Why Rush Limbaugh is So Popular

Nigel Parry for The New York Times  Ezra Klein believes a recent NYT Magazine profile of Rush Limbaugh is a “puff piece.” He lists, for example, Rush’s “presidential platform” as published:

    1. Open the continental shelf to drilling. Ditto the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

    2. Establish a 17 percent flat tax.

    3. Privatize Social Security.

    4. Give parents school vouchers to break the monopoly of public education.

    5. Revoke Jimmy Carter’s passport while he is out of the country.

    6. Abandon all government policies based on the hoax of man-made global warming.

Ezra’s analysis:

If liberalish conservative intellectuals seek a Sam’s Club Conservatism, then #2 and #3 are the more traditional variant: Mercede’s conservatism. #4 is a bad public policy idea, but it is a public policy idea. But #1 #5, and #6 speak of a largely bankrupt movement: They’re pure resentment politics, mixed with a toxic distaste for empiricism. The stereotypical liberal loves the environment, so Limbaugh will drill up the shelf, a policy that won’t do much to increase the oil supply, but will presumably piss off Al Gore. And you know what will really piss off Al Gore? Doing nothing about global warming. Denying its very existence. Oh, and for good measure, screw Jimmy Carter.

I was an avid listener to Rush’s show once upon a time but hardly ever catch it these days owing to a combination of scheduling and the fact that I grew tired of the schtick some years back.  Still, this “platform” shows quite well why Rush is so popular with middle America.  And, no, it’s no ressentiment.

#1 and #6 have nothing to do with poking liberals in general or Al Gore in particular in the eye.  Rather, it’s a much more basic populist appeal:  “You’re paying four bucks a gallon for gas and these liberal do-gooders are more worried about the spotted owl than your ability to take care of your family!”

#2 and #3 aren’t about making the rich richer.  Frankly, while that would be great for Rush, he of the recent $400 million contract extension, you don’t get 20 million listeners by appealing to the top one percent of income earners.  Most Americans hate the tax code and, especially, the burden of keeping records and filing their taxes every year.  Pretty much everyone thinks it’s way too complicated and nobody knows whether they’re paying “their fair share” or not.  Indeed, most everyone suspects People like me are getting screwed while everyone who makes less or more than they do is getting over.  Social Security?  Most people support the idea behind the system — making sure granny can feed herself and keep the lights on — but they resent the huge amount withheld from their paycheck combined with a growing (if almost certainly incorrect) sense that they’ll never actually see any retirement dividends from the system.

#4 is about culture more than about education.  Middle America thinks the schools are brainwashing their kids to reject parental values rather than teaching the so-called “Three R’s.”  Beyond that, there’s a real sense that schools aren’t very good and that having to teach to the lowest common denominator is robbing their own kids (all of whom are above average) of a decent education.

#5 is a joke.  Rush doesn’t actually want to deport Jimmy Carter, he just enjoys poking fun at him. Republicans of a certain age find Jimmy Carter very funny.

Limbaugh’s appeal is that he’s simultaneously Everyman, expressing the values and frustrations of Regular People who believe their values and way of life are under assault from elites in Hollywood, the news media, higher education, and inside the dreaded Beltway as well as a very bright, humorous, entertaining fellow.  People enjoy spending parts of the three hours a day he’s on listening to him.  Whether they are giving him mega-dittos, shaking their head in disbelief, or screaming at the radio, they’re not bored.  Rush is more engaging than Sean Hannity, more comfortable than Michael Savage, funnier than Gordon Liddy, and less preachy than Laura Schlessinger.

His act wears thin if you’re an intellectual.  But he can afford to lose a few hundred people.

Photo: Nigel Parry for The New York Times

FILED UNDER: Media, Popular Culture, , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Bithead says:

    Limbaugh’s appeal is not that he’s (As Klien would say) telling people what to think; It’s because he’s saying what his listeners are already thinking. That’s the source of his strength in ratings. UNtil such as Klein understands this one point, they’ll never really have a handle on the American voter.

    Oh… and Klien being miffed that the NYT didn’t do a hit peice on Limbaugh is one of the funnier lines I’ve seen today, though I rather doubt he’d inteneded it so. But it does tend to explain why I find Klien so hard to take seriously anymore.

  2. Norman Rogers says:

    Perhaps you should have written, “His act wears thin if you’re you think of yourself as an intellectual.

