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I'm a 29-year-old Environmental Scientist with a BA in astrophysics from UC Berkeley and an MS in physics from UC Davis. I've done a lot of research on global warming and am very passionate about the issue. I've also researched alternative fueled vehicles very extensively. I own a Prius and commute to work via bicycle or electric scooter. And I just leased solar panels on my house from Sungevity. I'm by far the top answerer in the Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Global Warming sections. Feel free to email me with questions on those subjects. I also help run a climate change discussion forum. Stop by and check it out, and feel free to ask questions there! Honestly it's a much better place to get accurate information on climate change than Yahoo Answers.

  • Is there a problem with Al Gore saying BS is BS?

    Al Gore:

    "The model they’re using in that [tobacco] effort was transported whole cloth into the climate debate. And some of the exact same people — I can go down a list of their names — are involved in this. And so what do they do? They pay pseudo-scientists to pretend to be scientists to put out the message: “This climate thing, it’s nonsense. Man-made CO2 doesn’t trap heat. It may be volcanoes.” Bullshit! “It may be sun spots.” Bullshit! “It’s not getting warmer.” Bullshit!

    There are about ten other memes out there. When you go and talk to any audience about climate, you hear them washing back at you the same crap over and over and over again. They have polluted this — There’s no longer a shared reality on an issue like climate even though the very existence of our civilization is threatened. People have no idea! And yet our ability to actually come to a shared reality that emphasizes that this matters — It’s no longer acceptable in mixed company, meaning bipartisan company, to use the goddamn word “climate.” They have polluted it to the point where we cannot possibly come to an agreement on it."

    Now frankly, everything Gore said in that quote was spot-on. Climate deniers use the same tactics as tobacco deniers, and even use many of the same "experts". Deniers constantly spout the same tired old long-debunked myths, and have created an alternate reality echo chamber where they pretend these myths haven't been debunked. And they've managed to create a political climate where people are afraid to utter the word "climate" for fear of attack by that denialist echo chamber machine.

    This is all BS, as Gore correctly points out. But maybe because he's Gore, maybe because he used a naughty word, or maybe because it was bluntly true, the deniers have been crying about what a meanie Al Gore is.

    I fail to see the issue here. Is there a problem with Al Gore saying BS is BS?

    20 AnswersGlobal Warming9 years ago
  • What do you think of Roy Spencer's foray into economics, and comments about his job?

    On his blog, Roy Spencer (climate scientist and global warming "skeptic") says that he has just published a book on free market economics. Among his comments in that post:

    "since government is so inefficient and wasteful, more poor people would be helped if charity was coordinated by the private sector. Americans are extremely charitable, even after the heavy tax burden we have."

    "The government simply uses its power to decide that ever-increasing amounts of personal wealth be diverted through them — with a cut off the top — to support causes which the private sector could do more efficiently."

    "I would wager that my job has helped save our economy from the economic ravages of out-of-control environmental extremism.

    I view my job a little like a legislator, supported by the taxpayer, to protect the interests of the taxpayer and to minimize the role of government."

    I find this last quote rather stunning - I thought a scientist's job was to do sound, unbiased scientific research. Spencer thinks his job is to minimize the role of government? What do you think about these statements?

    11 AnswersGlobal Warming9 years ago
  • What do we do about conspiratorialist global warming deniers?

    There's been some research lately finding that people tend to form opinions on subjects based on their ideology, and then adjust their interpretation of the facts to fit their ideology. A great example is the "birther" movement, where something like half of Republicans had doubts that President Obama was born in America despite the plethora of evidence that he was.

    Obama recently released his long form birth certificate, which the conspiratorial birthers claimed was what would convince him. A new poll found that 10% of Republicans thought it was a forgery and another 18% still have doubts on the subject.

    Basically they don't want to accept the reality that Obama is president, so they create this conspiracy theory whereby he's a fraud who they just have to unmask to make their preferred reality come true. If you present them with evidence they're wrong, they just wrap it into the conspiracy theory (the certificate is a forgery, the Hawaiian secretary of state and the media are in on the conspiracy, etc.).

    Of course we see the exact same behavior from global warming deniers. There's nothing new about this psychology, but the difference now is that they can get on the internet and surround themselves with like-minded deniers in the blogosphere and right-wing echo chamber, whereas in the past, conspiracy theorists were constantly confronted with reality. Now they have their own denial bubbles.

