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Scientists Explain Why Chairman of House Committee On Science Is Wrong

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the it's-getting-hot-in-here dept.

Earth 476

Lasrick writes "Michael Oppenheimer and Kevin Trenberth take apart Rep. Lamar Smith's (R-Tex.) Washington Post op/ed on climate science saying: 'Contrary to Smith's assertions, there is conclusive evidence that climate change worsened the damage caused by Superstorm Sandy. Sea levels in New York City harbors have risen by more than a foot since the beginning of the 20th century. Had the storm surge not been riding on higher seas, there would have been less flooding and less damage. Warmer air also allows storms such as Sandy to hold more moisture and dump more rainfall, exacerbating flooding.'"

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email leak (-1, Troll)

anthony_greer (2623521) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955317)

I was 100% on board with global warming until the email leaks of a couple years ago - it seems like someone is not shooting straight here...I am not a scientist but I can tell you I now have some doubts about the validity of the climate science.

Re:email leak (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43955363)

Yeah, the reports from Fox News and climate deniers about those emails was terrible. The emails, not so bad, but the reports on them from certain infotainment outlets was awful. Thank god I don't think for myself or I'd start to smell all the bullshit I was standing in.

If you actually READ those emails... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43955671)

... and you are not outraged by the deceptions and manipulations on the part of the advocates of AGW then you are either one of the authors, or you are a fanatic who accepts any act, no matter how bad, as long as your side does it; this makes you a dangerous, anti-intellectual sycophant.

Legitimate scientists do not need to rig the peer review process and rig the paper publishing systems.

By their actions these people outed themselves as charlatans and frauds who lacked sufficient confidence in the "science" they were pushing... they clearly did not believe the quality of their work could withstand the scrutiny that all other (actual) science regularly gets as part of the normal order

Re:If you actually READ those emails... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43955763)

Yeah I read them.

and I see you only read the edited versions, or are incapable of reading (seems unlikely given this forum.)

Ah yes rigging the system. That's awesome, of course its not true but it sure sounds great.

By your thought process there is no science merely differing religions. I'm okay with that are you?

why yes my post is a troll, did you really have to ask?

Grammar corrections always welcomed, spellin' suggestions will be ignored.

I did READ the emails (4, Interesting)

microbox (704317) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955939)

AGW then you are either one of the authors, or you are a fanatic who accepts any act,

You sir, are an ideologue. There is a third option. The person you are denouncing may actually have some scientific literacy. See this entertaining video [youtube.com] on skeptics and climategate.

Re:email leak (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43955365)

Six official investigations have cleared scientists of accusations of wrongdoing.

http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science_and_impacts/global_warming_contrarians/debunking-misinformation-stolen-emails-climategate.html

Re:email leak (-1, Troll)

anthony_greer (2623521) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955431)

Investigated by whom? people who stand to profit from climate change and / or the laws or restrictions that it brings about?

Re:email leak (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43955503)

So you obviously have made up your mind on the argument without looking at any evidence. You willfully accept propaganda and when someone offers you actual evidence you claim it is propaganda. You really should work for Fox News.

Re:email leak (-1, Troll)

craigminah (1885846) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955627)

I bet the only reason you're on /. is because you're a mindless liberal zombie and you realize (most) people on this site have a delicious brain. Begone liberal AC and take your "Fox new sucks because I was told to say that" attitude with you. Begone or I'll be forced to fetch my torch and pitchfork.

Re:email leak (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43955827)

Faux Knews is ridiculous. As one study proved that watched recordings of more than a month of their prime time shows, not a single thing they said in the show was true. Not one damn thing. They are proven liars. They even went to court and fought and won for the right to lie constantly. They admitted it under oath in court. They lie. They do nothing but lie. It's the same with you CONservatives.

Re:email leak (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43955921)

How ironic. It's your type that has always gone for the torches and pitchforks.

Re:email leak (3, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955509)

people who stand to profit from climate change

If you think that anyone would profit from even the average predicted scenario, you must be living comfortably on another planet. Droughts, floods, food shortages, heat waves, extreme weather patterns, economies destroyed? Where's "profit" in that, for any economy?

Re: email leak (2)

Metahominid (1368691) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955687)

I agree in the belief people aren't pushing false information for profit but you'd have to be foolish to not see that the climate and weather related damage has a market.

Contractors and firms bid for infrastructure before and after as well as clean up. This trickles to increase sales on most equipment they use. It wouldn't be hard to think of more instances.

Re: email leak (5, Insightful)

plague911 (1292006) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955951)

Yes people are pushing false information for profit. The "profit" motif comes from not changing the way things are. These institutions do not think that they will make more money client change comes to pass. They think they will make LESS profit if they are forced to change.

This is a classic tragedy of the commons situation. If everyone pollutes everyone looses. If only you pollute and no one else does.... you win. If you dont pollute and everyone else does... you really loose. If no one pollutes everyone kind wins.

I have no idea why tards on the right who get all huffy about free market economics would not recognize this economics 101 situation. Given a free market situation we will always turn to the WORST possible outcome. Since it is always better for the individual to pollute the Nash equilibrium is achieved when everyone chooses to pollute.

Now how to deal with this flaw in the free market solution is more up to debate. But in general this is the EXACT situation where governmental regulation is needed and will produce the most net surplus. The free marketer solution is that every single potential polluter gets together and negotiates who gets to pollute..... I like to call this solution a "government". But repubs get all pissy about that name for some reason. They think every individual entity should negotiate... They seem to forget there are a thing called transaction costs which make this completely crazy in the real world.

Re:email leak (1)

plague911 (1292006) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955835)

Actually there are a few companies who do stand to profit from it. Ie companies who own a large fresh water supplies.

Re:email leak (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43955545)

Investigated by whom? people who stand to profit from climate change and / or the laws or restrictions that it brings about?

Before you jump to looking for the hidden agenda, perhaps you should comment on why one should reject what they say, first.

Re:email leak (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43955647)

because the hidden agenda is true. you know how i know? it's a conspiracy and they are always true. eveything the media says is false and everything they hide is true. global warming shmucks have A LOT to gain from the conspiracy. on the other side, the deniers like wattsupwiththat have NOTHING to gain. and phd? Garbage. weatherman = messiah.

bottom line is this: i read it in a chain email. chain emails are always correct. Proof is that i spent a lot of time doing those in the 80s and i'm not dead yet. million others have died. I haven't. truth.

