Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warming?

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BattleMoose
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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby BattleMoose » Sun Dec 09, 2012 2:30 am UTC

Max wrote:The IPCC's predictions are completely out of line with reality, 2 to 3 mm/year is around a foot or so per century... not quite the 5 or 10 or 15 feet the IPCC predicts by 2100.


Now you are just making stuff up, again.

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Max™
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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby Max™ » Sun Dec 09, 2012 3:28 am UTC

To get this out of the way because I'm really tired of discussing consensus and whatnot rather than the more interesting bits and bolts like DaBigCheez's spreadsheets, or mechanisms, or anything besides fucking politics...

At no point in time, past, present, or future, on this planet or any other where critical thinking minds may exist, will a consensus ever prove anything beyond "these people think this". A consensus has no value as evidence as experiment or as methodology, it is below even the most poorly performed experiment; at least a bad experiment can provide information about what was done wrong, a consensus can not add anything to a scientific debate, at all.

A consensus is scientifically worthless, find me a scientific consensus about whether the LHC found the Higgs, or whether the gravity probe experiments support previous findings about relativity, or whether humans share more DNA with gorillas or orangutans. Show me a rocket built with the power of consensus findings, show me a theorem proved in this manner, show me a hypothesis which was falsified by a consensus, show me that it means anything beyond "we took a vote and this is what we got", please.

Spoiler:
PeteP wrote:What exactly. That there is a consensus? That wouldn't support your point so I assume you didn't mean that. That people outside of the field point to the consens doesn't support your point either. So how exactly does it support your point?

A consensus isn't evidence.

BattleMoose wrote:
Max wrote:The IPCC's predictions are completely out of line with reality, 2 to 3 mm/year is around a foot or so per century... not quite the 5 or 10 or 15 feet the IPCC predicts by 2100.


Now you are just making stuff up, again.


"Conservative IPCC projections without considering ice sheet dynamics... 2.4 feet"... "updated studies..."
Image

FIGURE 7.6 Projection of sea level rise from 1990 to 2100, based on IPCC temperature projections for three different GHG emissions scenarios (pastel areas, labeled on right). The gray area represents additional uncertainty in the projections due to uncertainty in the fit between temperature rise and sea level rise. All of these projections are considerably larger than the sea level rise estimates for 2100 provided in IPCC AR4 (pastel vertical bars), which did not account for potential changes in ice sheet dynamics and are considered conservative. Also shown are the observations of annual global sea level rise over the past half century (red line), relative to 1990. SOURCE: Vermeer and Rahmstorf (2009).

http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?recor ... 2&page=244

180 cm is about 70 in, almost 6 feet, while folks like Hansen aren't "the IPCC as a whole", he has some rather hilarious claims about how there should/could/whatever have been various absurd levels of rise by now, I'm not sure if he's still pushing the whole "past meltwater pulses gave 20 m in 400 years, so we might see 1 m per 20 years" shtick.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nati ... e/1750945/

NOAA has projections of "from 8 inches to up to 6.6 feet" apparently.


morriswalters wrote:
Max™ wrote:The IPCC's predictions are completely out of line with reality, 2 to 3 mm/year is around a foot or so per century... not quite the 5 or 10 or 15 feet the IPCC predicts by 2100.

Considering past predictions which suggested we should have had several feet of rise by now, I don't think going "oh, but uh, it didn't happen because of [insert reason here], but it's still totally going to happen even faster now later, so that doesn't count as a falsification or anything, uh.. oh yeah, MULLIGAN!" is really how science works.
Is there a reply in there to what I said? You do this pretty consistently, argue a point I didn't make. I don't need to know that they are right, no matter how much I might believe they are right. What I need to know is how to proceed.

>.> So you are happy basing policy on "maybe" and spending however much money on these scenarios?

Once the issue arose everything developed a cost. The cost of doing something versus not doing something. You can't ignore the possibility that the Global Climate Change is happening.

I can ignore the possibility that it is happening as a result of human CO2 emissions, because it fails some basic tests.

I can ignore the possibility that it is getting worse or whatever, as it apparently hasn't done much since the 90's ended... so, yeah, oh and I can ignore the word "change" in there, since that phrase can be written "globally averaged change in weather patterns change", the climate never stops changing.

Making jokes about it or ridiculing my position as hysterical fear mongering may make you feel better but it doesn't tell me anything.

People are blaming engineering failures and simple lack of planning on the CO2 bogeyman... how is that anything but hysterical fear-mongering?

You have no credentials and the weight of the voices of the people who do have the credentials support the idea versus those who do not. There are islands in the Pacific that are sinking or being flooded today.

2 to 3 mm per year, and weren't a few of those island sinking claims fraudulent?

You misstate my positions about things like Sandy. Sandy may or may no be a function of GCC. But if Sandy was able to do the things that it did, imagine the sea level a foot higher and the same storm happening.

No, Sandy had nothing to do with any possible global warming effect, I can imagine worse, by looking back at the past storms that flooded NYC, back when everyone agrees there is no significant human warming signal.

Max™ wrote:I approve of your comparing religion to climate change, though I know it was not intended in that way.
I'm happy you approve. As flawed as my understanding of physics and math are, they serve me well enough to discount your opinions. I've pretty much accomplished my personal goals as I stated earlier, having learned more than I might have without the give and take. Later.

If I shared an opinion, it was an error, I don't value opinions or beliefs at all. But hey, have fun.

The Great Hippo wrote:
Max wrote:There are unfalsified alternatives including a null hypothesis, and consensus doesn't matter for dick in science.
Of course it does. If consensus didn't matter in science, then science would never get done--because before you can run an experiment, you'd need to reaffirm all the observations that the experiment assumes are true. You'd be stuck in a recursive 'test the assumptions' loop.

Here's how you get around that, you simply have to be honest and state "I have not tested all of these prior assumptions, they could be wrong, and that would have this result on my experiment, I have attempted to control for this as best I am able, here is what I have done, here are my findings, here is why I may be wrong, please let me know if you see any problems with my methods", and then just be "honest in a general way after that", as Feynman so eloquently put it.

At some point you have to trust a scientific consensus. At some point, you can't test the assumptions for yourself--you just gotta trust that the scientific consensus represents an accurate set of assumptions. And if more than 80% of scientists in a field disagree with your ideas, I think your ideas deserve a little extra scrutiny.

That may seem fine to you, that is where we differ I suppose.
Richard Feynman wrote:We have learned a lot from experience about how to handle some of
the ways we fool ourselves. One example: Millikan measured the
charge on an electron by an experiment with falling oil drops, and
got an answer which we now know not to be quite right. It's a
little bit off, because he had the incorrect value for the
viscosity of air. It's interesting to look at the history of
measurements of the charge of the electron, after Millikan. If you
plot them as a function of time, you find that one is a little
bigger than Millikan's, and the next one's a little bit bigger than
that, and the next one's a little bit bigger than that, until
finally they settle down to a number which is higher.

Why didn't they discover that the new number was higher right away?
It's a thing that scientists are ashamed of--this history--because
it's apparent that people did things like this: When they got a
number that was too high above Millikan's, they thought something
must be wrong--and they would look for and find a reason why
something might be wrong. When they got a number closer to
Millikan's value they didn't look so hard. And so they eliminated
the numbers that were too far off, and did other things like that.
We've learned those tricks nowadays, and now we don't have that
kind of a disease.

But this long history of learning how not to fool ourselves--of
having utter scientific integrity--is, I'm sorry to say, something
that we haven't specifically included in any particular course that
I know of. We just hope you've caught on by osmosis.

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself--and you are
the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about
that. After you've not fooled yourself, it's easy not to fool other
scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after
that.
mu

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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby The Great Hippo » Sun Dec 09, 2012 3:57 am UTC

Max™ wrote:At no point in time, past, present, or future, on this planet or any other where critical thinking minds may exist, will a consensus ever prove anything beyond "these people think this". A consensus has no value as evidence as experiment or as methodology, it is below even the most poorly performed experiment; at least a bad experiment can provide information about what was done wrong, a consensus can not add anything to a scientific debate, at all.

A consensus is scientifically worthless, find me a scientific consensus about whether the LHC found the Higgs, or whether the gravity probe experiments support previous findings about relativity, or whether humans share more DNA with gorillas or orangutans. Show me a rocket built with the power of consensus findings, show me a theorem proved in this manner, show me a hypothesis which was falsified by a consensus, show me that it means anything beyond "we took a vote and this is what we got", please.
Okay. But that's in no way relevant to anything I just said.

A scientific consensus is not worthless; it's actually quite necessary--or else you end up in a recursive 'test-your-assumptions' loop.

