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Schwarzenegger: I don’t give a damn if we agree about climate change (facebook.com)
367 points by herbertlui on Dec 7, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 233 comments

I like that he makes it more about the economics of saving lives, which should be the primary argument.

But that is a tricky problem since we have 4 million a year dying from indoor cooking smoke, and millions more from other various aspects of extreme poverty. Most of which would be a greater ameliorated by cheap coal plants. Cheap coals plants are horrible polluters, but they are cheap, aren't as bad as indoor pollution, and allow countries to pull themselves out of abject poverty, thus saving lives immediately by fertilizing crops, making cheap concrete, powering factories, all the things a richer society needs.

With too much reliance on cheap coal for economic growth, you end up here:


China's use of coal has probably peaked. Any developing country would do well to follow China's lead and build renewables rather than coal, whatever its short-term advantages.

I agree, coal is bad and we need cheaper more reliable wind/solar. But people are dying today and coal is available today.

To see some of the issues involved with running and maintaining wind power on large scales, this is a great article showing China's struggles.


Developing countries are following China's example because it works. Renewables such as solar and wind are expensive and can't keep the lights on.

People in developing countries want "real electricity, not fake electricity" as villagers in Dharnai, India told the Chief Minister of Bihar state when he came to inaugurate a solar microgrid. (subscription required) http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1060026477

Yes, Beijing's air quality is bad, but you can put pollution control systems on power plants and China is doing exactly that. A very large problem for Beijing is uncontrolled pollution from automobiles, scooters, trucks and other small engines.

The point about coal is that it keeps the lights on and it is affordable. That matters a huge amount when you don't have electricity.

China added 39 gigawatts of new coal power capacity in 2014. They issued permits for at least 150 new coal plants in 2015. They're building a new coal power plant every week, and issuing a new permit every two days. Just the new permits issued for 2015 alone would be equal to 40%+ of all US coal power plant output. While we're at it, let's remember to throw in the recent 14% revision upward in their coal use.

Their coal use clearly hasn't even remotely peaked. All the plans on their table right now call for building a lot more coal power plants.


Not everyone agrees. Greenpeace's analysis suggests that the new coal capability isn't being used (yet), which has lead to a 4% drop in actual coal consumption this year:


Their analysts are working on the ground in China, whereas many other Western agencies just look at official numbers... So the truth may be somewhere in between, but Greenpeace's analysis can't be summarily discounted.

> China's use of coal has probably peaked. Any developing country would do well to follow China's lead...

Hmm. I think it's more correct to say the /rate of increase/ of China's use of coal has probably peaked.

"China added 39 gigawatts of coal-fired capacity in 2014 — 3 gigawatts more than it added in 2013. That is equivalent to three 1,000 megawatt units every four weeks.[v] At the peak, from 2005 through 2011, China added about two 600-megawatt coal plants a week, for 7 straight years. And, China is expected to add the equivalent of a new 600-megawatt plant every 10 days for the next 10 years. "


China is increasing renewable power generation, but they continue to add coal power generation as well.

Greenpeace's analysis suggests that China's coal consumption has dropped 4% this year:


The discrepancy is mentioned in Greenpeace's report: "China is still building lots of new coal capacity — it’s just not using it."

But is a cheap coal plant a worse polluter than N household cooking fires, where N is the number of households that the cheap coal plant enables to switch to electric cooking? (Don't forget that those households also probably heat the house with wood fires or something equally nasty.)

"The economics of saving lives" are usually pretty shoddy, frankly. Factor isolation is a nightmare, and as you point out, other goods may well counterbalance "bads."

Typical logical flaw of applying the argument to various other argually retard comparison.

The comparison here is between clean energy and fossil fuel. It has little to do with cooking, or extreme poverty.

The global warming brigade hijacked the pollution issue.

There always will be a debate on global warming. So keeping global warming as the prime focus of fossil fuel usage kept people divided.

If pollution was the prime focus from day one, then more push would have been given to renewable.

Maybe, Arnold is able to bring more people to think in this direction.

> There always will be a debate on global warming. So keeping global warming as the prime focus of fossil fuel usage kept people divided.

Bullshit. Whatever the focus was, vested interests would have funded opposition and that's what kept people divided.

Hear, hear. The fossil-fuel industry fought long and hard to sow doubt that ambient lead levels in the atmosphere were increasing due to the burning of leaded gasoline. Losing on that point, they then attempted to prove that low levels of lead are not harmful to humans; this has since been shown to be wildly inaccurate.

It blows my fucking mind that people accuse scientists of being untrustworthy due to having a financial interest in proving global warming to be true; this is in spite of the fact that the fossil-fuel industry has already been caught putting out junk science that justified poisoning humans to protect their profit.

> The fossil-fuel industry fought long and hard to sow doubt that ambient lead levels in the atmosphere were increasing due to the burning of leaded gasoline. Losing on that point, they then attempted to prove that low levels of lead are not harmful to humans; this has since been shown to be wildly inaccurate.

The oil industry didn't give a shit about whether or not TEL was put in gasoline. It was the auto companies who put it in there in the first place, and the auto and chemical companies who fought its removal.

> It blows my fucking mind that people accuse scientists of being untrustworthy due to having a financial interest in proving global warming to be true; this is in spite of the fact that the fossil-fuel industry has already been caught putting out junk science that justified poisoning humans to protect their profit.

It blows my mind that people judge scientific work based on its funding source over its content and merits. Not saying its irrelevant, but good science is good science and bad science is bad science, regardless of who paid for it.

>> It blows my mind that people judge scientific work based on its funding source over its content and merits. Not saying its irrelevant, but good science is good science and bad science is bad science, regardless of who paid for it.

I don't think anyone would argue with that, but I think determining what is "good" science and what is "bad" science is out of the reach of most people, let alone people who understand the scientific process. There's also often more than one conclusion to be drawn from any data, as well as the difficulty in gathering sufficient data or even knowing whether the data gathered is enough to provide any kind of accuracy. I think the "who paid for it" question has been used more and more try and provide more context (sometimes useful, sometimes harmful) into scientific or psuedoscientific conclusions... of course it gets misused as a non-sequitur just like everything else in rhetoric.

Again, not saying it's right, just trying to provide the context for _why_ people might use financial motives to judge scientific merit.

> It blows my mind that people judge scientific work based on its funding source over its content and merits.

Given limited time and flawed or incomplete domain expertise, I think "follow the money" is an excellent heuristic shortcut.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

They lied about lead: why in hell should we ever believe them again?

No, what blows my fucking mind is that the environmental conversation switched from concrete short term problems (pollution) to abstract long term problems (global warming). One is really easy for laymen to reason, the other is nearly impossible. It makes as much sense as the Bible to atheists. It's not about evidence. Modern environmentalists put down the gun and brought a hot dog to the gun fight.

You have hard evidence in the form of visible undeniable toxic pollution occurring in China due to rampant and unchecked fossil fuel usage. This is not data extrapolated decades out—it's happening right now! Instead of using this as evidence to justify current "stringent" environmental regulations in the West and why we should continue them, you have people still talking about melting glaciers and rising ocean temperatures.

Shifting the conversation back to pollution and renewable energy achieves the same result: stopping catastrophic climate change. And it'll get us there faster than the current Bible-thumping message.

Well-said. There's financial interests on both sides but oil industry has shown itself to go to any lengths to keep its conflict high.

"Merchants of Doubt"-style manufactured confusion, false-flag issue-advocacy and pseudo-contrarian FUD to smokescreen the reality of civilization-impacting health and environmental issues... from smoking to coal and more.

It's all about ease of delaying regulation to maximize profits, not conspiracy theories, just dirty tricks as means to ends.

I think you're ignoring the profit to be made in extending the time between now and when ANY kind of regulation (pollution OR climate change) kicks in. Industries have historically avoided responsibility for various kinds of pollution by using the same FUD tactics that are used in the climate change "debate".

If pollution is your focus but not global warming, then you'll focus more on scrubbing technologies and better combustion and the like. A lot of stuff can burn extremely cleanly now if you ignore CO2, and the only reading to look at CO2 is climate change. It's not important at all as a pollutant otherwise.

I also doubt that people would be unified on pollution if not for global warming. In my experience, the people who doubt climate change also downplay pollution in general. It's largely the same people saying global warming is a liberal hoax, and complaining about how the government says they can't dump used motor oil down the storm drains, can't buy freon anymore, cars have to come with catalytic converters, and such.

I disagree. Switching the conversation back to pollution will have the same end result as focusing solely on climate change.

Yes, a focus on pollution will result in cleaner dirty energy, but cleaner dirty energy is better than dirty dirty energy. Clean dirty energy is probably more likely to have lower CO2 emissions.

Climate change deniers may try to deny pollution, but pollution is a lot harder to explain away. Pollution happens in your face today (see China), but climate change happens 100 years away in extrapolated data models. You can explain over fishing destroying jobs instead of ecosystems. Or explain over-logging creating soil erosion that destroys homes.

People understand problems that affect people today, not ecosystems tomorrow.

Coal is probably a lost cause for plain pollution, but stuff like natural gas and petroleum should be burnable pretty much arbitrarily cleanly if you put in the effort. They're already extremely clean in the context of power plants.

The ideal combustion cycle with a hydrocarbon produces pure carbon dioxide and water. You'll never get all the way there, but you can approach it pretty closely. A world concerned only with pollution would likely converge on a lot of natural gas power plants and clean-burning oil-powered cars. A world concerned with climate change would converge on nuclear, solar, wind, and such.

Don't underestimate people's ability to deny the effects of pollution, too. Go look at the comments in the recent thread about Beijing's smog alert. There are a ton of people in there calling into doubt the health effects of chronic high-concentration particulate pollution, even from people who have experienced it first-hand, and this is the sort of stuff that makes your eyes and nose burn with a few minutes' exposure.

Lots of pollution is silent and long-term, too. Smog is very visible, but how about long-term contamination of groundwater or the oceans?