Re:email leak (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43955889)

Who profits from "climate change and / or the laws or restrictions that it brings about"? Scientists? Companies that make solar panels? Vegan bakeries?

Versus billions (with a b) of dollars in profits for oil companies.

Do you even read what you're writing?

Re:email leak (2)

rossdee (243626) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955965)

" Vegan bakeries?"

It can't be economica; to ship baked goods across 26 lightyears, and it wouldn't be very fresh by the time it got here.

Re:email leak (4, Insightful)

riverat1 (1048260) | about a year and a half ago | (#43956037)

If you're more worried about the money than the science you're doing it wrong. Do you really think that the vast majority of climate scientists from around the world are falsifying science for the sake of money when they're smart enough to know that their falsification will eventually be discovered utterly destroying their scientific reputations? I don't doubt there are a few scientists around who are that venal but not enough in the long run to overcome the vast majority who are honestly seeking to understand our physical world better. To think they're all in on falsifying climate science is to postulate conspiracy on an impossible level.

The science is nearly 200 years old now starting with Fourier who discovered the greenhouse effect in 1824 and it's just been building since then. In the past 20-30 years it's been subject to intense scrutiny yet no one has come up with that magic bullet that explains the current climate change better than the current explanations. If somebody does I'll pay attention.

I'm shocked, shocked, gambling in a casino! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43955973)

Let's see here...

  1. Penn State University.... Mr HockeyStick (aka Michael Mann) was a lauded PennState guy who'd attracted money, students, and good PR and they did not need any more faculty scandals going on while they were dealing with the whole coaches-and-little-boys thing... The libs running the place were not likely to throw that guy under the bus.
  2. the University of East Anglia..... But of course if they had decided that they and their people had done wrong, they'd have lost lots of prestige and funding. Nixon declared that Watergate was just a 3rd rate burglary and everybody should just ignore it and move-along too....

  3. A UK Parliament report .... ahhhh yes, a left-leaning government (that benefits from convincing the public that it needs more money and power over their lives) declared that the people caught red-handed lying to convince the public to surrender money and control to big government (to "save the planet") did nothing wrong! Amazing! And self-serving
  4. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.... yeah and the IRS cannot name any of its employees who have done wrong, and the ATF couldn't not when it investigated its people; there's nothing new in big government agencies being unable to find any wrongdoing in their own people. The IRS cannot currently figure out how much their party in Long Beach cost, nor can they figure-out who signed-off on the costs...

  5. The National Science Foundation.... but of course the NSF is protecting its own people here and an ideology they both believe in and NEED to believe in. There's lots of government money sloshing-around for the study of global warming, and nothing makes big government love you more than your utility as a justification for bigger government
  6. The Environmental Protection Agency..... The EPA? Seriously??? They benefit enormously from the idea of global warming... it justifies all sorts of new regulations (and therefore many more employees and lots of additional money and authority)
  7. Factcheck.org ..... Yeah, right, I'm so very stunned that a bunch of liberal journalists believe in man-made global warming no matter what's in those e-mails...
  8. Politifact.com..... seriously??? one of the most left-leaning newspapers in the nation???

In fact, the very site you linked to which hosted the list is the super-left-leaning UCS... those mental midgets spent the entire cold war trying to convince Westerners that the Cold War could not be won and we ought to just disarm (and essentially surrender). Some people, like the guys at UCS, are proof that if you spend too much time in the ivory tower of academia pursuing a PhD, you'll end up a gullible fool with no remaining common sense and a sheepskin that unambiguously proves you are very good at regurgitating the nonsense that an earlier generation of people who spent too much time in academia spoon-fed you

EVERY SOURCE you rely on for your argument IS AS LINKED TO WHAT THEY INVESTIGATED, and exonerated, AS NIXON was to Watergate but I bet you would not have accepted Nixon's word that there was no wrongdoing. For that matter, I'd bet you would not accept Dick Cheney's word that there was no need for concern over his dealings re Halliburton... Would it be OK if the captain and crew of the Exxon Valdez investigated themselves and produced a bunch of reports in which they exonerated each-other?

Re:email leak (3, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955397)

I am not a scientist

Thank you, you could have saved the rest of your comment.

Re:email leak (1, Troll)

anthony_greer (2623521) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955487)

This is part of the reason why people are against global warming - when people mention reasons why they don't believe it, or ask real questions about it seeking clearer understanding, all we get is attacked, demeaned and insulted.

One of the things I do remember from high school science class is that when you don't understand something in science, you should ask hose saying it to clarify or explain their position, that is all I am going - I thought that was the scientific process, but apparently in the case of global warming, this doesn't apply because its easier to just insult those who dont clearly understand or would like details.

Re: email leak (2)

uniquename72 (1169497) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955529)

Well, professing your ignorance and parroting a disproved talking point on slashdot is one option if you don't know something. Or you could just fucking google it.

Re: email leak (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43955717)

a disproved talking point

Quite the euphemism there. Do you know what for?

Re:email leak (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955551)

It's pretty obvious many/most of the people here on either side of this argument haven't bothered to educate themselves on the subject - so responding with insults is all they can do.

Re:email leak (1)

TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955911)

+14 ... the problem with the common man debating science issues is that neither side knows what they are talking about, and don't have the courage to admit it.

Re:email leak (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43955569)

It depends on how you ask. Here are two examples:

Q: All you arrogant scientists want us to believe this AGCC nonsense; yeah, well prove it to me!!

A: Go F*** yourself.

Translation: You're a troll. I'm busy doing my work. I don't have time for trolls.

Q; Wow, thousands of scientists have spent decades studying this, and they appear to agree for the most part. Gee, I'd really like to know more about this, can you help me understand?

A: Well, it's really complicated, and I only know part of the science behind it. I can explain what I'm doing, but if you want an overview, perhaps you should start with the IPCC report, and maybe track down the references on the Wikipedia article. After that, I'd be happy to answer questions to the best of my ability. Again, though, I'm a specialist, so I won't be able to answer all your questions

Translation: I understand the sincerity of your question, but this is like asking a biologist to teach you all of biology while you stand on one foot. Really, you need to dive in and get past larval stage before you're in a position to ask meaningful questions.