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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby Trasvi » Sun Dec 09, 2012 5:30 am UTC

Max™ wrote:To get this out of the way because I'm really tired of discussing consensus and whatnot rather than the more interesting bits and bolts like DaBigCheez's spreadsheets, or mechanisms, or anything besides fucking politics...

At no point in time, past, present, or future, on this planet or any other where critical thinking minds may exist, will a consensus ever prove anything beyond "these people think this". A consensus has no value as evidence as experiment or as methodology, it is below even the most poorly performed experiment; at least a bad experiment can provide information about what was done wrong, a consensus can not add anything to a scientific debate, at all.

A consensus is scientifically worthless, find me a scientific consensus about whether the LHC found the Higgs, or whether the gravity probe experiments support previous findings about relativity, or whether humans share more DNA with gorillas or orangutans. Show me a rocket built with the power of consensus findings, show me a theorem proved in this manner, show me a hypothesis which was falsified by a consensus, show me that it means anything beyond "we took a vote and this is what we got", please.


I think the importance of scientific consensus is not that it proves anything, but it shows that other scientists think that at least the method followed by the original research is valid. I mean, the peer review process is essentially a small 'consensus' process as well; we use that to determine what constitutes 'valid' science. And As TGH keeps saying, if we don't form some kind basis of 'accepted science', we can't progress science at all.
Consensus doesn't provide evidence or experiment or methodology. In fact, its main value is not for scientists, but for non scientists. When someone with no in-depth scientific background (like you, i'm assuming) you need to show that not only do you have a valid argument, but it needs to be an argument that the quite intelligent, out-to-disprove-theories scientific community forming the consensus probably hasn't thought of before.

In essence, things which have a consensus in the scientific community can definitely be disproven or replaced by other theories. But it is highly highly unlikely to be done by someone without significant background in the relevant field.

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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby Metaphysician » Sun Dec 09, 2012 10:20 am UTC

There shouldn't even be a debate about whether or not climate change (global warming specifically) is occurring. The globe is warming. There is no point in debating whether or not people are contributing to this in some way, everything contributes to the climate in some way. The smallest action has a role in shaping cosmic history and you cannot exist without making choices and those choices have an effect on the world. The extent to which humanity influences the climate is also not something that's really worth debating. Science right now can show us that the globe is warming, but the complexity of discovering exactly how much this is influenced by human action as opposed to natural cycles is very high. The bottom line is that where we are at right now is; the globe is warming. Human beings have an effect on the climate. We should study the relationship between human action and the climate to the best of our abilities and recognize that we may not have enough information to quantify the effect of human action on the environment for some time. In the mean time we should embrace the use of renewable resources for power and fuel because burning finite resources is obviously not sustainable in the long term at our current rate of consumption regardless of how much or how little this contributes to global warming.

In short, no debate on global warming is going to be rational because it's impossible to have two rational sides to this debate. One side looks at the facts and draws conclusions and then seeks to better understand what is happening, the other side says "nuh uh. you don't know!"

I have stopped talking about this with half my family for this reason, there are no rational arguments on the denier side of the coin.
What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.
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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby morriswalters » Sun Dec 09, 2012 11:46 am UTC

Max™ wrote:So you are happy basing policy on "maybe" and spending however much money on these scenarios?
I'd love to stop responding if you would quit misstating. Happiness has fucking zero to do with it. Buying insurance on my home doesn't make me happy. If I never use it is a money drain which will have never served me. I I need it then it will be worth what I pay for it. This is the calculation.

Max™ wrote:I can ignore the possibility that it is happening as a result of human CO2 emissions, because it fails some basic tests.

I can ignore the possibility that it is getting worse or whatever, as it apparently hasn't done much since the 90's ended... so, yeah, oh and I can ignore the word "change" in there, since that phrase can be written "globally averaged change in weather patterns change", the climate never stops changing.
Again you misstate me because, I assume it is easier than listening. You can ignore anything you please. If as an individual you choose not to have insurance, who am I to care. Policy planners have no such luxury. Once some group of note with reputation and gravitas said that it might be happening the policy planners had to act. This is called prudence.

Max™ wrote:If I shared an opinion, it was an error, I don't value opinions or beliefs at all. But hey, have fun.
You've shared nothing but opinions. As has every person here. That's all you could share. Because it's all that you could have. You, me, and everyone else here is not doing science. We are looking at complex data, gathered by other people who made their conclusions based of years of study in their fields, and deciding if we will accept their premises. Don't delude yourself that it is anything more than that. As long as you misstate the reasoning of my responses I will respond to clarify

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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby Max™ » Sun Dec 09, 2012 12:12 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Okay. But that's in no way relevant to anything I just said.

A scientific consensus is not worthless; it's actually quite necessary--or else you end up in a recursive 'test-your-assumptions' loop.

No, like I said, you exercise proper honesty and don't trick anyone by claiming to have tested what you actually have not, and at that point you are no longer in a loop.

"I have not tested all of these prior assumptions, they could be wrong, and that would have this result on my experiment. I have attempted to control for this as best I am able, here is what I have done, here are my findings, here is why I may be wrong, please let me know if you see any problems with my methods or are unable to reproduce my findings."

If a consensus is important in a field, one can safely say that field has moved into the realm of politics.
Metaphysician wrote:There shouldn't even be a debate about whether or not climate change (global warming specifically) is occurring. The globe is warming.

>.>

This is said a lot and it is usually an indication that someone has not checked their facts.

The warming between the 1970's and 1990's wasn't much larger than the error range in temperature measurements... and that is setting aside the difficulties of measuring a temperature across the entire surface of the globe... as well as the trouble with averaging a temperature.


I covered this a few pages back, if you have two glasses of water, the same size, same amount of liquid in both, one at 10 C and one at 30 C, you would think the average temperature is 20 C, right?

Does that value have any representation in either glass? Is either glass actually at 20 C? If you leave them alone in a room that was at 20 C, would you say your system of the two glasses is going to cool or warm?

Is there any meaning to an average temperature given for a system which is both warming and cooling?


Let's just ignore that for a moment though.

Since the end of the 90's there has been no significant trend at all, while CO2 has risen at a fairly steady rate.
Image

woodfortrees.org, has several data sets and nice options for plotting them, play around with it.
In short, no debate on global warming is going to be rational because it's impossible to have two rational sides to this debate. One side looks at the facts and draws conclusions and then seeks to better understand what is happening, the other side says "nuh uh. you don't know!"

I have stopped talking about this with half my family for this reason, there are no rational arguments on the denier side of the coin.


Wow.

Just had to point out, there used to be an actual denier coin:
Image

Trasvi wrote:I think the importance of scientific consensus is not that it proves anything, but it shows that other scientists think that at least the method followed by the original research is valid. I mean, the peer review process is essentially a small 'consensus' process as well; we use that to determine what constitutes 'valid' science. And As TGH keeps saying, if we don't form some kind basis of 'accepted science', we can't progress science at all.
Consensus doesn't provide evidence or experiment or methodology. In fact, its main value is not for scientists, but for non scientists. When someone with no in-depth scientific background (like you, i'm assuming) you need to show that not only do you have a valid argument, but it needs to be an argument that the quite intelligent, out-to-disprove-theories scientific community forming the consensus probably hasn't thought of before.

In essence, things which have a consensus in the scientific community can definitely be disproven or replaced by other theories. But it is highly highly unlikely to be done by someone without significant background in the relevant field.


Only climate science pushes the consensus argument, my scientific background has been in physics and mathematics for the most part, btw. Over the last 25 years that I've been studying physics/astrophysics/QM-QFT-QED-stringy models, I've not yet seen a consensus brought up regarding relativity or any other part of physics, there's no need to invoke one, after all. We have experimental confirmation of predictions, we have thoroughly fleshed out mathematical structures describing these theories, no one needs to say "9 out of 10 scientists agree that relativity explains how gravity operates", it doesn't matter how many do or do not, we know relativity is a working scientific theory.


The main value of a consensus is for people who don't understand a subject and want to defend a position regarding it. It has no value for someone who actually understands the subject well enough to defend a position on it.

It's never brought up as "and here's why they agree", usually it comes in forms like Metaphysician used above. "If you disagree with the group I consider to be rational, then you're irrational automatically."

morriswalters wrote:
Max™ wrote:So you are happy basing policy on "maybe" and spending however much money on these scenarios?
I'd love to stop responding if you would quit misstating. Happiness has fucking zero to do with it. Buying insurance on my home doesn't make me happy. If I never use it is a money drain which will have never served me. I I need it then it will be worth what I pay for it. This is the calculation.