    Indeed, your comment, …I grew tired of the schtick some years back kinda sets your stage.

    Rush is a brilliant entertainer and radio personality (try to imagine yourself speaking extemporaneously for ten minutes at a stretch — and never uttering “um”) — and businessman.

    And, he really thinks before he speaks. Another amazing ability. And he is popular not because he says what others already think — but because he explains to folks why they feel the way they do (he actually gives intellectual and logical reasonings for what folks’ common sense tells them is right and wrong).

    I only get listen to Rush when I happen to be driving when he’s on. And, I’m never disappointed. (And I would match my academic and professional chops against anyone’s, thank you).

  3. Rick Wolff says:

    As I always like to point out, a tax of a certain percent is a proportional tax. A tax of a fixed dollar amount is a flat tax. If I, you, Steve Forbes, and the homeless guy all pay $1000, that’s a flat tax.

  4. Anon says:

    Norman@9:26:

    So you are saying that you actually find him intellectually stimulating? Or just entertaining?

  5. Norman Rogers says:

    Rick, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but the term, “flat” in the context of income tax rates is in opposition to the term, “progressive” (introduced in accordance with the communist doctrine — “from each according to his ability”). “Flat” means a flat proportion — unmoving with respect to income.

    All clear now?

  6. Norman Rogers says:

    Indeed, Anon — for the reasons I gave, above, and because he’s always well prepared for his shows and may address subjects that I might not have considered (or was aware of). But again, I don’t get to tune into him that often anymore.

    I suspect your opinion of him might improve if you actually listened to his show. Nah, probably not.

  7. Alex Knapp says:

    Rush is great if you find empiricism a flawed basis upon which to reason. So’s Michael Moore, for that matter. Two sides of the same coin, really.

    And come to think of it, has anyone ever seen Michael Moore and Rush Limbaugh together? Hmm…

  8. James Joyner says:

    Perhaps you should have written, “His act wears thin if you’re you think of yourself as an intellectual.

    Uh, intellectual and intelligent aren’t interchangeable. Indeed, I specifically said that Limbaugh is “a very bright, humorous, entertaining fellow.”

    Intellectuals, however, are trained to see both sides of an issue and take a nuanced view. Rush must, obviously, have that talent to do what he does. But his shtick is that everything’s black and white: Democrats are bad, Republicans are good. Indeed, he’s got a recurring riff about moderates standing for nothing.

    That’s a very entertaining view and one that draws listeners, especially if you’ve got Rush’s skill set. But it’s not an intellectual view of the world.

  9. Michael says:

    Perhaps you should have written, “His act wears thin if you’re you think of yourself as an intellectual.

    Hmm, my anecdotal evidence shows a different outcome. Many people who think of themselves as intellectuals, but are not, like Rush. Also, many people who are intellectuals but don’t think they are, do not like Rush.

  10. William d'Inger says:

    I figured out Rush Limbaugh a long time ago. People who consider him a pundit miss the mark. Fundamentally, he’s an entertainer, a class clown with a microphone. Punditry is just the core around which he builds his shtick.

    While I consider his talent above average, it alone would not have made him rich and/or famous. His advantage was to tap into a vast market segment ignored by the rest of the media. The Joe and Jane, beer and burger, conservative had no other national spokesperson who could keep a lively, funny show moving at a fast pace.

    That and the luck of being in the right place at the right time made him the man he is today. He is a true American success story, and I figure he deserves every penny they are willing to pay him.

    P.S. I wrote this offline without reading any other comments which might bias my thoughts on the subject.

  11. Norman Rogers says:

    Dear James,

    I suspect you were being unintentionally funny when you wrote, Intellectuals, however, are trained to see both sides of an issue and take a nuanced view..

    Where, I ask, do would-be “intellectuals” go to get their training and certifications? Is there an accreditation agency? Is there an exam? How many parts?

    FYI, the notion that “smart folks” see more “nuances” is actually “Deconstructionism” — the central tenet of which is that there’s no such thing as “right and wrong” (and what in hell is the meaning of “is”).

    And, if you’d like to read an excellent book about the historical and modern underpinnings of our political factions, I highly recommend, Liberal Fascism, by Jonah Goldberg (whom I suspect is a Rush admirer). Do you fancy yourself has having his chops? Or mine?

