• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

House Science Committee Has Investigated Aliens More Than It Has Investigated Climate Change

Aliens

The House Science Committee has some very odd priorities:

Congress is fascinated by the search for intelligent life on other planets. Apparently, they’ve given up the search at home.

In this session of Congress, House committees tasked with covering U.S. energy and science have held a total of seven hearings to discuss climate change. By contrast, the two chambers have held a combined 19 hearings about space exploration in that same time period.

The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee—led by Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, since 2013—has held 15 hearings on space exploration alone, at least three of which have involved the search for extraterrestrial life. By comparison, Smith’s committee has held just two hearings devoted to climate change.

The Democrat-controlled Senate doesn’t have a much better record. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has held three hearings this session on climate change, while the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has not had a hearing devoted to the topic since 2012. The Senate Commerce Science and Space Subcommittee has had one hearing about climate change and four about space.

On the House side, the House Energy and Commerce Committee hosted one solitary hearing about climate change, and the House Natural Resources Committee has not had a hearing on climate change in the 113th Congress.

In a House Science Committee hearing Wednesday, Seth Shostak, an American astronomer, defended the notion that the search for alien life is worthwhile. He pointed out that NASA’s Kepler mission has found there are trillion of planets in our galaxy, including many planets that could hypothetically support life.

“It’s very easy to make fun of this,” Shostak said. “On the other hand, it would have been very easy to make fun of Ferdinand Magellan’s idea to sail around the earth, or Captain Cook to map the South Pacific.”

And make fun of it the committee members did. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, joked that extraterrestrial societies may be actively avoiding contact with earthlings. “Maybe they’ve got their caller ID turned on or something,” Johnson said.

Rep. Chris Collins, R-New York, joined the fun. ”I’m going to ask what everyone in the room wants to ask. Have you watched Ancient Aliens, and what do you think of that series?” he asked. “I think I’ve been on that program,” Shostak replied.

But committee Chairman Lamar Smith took the issue very seriously, pressing the panelists on how likely it is that there’s intelligent life on other planets. He was pleased with their response: nearly 100 percent.

While Smith may support the search for extraterrestrial life, he’s much less sympathetic about the cause of climate change on this planet. Last year, Smith wrote a column in The Washington Post casting doubt on the idea that global warming is caused by human energy use.

“Climate change is an issue that needs to be discussed thoughtfully and objectively,” Smith wrote. “Contrary to the claims of those who want to strictly regulate carbon dioxide emissions and increase the cost of energy for all Americans, there is a great amount of uncertainty associated with climate science.”

There’s not necessarily anything wrong with the relevant House Committee holding hearings regarding the Kepler program and other aspects of NASA’s search for planetary bodies outside the Solar System which could ultimately lead to signs of life somewhere other than Earth. It’s a worthwhile scientific endeavor and, along with other aspects of the unmanned exploratory projects that have continued notwithstanding the end of the Shuttle program, one of the most cost effective and successful parts of NASA’s entire legacy. As the body responsible for appropriating money for these projects, Congress should hold hearings to evaluate the effectiveness of the programs for which NASA is requesting additional funding. Indeed, I’d suggest that the jokes that some members of the Committee decided to share during one of these hearings were just a little inappropriate. Little green men aside, there’s serious and important science going on here and Congress should treat it with respect.

At the same time, though, one would think that committees devoted to science would hold hearings about one of the most debated and potentially important areas of science we are currently facing. However one feels about the science of climate change, and most conservatives have made their feelings on that issue very well known, it strikes me that the potential problems that the United States and the rest of the world could be facing in the coming decades are something that Congress ought to concern itself with enough to at least hold a couple hearings a year on, if not more. Whether it’s rising sea leaves, drought, increasingly stronger storms at various times of the year, or any of the other number of consequences that climate scientists have pointed to as being in our future, are these things not important enough to merit Congressional attention? If conservatives believe that the “consensus” science is flawed in some way, then they can bring in qualified scientists to present evidence to rebut the prevailing theories, assuming that they can find such people. To take no action at all, though? That’s quite simply a dereliction of duty.

Democrats don’t get off the hook here either, of course. They control the Senate and, as noted above, they have not exactly made it an effort to publicize this issue either. I make no claims to be an expert on the science of climate change, but it strikes me that someday we’re going to regret not paying more attention to issues like this when we could have. Of course, that’s true of many, many things that we or our descendants will ultimately end up paying the price for someday.

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Hal_10000 says:

    OK, but what if it turns out that aliens are causing climate change?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  2. If you want to complain about being anti-science, you could start by not equating legitimate research into the question about whether life exists on other planets with UFO-nuts.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

  3. mantis says:

    If this year’s El Niño is strong, we will likely see the warmest year on record in 2015 as the positive phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation kicks off (it’s been in negative phase since 1998), bringing massive stored heat from the ocean depths into the atmosphere. This will accelerate sea level rise, cause devastating droughts, wreak havoc with more intense storms, and will push the issue to the political forefront. Even Republican politicians will not be able to ignore the evidence, as it will come in the form of real crises in parts of the US, and their connection to climate change will be undeniable to all but those who think some deity personally controls the weather.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  4. humanoid.panda says:

    Given that if they were investigate global warming it would be probably a study of the extent to which climate scientists are part of Obama’s Marxist-Islamic agenda, this might be a good thing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  5. humanoid.panda says:

    @mantis: But it will still snow in the winter in some parts of the United States and Al Gore will still be rich, so there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  6. Mr. Prosser says:

    “And hope that there’s intelligent life
    somewhere out in space,
    ’cause you know there’s bugger-all
    down here on earth.” – Eric Idle

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  7. al-Ameda says:

    The Republican members of the Science Committee are searching for their relatives.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  8. Matt Bernius says:

    @mantis:

    Even Republican politicians will not be able to ignore the evidence, as it will come in the form of real crises in parts of the US, and their connection to climate change will be undeniable to all but those who think some deity personally controls the weather.