If I sold you insurance for volcanoes based on arguments regarding my models of Yellowstone erupting some time in the next century, a possible event, and most definitely a catastrophic one... would you be ok with learning later on that the margin of error in this case was measured in tens of thousands of years?

Max™ wrote:I can ignore the possibility that it is happening as a result of human CO2 emissions, because it fails some basic tests.

I can ignore the possibility that it is getting worse or whatever, as it apparently hasn't done much since the 90's ended... so, yeah, oh and I can ignore the word "change" in there, since that phrase can be written "globally averaged change in weather patterns change", the climate never stops changing.
Again you misstate me because, I assume it is easier than listening. You can ignore anything you please. If as an individual you choose not to have insurance, who am I to care. Policy planners have no such luxury. Once some group of note with reputation and gravitas said that it might be happening the policy planners had to act. This is called prudence.

Ok, except, what do the proposed plans have to do with insurance?

Max™ wrote:If I shared an opinion, it was an error, I don't value opinions or beliefs at all. But hey, have fun.
You've shared nothing but opinions. As has every person here. That's all you could share. Because it's all that you could have. You, me, and everyone else here is not doing science. We are looking at complex data, gathered by other people who made their conclusions based of years of study in their fields, and deciding if we will accept their premises. Don't delude yourself that it is anything more than that. As long as you misstate the reasoning of my responses I will respond to clarify


I've shared doubts, reasons to doubt certain things, and arguments formed from basic physics and/or geometry.

You aren't quite qualified to delimit my own knowledge or understanding, and I would argue that I am most definitely doing science... though so are you and everyone else who has been going over this here.

http://www.fotuva.org/feynman/what_is_science.html

This is not in response to your comment directly, morriswalters, so don't think I was misstating something you said, I just got reminded of it just now as I was responding to you.


Science is how you separate knowledge from everything else.

That's another reason I hate the "there is a consensus" shit, stifling debate is just about as anti-science as you can possibly get.


Feynman wrote:I have probably ruined the system, and the students that are coming into Caltech no longer will be any good. I think we live in an unscientific age in which almost all the buffeting of communications and television--words, books, and so on--are unscientific. As a result, there is a considerable amount of intellectual tyranny in the name of science.

Finally, with regard to this time-binding, a man cannot live beyond the grave. Each generation that discovers something from its experience must pass that on, but it must pass that on with a delicate balance of respect and disrespect, so that the [human] race--now that it is aware of the disease to which it is liable--does not inflict its errors too rigidly on its youth, but it does pass on the accumulated wisdom, plus the wisdom that it may not be wisdom.

It is necessary to teach both to accept and to reject the past with a kind of balance that takes considerable skill. Science alone of all the subjects contains within itself the lesson of the danger of belief in the infallibility of the greatest teachers of the preceding generation.

So carry on. Thank you.
mu

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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby Trasvi » Sun Dec 09, 2012 1:07 pm UTC

Max™ wrote:
Trasvi wrote:I think the importance of scientific consensus is not that it proves anything, but it shows that other scientists think that at least the method followed by the original research is valid. I mean, the peer review process is essentially a small 'consensus' process as well; we use that to determine what constitutes 'valid' science. And As TGH keeps saying, if we don't form some kind basis of 'accepted science', we can't progress science at all.
Consensus doesn't provide evidence or experiment or methodology. In fact, its main value is not for scientists, but for non scientists. When someone with no in-depth scientific background (like you, i'm assuming) you need to show that not only do you have a valid argument, but it needs to be an argument that the quite intelligent, out-to-disprove-theories scientific community forming the consensus probably hasn't thought of before.

In essence, things which have a consensus in the scientific community can definitely be disproven or replaced by other theories. But it is highly highly unlikely to be done by someone without significant background in the relevant field.


Only climate science pushes the consensus argument, my scientific background has been in physics and mathematics for the most part, btw. Over the last 25 years that I've been studying physics/astrophysics/QM-QFT-QED-stringy models, I've not yet seen a consensus brought up regarding relativity or any other part of physics, there's no need to invoke one, after all. We have experimental confirmation of predictions, we have thoroughly fleshed out mathematical structures describing these theories, no one needs to say "9 out of 10 scientists agree that relativity explains how gravity operates", it doesn't matter how many do or do not, we know relativity is a working scientific theory.

The main value of a consensus is for people who don't understand a subject and want to defend a position regarding it. It has no value for someone who actually understands the subject well enough to defend a position on it.

It's never brought up as "and here's why they agree", usually it comes in forms like Metaphysician used above. "If you disagree with the group I consider to be rational, then you're irrational automatically."


Many branches of science bring up consensus in the face of ridiculous claims. It just depends on how contentious the issue is, and in what circles you find yourself. There probably has indeed been a study on how many scientists agree with how gravity works, which is used as an argument in the face of flat-earthers. Vaccine deniers as well.
Evolution is definitely one where I know there are 'lists/percentages of scientists who agree/disagree with evolution', because to some people it is a topical issue where there are legions of scientists who are spreading FUD and blithely believing in the misinformation spread by the Big Science establishment.

You're right though that using consensus as an argument is really only done by people who don't understand the subject. Like reporters politicians and people with a more-than-passing interest in the subject. I don't think I've ever seen it used in any journals as a legitimate argument, which is where the real determination of fact actually occurs. I've seen a lot of climate scientists say that they don't actually like to have a 'debate' about climate science against anyone (of the type that get shown on TV), because the 'climate denier' on the other side invariably knows half a hundred anomalous data points whereas the scientists knows how to correlate tree rings to carbon dioxide levels really well. So the best place to use 'consensus' is in a debate between people like us where I can say, 'if X number of scientists agree with this thing, and you don't, isn't that equivalent to saying that all these scientists are in on some big conspiracy theory?'

As for your 'scientific background'... sorry for assuming that you weren't scientifically educated, but at numerous points throughout this thread you've referred to 'school' rather than a college or university so I assumed you were a bit younger. However according your stated age on your user profile is 32... you're far ahead of most people if you were indeed studying astrophysics at age 7. Have you had any papers published that I could read?

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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby morriswalters » Sun Dec 09, 2012 1:30 pm UTC

Insurance is a bet against risk. The decision to buy insurance is a measure of your judgement of risk. If I was buying volcano insurance I would look at the breadth of opinion on the risk. Make a value judgement on the voices speaking to me that had opinions and make my best judgement. It doesn't indicate that I made the correct judgement, assuming there is is a "correct" answer. But once the question is on the table there is no way not to make a decision. Absence of an active decision is itself a decision. This is the importance of consensus to the average person. Once the question is asked you can't walk away without thinking about it. And most people have neither the time or the inclination to become experts.

Max™ wrote:You aren't quite qualified to delimit my own knowledge or understanding, and I would argue that I am most definitely doing science... though so are you and everyone else who has been going over this here.
Max, the only one, between the two of us, who has belittled or made light of the others opinion is you, and by doing so you make a judgement as to my limits. If I have done so to you I was in error. I have been forthright about my level of knowledge. My considered opinion is that GCC is happening. I can't prove it and I have never pretended otherwise, there is a high degree of uncertainty in the science. But neither can you show it is not. It is not physics. We can't spend a billion or two to make a device that can check the hypothesis. The only true answer will come from our experience over very long time frames. But that doesn't mean that the issue can be ignored or dismissed by prudent people.

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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby BattleMoose » Sun Dec 09, 2012 1:53 pm UTC

On scientific consensus:

Firstly, any discussion about anything relating to or about the sciences should be about the science. Arguing evidence and so forth, the way science is done. In the strictest sense, in such an environment, consensus does not matter. The Universe behaves a certain way and no matter how people agree or disagree, that would not effect the manner in which the universe behaves. There have been a number of unfortunate incidents where new, and correct ideas, were on occasion and unfortunately, literally laughed at and ridiculed, big bang, plate tectonics and the periodic table come to mind.

But, when the entire scientific in a particular field, is consistent in a particular view, its almost certainly, because they have all done the same work and reached the same conclusions. They're aren't just agreeing with each other because.

If you want to disagree with them fine, and if you want to act like consensus doesn't matter, fine, but then the response is, go and do science, publish papers and revolutionize the field and show the world how wrong the climate change scientific community has been. Anything short from that, you're just some random person on the internet, disagreeing with an entire field of science and from the quality of your posts in this thread, you're doing it very badly.

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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby The Great Hippo » Sun Dec 09, 2012 2:34 pm UTC

Max wrote:If a consensus is important in a field, one can safely say that field has moved into the realm of politics.
Then all fields of science have moved into politics.
Max wrote:"I have not tested all of these prior assumptions, they could be wrong, and that would have this result on my experiment. I have attempted to control for this as best I am able, here is what I have done, here are my findings, here is why I may be wrong, please let me know if you see any problems with my methods or are unable to reproduce my findings."
No paper on biology includes a list of assumptions like 'Modern Germ Theory Is Correct'. Rather, there's a scientific consensus on modern germ theory: It's correct.