    Why is it that all you folks need to imagine that you’re so much smarter than folks like Rush and GWB? Why is it that you misunderestimate them time and again?

  12. sam says:

    And what chops would those be, Norm?

  13. Michael says:

    FYI, the notion that “smart folks” see more “nuances” is actually “Deconstructionism” — the central tenet of which is that there’s no such thing as “right and wrong” (and what in hell is the meaning of “is”).

    I think what James was getting at is that intellectuals tend to see what is there, not necessarily what they want to be there. What is right or wrong has no bearing on what is, intellectuals recognize this fact.

    Do you fancy yourself has having his chops? Or mine?

    It takes “chops” to write (and evidently to read) a controversial book? Quick, someone build Dan Brown a pedestal.

    Why is it that all you folks need to imagine that you’re so much smarter than folks like Rush and GWB? Why is it that you misunderestimate them time and again?

    Nobody is saying that Rush isn’t smart, in fact most people who don’t like him have been admitting that he’s smart. As James said, there’s a different between intellectual, and being intelligent. GWB, on the other hand, has a demonstrated lack of both.

  14. Alex Knapp says:

    In fairness to Rush, I should say that based on the photo, he has good taste in cigars. The La Flor Dominica Double Ligero (which is what it looks like he’s smoking), is a nice, bold, spicy cigar.

  15. Beldar says:

    Klein likes to think of himself and his ilk as “empiricists,” but the examples he’s chosen reveal him to be the exact opposite of that.

    The “science” involved in the manmade global warming debate does indeed involve numbers, but they are inevitably and invariably projections and estimates. What was the percentage of carbon dioxide in the air in 1492? Aha, we can derive an estimate of that from an ice core. But that’s based on assumptions that what’s in the ice core actually does represent what was in the air then and that it hasn’t changed, and even that assumption has significant margins of error. When you begin multiplying together all the necessary assumptions, their margins of error also multiply. The resulting projections may, in fact, be the most accurate that our current science can provide. But how reliable are they? Some of us — including some of us who are, indeed, empiricists — have reached a considered judgment, based on an absence of sufficiently reliable empirical evidence, that those projections are as yet insufficiently reliable to justify major government-mandated disruptions to the world economy.

    And as adherents of science, we’re likewise skeptics who recognize that good science is designed to test (by potentially disproving via each experiment) the current hypotheses under analysis. Good science does not resemble a cult in which skeptics are labeled apostates and morons. For pete’s sake, the leader of the cult, Al Gore, is no scientist at all, and he even flunked out of divinity school. I’m supposed to turn my life upside down based on his movie, which mixes (without disclosure) CGI special effects from fictional disaster movies with actual film footage, and which multiplies ten-fold or more the worst-case projections of earnest climate scientists, while he continues living the lifestyle of a pasha? No thank you. I’ll conserve energy because it makes economic sense, but I choose not to join the cult.

    Klein’s energy pessimism is similarly anti-empirical, but this time it’s because he’s deliberately taking the lowest of projections and then claiming that they’re so low as to be meaningless. “Oh, woe!” he moans, “we might as well not drill at all since we can’t guarantee today that we’ll be able to produce enough to make a big difference!” That, again, is faith — not empiricism. The empiricist knows that if you want to increase supply, you must look for every opportunity to do so, and that you cumulate all those opportunities. Some of them may turn out to actually produce less than expected, but some will turn out to produce more, and you can’t know which until you actually explore by drilling. Moreover, the empiricist recognizes that the market, while essential, is itself not always empirical, which is to say, its behavior sometimes includes “irrational exuberance.” When one views the rate of price growth in recent years, that suggests some component of irrational exuberance on the part of speculators. And indeed, they are counting upon — and, quite literally, heavily invested in — the proposition that pessimists like Klein and the Democrats will continue to use government to suppress the new exploration and development opportunities that the current market price would otherwise drive. Want to shake out the influence of speculators? Then let the market work more freely by removing governmental restrictions. Any real empiricist will recognize that that will produce future supply gains, and anyone who understands Economics 101 will recognize that changes in current assumptions about future supply will immediately result in changes in current prices (which are, in part, the result of those current assumptions).

