Climate debate - is it about science, or values?


Brings back fond memories of usenet "discussions" from ~20 yrs ago...


Your own town of Minneapolis where I also grew up shows that recent warming is but a terribly boring continuation of the exact same natural warming trend:

Data motivates me and restoring the reputation of science by calling out fraud. Your article is a smokescreen that conceals that real data debunks the massive water vapor amplification of the classic greenhouse effect that all climate alarm is based upon.

-=NikFromNYC=-, Ph.D. in carbon chemistry (Columbia University)


That's us told.


I am amazed in my own conversations at the disconnect so many of us have with science in general.

Almost everyone I know accepts climate change as a serious issue requiring action - and root their opinion in the widely accepted best available science on the matter. There is wide disagreement on what to do about it, but that is a second issue.

About 1/3 of the same people suspect vaccines are dangerous, despite (vast) empirical evidence that, while not perfect, vaccines are the best option in almost all cases and especially at the population health level.

About 2/3 of the same people are deeply suspicious of genetic engineering, and GM foods specifically - mostly based on their own instinctual reactions, combined with a suspicion of scientists as profit oriented. Some of that may be true, but very little of the popular discussion in that realm is actually based in science.

I admit to some of the same suspicions myself - I always wonder who to trust when there are large profits involved for somebody.


"Almost everyone I know accepts climate change as a serious issue requiring action...."

Get to know some serious NASA scientists then, unlike the mere computer modeler with a math degree quoted in Maggie's social science essay:


Wow, another single-locale graph with a straight line fit. Weren't you happy enough to have this particularly dishonesty exposed to death here and here? If you must bring it up again, couldn't we at least move the discussion forward by skipping to your answers to criticism:

  1. That trying to disentangle the effect of multiple factors on temperature or sea level is pseudoscience akin to drug warriors stealing homes;
  2. That everyone who works in climate science is obviously corrupt if not evil, as proved by a former vice-president being wealthy, and one notable scientist having visited Arabia;
  3. That your critics here are blinded by metrosexual bravado, if not actually evil as well, like Cowicide who is plotting to phaser you;
  4. Or that at the very least, the people who post here must all be too ignorant to discuss this, as evident by Maggie having a mere anthropology degree, obviously less qualified than a chemist who coded PGP.

On the last thread, Falcor said that it is important both sides be allowed to prevent their viewpoints in an adult manner. I'm afraid I need help to understand if this is what that's supposed to look like.

Loving science, with skepticism
How the TPP will gut environmental protection

but Maggie, c'mon. Admitting that you have genuine fears and concerns is for pansies. Telling people to shut up and sit the F down a'cuz they're stupid is how heroes do it.


Do not feed.


Posting that again? Two can play at this game...

Classic climate change denier drivel. Typical denier cherry-picking that means nothing.

You're using the key technique that denialists use in debates, dubbed by Eugenie Scott the “Gish gallop” (named after a master of the style, anti-evolutionist Duane Gish).

The Gish gallop raises a barrage of obscure and marginal facts and fabrications that appear at first glance to cast doubt on the entire edifice under attack, but which upon closer examination do no such thing.

Can you imagine how much more massive my pretty photo collage would be if I showed everyone in NASA who isn't a climate change denier?


Geothermal only works in certain places, and wind and tidal (not even mentioning potential damage to local ecosystems by putting tidal generators all over the coastline) have the same problem as solar, that being that they aren't constant. Solar is much more scalable than the other renewables, but we're not at a point yet where we could realistically use it for all of our base load. Big R&D efforts for thorium for the middle term and fusion for the long term could pay off, but we can make breeder reactors now, and if we start a massive shift now, it'll take ~15-20 years to really kick in, by which time we'll be even further in the hole with our total carbon emissions. I think the point is, even if it's not perfect, something we can do now is worth doing now, to buy some time to maybe do something better later. Of course, it's a moot point, since it seems pretty obvious that we're not going to do anything now, or even make the right R&D investments now.


The Gish Gallop! I'd been aware of the technique for years -- see my post way uptopic -- but didn't know it had a name.

I'd love to see that photo collage. It would be worth putting together.


Geothermal only works in certain places

I never posited that it works everywhere and that wasn't my point anyway.

and wind and tidal (not even mentioning potential damage to local ecosystems by putting tidal generators all over the coastline)

An environmental study should always be done before implementing tidal energy in an area. But, are you implying that the cons outweigh the overall benefits?

Tidal Energy Benefits:

• Tidal Energy is a renewable energy source which means that it does not depend on fossil fuel, does not pollute the environment with CO2 emissions and it is renewed continuously.