    You didn’t write that with a straight face did you?

    Not going to happen. There will be enough immediate factors (not the lease of which is the claim that this is a “once in a generation, freak occurrence”) that will be able to be thrown around that will negate any forward progress.

    Seriously, one needs look no further than the complete lack of discussion around Superstorm Sandy and the role that climate change played in setting up the various factors that allowed that Storm to decimate areas of the northeast that *have – in recorded history – never been flooded to that extent before.*

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  9. Matt Bernius says:

    Let us not forget that the House Science Committee is currently made up by members like Paul Broun: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Broun#Controversies

    For those not familiar with the good doctor, here is the Young Earth Creationists thoughts on various types of science:

    “God’s word is true,” Broun said, according to a video posted on the church’s website. “I’ve come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell. And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a savior.”
    [source]

    Spoiler alert: Broun also thinks Global Warming is a Liberal conspiracy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  10. mantis says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    You didn’t write that with a straight face did you?

    Yep.

    There will be enough immediate factors (not the lease of which is the claim that this is a “once in a generation, freak occurrence”) that will be able to be thrown around that will negate any forward progress.

    Maybe in 2015, but we’ve been in a negative oscillation phase for 15 years. The positive phase will likely last at least ten years. When coastal cities start permanently retreating from the shores, multi-year droughts cause food crises, and more Sandy-like storms happen, opinions will change.

    Bear in mind, I don’t think Washington will do anything meaningful to deal with the problem, but the ranks of denialists will steadily shrink.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  11. Matt Bernius says:

    @mantis:
    Ok, I get your time frame. So really you are talking about this really starting to begin in the 2025 timeframe. My issue with this is that the effects are still going to be largely felt overseas in vulnerable nations. In other words, the very places where Americans already expect food shortages and related disasters to happen. That’s going to slow down acceptance.

    Given the generational turnover, that’s more feasible. That said, look at how long it took for a shift of view on tobacco and it’s health risks. And there are still people (included some elected officials at the Congressional level) who question the link.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  12. michael reynolds says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    Republicans still don’t accept evolution or carbon dating. They’ve made climate change denial an article of faith, so it’s going to take a good long while.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  13. anjin-san says:

    While we are on the subject, George Turner’s “Drowning Towers” is a good read, near future sic-fi about the slow motion collapse of civilization, driven in large part by climate change, with a healthy does of income inequity on the side. Turner was a fine writer who never really caught on in the US.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  14. DrDaveT says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Republicans still don’t accept evolution or carbon dating. They’ve made climate change denial an article of faith, so it’s going to take a good long while.

    Perversely, this represents a coalition of the two primary religious components of the Republican base. Fundamentalists don’t believe in science, and the Cult of Mammon don’t believe in externalities.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  15. DrDaveT says:

    @Mr. Prosser: Hitchhiker’s Guide and Life of Brian in one terse comment? You get an uptick, sir.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  16. Hal_10000 says:

    Maybe in 2015, but we’ve been in a negative oscillation phase for 15 years. The positive phase will likely last at least ten years.

    I recently saw a talk by Michael Mann who argued, tentatively, that the la ninas may be a result of global warming. There’s some evidence that, over the last thousand years, el ninos have been more common when the global temperature was falling. There’s a lot of debate about this but it’s possible this is a negative feedback response to global warming. Of course, it won’t last forever and all it does is slow the warming down, not stop it. But if we get an El Nino or three, that temperature curve will look a lot more ominous.

    You didn’t write that with a straight face did you?

    A huge talking point on the denialist side has been the “pause” over the last decade. If that pause stops, that plank is kicked out from under them. There’s some evidence that public opinion waxes and wanes with temperature. If the public accepts the science, the politicians will be forced to follow suit. Remember that ten years ago, the GOP was universally and vehemently against gay marriage. Now that facade is crumbling rapidly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  17. @DrDaveT:

    No, that’s the “Galaxy Song” from Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @mantis:

    Even Republican politicians will not be able to ignore the evidence,

    Wanna bet?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  19. SenyorDave says:

    I’ve come to the conclusion that there are a few basic types of climate denialists among Republicans:

    1. Pragmatists – this would be someone like Mitch McConnell. He’s an intelligent man, but he certainly can’t ever say anything to indicate he accepts any part of climate change, so he usually says nothing.
    2. Morons – Louis Gohmert, et. al. Nuff said.
    3. Self-serving – Koch brothers. Almost certainly knows and believes in climate science. In bigger picture has decided that it serves their economic interests to push that it is a liberal myth.
    4. Mean bastards – Led by talk show types like Limbaugh or Savage, I believe they accept climate change but are so nasty they would like to see people suffer (this goes for everything, so long as the wealthy have a way out these pricks want poorer people to have things bad).

