming is the bit that the scientists agree on. It's the climate change part that is complex and subject to so damned many factors, both natural and man-made.

          That's why you have some models predicting increased numbers of storms but others predicting more intense storms, some that predict X ocean rise and some that predict Y.

          That's where the science is really evolving - as new factors are discovered (such as the recent increase in trade winds causing more ocean mixing and thus lower than expected surface temps) they are researched and understood - or at least better understood - and that understanding then fed back into the models to increase the accuracy of further predictions.

          Regardless of all that, your central premise - that the models are wildly inaccurate - is just not true.

          I ask this honestly - what data could convince you that the models are accurate?

          I read and hear these kind of arguments all the time from creationists*. First they demand evidence, then, when evidence is forthcoming, wish to see more evidence. More evidence is produced so then they question the basis of the evidence. That holds up so they question the premises and understanding on which the studies and experiments were done. Then we move to discounting whole avenues of otherwise fruitful and compelling research, declaring, by fiat, that that particular type of evidence is inherently flawed and inadmissible. Eventually, we get down to arguing over definitions of terms, like 'consensus' and even 'science' itself and, finally, to asserting that the entire apparatus of scientific endeavour in a particular field (if not the totality of science) is a bias, corrupt, 'elite', powerful, mafia-like institution, bullying their way through, intimidating anyone who disagrees with them, playing political games and chasing what are assumed to be big, fat wads of cash.

          * - I am making no assertion that you are one, merely that the arguments can progress in much the same way.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            @ dan1980

            "I read and hear these kind of arguments all the time from creationists"

            The creationist argument is very relevant to the debate but it is often trotted out by 'believers' in the MMCC co2 theory when it actually applies to them.

            For example god exists, do not question, here is some flimsy evidence. Evidence is disproved. Oh he isnt there... he is over there where we cannot see. (rinse and repeat)

            He made the earth a few thousand yrs ago as is with people etc. But then we find dinosaur bones and evidence of a much older earth. Its a test, we are right (adjust theory) this new explanation I just made up fixes that.

            And so on...

            Compare that with MMCC co2 theory is correct. Look at the hockey stick graph. Cant be scientifically reproduced. Oh no that is a lie but we now have new graphs and models. (rinse and repeat)

            The temperature is accelerating as we predict it! No it aint. Oh it must be hiding somewhere... I know! It must be here or there and we can make up evidence to support it!

            The problem is there are actual scientists trying to figure out climate and the truth could be almost anything. But when you have political nutters who like to trot out pointless statistics of consensus (of a sub group of a cherry picked of a carefully selected sub category) then the science looks like a lie. They are like the boy who cried wolf and I am waiting for the real problem to sneak up and bite them.

            And the real scientists have their credibility damaged and reputations stained by MMCC co2 theory. Who is going to believe scientists when lies are published in their name?

  11. P. Lee Silver badge

    Science is a tool for analysing/understanding the world

    Like a hammer, it can be used to help construct a house or cave someone's skull in.

    AGW's has a few problems:

    - it serves its political users very well. That in itself brings it into disrepute.

    - its a statistical study. We all know what you can do with statistics (check out the recent BBC articles on correlation) and it appears that leading AGW proponents destroyed data to prevent it being made public. This looks like a really bad religion.

    - Most of the world live at the mercy of forces they don't control. One more issue that may make things more difficult long after they are dead isn't at the top of their list of priorities

    - the pitchforks and torches come out for anyone who disagrees with AGW. That is not the normal response of people with obvious common-sense on their side. Again, this looks like a really bad religion.

    Quite frankly, heart disease is the number one abnormal killer in the West. It is fat and sugar which will likely kill you. Dietitians know this. Politicians know this, but do nothing to stop it. The evidence is a lot stronger than for AGW. It turns out that sugar is worse because to inhibits your body's ability to determine when you've eaten enough. I saw a BBC report noting that the WHO was going to publish a report into the problems of sugar consumption and the US sugar association wrote to them to point out that if they went ahead, they would lose $400m+ of funding from the US government. The report was never published. The point is, no-one thinks the government or any other large organisation is actually operating in their interest, so why would you trust them? All "independent research" comes back with results which benefit the funding organisation.