    Klein’s screed boils down to “Me and my kind are smart, and you and your kind are cretins.” That kind of attitude explains why so many ordinary people are turned off by candidates like Al Gore and John Kerry, whose smug senses of entitlement and superiority lack any real basis. DemoCandidate 3.0 is indeed an improved model, purportedly assembled from less oily parts. It’s not until he gets caught telling his truthful feelings about the hoi polloi and their religion and guns that we find he’s really the same model on the inside after all.

  16. Wayne says:

    Norman
    Great posts.

    James
    From reading so many of your post, you strike me like someone who is intelligent and use to have a great deal of common sense but then started to hang with the in-crowd and pick up some of their attitudes. I question your memory of Rush. He has bash Republicans for many of their stunts including now with McCain. As Rush says, he a conservative not a Republican.

    Others
    Almost everyone and their dogs think of themselves as intellectuals. The pompous ones many who are not smart enough to change a flat tire, look down their noses and say how stupid everyone else is and throw insults. “You don’t agree with me. Obviously you’re stupid. I too smart to explain or go into the detail of the argument. I’ll just call you names”

    Michael
    We may have different idea of what a true intellectual is. The one’s that I considered to be are usually more interested in the intricacies of ideas then saying they hate Rush, “The view” or bashing anyone.

  17. Michael says:

    The “science” involved in the manmade global warming debate does indeed involve numbers, but they are inevitably and invariably projections and estimates.

    Well it’s pretty well established that burning fossil fuels converts hydrocarbons from underground into carbon dioxide gas above ground. Unless you want to contest the accuracy of that too.

    It’s also pretty well established that carbon dioxide is transparent at ultra-violet frequencies, but opaque at infra-red frequencies, unless you want to contest that.

    Finally, it’s pretty well established that most of the surface of the earth will absorb ultra-violet frequencies, and emit infra-red frequencies, again unless you want to contest that.

    After you accept those findings, then it’s not a question of “if” it happens, it’s a question of “how much” it happens.

    What was the percentage of carbon dioxide in the air in 1492? Aha, we can derive an estimate of that from an ice core. But that’s based on assumptions that what’s in the ice core actually does represent what was in the air then and that it hasn’t changed, and even that assumption has significant margins of error.

    So, you don’t believe that ice cores provide a sufficiently accurate preservation of the environment in which they were created? Or do you only reject it when it supports global warming?

    When you begin multiplying together all the necessary assumptions, their margins of error also multiply.

    No, not really, you are usually constrained by your least accurate measurement, but never the sum of all your inaccuracies. Most of the time your margins of error will over-lap, and your least-accurate measurement will produce a margin of error that will contain nearly all others.

  18. Michael says:

    We may have different idea of what a true intellectual is. The one’s that I considered to be are usually more interested in the intricacies of ideas then saying they hate Rush, “The view” or bashing anyone.

    No, that’s more or less my definition too. Unfortunately some people tend to confuse “the intricacies”, with “anything that remotely supports what I want to believe”. Non-intellectuals try to prove themselves right, intellectuals try to prove themselves wrong.

  19. Wayne says:

    As for Rush, when I was a kid driving a tractor, I thought he was pompous. As I grew I learn he was saying many of the things with tough in cheek or for the sole purpose of aggravating his opponents. He addresses the substances of the issues. I and many don’t always agree but he gives his take. Does he call people names at times? Yes but that is not the majority of his show.

    Look at Erza’s analysis, nothing but insults about Rush’s conclusions. Rush goes into details why he think his conclusions are correct. Erza just says they are stupid. If you want to throw insults fine but back them up and with more than just more inults.

  20. Wayne says:

    Michael
    Sounds like a mathematician

  21. Beldar says:

    Michael: Yes, we agree that “how much” is the key question. And it’s one that also has to be asked for lots of other issues as to which there is not much doubt about “if.” For example, there’s not much doubt about whether many of the pollutants being discharged by 21st Century man’s activities actually reflect solar energy away from the surface of the atmosphere, preventing it from ever reaching the ground or sea surface. In the 1970s, as I vividly recall, that — plus a whole passel of estimates and projections, all run by smart scientists with shiny PhDs — was being used to argue that we face the specter of global cooling. Okay, does that cancel out global warming, or does global warming cancel it out?

    So yeah: How much is indeed important. Some of us who are empiricists — and skeptics — are not yet persuaded that the amount of manmade global warming, if (net) there’s any, has been sufficiently confirmed so as to justify the radical measures that have been proposed, at least the measures that don’t have other (less speculative) justifications.