All in all, I just don't see much difference in membership in the set of climate change deniers and the set of people who think pollution controls are a bad idea.

> There always will be a debate on global warming

As long as the denialists are well-funded:

Unearthing America's Deep Network of Climate Change Deniers


Oh, puhleaseeee! The Warmists are most well-funded funded there is, getting trillions of tax payer dollars for extremely lucrative jobs.

If the guide is based on "follow the money" the Warmists will lose by orders of magnitudes.

I really hope this is a Poe. The idea that a person sincerely believes trillions of tax dollars are going to "warmists" is too much to bear.

Warmists and the frauds who are perpetuating it. For the ring leaders, the goal is to get billions of tax payer dollars (via carbon tax) to be funneled to the UN for their uses. This is the biggest pyramid scam since Social Security.


Ah yes, good ol' World Government theories.

Revisionist history much?

We added lead to gasoline in the 1920s and it remained legal in most countries (including the US) until 1990s. In other words, it took us seventy years to stop actively adding toxic heavy metal to gasoline so that it spreads everywhere cars can go.

After all, we're talking about an industry that can spread FUD about a whole branch of science. I see no reason why they wouldn't do the same to other pollution problems.

But Midgley and Kettering were from GM. And if you look at least at oil company PR these days, they're touting clean energy and taking warming quite seriously.

https://exxonmobil.com/Benelux-English/energy_climate.aspx http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/12/07/3728921/exxonmob...

I agree with this. Amazing that we need AS to give people a dose of wisdom. I have to agree with everything he said. I am not convinced about CO2 causing global warming but I am 100% ok with our society pushing away from coal, gasoline and fracking.

If you are not convinced of something that nearly all scientists say is true, then you need to change your mind because the odds are nearly 100% that you're wrong and your belief is based on ideological footing that is blinding you.

It is really quite absurd to deny something the entire scientific community says is true.

It's quite normal to deny something the entire scientific community is saying. In everywhere except math it's business as usual. Most of our current scientific knowledge was originally someone disagreeing with the majority.

It's weird you are attacking someone who agrees with you in policy. Just because he does not think "correctly". Given that your argument is out of authority, it's bit alarming.


> It's quite normal to deny something the entire scientific community is saying.

By other scientists when doing science sure, that's cool; by the ignorant public when working on policy, that's just ignorance.

> Most of our current scientific knowledge was originally someone disagreeing with the majority.

No, if you are not a scientist in the field, your disagreements are just ignorance. Science can and should be challenged by those actually doing the science, not arguments from ignorance from the general public.

If you agree because someone says so, that's just another form of ignorance.

If you really wish to know the shit, you find the facts science has provided. There are facts. This "99% of scientists" stuff is making the signal/noise ratio quite bad.

> If you agree because someone says so, that's just another form of ignorance.

No it isn't, it's not possible to educate yourself to the depth required on a great many things without becoming a professional in the field and while that's cool for those that want to; it's utter arrogance and ignorance to ignore the entire scientific community as a laymen and pretend you know better. Quite simply, if you are not a climate scientist, you're talking out of your ass. The people educated enough in the evidence to have the rational debate, have already had it, the intelligent debate is over and the conclusions have been publicized. The only people still debating are the few scientists in the extreme minority (which is fine), and the utterly ignorant (i.e. the public).

You have to be philosophist with a degree and specialization in philosophy of science to consistently make that argument.

Are you?

No I don't, nor does my argument imply that since I didn't say it applies to everything but to a great many things. Everyone can use logic, but not all topics are matters of logic, climate science is not; it's a matter of evidence and correctly understanding the totality of the evidence requires one to be a climate scientist.

The evidence clearly points that:

1. CO2 causes the greenhouse effect. This can be replicated in aquarium. It's a fact.

2. Burnind fossil fuels creates CO2 as material does not disappear. Carbon included.

3. CO2 is not absorbed by oceans. It goes to atmosphere. Measurable fact, documented by Mauna Loa observatory since 1956.

4. The change in radiation balance shows in significant ways. As is shown by change in glacier mass balance. Again measurable fact, easily understandable by layman.

It is not hard so far. We have human made climate change there. Now if we go into the "what will happen and how much?" territory, 99% of climate scientist agree that we don't really know. There are educated guesses with freakishly huge error bars.

If we compare this to "should smoking be banned", nobody speaks about 99% of doctors. "Is flyin safe?" and you don't hear about 99% of engineers. This "99% of climate scientists" stuff makes the whole business sound like it's matter of opinnion.

1. F=ma, Newton's second law, can be replicated easily. It's a fact. 2. If I kick this soccer ball right here, applying a force, it will accelerate away from me. It's a fact. 3. Look, it has accelerated away from me, it's a measurable fact!

...a short time later...

4. Oh, I was standing at the bottom of a hill, so the ball just rolled back to my feet.

Do you understand? We are discussing an insanely complex system, with feedback loops everywhere, and a scant (at best) 100 years of quality data on a planet 4 billion years old. There is nothing simple about this. The physics of the radiation balance isn't in question, but for all we know it may be dwarfed by negative feedbacks. They are forced to fallback on computer models for a reason.

Nobody talks about 99% of doctors and smoking, because we can empirically test this. Hundreds of millions of people have smoked, and we have observed the effects.

The smoking/cancer analogy always makes me smile, because it is actually a very good one. Let's turn it around. The physics of how smoking causes cancer is pretty solid. We know about toxins and carcinogens, etc. But let's say I hand you a single human being, and I ask you, "if he smokes for the next 40 years, will he get cancer?". We don't have a freaking clue. The human body - the feedback of the immune system defences, nutrition, genetics - are beyond our power to model. Science is hopelessly unable to answer that question. And ponder this for a moment - we have 6 billion potential test subjects to work with! We have one earth. This is the state of climate science. The biosphere/atmosphere/oceans/etc. are every bit as complex as a single human body, and we have only one patient to study, and data for maybe 0.0000025 of the patient's lifetime.

But, I hear you say, "shouldn't we be cautious then? Shouldn't we quit just in case?". And fair enough, we probably should be cautious. But the counterpoint to that is that fossil fuel usage isn't a nicotine hit. It doesn't deliver us a few moments of pleasure in return for the risk of cancer. It fuels our entire industrial civilization. So the risk/reward calculation looks quite a bit different, doesn't it?

In one case, we have the potential risk confirmed by the empirical evidence of a test set of hundreds of million of smokers, and the potential reward being a nicotine hit. In the other, we have no way of testing the theorized risk outside of models, and the reward is the energy to power our entire civilization.

So yeah, it is an analogy that always makes me laugh a little.

We actually do need to talk about those feedback loops. Really.

In science that is extremely important, we probably don't disagree. This is obvious.

For laymen who vote about this shit and need to be informed? Again important. If we just wave around this "99% of scientist" shit, the intelligent, but uninformed part of populace is not going to buy it. They feel like being called idiots. There is nothing like that to make a person to vehemently oppose you, if he has based part of his ego on being intelligent.

Now in my circle of friends, who am I going to believe on this subject. The guy who goes "420 blaze it! 99% of scientist agree cars are bad!" Or the guy who is bachelor of something and is really really skeptical about all this climate change stuff. I would go with the latter.

The message should be "We hear you and we aren't 100% certain. Let's start from the easy stuff to minimize the potential bad stuff."

If a laymen disagrees with the vast majority of scientists, he is not intelligent no matter what he likes to think of himself as. Intelligent people are aware of the complexity of the world and their own ignorance of a subject are aren't so hung up in their own egos that they think they're smarter than an entire field of specialists. So if you think the skeptic laymen is more believable just because he's a skeptic, well, you're not really taking the intelligent position because you're ignoring the context that he's in opposition to nearly all of the experts.

In this case that you seem to support the skepticism is based on


"If P were true then I would know it; in fact I do not know it; therefore P cannot be true."

For example, it's not that Einstein in 1905 made Newton's formulas from around 1700 unusable, quite the opposite, for a lot of purposes they are still used: it's just that for the very high speeds they need adjustment factors and more complicated math to express what's going on. The expected improvement in the science certainly won't make "everything we know wrong." Such formulations are just spammy titles. There will be only refinements.

For the current state, see:


I didn't say anything about climate change on the above comment. I only said the argument was not solid.

I'm not "climate skeptic", I'm true believer. I just try to combat these authority heretics.

Argument from authority is not always invalid; especially when virtually all of the authorities on the subject agree. In fact you can't find a statement I made in the original post you objected to, that isn't true. It is factually true that if you disagree with most scientists on a subject, you are probably wrong. I didn't say you were definitely wrong, I said it was near 100% certain that you were wrong.

> It's weird you are attacking someone who agrees with you in policy. Just because he does not think "correctly".

No, it isn't weird. It's perfectly rational to disagree with people because they reach the right conclusion for the wrong reasons because "thinking" wrong is often dangerous and leads to superstition.

Argument from authority is not invalid when it can be backed with fact.

It's often unnecessary, because you need the fact anyhow. In some cases it's justified to save time. Like in the military.

> Argument from authority is not invalid when it can be backed with fact.

Your line of argumentation doesn't make sense here. We can look for backing up an authority with facts which come from...that same authority, who we then have to believe or not, short of replicating their study. Or we can get someone else to replicate the study, and someone else to replicate that study, and...suddenly we're talking about scientific consensus again.

You do not have time to replicate and verify the work of every scientist. At some point you are going to have to choose to take some authority's word for it.

You have good point here.

The person I choose to believe is the one who talks about radiation balance and p-values and confidence intevals. Then I expect to see peer revieve publication and some peer revieved confirmation. It's also possible to establish somekind of authority to conduct meta-study. This works nicely in medical field.

Someone talking about "99%" of scientists is just distracting. Link the IPCC document and call it a day.

"I am not convinced about CO2 causing global warming"

Honestly, how convinced you are about it is only relevant because economic interests have planted a seed of doubt about it.

Your position to question the science on climate change is about as good as it is on a myriad other issues which no one seems keen on questioning. If there weren't a lobby doing it, your uncertainty would be as much as what qualified experts have.