    It gets worse. There's lots of funding but no solutions. That screams "pork-barrel." It doesn't even seem to be a fight between "big oil" and "greenies." Energy consumption won't drop and the energy companies would be at the forefront of any new energy provision. They are never going to lose out. It appears that governments cover "transition costs" so that's more profit for them if they provide the (more expensive and less efficient) windmills. The other group which seems to benefit are the financiers who deal in the new "carbon markets" which are springing up and which are set to be the *largest* of all markets. Hmm, the largest part of your economy deals in government permits - what could possibly go wrong?

    The chap who pointed out the problems of sugar in the 1960's-70's when industry wanted only fat (rather than both) to be the problem was essentially drummed out. It wasn't that the science was wrong, but that it wasn't the result industry and government wanted to hear.

    What a surprise, politicians (as a group) with a proven track-record of dishonesty are not trusted. I'm shocked, shocked I tell you!

  12. Cesar _
    Meh

    It's the models

    Personally, I don't doubt that the models clearly indicate that AGW is a scientifically modeled fact.

    I also fully expect that, in the decades to come, these models will be proven incorrect.

    There are great benefits to mankind through the R&D of AGW "reducing" technologies. We should endeavor that route further, without an excess of brimstone and economic self flagellation, until the models have withstood the test of time.

  13. Jim 59

    House of Cards

    Astounding that the oil corps defeated the scientists. Scientists warned us their oscilloscopes were spelling out something nasty. People listened. In response the corps played a stroke of genius. Rather than contradict or debate, they just muddied the water a little now and then - a sponsored study here, a internet meme there, and let human nature do the rest. This game can and will be kept up for decades. Classic.

    1. dan1980

      Re: House of Cards

      @Jim 59

      Without making comment about the meat of your post, if it's "classic", it should hardly be "astounding"! (And indeed it isn't.)

      In the US, the formula is simple - all you have to do is say that any action on climate change is just another case of the government trying to control your lives and tell you what you can and can't do and you will have just managed to enlist a sizable portion of the public to parrot any and all rubbish you spout* - whether it be good science or bad, data or imagination, truth or fiction.

      After all, if people let the government do that, they might come and take everyone's guns away next!

      * - The same portion crying that government involvement in health will threaten their Medicare

    2. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: House of Cards

      @ Jim 59

      I didnt know the IPCC was an oil corp group. I didnt know all these politically motivated 'believers' who are certain because if they select the few people who gave the 'right' answer they could have a consensus were oil people. Looks like the whole thing has been infiltrated deep. But dont worry! You will be vindicated if they can actually get a working model which can be reproduced scientifically and produce actually correct predictions of the behaviour of our climate and global temps. Or even just one of those.

  14. Fluffy Bunny
    Devil

    Confirmation bias

    A more interesting study would be in how many of these polls simply confirm the predispositions of the researchers.

  15. Rampant Spaniel

    Yes but which scientists do they trust? Usually the ones that age with the conclusion that suits whatever position that is most convenient to them. There are plenty of scientists with 'proof' on both sides of climate change.

    There is far too much motivated money in the game, scientists are bending data to suit whatever position their donors hold.

  16. Goat Jam

    "the less likely they were to trust scientists as a source of information about environmental issues."

    Yeah, right. Plenty of scientists don't ride the Global Warming bandwagon. For the ones who do, this whole thing has become a religious crusade.

    17 years without warming while CO2 levels have continued to rise is all the proof I need that the computer models predicting catasrophic runaway temperatures that were used to kick this nonsense off in the 1990's are not worth a lick of spittle.