Now, it might be true that there's a problem with modern germ theory, and maybe that shows up in my results. And maybe, eventually, some scientist stands up and says 'Modern germ theory is incomplete; that's what's fucking up your results!'. And now this scientist is challenging the very useful (up until now) scientific consensus--that some infectious diseases are caused by microscopic organisms. So there'll be a lot of resistance, and a lot of yelling, and a lot of skepticism, because--well, up until now, this consensus has been very useful, and very helpful, and produced a lot of good, solid science. But if there's a problem with it, we should look at it, and correct it, and once we've done that we've got a lot to think about.

But if you think a scientific consensus isn't useful to science--if you don't think it's part of this process--then you aren't paying attention. Because there definitely is a scientific consensus on germ theory, and that definitely is very useful to scientists interested in germs. It means they don't need to go out and reaffirm germ theory every time they want to talk about germs. In fact, it means they don't even need to talk about germ theory anymore. They don't need to list it as one of their assumptions: It's accepted as a given in the field of biology.

In fact, being a biologist means accepting that germ theory is real. You don't need to test it; you don't need to talk about it; you don't need to list it as one of your assumptions. It's so obvious that if you did list it as one of your assumptions (if you wrote "Now, assuming germ theory is true..."), we would instantly suspect you might be a crackpot.

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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby Max™ » Sun Dec 09, 2012 10:09 pm UTC

Trasvi wrote:Many branches of science bring up consensus in the face of ridiculous claims. It just depends on how contentious the issue is, and in what circles you find yourself. There probably has indeed been a study on how many scientists agree with how gravity works, which is used as an argument in the face of flat-earthers. Vaccine deniers as well.
Evolution is definitely one where I know there are 'lists/percentages of scientists who agree/disagree with evolution', because to some people it is a topical issue where there are legions of scientists who are spreading FUD and blithely believing in the misinformation spread by the Big Science establishment.

Well, that's part of my problem, I think science is a wonderful thing, I know vaccines save lives, gravity is observable, relativity has confirmed predictions, and evolution has confirmed predictions. I've been trying to explain why arguing there is a 33 K "greenhouse effect" is roughly the same as arguing the earth is flat, amusingly enough.

Really that's as simple as my position can get: the earth is not flat. Calculating the theoretical temperature as though it is constantly illuminated is incorrect, and is functionally the same as treating the earth as being flat.

You're right though that using consensus as an argument is really only done by people who don't understand the subject. Like reporters politicians and people with a more-than-passing interest in the subject. I don't think I've ever seen it used in any journals as a legitimate argument, which is where the real determination of fact actually occurs. I've seen a lot of climate scientists say that they don't actually like to have a 'debate' about climate science against anyone (of the type that get shown on TV), because the 'climate denier' on the other side invariably knows half a hundred anomalous data points whereas the scientists knows how to correlate tree rings to carbon dioxide levels really well. So the best place to use 'consensus' is in a debate between people like us where I can say, 'if X number of scientists agree with this thing, and you don't, isn't that equivalent to saying that all these scientists are in on some big conspiracy theory?'

>.> Tree rings and carbon dioxide? <.< You mean stomata right? Tree rings are measured for density/width and that can be correlated in various ways to precipitation and temperature during a growth season.

Anyway, no, even if both of us were completely ignorant of the subject, it has no place in a discussion where we are both attempting to understand the other individuals position.

As for your 'scientific background'... sorry for assuming that you weren't scientifically educated, but at numerous points throughout this thread you've referred to 'school' rather than a college or university so I assumed you were a bit younger. However according your stated age on your user profile is 32... you're far ahead of most people if you were indeed studying astrophysics at age 7. Have you had any papers published that I could read?

School, college, studies for which I get credit rather than doing it just because I felt like learning something.

I began learning about physics in particular back then, yes, college textbooks from uncles, spent... fuck I don't even know how much time in the library, but I've had to ask to be let out on more than a few nights when they started to lock up and didn't notice me curled up in a corner reading. Went through the books in my house, wanted to know more, etc.

I didn't say I mastered all of physics when I was 7 I said I started studying it as part of a general course of studying the universe because my mother gave me a wonderful gift: a love of learning new things.

Just for the record, I still haven't mastered it, but I know enough to recognize how much I have left to learn now.
morriswalters wrote:Max, the only one, between the two of us, who has belittled or made light of the others opinion is you, and by doing so you make a judgement as to my limits.

Sorry, but I don't value opinions, they generally boil down to vague statements about beliefs, and I place a negative value on beliefs.

I assume that you are fully capable of understanding the universe. You may not be interested in going to the same lengths as some do, which is fine, but that is a choice, not a limit.

If I have done so to you I was in error. I have been forthright about my level of knowledge. My considered opinion is that GCC is happening. I can't prove it and I have never pretended otherwise, there is a high degree of uncertainty in the science. But neither can you show it is not. It is not physics. We can't spend a billion or two to make a device that can check the hypothesis. The only true answer will come from our experience over very long time frames. But that doesn't mean that the issue can be ignored or dismissed by prudent people.

Well I need to separate climate from global warming.

Climate is just averaged weather variations over a given period of time. Climate change is an absurdity, and global climate is almost as absurd. The closest GCC can get to reality is to say "the planet generally remains between 10 and 25 C, with a certain distribution of biomes and temperature variations according to certain influences and constraints" essentially.

Global warming is what it was called until it stopped warming, and the language was changed to the more vague and even harder to test phrasing of climate change.

That's the worst part for someone like myself, I can't disprove that the climate exists, nor can I disprove an absurdity with reason. Arguing that the climate doesn't change is stupid, which is why I like to focus on physical processes which can be examined without such language constraints.


That is why I'm so bothered by seeing people who are at least somewhat interested in the subject make statements regarding a consensus or that "it's happening, there's no debate", I have to first try to work through a maze of language before I can even begin discussing the actual subject.

Why is that the case?


I don't have to correct misconceptions about the meaning of the words "general relativity" or "evolutionary pressures" to discuss those subjects with someone who doubts them.

The people who want to push the convoluted language into those subjects are folks like steve trying to disprove coordinate transformations with "pure math, no physics" so he can disprove the physics itself, all the while never understanding the subject honestly except when tricked into showing his own grasp of the facts. Creationists trying to wiggle the language used enough to allow them to slip their bullshit into what should be a clean scientific description of evolution.


People say "Oh, but Max, it sounds like you're arguing that there is a conspiracy, and there is no way so many people with so much pull would ever believe something as stupid as you're making it out to be"... we have textbooks in this country that push creationism as scientific, that make science out to be a case of "competing alternative theories" as though there are two sides to science. We have people who try to drown out debating the actual subject to push their own ideologies and nonsense as facts.

I'm no friend of those people, I didn't just stumble upon the one part of science that rubbed me the wrong way and went "nope, nuh uh, quantum entanglement, hawking radiation, n-dimensional branes, DNA information theory, all of that is fine... but I'll be damned if I buy THIS one field, no way, no how".

All the years of studying, all the obscure subjects I could pick to rail against, all the science I haven't got a problem with... but no, THIS is the one part of science that pisses me off, I can't have that shit, I gotta fight it because I feel like being contrarian and denying THIS particular subject.

:roll:
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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby Metaphysician » Sun Dec 09, 2012 10:17 pm UTC

Max™ wrote:
The Great Hippo wrote:Okay. But that's in no way relevant to anything I just said.

A scientific consensus is not worthless; it's actually quite necessary--or else you end up in a recursive 'test-your-assumptions' loop.

No, like I said, you exercise proper honesty and don't trick anyone by claiming to have tested what you actually have not, and at that point you are no longer in a loop.

"I have not tested all of these prior assumptions, they could be wrong, and that would have this result on my experiment. I have attempted to control for this as best I am able, here is what I have done, here are my findings, here is why I may be wrong, please let me know if you see any problems with my methods or are unable to reproduce my findings."

If a consensus is important in a field, one can safely say that field has moved into the realm of politics.
Metaphysician wrote:There shouldn't even be a debate about whether or not climate change (global warming specifically) is occurring. The globe is warming.

>.>

This is said a lot and it is usually an indication that someone has not checked their facts.

The warming between the 1970's and 1990's wasn't much larger than the error range in temperature measurements... and that is setting aside the difficulties of measuring a temperature across the entire surface of the globe... as well as the trouble with averaging a temperature.