    I don't know what we do about this. It's been suggested that we need to convince these folks that conspiratorial thinking is irrational, but that's like convincing a Catholic that there is no god. But since facts and reality have no impact on this psychology, a different tact is necessary. Any thoughts?

    18 AnswersGlobal Warming10 years ago
  • Why should we believe global warming "skeptics" given their history of being wrong?

    AGW "skeptics" love to criticize James Hansen because his global temperature projections in 1988 weren't perfect. They were off by about 17%, but it turns out, if you reconstruct a temperature projection based on "skeptic" Richard Lindzen's comments in 1989, he was way, way, way, way further off than Hansen.

    Then of course there's the fact that "skeptics" Spencer and Christy screwed up the satellite temperature data analysis and claimed for the better part of a decade that the planet was barely warming, until another set of scientists discovered their errors.

    Given that AGW "skepticism" is heavily dependent upon the arguments of these three "skeptic" scientists, and given their history of being wrong (and the fact that their arguments today aren't much different than their previously erroneous arguments), why should we believe them and put future generations at risk in the likely scenario that they are still wrong?

    15 AnswersGlobal Warming10 years ago
  • What do you think of the oversimplified myth 'CO2 is plant food'?

    Our boy Dawei got his first Skeptical Science post published, really tearing apart the myth that more CO2 is necessarily better for plant growth.

    What do you think of the myth after reading the post?

    15 AnswersGlobal Warming10 years ago
  • Why didn't Republicans vote for the Rockefeller Clean Air Act Amendment?

    Yesterday the Senate voted on four amendments to prevent or delay the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. Thankfully, all four failed.

    Every Republican except Collins, and four Dems voted for the McConnell Amendment, which denied man-made global warming and would have permanently prohibited the EPA from regulating GHG emissions. Realistically this amendment never had a chance because it needed 12 Democrats to prevent filibuster.

    The Dems offered 3 amendments to delay or limit EPA GHG regulations, the most popular being the Rockefeller Amendment (delaying regulations for 2 years). This amendment got 9 Dem and 3 Republican votes.

    Honestly this puzzles me. The Republicans must have known beforehand that McConnell would fail, so why wouldn't they at least vote for Rockefeller's amendment to delay EPA GHG regulations as the next-best thing (they could vote for as many amendments as they wanted)?

    Don't get me wrong, I'm thrillled that these amendments failed, but it just seems so strange the Republicans didn't vote for the delay. Anybody have any idea why?

    11 AnswersGlobal Warming10 years ago
  • Why do political conservatives support socialist nuclear power?

    It's always puzzled me that people who decry socialism also tend to support nuclear power. Nuclear power loans and insurance come straight from taxpayers. It's basically socialized power, and the countries relying most on nuclear power (France, China, etc.) do so by effecitively socializing the power industry. Time has a good story on nuclear power in the US today:

    "Since 2008, proposed reactors have been quietly scrapped or suspended in at least nine states — not by safety concerns or hippie sit-ins but by financial realities. Other projects have been delayed as cost estimates have tripled toward $10 billion a reactor, and ratings agencies have downgraded utilities with atomic ambitions."

    "Around the world, governments (led by China, with Russia a distant second) are financing 65 new reactors through more explicit nuclear socialism. But private capital still considers atomic energy radioactive, gravitating instead toward natural gas and renewables, whose costs are dropping fast. Nuclear power is expanding only in places where taxpayers and ratepayers can be compelled to foot the bill.",8816,2059453,0...

    Electrical utilities can't afford to build $10 billion nuclear power plants without huge loans, which nobody but the government will give them. Insurance companies won't insure nuclear construction projects or plants, so if anything goes wrong during construction or operation, taxpayers foot the bill. There's simply no way to expand nuclear power without effectively socializing it.

    So why do conservatives support nuclear socialism?

    8 AnswersGlobal Warming10 years ago
  • Will the BEST project kill the global warming denier myths about surface temperatures?

    The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Study is a new, thorough analysis of the surface temperature record, taking into account all criticisms leveled by "skeptics". Two big names involved are Richard Muller, who has unfortunately spread a lot of disinformation about "hide the decline" recently, and Judith Curry, a darling of the "skeptic" movement. A number of prominent "skeptics" have praised the project, like Fred Singer and Anthony Watts.