To be fair, opposing interests (the "green" movement) have also influenced people based on economics.

Let's not look at who is on what side of the fight when making these decisions. Both sides currently have entrenched economic interests, both sides are turning it from a practical issue to one that is moral and identity politics, ruining the conversation.

What entrenched economic interests are on the "global warming is real" side? There are a bunch of upstarts, of course, but nothing entrenched that I can think of. Given that the whole movement only took off in the last few decades I don't even see how it would be possible. Further, I frequently see companies on that side making choices that are against their own economic interests, by spending more on electricity to ensure it's from renewable sources, using more expensive but more recyclable packing, and similar.

According to [0], private sector investment in clean energy in the US alone was over $100 billion in the US. In 2012.

[0] http://www.acore.org/files/pdfs/ACORE_Outlook_for_RE_2014.pd...

How much of that is from "entrenched economic interests," and what's the number for fossil energy?

We may have to disagree at this point, but there are 100 billion worth of dollars, which is going to create some pretty strong economic interests. Are you using "entrenched" in a historical sense? I suppose I'm using it more as a substitute for "heavyweight".

Anyhow, I don't think it's a stretch to believe that there are strong economic powerhouses controlling billions of dollars trying to promote the green movement.

I'm not totally sure if the other side of the coin is particularly relevant, unless it's the case that politicians are all already bought and paid for by fossil fuel interests, and thus not available to be bought by newer "green" economic interests.

Regardless, what were we discussing?

I doubt that's true - most people simply aren't equipped to understand it. I know I am not, but I have an old friend who is, and he ran me through the high points. I wish he'd write down what he'd told me - it helped.

I still assign a nonzero probability to finding out we're wrong. Because, y'know, science.

We should pay applied math PhDs to just answer questions as a general service :)

If only it were that easy. With energy use expected to rise and the Jevon's Paradox sure to annihilate any environmental benefits from increased efficiency, we will have to make some unfortunate choices about energy sources. Coal is very very dirty, beyond CO2, we're talking sulfur and mercury poisoning. Fracking is actually quite safe but notoriously under regulated. Nuclear is clean and safe but a generation raised on Homer Simpson and Chernobyl footage means they'll never accept it.

Even green tech is dirty. Refining rare earths is environmentally disasterous (gotta rip those high valence electrons somehow) and battery recycling in Nigeria has created a huge spike in lead poisoning cases and deaths.

Fighting climate change is the biggest conflict in the history in humanity. Our species is our enemy and our ally, and we are tasked between holding onto the plummeting biodiversity we have on this day, December 7, 2015, or complete and utter extinction. It won't be easy, and we will all have to make choices we don't like.

> There always will be a debate on global warming.

That seems mostly a US problem. In the rest of the first world, even in BRIC countries, there does not seem to be any debate on Global warming but on the economic repercussions and the fairness of the measures considering First World countries polluted as much as they wanted.

Actually, considering the complete lack of controversy in the scientific community, the US position is rather strange. I guess it is just easier internally to sell wacky conspiracy theories than some hard truth like "it is not our economic interest and we are the world leader, so sorry guys".

I've been preaching this for years! Global warming makes as much sense as eternal damnation to non-believers. It redirects the environmental conversation away from tangible short term problems such as pollution to abstract long term problems like global warming. People can relate to problems affecting people (pollution and health, over-logging and soil erosion, over-fishing and lost jobs, oil and energy dependence, etc). Global warming is a lot harder to relate to. It's so abstract that it's easy for opponents to dismiss and spread FUD.

The shift in conversation towards Climate Change really hurt the environmental movement, IMO.

There always will be a debate on global warming.

I doubt this is true without the caveat: ...so long as the energy industry keeps funding an opposition.

Putin's Russia, and Xi's China, are extremely skeptical of global warming. Russia outright considers it a fraud and conspiracy, Putin has stated exactly that. Plenty in the developing world are on board with that skepticism.

Which is why China is going to keep their emission levels completely uncapped for the next 15 years at least, allowing for dramatic growth in said emissions. The best they've agreed to, is that maybe emissions will fall after 2030 (emphasis on the fact that it's an entirely empty pledge).

I think the science will take a long time to harden beyond its present state. We can project forward estimates but this will refine over time. It's a long-term project.

Funny - I don't really see much of a debate...

It's called a Filibuster, i think. 99% may be in perfect consensus, but as long as the idiot (or mallevolent) 1% is allowed to keep claiming that there is insufficient information, the "debate" will keep going and going.

It is remarkably similar to a DOS attack.

That's because you're reflexively dismissing people on the other side. They're still there, though.

What "other side"??

The only people who are questioning the science are the ones who don't have the necessary knowledge to evaluate the claims scientifically and who have an economic stake in continuing fossil fuel usage.

No climate scientists oppose it. I have not seen a single, reliable and useful model which goes against the fundamentals of climate change. There are no alternative hypothesis that explain the climate phenomena we're experiencing now.

No has dismissed anything reflexively. It is only the years and years of ludicruous, ignorant and politically motivated arguments against climate change that have solidified that position for many of us.

You're dismissing their claims without actually stating them or refuting them, as do many people. I believe their claims are false, but I don't dismiss them.

Trying to wave away statements by alleging ulterior motives or lack of knowledge only empowers the opposition. Debate them rationally, and you'll start to change more views.

Debate them rationally, and you'll start to change more views.

I don't have the link handy, but not too long ago there was an interesting article about that posted to HN. Using reason doesn't actually work well with most people, most of the time.

People get emotionally attached to certain ideologies. It becomes part of their core identity, much like sports team affiliation.

It is often more effective to find emotional arguments instead. Show them pictures of smog in Bejing, for example. Or how the Marshal Islands are sinking under the ocean (well, the sea level is rising).

Permafrost melting

Annual Arctic ice cap melt increasing.

Bird migration ranges moving poleward, migration times moving winterward.

Animal and plant range moving poleward and upward.

Do you have an explanation for these facts other than climate change aka global warming? If not STFU. If you do, I'd love to hear it.

Did you read what I wrote?

I was giving you facts on the ground, rather than complaints about ulterior motives or lack of knowledge, although both complaints are often valid.

The only people who are questioning the science are the ones who don't have the necessary knowledge to evaluate the claims scientifically and who have an economic stake in continuing fossil fuel usage.

That's dismissive: you're claiming that the people who disagree with you are only disagreeing because they're idiots who should be ignored, and/or are being paid to disagree.

Dismissive or not, he's right that that's mostly the case. You don't see the climate science community arguing much about this issue. It's right to dismiss them.

"The only people who are questioning the science are the ones who don't have the necessary knowledge to evaluate the claims scientifically and who have an economic stake in continuing fossil fuel usage."

Wrong! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_scientists_opposing_th...

Where as, Warmists have Arnold, Gore, Pope Francis, Hollywood celebs and lying pols, &c ... all eminent scientists in their own right ... NOT! And let's not forget the infamous head of the IPCC who was also NOT a climate scientist. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rajendra_K._Pachauri

"No climate scientists oppose it. I have not seen a single, reliable and useful model which goes against the fundamentals of climate change. There are no alternative hypothesis that explain the climate phenomena we're experiencing now."

That straw man is so obvious, I expect to see Dorthy, Tin man and the Cowardly Lion joining in anytime soon. There are no reliable or useful models which correctly defines fundamentals of climate change, period.

And speaking of Dorthy, how about NOAA jiggering the satellite data (the most accurate climate date source) to erase the 18-20 global warming cessation period: https://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2015/09/17/noaa-massivel...

I could go on and provide many more links bogus claims being refuted but with Warmists, it's just a waste of digital pixels.

That's exactly what I'm talking about.

"The global warming brigade hijacked the pollution issue."

This is why I hate environmental discussions with a passion, because at some point if one expresses less than total agreement with the AGW crowd you apparently are in the pocket of Smokey McCoalstove and enjoy smog, dead fish, and coughing babies. Martin Luther received a warmer response from the Catholic Church than some "deniers" who dare question the established dogma.

Yes, because unless you have actual, critical arguments beyond the conspiranoid baseless claims that climate scientists are all in collusion, all the science points one way, and the entire civilized world with the exception of some US politicians who are suspiciously befriended with certain economic interests oppose it.

"...conspiranoid baseless claims..." "...and the entire civilized world..." "...suspiciously befriended with certain economic interests..."

Sorry, are you disagreeing with or supporting my position at this point? Or perhaps both?

So is the conversation something like, "air/water/ground pollution" X "planet is becoming uninhabitable"? Where X differs depending on who is talking?

For Schwarzenegger, X seems to be "therefore". For me, X is more like, "but not". I treat the two arguments as separate.

Shocking warnings have always come with pollution. For me, those warnings have mostly born out as true. I have chronic asthma, probably from air pollution. And, I have eyes so I can observe the haze and smog over the city in the morning. I've been to China and seen and felt what happens when there are no pollution controls at all. Rivers catching fire/all the life being killed off in them by dumped waste is a real thing that happens.

Acid rain, though? That one jumped the shark for me; I think acid rain was all hype. Fantastic claims need really fantastic evidence is all I'm saying.

I do like pollution controls though and I am amazed at how improved the air quality is in the states over what it was in the 1970's. I have kids, and I want to continue our regime of pollution controls. Renewable energy sources are the way to go.

Global warming appears to me to be bad science, however. All the computer models predicted a spiraling warming effect, but instead we're cooling off, and we're potentially heading for another mini-ice age. The sun, being the primary energy input for the system, is never causally linked to warming or cooling trends on our planet. Why is that, especially when we can measure the sun's energy output is not a constant? Money and power is my guess. I don't see any proof - at our current rate of energy consumption and pollution - of how we are making a dent in this absolutely massive system. The scientific claims seem to predict destabilization, and I just don't see any proof of that happening.

Honestly, if global warming theorists want to bolster their claims, they should keep links between pollution and warming very abstract. Trying to use health effects of pollution as a proof of atmospheric destruction weakens the argument because they're two separate effects. Arnold does a disservice to his cause here.