I covered this a few pages back, if you have two glasses of water, the same size, same amount of liquid in both, one at 10 C and one at 30 C, you would think the average temperature is 20 C, right?

Does that value have any representation in either glass? Is either glass actually at 20 C? If you leave them alone in a room that was at 20 C, would you say your system of the two glasses is going to cool or warm?

Is there any meaning to an average temperature given for a system which is both warming and cooling?


Let's just ignore that for a moment though.

Since the end of the 90's there has been no significant trend at all, while CO2 has risen at a fairly steady rate.
Image

woodfortrees.org, has several data sets and nice options for plotting them, play around with it.
In short, no debate on global warming is going to be rational because it's impossible to have two rational sides to this debate. One side looks at the facts and draws conclusions and then seeks to better understand what is happening, the other side says "nuh uh. you don't know!"

I have stopped talking about this with half my family for this reason, there are no rational arguments on the denier side of the coin.


Wow.

Just had to point out, there used to be an actual denier coin:
Image
[/quote]

I am well aware there used to be an actual denier coin, it's also a word that has been used since the 15th century to describe somebody that is denying something. None of what you posted actually contradicts anything I said. Lets review.

#1. The globe is warming.
#2. We do not have enough scientific data to quantify human contributions to this trend.
#3. Debate about whether or not global warming is happening and the extent to which humans contribute to this is useless because we don't have enough facts or scientific study make the call one way or the other.

Obviously climate change will never directly correlate to any one factor of human action. Many things affect the climate, including human action, but we are part of a whole and there is a learning curve to understanding exactly how human action affects the climate, or to what extent human action affects the climate. To argue that human action does not affect the climate is inane, because one cannot pump chemicals into the atmosphere without it changing things. What may be the case is that human beings have a negligible effect on the climate, or that we are having a catastrophic effect on the climate, but we won't know for sure until science has had the opportunity to study this in more depth than 40 years will allow. I know 40 years seems like a long time to most people but in the grand scheme of things, it's not, we're still studying and trying to understand scientific theories that were developed hundreds of years ago.

The conclusion I draw is that debate is useless because the only way to get the answers, whatever they might be, is to continue studying the relationship between humanity and climate change. Does anybody believe that we shouldn't?

As to advisable measures we can take to reduce CO2 output, there are plenty of non-climate centered arguments for why we should embrace renewable resources that also happen to be low emission. The primary reason is that the rate of our consumption of finite resources has increased to the point where we consume these resources faster than they are replenished by natural means which indicates we will run out of them at some point and it would therefor behoove us to embrace renewable resources so that we do not find ourselves in a difficult situation one or two hundred years from now.
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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby The Great Hippo » Sun Dec 09, 2012 10:20 pm UTC

Max™ wrote:Sorry, but I don't value opinions, they generally boil down to vague statements about beliefs, and I place a negative value on beliefs.
That's an interesting opinion. Do you think it's a valuable one?
Max™ wrote:The people who want to push the convoluted language into those subjects are folks like steve trying to disprove coordinate transformations with "pure math, no physics" so he can disprove the physics itself, all the while never understanding the subject honestly except when tricked into showing his own grasp of the facts. Creationists trying to wiggle the language used enough to allow them to slip their bullshit into what should be a clean scientific description of evolution.
I agree; 'pure math, no physics' is a terrible way to approach relativity. But it sounds a lot like your approach to global warming is 'pure physics, no climatology'. Is that an unfair summation? If so, how is it unfair?

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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby Max™ » Sun Dec 09, 2012 10:35 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:But it sounds a lot like your approach to global warming is 'pure physics, no climatology'. Is that an unfair summation? If so, how is it unfair?

Everything can be boiled down to physics, can't it? If the physical arguments don't correspond to the climatology, I'm going to side with the physics, call it a bias if you want. It is dangerous to oversimplify an extremely complex subject, and climatology in general could use a massive injection of rigor and experiment*. Hence my railing against oversimplified depictions of energy budgets such as the Trenberth et al ones. They are used to support arguments in an unphysical manner.


As for opinions, an opinion is a statement or belief about something subjective. Where things are subjective, it expresses a level of certainty which I do not possess. Where things are objective, I do not need opinions. Reality is not subjective, like I said, you're entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts.

There are things which I am unsure about, there are things which I am flat out ignorant about, and there are a few things which I am fairly confident about... but there is nothing I am absolutely certain of.



Metaphysician, can you put your first point into your own terms? What exactly do you mean when you say "the globe is warming"?



*Computer models are not experiments, and there are things which are taken for granted that are based on hundred and fifty year old arguments known to be very flawed.
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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby The Great Hippo » Sun Dec 09, 2012 10:41 pm UTC

Max™ wrote:Everything can be boiled down to physics, can't it?
No.
Max™ wrote:If the physical arguments don't correspond to the climatology, I'm going to side with the physics, call it a bias if you want.
'Bias'?

You just pointed out that steve waterman's problem is that they're trying to use 'pure math' to deal with physics. That's not bias on steve waterman's part; that's an inability to tell the difference between 'pure math' and 'physics'.

How is this not exactly the same sort of mistake? Why do you think 'physics' and 'climatology' are interchangeable?
Max™ wrote:As for opinions, an opinion is a statement or belief about something subjective. Where things are subjective, it expresses a level of certainty which I do not possess. Where things are objective, I do not need opinions.

There are things which I am unsure about, there are things which I am flat out ignorant about, and there are a few things which I am fairly confident about... but there is nothing I am absolutely certain of.
So, since there is nothing you are absolutely certain of, there's nothing you know objectively; therefore, everything you know is a matter of opinion?

That's also an interesting opinion.

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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby morriswalters » Sun Dec 09, 2012 10:56 pm UTC

Max™ wrote:Sorry, but I don't value opinions, they generally boil down to vague statements about beliefs, and I place a negative value on beliefs.
Contrary to what many believe, opinions are sometimes what we believe about matters we consider to be facts. The only difference between between myself and a Paleoclimatologist is experience and training. He has informed opinions.

From Wikipedia
In general, an opinion is a belief about matters commonly considered to be subjective, and is the result of emotion or interpretation of facts. An opinion may be supported by an argument, although people may draw opposing opinions from the same set of facts. Opinions rarely change without new arguments being presented. It can be reasoned that one opinion is better supported by the facts than another by analysing the supporting arguments.[1] In casual use, the term opinion may be the result of a person's perspective, understanding, particular feelings, beliefs, and desires. It may refer to unsubstantiated information, in contrast to knowledge and fact-based beliefs.

Collective or professional opinions are defined as meeting a higher standard to substantiate the opinion. (see below)


Effectively GCC describes a climate system in flux, where the system is not in equilibrium. Perhaps climate instability would have been a better choice of phrasing, I have no idea.

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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby Metaphysician » Sun Dec 09, 2012 11:11 pm UTC

Max™ wrote:Metaphysician, can you put your first point into your own terms? What exactly do you mean when you say "the globe is warming"?


I mean that however slightly beyond the margin of error, that in the last thirty or forty years, the earth has been steadily, on average, getting warmer. I mean this state to carry no baggage as to why this is happening, including but not limited to the extent to which human action may or may not be contributing to this trend. I am interested in what science has so far observed, but recognize that it often takes science hundreds of years to reach concrete conclusions and that at this point in time, what is merited is further study and experimentation.

One hypothesis that has been put forward is that we are experiencing warming at a more than natural rate due to the emission of greenhouse gasses. This has not been proven. However many of methods by which we can reduce greenhouse emissions are also methods by which can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels to prevent an uncomfortable situation of running out of fuel with no backup plan a couple hundred years in the future.
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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby phlip » Sun Dec 09, 2012 11:28 pm UTC

Max™ wrote:I know vaccines save lives, gravity is observable, relativity has confirmed predictions, and evolution has confirmed predictions.

Interesting. Why do you believe these things? Have you personally tested all of them? If so, I'd be interested to know your methodology for testing them, especially relativity and evolution. Or do you just trust that they're true because many other scientists have tested them for you? Do you just rely on the scientific consensus?

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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby DaBigCheez » Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:23 am UTC

Max™ wrote:Really that's as simple as my position can get: the earth is not flat. Calculating the theoretical temperature as though it is constantly illuminated is incorrect, and is functionally the same as treating the earth as being flat.

And, as I was attempting to show with my simulation earlier, will give you a higher theoretical temperature than calculating as if it were not constantly illuminated, so while it's a simplification that introduces error that error isn't in the direction you seem to want it to be.
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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby Bad Hair Man » Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:37 am UTC

Max™ wrote:how long do we have to wait after 1998 for warming to resume?

