carbon dioxide – is it all hot air?


More commentary from my favorite climate contrarian! I’ll put
Schn00dles’ remarks in italics and my comments following. He’s referring to this post.

Hi Dan. Let me say before starting, that being a contrarian (or a brake) is not as fun as it might be supposed. The information and the graphs are all made available in handy publicity forms for the people who sign on to the current public band wagon. Disagreeing responsibly takes some diligence. Thank goodness this discussion is taking place in internet times. Otherwise, building a rebuttal of current hysteria would be a real tough task. So, to begin.
Surely CO2 can serve to trap heat in the atmosphere, but as Dan’s study shows, so do many other molecules and particles. And surely the sun is the biggest provider of heat. One study does not the earth shake. And I doubt if you had the climate science to disprove this study, you would win a Nobel. Generally, negative studies are not selected for publication, or grants. Moreover, few scientists want to dedicate their lives following around other scientists in order to disprove their findings. Plus, billions of dollars have been spent to find a positive relationship between C02 levels and global warming. With several billion dollars in research grants I could probably find the bones of Adam and Eve.

In other words, you’ve got nothing to contradict the research finding that CO2 is the main driver generating global warming. If you think the entire world’s climate science community was unable or unwilling to fairly examine the CO2 evidence in peer review and study replication, and that they’ve been unwilling to do so for decades, and they’ve managed to hide that fact even though it’s all published in plain sight, then you truly fit the quote about conspiracy theorists. By the way, there is much more than one study on CO2. If you want more references, there are plenty here on the IPCC pages.

As for the second point, I believe Dan is cleaning up the historical record in hindsight. Check out this fun snippet from 1972:

This supports exactly what I said: there were reports in the popular press but little in science press and journals. To refute what I said, you need to show that a significant fraction of the climate science community was predicting global cooling. (Spoiler alert: it wasn’t.)

For the third point, you have to ask, “Gee, why does it stop at 650,000 years ago?” Well, the final graph is quite instructive. If you look at C02 levels, proceeding back in time, they began to rise enormously about a million years ago – all accomplished without the benefit of modern industrial techniques.

That’s right. No one is claiming that the only possible source of CO2 in the entire history of the world is modern industry.

Now look at what the climate was like during these periods.
(My graphs aren’t showing. But what it indicates is that we have been in an ice age for the past 3 million years approximately.)

Shocking but true. High CO2 and ice coexisted in the deep past. How could this happen? One example: if volcanic activity clouded the entire atmosphere of the planet, you could get high levels of CO2 along with high albedo — increased reflection of sunlight from the earth — and that lack of sun causes cold. (One of the wilder plans to stop warming is to pump tons of reflective material high into the atmosphere.) But the situation today is different than three million years ago. Today the preponderance of evidence shows increasing COto be the major driver of warming.

Finally, I’m very glad that Dan brought up the current legislation surrounding second hand smoke. The science of second hand smoke hazard has been very well debunked:
But still we are stuck with the hysterical legislation which ensued.
Well, not many people like to breath second hand smoke anyway.

Really? A 1998 editorial by the Cato Institute? Well that sure trumps the current findings of the World Health Organization, the National Institute of Health, the CDC, the U.S. Surgeon General, the National Cancer Institute, the EPA, the American Heart Association, American Lung Association, America Medical Association, etc. etc. etc.

But when you make C02 a “pollutant” as defined by a federal agency… how would you feel about not being allowed to breath unless 50 feet from the entrance of any public building? Or, more realistically, about some bureaucrat determining your level of energy usage – entirely on the basis of their bureaucratic whim? E.g. No outdoor bbq? Drive less than 10 miles per day? Closure of important industries, and on and on…?
Global warming cynics are not your enemy here, friends.

I’m not going to argue policy with you. I might agree with you on some of that stuff. My only points here are that global warming is happening and that COis the major driver. If you deny these things because of policy concerns, it’s a kind of “tail wagging the dog” scenario.


10 thoughts on “carbon dioxide – is it all hot air?

  1. Well, perhaps some perspective would be of use here. This is a quote from the current issue of the National Review: “Over the past half century , as a result of human activity unconstrained by effective anti-carbon policies, the following effects have occurred:’
    One: Average global temperatures have increased by 0.2 percent (from 287K to 288K)
    Two: The average global rate of plant growth has increased by 15 percent.
    Three: Global GDP per capita has increased by 400 percent.
    Are these developments good or bad?”

  2. One more note. Dan treats these studies on Second Hand Smoke as being independently arrived at conclusions by august scientific bodies. In reality they are bandwagon political declarations which the evidence has never supported.
    It began with an EPA which was determined to prove its case: “Still, the EPA was determined to prove that ETS was a serious carcinogen that justified stringent regulation. To do that, it simply set aside 19 of the original constellation of 30 ETS studies and then, defying all scientific standards, simply changed the “confidence levels” in the statistical analysis from 95 percent to 90 percent. When the highly manipulated smaller sample finally “confessed” that passive smoking was a health risk, the EPA proudly announced it had “proven” its preconceived conclusions.

    And the sordid tale gets worse. The EPA chose to omit entirely from its analysis two recent U.S. ETS studies that had determined that passive smoking was NOT a statistically significant health risk. ”

    Like I’ve said, who wants to breath smoke? But this idea of not questioning climate change based on the opinions of august government and government financed institutions is naive and contrary to their history of misinterpreting and mis-stating the science depending upon the political winds.

    • dangblog

      The CDC is well known for jumping on the bandwagon without checking the evidence (re: second-hand smoke)? You truly believe this? Also, if you think the data provided by the world’s climate scientists are wrong, please show us the peer-reviewed research that proves your point. Otherwise you’re just blowing carbon dioxide and cigarette smoke infused air.

      • Whoops. I replied on the wrong thread. Sorry. Here you go: Here is a quote from the CDC: “There is no risk-free level of secondhand smoke exposure; even brief exposure can be harmful to health.1,2,6” It’s ridiculous to believe this has been experimentally proved. This is outright pandering of hysteria.

      • dangblog

        You definitely have a good point here, because I doubt that there’s an absolutely risk-free exposure to *anything at all*. All the CDC needed to do was point to existing hard data and leave it at that. For example, the evidence that the cardiovascular damage of secondhand smoke is as nearly as bad as the damage in smokers. The negative effect of parental smoking on children’s health, even 25 years later. The increased risk of fatal and non-fatal cardiac events. And this one. There is much, much more, but something tells that you’ll say you know more than they do.

  3. Here is a quote from the CDC: “There is no risk-free level of secondhand smoke exposure; even brief exposure can be harmful to health.1,2,6” It’s ridiculous to believe this has been experimentally proved. This is outright pandering of hysteria.

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