    I used to work in property and casualty insurance. Apparently, companies like Liberty Mutual and AIG must be run by liberals, because all P&C insurance companies totally accept climate change and are spending huge sums for analysis of the insurance affects of the changes.

    To be a modern day Republican, you need to be one part idiot, one part sociopath, and one part mean bastard.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  20. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Remember that ten years ago, the GOP was universally and vehemently against gay marriage.

    And they are still vehemently against gay marriage. You guys vastly overestimate the Rights ability to process new evidence despite years of old evidence that they are incapable of it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  21. ernieyeball says:

    However one feels about the science of climate change,..

    So our feelings should direct our actions? I would hope that the scientific method of finding things out and rational thought might carry the day…wait…let me roll another one and reflect on that for a while…
    http://www.whosampled.com/cover/31721/Nina-Simone-Feeling-Good-Cy-Grant-Feeling-Good/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  22. ernieyeball says:

    @Hal_10000: If that pause stops, that plank is kicked out from under them.

    And if that pause continues…???

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  23. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @mantis: If this year’s El Niño is strong, we will likely see the warmest year on record in 2015 as the positive phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation kicks off (it’s been in negative phase since 1998), bringing massive stored heat from the ocean depths into the atmosphere. This will accelerate sea level rise, cause devastating droughts, wreak havoc with more intense storms, and will push the issue to the political forefront.

    You wanna put anything concrete in the prediction? Something along the lines that 1) definse a “strong” El Nino and 2) a date on which the definition has been met? Something like “a rainfall level of X” or “an ocean temperature of Y,” in a time frame like “by October 31″ or “between May 1 and September 30″ or something.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 10

  24. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Not really. This isn’t “at what temperature does water boil at sea level?” The exact way in which the oscillation shifts is not terribly clear as yet, but it does seem to be clearly linked to El Ninos and is going to happen at some point in the near future.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  25. bill says:

    @Hal_10000: i saw what you did there!
    “climate change” is “settled science”, so they say- and if we all drive a prius we can change it back to whatever it wasn’t supposed to change to….or something like that. but we don’t know what that is/was as it’s always changing anyway. that settles that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8

  26. mantis says:

    Here’s a reference for the NOAA’s classification of El Niño/La Niña intensity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  27. Tillman says:

    But committee Chairman Lamar Smith took the issue very seriously, pressing the panelists on how likely it is that there’s intelligent life on other planets. He was pleased with their response: nearly 100 percent.

    Ohh, twaddle-squat. There’s no scientific consensus that life is important.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  28. Kylopod says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Perversely, this represents a coalition of the two primary religious components of the Republican base. Fundamentalists don’t believe in science, and the Cult of Mammon don’t believe in externalities.

    One striking thing about the coalition is that it runs in one direction: that is, it’s a coalition of people who reject global warming but accept evolution and people who reject both. Elite conservatives like George Will and Charles Krauthammer have nothing but disdain for creationists (in the rare instances when they’ve discussed the matter), but full-blown GW denial seems perfectly okay in their book. Meanwhile, creationists (at least the most prominent ones) tend also to deny climate science–partly out of a general hostility toward mainstream science, partly out of a fealty to right-wing politics.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  29. mike shupp says:

    @anjin-san:

    Good to see Turner being remembered. It’s been a been few years — I think the last of his novels I read was GENETIC SOLDIER, about five years ago. I probably ought to make the time and reread all his SF.

    So thanks for the kick in the butt …,

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  30. MarkedMan says:

    I’ve come to realize that the modern Republican party (Post 1980) occupies the same place as the Inquisition did in Galileo’s time. I’m sure most Inquisitors didn’t give a hoot as to whether Galileo’s science was good or bad. He had to be crushed because he was defying the status quo and the power structure, and they represented both. The idea that facts could have convinced the Inquisition is absurd. As the Supremes once said, actual innocence is not grounds for a stay of execution.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  31. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Matt Bernius: Fortunately, Broun was too extreme even for Georgia. He is out of the Senate race and will soon be out of the House as well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  32. Rick DeMent says:

    Congress is fascinated by the search for intelligent life on other planets.

    Most of us would be satisfied with intelligent life in Congress.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  33. gVOR08 says:

    @SenyorDave: You say all but the Moron Republicans understand climate change is real. You give them too much credit. Conservatives always come to believe their own BS.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  34. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @mantis: Silly me. I thought the essence of “settled science” is predictability. If I drop an object on Earth, it will fall and accelerate at the rate of 16 feet per second until it reaches its terminal velocity.

    If I heat water at sea level, it will boil at 100 degrees C.

    In a right triangle, the three angles will add up to 180 degrees, and the squares of the two short sides’ length will equal the square of the third side’s length. (And that longest side will be the side opposite the 90-degree angle.)

    If you can’t take a principle and use it to reliably predict outcomes, then it isn’t a settled science.