It's kind of funny, you responding to the post I made questioning the credibility of your position of skepticism, by first attempting to deny the credibility of the actual experts who study this subject, implying that the about 90% of climatologists who believe in anthropogenic global warming reached that conclusion (that you don't agree with) due to "politics" (and if that doesn't mean incompetent and/or fraudulent science, then I don't know what it does mean). And second, by presenting an argument so fallacious that the keynote speaker at a 2008 climate denial conference warned in his talk against others making that particular point due to the damage that doing so would cause to their credibility!

Here is a video of that, by the way.
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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby Max™ » Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:25 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:So, since there is nothing you are absolutely certain of, there's nothing you know objectively; therefore, everything you know is a matter of opinion?

I can not definitively prove my own existence, I have to take that as an axiom, but I recognize that it places a limit on things which I can not define as true. Mathematics is full of statements which are true by definition, science is not.

I have many things I consider useful to treat as though they were true, but I do not actually consider them to be true, because I can't honestly do so.


Oh, Hippo, the climate is a system which can be described in terms of energy transfer, thermal properties of various materials, optical properties, thermodynamics, and so on. You wouldn't say the climate is outside the realm of physics, would you?
morriswalters wrote:Contrary to what many believe, opinions are sometimes what we believe about matters we consider to be facts.

That's slipping into the "knowledge is justified true belief" mindset though, I already said why I do not use that definition, and indeed think beliefs can be just as easily defined: "unjustified claims of knowledge" can't they?



Metaphysician wrote:
Max™ wrote:Metaphysician, can you put your first point into your own terms? What exactly do you mean when you say "the globe is warming"?


I mean that however slightly beyond the margin of error, that in the last thirty or forty years, the earth has been steadily, on average, getting warmer. I mean this state to carry no baggage as to why this is happening, including but not limited to the extent to which human action may or may not be contributing to this trend. I am interested in what science has so far observed, but recognize that it often takes science hundreds of years to reach concrete conclusions and that at this point in time, what is merited is further study and experimentation.

Except that for half of the last 30 years there's been no warming or cooling beyond the margin of error, hence the graph I posted.

One hypothesis that has been put forward is that we are experiencing warming at a more than natural rate due to the emission of greenhouse gasses. This has not been proven. However many of methods by which we can reduce greenhouse emissions are also methods by which can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels to prevent an uncomfortable situation of running out of fuel with no backup plan a couple hundred years in the future.

You can't prove a hypothesis, just to clarify that for you, you can falsify them, and you can confirm predictions.


phlip wrote:
Max™ wrote:I know vaccines save lives, gravity is observable, relativity has confirmed predictions, and evolution has confirmed predictions.

Interesting. Why do you believe these things? Have you personally tested all of them? If so, I'd be interested to know your methodology for testing them, especially relativity and evolution. Or do you just trust that they're true because many other scientists have tested them for you? Do you just rely on the scientific consensus?

I don't believe them, I understand the findings, I understand the tests which have been performed in an attempt to falsify them as explanations, and so on.

I rely on the science, those fall within the realm of "very little doubt" or "observable", belief doesn't enter the picture.

DaBigCheez wrote:
Max™ wrote:Really that's as simple as my position can get: the earth is not flat. Calculating the theoretical temperature as though it is constantly illuminated is incorrect, and is functionally the same as treating the earth as being flat.

And, as I was attempting to show with my simulation earlier, will give you a higher theoretical temperature than calculating as if it were not constantly illuminated, so while it's a simplification that introduces error that error isn't in the direction you seem to want it to be.

>.> Uh

Image

Remember when I pointed out that said claim only holds if you look at short periods and that difference is less than half a degree?

Even going with 255 K/.9 emissivity winds up that way.
Image

Your spreadsheet replaces the distribution problem with the .9 (or higher) emissivity problem.

Using a .6 value winds up with all the options trending towards a 288 K temperature, with the main difference being that 340/340 had no variation, while 680/0 and sinusoidal oscillated between 12 K warmer and 12 K colder.


That was almost exactly the range I offered as a possible illustration of the different dayside/nightside temperature, and close to the emissivity figure I got by working with the average temperature and input/output balance constraints.


Bad Hair Man, had I made an argument you could call it fallacious, I made an observation: there is no significant warming or cooling for 15 or so years now, CO2 has risen the whole time.

I'll let you know if I use that as the basis for an argument though, oh, and it's difficult to take a site like SkS seriously given the incredibly ironic name.
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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby morriswalters » Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:19 am UTC

@Bad Hair Man
The variations works out over a year excepting solar output. It's variant in at least 3 ways. The orbit is elliptical, the planet it tilted and the earth rotates. The average of 340 comes from that, it's the only number that makes sense mathematically, I believe, as an average. That is the physics at the atmospheric boundary. Once you dive into the atmosphere it all goes to hell and becomes so complex that it takes a super computer to describe.

The chart Max posted is interesting. Go to the notes section on Wood for Trees and read the section talking about timescales. Draw whatever conclusion you wish.
Temperature trends - pick a timescale, any timescale!

After many requests, I finally added trend-lines (linear least-squares regression) to the graph generator. I hope this is useful, but I would also like to point out that it can be fairly dangerous...

Depending on your preconceptions, by picking your start and end times carefully, you can now 'prove' that:

Temperature is falling!
Temperature is static!
Temperature is rising!
Temperature is rising really fast!

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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby phlip » Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:22 pm UTC

Max™ wrote:
phlip wrote:
Max™ wrote:I know vaccines save lives, gravity is observable, relativity has confirmed predictions, and evolution has confirmed predictions.

Interesting. Why do you believe these things? Have you personally tested all of them? If so, I'd be interested to know your methodology for testing them, especially relativity and evolution. Or do you just trust that they're true because many other scientists have tested them for you? Do you just rely on the scientific consensus?

I don't believe them, I understand the findings, I understand the tests which have been performed in an attempt to falsify them as explanations, and so on.

I rely on the science, those fall within the realm of "very little doubt" or "observable", belief doesn't enter the picture.

But every single thing you just said is also true of climate science, with the possible exception of "I understand ...". So why the exception? And if it truly is the "I understand ..." step which is missing, then why be so adamant you understand it enough to claim the science is wrong?

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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:42 pm UTC

Max™ wrote:I can not definitively prove my own existence, I have to take that as an axiom, but I recognize that it places a limit on things which I can not define as true. Mathematics is full of statements which are true by definition, science is not.

I have many things I consider useful to treat as though they were true, but I do not actually consider them to be true, because I can't honestly do so.
Is 'opinions are not valuable' something that is not true but you treat as true anyway? If so, isn't 'opinions are not valuable' actually just an opinion you've elevated to an assumption?
Max™ wrote:Oh, Hippo, the climate is a system which can be described in terms of energy transfer, thermal properties of various materials, optical properties, thermodynamics, and so on. You wouldn't say the climate is outside the realm of physics, would you?
Of course I would. If nothing climatology dealt with fell outside the realm of pure physics, we wouldn't have a field called 'climatology'; we'd have a field called 'applied thermodynamics'. Climatologists wouldn't be climatologists; they'd be physicists who specialized in heat.

I'll ask again: Why do you think climatology and physics are interchangeable?

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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby morriswalters » Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:24 pm UTC

Uncertainty and scientific consensus in policy making. This gives a cogent description of why consensus is important. I've said this in other ways but couldn't seem to get the point across.
The inherent uncertainty in science, where theories are never proven but can only be disproven (see falsifiability), poses a problem for politicians, policymakers, lawyers, and business professionals. Where scientific or philosophical questions can often languish in uncertainty for decades within their disciplinary settings, policymakers are faced with the problems of making sound decisions based on the currently available data, even if it is likely not a final form of the "truth". The tricky part is discerning what is close enough to "final truth". For example, social action against smoking probably came too long after science was 'pretty consensual'.[2]

Certain domains, such as the approval of certain technologies for public consumption, can have vast and far-reaching political, economic, and human effects should things run awry of the predictions of scientists. However, insofar as there is an expectation that policy in a given field reflect knowable and pertinent data and well-accepted models of the relationships between observable phenomena, there is little good alternative for policy makers than to rely on so much of what may fairly be called 'the scientific consensus' in guiding policy design and implementation, at least in circumstances where the need for policy intervention is compelling. While science cannot supply 'absolute truth' (or even its complement 'absolute error') its utility is bound up with the capacity to guide policy in the direction of increased public good and away from public harm. Seen in this way, the demand that policy rely only on what is proven to be "scientific truth" would be a prescription for policy paralysis and amount in practice to advocacy of acceptance of all of the quantified and unquantified costs and risks associated with policy inaction.[2]

No part of policy formation on the basis of the ostensible scientific consensus precludes persistent review either of the relevant scientific consensus or the tangible results of policy. Indeed, the same reasons that drove reliance upon the consensus drives the continued evaluation of this reliance over time—and adjusting policy as needed.