    The group has started working on a draft paper based on their preliminary analysis. Muller described their findings as follows:

    “We are seeing substantial global warming...None of the effects raised by the [skeptics] is going to have anything more than a marginal effect on the amount of global warming.”

    Ken Caldeira, who has seen the draft paper, said:

    "Their preliminary results sit right within the results of NOAA, NASA, and HadCRU, confirming that prior analyses were correct in every way that matters. Their results confirm the reality of global warming and support in all essential respects the historical temperature analyses of the NOAA, NASA, and HadCRU."

    Since the project is run by and has received praise from "skeptics" and "lukewarmers", or whatever you want to call them, and has once again confirmed the results of the other scientific groups like NASA GISS, do you think this will finally kill all the denier myths about the surface temperature record?

    24 AnswersGlobal Warming10 years ago
  • Can "skeptics", unlike Republican Congressmen, at least admit that the planet is warming?

    Congressional Democrats have tried to add a few science-related amendments to the Republican bill attempting to revoke the EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. One amendment from Waxman merely states that global warming is happening:

    "Congress accepts the scientific finding of the Environmental Protection Agency that 'warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level"

    Every single Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee (31) voted against this, and every other science-related amendment. They can't even acknowledge that the planet is warming.

    Do global warming "skeptics" agree with this position? How do you feel about Congressional Republicans refusing to admit that the planet is warming?

    14 AnswersGlobal Warming10 years ago
  • What do you think about John Christy after his congressional testimony?

    Although he's a "skeptic", John Christy had been a pretty low-key one. He rarely signs on to "skeptic" letters or petitions, he doesn't write media articles (unlike Lindzen), he doesn't have a blog (unlike Spencer), etc. He had seemed to me like a pretty honest guy - wrong, but honest.

    But on Tuesday he appeared before a US Congressional committee to give testimony about climate science and whether it supports Republicans' efforts to revoke the EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Christy's testimony was a litany of long-debunked "skeptic" myths. He even went as far as to claim that the tropical troposphere 'hot spot' is a signature of the greenhouse effect, when any climate scientist should know it's a result of *any* warming of the Earth's surface. More details here:

    What do you think about John Christy after this congressional testimony?

    13 AnswersGlobal Warming10 years ago
  • Does anyone - other than Republican politicians - favor continued Big Oil tax breaks?

    Today once again, House Democrats proposed a vote to end subsidies to big oil companies like Exxon and Shell. House Republicans voted it down in lock step.

    "Rep. Bill Keating (D-Mass.), who sponsored the oil tax proposal, wondered why taxpayers should be asked "to fork over" billions of dollars in subsidies to some of the most profitable companies on the planet — particularly as funding for law enforcement, medical research and education is on the chopping block."

    This puzzles me. Republicans claim we need to cut the deficit. They're willing to slash funding to schools, scientific research, medical research, etc. Yet they're not willing to touch tax breaks on the rich or on big oil companies.

    We constantly hear that technologies need to compete in the free market without subsidies. Yet Republicans are apparently unwilling to eliminate subsidies to Big Oil.

    Does anybody support the Republican decision to continue pumping billions of dollars of subsidies toward the massively profitable oil giants?

    13 AnswersGlobal Warming10 years ago
  • Was Jaws as much of a hoax as global warming?

    The evidence is pretty damning. Both Jaws and global warming seem to follow the same fraudulent strategies. Scientists making up evidence to get funding. Politicians coming up with perfectly valid alternative theories that scientists wrongfully dismiss. Ridiculous alarmism. What do you think?

    2 AnswersGlobal Warming10 years ago
  • How honest to you think Richard Lindzen is?

    One of climate scientist and 'skeptic' Richard Lindzen's favorite arguments is that "we should already have seen much more warming than we have seen thus far" if the AGW theory and IPCC climate sensitivity range are correct.

    The way Lindzen makes this claim is to say that we're over 80% of the way to the radiative forcing from doubling atmospheric CO2 (by adding the effects of CO2 and other human greenhouse gas emissions), so the planet should have warmed about 2°C by now if the IPCC is correct, rather than the 0.8°C we've observed.

