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Dr Fate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-28-10 11:41 AM
Original message
Can someone help me out with info on Global Warming?
Not my best subject. I'm no expert, but I've always assumed that global warming or not, it's still a good idea to reduce pollution & to save energy.

I admit that I have not really researched this subject at all- for now, I've just assumed that the majority of scientists are at least on the right track, while the voices from the corporations & far right are lying to me, as usual.

I usually fight my own battles & do my own research, but since I am not well versed in this subject, I'm asking for some DU help on this one.

So, doing some back & forth in some emails with a buddy of mine- and his whole argument seems to hang on this article:

Some of our dialog:

Me: I don't really even know what a "carbon foot print" is- but I do know that using less energy causes less pollution. Do you really need new evidence that emissions that contain pollutants are harmful to people and the environment?

My Buddy: "Yes. Please send me your proof. "less energy = less pollution". Well, if energy = pollution, we've a long way to go before we reach the level of a volcano. Not to mention all the activity millions of years ago, yet somehow the planet survived. And what about the increase in solar activity? Again, Mars is getting warmer. So why is it illogical to assume that if the sun is going through some changes, and it affects Mars, that earth, which is of course closer, would have some of the same effect?

I can see a car bellowing black smoke and how one wouldn't want to breathe that, but turning on a light? I mean, I am truly asking. Send me some science."

Does anyone have any counter info as to the article, my friend's points-plus any other links or talking points that would help me out?

Thanks in advance,


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phantom power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-28-10 11:46 AM
Response to Original message
1. is a good resource.
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Dr Fate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-28-10 11:52 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Thanks- any portion of that website in particular that you would recommend?
I'll comb through all of it when I have some time- for now I was just looking for some specific responses...
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phantom power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-28-10 11:56 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. They usually have topic-specific rebuttals, like...
if you search on "volcanoes" you might find some posts debunking the whole "volcanoes are far worse emitters" meme.

One other aside: prepare yourself for the likely possibility that you present your friend with some great resources, and he remains unconvinced. In my experience climate deniers frequently say they're willing to be convinced by "good science" but when their bluff is called, the goalposts mysteriously keep receding.
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Johonny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-28-10 12:44 PM
Response to Reply #2
18. try this part of the site
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kenfrequed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-28-10 11:58 AM
Response to Original message
4. There is no information in the article.
This article is an advertisement for a tv special for global warming deniers and their ilk. There is nothing her to refute that has not been refuted continually by the scientific community.
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Dr Fate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-28-10 12:09 PM
Response to Reply #4
10. So are the scientists in the article making false statments? If so, do you have replies?
I have no doubt that what you are saying is true- I just dont have any knowledge at my finger tips to refute it.

Do you have anything specifc that refutes anything said in the article- I cant just say "the article sucks and is biased"

I plan on researching this & getting a grip on the facts for myself- it only takes one time for me to learn my lesson as far as arguing goes- but for now,I'm going on common sense & instict here, and I need some help...
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-28-10 12:19 PM
Response to Reply #10
13. Well, yeah.
Paul Reiter, for example, is an entomologist who sits on a think tank funded by Exxon.
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Dr Fate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-28-10 03:36 PM
Response to Reply #13
21. WOW- a slam dunk. Thanks. Check out the link- Reiter is a liar:
Edited on Thu Jan-28-10 03:36 PM by Dr Fate

"Nothing like what Reiter describes with regard to having resigned, asking that his name be removed from the chapter author list, or threatening legal action ever happened at WG II. Moreover, Reiters remark this happened a great deal specialists dont agree and resign there have been a number that I know of is completely without basis in fact. Neither nor I can recall a single instance of even one author having resigned.

McCarthy adds in his email ( ) that Reiter seems to have exaggerated his claim of having been the equivalent of an author. At one point in the review process, Reiters name appears as a contributing author, but he was never on the Working Group II author list, and a search of the archives reveals no indication that he ever contributed any text to the report.