    Don’t make me go back to Al Gore’s fraudulent Earth In The Balance and point out all the predictions that it made — based on “settled science” — that spectacularly failed to come true.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8

  35. stonetools says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Silly me. I thought the essence of “settled science” is predictability

    You indeed are silly. Science isn’t about absolute predictability, but about probability. In some sciences (physics, astronomy) you can predict some things with such high levels of probability that it approaches certainty. In other sciences, things can’t be predicted with such certainty, but the science is still settled. Most geologists are quite certain that there will an enormous earthquake in northern California along the San Andreas Fault, but they can’t say whether it will happen in 10 years, 100 years or 20 years.The science (plate tectonics) is nonetheless quite settled.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  36. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    If you can’t take a principle and use it to reliably predict outcomes, then it isn’t a settled science.

    Pure ignorant nonsense. As an example, the growth of cancerous cells in the lungs of smokers is explained and predicted by science. However, though we know that smoking causes cancer, and how cancer cells grow and develop, we cannot accurately predict exactly if, when and how fast a tumor will develop in the lungs of any one specific smoker.

    The fact that we can’t predict that Smoker Bob will develop cancer in two years, that the cancer will grow for another two years, and that it will kill him on January 18, 2019 doesn’t, however, mean that the fact that smoking causes cancer isn’t settled science. Sometimes science deals in ranges and probabilities of estimates, especially when we are discussing complex, dynamic non-closed systems that have many drivers working on them (i.e. a boiling pot of water is not equivalent to the entirety of the world’s oceans).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  37. Matt Bernius says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Don’t make me go back to Al Gore’s fraudulent Earth In The Balance and point out all the predictions that it made — based on “settled science” — that spectacularly failed to come true.

    Call, please deliver — not that I’m necessarily doubting that predictions about the effects of Global Warming would be wrong. As has already been pointed out, getting the specific correct as to how and when climate change will manifest is extremely difficult. And this is an area where true skepticism comes into play.

    That said, if you are claiming that the general temperature and ice-melt modelling has been wrong, that’s a pretty easy to prove as demonstratively false. See:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/climate-models-intermediate.htm

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  38. Matt Bernius says:

    @Hal_10000:

    A huge talking point on the denialist side has been the “pause” over the last decade. If that pause stops, that plank is kicked out from under them.

    Again, this isn’t going to be enough. Anyone who follows climate change knows that there *has been no pause over the last decade.* Full stop.

    There is a single, depreciated data set, HadCRUT3, that shows nearly flat warming.* HadCRUT1, HadCRUT2, and HadCRUT4 (which replaced HadCRUT3) all show warming. As do countless other data sets.

    Of course, ask any Climate Change denalist and they will respond that HadCRUT3 is the only “accurate” data set (despite the fact that it’s the outlier). Again, this is the problem, we are not dealing with *skeptics*, we’re dealing with denialists. Skeptics can be influenced by data. Denialists rely only on faith.

    For more on this topic see: http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-stopped-in-1998-intermediate.htm

    * – Note, if you adjust HadCRUT3 to take into account global weather patterns like the 1998 El Nino, it shows a stronger warming trend as well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  39. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Rafer Janders: I’m sekptical — and that used to be good quality when it comes to science.

    Back in the 70s and 80, there was a fear of “global cooling.”

    Then it became “global warming.”

    Then it became “climate change.”

    Now it’s “climate disruption.”

    Four different terms, four (or possibly 3) different meanings.

    And in each case, the “solution” is always the same: greater government control and a move away from established, reliable sources of energy into unproven, less reliable, less efficient forms of energy. Which will require giving very large amounts of money to individuals, organizations, and corporations that are politically tied to the left.

    When three (or four) different problems all tend to have the same proposed solutions, healthy skepticism pushes the application of such principles as Occam’s Razor. And here, the first answer that comes to mind are that the “problems” are simply excuses to get to the “solution.” That the “solution” is the end goal, and the “problems” are concocted or used to get to that “solution.”

    Which is why the Global Warming/Climate Change/Climate Disruption movement looks more like a religious cult than a scientific argument — down to the concealing of the “secret texts” and persecution of “heretics.” I’ve lost count of the calls for locking up or even executing “deniers.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11

  40. Matt Bernius says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Back in the 70s and 80, there was a fear of “global cooling.”

    Bullshit.

    Pure unadulterated bullshit.

    Do any research into this topic and you will find that there were a few outlying scientists DURING THE 70’s ONLY whose work was picked up by the media. The majority of climate scientists during the 70’swere already talking about *warming* Here are all the facts need to disprove this tired shit you continue to post (while constantly ignoring that we provide a factual refuting of the point each time): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_cooling

    Fact: Attention to Global Warming among Climatologists actually dates back to the 50s (when the prolonged warming trend was first noticed).
    Fact: A review of all the peer-reviewed published research during the 70’s also shows that the majority of articles posited *global warming* not *global cooling.* Only 6 papers were published that demonstrated “global cooling”, some 40! papers demonstrated warming. When you add in the 20 papers that argued for neutral change, that means that “global cooling” accounted for less than 10% of the papers published on climate during the 70’s). – full data http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/2008BAMS2370.1

    THESE ARE THE FACTS, YOU CANNOT DISPUTE THEM. SO STOP LYING YOU DENIER.