I have no idea where you get the idea that the planet is cooling, but you're 100% wrong about this.


This is not "bad science."

And it leads to predictable effects. The North West of England is partly underwater this week because of yet another "once a century" storm - the kind that have been rolling around every few years since 2000 or so. Increased rainfall for the UK has been predicted since the late 1980s as an effect of CO2 output.

"The sun, being the primary energy input for the system, is never causally linked to warming or cooling trends on our planet."

Climate change models have allowed for solar output for decades. See e.g.


It might be an idea to educate yourself on the real science.

Your second link states right at the start, "There is, however, a dawning realization among researchers that even these apparently tiny variations can have a significant effect on terrestrial climate." And there's uncertainty and debate between scientists mentioned throughout.

The sun inputs many orders of magnitude more energy as humans into the atmosphere. Even 0.01% variability in solar output should create fluctuations in surface temperatures that we can measure.

Do you have any studies supporting this variability in the Sun's output?

Do you want to know about solar cycles? https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_cycle

There's a solar irradiance section that explains:

> Solar irradiance varies systematically over the cycle, both in total irradiance and in its relative components (UV vs visible and other frequencies). The solar luminosity is an estimated 0.07 percent brighter during the mid-cycle solar maximum than the terminal solar minimum. Photospheric magnetism appears to be the primary cause (96%) of 1996-2013 TSI variation. The ratio of ultraviolet to visible light varies.

I'd like to see how solar output over time correlates with global average temperatures over time. Specifically on a timescale longer than one solar cycle.

I think that irradience is difficult to pin to surface temps. From the same article:

> The current scientific consensus is that solar variations do not play a major role in driving global warming, since the measured magnitude of recent solar variation is much smaller than the forcing due to greenhouse gases. Also, solar activity in the 2010s was not higher than in the 1950s (see above), whereas global warming had risen markedly. Otherwise, the level of understanding of solar impacts on weather is low.

The last sentence and the section on hypothesized cycles basically state "we're not sure" about what the sun is doing in the long term and what it's effects on earth are.

That's okay, I'm fine with not having answers on that while science and tech catches up with nature.

What I'm not fine with is drawing extraordinary conclusions from incomplete computer simulations about man's role in climate given the primary sun and cosmic ray inputs into the system are not well understood.

I definitely see what you're getting at, that there could be yet-unknown/unmeasured variability in the sun's output that could be affecting the average global temperature.

I fail to see, however, how this fact in any way discredits the research done by other scientists.

You have a hypothesis that is untested, that is not necessarily mutually exclusive from the already tested hypothesis.

Until that hypothesis is tested and confirmed, I will live my life by the already tested and confirmed hypotheses.

What really confuses me about this whole issue is, what exactly are people afraid of us doing if we operate under the assumption that climate change is man made? Why such vitriol (not from you, but others) against the idea that humans can/have contribute(d) to a changing climate? I'm honestly asking.

I appreciate your honesty, thanks. Yes, you have framed my personal hypothesis: the sun has varying radiation even throughout its predictable cycles and has changing magnetic field strengths that interacts with earth's. That variability and the water cycle on the earth accounts for the variability of our climate.

I haven't discredited anyone, that's just my opinion. I'd like to think I've read enough that I can chat confidently at parties, that's all. I think your opinion is fine too, and you have lots of friends at the parties I go to which is always a nice thing.

There is not anything sacred about "scientific consensus". There's always new hypotheses to test coming from outliers in any scientific field, always unexplained measurements to explore. Whenever I hear the term "settled science", I flip my wig. There's simply no such thing. My experiences with researchers at university is there is usually a pet theory chased by the lead researcher and you better toe the line or you get no grant funds. If most researchers are on the anthropomorphic global warming band-wagon then that's where everyone's head is at.

Yeah, well, the ugly vitriol flows both ways, I can attest. What you observe may be people who are grumpy being called idiots all the time and they're just lashing out, and probably just as many intellectually lazy people who like to troll. I wouldn't normally say anything in a forum that counters the popular viewpoint because I don't care enough to take insults, but people are mostly civil here at HN, thank goodness.

This strikes me much like a personal hypothesis that smoking is not harmful. It's a fine theory to have in your own home, but when you apply to your theory next to a daycare folks will be more upset.

There's the skeptical professor from the BerkleyEarth project who was doubtful about many aspects to the science, but when we looked at it in detail became concerned enough to devote all his time to the problem. http://berkeleyearth.org/. His opinion, after studying it for years along with research assistants, is that it is happening, man made, and probably a very bad thing for many, many people on Earth.

I think what frustrates a lot of folks is that there seem to be many people hanging around daycares smoking saying that they don't believe it is hurting anyone, while the US Pediatrician Organization, WHO, etc, etc all say that second hand smoke is bad, causes asthma, etc, and the only way to convince anyone seems to be waiting 5, 10, 20 years until all the consequences are apparent (and irreversible).

I'm sure that you can still find a doctor who says smoking is good for you and those around you, but the consensus is that is has a lot of negative externalities that other people bear.

Thanks for replying so many days after this thread started, seems like you care enough to say something. It's gratifying.

I can't tell if you are equating "pollution is bad" with "earth will become uninhabitable". Are you?

I agree 100% that pollution is terrible, and we should curtail it where we can without slowing down our technological advancement as a species too much. That's simply the responsible thing to do, and anyone that disagrees should visit China's big cities and take a deep breath or go swimming in some algae plume ocean water.

But, the mental leap to "imminent planet death" caused by us at our current technology level is too far a leap for me to take. The world and its systems are just too huge and humanity is too insignificant and primitive.

I contend the system is complex and we don't have adequate models to simulate it. And, the system is robust and can adjust to and absorb much larger disruptions than mankind can currently create.

> Global warming appears to me to be bad science, however...

Climate scientists do and have studied the link between climate and the sun, as well as many other factors, but in the end GHG emissions from humans are contributing the most to increasing global temperatures.


Also while it's a big system, there are also 7 billion of us. In 2012 we released over 30 billion tonnes of C02 into the atmosphere.


I absolutely don't believe that human-created CO2 emissions cause global warming. However, I consider myself a staunch environmentalist.

I believe we should be doing whatever we can to control pollution. It sickens me that factories pump out pollution, that we can barely eat fish anymore because of all the garbage and poisons we pump into our oceans. I think we need very strict controls on every form of pollution as well as garbage and creating plastic waste (including microplastic particles in our oceans), although I do believe CO2 pollution is on the bottom of the scale in terms of importance. I believe that fines for factories that pollute the environment should be material, ie. very heavy relative to yearly revenues. Personally, I do my best to ensure that I create as little waste as possible, and that I do my part in terms of recycling, composting, etc.

So I consider myself an environmentalist, I just don't believe that global warming is caused by human activity, and CO2 pollution is the least critical of the pollutions.

Can you explain your lack of belief when 97% of climate scientists (there's conflicting data on this; some reports show as high as 99%) agree that human activity is causing global warming?

EDIT: That's not rhetorical. I'll entertain any logical reasoning you have as to why your reasoning is superior to those educated and practicing the subject daily.

I thought the 97% of climate scientists claim (based on Cook et al) was shown to be a really flawed study. In any event, Consensus does not equal science.

I think given the broad definition of "human activity is causing global warming", you'd be hard pressed to find disagreement. If you refine it to "human activity is causing a majority of global warming and that warming is bad" there is a lot less agreement.

>I thought the 97% of climate scientists claim (based on Cook et al) was shown to be a really flawed study.

Only according to really flawed and biased sources.

>In any event, Consensus does not equal science.

Actually science is very much the consensus among practicing scientists.

Short of reproducing millions of man-hours of international research to verify or refute it personally, what exactly would be the alternative?

Science is about finding truth. Truth doesn't give shit what anybody thinks. (Except in psychology, but lets not get there.)

Scientific consensus is just educational and political tool. Get everybody on the same page. But it's pretty detached from the actual process of science itself.

Questioning established consensus has been scientifically very valuable in the history.

>Science is about finding truth. Truth doesn't give shit what anybody thinks.

Truth is an abstract concept. You can't get hold of "truth" in raw form. Consensus is the only thing that validates a statement, and scientific consensus, that is consensus among experts following (each perhaps imperfectly) the scientific method, is the only thing that validates a scientific statement.

Even direct experience is not some failsafe -- a single person might just be misinterpreting, lacking skills and knowledge to understand what you see, or plain delusional (e.g. Wilhelm Reich and orgone or Linus Pauling and vitamin C).

>Scientific consensus is just educational and political tool. Get everybody on the same page. But it's pretty detached from the actual process of science itself.

Not according to any philosophy or practice of science that I know of.

>Questioning established consensus has been scientifically very valuable in the history.

Sure, but only to establish a new consensus, not to say that "my sole opinion, that remains my sole opinion, is more valid than the rest of the scientific world's".

> Actually science is very much the consensus among practicing scientists.

Unfortunately, philosophers of science might add. They'd observe that a good determinant for a new theory to prevail over an old one is, well, when the old guard retires.

Not discounting the value of scientific literature mind you. Or the fact that we've indeed been seeing what looks like warming of late. Merely pointing out that a consensus does not a Truth make, that the consensus has remained unchanged since the 1970s [1], that the bloody mess is rather chaotic in nature, and that we're still learning new things about it every year.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_climate_change_scie...

Consensus of scientists studying a given subject may not "equal science", but it's basically how scientific facts are established. That's how science works. There are always at least a few skeptics and crackpots, can never be free of them entirely.

I have trouble taking either statement that seriously. We do not have a baseline to compare against as there is no spare earth available that is untouched by human hands.

The question has to be considered primarily from a qualitative point of view. The only reason people discuss the science so much is because they lack good instincts about the environment. It is so easy to believe that humans are an insignificant part of the environment when you entire world is made by man.

Maybe they forgot a keyword? It certainly isn't the sole cause of global warming/climate change, but it is real.