    And what you say of intellectuals wanting to prove themselves wrong is essentially a restatement of the scientific method. So: Do you have a source to either prove or disprove your assertion that margins of error neither multiply nor even stack? I believe that’s inconsistent with what I’ve previously read, but I admit to being too lazy to do any digging until you give me more than your say-so.

  22. Intellectuals live the life of the mind and are associated with ivory towers as often as not. This is different from being informed or educated. Intellectuals do have value, but they are not to be taken as infallible oracles.

    The best term for the tax described by Rick Wolff above is a poll tax. Truly regressive taxation. The US, and most of the industrialized world, uses a progressive tax system, albeit one not as progressive as it once was. Flat tax in this context means a constant percentage of your income is taxed — and you don’t get to redefine the terms. Of ocurse, there’s still an argument to be had over what constitutes income, even under a flat tax system.

  23. Anon says:

    Norman, I have listened some to Rush. There are a number of conservatives whom I find intellectually stimulating, but Rush is not one of them. He has never surprised me, and has never caused me to rethink things. I find him pointless and boring, even when I agree with his policy position.

    Actually, he doesn’t seem to be even interested in policy, but more in just stoking the culture war(s).

  24. Wayne says:

    “Most of the time your margins of error will over-lap”
    True but there are times when they don’t, especially if someone is cherry picking numbers.

    My problem with many of the Manmade GW alarmist is they don’t take into account the net that Beldar refers to. I remember in a prior thread of being ridicule for suggesting CO2 promotes plant growth which in turns promotes O2 production. Now there is an article on that. http://comments.breitbart.com/0807081240188nen8ib9/?commentspage=1
    Maybe farming has cause an artificial cooling of earth. I doubt it. The livestock industry most probably offset it. Problem is when people only look at one side of the numbers and only for facts that supports their conclusions. I’m open to discussions but don’t feed me one side and expect me to swallow it whole.

  25. Michael says:

    Michael
    Sounds like a mathematician

    Heh, everything is, after all, just applied Mathematics

    Okay, does that cancel out global warming, or does global warming cancel it out?

    Neither cancel either, it’s a balance. Currently we’re releasing more green-house gases than UV-reflective particles, so things are getting warmer. Even in the 70’s, the scientific community was just as concerned with the warming properties of CO2 as the cooling properties of aerosol pollution. However, since aerosol use was on the rise and was the easiest to curb, it was the main focus of change.

    So: Do you have a source to either prove or disprove your assertion that margins of error neither multiply nor even stack? I believe that’s inconsistent with what I’ve previously read, but I admit to being too lazy to do any digging until you give me more than your say-so.

    Saying something has a 5% margin of error means it’s not wrong by more than 5%, not that there is a 5% chance that is totally wrong. If you base another calculation off of a measurement that is in fact off by 5%, this one with a 2% MOE, then it’s just as likely to bring you back within 3% as put you off by 7%, so you’re still averaging a 5% MOE.

  26. Michael says:

    My problem with many of the Manmade GW alarmist is they don’t take into account the net that Beldar refers to. I remember in a prior thread of being ridicule for suggesting CO2 promotes plant growth which in turns promotes O2 production.

    Did they ridicule you for suggesting that his happens, or for suggesting that it makes a difference to global warming?

  27. Wayne says:

    Michael
    Not sure, the instance I was referring to was a discussion that involved a coal plant in farm country. The person reply was something like this.
    ““CO2 would be a benefit to farmers since it promotes plant growth”
    You’re such an idiot.”
    My comments were more detailed. Replies like that make me wonder if they disagree with the facts or my conclusion. I know it is human tendency to not acknowledge any facts with someone they disagree with but I also know sometimes people are not aware of the simplest of facts.

    Most of the time I like to establish agreed to facts or conclusions then go through the process of how I arrive at my conclusion. That way if there is a flaw somewhere it can be ID. Of course a person should be weary of what I call smoke and mirror which is when something seems reasonable but is not. An example would be the mythical Algebraic proof that 1 = 2. There is a flaw in it but very few people recognized it.

  28. Tlaloc says:

    His act wears thin if you’re an intellectual. But he can afford to lose a few hundred people.

    Nicely put. People like Rush and Coulter are excellent examples of intelligent but ethically challenged folks. They’re smart enough to know the base levers that move the masses, and they employ them to their personal benefit. They are skilled manipulators with no deeper interest than their own pocketbook. Dirty but profitable work for the callow individuals who can stomach it.