    You are not rational on this subject. Your position is not based on facts. You are continually repeating lies (flat out lies) to bolster your position. How rational of you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  41. Hal_10000 says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    That’s why I put “pause” in quotes. The warming has been slower but not stopped. Of course, it had been rising very fast for the previous thirty years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  42. Matt Bernius says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Then it became “global warming.”

    Then it became “climate change.”

    Now it’s “climate disruption.”

    Four different terms, four (or possibly 3) different meanings.

    EXCEPT THEY ALL MEAN THE SAME THING IF YOU ACTUALLY DO RESEARCH.

    The only reason for the shift from “Global Warming” to “Climate Change” was because idiots like you thought that Global Warming must mean that the temperature is going up equally in all places at once.

    The entire *refinement* of terms was to address the effects that the overall *proven* global warming trend was/is having on micro-climates. This allows us to demonstrate how it is possible, in an overall warming climate, for certain areas to *become cooler* because of shifts in the flow of air currents.

    Again, you are trying to suggest you hold a *rational* – i.e. science based position — but everything you write demonstrates that you are doing everything possible to remain as willfully ignorant as you can about what you are writing.

    HENCE YOU ARE ANTI-SCIENCE. Period.

    You’re denialism is faith based. If it was science based you wouldn’t continue to spew this easily disproven shit. Because that’s what it is SHIT. It’s not even facts. It’s pure bullshit.

    And the fact that you continue, thread after thread to repeat the same shit — even when we provide you with link after link — means that you are not interested in science. You are not interested in fact.

    You don’t have a single scientific leg to stand on.

    So please, just stop pretending that you are rational or any different than young earthers. Because your continued pattern clearly proves that you are *not*.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  43. Matt Bernius says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Of course, it had been rising very fast for the previous thirty years.

    Correct.

    One of the key things about the slowing is that there have been a number of weather related factors that have, by all accounts, helped suppress the upward trend in global air temperatures. However, far more scary (if one bothers to actually investigate the science) is the continued rapid upward trend in global *sea* temperatures.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  44. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I thought the essence of “settled science” is predictability

    Please point out where I said anything about “settled science.”. You’ll be looking for a while.

    In any case, if you consider all science that cannot predict future events with absolute certainty as invalid, you are rejecting an enormous bodies of valuable scientific inquiry. You obviously misunderstand the concept of predictive power in science. It has to do with testability, not infallibility.

    If I drop an object on Earth, it will fall and accelerate at the rate of 16 feet per second until it reaches its terminal velocity.

    If I heat water at sea level, it will boil at 100 degrees C.

    In a right triangle, the three angles will add up to 180 degrees, and the squares of the two short sides’ length will equal the square of the third side’s length. (And that longest side will be the side opposite the 90-degree angle.)

    Maybe you should stick to the easy stuff, since complex systems are clearly beyond your grasp.

    Silly me.

    Indeed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  45. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Matt Bernius: Well declared, acolyte. Too bad you can’t just burn or lock up us heretics, but those days will come, I’m sure.

    I didn’t intend to get down into the nitty-gritty here, but…

    1) I challenge the anthropomorphic aspect of the global warming/climate change/climate disruption theory. The effects of factors entirely out of our control — vulcanism and solar cycles, just to name two — dwarf the factors we can control.

    2) I challenge the efficacy of the proposed remedies.

    3) I disagree with the priority of the proposed remedies. “Cheap energy” has been a near-absolute good for humanity. And attempts to diminish good for humanity out of concern for “nature” has been, overall, bad. DDT gave us the opportunity to nigh exterminate malaria, but junk science led to its banning. Anti-vaccination nuts have led to a resurgence of once-nearly-obliterated diseases.

    4) So much of the focus on remedies is to apply them on the US, and the West in general. The US has made tremendous strides in reining in pollution without any kind of global consensus; the biggest polluters now are nations like China and India. And while the US was doing a pretty good job of cleaning up its own messes, places with the kind of top-down rigid controls the Global Warmening Hystericals are demanding were creating ecological hellholes in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.

    There’s an old aphorism that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” You’re the side that’s calling for a complete overturning of our energy infrastructure, trashing the status quo in exchange for vaporware promises about how things will be so much better, despite how these new technologies keep failing (but making money for the politically connected, of course).

    So… keep your Kool-Aid to yourself, please. I’ll pass, if you don’t mind.

    (Of course you do, but I think I’ll be rude and refuse anyway.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 10

  46. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    The effects of factors entirely out of our control — vulcanism and solar cycles, just to name two — dwarf the factors we can control.

    No they don’t. This is more evidence-free bullshit. There is no correlation between volcanic or solar activity and the current warming trend.

    2) I challenge the efficacy of the proposed remedies.

    All of them? Considering how many ideas have been proposed to respond, your blanket assertions reveal (again) your lack of thought on the topic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  47. Matt Bernius says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Well declared, acolyte.

    Funny, my position is based on science (the supposed anthesis of faith). You have yet to demonstrate any science to your denialism. Which of the two sounds more religious?

    1) I challenge the anthropomorphic aspect of the global warming/climate change/climate disruption theory.

