Talk:Global warming/Archive 2

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Ed-

you added:

Opponents maintain that it's the other way around, claiming that the overwhelming majority of scientists either dismiss global warming altogether or merely consider it "unproven"

Can you cite a source for this claim? Furthermore, it doesn't just matter if they say so, there should be actual arguments/numbers in the source in question. --Eloquence 19:44 Jan 24, 2003 (UTC)

Feel free to delete or edit anything which I, in my haste, have overstated or have forgotten the source for. The last thing I want is an edit war over my favorite scientific issue ^_^ --Ed
The login problems seem to be getting worse.. Come on, Ed, you know how NPOV and research works, you can't just rewrite stuff and expect other people to do your homework. Re: the Tim Wirth thing, what's the context for the quote? When did he say that? Exact reference? Did he refer to a specific theory? I note that an expanded version reads "the theory of global warming" and not just "the theory, but all the websites that cite it seem to cite just that sentence. Given the ambiguity in this case, why give it so much prominence? --Eloquence 20:01 Jan 24, 2003 (UTC)

I deleted this paragraph because it seems off-topic:

The belief that global warming is caused chiefly by emissions of carbon dioxide and other other "greenhouse gases" is promoted by environmentalist organizations and supported by most Western journalists. Some politicians, such as Tim Wirth, have admitted ulterior motives for using the global warming issue.

The second paragraph rightly points out that this is a contentious issue; the opening section provides links to two different articles that cover the debate and criticisms of global warming models. The above paragraph if anything belongs in one of those articles.

Although I did not delete it, I do nonetheless object to the second paragraph on the controversy -- it provides no faxtual information on the number of scientists who take one side or another. I followed the two links and discovered that neither article backs up this claim either. I suggest we replace the article with a mention that there is debate over the models, and wait until someone does some real research. Data I would find meaningful, for example, would be a survey of relevant scholarly (meaning peer-reviewed) journal articles on climatology, physical geography, whatever. It is possible that national associations of geographers or climatologists or meteorologists have surveyed their own membership. But if the data is not out there, why try fudging it. This is an encyclopedia, after all.... Slrubenstein

Thank you for deleting that paragraph. The second one should go to - at least until we get the numbers you call for. Among biologists, environmental and atmospheric scientists, there is very little doubt that CO2 affects climate. Ice core data from the past 200,000 years prove a correlation between CO2 concentration and whether or not the earth in a glacial or interglacial epoch. Furthermore, from laboratory work we know that CO2 is able to store radiant energy (sic it is a greenhouse gas). Most scientists are able to connect the dots. --mav 20:36 Jan 24, 2003 (UTC)
I don't think polling figures is a reasonable way to present approval or disapproval. Science is not decided by majority vote; the correct way to present the article is to outline the scientific arguments made, who makes them, and what issues there are disagreements over. If we lack the knowledge to spell out these disagreements, then we ought to wait for someone who can. Otherwise we're doing the issue a disservice. Graft

Graft, you are making a categorical error, mistaking one sort of question for another. If one wanted to know whether global warming is occuring or not, you would be right that it is not a matter to be resolved by polling. But we are not discussing that specific question here, we are discussing a different question, what proportion of scientists support or oppose particular theories of global warming, on the other hand, the only way to find the answer is a poll. The article makes this claim (you may argue that the claim is not appropriate for this article, which is exactly what I argued if you read what I wrote above; I propose that it be moved to another article on the "controversy" or "debate"). But this is an important question for anyone interested in politics, and polling is the best way to get at an answer. Slrubenstein

Blech. You're right, on re-reading what you wrote, mea culpa. But, I stand by my original statement. I don't see why we would want to present polling data at all. Beneath all this debate there is some actual science going on, and it very rarely gets touched upon. I think we should say, fuck the polling data, or at least relegate it to the bottom of the midden heap that is global warming and deal with the science first. As it is, the science only gets touched on very casually, very late in the text. Graft
I think I'm just agreeing with you again. Maybe I just like arguing. Graft