Note: this is hypothetical, I'm not a climate scientist, nor do I play one on TV.

Re:email leak (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43955629)

This is part of the reason why people are against global warming - when people mention reasons why they don't believe it, or ask real questions about it seeking clearer understanding, all we get is attacked, demeaned and insulted.

Frankly, I'd be snarky too, if someone intimated to me that, say, all of computer science back to Turing was all hoo hah because of a few conflicting emails.

One of the things I do remember from high school science class is that when you don't understand something in science, you should ask hose saying it to clarify or explain their position, that is all I am going - I thought that was the scientific process, but apparently in the case of global warming, this doesn't apply because its easier to just insult those who dont clearly understand or would like details.

Here, let me help. You said:

I was 100% on board with global warming until the email leaks of a couple years ago - it seems like someone is not shooting straight here...I am not a scientist but I can tell you I now have some doubts about the validity of the climate science.

So. What was your question?

Re:email leak (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43955649)

... One of the things I do remember from high school science class is that when you don't understand something in science, you should ask hose saying it to clarify or explain their position, that is all I am going - I thought that was the scientific process, ...

No, you are not asking a question.
You are saying that you have an opinion on things that you admit you don't understand, and that your opinion comes from the email leak. That's why everybody thinks that you are either stupid or a troll; when you will ask a real question I am sure that you will be treated like an adult.

Re:email leak (3, Insightful)

plague911 (1292006) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955689)

This is not science class. The people asking the questions are not looking for real answers. The average person is simply not even qualified to ask questions.

Do you ask questions about how nuclear reactors are working to power your home? No. The experts know. If you ask a question of them. If they are nice they could give you some dumbed down version. But you will never really understand without spending YEARS of your life.

There comes a point where you simply have to trust the experts. We are well beyond that..... VERY well beyond that. The people asking questions publicly are simply doing it for political reasons. They are disingenuous and the enemy of scientific understanding.

It is reasonable to ask questions. However if you go around questioning if F=MA is applicable to every day life, your not questioning your a fucking troll.

Re:email leak (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43955695)

you didn't do any of those things you stated. you didn't ask a question. all you said was that global warming is false because of the email leaks which didn't disprove anything. you bought the sensationalism that tried to build the story into more than it was to, uh oh, sell ads and make money! Climate scientists aren't the only ones profiting off this. Those perpetuating the email leak disproves global warming myth have lots to gain/lose. The media companies keep you watching the ads and James Inhofe gets votes. basing the validity of science on who has the most to gain is a nonstarter. advocates will make money. contrarians will make money. telling me you don't believe one side because they make money but then support another side that makes money is asinine.

Re:email leak (1)

Card (30431) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955777)

when people mention reasons why they don't believe it, or ask real questions about it seeking clearer understanding, all we get is attacked, demeaned and insulted.

But you didn't ask any questions. Your post said

I was 100% on board with global warming until the email leaks

How insightful. What kind of a response do you expect if you haven't even looked into the CRU hacking case?

Now, the two important things we did learn from the CRU emails are that 1) denialists bombard the scientists with information requests, which is a drain on their resources and 2) there wasn't anything weird going on at CRU.

So, can you tell us why these facts made you doubt the existence of AGW?

Re:email leak (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43955963)

It's just silly when some people call themselves "climate sceptics". Scepticism involves not taking something at face value and going out and finding the evidence. Scepticism is NOT finding the evidence and denying it, then claiming to still be a sceptic.

The science of climate change is well established. The only real quibble now between scientists is the degree of change.

Re:email leak (1, Troll)

plague911 (1292006) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955507)

Than I have reason to doubt your ability to perform critical thinking.

The "leaks" worst offense was that in some cases scientists' felt pressure to modify the way they presented their facts to the public.

Scientists, just like the rest of us are human. The client researchers' work is constantly under question, misinterpreted and derided by the simpletons on the right.

It is a natural in this situation for people to have to take a "war footing".

Portions of the public have refused accept that the overwhelming majority of facts point to one conclusion. They blow out of proportion that .1% which MAY support ulterior conclusions. As a reaction to that some elements of the informed population realize that some portion of the uniformed population are not capable of making logical and reasoned conclusions.

This results in the unfortunate situation where some of the informed must manipulate the incompetent to move society forward.

Disagree with your charactersiation (2, Insightful)

microbox (704317) | about a year and a half ago | (#43956013)

The "leaks" worst offense was that in some cases scientists' felt pressure to modify the way they presented their facts to the public.

I disagree with that. The worst offense was that some of the scientists privately expressed frustration at denialists trolls who play political games, and waste their time. I don't think the emails show that the scientists were modifying how they presented anything to the public. But they do show occasional defensiveness and frustration from scientists.

The smear campaign works by being completely unreasonable, and then demanding to be taken seriously. Whenever people get frustrated, you just claim that they are being unreasonable, and are ideologues. It is classic projection.

So the way I see it, a bunch of trolls pissed off some scientists, and privately expressed defensiveness over the issues. The scientists in question should not be defensive (though it is understandable), and /should/ provide everything and the kitchen sink to "skeptics" even if you know they are going to be intellectually dishonest with the information. Doesn't matter. Let politics be politics, and science be science.

Re:email leak (4, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955603)

Or if you bothered to read the emails or follow the findings of eight separate panels: The conversations were taken out of context and there was no evidence of any wrongdoing. The other thing is even if the email leaks were true, the issue was with a few scientists. So you are going to discount the work of possibly thousands of other scientists that had nothing to do with the email? That sounds legitimate. That's like saying a few doctors were found to be manipulating data on aspirin, therefore all data on aspirin is not valid.

Re:email leak (1)

Sir Holo (531007) | about a year and a half ago | (#43956031)

Precisely. Those emails were taken out of context.

As a scientist (unrelated to climate in any way), when I come across a manuscript for review that is completely devoid of use of the scientific method, then I get angry. They wasted the editor's time, and my time, with "work" that was not well-motivated, well-interpreted, etc. I then go out of my way to be as brutal as possible.