    So first, you acknowledge that GLOBAL WARMING IS HAPPENING? Yes/No?

    Let’s start there. Is there hard scientific evidence that Global Warming is happening?

    What about all the Global Cooling Bullshit you just posted as fact?

    The effects of factors entirely out of our control — vulcanism and solar cycles, just to name two — dwarf the factors we can control.

    Bullshit.

    Here’s a summary of why Volcanos DO NOT account for the warming:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/volcanoes-and-global-warming.htm

    Here’s a summary of why Solar Cycles DO NOT account for the warming:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/solar-activity-sunspots-global-warming.htm

    Both use actual citations to peer reviewed, published research to support those views.

    So where’s your science backing up your claims about volcanos and solar cycles are main drivers of global warming/climate change? Because if they are *not* then the fact that they are out of our control really doesn’t matter does it?

    Cause as a rationalist, you “know” how science works. Prove you’ve got better data then me.

    Otherwise, I’m pretty confident who is acting more like an acolyte here and which one is acting more like a science-driven rationalist.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  48. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You’re the side that’s calling for a complete overturning of our energy infrastructure,

    There’s an old aphorism that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Please provide extraordinary evidence that “our side” is calling for a complete overturning of our energy infrastructure and trashing the status quo.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  49. anjin-san says:

    The US has made tremendous strides in reining in pollution

    Hmm. Something Republicans have fought tooth and nail, BTW. It’s also worth noting that some of our progress is the result of becoming good at exporting pollution.

    the biggest polluters now are nations like China and India.

    Yes. Countries where the government has stayed out of the way of business.

    these new technologies keep failing

    Really? Solar is booming in California. PG&E is terrified. Meanwhile, in Germany:

    Germany Sets New Record, Generating 74 Percent Of Power Needs From Renewable Energy

    On Sunday, Germany’s impressive streak of renewable energy milestones continued, with renewable energy generation surging to a record portion — nearly 75 percent — of the country’s overall electricity demand by midday. With wind and solar in particular filling such a huge portion of the country’s power demand, electricity prices actually dipped into the negative for much of the afternoon

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/05/13/3436923/germany-energy-records/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  50. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You’re the side that’s calling for a complete overturning of our energy infrastructure

    Well, if you’re just going to invent positions for people, I’ll respond in kind. You’re the side that spreads lies to protect oil/gas/coal industry profits at the expense of humanity. You specifically are one of their useful idiots who does not understand the topic you address, but dutifully repeats the false talking points you’ve been given over and over again without caring or even understanding how wrong they are.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  51. Rafer Janders says:

    @anjin-san:

    Meanwhile, in Germany:

    OK, maybe true, but you can’t duplicate the success of solar power in sunny, tropical Germany here in the sun-starved US….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  52. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    4) So much of the focus on remedies is to apply them on the US, and the West in general.

    The US has 3% of the world’s population and uses 20% of the world’s energy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  53. anjin-san says:

    4) So much of the focus on remedies is to apply them on the US, and the West in general.

    God forbid we put our own house in order.

    I know, let’s just blame Iran. Or Illegal aliens. Of course there is always the classic “It’s – all – Obama’s – fault”

    See? Problem solved.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  54. mantis says:

    Interesting how Jenos seems to be touching on several stages of the “warming is good for profits” crowd’s standard replies on the topic.

    There is no warming, so we should do nothing.

    OK, maybe there’s warming, but we didn’t cause it, so we should do nothing.

    OK, maybe we’re causing it, but there’s nothing we can do about it, so we should do nothing.

    OK, maybe there are things we can do, but they might be expensive, so we should do nothing.

    OK, maybe we could make an effort, but we can’t force the whole world to do the exact same things at the exact same time, so we should do nothing.

    Al Gore is fat, so we should do nothing.

    Of course, as is obvious, they start at their desired action–do nothing–and adjust the reason depending on who they are talking to and how much their previous reasons have been pointed out as bullshit. In the next conversation, they just go back to square one like they are Guy Pearce in Memento, incapable of storing long-term memory.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  55. M. Bouffant says:

    In a right triangle, the three angles will add up to 180 degrees, and the squares of the two short sides’ length will equal the square of the third side’s length. (And that longest side will be the side opposite the 90-degree angle.)

    NB: This is geometry, not “science.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  56. M. Bouffant says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Too bad you can’t just burn or lock up us heretics, but those days will come, I’m sure.

    Now there’s some settled science.

    Martyred much?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  57. Rafer Janders says:

    @M. Bouffant:

    NB: This is geometry, not “science.”

    Oh, don’t blame him. He’s no scientician.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  58. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    So… keep your Kool-Aid to yourself, please. I’ll pass, if you don’t mind.

    Because as long as you don’t believe in global climate change, IT WON’T HAPPEN. Like most scientific phenomena, it requires faith for it to work. To paraphrase Burke, all that is required to keep sea levels from rising is for good men to do nothing….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  59. M. Bouffant says:

    All the people so worried that we might stop burning fossil fuels: When you go camping, do you stand downwind from the campfire & really enjoy the particles & smoke? I can’t see why it would be so terrible not to pollute the atmosphere, climate change or not.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  60. anjin-san says:

    Too bad you can’t just burn or lock up us heretics

    Hmm. If you were black teenagers in Florida, we could just shoot you and not loose much sleep over possible legal consequences.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  61. mantis says:

    @M. Bouffant:

    CO2 can’t be bad. Plants use it.