    Besides, when you get Prince Charles batting for your team you know you are on a hiding to nothing

    1. dan1980

      @Goat Jam,

      No warming? When did that happen.

      If you are referring to the 'pause', that is an utter fabrication based on a very poor interpretation of a single data set from a single source and of limited global scope.

      Even taking that data set on its own, it still didn't show a pause, merely a less-than-expected rise. Once the limited scope was taken into account and filled-in with complimentary measurements, it showed an increase much closer to projections.

      I'm not sure what the Prince Charles comment is meant to prove.

      Sure, the man is not a scientific powerhouse and frequently has to figure out which foot to take out of his mouth first, but similar could be said for people like Glenn Beck, Alex Jones, Ann Coulter, Ted Nugent, Pat Sajak and David Icke - all batting for the anti-AGW team. That those people are demonstrably a combination of liars, buffoons, black-helicopter-spotters and outright cranks is not really a good argument for AGW any more than HRH Prince Charles being a bit of a nonce is a good argument against it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Yeah, right. Plenty of scientists don't ride the Global Warming bandwagon."

      I suspect that this must be a very small value of 'plenty'. Here is a list of 200 scientific organisations that publically state that global warming is caused by man:

      http://opr.ca.gov/s_listoforganizations.php

      Best summarized by the American Meteorological Society:

      "It is clear from extensive scientific evidence that the dominant cause of the rapid change in climate of the past half century is human-induced increases in the amount of atmospheric greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2), chlorofluorocarbons, methane, and nitrous oxide." (2012)

      Perhaps you could oblige with a similar list of those scientifically accredited organisations that dispute this?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        They ALL lie to keep the cash flowing

        It is a well known fact that AGW is NOT happening. The real source of most these gasses is volcanic or oceanic and no one can prove otherwise. Your BS needs to stop. All these so called "scientists" are trying to do is get YOUR money to keep the lies and their research going. These people have no compunction about lying to keep getting funding.

        The mere fact, that these people think we should all give up any and all quality of life before they force the open burners in China, India, Brazil, to stop or shutdown; is enough to prove the lies. All the emergent countries are exempt from emission controls under their regulations when they need control and regulation the most and it could make some difference. We (in the first world) have done all the emission control we can except the AGW religion wants us in hairshirts and naked, cold and starving. I'm not losing my lifestyle for part per zillion changes in concentration.

        We DON'T believe your lies and we ARE NOT buying your bull. The AMS is complicit in this lie because that's how they get funding. Funny how they don't allow any other opinions or research to coexist except one that always agrees with their own.

        1. Mephistro Silver badge

          Re: They ALL lie to keep the cash flowing (@ AC, whenever*)

          "The real source of most these gasses is volcanic or oceanic"

          The 'volcanic origin' has been quite thoroughly addressed in a recent study about the carbon produced during the Eyjafjallajokull (take or give a few umlauts:-) eruption and other recent eruptions. In short: a volcano eruption produces very little CO2 when compared with total human CO2 production and it also produces lots of things that raise the albedo, so things tend to get even.

          The fact that you named the 'oceanic origin' of atmospheric CO2 implies you don't know what you're talking about. The oceans work as carbon sinks, and if you saw an increased production of CO2 from the oceans -or more likely a decreased CO2 absorbtion rate- that would be a warning that the shit is about to hit the fan. Huge shit, huge fan.

          Note*: Please, Elreg, what was wrong with the old date system?

          1. dan1980

            Re: They ALL lie to keep the cash flowing (@ AC, whenever*)

            @Mephistro

            Are you talking about how the posts used to display the time as well so you could accurately identify a particular AC in a reply stream? If so, I'm with you there - too many cowards and not enough time. (Boom!)

            To the 'argument' though - this is it, laid bare.

            People like this will simply never accept what does not accord with their beliefs. There are many out there who profess that they are approaching it with an open mind and they usually say things like "show us the evidence" but, like young earth creationists or, say, 'birthers', there is almost no way to convince them.