CO2 in the atmosphere--what's historically known as the greenhouse effect--leads to earth's warming. CO2 emissions are also undeniably connected to the the greenhouse effect, which we clearly have a role to play in. That's science that no one disputes.

But somehow people come out of the woodwork as climate change denialists.

It doesn't really make sense unless seen through a political lens, since politics is antithetical to science in a lot of ways.

There are serious skeptics. Like you say nobody really disagrees with 1) humans release more c02 and 2) more c02 = warming via greenhouse.

But that isn't the entire global warming theory.

There are many feedback effects that occur. Like warming -> melting ice -> water vapor from condensation -> water vapor is a greenhouse gas -> more heat

But there are negative feedback effects too. Like warming -> melting ice -> less reflection of sun -> less heat

So many people are pushing theories with high feedback multiples. Some people are pushing theories with high negative feedback.

Depending on how you model the feedbacks--Climate change can either be a small issue with a degrees or two warming or a mass extinction event with 5 degree C warming.

The problem is it is very hard to test the models.

Other factors don't contribute much. It's real, it's human made and dangerous:


The state of CO2: now around 400 ppm, 20 years ago was 350 ppm, and that was already more than during the last 800 thousand years, and now it's increasing unbelievably faster:


(based on http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/ice_core_co2.html )


If 5 degrees is a mass extinction event (I'm just using your numbers here, not positing them as facts of my own), how can you characterize 1-2 degrees (20-40% of your mass extinction event number) as a "small" issue?

As an "engineer" (note: software engineer, not a real engineer), I'd prefer to leave as much wiggle room as we can possibly muster on the spectrum of activities heading us towards "mass extinction event".

Actually "warming -> melting ice -> less reflection of sun -> less heat" would go other way around. If you have light surface it's likely that lot's of visible light is radiated to space. If you have blue sea instead it's likely it radiates only infra red. Which would be bad with elevated CO2 levels.

The most believable negative feedback I have seen is about increased cloud coverage. Clouds should then reflect visible light back to space. At the same time water vapor is the most significant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. We really don't know how it's going to turn out.

I suspect simply because the 1-3% who are skeptical are literally excommunicated from the scientific community. The problem is that it requires a belief. While we have evidence, there is no conclusive proof, since it's it is difficult to "test" in this field of science.

This is science, not math; there's no such thing as proof; evidence is all there ever is. Seeking proof is to misunderstand the science completely.

Cook should do surveys for these questions too (and include replies from more than 100 people):

If human activity is causing global warming, is that a good or bad thing?

If that is a bad thing, does it present an existential threat to our civilization?

If it presents an existential threat, is it the most significant existential threat our civilization currently faces?

If it presents an existential threat, can our civilization do anything about it?

Where does the danger of global warming rank compared to the danger of, say, population growth? Other pollution? Terrorism stuff? Nanobot grey goo?

If our civilization can do something about an existential threat from global warming, could a cap-and-trade or some other kind of government policy be a good solution?

If etc, could the dynamics of our culture, markets, or technology be a good solution?

I'm sure a large majority of nutrition scientists supported a low fat diet 20 years ago. (Food for thought)

> I'm sure a large majority of nutrition scientists supported a low fat diet 20 years ago. (Food for thought)

Sure, and a large majority of physicists supported General Relativity 20 years ago.

If your point is that vague analogies aren't helpful and specifics are needed, I think that was precisely what toomuchtodo was getting at.

General relativity I much easier to test in simple systems, like planets traveling in the vacuum, or to get more precision you can test it in the lab https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tests_of_general_relativity . I'm not sure if this is the more accurate current test but from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pound%E2%80%93Rebka_experiment :

> The result confirmed that the predictions of general relativity were borne out at the 10% level. This was later improved to better than the 1% level by Pound and Snider. Another test involving a space-borne hydrogen maser increased the accuracy of the measurement to about 10^−4 (0.01%).

Nutrition and diets are more difficult to measure (you can't enclose a few thousand persons in the lab for 20 years) and it's full of side effects and interactions. IIRC a low fat diet is still recommended. I think that a better example of the changes in nutrition is the butter vs margarine recommendations, see for example http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/1179683...

Most nutritional claims are based on pretty thin evidence and even more scant data.

The climate researchers are able to dig back literal millions of years and chart their findings.

> The climate researchers are able to dig back literal millions of years and chart their findings.

sorry, this is pretty funny. Do you know what the data those charts of millions of years are based on? models based on thin evidence and scant data. We are talking like 10 ice cores and 5 trees will swing the data wildly.

I am not a denier (CO2 causes some warming!) but this comment was kinda funny.

I'm surprised you're being down voted.

Remember the "global warming hiatus" that happened over the past 15 years? The one that most climate scientists accepted? Well, it looks like the models we're wrong. Tweak a few model input and "oops!" it's actually been warming the last 15 years.

They still do. People who tell you carbohydrates are the problem have something to sell.

exactly! pssh science, what good is it? /s

For decades, scientists, doctors and dietitians said that eating fat caused heart disease, and you should decrease your fat in your diet. Only in the last couple of years has this "fact" been deemed wrong.

I don't think you would have found a single scientist, doctor or dietitian since the 70s that would have disagreed with the above. It was taken as fact and anyone who thought differently would have been a laughing stock.

The same goes with global warming caused by CO2. It makes for an easily digestible theory, but it doesn't explain many known facts. Global warming caused by CO2 has never been proven, obviously, since you can't do experiments on a global scale. So there's already a lot of faith that you would need to take into consideration. There's circumstantial evidence at best. But still a lot of unknowns about climate and the vast changes that the Earth has undergone over the last 6B+ years, so to say that we know that the current warming trend is caused by CO2 to me is not science.

If you read this thread, it's humorous to read all of the people who think that there is data going back millions of years that links CO2 to climate change. It's a great example of how regular people just take whatever is spoon fed to them without thinking "really, does that make sense?"

For example, North America was covered in ice at one point, and the temperature increased dramatically over the last hundreds of thousands of years. What caused this, and could the same process be responsible for the warming we have seen in the last several decades?

The 5000 year old Iceman found in the Alps attempted to cross the Alps when there was very little snow. We know this because of the clothes that he was wearing when his body was found. So obviously the climate was much different 5000 years ago than today. What caused this change, and could the same process be responsible for the warming we see now?

We know that during the Medieval Warming Period, it was a lot warmer than it is now. What caused this change, and could the same process be responsible for the warming we see now?

I would like these questions answered before I change my opinion. As a man of science, I see too many people flocking like sheep to the answer of CO2 causing climate change. Just like the whole fat-in-the-diet belief, too many people don't really think, they assume that the scientists are right, which is not thinking, in my opinon.

>If you read this thread, it's humorous to read all of the people who think that there is data going back millions of years that links CO2 to climate change.

Except... that data does exist. Sediment cores do contain evidence of past levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide to a fairly high degree of accuracy, and we have sediment cores going back up to about million years ago, or so.

>Global warming caused by CO2 has never been proven

Sure, you can't do a double-blind randomized control experiment with the earth, but when two variables are clearly correlated with a time difference, over millions of years, controlling for confounding factors, it's pretty clear that one causes the other.

>For example, North America was covered in ice at one point, and the temperature increased dramatically over the last hundreds of thousands of years. What caused this, and could the same process be responsible for the warming we have seen in the last several decades?

According to Scientific American [1], the last ice age ended because of a rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide.

[1] http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-thawed-the-la...

Except correlation doesn't prove causation. How many times does this have to be stated for people to understand this? The number of pirates is perfectly inversely correlational to the atmospheric CO2. Is it pretty clear that one causes the other?

Sediment cores and being able to extrapolate data going back thousands or millions of years is a theory only. No one can state CO2 levels going back thousands of years with any level of certainty, certainly not in the Ppm accuracy.

Maybe he has a basic understanding of time series analysis:


Notice that the last value in that graph is around 280 ppm, and that it doesn't exceed about 300 in the entire graph (about half a million years).

Current CO2 levels recently broke 400 ppm and still rising.

To represent the current situation, you'd need to add a spike at the end roughly double the height of that graph.

Does the temperature trend have a similar spike?

Yes. It's not as far out of the historical norms as CO2 levels, but the gradient on it is astounding. It's taken us about 100 years for temperatures to rise beyond their last peak, which occurred about 7000 years ago [1]. Note that this is precisely coincident with the rise in CO2.

It's true that there's a historical feedback loop between CO2 and temperature, which operates in cycles. But we are now operating far beyond the usual range of that system, whatever it is, and nobody knows exactly what will happen next.

[1] https://www.climate.gov/sites/default/files/styles/inline_al...

The wikipedia chart covers 450 thousand years on the x-axis, and a 14 degree range on the y-axis. Your chart covers 12 thousand years on x and 2 degrees on y. If your chart was shrunk to the same scale and overlaid on the first chart, it would be lost in the noise, and your astounding gradient would be nothing compared to the rises and falls 20K and 140K years ago, among others.

Very disingenuous of you.

Why did anybody said the response is linear?

The point of that chart is that the temperature appears to go up before the CO2 levels, leading to the theory that higher temperatures (due to natural cycles, perhaps solar activity cycles) heat up the ocean and other CO2 sinks, leading to a rise in atmospheric CO2.

He has infinite wisdom that failed the 97% of the scientific researchers who make it their profession to review this stuff.

All of the surrounding doublespeak is deplorable. We are expected to treat these all these terms as being synonymous: "climate change", "global warming", "human-created CO2 emissions". If you deny one of these, you deny them all.

What if you're wrong? CO2 may lead to a runaway greenhouse effect, making the earth uninhabitable in the long run (turning it into a Venus look-alike).

I don't think we can risk this outcome (and the extinction of our race) just because because a couple of people think CO2 may not cause global warming.

I don't think an environmental Pascal's Wager is a strong position to base actions on. Reducing emissions will have a strong effect on our societies and people's lives (and global economics), so it's important to weight things properly.

Not saying you're wrong, just that criticisms of Pascal's Wager have validity.