    Also, water can’t be bad, as it is just as natural as CO2. So drowning cities are fine. Get over it.

    Also Jesus gave us the planet, so if we wreck it for ourselves, it’s fine. Get over it. Oh, and don’t listen to the Pope. He’s a liberal plant (not the good kind of plant).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  62. Matt Bernius says:

    @mantis:

    Also Jesus gave us the planet, so if we wreck it for ourselves, it’s fine. Get over it. Oh, and don’t listen to the Pope. He’s a liberal plant (not the good kind of plant).

    Actually the usual Religious denier line is that it’s pure hubris to think that man can destroy what God created.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  63. Matt Bernius says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Too bad you can’t just burn or lock up us heretics, but those days will come, I’m sure.

    For the record, I’m not interested in shutting you up. I’m simply pointing out that if you want your “skepticism” to be taken seriously, you need to demonstrate you are an actual skeptic — which means actually addressing the current science and facts.

    You have yet to demonstrate a lick of true skepticism. You keep posting false data, and making claims without offering any scientific backing for them. Worse, the claims you make are *easily* disproven with science. A true skeptic would accept those facts to not be accurate and not use them again. You continually recycle the same old shit thread after thread.

    That isn’t skepticism. It’s the polar opposite.

    Which is fine. You serve as a great example of the difference between a faith based denier (you) versus a legitimate skeptic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  64. youngturkssuck says:

    ‘Tambora’ tells the story of a little-known volcano that changed the world

    Tambora, which erupted in 1815, caused temperatures to plunge around the globe, offering valuable lessons on climate change today.

    don’t think the “Han Solo” was saying that volcano cause global warming ….but they sure do affect the climate….

    Yes, global cooling. The “climate emergency” spawned by the 1815 eruption of Tambora sent much of the world into a big chill. Crops failed amid a mix of frost, flood, and drought

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  65. Matt Bernius says:

    @youngturkssuck@:
    If Tambora created a sustained period of global cooling that lasted *decades* you might have a point.

    The difference of course is that Tambora created a brief climate anomaly that corrected itself within 5 years.

    The current Global Warming trend has been sustained for some 50+ years, at a higher sustained rate over time than any period in Global History since the last Ice Age.

    So, umm, no — science says that your entire example/metaphor doesn’t work.

    Further:

    don’t think the “Han Solo” was saying that volcano cause global warming ….but they sure do affect the climate….

    No, what he said was that Volcanos have a greater effect on the climate than Human Activity (hence no anthropogenic global warming). Volcano’s do have an immediate short term effect, but no sustained long term effect. Virtually all the science points to a longterm anthropogenic effect that is, again in the long run, far more important than any noise created by volcanos.

    Ironically, the “bright side” of global warming is that, to some degree, it helps mitigates the global cooling of the Volcanos. Of course, making that glass-half-full argument also means accepting the science about Volcano’s limited role in long term climate change.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  66. youngturkssuck says:

    whatever you say you are the expert. Just pointing out volcanos affect the climate more so then anything man made.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  67. youngturkssuck says:

    from your own link…..

    However, mega-eruptions or a series of eruptions can have a cooling effect that take decades to wear off, giving a perceived warming effect. Zielinski 2000 studies past volcanoes, particularly over the past few centuries:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  68. Matt Bernius says:

    @YoungTurksSuck

    However, mega-eruptions or a series of eruptions can have a cooling effect that take decades to wear off, giving a perceived warming effect. Zielinski 2000 studies past volcanoes, particularly over the past few centuries:.

    Where exactly does that quote occur, on which link?

    Just pointing out volcanos affect the climate more so then anything man made.

    In the short term, yes. In the long term, no — see the link.

    BTW, to the point of the quote, if the cooling effect of mega-volcanos and chained eruptions are so profound, the you just made my point. Despite these eruptions we are still experiencing sustained warming for decades. So clearly there is something at play that has allowed for continued temperature growth *despite* the various eruptions (including some *very big ones*) over the last five decades.

    Again, the science does NOT back up your claims.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  69. Matt Bernius says:

    @@YoungTurksSuck:

    from your own link…..

    However, mega-eruptions or a series of eruptions can have a cooling effect that take decades to wear off, giving a perceived warming effect. Zielinski 2000 studies past volcanoes, particularly over the past few centuries:

    Got it — found the page you were referring to:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/coming-out-of-ice-age-volcanoes.htm

    You seemed to have missed the critical passages that occurs just above and slightly down the page from the quote you excerpted:

    Above: A drop of volcanic activity in the early 20th century may have had a warming effect. However, volcanoes have had very little impact on the last 40 years of global warming.

    Below: In short, a lack of volcanic activity had some part in temperature rise over the first half of the 20th century. However, it has played little part in the modern global warming trend that began in the 1970s. Foster and Rahmstorf (2011) used a multiple linear regression approach to filter out the effects of volcanic and solar activity, and the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). They found that volcanic activity, as measured by aerosol optical thickness data (AOD) has only caused between 0.02 and 0.04°C per decade warming from 1979 through 2010 (Table 1, Figure 2), or about 0.06 to 0.12°C warming of the surface and lower troposphere, repsectively, since 1979 (out of approximately 0.5°C observed surface warming).