            You show them the evidence but they reject it when you do. You can ask them what evidence they would accept but, even when you do get an answer, you can be sure that they won't accept that evidence anyway. The first response is usually to say that it's just 'fudging' or whatever but that often progresses to outright accusations of fraud.

            I've had these arguments before with people who STILL trott out and parade the 'warming pause', despite the fact that it's utter invention. You can show them the evidence that shows how it really isn't a pause at all. but they will - as one poster here did - reply by claiming that that evidence was (surprise) fraudulent; an attempt by the powerful, influential, elite scientists to cover up the truth that their theories are all lies. All to keep the (apparently) huge wads coming in.

            Anyone who uses that argument is someone who just won't accept evidence that contradict their world view.

            On that note, I'm always amused trying to figure out what thought process leads such people to believe that all these scientist are somehow on a gravy train - as if at some point in a young scientist's career they chose to specialise in these areas because it would be more lucrative than other fields (say, geoscience with a view to working in mining or petroleum . . . ).

            Now, unlike some others here, I am not a scientist and don't hang around in such circles. I do, however, know 3 personally (in different fields) and can say that they do it because it is important to them. They love it (mostly) but it's more than that. I come from a family of teachers and have several friends in education and the dedication and commitment to the profession is of the same sort. There are certainly lazy, unscrupulous and just plain bad scientists, just as there are lazy, unscrupulous and bad teachers. That, however, is a long way from nearly the entire scientific community weaving a thick and complex fabrication. Man - the work that would go into such a lie would be phenomenal . . .

            But there it is - AGW is not happening so, QED, any scientist proclaiming it is a liar and and evidence supporting it is fraudulent.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: They ALL lie to keep the cash flowing (@ AC, whenever*)

            I was speaking about GASES, METHANE in particular, you simply inferred CO2 ; you should know methane also comes from the ocean as well as animals. CO2 is not the only greenhouse gas there is. HUGE deposits of Methane Hydrides are "locked" in the ocean in the form of "ice" and become "loose" when there is geological activity that exposes them. Even simple diffusion eventually brings them to the surface, they don't have to bubble so they are not noticable. Different gas, same results.

            There are numerous volcanoes that never reach the surface of the ocean but they produce lots of gases. Volcanic rifts run the entire length of the Atlantic ridge and they vent gases furiously.

            Since no one can be at the bottom of the ocean and everywhere else, all of the time, no one can tell how much activity there really is.

            Add Nitrogen and Sulphur oxides (also greenhouse gases) and you have much more greenhouse activity than you might think. Limiting yourself to CO2 is silly. IMHO the sheer gas volume of total volcanic activity is high, greater than that produced by man in the western world but you can't measure either accurately.

            If you stop learning and doubting others hypothesis; you lose the ability to think and understand for YOURSELF what the problems might really entail. Once you are trained to "believe" what you are told, you can't learn anything new.

            1. Mephistro Silver badge
              Mushroom

              Re: They ALL lie to keep the cash flowing (@ AC, whenever*)

              "I was speaking about GASES, METHANE in particular, you simply inferred CO2"

              I didn't infer shit. And what has your first paragraph to do with anything? Who said that methane hydrates ***cough*** only get "loose" -to use your expression- by means of geological activity? And "they don't have to bubble so they are not noticable"? WTF? You know your talking BS, don't you?

              "Even simple diffusion eventually brings them to the surface, they don't have to bubble so they are not noticable"

              This assertion is so orthogonal to reality that I won't even bother to refute it.

              "Add Nitrogen and Sulphur oxides (also greenhouse gases)"

              That was what they believed a decade or so ago. Until several studies proved that Nitrogen and Sulphur oxides in the athmosphere turn really fast into nitric and sulphuric acids, that form droplets that raise the albedo. A lot.

              "Once you are trained to "believe" what you are told, you can't learn anything new."