The above statement by Reiter therefore appears to have been an attempt to mislead the audience by misrepresenting the facts, presumably in order to discredit the IPCC in the eyes of the viewers. It also appears to have greatly exaggerated Reiters links with the IPCC."
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SemiCharmedQuark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-28-10 12:21 PM
Response to Reply #10
15. It's not just his opinion. The UK court ruled that the show sucks and was biased.
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Botany Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-28-10 11:59 AM
Response to Original message
5. One of the best in a short form is the OSU Institute of Polar Studies
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Jim__ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-28-10 12:00 PM
Response to Original message
6. Here are some specific answers.
Edited on Thu Jan-28-10 12:02 PM by Jim__
There are more answers here. Note that some of the answers I'm posting actually contain links to more details:

1) There is "no real scientific proof" that the current warming is caused by the rise of greenhouse gases from man's activity.

Technically, proof exists only in mathematics, not in science. Whatever terminology you choose to use, however, there is overwhelming evidence that the current warming is caused by the rise in greenhouse gases due to human activities.

3) Warmer periods of the Earth's history came around 800 years before rises in CO2 levels.

In the past 3 million years changing levels of sunshine triggered and ended the ice ages. Carbon dioxide was a feedback that increased warming, rather than the initial cause. In the more distant past, several warming episodes were directly triggered by CO2.

4) After world war 2, there was a huge surge in recorded CO2 emissions but global temperatures fell for four decades after 1940.

In fact, temperatures fell during the 1940s and then remained roughly level until the late 1970s. The fall was partly due to high levels of pollutants such as sulphur dioxide counteracting the warming effect.

8) The IPCC theory is driven by just 60 scientists and favourable reviewers, not the 4000 usually cited.

Untrue, as even the briefest look at the scientific literature can establish.

10) A large body of scientific research suggests that the sun is responsible for the greater share of climate change during the past hundred years.

The sun may have contributed to the warming in the first part of the 20th century but it has not caused the rapid warming since the late 1970s.

Edited to fix link.
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Dr Fate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-28-10 12:16 PM
Response to Reply #6
11. FANTASTIC! The great thing is I'll actually learn about the subject now...
We only have so much time in the day, and I have to admit this is one I've avoided...
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wysimdnwyg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-28-10 12:00 PM
Response to Original message
7. Simple
He turns on the light and can't see the pollution connection.

A: Light turns on
B: Electricity causes bulb to illuminate
C: Electricity flows over power lines from power plant
D: Power plant creates electricity by burning coal
E: Burning coal produces soot, ash and other pollutants, including mercury and carcinogens.

If he still refuses to accept the connection, he is being willfully ignorant and there is very little (if anything) you can do to change his mind.
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SemiCharmedQuark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-28-10 12:00 PM
Response to Original message
8. First of all, the Daily Mail is a very conservative tabloid that famously ran the headline
"Abortion Hopes After "Gay Genes Finding""
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Dr Fate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-28-10 12:19 PM
Response to Reply #8
12. We try not to shoot the messenger in our debates.
My opponent will at least admit that corporations & RWers have profit motives when it comes to denial, but there are specific claims made in the article, and I'm looking for specific refuations or explanations.

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SemiCharmedQuark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-28-10 12:02 PM
Response to Original message
9. Also, the program the article references ended in an apology by BBC4 for falsehoods.
"In July 2008, the British government's media regulator, Ofcom, issued a split ruling on "The Great Global Warming Swindle," a film commissioned and broadcast by Channel 4. Ofcom received 265 complaints about the film, including "a detailed 'group complaint' from scientists and concerned individuals that ran to 176 pages and accused Channel 4 of seriously misleading viewers." <1>

Ofcom found that Channel 4 broke impartiality guidelines and the film misrepresented statements by former British government scientist David King, in a scene with global warming skeptic Fred Singer. Ofcom also found that the film unfairly treated the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and MIT professor Carl Wunsch. However, Ofcom ruled that the program did not "cause harm or offence" by "materially" misleading viewers. Ofcom also said that its impartiality rules did not apply to the majority of the film, because the rules require balance on "matters of political or industrial controversy" and human-induced climate change has "been almost universally accepted by governments around the world." <1>"
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-28-10 03:13 PM
Response to Reply #9
20. Just to correct one thing - 'Channel 4' is not the same as 'BBC4'
BBC4 does exist - a digital channel run by the BBC. There's also 'BBC Radio 4', the main speech-only BBC radio station (when it started in 1922, this was the BBC, in its entirety). But Channel 4 is a separate TV channel, completely independent from the BBC, and funded by advertising (it is not shareholder-owned, however, but owned by a public body; if it makes a profit, the profits have to go back into future programme or film making).
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RaleighNCDUer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-28-10 12:20 PM
Response to Original message
14. consider the additive effect -
We know that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. Nobody denies it. Is it CAUSING global warming?