Well, for what it is worth, it is more interesting arguig with you than with many others here. Look, I agree with you as far as this article goes: an article on global warning should acknowledge a political controversy, provide a link, and then stick entirely to the science. I think there should, however, be a linked article on the political controversy. And since many political opponents claim that scientists are divided, it would be very useful to have statistics on the position of scientists. It would not be enough to quote a scientist saying "all scientists agree" because that is not objective data (even if it may be accurate). A poll conducted by a professional organization of its membership, or a survey of the past five years' worth of articles in peer-reviewed publications, or of abstracts of papers presented at annual national professional association meetings, would be acceptable. I too am arguing, but not against you -- I am arguing against Ed Poor who has inserted quantitative and quantifiable claims in this article. I think you and I agree that such calims are not appropriate to this article. I am further arguing that even in an article on the political controversy, these claims must be supported by objective evidence. Slrubenstein

The whole global warming thing is a hoax, and "warmers" have used statistical manipulation (i.e., lied) to bolster their arguments. There's been hardly any warming to speak of, and it's been completely benign. It's not caused by carbon dioxide: there's no correlation at all there! It's driven 99% by solar activity.
I don't know what agenda the "warmers" really have, but I wish Wikipedia contributors would stick to reporting facts and evidence and statements -- and stop ignoring/deleting whatever contradicts their pet theories. --Uncle Ed 16:50 Jan 30, 2003 (UTC)
Ed, I deleted a paragraph so perhaps you are indirectly addressing me. I did not delete it because it contradicted some pet theory of mine. I deleted it for substantive reasons which I explained in this talk page. Slrubenstein
You are the one with the pet conspiracy theory here Ed. See my last post about the correlation between CO2 and temperature. That part has been proven. That does not mean, however, that CO2 been proven to cause the current global warming - all it proves is that CO2 concentrations are high when the planet is warm (as in an interglacial) and low when it is cold (as it is in an 'ice age'). But due to the fact that the thermal properties of CO2 unequivocally indicate that it stores heat, most scientists are able to connect the dots. There is very little controversy, therefore, that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and that it helps to regulate the earth's climate. Venus has a 90% CO2 atmosphere and 900 degree F surface temps BTW. --mav
Okay, I don't think Ed usually deserves to be responded to, but this is precisely the kind of thing I am talking about. I have a friend who does this for a living (climate modeling) in the Earth, Atmosphere and Planetary Sciences division at MIT. She assures me that global warming is, in fact happening, and though there is controversy over why, everyone in the field can agree that it is happening. My point is that we should NOT stick to repeating silly propaganda and instead outline the points of debate.
For example, regarding the claim made by ed that warming (a) hasn't happened and (b) has been caused by solar phenomenon (which is self-contradictory, but anyway), this question has been considered by actual scientific studies, and if we want to write a responsible article, we should see what scientists say about it. (I happen to know, off the top of my head, that solar activity in fact only correlates well with warming trends until about 1950, when they diverge, but anyway). Ideally we should be digging through the relevant journals. For example, this shit gets written about in Science every goddamn week, so it shouldn't be that hard to find articles and references for points of contention.
Proposal: We create a Global warming/Temp which will do: (a) purport to show that there is a warming trend, and evidence for and against this and why it is considered reliable, and (b) delineate theories for how to explain a warming trend, if it exists, and why they are considered good or bad. This is what Global warming should do, in any case, rather than rant about the controversy. If someone seconds this, i'll begin sketching an outline for the page (unless someone else wants to just jump into that). Graft
Graft, I think we should stick to this article being a discussion of scientifically established facts, and debates among scientists over science. There are already two other pages austensibly devoted to the "controversy" and I think we should just keep that material out of this article and keep feeding it into those other articles (I do think it makes sense for there to be one article on debates over the 'science," and another on debates over policy). Hopefully, you and Mav and others who are knowledgable will continue to work on this page as you see fit, Slrubenstein
Err... I was only proposing a temporary page (Global warming/Temp) so we could work on a totally different article version without throwing this one out the window in the meantime. Eventually, it should replace the current Global warming debacle, but i'd rather start from scratch than have to deal with shifting things around in-place. Also, i'm not especially knowledgable, I just have high standards and some weird complex about "facts". Graft
Oh.... Sorry I misunderstood you, of course you make sense. For some reason I thought temp=temperature. Too much CO2 in my environment, I guess. Slrubenstein

Good idea, Graft. Tannin 22:58 Jan 30, 2003 (UTC)