              Irony?Sarcasm? Your unconscious mind sending you signals? :-)

  17. DN4

    Sad

    The sad thing is that in the case of gun control or abortion it comes down to what you believe is right or wrong. Science can help us analyse the options or maybe provide new options but cannot ultimately decide the issue. But what is the most controversial? A question where opinions should worth dog's shit because it can be answered by hard scientific data and proper analysis.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Americans

    Who cares what they think?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One thing that has always baffled me....this insistence that for some reason politics is driving AGW science. Back to basics....why on earth would politicians favour an opinion that means they are pissing voters off with 'green' taxes? Happy days for politicians would be letting people carry on consuming cheap, abundant fossil fuels and bugger the consequences.

  20. James Micallef Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Divisive

    The sample of posts above seems to indicate that Climate Change is even more divisive on the El Reg user forum than it is in New Hampshire!!

  21. dan1980

    The shifting battlefield

    I do, by the way, enjoy the change in vocabulary as this debate has evolved over the years.

    First we talk about GW - global warming, and the deniers deny that. Then we talk about AGW - anthropogenic global warming, and the deniers deny that. Now we are onto CAGW - catastrophic anthropogenic global warming, and the deniers deny that.

    At each point, what is being denied is refined, ceding more ground to those who say that it really is happening.

    Yes, we agree that global warming is occurring but not by human means so why change? Okay, we agree that humans are contributing but it won't be catastrophic so why change?

    Where's the next line - avoidable catastrophic anthropogenic global warming? Yes, we agree that it looks grim but there's nothing we can do about it now anyway so why change?

  22. TopOnePercent Silver badge
    FAIL

    Comminism always fails. environMentalists need to look elsewhere for solutions.

    Let’s assume AGW is real and it is bad (in reality neither are in anyway scientifically proven).

    So what do we do? Why are all the proposed solutions based upon the failed Marxist ideology of less? It makes it seem very much like a watermelon – a green shell around a red melon.

    Nonetheless, accepting AGW as real, our only real world options are R&D. Replacement fuels mean nuclear power (Windmills simply won’t work. Ever). We need far more efficient jet engines, and then to turn over vast tracts of land to forest such that we can remove the carbon from burning jet fuel, and that means we have to abolish state subsidy of not-farming such as the CAP. We need to have fewer people, so again state subsidy of children must end by abolishing child support – those that can afford kids would have them and perpetuate the race, while those that can’t couldn’t then have them.

    The irony of course, is that the chicken little’s that believe the sky is falling rail against all of those solutions to their problem. What they propose instead is to try to penalise everyone until nobody flies, nobody drives, nobody can heat their homes in winter, until people just have and do less. Communism, in essence. What makes that ironic, rather than just sad, is that those of us that know AGW is a crock, or believe the jury is still out, need do nought but live our lives as we wish, and we’ll continue to do so.

    Some advice for the hockey team - Accept the models are wrong (when they can predict the past 200 years weather without any knowledge of it, then they *might* be able to predict the future), and refocus yourselves on the things you can achieve and can influence, or you’ll simply waste your lives trying to convince me to waste mine. Instead of wasting 100s of millions jetting off to conferences all over the globe, video conference instead and spend the money insulating your neighbours home – after all, if you’re right then it matters not who emits the CO2.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Please explain

    Just explain to me how a survey of this kind copes with believing some scientists and not others. These kind of polls do nothing to further the debate.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: These kind of polls do nothing to further the debate.

      It's not about the debate. It's all about the benjamins (or bullseyes for Brits, but that doesn't scan quite so well), even here on El Reg where the guarantee of 4 pages of posts drives up the ad revenue.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Global swarming

    A selection bias caused by the tendency of scientific researchers to jump on bandwaggons.

  25. Ilmarinen

    That "pause"

    dan1980 said "If you are referring to the 'pause', that is an utter fabrication based on a very poor interpretation of a single data set from a single source and of limited global scope."