    [...]

    Thus volcanoes have not caused the long-term global warming over the past century, and can explain only a small fraction of the warming over the past 25 years.

    A number of studies have used a variety of statistical and physical approaches to determine the contribution of greenhouse gases and other effects to the observed global warming, like Foster & Rahmstorf and Lean & Rind. And like those studies, they find that volcanoes have had a relatively small contribution to global warming, and in fact, likely have had a net cooling effect over the past 50-65 years (Figure 3).

    [Emphasis mine]

    So again @jenos’s original point “The effects of factors entirely out of our control — vulcanism and solar cycles, just to name two — dwarf the factors we can control.” is NOT scientifically accurate. To continue to repeat is represents a statement of *faith* not true *skepticism* (which is based in actual fact, or at least the absence of).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  70. Matt Bernius says:

    BTW, @youngturkssuck, as a quick unrelated point — generally speaking, I have no issues with well-done trolling. And I’ve said in the past, I find your “munchbox”/”junkbox” sticht funny. Parody names are fine, have at them — we all can use the piss taken out of us from time to time.

    DO NOT intentionally spoof names. And DO NOT intentionally spoof the names of people who post under their actual names.

    Make fun of our names all you want. Creating variants on my name to your heart’s desire. But posting as “@ Matt Bernius,” or anyone else here (pseudonym or not), will not fly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  71. DrDaveT says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    You are not rational on this subject. Your position is not based on facts.

    Now that’s unfair — Jenos is perfectly rational on this subject, and his position is based on facts. It is a fact that he will have to personally sacrifice a little bit of luxury if we’re to do anything to avert the worst impacts of global warming, and his rational self-interest leads him to conclude that he would rather screw the future earth over than give up that luxury.

    It is possible — but not necessary — that he finds it convenient to convince himself that there really is significant doubt about AGW, in order to assuage his conscience.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  72. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Hey stupid — By the time DDT was banned, mosquitos were already developing immunity to it. So had it not been banned, we would have lost a lot of bird species and had just as many mosquitos.

    Not, of course, that you care about truth. You’re a nasty little troll, and all you care about is pissing people off.

    So congratulations, you managed to make the ever professorial Matt B lose his cool with your callousness, your stupidity, and your arrogance. It’s a good day for you — so why don’t you piss off?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  73. anjin-san says:

    Just pointing out volcanos affect the climate more so then anything man made.

    An educated person might say “volcanos can have short term effects that are greater than the effects of any single event man has caused – so far”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  74. @MB says:

    @MB could stand for much box as well. Point taken. Just wanted you to see the argument you were making was not valid or rather….

    “@jenos’s original point “The effects of factors entirely out of our control — vulcanism and solar cycles, just to name two — dwarf the factors we can control.” is NOT scientifically accurate.”

    This isn’t’ faith based it is real world empirical based fact. So if volcanos’ effects take decades to wear off lets set an interval of time that is short term.

    And Anjin-san ….it hard to being edjamacted while living under a bridge.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  75. Matt Bernius says:

    @@MB:
    No foul on the name thing.

    Look, you’re entitled to *believe* whatever you want. But that doesn’t mean that what you believe is backed up by the science.

    Some volcanos have an effect that lasts for a while*. But the fact remains that looking more broadly, those cooling effects are *less* than the effect of man-made additions to the atmosphere. Hell the very link you used to bolster your case said as much on it multiple times.

    Again, if Volcano’s had a more powerful *net cooling* effect on the atmosphere than man’s net warming effect, WHY DESPITE MULTIPLE ERUPTIONS IN THE LAST 40 YEARS, IS THERE A RAPID SUSTAINED UPWARDS TEMPERATURE TREND?

    The facts are *not* with you or Jenos on this one (or with most of his “arguments” about Global Warming). Which is why he never manages to produce any scientific evidence to bolster his points. Which is also why he’s a *denier* and not a *skeptic.*

    Simply put, there is no science that can be produced that would convince Jenos of AGW (since he seems to indicate that he accepts there is warming going on), because he doesn’t care about the actual facts.

    [*] – Note, if you review Zielinski 2000, you will note that the only decade+ effects of Volcanos occur when there are *multi-year chains of eruptions.* The effects of an average volcanic eruption resolve themselves in well under a decade. This is all contained his abstract, but here’s the entire paper if you are interested:
    http://pages-dataportal.unibe.ch/products/books/qsr2000-papers/zielinski.pdf

    So again, the data does not back the argument you are making (especially since there was a multi-chain eruption during the past 40 years of warming). Here’s a graph that deals specifically with temperature variation during the after period of an eruption: http://www.skepticalscience.com/images/volcano_20th_century.gif

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  76. DrDaveT says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    No, that’s the “Galaxy Song” from Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life

    Oops, you’re right — I was confusing it with “Always look on the bright side of life”. I got Adams and Python right, but botched the particulars.

    Then again, I’m old enough to remember when The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy radio series first played in the US, and when the news that Monty Python were going to be making a feature film was big news.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0