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.
Bullshit. Whatever the focus was, vested interests would have funded opposition and that's what kept people divided.
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 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.
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.
Given limited time and flawed or incomplete domain expertise, I think "follow the money" is an excellent heuristic shortcut.
They lied about lead: why in hell should we ever believe them again?
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.
It's all about ease of delaying regulation to maximize profits, not conspiracy theories, just dirty tricks as means to ends.
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.
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.
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.
As long as the denialists are well-funded:
Unearthing America's Deep Network of Climate Change Deniers
If the guide is based on "follow the money" the Warmists will lose by orders of magnitudes.
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.
It is really quite absurd to deny something the entire scientific community says is true.
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.
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 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.
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).
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.
...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.
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 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'm not "climate skeptic", I'm true believer. I just try to combat these authority heretics.
> 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.
It's often unnecessary, because you need the fact anyhow. In some cases it's justified to save time. Like in the military.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 :)
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.
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".
The shift in conversation towards Climate Change really hurt the environmental movement, IMO.
I doubt this is true without the caveat: ...so long as the energy industry keeps funding an opposition.
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).
It is remarkably similar to a DOS attack.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
"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:
I could go on and provide many more links bogus claims being refuted but with Warmists, it's just a waste of digital pixels.
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.
Sorry, are you disagreeing with or supporting my position at this point? Or perhaps both?
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.
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.
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.
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.
> 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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.