    So I scuttled over to the Met Office Central England Temperature Record (HadCET) to have a look...

    Seems pretty "paused" to me - but maybe that's the data set on which the utter fabrication is based. But what do I know, I'm an engineer not a "Scientist" ;-)

    1. John Hughes

      Re: That "pause"

      Central England? That's your idea for a proxy for the global temperature?

      1. Ilmarinen
        FAIL

        Re: That "pause"

        John Hughes said "Central England? That's your idea for a proxy for the global temperature?"

        "No, 'corse not" I thought, and scuttled off to the CRU Temperature Data page, where they have graphs of temperature time series called things like CRUTEM4, HadCRUT4 & HadSST3.

        "Well, call me a Denialist" thought I - they all look pretty pausey too.

        I wondered to myself where that data set is that dan1980 said was the basis for the utter fabrication?

        Perhaps John Hughes might be able to point it out?

        1. John Hughes

          Re: That "pause"

          What's a "pause"?

          If we look at the period 1979-1997 we have a nice clear trend;

          http://woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/mean:30/from:1979/to:1997/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1979/to:1997/trend

          If global warming "paused" in 1998 we'd expect that most years since 1998 would be below a projection of that trend, right?

          Amazing. Every year since 1997 has been *above* the 1979-1997 trend.

          What pause?

          http://woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/mean:30/from:1979/to:1997/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1979/to:1997/trend/plot/hadcrut4gl/mean:30/from:1997

  26. Greasemonkey

    Consensus & Modelling

    Examples of "scientific consensus" from history:

    1. The Earth is flat and you'll fall off if you go too far.

    2. The Earth is at the centre of the universe, and everything else revolves around it.

    And my favourite:

    3. Nothing heavier than air can possibly fly (there was probably a bird floating by in a balloon at the time).

    The current condition of the climate change issue seems to me to be strikingly similar to number 2 above at the time of Gallileo: The "consensus" view is rigidly supported by dogmatists (religious back then) who subject unbelievers to legal and bodily sanctions - being burnt at the stake. Meanwhile, genuine science was progressed with difficulty, as observations were progressively refined, until the new theory eventually became orthodox. Here's hoping that proper climate science can also progress in the teeth of "religious" dogma.

    I've spent my career (o.k., in the oil industry) running, and supervising others running, computer models of physical systems. Just because a computer says down is up, it aint necessarily so. The idiot machine can be wrong in so many ways - and this is on much simpler systems than an entire planet's climate!

    Garbage In Garbage Out (GIGO)

    Convergence errors (one oil co. I know nearly built an offshore platform far too small, because the convergence criteria were too relaxed. Many others had units which had to be replaced or removed after startup. This is always a good one).

    Just because the computer is precise - to 16 digits- doesn't mean its accurate.

    and many more. Lets not even look at the problems with equations of state...

    So from experience, models are ALWAYS wrong. You just try to get them as close to right as is possible. For climate models, after a mere 20 years or so of development, they will not be very good; and development is hampered by the surrounding religious fervour. Computer models are an ENGINEERING tool, not a SCIENTIFIC one. Human interpretation is still required

    That gives wriggle room for bureaucrats to demand stupidly simple conclusions that allow them a wonderful excuse to regulate a whole area of human activity they had hitherto been prevented from interfering with.

    Discuss.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Greasemonkey Consensus & Modelling

      Exactly,.........don't worry about the facts, the model says otherwise. What unmitigated BS!

      There is NO DIFFERENCE between the AGW religionists and the Inquisition.

    2. Tom 13

      Re: Consensus & Modelling

      Minor nit: the Earth being flat was never really a scientific consensus. More of a popular misconception. We knew at least as far back as the Greeks that the Earth was spherical and that knowledge was never lost even if it took Magellan's voyage to definitively prove it to the satisfaction of some. Not sure why this persists as an urban legend, but that is probably the nature of urban legends. I'd probably substitute "heavy objects fall faster than light ones".