    Problem is that this claim ignores both the thermal inertia of the oceans and all negative radiative forcings, particularly aerosols. Lindzen attempts to justify neglecting these factors by saying thermal inertia is too small to make up the difference, and aerosols have both cooling and warming (via black carbon) effects. He says the uncertainty is too large, so he just treats the net aerosol + black carbon forcing as zero.

    It's true that there is a large uncertainty for aerosol + black carbon effects. The problem is that neglecting them as Lindzen does is treating them as if they have zero forcing with zero uncertainty. I went through the calculation, carrying through all uncertainties including those for aerosols, black carbon, and thermal inertia. I found that we "should have seen" 0 to 2°C warming with a most likely value of 1°C, which is quite close to the 0.8°C we've observed thus far.

    It strikes me as very intellectually dishonest that Lindzen mentions these factors, but then completely ignores them in his calculation. As a result, he arrives at an incorrect conclusion. Then he writes a bunch of media articles which are published on "skeptic" websites like WattsUpWithThat, whose audience doesn't question Lindzen's faulty calculations or conclusions.

    What do you think about this sort of behavior? Is it dishonest? Justifiable? Is it an honest mistake?

    7 AnswersGlobal Warming10 years ago
  • Will this Monckton Myths resource reduce his effectiveness at misinforming the public?

    Credit where credit is due - Christopher Monckton is a good speaker and very good at sounding convincing. Despite having no scientific background whatsoever, and despite constantly making major errors whenever he tries to make a scientific argument or mathematical calculation, Monckton has become the most frequently-cited AGW "skeptic". He has successfully misinformed countless people.

    The BBC is running a show tonight in which they follow Monckton around his tour of the USA and Australia, giving various climate-related talks. Basically they gave him a chance to make his case. Monckton went to court to try and delay the program's airing - not a good sign for him.

    To coincide with the BBC program, Skeptical Science has put together a one stop resource for debunking Monckton misinformation. It lists many of his online articles, provides the rebuttals for every argument he made in each article, lists the number of times he made each argument, and provides external links to other sites which have debunked Monckton's Myths. It also lists the posts on Skeptical Science which debunk Monckton misinformation.

    A lot of effort went into building this resource. What do you think - will it reduce Monckton's effectiveness at misinforming the public?

    9 AnswersGlobal Warming10 years ago
  • Who are the real global warming skeptics?

    I recently had an article discussing an Argentinian environmental group and Richard Lindzen article making the same errors picked up by The Guardian. Since this is a popular mainstream media site, it provided a good sample size of reactions in the comments from both the AGW camp and skeptic camps - over 3 days, 310 total comments.

    The comments confirmed the premise of the articles. Those in the AGW camp were able to examine the claims by both parties with an equally critical eye. None defended the environmental group's errors or refusal to correct them. On the other hand, almost every AGW "skeptic" tried to defend Lindzen. Man attempted to blame the IPCC for the environmental group's errors, even though the IPCC had nothing to do with them. Many others engaged in ad hominem attacks against me, John Cook and Skeptical Science.

    The commenters seem to have confirmed the premise of the original article - that those in the AGW camp are the true skeptics. What do you think - who are the real global warming skeptics?

    8 AnswersGlobal Warming10 years ago
  • What do you think of The Guardian's environment section and climate reporting?

    My 'Case Study' article was picked up by The Guardian Environmental Network.

    Not being British, I don't know a lot about The Guardian. From what I've seen, they seem to have the best environmental reporting in the UK (though with the likes of the Daily Mail and Telegraph to compete with, that's not saying a heckuva lot!). But generally their environment and climate reporting seems quite good. And apparently The Guardian has the second largest online readership of any English-language newspaper in the world, behind the NY Times. So that's pretty impressive.

    Are you familiar with The Guardian's environment/climate section/reporting, and if so, what do you think of it?

    9 AnswersGlobal Warming10 years ago
  • Do you think James Delingpole is representative of your average global warming contrarian?

    In a recent BBC show, Sir Paul Nurse (the new president of the Royal Society and Nobel prize-winner) sat down and talked with James Delingpole (journalist and rabid global warming contrarian). Discussing the scientific consensus on global warming, Nurse drew an analogy to cancer. If you have cancer, there will be a consensus among doctors as to how you should treat it. You may do your own research and come to a different conclusion, but wouldn't you follow the doctors' advice anyway? Delingpole was left tongue-tied and eventually just said that climate contrarianism was somehow different and he resented the comparison.