The "truth" of the matter won't and can't be known, at least not today, but you can't wait for the science to catch up with the reality. Not for something of this magnitude. In essence this is not a scientific debate at all, this is a debate about how much we can and should do given the current understanding of the problem.

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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:40 pm UTC

Well, yeah--scientific consensus is extraordinarily important outside the field of science. But inside the field of science, it has a certain importance too.

Something to keep in mind: Going against the scientific consensus is not what makes you wrong. Being wrong is what makes you wrong. It is perfectly feasible to defy the scientific consensus and be in the right! It's just that those who defy the scientific consensus tend to be wrong, and when we have little time to analyze their arguments, this generalization can be very useful.

I don't need to listen to the arguments of someone who thinks germ theory is wrong; I can dismiss their arguments on the basis that they defy the scientific consensus (that germ theory is right!). This is really handy for non-scientists (and it's sometimes really handy for scientists, too): It means we don't have to waste time addressing the legitimacy of ideas that are terrible. I don't need to test your claim that invisible dinosaurs cause diseases; I can just say 'your invisible dinosaur theory contradicts germ theory' and move on without having to spend time understanding your terrible invisible dinosaur theory.

It would be impossible to function without this shortcut: Because the world is full of ideas that are terrible--and unless you can quickly dismiss them without testing them, you'll find yourself forever wasting your time testing genuinely terrible ideas!
morriswalters wrote:The "truth" of the matter won't and can't be known, at least not today, but you can't wait for the science to catch up with the reality. Not for something of this magnitude. In essence this is not a scientific debate at all, this is a debate about how much we can and should do given the current understanding of the problem.
To clarify, there are three ways in which something can be a scientific debate. It can be a debate about science--which this thread certainly is!--it can be a debate using other people's science--which this thread sometimes is!--and it can be a debate within science--which this thread certainly isn't.

For all intensive purposes, the scientific community seems to have settled the question; global warming is no longer being actively debated among the majority of scientists who know a little something about the climate. If that's not enough for you, okay; you're welcome to disagree. Science always welcomes a challenge to its current paradigm. That's what makes it 'science': It wants you to try and kick the current paradigm's ass!

But if you think that man-made global warming is actively debated in the scientific community--if you don't think global warming represents the current paradigm in climate science today--you aren't paying attention!

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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby DaBigCheez » Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:46 pm UTC

Max™ wrote:Remember when I pointed out that said claim only holds if you look at short periods and that difference is less than half a degree?

Even going with 255 K/.9 emissivity winds up that way.

Your spreadsheet replaces the distribution problem with the .9 (or higher) emissivity problem.

Using a .6 value winds up with all the options trending towards a 288 K temperature, with the main difference being that 340/340 had no variation, while 680/0 and sinusoidal oscillated between 12 K warmer and 12 K colder.

That was almost exactly the range I offered as a possible illustration of the different dayside/nightside temperature, and close to the emissivity figure I got by working with the average temperature and input/output balance constraints.

How does the claim only hold if you look at short periods? I presume you're talking about the manner in which average insolation varies over the course of a year; that's more effort than I care to put into this quick model, but I see no reason the trend would change without other variables being altered. (The only change I can see is potentially in faster tracking of temperature with insolation increases/decreases; I don't know if that would be observed in practice, but if so, it would make for more rapid cooling during the winter as well as more rapid heating during the summer.) And sure, the difference is less than half a degree, never disputed that. However, it seems to me that you're offering it as an explanation for "the 255K predicted by a constant-insolation model is too low, modeling time-varying insolation raises the temperature to what we observe without resorting to a greenhouse effect". It is patently absurd to claim that, when the varying-insolation model leads both to a lower average temperature and to one which is not significantly different from the constant-insolation predictions.

And uh, yeah, no kidding the model with time-variant insolation has greater temperature variation than the time-invariant insolation model. That's not an insightful and ground-breaking conclusion, that's practically a tautology. Not only is it obvious, it's the whole reason it winds up with a lower average temperature - the higher temperature peaks radiate more energy than is "saved" by the low-temperature troughs. The dayside/nightside temperature differential is irrelevant to a conversation or claims about the global average temperature, or even to the average temperature (over the period of a day) of a single spot on the Earth's surface.

And fiddling with emissivity to get the "correct" temperature doesn't prove anything one way or the other. As I understand it, the greenhouse effect is emissivity (or at least an alteration thereto), and I don't believe anyone here has sufficient expertise to calculate an "idealized" emissivity value from scratch. It would be interesting if we had sufficient data stretching back into the 1800s or so to try and calculate if, say, the emissivity value to obtain the observed average temperature in the 1800s was more like 0.602 compared to 0.600 today; this, as I understand it, is what the anthropogenic global warming model is all about. (Plus, on top of greenhouse gasses, the accelerating effect due to loss of albedo resulting from icecaps melting, etc.)
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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby morriswalters » Mon Dec 10, 2012 6:30 pm UTC

Hippo, not to put too fine a point on it the sum total of new science in this fora is zero, if you quantify it as new or original work. If you wish to believe otherwise than have at it. I believe that GCC is true, not in some philosophical, justified true belief way, rather I think the consensus among those who are doing the science is substantial enough to act as if it were true even though I can't know that it is true.

The Great Hippo wrote:But if you think that man-made global warming is actively debated in the scientific community--if you don't think global warming represents the current paradigm in climate science today--you aren't paying attention!
I don't give a care about the scientific community in this context. If they were paying the bills then we wouldn't be talking. But they don't have the dollars to fix the problem. And if you haven't been paying attention a substantial number of people in this country believe in ghosts, think their pets can understand them(me :D ) and other miscellaneous bs. That's your target audience. Those are who need to convinced, fail in that and you should think in terms of high ground and and possible combinations of new places to farm and live, or I should say your grandchildren.

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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Dec 10, 2012 7:38 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Hippo, not to put too fine a point on it the sum total of new science in this fora is zero, if you quantify it as new or original work.
That's more or less what I meant--at least in respects to this thread, and in respects to science concerning climatology.
morriswalters wrote:I don't give a care about the scientific community in this context. If they were paying the bills then we wouldn't be talking. But they don't have the dollars to fix the problem. And if you haven't been paying attention a substantial number of people in this country believe in ghosts, think their pets can understand them(me :D ) and other miscellaneous bs. That's your target audience. Those are who need to convinced, fail in that and you should think in terms of high ground and and possible combinations of new places to farm and live, or I should say your grandchildren.
Right; you tailor the presentation to the audience. The thing is, no one (I hope) in this thread believes in ghosts; the majority of participants in this thread probably believe in science. This is a thread where we can hopefully not focus on belief in ghosts, but rather focus on science.

My point (which I do not think you are disagreeing with!) is that even if that's the case, one limitation in this thread is that none of us (assumedly!) are experts on climatology, and therefore while we are capable of talking about the science, we are not really capable of addressing the science. Because the only way to address climatology is to know quite a bit about climatology.

Now, any of us could go out and become a climatologist--because science is predicated on the notion that knowledge is not 'special' or 'hidden'; it's freely available to those who seek it! But until one of us goes out and does the work involved in learning quite a bit about climatology, none of us know quite a bit about climatology.

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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby Bad Hair Man » Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:00 am UTC

Max™ wrote:Bad Hair Man, had I made an argument you could call it fallacious, I made an observation: there is no significant warming or cooling for 15 or so years now, CO2 has risen the whole time.

Very well, but your observation still looks like a case of cherry-picking. Short-term variation doesn't contradict the existence of longer-term trends.

Image
(Graph is from NASA, Goddard Institute for Space Studies.)

Yes, the year-by-year average temperature is jumpy. Enough so that the five-year mean line sometimes flattens out or goes down. But the only thing your observation seems to call into question is an implicit strawman assertion that anyone thinks that CO2 is the only thing that affects global temperature. Atmospheric CO2 change and atmospheric temperature change not being in constant lock-step doesn't imply that CO2 is an unimportant determinant of temperature, it just implies that there are also other factors.

The general upward trend on the above graph is explained by current climate science primarily as the effect of increasing greenhouse gasses (and positive feedback mechanisms). The flat period from the late 1930s to the late 1970s is further explained by the presence of more sulfate aerosols in the atmosphere during that period. Just because CO2 is important doesn't mean anyone thinks it's the only thing that matters.
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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby addams » Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:57 am UTC

Hipo; Physics is The God od Sciences. Climatology is a field within Physics. That's what wiki said.
Both climate and weather are so very interesting. If he is a Physist, then (?) Well they are not all good.