You see, I review manuscripts to make sure that they are up to basic standards, not whether they are "right." I would much rather be spending my time doing my own well-planned and interpreted research. But, when some crap article appears that it might be accepted to a respected journal, it is my duty to block it. On the other hand, I have reviewed and allowed several articles that actually disagreed with my predictions, but they were were good work, so they were allowed by me and published. My reputation is less valuable that the general endeavor of science.

It is also in my interest to keep charlatans out. If I and others don't, they will get a publication record that numerically (using impact factors) appears to be worthwhile. Then they will get tenure. Then they will teach their students to spam respectable journals until they find a reviewer too busy to actually review articles.

That is, in the long run, the "article spammers" will eventually come dominate the universities and publications, and science as an endeavor will suffer.

Physicians have the boards. Attorneys have the bar. But anyone who tells a reporter "I am a scientist" seems to get a pass, no matter how kooky and unsupported their ideas are.

Back to the climate-scientist emails, this is the type of thing they were discussing––keeping out frauds and fake scientists.

Re:email leak (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43955711)

So edited documents are all that is required to convince you of a conspiracy, got it. (just kidding)

I can understand how those emails changed your mind though, but a little research into basic biological systems and ecology should be enough to realize that a dynamic buffered system is not static. And while we currently may not know (I certainly don't) the parameters of all the different buffers, we can track the changes to the system as a whole with a reasonable degree of certainty. By establishing a few base "knowns" we can extrapolate effects, with uncertainty decreasing based on what is know and increasing as it is extrapolated into the future.
With our knowledge of CO2, its degradation cycle, and the differing isotope configuration of CO2 levels we (as a society) can infer how much of what we put in the air stays in said air. Over time we have noticed that the carbon isotopes associated with the burning fossil fuels have risen is relation to non-fossil fuel sources. This indicates an imbalance. CO2 absorbs light in the IR frequencies. If more energy is retained in a system what happens?
a) it heats up
b) it becomes more dynamic as perceived energy activation thresholds are lowered.

We are still in a buffered system. Though it seems to me that we have exceeded the threshold of some of the buffering sub-systems. As with most multi-buffered systems the "soft" buffers (those that produce the least effect) break or reach maximum saturation first and the more violent corrective buffers take longer to overwhelm. But hey you don't have to pay attention to the canaries in the coal mine, the problems occur when you have decided for everyone else in the mine that the canary's death is unrelated to the conditions in the mine.

Maybe you just don't like the fact that not all people working in a given field get along. If that's the case can I work at your company?

Grammar corrections always welcomed, spellin' suggestions will be ignored.

Nothing burger (1)

microbox (704317) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955915)

If you are genuinely skeptical because of the emails leaked from the university of east anglia, then I suggest looking at them again. /Read/ the emails. If you have any basic level of scientific literacy, you'll see through the climategate charade. If you need the cliff notes version, then this [youtube.com] and this [youtube.com] give pretty damning information on the "scandal" surrounding the leaks.

Then you can read one of numerous official reports on the leaks.

Even with the kindest interpretation of "skeptic" arguments surrounding the emails, I have found it hard to find anything of interest. It is a classic nothing burger.

Re:email leak (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43955933)

.I am not a scientist...

I stopped listening after that. And honestly, so should you. I bet you're one of the 99.9% of people who just listened to the blown up media reports on email-gate (*shudder*, I just vomited in my mouth a little from calling it that).

Since they've been leaked you're free to read them yourself. Do it. See what you find. I won't even pre-empt the result with my opinion.

Re:email leak (2)

reboot246 (623534) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955969)

The emails were bad enough, but the worst part was all of the comments in the source code for the programs used. Shit was just made up out of thin air.

Rich people deserve safe beachfront homes (0, Flamebait)

Kohath (38547) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955335)

We have to make poor people pay more for energy, deepening their everyday poverty, so rich people with beachfront houses don't have to worry about quite as much flooding from a storm once every 25 years.

Re:Rich people deserve safe beachfront homes (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955433)

If you really want to play the 'OMG Poor People!' card, it'd probably be worth considering the impact of even relatively modest shifts in climate or precipitation on the billion or two economically marginal subsistence dirt farmers and 'squalid urbanites who spend 50% or more of their household income on staple foods'...

The value of some highbrow beachfront property is highly visible; but total chickenshit compared to perturbations in the low-rent side of the agricultural sector.

Re:Rich people deserve safe beachfront homes (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43955539)

If you really want to play the 'OMG Poor People!' card

That card is playing itself [wikipedia.org] .

Fantastic... (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955355)

Man, I certainly can't think of any better candidates for the chairmanship of the House Comittee on Science, Space, and Technology than a lawyer without any technical or scientific background, a big fan of SOPA, expanding the DMCA's restrictive elements, and PCIP. Just as icing on the cake, the guy is a Christian Scientist, so he probably has a worse-than-average relationship with medical science.

Honestly, how do we end up with these jokers?

Re:Fantastic... (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955541)

You're right, Ralph Hall was so much better! ;)

Re:Fantastic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43955559)

You vote for them.

Re:Fantastic... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955617)

You vote for them.

Please don't insinuate that I'm a Texan voter, I have feelings too you know...

Re:Fantastic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43955633)

Regarding your last point: people have wondered that for a while now. [youtube.com]

Re:Fantastic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43955653)

Uhhh, that's just what you get when a representative is elected by Republicans in Texas. He's representative alright! At this point would you really expect anything different out of Jesusland? I think it says more about the electorate than anything else, although the fact that Republicans are in charge in the House does say a fair amount about gerrymandering as well.

As for whether or not he has a "worse-than-average" relationship with any kind of science is probably, unfortunately, only splitting hairs. The best you can hope for is that they don't manage to annihilate the world in pursuit of some bizarre neo-Biblical fantasy before demographics and old age sweep them in to the dustbin of history. Hold your breath because it'll be a rocky ride, and because of the pollution they favor. But it's only fair that they be in favor of pollution since the Liberal Nazi Communists Who Hate America, along with the entire secret Liberal Science Cabal Conspiracy, and the Liberal Media Conspiracy, are all generally opposed to pollution, and anything that liberals are against is therefore good and virtuous. Plus, with God about to annihilate the world next week-ish, what's the point in taking care of it? God wouldn't have given it to us if he didn't want us to rape it.