The question is, does it HAVE to?

The natural cycles include variations in the sun's radiant energy and the effects of volcanoes. What is to me noted is that our generation of greenhouse gasses is adding to any current natural cycles.

Over geologic time, these cycles produce averages which can be charted. Our production of greenhouse gasses is producing results that are outside the range of those averages - the earth is warming more, and faster, than provided for by any of the natural cycles that we've found.

Ergo, WE ARE causing 'global warming' by adding our pollution to the natural cycles.

In the natural cycles, warming is slow enough that the ecology keeps pace with it. We are putting the ecology at risk, as the current warming is causing plants and their pollinators to mature at different rates - this WILL end in a massive die off as the web is broken, as the plants and pollinators fail to sustain each other, causing those who consume those plants and pollinators to starve, and those who prey on those animals starve. Global climate change is a huge rock being tossed through the ecological web.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-28-10 12:23 PM
Response to Original message
16. Arguing the science is useless, he doesn't know the science he is engaged in a political discussion
Edited on Thu Jan-28-10 12:23 PM by kristopher
This is well defined by Peter Jacques in his paper "Rearguard of Modernity", I append the conclusion below. There is a follow up paper by Jacques and Dunlap that actually tracked the propaganda to the source and documented with certainty that what is in the paper below is true.
I'd just try to make him understand how he is being played for a fool by companies like ExxonMobile and Koch Industries, because his real benefit is emotional, and if you can sour the positive emotion then you might move him.

Environmental skepticism presents itself as "speaking truth to power" through contrarian claims they say objectively "debunk" the myths of the environmental movement and environmental science. Yet, the analysis of this literature indicates that environmental skepticism is specifically issued from a conservative ideology supported by a coherent conservative countermovement opposed to environmentalism. This positions the bias of skeptic knowledge claims, and while environmentalists' claims clearly have their own bias, the claim that the skeptical project is generated from a sense of objectivity and value neutrality is flatly rejected as part of an attempt to subvert reflexive interrogation and the implied counter-hegemonic resistance this entails.

In particular, environmental skepticism is opposed to the establishment of global environmental concerns and those related to human sustainability. The substantive arguments of environmental skeptics are guided by a "deep anthropocentrism" which dissolves society from non-human nature. Importantly, a severed nature-human relationship effectively challenges the institutionalization of obligation to environmental changes and the people who are affected by these changes. Skepticism therefore preserves a conservative hope for limited government in the global market while it protects a consumptive elite against responsibilities for these systemic changes. In the process, environmental skepticism defends the structure of dominant social values in world politics such as the state system, expansive resource exploitation under world capitalism, and a hegemonic and consumptive North (and US in particular from where most skeptics hail) to flourish unmolested by the gadflies of the environmental movement.

Therefore, being overly concerned with the contrarian knowledge claims of environmental skeptics misses skepticism's more important political message about duty and the legitimacy of public environmental concern. Environmental skeptics, even if they are conclusively proven wrong on all counts, will succeed in at least temporarily guarding a falling hegemonic order if academia, the press, and government become overly interested in Darth Vader and Obi Wan dueling at the bay doors.101 I suspect that skeptics will be happy to continue to create this kind of conflict because it ultimately provides an indefinite defense of the dominant social norms and institutions. They do not need to win the debate about the state of the world to maintain this power and dominance. They only need to establish enough doubt about the environmental epistemic community having the debate to throw public action into doubt as well.