Weather and Climate to a smaller degree were and are interesting to me, too.

Pages and pages dedicated to a physicist attemping to round out the planet?

If his math skills are good, ask him to look at the core. Its roundish too. That may please him. Two round things interacting! Physics! Thoses guys love that stuff. Right?

This is a Great little planet. We know that core is an oxidatio/reduction reaction.
We know it produces water and carbon. And; lots of them.

Actions? Will selfish behavior by large nations sink the whole boat? Maybe.
Given that level of doubt. What do persons that care do?!
The Great Hippo wrote:
Max™ wrote:I can not definitively prove my own existence, I have to take that as an axiom, but I recognize that it places a limit on things which I can not define as true. Mathematics is full of statements which are true by definition, scieince is not.

I have many things I consider useful to treat as though they were true, but I do not actually consider them to be true, because I can't honestly do so.
Is 'opinions are not valuable' something that is not true but you treat as true anyway? If so, isn't 'opinions are not valuable' actually just an opinion you've elevated to an assumption?
Max™ wrote:Oh, Hippo, the climate is a system which can be described in terms of energy transfer, thermal properties of various materials, optical properties, thermodynamics, and so on. You wouldn't say the climate is outside the realm of physics, would you?
Of course I would. If nothing climatology dealt with fell outside the realm of pure physics, we wouldn't have a field called 'climatology'; we'd have a field called 'applied thermodynamics'. Climatologists wouldn't be climatologists; they'd be physicists who specialized in heat.

I'll ask again: Why do you think climatology and physics are interchangeable?
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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby delooper » Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:56 am UTC

I'd like to add a comment. I'm a professional mathematician, working at a research university. I'm fairly sensitive to the big climate debate and feel as if I have some personal insights.

I think there's some basic questions that generally need to be answered, which have not been properly addressed publically by the appropriate people:

1) Is climate change happening?
2) To what extent is it caused by human activity?
3) To what extent can we extrapolate the future of the climate from what we know now?
4) Do the proposed changes being put forward by organizations like the IPCC have the ability to put us on the road to a predictable climate that people are generally happy with?

My own opinion (partially informed by some understanding of climate models) is

1) Yes
2) Somewhat but not entirely clear
3) Very unclear, in that the climate models used by organizations like IPCC are extremely crude.
4) No, or at least it's extremely doubtful.

In most public fora the climate change debate is usually framed in an extremely narrowminded linear framework where deductions go like "more co2 implies more greenhouse warming implies a warmer climate" but most people in the climate science world know that's precisely a linear argument -- a peek at any climate model would show you the climate is extremely far from linear.

From my brushes with the climate science community, I find the majority of their debates to be quasi-religious in nature and there's frequently negligable actual science going on.

Anyhow, take that for whatever you consider it's worth.

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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Dec 17, 2012 5:22 am UTC

delooper wrote:I'm fairly sensitive to the big climate debate and feel as if I have some personal insights.
Okay, and I'm curious to know more, but I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that all you've done here is say 'I'm a mathematician', 'I think climatologists are quasi-religious', and 'as a mathematician, I think these numbers stink'.

Also:
delooper wrote:From my brushes with the climate science community, I find the majority of their debates to be quasi-religious in nature and there's frequently negligable actual science going on.
I refer you to the inestimable Borges for an alternative possibility:
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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby BattleMoose » Mon Dec 17, 2012 7:22 am UTC

delooper wrote:2) To what extent is it caused by human activity?

My own opinion (partially informed by some understanding of climate models) is

2) Somewhat but not entirely clear


You are certainly entitled to your own opinion, but does your opinion have any value? What is it based on? And seeing as we are just throwing opinions around on the Internet, allow me to introduce the opinion of arguably the most established and respected scientific body on our planet.

The scientific evidence is clear: global climate change caused by human activities is occurring now, and it is a growing threat to society.

The before mentioned opinion is also endorsed by many national academy of sciences.
http://www.science.org.au/policy/climatechange-g8+5.pdf

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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby delooper » Mon Dec 17, 2012 9:27 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
delooper wrote:I'm fairly sensitive to the big climate debate and feel as if I have some personal insights.
Okay, and I'm curious to know more, but I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that all you've done here is say 'I'm a mathematician', 'I think climatologists are quasi-religious', and 'as a mathematician, I think these numbers stink'.


My point wasn't to give an elaborate essay as that's not how the dynamic in a forum works. But in short, the fundamentals of the climate models are wrong. Even the basic physics they use is usually only a 0th, maybe sometimes a 1st order approximation but much of the basics are fundamentally off. For example, co2 and nitrogen transfer between the oceans and the atmosphere are way off in the models compared to what is measured. Tropical weather systems are way off from the models to what is observed. The models make short terms predictions that are almost always at odds with observations. And so on. I'm not saying anything here that climate scientists don't already know, many admit these things.

Also:
delooper wrote:From my brushes with the climate science community, I find the majority of their debates to be quasi-religious in nature and there's frequently negligable actual science going on.
I refer you to the inestimable Borges for an alternative possibility:
Luis Borges wrote:Gibbon observes that in the Arabian book par excellence, in the Koran, there are no camels; I believe if there were any doubt as to the authenticity of the Koran, this absence of camels would be sufficient to prove it is an Arabian work.


That seems kind of not relevant to the discussion.

[quote=battlemoose]
You are certainly entitled to your own opinion, but does your opinion have any value? What is it based on? And seeing as we are just throwing opinions around on the Internet, allow me to introduce the opinion of arguably the most established and respected scientific body on our planet.

The scientific evidence is clear: global climate change caused by human activities is occurring now, and it is a growing threat to society.
[/quote]

Everyone's opinion has value. Notice your AAAS posting does not disagree with anything I've said. I don't want to sound dismissive but you haven't really processed what I said.

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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby BattleMoose » Mon Dec 17, 2012 11:14 am UTC

delooper wrote:Everyone's opinion has value.


I disagree, opinions by themselves are valueless, its the reasoning, logic and rational that is the basis of the opinion that lends value to the opinion.

Notice your AAAS posting does not disagree with anything I've said.


Again I disagree. You said.

2) To what extent is it caused by human activity? 2) Somewhat but not entirely clear.

The AAAS said, global climate change caused by human activities is occurring now, and it is a growing threat to society.

I am going to labour this point because I really dont like being accused of , not processing.

Your statement states that climate change is only somewhat caused by humans. And this, somewhat, isn't even clear.

The AAAS explicitly states that it is us.

These are very different statements with different meanings.

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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby Drowsy Turtle » Mon Dec 17, 2012 11:37 am UTC

BattleMoose wrote:
delooper wrote:Everyone's opinion has value.


I disagree, opinions by themselves are valueless, its the reasoning, logic and rational that is the basis of the opinion that lends value to the opinion.

Notice your AAAS posting does not disagree with anything I've said.


Again I disagree. You said.

2) To what extent is it caused by human activity? 2) Somewhat but not entirely clear.

The AAAS said, global climate change caused by human activities is occurring now, and it is a growing threat to society.

I am going to labour this point because I really dont like being accused of , not processing.

Your statement states that climate change is only somewhat caused by humans. And this, somewhat, isn't even clear.

The AAAS explicitly states that it is us.

These are very different statements with different meanings.


"Is it happening?" and "to what extent is it happening?" are not the same question. I'm with delooper on this one; it's clear that antropogenic CO2 (and various other things like agriculture, aerosols, and so on) have an effect on global climate. It is not clear the exact extent to which these things can/will alter the climate.

I study geophysics, and just spent a couple of weeks trying to pick out relevant trends in isotope, orbital and CO2 data. These things aren't simple, believe me.
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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby BattleMoose » Mon Dec 17, 2012 11:48 am UTC

It is us.
Its somewhat us, but we aren't clear on the details.

Are very different statements.

And I don't know why you think there are different questions here, there is one question that's being discussed, To what extent is it caused by human activity?

The disagreement is in the answers.

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Re: Is it possible to have a rational debate on global warmi

Postby Drowsy Turtle » Mon Dec 17, 2012 12:17 pm UTC

I see no discrepancy. Literally nobody is saying only anthropogenic factors affect climate. Therefore, the question "Do we affect the climate?" inevitably leads on to the question "How much do we affect the climate?". Answering only the first question adds no value to the conversation - what if we're affecting the climate, but the effect is so small so as to be insignificant, for instance? What if we're responsible for local changes in climate, but not for an overall temperature increase?

Surely you can see how the two questions are different?
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