Or as someone else wrote recently, he's taking really the only intellectually honest approach: you see, if a starting premise is correct, then it's necessarily true that the evidence supports it. That follows directly from incontrovertible rules of basic logic, and that's why it's critically important to decide what's true before you go looking for evidence. Otherwise wrong evidence might lead you astray and stuff.

Yes, we're sort of fucked. Have a nice day!

Re:Fantastic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43955677)

Honestly, how do we end up with these jokers?

Gerrymandering [wikimedia.org]

Re:Fantastic... (1)

houghi (78078) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955813)

Honestly, how do we end up with these jokers?

You know the answer to that. The real question is when you are going to do something about it.

The think that is holding the people back is that it will not be a nice thing. Things will get worse before they get better.

I have no idea if this will go peacefully and a real peoples government will arise or if it will be like the French revolution with some blood or even bloodier.
I do not even know if it will tear up the USofA into smaller parts and no idea when it will happen.

But look it history and you KNOW that sometime it will happen.

Re:Fantastic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43955943)

Man, I certainly can't think of any better candidates for the chairmanship of the House Comittee on Science, Space, and Technology than a lawyer without any technical or scientific background, a big fan of SOPA, expanding the DMCA's restrictive elements, and PCIP. Just as icing on the cake, the guy is a Christian Scientist, so he probably has a worse-than-average relationship with medical science.

Honestly, how do we end up with these jokers?

You vote them into office because they look good on TV.

through electionss, the same way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43956057)

... we got a doofus lawyer " without any technical or scientific background" as President who had no experience running anything or employing people or being employed. A guy who cannot speak without a teleprompter, thinks there are at least 57 states, thinks he has the authority to drone-strike any person anywhere on Earth any time he likes (it's MUCH more fun, and civilized, too, turning a human body into a pile of offal than pouring water onto somebody's face, like the Evil Bush-Cheney monster, after-all...)

As for a worse relationship with medical science.... Obama claimed doctors chop off the feet of diabetics because they get paid more to do that than to give-out insulin. He also clearly does not understand why doctors take out tonsils, thinks you will lower the cost of a hip replacement by adding taxes to the artificial hip joint, did not know what Navy medics were, etc. Someday there will be a library of the stupid things this moron has said and it will be at least as big as the equivalent Bush facility... the only reason most people do not know all the crap that this guy has uttered is that you have to see it yourself on video... 90% of the journalists in the US admit to being democrats and they just refuse to be critical of him or to run the sort of over-the-top headlines on his errors the way they do for any Republican or Libertarian

Not very surprising (3, Interesting)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955379)

Lamar Smith is to climate change what Antonin Scalia is to gay marriange. Scientists say to Scalia/Lamar: "we have no doubts, we've established X beyond reasonable doubt". Scalia/Smith says to the public: "As everybody knows, there's great controversy among scientists as to whether X is true". Fuck them both.

Re:Not very surprising (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955411)

Dennis Miller, is that you?

Re:Not very surprising (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955453)

I have no idea who that is.

Re:Not very surprising (3, Informative)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955821)

I have no idea who that is.

Neither do most of - anymore. At one time Dennis Miller [wikipedia.org] was a very liberal comic who turned very conservative after 9/11. He started off on Saturday Night Live and ended up on Fox News. What a waste.

Re:Not very surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43956035)

Dennis Miller is a former comedian who anchored Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update in the late 80's to early 90's. His most notable appearance since then was as disc jockey Zander Kelly in David Spade's 2001 film "Joe Dirt." Since his retirement from comedy he spends his time acting in television commercials and supporting far right politicians such as Herman Cain. He also briefly flirted with a career in professional wrestling, making an appearance on WWE's "Slammy Awards" in 2009.

Re:Not very surprising (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43955497)

Scientists have spoken out about gay marriage from the scientific standpoint? And what exactly scientifically provable principle are they supporting in relation to gay marriage? I'm finding it difficult to understand why you're trying to align these two controversies with one another.

Re:Not very surprising (1)

TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955925)

Congrats on trying to quantum entangle spaghetti sauce and potato salad. It didn't work, but was entertaining to see the attempt ...

data sample question (0)

anthony_greer (2623521) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955401)

I have always had an honest question about the data on global warming that no one can seem to answer so I will try here...

It seems that the past 5 decades or so of accurate satellite and temp data is way to small of a sample. It would be like looking at my speedometer while on the freeway on ramp and extrapolating that 45 minutes down the road I will be going 25,000 MPH not accounting for the fact that I will stop accelerating and maybe even break in that time...How can we know with precision about Earths climate 300 years ago, much less 3,000 or 3,000,000 years ago

Re:data sample question (5, Insightful)

folderol (1965326) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955525)

We have centuries of data, and - most importantly - from different sources. Yes, the accuracy deteriorates the further back you go, but with things like dendrology you can improve the accuracy by making comparisons with samples from different regions, as well as comparing ancient patterns with recent ones. Also, ice cores from both the poles and from glaciers give very long timescale information.

Re: data sample question (1)

batdragon (16691) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955537)

If that's all the data anyone was using, it probably wouldn't be enough to be convincing. But there's a much longer history available. For starters, look at ice core drilling...

Re:data sample question (5, Insightful)

close_wait (697035) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955549)

We know due to lots of stuff, like tree rings and lake sediments. While they all have margins of error, they are all in broad agreement that the temperature rises in the last century have been exceptional. We also have CO2 data from ice cores that shows that for 0.5M years CO2 levels varied between about 180 and 280ppm, in step with the ice ages and Milankovitch cycles, while in the last 100 years it has risen suddenly to 400ppm.

Re:data sample question (0)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955563)

Good thing we have ice cores, ocean sediments and the like.

Ever actually considers reading something by a climatologist?

Re:data sample question (4, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955607)

I'm not an expert on the matter; but my understanding is that there are all sorts of tools for drawing inferences about historical climate. The resolution tends to get coarser, and the precision isn't as good as having a network of contemporary monitoring stations; but it isn't a total shot in the dark.

