Arnold Kling  

Global Warming

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The Competitive Enterprise Institute used a recent Time Magazine cover story as a stimulus to give the non-alarmist view on global warming. Obviously, CEI has a particular viewpoint, but there are a lot of facts presented, so it seems to be a useful reference. Here is a snippet:

However, Time ignores another paper in Science by Ola Johannessen of the Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center in Bergen, Norway, who found that ice is accumulating on Greenland’s interior glaciers. The two studies combined argue against alarm. As University of Virginia climatologist Patrick Michaels explains, if Rignot and Kanargatnam had subtracted Johannessen’s reported gains from their reported losses, “the total volume of ice loss from Greenland would only have become positive during the last 5 years, totaling 17km3 in 2000 and 92km3 in 2005. This translates to a sea level rise contribution of 0.04mm in 2000 and 0.23mm in 2005—values much less dramatic than those they published.” Indeed, at the 2005 rate, Greenland ice melt will contribute less than one inch to sea level rise during the 21st century.

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COMMENTS (12 to date)
Tex writes:

Evidently there as been loss of ice on Mars as well:

Somehow I don't think this is a result of human industrial activity.

Barkley Rosser writes:

To Commenter 1:

And your point is what? We have had ice ages that came and then melted with no humans around. So what?

Regarding the main point, it is well known that even when there is global warming, parts of the world can be cooling off. Indeed, that was the premise of the scare movie about global warming, forget its name, in which a giant ice sheet covers New York.

Regarding Greenland, it is my understanding that while ice is piling up in central Greenland (and in parts of central Antarctica also), more is falling off the edges into the ocean.

Barbar writes:

Alarmist views are panicky and hysterical and irrational. I know instinctively that such views cannot be right.

Tex writes:

We have had ice ages that came and then melted with no humans around

Good point.

John Brothers writes:

The point is that it is hard to justify strong anti-market interventions into a process that is not caused by human action. Extraordinarily anti-market interventions require extraordinary proof. So far, IMO, extraordinary proof has not been forthcoming.

Tex: That particular line has been answered here (on realclimate, a blog run by top climate scientists). A perhaps more readable answer is found on A few things ill-considered. It's author, Coby Beck, has managed to put together an impressive list of answers to common global warming denialist arguments. Perhaps you should check that list when you come across a new argument that global warming isn't happening or isn't manmade? You know, to get out of the echo chamber.

And that goes for you, too, Kling. You can and should check every argument people who call themselves "non-alarmists" make. (At least if you believe in the value of peer review, as I have attempted to argue before). In this case, the reason you see a citation from Patrick Michaels instead of Johannesen himself, is that Johannesen is no denialist, and probably quite aware that his observations are in line with previous predictions by the climate models. They do expect thawing at the edges and gains in the interior.

And why was it Pat Michaels who did the explaining? Here's a look on some of his other statements: realclimate, Deltoid at Scienceblogs, more at the old Deltoid.

That last link is especially precious. Michaels and McKitrick authored a paper Michael himself described as a "bombshell" against global warming, and "subjected to four years of the most rigorous peer-review ever". Only they mixed up degrees and radians...

I realise you agree with the CEI on lots of things, Kling, and I've no problem with that, but you must remember that they're one of the "think tanks" that took money from Philip Morris, 200000$ to be exact. When you're talking with a professional PR agency, you can't just assume that "it's a useful reference" because "there are a lot of facts presented".

tdl writes:

Mr. Korneliussen,

What does a small donation from Philip Morris have to do with anything? Furthermore, if it is appropriate to point how much money "denialists" recieve from industry, is it not also appropriate to note how much funding "non-denialists" recieve from governments? You implicitly argue that since the "denialist" scientist is arguing for industry if they are recieving funding from industry. Why can it not also be true that "non-denialist" scientists who recieve funding from government are arguing for increased government power?

I was under the impression that point of debate in science was to find the truth and not to cast aspersions on those who do not agree with you.

David writes:

"What does a small donation from Philip Morris have to do with anything"

Everything if you are a marxian.

Philip Morris is to a marxian what "The Jooz" are to a nazi.

Tex writes:

That particular line has been answered here (on realclimate, a blog run by top climate scientists).

Which contends that the melting on Mars is a function of normal variation sans human industrial activity.

Barkley Rosser writes:

Actually Michaels is no longer a full bore denialist. His current view is that global temp is rising in a straight line, largely due to human sources. The straight line is a balance between the exponential increase of CO2 accumulations in the atmosphere and the logarithmic relationship between that and global temperature. His straight line projection does put him as forecasting lower rates of temperature increase than most observers, and in that regard he might still be regarded as being in the "denialist" camp. But he has definitely softened his line on this whole matter.

In reverse order:

Rosser, he may have, but his credibility is still zero, in my opinion.

Tex, you only see what you want to see, don't you? Read it again. The insinuation that solar input is responsible is answered. Also, they comment that the denialist took decades to conclude that the earth was warming, despite enormous evidence. Then when it suited their political goals, only a few very noisy measurements were enough to conclude that Mars was warming.

Also, if you think 200000$ is a small donation, could you give me a small donation, please?

Polluting industry has a large vested interest in denying that climate change is happening, that we are causing it, or that it matters. Governments have no comparable interest in asserting it. Nor do scientists - Funding is a moot point: If someone had good evidence against any of the three, you can bet they would find funding! Even environmentalists don't, unless you believe the conspiracy theories that they are all secretly nazis...

Eli Rabett has posted an interesting mail from another conservative think tank, the Alexis de Toqueville institution, which gives some insight into how the more disreputable think-tanks work. That may serve as an illustration why I don't give the CEI the benefit of much doubt.

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