• As a renewable energy source, Tidal energy is green since it does not pollute the environment.

• Tidal power plants are more efficient than many fossil operated plants. For example a tidal plant converts into useful energy, electricity, about 80% of the kinetic energy while a coal plant achieves only 30% efficiency.

• Tidal Power plants have a high construction cost but they have low operating expenses, OPEX, and labor costs since they can virtually operate unattended.

• Tidal power plants have a long expected life span, about 75-100 years

we can make breeder reactors now, and if we start a massive shift now

It's a moot point. Nuclear is too expensive and that's why it's on the way out.


I think the key is figuring out what will work best for a given locale. Tidal is useless in the Sahara, and solar isn't much good in absurdly rainy places like Prince Rupert. But reversed there is huge potential.

What won't work is massive megaprojects like dams and nuclear reactors. The future lies in basically combining everything that works into an effective grid, and backing some of it up with traditional generation (as little as possible and only for peaks etc).

Solar is somewhat predictable, wind can be useful, and the tides can be predicted years (decades?) in advance, to the minute. And there are hundreds of technologies in development that will help all of them deal with their issues. None of them leave highly toxic waste that takes millenia to degrade.


How about something along the lines of Project Steve? There are currently 1281 scientists called Steve who support the following statement:

Evolution is a vital, well-supported, unifying principle of the biological sciences, and the scientific evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the idea that all living things share a common ancestry. Although there are legitimate debates about the patterns and processes of evolution, there is no serious scientific doubt that evolution occurred or that natural selection is a major mechanism in its occurrence. It is scientifically inappropriate and pedagogically irresponsible for creationist pseudoscience, including but not limited to "intelligent design," to be introduced into the science curricula of our nation's public schools.


Please don't feed.



So, tidal looks great. How much of the ~20 TW we use now, not to mention the increased usage as third world countries industrialize, can we get from that? (Serious question, please answer with a number and a citation) According to this:
we can see that the costs of various methods of energy production vary dramatically with local conditions and regulatory frameworks. Hydro is generally the cheapest, but it has its own environmental impacts, and there are a limited number of sites to build on. Nuclear generally looks pretty comparable with other mainstream methods of production, and using breeder reactors probably wouldn't make it cheaper, but it would increase the supply of fuel enormously and decrease the waste. I'm not sure where you got that bit about nuclear being expensive. (Unless you're talking about the externalities, but those apply to a lot of things, particularly, as we are discussing, hydrocarbons.)
Nuclear, geothermal, and hydro are the only non-hydrocarbon methods that are suitable for base load, and, of the three, nuclear is the only one we can scale as much as we need to. (Tidal is also not a constant power source, though it is more predictable than wind or solar, so you could probably find a way to store some of the energy and jury rig it into base load. I don't know how much it could scale, so it would be nice if you could find some numbers for that, but 20TW is a lot.)

Edit: I just found this website, extolling the virtues of tidal power:

From the website:While estimates of global potential may vary, it is widely agreed that tidal stream energy capacity could exceed 120GW globally.
Eg. Generally accepted estimates place the capacity of tidal energy at ~0.6% of current global energy use. Solar actually does scale, (If you consider covering ~1/4 of Arizona in solar panels to supply the US with its 5TW of power scaling) but storing the energy to use it as base load is an enormous engineering challenge.


So, tidal looks great. How much of the ~20 TW we use now, not to mention the increased usage as third world countries industrialize, can we get from that? (Serious question, please answer with a number and a citation)

Tidal will work everywhere and will solve all the world's problems just as I said. Ask a dumb question, get a dumb answer.

You have an annoying habit of taking things out of context. ONCE AGAIN... as I already said:

I never posited that it works everywhere and that wasn't my point anyway. arrow_backward please read

Nuclear generally looks pretty

Once again, nuclear is a moot point. I don't know why you keep bringing it up. It's too expensive and as I already said, even France is moving away from nuclear and moving towards cheaper wind.


Just edited, but too late. I actually found some numbers for tidal, and they don't support what you just said.


You just said "

The numbers I found (Which I note that you didn't bother to look up before you wrote your reply) suggest that tidal energy can provide ~0.6% of our current global energy use, eg it doesn't scale.

The article you just cited ( says: "All were trumped by a portfolio that relies heavily on America’s sudden abundance of natural gas, which has flooded the market since the boom in hydraulic fracturing of shale gas. " That is to say, the reason that Exelon's nuclear guy says that nuclear isn't viable is because fracking (which famously has its own ecological impacts) has made natural gas cheap. Since we are talking about alternatives to hydrocarbons, cheap gas from fracking really doesn't enter the picture.