Ice cores [wikipedia.org] , if you can find suitably deep drill sites and observe good handling practices, can be very helpful. I don't think we have any that go back more than ~800,000 years; but that's certainly something.

For older stuff, plant and animal fossils can help you map out what climate zone a given area was subject to when the fossils were laid down. The geologic record should also provide some information on how active volcanic activity has been as a greenhouse gas source at various points in time.

For relatively recent; but pre-contemporary-monitoring, you can draw inferences from records of crop yields/successes/failures(a matter that has been of considerable interest, often complete with tax records from the relevant authority, for most of human civilization) and, once fossil fuel use kicks up, economic historians can provide decent estimates of burn volumes for much of modern human history.

Re:data sample question (3, Informative)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955621)

It seems that the past 5 decades or so of accurate satellite and temp data is way to small of a sample.

Actually, we have a few centuries of fairly accurate data on temperatures. Granted, not in high-resolution grids, but in many places, there are temperature records going back to the 18th century.

It would be like looking at my speedometer while on the freeway on ramp and extrapolating that 45 minutes down the road I will be going 25,000 MPH not accounting for the fact that I will stop accelerating and maybe even break in that time It would be like looking at my speedometer while on the freeway on ramp and extrapolating that 45 minutes down the road I will be going 25,000 MPH not accounting for the fact that I will stop accelerating and maybe even break in that time

You do realize that the XKCD comic on extrapolation was a joke and not an illustration of how scientists work, don't you?

How can we know with precision about Earths climate 300 years ago, much less 3,000 or 3,000,000 years ago

Perhaps not with the precision that we have for contemporary data, but there is a large number of proxy indicators. Visit your library and borrow a textbook on paleoclimatology. It's fascinating stuff.

Re:data sample question (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955623)

Others have mentioned tree rings, ice cores, sediment layers, etc, but this is one of the open questions of climatology....how accurate are our measurements of past climate states?

Which isn't to say we shouldn't do anything about CO2 in the atmosphere, but we definitely SHOULD try to improve our scientific historical knowledge.

Re:data sample question (0)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955719)

Others have mentioned tree rings, ice cores, sediment layers, etc, but this is one of the open questions of climatology....how accurate are our measurements of past climate states?

The problem is you are trying to relate two different types of measurements and equate them. A thermometer is not the same as ice core samples.

Which isn't to say we shouldn't do anything about CO2 in the atmosphere, but we definitely SHOULD try to improve our scientific historical knowledge.

You don't know exactly how ice core samples determine past temperatures but you're insinuating that scientific knowledge on the subject is incomplete on the matter.

Re:data sample question (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955865)

I have no clue what you are talking about. What did I say to cause you to think I am confusing a thermometer and an ice core sample?

I didn't insinuate that scientific knowledge on the subject is incomplete, I said it explicitly. You however, are insinuating that scientific knowledge on the matter is complete. If you intended to insinuate that, I'd love to hear your reasoning.

Re:data sample question (2, Insightful)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955941)

On one level, you are correct, we do not know how the CO2 level in the various ice core being sampled correlates to what the average temperature on of the planet was at that time. On the otherhand, we do know that the more CO2 and other greenhouse gases, the warmer the average temperature will be until it becomes a runaway system like Venus. We also know the approximate age of those ice core samples and we know from the fossil record elsewhere on the planet what the flora was and we can come pretty close to estimating what things were like.

Here is a simple car analogy for you. When you put your foot on the accelerator you expect it to go. When you put your foot on the brake, you expect it to stop. How do you know that will happen, since we do not have thousands of years of data to compare those actions with? The simple answer is you don't need thousands of years of data. You need reliable data points that are consistent enough that you can extrapolate the likelihood of something happening.

You don't know for certain that your car will go forward if you put your foot on the accelerator, but you expect it will, because the probability is high. Scientists don't know for certain what is going to happen with the climate if we continue as we have been, but they have very strong expectations because, based on the data, the probability is high.

Here's another way to think about it. How do we find sub-atomic particles? Somebody proposes how such and such particle should behave and then we go to the collider and look for something that behaves like it was predicted. If we find it, we confirm it. That's an example of the scientific method. Likewise, climate change makes certain predictions about the increased frequences of certain types of weather patterns and their severity. However, when these predictions are manifested in reality, certain powers that be deny it. So, why is this methodology acceptable in all other areas of science but not this one?

But, maybe the naysayers are right and it isn't climate change. I and many others would like to hear their hypothesis as to what is causing the changing weather patterns, melting polar caps and rising seas. If it is just a cyclical phenomenom as many opponents say, well, I am sure they have the data over the last 100,000 years to back that statement up. Otherwise, that is more wishful thinking than scientific methodology.

Re:data sample question (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955991)

On the otherhand, we do know that the more CO2 and other greenhouse gases, the warmer the average temperature will be until it becomes a runaway system like Venus.

FYI the chances of that happening are so remote the IPCC didn't even consider it a serious scenario. Each new ton of CO2 added to the atmosphere warms the atmosphere less than the previous ton, because of how the warming works.

If it is just a cyclical phenomenom as many opponents say, well, I am sure they have the data over the last 100,000 years to back that statement up. Otherwise, that is more wishful thinking than scientific methodology.

That is exactly my point, there is a lot of wishful thinking going on without data to back things up.

Re:data sample question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43955637)

It would be like looking at your speedometer for two minutes and seeing that you passed 40mph then 80 and are now currently doing 120mph.

To which you'd reply "That's no proof I'm not speeding!". I.e. a nonsequitur.

Re:data sample question (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955667)

Wow you don't know anything about climate change but you've made up your mind it is not valid? If you knew the slightest bit, the answer is easy: Ice core samples and sediment samples.

Re:data sample question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43955707)

The best answer to your question is here : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temperature_record

Re:data sample question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43955859)

I have always had an honest question about the data on global warming that no one can seem to answer so I will try here...

It seems that the past 5 decades or so of accurate satellite and temp data is way to small of a sample. It would be like looking at my speedometer while on the freeway on ramp and extrapolating that 45 minutes down the road I will be going 25,000 MPH not accounting for the fact that I will stop accelerating and maybe even break in that time...How can we know with precision about Earths climate 300 years ago, much less 3,000 or 3,000,000 years ago

The way I've always understood te argument is that it's not the fact that we'll go 25000 mph in 45 minutes, but that the rate of change is much steeper - to extend the analogy, the car is getting to highway speeds on the on ramp in 3 seconds, instead of 15. The rate of change is what's disconcerting.