    People who turn their personal gifts to enriching themselves by harming others are contemptible.

  29. Norman Rogers says:

    For Michael,

    No, it doesn’t take serious chops to believe that you ought not read a book because it is (in your mind) controversial. And you seem to have the same problem James does, to wit — you believe there are such things as “intellectuals” in an objective sense. Like I asked of James, what test did you take?

    As for GWB, he does read controversial stuff! I expect that history will be very kind to his presidency (once the current crop of lefty loons depart this mortal coil). I don’t think the same for his predecessor.

    As for your understanding of science, you write, “Finally, it’s pretty well established that most of the surface of the earth will absorb ultra-violet frequencies, and emit infra-red frequencies, again unless you want to contest that.” And, “Currently we’re releasing more green-house gases than UV-reflective particles, so things are getting warmer.”

    The first statement is true, but do you understand the physics of it? There are three sources of radiation that pass through our atmosphere. They are incident radiation (what comes down to us from space), reflected radiation (what bounces back up), and black body radiation which occurs at all frequencies (but infrared does dominate because of the earth’s low temperature).

    What do you think happens to the energy that’s absorbed by the CO2 in the air? The piddling little amount of CO2 in our atmosphere doesn’t amount to much of a heat sink. Where does the heat go? Why do deserts cool off so rapidly when the sun goes down? Why do the tropics stay warm through the night?

    The answer to all of these questions, Michael, is that water vapor (not CO2) is the primary heat sink in our atmosphere. And, by the way, the principal greenhouse gas is water vapor — it absorbs a much greater spectrum than CO2 and there’s a lot more of it.

    Here’s another question for you, Michael. Where does the carbon come from? Where does it go? Every bit of carbon that’s released into the atmosphere by combustion came from the atmosphere in years past. Ever here of photosynthesis? It’s the process by which green plants convert CO2 and water to create hydrocarbons and Oxygen. And, it is the oceans that serve as the CO2 sink, releasing it into the atmosphere when they warm and absorbing it when they cool. No one creates the carbon, Michael — it’s already here and has been since the earth was formed.

    And (for your “so things are getting warmer” silliness), coincidence doesn’t mean causality. And, the earth stopped getting warmer almost ten years ago. Now what will you morons do to try to scare us?

  30. Wayne says:

    Tlaloc
    Sounds like most of the MSM.

  31. Tlaloc says:

    Wayne-
    most of the MSM isn’t bright enough to know better.

  32. c. wagener says:

    No, not really, you are usually constrained by your least accurate measurement, but never the sum of all your inaccuracies. Most of the time your margins of error will over-lap, and your least-accurate measurement will produce a margin of error that will contain nearly all others.

    My background is statistics and economics. The above statement is basically OK for the application of a simply problem. The issue with GW is that we are dealing with literally the most complex and competitive (which also means adaptive system) that we know of.

    I have seen several different estimates for water vapor as percentage of greenhouse gasses. The difference in these estimates (by people with shiny PhD’s) is greater than the percent of human produced carbon. The other issue with water vapor is the fact that experts can’t agree on its affect. Nor can they agree on a model of solar activity with respect to the Earth’s temperature.

    This always strikes me as akin to modeling the wind and humidity to determine where a football will land while not knowing the strength or quality of the quarterback.

    Of course, it gets much worse. We take the first iteration of variables, having assigned either objective or subjective coefficients, that we may have some confidence in, but then have to go to second and third iterations that we have less and less confidence in. Coefficients at these levels will be almost completely subjective. Errors in the first iteration begin to compound creating less accurate estimates. The Monte Carlo simulations being used were never intended to accurately project something for the interaction of thousands or millions of variables. The simulations are used to determine possible ranges and probabilities within those ranges. The top of a bell shaped curve does not represent certainty.

    The testing I’ve seen regarding GW models have been shown to be absurdly inaccurate when back-cast. This shouldn’t be a surprise. We don’t have the mathematical tools to model the world. Economists would never try anything like this which is probably why Julian Simon’s humble scientific predictions beat scientific predictions by scientists. The world is not a petri dish under a UV hood. It’s competitive and reactive.