      Otherwise spot on.

      I'll add one other note. I have a friend who does some work that feeds into computer modeling. He's noted that you don't use the real physics equations in most models because they fail rapidly in the computational matrix. Instead you use some sort of linear approximation that looks similar to the real equation. But then you have to know when to switch to a different linear approximation. Seems like the sort of thing that is useful when modeling well understood mechanisms, but a hell of a way to go about predicting things that aren't well understood.

    3. Mephistro Silver badge

      Re: Consensus & Modelling (@greasemonkey)

      There seems to be a popular misconception about the scope and use of weather/climate simulations. Due to the Butterfly Effect, We lack -and We will always lack - the ability to make a model that can exactly predict the weather in a longer than a few weeks period, as we don't have the processing power nor the accurate enough and abundant enough sensors to make such precise predictions.

      What these models are really useful for is for identifying trends, or more technically, attractors. E.g., they find a big discrepancy -in any direction- between a model's predictions and the real climate and they know their model probably is missing an important element. They research the subject and come with some explanation, e.g. oceans absorbing carbon, the importance of seashells, or how does the climate react to volcanic eruptions, or how methane acts as a greenhouse gas, or .... . Then they go on and refine their model and compare again.

      It's not an error free process, unfortunately, and I'd bet they sometimes screw up, take a wrong turn and have to go back several links in the chain of model versions. But the system at least looks to have the potential to eventually reach something very close to reality. Asking for totally accurate and precise long term predictions is disingenuous, in my opinion. On the other hand, asking for information on attractors (e.g. rising levels of CO2 produce warming, etcetera) seems the sensible thing to do. This way you know you mustn't accidentally burn down the Amazonian rainforests, or start all those oil and mining operations inside or near the North Polar Circle. Oh, wait...

      So yes, if after all those years models still agree that AGW is real, I'd rather trust these models than accept the uninformed beliefs of some of my fellow commentards.

      And yes, there can be bias, but there are many groups of intelligent and well prepared experts trying to find out any bias and remove it. Because finding one of these biases could well cause one of these groups to win a Nobel prize or many other prestigious scientific awards.

  27. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    "more divisive"

    Got an El Reg unit for divisiveness? (No? Might I suggest the "jar", as in Marmite?)

    The abortion debate has people killing other people in support of their viewpoint. To my knowledge, no-one has yet been slain for their position on global warming.

    1. Semtex451

      Re: "more divisive"

      "I prefer the "Marmite" as the name of this Unit you propose."

      =2 Jars

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If this doesn't silence the deniers...

    ...nothing will: http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus

    Their work depends on this analysis and their reputation and funding are at stake if they fail.

    I would believe in the NASA team anytime before I believe in all the idiots anywhere else when it comes to science.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If this doesn't silence the deniers...

      Silence yourself.... NASA ands ALL government agencies are the greatest part of the problem because they all have to publish or perish and their "funding" depends on it. They pass this culture on to all the colleges. They take the path of least resistance in everything they do. That includes lying about climate change because it's easier than doing actual research and measurement.

      Until we have 10,000 years of actual measured and recorded temperature data (no tree rings, no ice cores , no "models", no inference, no rounding), you can't make any reasonably factual hypothesis. And 10,000 years is STILL not enough time to rule out cyclical behavior in weather based on our 4 plus billion year history.

  29. Identity
    Boffin

    I'm writing from New Hampshire

    Here, you will find geographical pockets of every political persuasion. Famously, New Hampshire is home to rock-ribbed, laconic (even those not from Laconia, NH) Republicans. In the last 20 or 30 years, Massachusetts residents flocked to the southern tier (I'm one of them), for various reasons (not excluding taxes), to the extent that all but one (Sen Kelly Ayotte) of the main offices in the state are held by Democrats and ALL are women. In the last few years, so-called Free Staters (read: Tea Partiers. Our State motto is "Live Free or Die") have tried to move into the state in large numbers with the intent of taking over. They're troublesome, selfish jerks, but so far have had little practical effect. Overall, the state is pretty evenly divided with a leftward predominance.