> Reducing emissions will have a strong effect on our societies and people's lives

Let's be a bit more concrete about this. In the near term, reducing emissions is going to reduce economic output. That is literally going to kill people. (The stress of poverty kills people. Lack of money to pay for food and healthcare kills people. So unless you've got a redistribution scheme that you can make actually happen in the real world, reducing economic output means killing people.)

That's the other side of this "Pascal's Wager". If we run off and cut emissions before we know how to do it without reducing economic output, more people that we would like are going to die. They're not going to make headlines, because they're going to be marginal people in marginal places... oh, yeah, the same kind of people who are going to die (first) from climate change.

It may be a net win to fight climate change. But don't act like it's completely one-sided.

It will be easier to change our current ecconomic system than the environmental systems.

But we don't know that the endgame is extinction of the race. We don't even know when various benchmarks will occur ( say, sea level at x% higher ) .

The physics of a Venus aren't on the table - SFAIK, all the carbon we're digging up and burning was once animal or vegetable matter, derived from a Carboniferous era level of atmospheric CO2.

It's no longer a matter of belief, the evidence is in, the overwhelmingly vast majority of climatologists say you're wrong; end of debate. Now it's time to do something about it.

I think that's a terrible idea.

For hundreds of years, people thought stress and food caused ulcers. It was scientific fact and if you doubted it, you'd likely be labelled a crackpot. Until a scientist in Australia proved ulcers were caused by bacteria.

So consensus was wrong. Very wrong.

I'd prefer it if people kept questioning everything. How else do we push forward our knowledge?

The thing that I hate about this argument of 'consensus has been wrong before' when it comes to climate change is that essentially, the argument seems to be 'everyone always said we were pumping too much CO2 into the air and that would cause global warming and now there's people saying that consensus is wrong'.

Unless I'm seriously wrong with my scientific history (and it's extremely possible!) I didn't think this was the case. Decades ago there were people talking about it but the consensus was that it was crackpottery.

However now that consensus has decided "yeah, we were wrong" people point at that consensus and say "hey, consensus has been wrong before!". I look at that and just think... yeah, we know. It was wrong and we've spent a heap of time finding that out.

I mean, it's not the case that 100% of people knew it as a 'scientific fact' that CO2 lead to climate change and now we're starting to question that consensus. The questioning has already happened.

Or I completely wrong in this?

But I think that's true of everything, no?

Before people thoughts ulcers were caused by stress they probably thought it was due to too much "humor" and required treatment by bloodletting.

The point is that we advance scientific thinking by challenging ideas. If right now most scientists thinking global warming is real, then fine. Just don't try and shutdown the ones that don't agree.

No one is trying to shut down scientists that don't agree; they're trying to shut down the ignorant public who's non agreement is baseless because they're getting in the way of setting public policy based on the best information science has to offer us at the moment.

That is a problem that will never go away. You will always have someone spreading incorrect information and "getting in the way" (vaccines cause autism, etc).

If the global warming data is as rock-solid as they, I wouldn't worry to much about it.

Yeah, that's a good point and I see where you're coming from. But generally when I hear the argument about consensus, it seems to end with nothing other than an implication of "and therefore they're obviously wrong, simply because of the current consensus".

But yeah, I see your point.

People should keep questioning. But it's time to stop the faux-modesty of "we might be wrong so we shouldn't do anything". We make the best decision we can based on the evidence at the time, and if the scientific consensus is right (which, while not certain, is very likely), we can't afford to do nothing.

Scientists should always continue to question everything when doing science; the general public however is not in a position to do this and they should follow the consensus of scientists when setting public policy. You can't wait forever when making policy, so you go with the current best knowledge.

Until a scientist in Australia proved ulcers were caused by bacteria. So consensus was wrong. Very wrong.

Interestingly, among people who have Helicobacter pylori in their stomachs, only a subset develops ulcers. Some people have bacteria, but no ulcer. I don't know if there is a consensus on why this happens, but it is correlated with stress. If you are stressed and have h.pylori, you are more likely to develop an ulcer, compared to h.pylori and no stress.

So the consensus was wrong, but still not a hundred percent wrong.

Source: Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers, Third Edition http://www.amazon.com/Zebras-Dont-Ulcers-Third-Edition/dp/08...

Quite a fascinating book on stress.

I downvoted you, not because I disagree with you, but because you have your head in the sand. Not believing in human caused global warming at this point is like not believing in the germ theory of disease. The weight of evidence against that position is so insanely lopsided that the only way is possible to defend it is out of sheer ignorance. Please educate yourself on the topic so people don't laugh at you behind your back.

"I dont't belive..."

Believe, the magic word, makes it a religion basically. I'll take the sceintific consensus. They have evidence.


Regardless of one's stance on global warming and whether or not humans contribute to it, I would hope that we can all agree on the necessity of environmental stewardship. It's deplorable that many bodies of water cannot be swam in (let alone fished from), that breathable air which does not contribute to asthma and lung cancer is a luxury, and most of all that this happens because corporations place the cost of these externalities on society without adequately paying for it.

Great, you don't need to believe it.

Being that it is the observed reality of the world, the causal link between human industrial activity and global warming exists no matter who or what believes it.

Since it sounds like you'd support policies that encourage pro-environmental action anyway, I'm happy for you to believe whatever you want.

What about ocean acidification, which is also a very-dangerous effect of increasing atmospheric CO2 levels?

When speaking with people who do not agree with me on the correctness or urgency of global warming, this is the argument I traditionally make: let's examine the worst-case scenarios. Regardless of whether or not you agree with the science, taking it seriously is a logical choice.

The plausible worst-case scenario of charging ahead with measures to combat climate change isn't actually that bad, not to mention the ancillary benefits outlined by Schwarzenegger. Aggressively stimulating the renewables economy would be a death knell for the fossil-fuel industry, which could harm the overall economy (though renewables would also contribute positively). It would be disruptive to sections of the country that are dependent upon the fossil-fuel industry (coal country in Kentucky, for instance), which would be very hard on the people living there. This is certainly bad and should not be done lightly, but it's hardly apocalyptic.

The plausible worst-case scenario of failing to address climate change is _really_ bad, ranging from property destruction all the way to civilizational collapse or even potentially human extinction[1]. In a world with nuclear weapons, large-scale destabilization resulting from famine, drought and loss of land to flooding is a very dangerous thing. The Earth is the only home we have, why even flirt with the possibility of disrupting our currently livable climate?

...and that argument doesn't even take the scientific consensus on the existence of human-cased global warming into account.

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anoxic_event#Atmospheric_effec...

I think the drawback to your argument is that you're not considering all scenarios. One "worst-case" I can think of is that we charge ahead with measures to combat climate change, harming big parts of the economy in the process, and wind up with the famine, drought, and flooding anyway because we didn't charge ahead with the right measures.

It's extremely important to determine whether the global warming is caused by us or not, and whether or not we can alter global warming whether we caused it or not. If it's mostly natural (and we know the earth has gone through much warmer periods long before we showed up) then the measures we need to take involve protecting our coastal cities and our food and energy supplies. If it's mostly caused by us, then we need to stop doing what's causing it, and probably need to protect our coastal cities and food and energy supplies anyway.

Why does it matter if we caused anything? If the Earth is going to get too hot or too cold for our survival, we should try to stop it. Maybe we haven't affected the climate yet, but if we try we probably can.

It matters because it changes how we would try to stop it. If it's caused by something we're doing, we could just change what we're doing. If it's natural, then we need to find a way to alter nature. That gets into terraforming, which we really don't know how to do, and it'd probably be safer to to learn to live with the climate change rather than trying to stop it.

So, basically, the Precautionary Principle [1]

"The precautionary principle or precautionary approach to risk management states that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is not harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking an action."

Perfectly sound, perfectly logical, and the basis of (much the same as you) the argument I present when I find people who either don't understand, or disagree with (a subset of not understanding?) the science.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precautionary_principle

Here is Lindybeige using that argument to justify why you should hop on one foot, and ban football.


But I agree that in general it's good principle. For climate change it's not that applicable. It's easy to show that burning oil is good for the economy. It's difficult to show that it's bad for the climate. If we say that Shell needs to show some proof that burning oil is overall good two things will happen: 1. Shell forges bullshit. 2. Everybody keeps burning oil just like today until there is some kind of replacement. Just for practical reasons.

So then it goes to "why we need to invest money to the alternatives". And then that precautionary principle could be applied to that investment.

TL;DR You need to show fossil fuels are bad, for practical reasons.

Isn't this the same as Pascals Wager then? We should pray to God since the upside result is worth the downside cost.

The problem with Pascal's Wager: which God and thus which set of rituals and rules do you follow? You've got quite a selection to choose from. You go from having a simple Yes/No choice to having thousands of choices.

In the case of action against climate change, the downsides of doing something are minimal compared to the downsides of inaction. It's a much more binary choice than what Pascal put forward.

Not to criticize taxing CO2 emissions (which has a solid case), but there is indeed an analogous dynamic here to Pascal's Wager: just as you ask "which God", one could ask "which emergency?", sampled from the set of events that respectable scientific movements have demanded immediate action on.

In the 70s, for example, one respected movement held that there would be an overpopulation crisis that justified drastic measures to halt the birth rate. There have been similar movements against nuclear power.

Alternatively, if we took immediate action on the crisis global poverty and got everyone up to Western living standards, that would conflict with the goal of reducing our environmental load. (Just as taking Pascal's Wager for God one conflicts with God 2.)

there is indeed an analogous dynamic here to Pascal's Wager: just as you ask "which God", one could ask "which emergency?"

Is it an analogous dynamic if the cure for almost all of the emergencies in the basket is reduction in harmful levels of pollution including inefficient farming/manufacturing/transport methods, noting the associated benefits such as food security that comes with unpolluted waterways in poor villages, not acidifying oceans, not tainting arable land with heavy metals etc? Belief in a certain God among many seems more variable than reduce pollution, aim for zero.

if we took immediate action on the crisis global poverty and got everyone up to Western living standards, that would conflict with the goal of reducing our environmental load

You make an interesting point - the big one is India which needs cheap energy to bring itself up from having no clean running water, no integrated sewerage system and severe poverty to competing with Europe and the Americas who have reaped the benefit of cheap [polluting] energy for a long time and before emissions were taxed.