  33. Michael says:

    And you seem to have the same problem James does, to wit — you believe there are such things as “intellectuals” in an objective sense. Like I asked of James, what test did you take?

    You seem to think that the term “Intellectual” is an honorific, when it is merely a description.

    What do you think happens to the energy that’s absorbed by the CO2 in the air? The piddling little amount of CO2 in our atmosphere doesn’t amount to much of a heat sink. Where does the heat go?

    CO2 lets UV radiation pass through the atmosphere to the surface. The surface radiates it back up in infra-red energies. The CO2 in the atmosphere absorbs and re-radiates that IR energy in all directions, so some of the initial UV energy goes back out into space as IR, but some of it gets reflected back down to the surface to cycle through again. The more CO2 there is in the atmosphere, the more cycles the energy goes through in the atmosphere before going back out to space. Yes, I understand the physics.

    The answer to all of these questions, Michael, is that water vapor (not CO2) is the primary heat sink in our atmosphere. And, by the way, the principal greenhouse gas is water vapor — it absorbs a much greater spectrum than CO2 and there’s a lot more of it.

    Yes, but we’re not digging water up from deep underground and dumping it into the atmosphere now are we? Dumping CO2 into the atmosphere raises air temperature, which raises ocean surface temperature, which causes increased evaporation, which puts more H2O into the atmosphere, which raises air temperature some more in a positive feedback loop.

    Here’s another question for you, Michael. Where does the carbon come from? Where does it go? Every bit of carbon that’s released into the atmosphere by combustion came from the atmosphere in years past.

    From millions of years past in the case of fossil fuels, when the atmosphere had more CO2 and global temperatures were warmer. Good living conditions for dinosaurs, not so much for humans. As I’ve said before, it’s not about saving the planet, it’s about keeping the planet hospitable to humans.

    And, it is the oceans that serve as the CO2 sink, releasing it into the atmosphere when they warm and absorbing it when they cool.

    Absorbing CO2 increases the acidity of the oceans, again not good for humans. They also won’t absorb all of the increased CO2 we dig out of the ground, so there is still a net increase in the atmosphere as well, which still causes warming.

    No one creates the carbon, Michael — it’s already here and has been since the earth was formed.

    That’s not the issue, the issue is how much of that is in the atmosphere.

    And, the earth stopped getting warmer almost ten years ago

    citation needed.

  34. Michael says:

    c. wagener:

    I don’t argue the accuracy of the predictions, I personally hate all the doomsday scenarios that keep coming up to win somebody some grant money.

    But people who think taking carbon from the ground and putting it in the air has no effect at all need to be rebuked. There’s a difference between believing something unproven (which I consider foolish), and disbelieving something proven (insanity, I would say).

  35. Tlaloc says:

    Is anyone else amused that a post about Rush, a pompous bag of hot air, morphed into a global warming discussion?

    Just me?

    Oh. Okay. Carry on…

  36. Wayne says:

    Michael I concur that there is an effect but by how much and if it is “significant” is very disputable. Even if it is significant, wither it would be positive or negative is in dispute. The models and science so far has been shown to be highly unreliable. Yes thermodynamics is well established but thermodynamics in highly complex systems are not and I’m talking more than atmospheres here. Side note isn’t it amazing how much of our language is subjective in nature like “establish” and “unreliable”.

    Not only have those who say that there is no effect at all needed to be rebuked but also those who say the science is settle.

  37. G.A.Phillips says:

    Nicely put. People like Rush and Coulter are excellent examples of intelligent but ethically challenged folks. They’re smart enough to know the base levers that move the masses, and they employ them to their personal benefit. They are skilled manipulators with no deeper interest than their own pocketbook. Dirty but profitable work for the callow individuals who can stomach it.

    why do you guys keep using perfect descriptions of your core beliefs to attack people who you disagree with?

    From millions of years past in the case of fossil fuels, when the atmosphere had more CO2 and global temperatures were warmer. Good living conditions for dinosaurs, not so much for humans. As I’ve said before, it’s not about saving the planet, it’s about keeping the planet hospitable to humans.

    And this is just goofy.

  38. Norman Rogers says:

    Michael wrote, You seem to think that the term “Intellectual” is an honorific, when it is merely a description.