    I remember when I lived in Holland, noted for it's tolerance, driving through a town of religious zealots where there was a sign over the town dock that read, "First there's birth, then there's duty, then there's death. Nothing more." You see the same sort pockets here...

    1. Tom 13

      Re: I'm writing from New Hampshire

      Typical Progressive. You crapped in your home until it was unlivable, then invaded elsewhere and are now converting it into the same sort of hellhole you just left. But you denigrate the people who kept your new home safe and pristine until your arrival.

  30. oddie

    Scientists, men, women, true scotsmen... truly homogenous groups that I feel completely comfortable assuming they are all the same.. trust them all or none at all!

    Seriously.. a poll if one trusts 'scientists'?

    Despair in the human race at -57 and falling fast :D

  31. JP19

    Obama tells us

    "Ninety-seven per cent of scientists agree: #climate change is real, manmade and dangerous."

    Not even close http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/global-warming-the-97-fallacy/15069

    This is the kind of shit that leads anyone with a clue to be hugely sceptical about anything they hear on the subject.

    1. John Hughes

      Re: Obama tells us

      Spiked Online?

      Seriously? The Revolutionary Communist Party?

  32. earl grey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    is a "warmist" the opposite of a "douchebag"?

    the real question that nobody has an answer to yet it: just what do we do about it?

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Consensus" once believed accepted Eugenics as acceptable social policy

    "Consensus" once believed accepted Eugenics as acceptable social policy in the 1920's. All the rage among the rich, trendy and elite. Plenty of scientists made careers by going along, while others faded to obscurity because they opposed it.

    It's not science that is mistrusted, it's politics, the power of funding, and outright dishonesty. Like cloning experiments in the past, unhealthy drugs and foods approved by the scientists of the FDA, and the "benefits" of extensive antibiotic usage.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What does it matter...

    ...what the polls say? Is polling data really and truly going to make any difference to the forces controlling our climate? No. What matters is the actual data coming in about the weather, right? What does that data tell us? That there has been no warming during the last fifteen years. Is there reason to panic? No. Are you truly green? Yes? Then why are you not supportive of electricity from fission? Power from wind and solar (actually, both are really solar when you get right down to it), are non-starters. Power from waves and tides are still entirely too expensive to ever work out.

    That leaves us with two types of fossil fuel. Fosslized sunlight in the form of coal, methane and crude oil. Fossilized starlight in the form of fissile materials. The longer we leave the fissile materials in the ground, the less energy we will be able to derive from it.

    Now, bear in mind that there are three laws of thermodynamics to be dealt with. The first is that you cannot win. The second is that you must pay for what you get. The third is that you will never get everhything you have paid for. Questions? See the first rule.

    Now, still think that fission is too unsafe to use? The you must a misanthropic billionaire who does not give a fig for the rest of us and likes his beaches empty.

    Personally, I think that Anthropogenic Global Warming is a hoax started by Maggie Thatcher and then followed up on by the likes of Herr Albert Gore. There's money to be made in them thar carbon credits, Bubba!

  35. JCitizen Bronze badge
    Coat

    Not all right wingers care about it either way...

    I personally like the whole change thing, just so I can get on the alternate energy band wagon. Do I really care? No! I just wan't competition in the energy market so if one source gets too expensive I can flip the bird at them, and change to a cheaper source! I think this is going to happen no matter what scientist or any other moron believes. Economy is the huge gorilla in the room here. I can't wait to buy my first electric car powered by local wind farms! I have a huge SUV hybrid and I can't believe the gas mileage I get while hypermiling in town. I've already saved enough on cheaper energy costs to literally pay for the vehicle. All the rest of you can go on arguing now - Thanks!

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