Ed, let's suppose it is a hoax, or at least, the warming hypothesis is wrong. Do you REALLY dare bet on that? Look at Y2K -- nothing happened, and how much money was spent averting what was supposed to be a disaster? Was that a hoax? Were people mistaken? It doesn't matter -- the point is that there was too much risk to ignore it. And here we're dealing with somehting potentially far, far worse than losing a few databases. So far, all the "non-warmers" quite clearly have an agenda to carry on making money. -- Tarquin 23:54 Jan 30, 2003 (UTC)

  1. I didn't say warming hasn't happened (as misquoted above by Graft) but There's been hardly any warming to speak of, so there's no "contradiction" in correlating warming and cooling with variations in solar activity. May I request that contributors read a bit more carefully? Thanks in advance ^_^
  2. Although it's getting off-topic, I did take a careful (and professional) look at Y2K. A lot happened, including me finding out at 4 A.M. on Y2K day that another programmer botched a test -- thus leaving a date glitch in a critical piece of financial software -- and I had to call in 2 very unhappy troubleshooters on what should have been a pleasant day off for them. (Needless to say, the doom-and-gloom scenarios of the best-sellers on the prominently-placed book table at Barnes and Noble did not take place. And that is precisely my point: doom-and-gloom predictions have been hyped endlessly, but rarely pan out. Encyclopedia articles should stick to the facts.)

--Uncle Ed 17:55 Jan 31, 2003 (UTC)

The biggest difference, Ed, is that the Y2K thing was hyped for commercial and legal reasons despite clear and abundant evidence that in most cases it just wasn't a credible threat. The global warming problem, however, is "anti-hyped" for commercial and legal reason despite clear and abundant evidence that it is a very credible threat indeed.
Secondly, it was simplicity itself to test for Y2K problems that were likely to be a direct issue for ordinary users: you simply did a backup and advanced the BIOS clock to any desired date, restarted the system and ran imaginary data through it for however long it took for you to feel confident that your accounts & other programs were OK. (Indirect issues, of course, required that IT people did their homework - notably on the big old iron that banks and similar organisations use, and on PLC based systems.) Small-scale real-world testing for global warming problems, on the other hand, is not possible.
Thirdly, the Y2K issue, even if it had been real, did not have the potential to cause genuinely massive problems. At absolute worst case, it threatened to set the wealthier nations back to 1960s technology for a while - in other words, just an inconvienience, measured on the global scale. The global warming problem, in contrast, does threaten truly massive problems, including the extinction of many marginal species, and very nasty effects on human economic activity.
Forthly, the "fix" for the Y2K "problem" was, essentially, to bring forward sales of new computer equipment by a few years, which involved the waste of a good deal of money pre-Y2K, and an industry-wide slump post-Y2K. Despite a severe lack of evidence for any need, most of the industry took a narrow-minded short-term view and cashed in to the maximum extent possible. (And, within a couple of years, many of the major players paid the price for their greed and lack of sensible long-term planning - viz Compaq, HP, & etc.) Y2K, in other words, was essentially a matter of short-term greed exploiting a non-problem to the long-term detriment of the industry. The fix for the global warming problem, in stark contrast, does not require a short-term spending spree, nor does it offer an instant cash bonanza for large corporations. Instead, it requires a re-evaluation of the way in which modern economies account for externalities, and a shifting of the cost burden to more accurately reflect the actual costs to society of some economic activities (the Kyoto carbon credit scheme is one example of this trend). This does not require a massive short-term spending spree, but instead a re-targeting of existing spending to more sensible long-term goals.
Fifthly, the bona fides of the relevant experts are very different. In the case of Y2K, the overwhelming majority of people with some claims to expertise in the field were financially motivated to talk the problem up as far as possible - to gain more contract work, higher-priced contracts, more sales volume, and so on. Hardly anyone who had any expertise was financially motivated to downplay the panic. People with knowledge of global climate, however, have only a modest motivation to play up the problem (to stimulate employment in the field), a good motivation to take a balanced and rational view (so as to enhance their professional stature), and an excellent motivation to decry the whole thing as nonsense (because there is any amount of money to be made working for one or another of the host of psudo-scientific energy industry front organisations, provided only that one's conscience can be soothed). So: the Y2K experts stood to gain by saying the problem was serious, and they did. The climate experts don't really stand to gain by saying the problem is serious (at least they don't stand to gain as much as they do by taking the energy industry dollar) and yet they still overwhelmingly support the anthropogenic warming hypothesis. When somebody tells me something against his own economic self-interest, I listen.
We are not talking lunatic greenies here. We are talking conservative, official scientific bodies. In short, yes. Just the facts. Encyclopedia articles should stick to the facts.