But I see it as a benefit, at least in the long term, to start from this stage. Just as African countries have benefited from mobile networks and services like M-Pesa money transfer and microfinancing, never having to deal with maintaining an aging wired telecom infrastructure - India could reap the benefits of starting with a peer-to-peer energy network using residential solar, similar to what Germany has implemented. Of course this would need to be supplemented, however using fewer base load power stations than if it were purely centralized energy production.

>Is it an analogous dynamic if the cure for almost all of the emergencies in the basket is reduction in harmful levels of pollution including inefficient farming/manufacturing/transport methods, noting the associated benefits such as food security that comes with unpolluted waterways in poor villages, not acidifying oceans, not tainting arable land with heavy metals etc? Belief in a certain God among many seems more variable than reduce pollution, aim for zero.

But what you really want is a method of weighing the harm of a given amount of pollution against the benefit. "Reduce it" doesn't translate into a heuristic for deciding which uses should be targeted first, and regresses to the original problem of "for which crisis is it okay to emit an additional unit of pollution to emit in service of fighting?"

An obvious difference is that we do have scientific models of global climate change that give us at least some evidence, but we lack any such information for the case of the existence of a god.

Except God isn't 97% certain to exist

Pascals wager is a simple false dichotomy, a logical fallacy. It's not a rational argument.

Exactly. Even if anthropogenic global warming is somehow completely not real, the expected value of acting as if it were real is much much greater. It's kind of like Pascal's wager, except with different probabilities. And millions of scientists.

aggressively stimulating renewables is one thing, but a lot of people are calling for a world wide flat carbon tax. That is a very regressive tax that will hit the poorest the hardest. It will barely register for the average californian, but it will cause many products and services to be priced out of reach from people in developing economies.

So the worst case scenario all depends on what is being proposed.

The "regressive" part of the tax can be mitigated just by rebating some (most?) of the money back to the people who would be most impacted. The rest can be used for R&D into clean energy, power grid improvements, etc.

The bigger issue is making sure the tax is applied consistently everywhere, otherwise we just move polluting industries to countries with lax enforcement and put countries that are enforcing the tax at a disadvantage.

Lots of very partisan folks here. My mother is an avid believer that climate change is a hoax and we don't need to take care of the planet. She says 'Mother earth knows how to take care of herself', but she deeply respects Arnold as a businessman, politician, and self-made man.

This is the type of thing that can reach her and change people in her boat's way of thinking. Way to go Arnold.

1. "WHO estimates indoor air pollution was linked to 4.3 million deaths in 2012 in households cooking over coal, wood and biomass stoves."

If the majority of the "7 million" die from indoor cooking, It seems like it would be better to focus our resources on developing infrastructure in SE Asia so that every household has electricity and modern cooking appliances.

It's relatively easy to fix indoor cooking, but it's hard to fix CO2 once it's out there.

Regarding the third question, it's a nice analogy there but is he suggesting that electric power is predominantly clean?

Across the US, 37.4% of our electric power comes from coal. I don't want to detract from the overall message because it is clear and accurate but I think it's important to think about how electric power is currently generated.

Coal statistic pulled from: http://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-10/documents/...

Coal as a source of our electric power has plummeted in a decade, being taken up mostly by natural gas (but also in small part by solar/wind). Additionally, there is no change needed for an end consumer if the power they use is switched to a different source, whereas to switch a fuel for cars means switching cars. The drive to get people on electric cars means that switching everything off of fossil fuels is a matter of switching the power plants (which we've seen is something that can be done quickly as with coal->natural gas).

I would be very interested in an all-electric minivan with enough range for my frequent 600-mile trips to my wife's home town. Sadly, this does not yet exist.

You make a 10-hour-each-way trip frequently? Man, stop throwing away your life like that. Downsize your house, take a pay cut, do whatever it is you have to to move somewhere closer. I struggle to even begin to imagine the misery of what you're doing.

Many people choose their car based on their peak requirements, rather than their average requirements.

I've seen people commute in a minivan every day because the space was useful taking their kids' stuff back and forth to college a handful of times a year. I've seen people buy SUVs because they tow a boat or a horse box once every six months. I've seen people buying larger cars so they can transport five adults in greater comfort - even though they only need to do that a handful of times a year.

Now, it's possible that these people would be better served by one car for their everyday needs, hiring different cars for these occasional needs - but most car buyers aren't used to behaving that way at the moment.

> Many people choose their car based on their peak requirements

Exactly right. I don't want to pay for and maintain cars for different purposes, so I buy based on peak requirements.

Depends on what you mean by "frequently".

I live within a 5-mile radius of 5 of my siblings, my parents, my grandparents, and my aunt and uncle. I'm a stay-at-home parent, my wife works from home, and our son attends an excellent school a block away. My wife's family lives a little less than 600 miles away. We travel out that way 2-3 times per year, which is frequent enough that I wouldn't want to rent a car every time we did it. It wouldn't make sense to try to move closer, but it does make a lot of sense to have an efficient vehicle. If a full electric could make the trip with quick-charging stations along the way, I'd be all for it. For now (given that my old car was totaled in a hit-and-run this weekend) I'm leaning toward something like the Chevy Volt.

The GP poster may be in a situation with similar characteristics -- frequent enough travel to want to do it in your own vehicle (rather than flying or renting something), too far for most electrics.

> The GP poster may be in a situation with similar characteristics

Shockingly similar. Though I am the working parent, and my job is only about 1/3rd work-from-home.

I'm guessing there is probably a disconnect in what "frequently" means between you two.

"Frequently" means 2-3 times per year. My family is somewhat close, hers is fairly distant, our roots are here. I don't think 40-60 hours a year to see family is so bad. We make good use of the time. Typically when we do take a trip, we'll spend at least a week there. And honestly, I don't mind the driving. It gives me time to reflect on my life.

What are the roads like where you live? Because in my part of the world a ten-hour drive is a pleasant way to spend a vacation day. I look forward to road trips.

A new road you haven't seen before, sure. But the same one frequently?

Depends on the value of "frequently." Every weekend would be not much fun. Every month or two I'd be fine with. Riding in a comfortable vehicle is good family togetherness time, which is in short supply in a lot of families.

You don't have relatives across the country? Or you just don't visit them?

Furthest in the same country is 200 miles away; I have an uncle 900 miles away who I visit occasionally (as in once in ~3 years). But in any case I take the train or fly, and sleep or watch a movie or even code on the way.

A plugin hybrid minivan would be perfect for you.

Do those really exist? I recently bought a 2015 Toyota Sienna, and I didn't see any hybrid options in Honda or Toyota (arguably the leading minivan brands)

I don't think so. There's very few plugin hybrids on the market at all, which is a shame.

In the first and second question he addresses pollution and coal. I think it's safe to assume he means an electric car powered by renewable energy.

Centralized coal plants are more efficient than individual internal combustion motors.

Even adding losses from transmission and the electric motors at the end, it's a net-win.

Yes, other power sources are better, but even as a stopgap coal has its use.

With gas burning cars we have two problems - pollution from cars and pollution from electrical plants. With electric cars we only have one problem - the power plants. It increases the magnitude of that problem, but the total complexity goes down.

The idea is that conventional gasoline engines will pollute, electric engines won't. As for the source of electricity, it's currently not 100% clean but getting cleaner as renewable sources take over.

If it takes Arnold Schwarzenegger and a frankly preposterous "sealed room" analogy in order to convince people to slow down on emissions, and recasting the emissions issue as a pollution issue -- as if there was a difference -- in order for them to safe face, so be it.

Of course those electric cars still virtually emit CO2^Wpollution when you refuel them using coal-generated power, so I guess we can go back to going back and forth about the pros and cons of nuclear energy now.

Ohh man, does Hackernews bring out all the tinfoiled gentlemen from nuclear apocalypse bunkers once in a while !

See: comments here.

I really enjoy when people take a fresh perspective on things. Climate change has been cited by Pew Research Center as the top greatest threat, and putting a different spin on things will always be nice to try and convince people.

The top reason to reduce carbon emissions is not to reduce global toxicity and prevent climate change. Saving the planet is a bonus. Energy independence creates a stable geo political environment, almost all wars have a root cause of fighting over resources. There's little point in saving the planet if we're going to kill ourselves by the time comes when need to save it.

"California has some of the most revolutionary environmental laws in the United States, we get 40% of our power from renewables, and we are 40% more energy efficient than the rest of the country."

California also has the second highest energy costs in the continental United States.


From that chart it appears a large reason for that is they charge Commercial customers the same rates as Residential ones, unlike most states.

Also worth considering is economic activity per unit energy, where California is placed third in efficiency, so it looks like those energy prices are doing fine.


I wonder why, in the debate about fossil fuels, we never bring up the point that oil has been the cause of a lot of issues in the Middle East. Many guns and bombs have gone off in order to get to the Middle Eastern oil, and much of the funding behind ISIS comes from oil money in Saudi Arabia. Oil has had a pretty steep moral price tag.


That's not enough? Most major cities are coastal. We'd lose Hong Kong, New York, most of Holland. We'd also see more extreme weather in the form of powerful hurricanes and droughts. Water and food supplies start to disappear which will inevitably lead to conflict and war over resources. Then you've got the medium-term horizon of about 1000 years when the ocean can no longer sustain phytoplankton and oxygen levels drop to the point that most air-breathing animals will die off.

> some land

Which potentially includes lots of coastal areas, like, say, New York, large portions of Bangladesh, and a few entire island nations. That's a pretty high cost.

But the linked post is politics, so I'm flagging it in any case.