Kysar, in Ecology Law Quarterly, notes that both environmentalists, such as Worldwatch Institute, and skeptics like Lomborg are guilty of hyperbole which they use to focus attention on their own policy agenda through competing Litanies.102 These Litanies are, among other things, struggles over the ability to frame risk, and therefore regulation:
As a result, science becomes a contested space in which competitors
vie for the legal authority to impose costs on other parties, whether
in the form of regulatory compliance, or externalized physical and
environmental harms.

However, Wildavsky, correctly I think, argues that risk is politically assessed by morality, and this makes the framing of public risk a civic exercise.104 From here, he argues that environmental policies need to be made with a preponderance of evidence, not evidence from probabilities. But skeptical ethics severely limit what counts and is available to create such a preponderance of evidence. Thus, contrary to what Lomborg argues, understanding what is to be done and prioritizing action is not just a simple matter of adding up the costs and benefits. The real struggle is over what can count as a cost or benefit or even whether such a conceptual tool is fair, appropriate, or relevant.105

Environmental skepticism is therefore a struggle over the core values and beliefs that frame who and what risks should count as important. But these are no ordinary historical risks. The state of the world debate centers on what core civic values should organize risk in society regarding human development and progress. Wildavsky's "culture" model is based on core fears and different cultural sets have different core fears of risks, and that environmentalists have a specific culture guided by "radical egalitarianism." I do not disagree that some environmentalism is deeply concerned about the fair distribution of ecological space and change.106 Turning this around though, it is just as plausible to frame skeptics as struggling for a "radical in-egalitarianism" within the core values that already organize world politics.

In conclusion, skepticism's influence in politics and culture presents a dramatic threat to human ability and political will to protect the critical life support systems found in ecological goods and services because they dismiss these systems as important. Many civilizations have actively decided, for one reason or another, to ignore the erosion of this essential relationship between society and non-human nature, only to collapse or find themselves at the mercy of a Dark Age that is defined by misery and suffering.107 Jared Diamond writes, Our world is interconnected and interdependent, like Easter Island's 11 clans. Today, we face the same problemsloss of forests, fisheries, biodiversity, fresh water, and topsoilthat dragged down past societies. But for the first time in world history, we are producing or transporting toxic materials, greenhouse gases, and alien species. All these environmental problems are time bombs. The world is now on an unsustainable course, and these problems will be resolved one way or another, pleasantly or unpleasantly, within the next 50 years.108

Yet, Lomborg shrugs off the matter of accountability to exactly these kinds of changes as "blame" and says our true priorities should be more along the lines of a low-fat diet instead of "focusing on pesticides, oxygen depletion, global warming, forests, wind power, biodiversity, etc.issues which are more clearly someone else's fault."109

To some, the song of skepticism sounds like a sweet song, laden with the security and power of modernity. Diamond points out with optimism I share, when Easter Island collapsed, it did not have the benefit of knowing that other societies had collapsed by undermining ecological life support systems.

However, taking responsibility for global environmental integrity would be a positive step towards paradigmatic and r/evolutionary changes, one of which could be an incorporation of obligations to human societies commensurate with membership and impact within a larger international and ecological community.110 This directly challenges the way power and wealth are concentrated in the current world system, and environmental skeptics have organized as the rearguard for this system and its globalizingbut beleaguered - paradigm. To be sure, the fact that conservatives have felt the need to rally around the DSP indicates that the ecological position is gaining strength.

Skeptics however wish to postpone this change. Their placations sound good to the elite who are part of the dominant world order. From Diamond's lessons, this skeptical song is like lulling the boiling frog to sleep, ignoring that someone put the frog in the pot to begin with, and then telling the frog that things are, "in fact," getting better all the time.

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Dr Fate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-28-10 01:36 PM
Response to Reply #16
19. Thanks- but it's really more about *ME* learning the facts.
I'm not so much trying to change his mind- I'm working on improving my handle over the subject...

As to an issue, it only takes one instance of me getting caught with my pants down in a debate for me to learn my lesson- never again.
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w8liftinglady Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-28-10 12:25 PM
Response to Original message
17. I can tell you who NOT to listen rep Joe Barton
who has sold his soul to oil,gas and coal companies.This link DOES have some useful(and sometimes heartbreaking) info
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