    Later on when asked about what research he does, Delingpole said he doesn't have time to read peer-reviewed papers, so he just interprets other people's interpretations of climate science research. Sounds kind of like most contrarians, who get their climate science information from sources like WattsUpWithThat.

    You can see a 2 minute clip with Nurse talking with Delingpole here:

    Suffice it to say Delingpole didn't come off looking very good. Do you think James Delingpole is representative of your average global warming contrarian?

    10 AnswersGlobal Warming10 years ago
  • Why are so-called global warming "skeptics" not skeptical of other "skeptics"?

    Apparently the deniers have been missing my questions;_ylt=AuFQV...

    So I guess I should ask one. Recently there was a report published by an Argentinian environmental group called FEU. The report was mostly on climate impacts on food production, but they also had a "key finding" that the planet will warm about 1.5°C between now and 2020. This is quite obviously wrong, and was based on two errors - ignoring thermal inertia of the oceans, and anthropogenic cooling effects like aerosols.

    Richard Lindzen periodically publishes articles in the media making the same errors, only he uses them to (incorrectly) conclude that we haven't seen as much warming as we should have by now, therefore global warming is nothing to worry about.

    The FEU mistake was dumb, but it was unintentional. Climate scientists, bloggers, and journalists jumped all over it, attempting to correct the errors before the paper was published, and then correcting them in the media after it was published. Lindzen on the other hand has been writing articles making these same errors for over 3 years. Other climate scientists have pointed out his errors, but Lindzen continues to make them, most recently publishing a media article containing the mistakes on January 15th (republished by WUWT on the 17th).

    WUWT criticized the FEU study for making the errors, and criticized Scientific American for originally running an article with the FEU errors. Scientific American ran a new article correcting the errors just a few hours later. Meanwhile WUWT ran the Lindzen article containing the same errors, and has not corrected them to date.

    Clearly the climate scientists and bloggers and journalists in this case behaved appropriately. They saw an error, and even though it was made by "their side", they corrected it. Meanwhile the "skeptics" continue to propagate the exact same errors made by a fellow "skeptic".

    This makes me wonder, why are so-called global warming "skeptics" not skeptical of other "skeptics"?

    13 AnswersGlobal Warming10 years ago
  • Should the government stop regulating natural human sewage output?

    A frequent argument put forth by global warming contrarians is that the government/EPA shouldn't be able to regulate CO2 because it's a natural byproduct of human breathing. The Texas Attorney General recently made this argument:

    "It is almost the height of insanity of bureaucracy to have the EPA regulating something that is emitted by all living things."

    Joseph Romm points out that based on this logic, the government shouldn't address sewage either. Paul Krugman points out that before London built a sewage system in the 1850s, 'The Economist' basically made this same argument - sh*t happens.

    What do you think - should we follow the advice of the Texas AG, go back to the 1850s, and let people start crapping in the street?

    14 AnswersGlobal Warming10 years ago
  • If we continue with business as usual as 'skeptics' want, how much will the planet warm?

    A fairly popular global warming contrarian argument (particularly with a certain CO2 Expeller) is that the planet won't warm very much over the next century, so we don't have to take serious steps to reduce carbon emissions.

    The IPCC modeled various scenarios in AR4, including A2 (moderate economic growth and some adoption of alternative and renewable energy sources) and B1 (a major move away from fossil fuels). I think it's fair to say that A2 is what most 'skeptics' propose (take small steps to slowly move away from fossil fuels), while B1 is more what proponents propose (take major steps to quickly move away from fossil fuels). Currently our CO2 emissions are actually on pace with scenario A1F1 - high economic growth and continued reliance on fossil fuels.

    Scenario B1 results in atmospheric CO2 around 600 ppm in 2100, and a warming of about 1.8°C between 2000 and 2100. Scenario A2 is 850 ppm CO2 and 3.4°C warming over the next century.

    In other words, in order to keep the rate of warming over the 21st century as low as it is now, we need to take major steps to move away from fossil fuels, as AGW proponents propose.

    If we continue with business as usual as 'skeptics' want, how much do you think the planet warm?

    17 AnswersGlobal Warming10 years ago