I believe that man-made CO2 emissions likely have a significant impact on the climate, and we should do something about it, but even so the issue is a very complex one and its politicization hasn't helped. Here's why it's not so easy:

1. The data is crap. What you need is average temperatures and other data (humidity, pressure, cloud cover, albedo, etc.) over the entire Earth down to a fairly small scale. What we have is a mismash of horribly calibrated weather station data near cities combined with limited satellite data and various proxies, all of which has to be massaged a great deal to make it usable. Sea level data has the same sort of problems, nearly impossible to properly calibrate to sufficient precision. The fact that people have poured tons of effort into collecting and attempting to calibrate data doesn't mean the data is actually very good.

2. The models are also crap. A century ago Svante Arrhenius came up with the greenhouse effect theory and did some back of the envelope calculations on its magnitude, coming up with a figure of climate sensitivity of about 2 deg. C per CO2 doubling. Today all of our vaunted climate modelling hasn't managed to come up with a more accurate figure than that. Current estimates are still "maybe 2 deg. C per doubling, with some enormous error bars". Modern models have several problems. The conceit is that climate models are de novo elaborations from first principles and are as rock solid as our understanding of the laws of physics. In practice all climate models contain multiple "empirically determined" fudge factors. They fit the data, they don't predict it. And that's assuming we even had enough good data to really run good prediction checks, which is dubious at best.

3. The climatology scientific community is very problematic. There is little indication of sufficient rigor, and criticizing results is an easy way to get effectively excommunicated from the community. Take, for example, the famed "hockey stick" paper, which has now been thoroughly discredited, but all of the discrediting happened effectively "behind the scenes" and quietly. Science works best when it's open and boisterous. It's surprising that climatology isn't in even worse state given how insular and political it is.

4. Even if we assumed that man-made carbon emissions were going to cause a huge degree of global warming there is still a huge gap between that fact and figuring out what to do about it, which many folks simply skip over. The actual damage (to the biosphere and to human activities) is just as difficult to determine as the climate is to predict. The right course of action to take depends a great deal on lots of different factors: sociological, technological, and economic. Especially since a lot of the CO2 production of the 21st century will come from economies that are climbing out of poverty and into affluence. It may well be the smartest choice to simply continue polluting until the world is richer and more technologically advanced and then consider mitigation strategies.

4a. CO2 emissions may not be, and likely is not, the most important pollution issue everywhere in the world currently. But it gets the most attention and sometimes that makes it more difficult to get traction on other issues.

Meanwhile, there really are serious "climate change denialists" and some of the folks on that side are absolutely terrible. Canadian PM Harper banned government scientists from talking to the press, for example. But the answer to science being perverted for political reasons isn't to simply pervert it in the opposite direction to compensate.

It's just a complete shit-show across the board and I'm not happy with how any of it is being handled at either the level of scientific inquiry or public policy.

I was skeptic until I studied the history of the subject. It's a sad state. Nobody would expect to study lets say material science from historical perspective.


There could be some major breakthroughs since 1970, but the whole shebang is so polarized, that I would not know that to believe.

From policy point of view human emotions have to be taken to account. Motivations for denialism are often either "nah, it doesn't matter" or alternatively "They say we all die! I don't want to believe that." I was in the latter camp.

Prehistoric events show us that climate change is probably not the end of humanity.


And on the other hand ask any farmer how he feels about unpredictable weather. Agriculture is completely based on predictable seasons. It's very likely that combating climate change could save millions of lives.

Kind of proud that this man signed my diploma.

Where does the 7 million figure come from?

> the film that environmental organizations don't want you to see!

I despise this type of rhetoric.

tl;dr Even climate change deniers must face that fossil fuels are polluting our air and water and are eventually going to run out. Investing in clean energy is just pragmatic and doesn't make you a tax-and-spend liberal.

the lie was not neccesary. climate change deniers are worried about the government getting its nose into everything and destroying a country to favour some bankers. if you started with the right arguments like arnold the story would be different.. and its not late.

Come on man. Not everything is a conspiracy of bankers.

I was kinda hoping there would be a second message down the left side:


Unrelated: Facebook notes look good. I wonder if it's a direct competitor to to Medium / Svbtle.

You mean placing text in a rectangle? Looks like it.

Reading this made me realize: it looks good read because there are no ads on the page. It's crazy how obtrusive ads are these days..

Jarringly different in style than the rest of the site.

Energy in general doesn't look like a good investment in the near future.

I really wonder. So much money and freedom was spent and 7 millions of people are still dying? Smart choice would be Termination, not Terminator.

Door 2 is also likely fatal. Most electric motors produce ozone :)

You are most certainly technically incorrect, which is the worst kind of incorrect. It would take very very high levels of ozone to be anywhere near as promptly fatal as carbon monoxide poisoning from running a gasoline powered car inside a closed garage. As far as I know, no one commits suicide by running an electric motor in a closed room. Ozone causes oxidative damage to tissues, including the delicate tissues of your lungs. Carbon monoxide shuts down the oxygen carrying function your hemoglobin. You can be killed by unnoticeable levels of carbon monoxide. It's highly unlikely you won't be able to sense dangerous levels of ozone. In fact, it's likely to be unpleasant enough to drive you from the room. Whereas CO makes you feel sleepy as you slip down to unconsciousness forever.

(EDIT: That said, ozone in rather small amounts can be quite damaging to long term health.)

It is plainly obvious that CO and even CO2 from IC engines is drastically more fatal than anything coming out of an electric motor...I thought the trolling attempt was transparent, but apparently not. If I really wanted to provide a counter to the article, pollution from battery manufacturing is far more concerning than ozone (which has a half life measured in days) from brushed electric motors. And even that appears to be far less of a problem than the carbon economy.

That being said, ozone can be fatal over the long term, and researchers regularly segment pollution death estimates to include ozone pollution [1].

[1] http://www.iop.org/news/13/jul/page_60518.html

Not true. Brushless induction motors don't produce ozone, and that's the type of motor used in the Tesla, Leaf, Volt, i3, and any other electric vehicle on the road. Schwarzenegger wouldn't be dumb enough to end this letter with a claim that wasn't fact-checked.

I just found this link http://www.science20.com/news_articles/solving_ozone_problem... . I am sure this will be a problem for many years but it will be addressed. The problem on the other hand is the pollutants from automobiles. If someone is driving a car in New Delhi with windows down for few hours, can feel the grease from engine fumes on face and nostrils. Clean your nose and that is when you realize how terrible the traffic is. The problem is not with people who are driving the cars. There are pedestrians and people living off streets who breath that air all day. It scares me to see a child breath that air as I am tend to fall sick with throat ruptured even after a day on the road inside a car. That would hopefully change around the world if we have electric vehicles.

There are two doors. Behind Door Number One is a completely sealed room, with a regular, gasoline-fueled car. Behind Door Number Two is an identical, completely sealed room, with an electric car. Both engines are running full blast.

I want you to pick a door to open, and enter the room and shut the door behind you. You have to stay in the room you choose for one hour. You cannot turn off the engine. You do not get a gas mask.

I'm guessing you chose the Door Number Two, with the electric car, right? Door number one is a fatal choice - who would ever want to breathe those fumes?

This is the choice the world is making right now.

The choices aren't that simple, Arnold, and the analogy you're making isn't valid, either. Does he not understand that that "clean" electric car requires an energy grid to run on? And that this grid is very far from "clean", and will be for quite some time? And that the process of creating (and decomissioning) electric cars is very far from environmentally harmless, also?

I'm not saying that there's no positive trade-off in favor of electric cars; most likely there is. But fear-driven arguments (even if pointed in the "right" direction) don't help much, and have a similar effect on the brain as carbon monoxide, over time.

The point here is it's easier to control emissions at large-scale power generation plants than it is on millions of individual vehicles. How many cars would fail an inspection if exposed to one?

The same cannot be said about power plants.

There's also the renewable angle. Surplus wind power, as experienced in Spain, would basically provide free power for recharging vehicles overnight. You cannot do this with gasoline.

The sealed room is also a way of presenting what we're doing to our climate, that the automobile emissions don't just go "into the air", but become part of the environment.

I don't dispute the electric cars are, overall, clean. Just that the image that Arnold is promoting with his "Gedankenexperiment", per my quote above (that electric cars are somehow 100% clean and environmentally harmless) is simply false, anti-intellectual, and unscientific.

One of my thoughts was that if you enter the first room you're only poisoning yourself. If you enter the second you've already polluted areas and/or people that have no interested in your transport.

Bit of a silly analogy though, as many are. Would not say that is 'anti-intellectual' though.

Edit: clean above should have been cleaner.

Like I said, I understand the tradeoffs, and agree that it looks like they'll tilt favorably to electric cars, in the longer run.

My point is that the rhetoric Arnold is using is a classic form of what psychologists call "extremifying," i.e. presenting a danger or tradeoff as much more dangerous or binary than it really is -- in order to, you know, get people to "do the right thing". (Or perhaps because he can't really tell the difference).

And in a world beset with ignorance, chronic attention deficit and a lack of critical thinking skills all around, this is not a good thing.

If I believe your number:

> First - do you believe it is acceptable that 7 million people die every year from pollution?

Answer this, how many of that 7 million year over year die from carbon dioxide?

This is the major issue with deniers. Carbon dioxide != pollution.


I don't know anyone not in favor of clean energy. I know plenty who warn of government overreaching using climate change scare tactics.

You want to take a stance on pollution, then do that. Don't rant about climate change deniers.

So you are ok with 1* million(x) CO2 pollution deaths per year and 6 million(y) other pollution death per year?

*- Move the x as you want, and set y as (7 - x) million.

> Carbon dioxide != pollution

It's what plants crave!

You americans must go beyond the false dichotomy of republicans and democrats.. its just two different ways of getting your tax money, weapons and staged wars or bureaucracy. Neither gives a damn about an african genocide to lower the price of chocolate.

You're mixing pollution with green house gases

I think it's a valid point since the EPA labels CO2 as pollution.

[EDIT] Since I'm getting so many down votes, thought I'd link the EPA calling CO2 pollution. http://www.epa.gov/cleanpowerplan

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