As to the accuracy of climate models for 300, 3,000, or 3 million years ago, I couldn't personally tell you the specifics, but in general, I find the scenario where the entirety of the climate science community (thousands) ignores or fails to account for the lack of precision in the methods of inference for ancient, to be implausible. Too many people would have to a) incompetent, and/or b) morally bankrupt, to go along with it. At the least, there'd be a name to be made, effectively debunking such errors.

Note that I'm not saying that the consensus necessarily makes it right. Only that if it were wrong for reasons like you stated, it wouldn't take much for a paper by an ambitious grad student to make their name and establish that. I won't even entertain the possibility that such a hypothetical grad student would fail to get published, either by reasons of conspiracy, or merely inertia of opinion. Given how politically charged such a paper would be, one word to the local news station and the paper would be 'science by news conference', and the journals would almost have to review it in response.

Ah, you might say, but there are people raising objections. Well, here's my problem with them - they a) all seem to have a vested interest in the status quo, when you do a modicum of digging, and b) never seem to agree what the specifics of the objection are. It's either a) it's not happening, or b) it's happening, but we're not responsible, or c) it's happening and we're responsible, but it's not going to be bad for us, or d) it's happening, we're responsible, but there's nothing we can do about it, or e) it's happening, we're responsible, but the economic consequences of fixing it would be worse than the disease...It all smacks of a smear campaign that's looking for something that sticks (and I personally think e) may do so, as the BRICs ascend), rather than a concentrated objection by a vocal minority.

So, there's my attempt at an honest answer to your honest question.

Re:data sample question (2)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year and a half ago | (#43956075)

Geology. It is all recorded in the rocks. Earth Story (1998) is probably the best and most complete explanation of general geography you will get in documentary form.

So we now call speculation "conclusive evidence"? (5, Insightful)

tp1024 (2409684) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955427)

I'll quote Feynman on this one, because I couldn't say it any better:

"I would like to add something that's not essential to the science, but something I kind of believe, which is that you should not fool the laymen when you're talking as a scientist. . . . I'm talking about a specific, extra type of integrity that is not lying, but bending over backwards to show how you're maybe wrong, [an integrity] that you ought to have when acting as a scientist. And this is our responsibility as scientists, certainly to other scientists, and I think to laymen."

Re:So we now call speculation "conclusive evidence (-1)

huckamania (533052) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955557)

Nice quote and so apropos to the climate 'debate'. I do think that the scientific process will win out in the end (how can it lose?). I just don't think that the current bunch of 'climate' scientists are backing the right horse, that being C02 as the primary driver of global temperatures.

97% consensus, har har.

Re:So we now call speculation "conclusive evidence (1)

tp1024 (2409684) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955597)

Unfortunately, nothing of what you said stops people from rating my comment -1 troll ... as expected.

Re:So we now call speculation "conclusive evidence (4, Insightful)

tp1024 (2409684) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955735)

Also, I don't even have a problem with saying that CO2 is the primary driver of increased temperatures - but I do have a problem with

a) anything that goes beyond CO2 (that is 1.3K for a doubling) that is pure speculation, consists of poorly researched feedback mechanisms, with the poor state of research in cloud formation being among the worst offenders and most important negative feedbacks that are currently being ignored due to the poor state of knowledge and

b) I do have a problem with the constant one-sided discussion of the effects of increased temperatures. They are always held in the tone of horoscopes and greek oracles to avoid any clear statements that could be easily contradicted. "Extreme weather events" being the worst offender. That's says nothing and is obviously taylored to feed a constant media frenzy. This is combined with a complete lack of reporting on past "extreme weather events". Thus even decidetly average events like hurricanes Katrina or Sandy (in their historical and geographical context!) become "unprecedented monster storms", which is just laughable for anyone who bothered to look into the history of hurricanes on the US south and east coast.

Re:So we now call speculation "conclusive evidence (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43956047)

Also, I don't even have a problem with saying that CO2 is the primary driver of increased temperatures - but I do have a problem with

I would hope not - that it's a greenhouse gas has been well established for about 100 years.

a) anything that goes beyond CO2 (that is 1.3K for a doubling) that is pure speculation,

On what basis is it purely speculation?

consists of poorly researched feedback mechanisms, with the poor state of research in cloud formation being among the worst offenders and most important negative feedbacks that are currently being ignored due to the poor state of knowledge and

What feedbacks, and ignored by whom?

b) I do have a problem with the constant one-sided discussion of the effects of increased temperatures. They are always held in the tone of horoscopes and greek oracles to avoid any clear statements that could be easily contradicted. "Extreme weather events" being the worst offender. That's says nothing and is obviously taylored to feed a constant media frenzy. This is combined with a complete lack of reporting on past "extreme weather events". Thus even decidetly average events like hurricanes Katrina or Sandy (in their historical and geographical context!) become "unprecedented monster storms", which is just laughable for anyone who bothered to look into the history of hurricanes on the US south and east coast.

"precedented monster storms" don't sell papers/eyeballs. Keep in mind who characterizes them in this fashion. Protip: it's not the scientists. Sometimes, one needs to pick up a better news media. Personally, I just go to the weather service web page. As to past weather events, keep in mind that forecasting then used to be axioms such as "red sky at night, sailor's delight...".

Re:So we now call speculation "conclusive evidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43955905)

I do think that the scientific process will win out in the end (how can it lose?).

when theres no one to practice it cause homo sapiens went extinct cause the planets on fire. ... it could happen!

Re:So we now call speculation "conclusive evidence (0)

Kohath (38547) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955751)

if you don't want to get slurred as a denier you do.

Re:So we now call speculation "conclusive evidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43955801)

only if you are a climate change denier. you guys don't know how things work so the only answer you can come up with is that it must not work that way. here's what you guys sound like. i can't get an answer i like to question x therefore x is false. i can see why this mindset is so alluring though. i can't get a good answer to prove god exits therefore he doesn't. man, this works great! you guys are onto something.