Tannin 23:22 Jan 31, 2003 (UTC)


From beginning of article

-- see 'Historical temperature record' and 'Evidence against a warming period' below. The theory that the emission of various greenhouse gases by humans is connected with the observed heating of the Earth's atmosphere in the 20th century -- while politically contentious -- has steadily gained adherents in the scientific community within the past 15 years, to the extent that the US National Academy of Sciences and many other national scientific bodies around the world have strongly endorsed it.

There is controversy over (a) number of adherents in the scientific community, as well as (b) what polls have to do with science. Usually, an encyclopedia article on a scientific subject sticks with what is proved, not what polls indicate. If scientists aren't virtually unanimous about something, then it's too early to call it a "fact". --Uncle Ed

  • There was an error in Kyoto Protocol, which temporarilly confused the debate at this point.
Ed, I think you are a little confused about the relationship between theory and fact in science. Generally, a scientific theory is neither proven nor disproven -- it is a model that generates testable hypotheses. The hypotheses themselves are not "proven;" they are falsified or confirmed. But even confirmation does not mean that they are irrefutable facts. Indeed, for it to be scientific, it must be refutable. The paragraph you deleted makes perfect sense and is accurate. There is a theory that is widely accepted. An encyclopedia article on global warming must discuss it, and how it is widely accepted. My point is that NO article on a scientific theory can stick to what has been "proven as fact;" such a claim is not really scientific.
In any event, as Mav and Tannin and others have observed, this theory is accepted by virtually all scientists.
You once included a paragraph stating that scientists are divided and there is some controversy over how many scientists accept this theory. I deleted that paragraph because there was no evidence backing it up. I asked you (or someone) to provide evidence if the article is going to make this claim. And yes, Ed, if you are going to claim that x quantity (virtually all, virtually none, most, some, whatever) scientists accept this theory, a poll of scientists is probably the best evidence.
In the absense of such evidence, to state a real fact, that the NAS has endorsed the theory, is still meaningful.
You were wrong to delete the above paragraph. It did not claim that virtually all scientists accept the theory, only that many do, and it named one major body of scientists as evidence. Please stop deleting paragraphs that make reasonable claims backed up with evidence, when all you have to offer in place are unreasonable claims with no evidence. Slrubenstein
I agree that the paragraph should not have been deleted. I haven't been devoting to editing this article, because I've got limited time and other issues are higher priority, but I also think that this article seems to rely in some cases on the use of overtly partisan political sources like newsmax.com and columnists for the Washington Times, when this is supposedly an enclopedia article on an ostensibly scientific subject. soulpatch

Two questions for Slrubenstein (but anyone feel free to chime in, if you know the answers):

  1. what percent of scientists does "virtually all" mean? 80%? 90? 98%
I use the phrase "virtually all" because I do not have any figure. By the way, I am not a climatologist, so I limit my contributions here to deleting claims not backed up by evidence and re-inserting claims that provide evidence. But I have spoken to some geographers and they tell me that it is virtually all. Let me repeat something I have said twice already Ed: anyone who is really invested in this article should look for data, and I suggested two forms of data: a poll conducted by a national professional association of its members, or a survey of articles published in peer-reviewed journals. Ed, you make a specific numerical claim -- what is your evidence? If this is something you reall care about, look for it. I personally have other priorities and don't have the time, but this seems to be a priority for you. I won't dispute any sentence that says "Many scientists disagree" which is a s vague as "Virtually all agree" -- both of these statements are in themselves anecdotal and hard to refute. I give more weight, much more weight, to the claim "virtually all" because people I know, and Wikipeidans in the natural sciences agree with this claim. I honestly do not know much about your background, Ed, are you a climatologist, or atmospheric scientist, or physical geographer? If you do, I will accept your claims about your own profession, on good faith. But if not, I expcet more evidence.
  1. has anyone conducted a poll? If not, how do we know the percentage of scientists supporting the GW theory? --

Uncle Ed

Ed, you have contributed much more to this article than I have. And when you have contributed, you have made much stronger claims than I have. I therefore assume that you have conducted research in this field, or about it. Haven't you checked the peer reviewed journals, and newsletters of the professional organizations? What kind of research have you done? Slrubenstein