Re:So we now call speculation "conclusive evidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43955997)

I'll quote Feynman on this one, because I couldn't say it any better:

"I would like to add something that's not essential to the science, but something I kind of believe, which is that you should not fool the laymen when you're talking as a scientist. . . . I'm talking about a specific, extra type of integrity that is not lying, but bending over backwards to show how you're maybe wrong, [an integrity] that you ought to have when acting as a scientist. And this is our responsibility as scientists, certainly to other scientists, and I think to laymen."

Feynman was absolutely right. The context, of course, is the individual scientist, who should not by lie of omission misrepresent the way that his work may be wrong. To either the public, colleagues, or himself "...you are the easiest to fool."

Now, are you saying that its fair to extrapolate this to the entirety of climatology, and the related disciplines that touch it?

If a politician keeps his mouth shut ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43955439)

... is he still wrong?

Lamar Smith (R-Tex) (4, Funny)

Spy Handler (822350) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955561)

Am I the only person who initially read this as "Lamar Smith (T-Rex)" ?

Re:Lamar Smith (R-Tex) (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about a year and a half ago | (#43956009)

He's not far from it if I remember right. Wasn't Lamar Smith the guy who took SOPA/PIPA legislation from MPAA/RIAA and proposed it to Congress?

-1 User gave me reality check (0)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955575)

One foot in one century. Take a timestamp of the quality of life today.

Then reverse time and put in place the necessary quash on industry to stop the warming causing most of the rise.

Now fast forward time and assume, for the sake of argument, it worked. Technology will be somewhat behind where it used to be, with attendant more deaths and lower quality of life.

Net result: More death. Lower quality of life. Fewer inventions.

This effect, which is obvious in places like China or India, in the West 200-100 years ago during the Industrial Revolution, still plays a major role in the advancement of the human condition.

The point is don't assume you will be doing anyone a favor by heaving still another $trillion or twenty of regulation and control on top of the economy.

Re:-1 User gave me reality check (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43955849)

Or we could, you know, develop cleaner technologies so that we improve the quality of life without having to set fire to hydrocarbons in order to obtain our energy. Just saying...

Politic not equal to Science (1)

AlabamaCajun (2710177) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955863)

The problem with people like Lamar Smith is that they are still putting distortion ahead of science. We've listened to 12 years of distortion and a lot of overstated facts. By now most agree that we are in a warming trend and more now believe it's man-made. What we really need is for a science team dedicated to putting all the facts up for broadcast and distribution with no spin. XL pipelines to bring in more oil no direct impact on climate science. We will burn and eat that oil regardless what it gets pipped in. Burning forests on the other hand are directly related with carbon contribution. So are the effects of hurricanes and rising property insurance. Insurance already have actuarial tables based on real science data. Building codes have been revised in almost all coastal regions and places of high risk of catastrophic damage. Now we just need to get that data honestly to people that can make a difference and not fights on capitol hill.

bs argument (0, Flamebait)

superwiz (655733) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955867)

Not even gonna check who the scientists in question are. This is going to be another disappointment. "Warmer air also allows storms such as Sandy to hold more moisture and dump more rainfall" is such a misleading argument that no one with even a modicum of understanding of science would make it. Warmer air in local vicinity of a specific hurricane can cause the stated effect. Warmer average temperature on the globe would not necessarily cause warmer temperature in the locality of Sandy. This argument is sooooo misleading. They are local vs global effect (temperature increase at particular locality vs average temperature on the planet) and they are mixing hypothetical vs observed effect (warmer air in SOME locality vs warmer air in the locality of the specific hurricane Sandy). Experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weren't talking about impossibility of any hurricane getting worse because of warmer air. They said Sandy. And so did Lamar Smith. Oh vey. Sometimes I just wish I understood less science. Joining pop science pitch forking seems to have become a litmus test for being "nice." Somehow "nice" doesn't include "sane" anymore.

Why on earth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43955881)

do they let any Republican into any house committee with science in its name? These are the people who have yet to catch up with high school biology.

Science or Not (2, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955887)

Both sides can make their claims. But unless someone can do a proper experiment with a control planet, and make that experiment repeatable while you're at it, its all speculation. Not proper science.

And Smith forgot to make an important point about the Keystone Pipeline. Stopping it doesn't mean that carbon stays in the ground. It means the Chinese will burn it. And they will do so with less rigorous emissions standards. But then I can't prove that either. Its all speculation.

Re:Science or Not (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43956053)

So according to you forensics, geology, archaeology, and paleontology aren't proper science.

the scientists are right, but... (3, Insightful)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955899)

Contrary to Smith’s assertions, there is conclusive evidence that climate change worsened the damage caused by Superstorm Sandy.

Well, you aren't giving it.

Sea levels in New York City harbors have risen by more than a foot since the beginning of the 20th century.

True, but incomplete. Sea levels have been rising steadily since long before industrialization:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Post-Glacial_Sea_Level.png [wikipedia.org]

Therefore, although warming can cause sea level rise and sea levels have risen, there is no conclusive evidence that anthropogenic emissions have contributed significantly to sea level rise.

Had the storm surge not been riding on higher seas, there would have been less flooding and less damage.

True, but that could mean anything from totally insignificant to significant increase in damage; nobody knows how much increase there is. Since the sea level rise isn't attributable to human emissions, however, that point is academic.

The actual problem is that people build in flood plains and too close to the ocean, because Congress bails them out with taxpayer money. That problem is much easier to take care of than carbon emissions.

Warmer air also allows storms such as Sandy to hold more moisture and dump more rainfall, exacerbating flooding.

True, but nobody knows whether that is a significant effect (likely not) either or how much of it is due to human emissions.

So, the scientists actually haven't said much factually wrong, but their statements are misleading and full of weasel words, and their policy recommendations are unfounded and ineffective.

Lamar Smith is right: "wait and see" is the right approach for the US. To that I'd add: eliminate federal flood insurance and disaster aid. If millionaires want to live on the beach, they should self-insure and not have the tax payer assume their risks.

The devil did it (2)

Streetlight (1102081) | about a year and a half ago | (#43955987)

I'm guessing Smith believes if we all pray more/harder all these storms will go away. It's either the devil's fault or god is mad at us.
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