    I don’t have a problem with the word. The problem is with the folks who self-describe themselves as such (and look down their noses at what they don’t understand). Kinda like you, Michael.

    and, CO2 lets UV radiation pass through the atmosphere to the surface. The surface radiates it back up in infra-red energies. The CO2 in the atmosphere absorbs and re-radiates that IR energy in all directions, so some of the initial UV energy goes back out into space as IR, but some of it gets reflected back down to the surface to cycle through again. The more CO2 there is in the atmosphere, the more cycles the energy goes through in the atmosphere before going back out to space. Yes, I understand the physics.

    No, you don’t Michael. The principal heat transfer mechanism is convection, not radiation — by several orders of magnitude. The fact is that CO2 is a REALLY weak greenhouse gas and the moron modelers depend on wild-ass claims that the small increase in temperatures that MIGHT be attributable to CO2 will cause humidity to greatly increase and thereon will become the principal greenhouse agent. Complete bullshit. No accounting for cloud formation. No experimental verification. No backwards looking model correlation with actuals. But perfect for morons like you to swallow whole.

    and, Yes, but we’re not digging water up from deep underground and dumping it into the atmosphere now are we? Dumping CO2 into the atmosphere raises air temperature, which raises ocean surface temperature, which causes increased evaporation, which puts more H2O into the atmosphere, which raises air temperature some more in a positive feedback loop.

    Actually we raise quite a bit of water from wells. That’s the source of irrigation water in much of these United States. And, BTW, most of it evaporates. And mankind makes a minuscule contribution to CO2 levels. And, no, it doesn’t raise temperatures (Coincidence doesn’t make causation). And yes, you’ve bought into the idiocy that needs elevated water vapor concentrations to lend pseudo science to their religious beliefs.

    and, From millions of years past in the case of fossil fuels, when the atmosphere had more CO2 and global temperatures were warmer. Good living conditions for dinosaurs, not so much for humans. As I’ve said before, it’s not about saving the planet, it’s about keeping the planet hospitable to humans.

    Um, Michael? Dinosaurs had the same habitat requirements as does mankind. Yes, CO2 levels were much higher (and lower) than we see today. And mankind was certainly not the cause. And CO2 levels followed temperature changes — not the other way around. And CO2 levels were NEVER high enough to threaten mammals (or reptiles or birds — or their progenitors).

    and, Absorbing CO2 increases the acidity of the oceans, again not good for humans. They also won’t absorb all of the increased CO2 we dig out of the ground, so there is still a net increase in the atmosphere as well, which still causes warming.

    Um Michael? Why hasn’t this happened before? If all the carbon stored in all the so-called fossil fuels were released in the course of a year (and lets burn off all the forests and grasslands too), how much would CO2 concentrations increase, how long would it take for the oceans to absorb what green plants didn’t fix, and how acidic would our oceans become? Oh, can’t do the math? Why am I not surprised.

    and, That’s not the issue, the issue is how much of that is in the atmosphere.

    See above.

    and, here’s a cite for you (I guess you’re not to facile with searching, Michael. Why am I not surprised?)

  39. Michael says:

    No, you don’t Michael. The principal heat transfer mechanism is convection, not radiation — by several orders of magnitude

    Convection does not get energy from the sun to the earth, nor from the earth back into space.

    The fact is that CO2 is a REALLY weak greenhouse gas and the moron modelers depend on wild-ass claims that the small increase in temperatures that MIGHT be attributable to CO2 will cause humidity to greatly increase and thereon will become the principal greenhouse agent.

    CO2 is a weak green-house gas, yes, but that fact alone doesn’t make the modelers morons. Methane is a stronger green-house gas, but has an atmospheric half-life of only 7 years and a relatively small presence in the atmosphere. Water is another strong green-house gas, but aside from global warming, there is nothing humans do that is increasing it’s presence in the atmosphere. Again, CO2 is the focus because it’s what we have control over.

    Actually we raise quite a bit of water from wells. That’s the source of irrigation water in much of these United States.

    That wasn’t what I meant by “deep underground”. Well water is constantly replenished by above-ground sources. What you pump up out of a well hasn’t been underground for millions of years, it’s already been an active part of our recent climate.

    And mankind makes a minuscule contribution to CO2 levels. And, no, it doesn’t raise temperatures (Coincidence doesn’t make causation).

    Citation needed.

    Dinosaurs had the same habitat requirements as does mankind. Yes, CO2 levels were much higher (and lower) than we see today. And mankind was certainly not the cause.

    A dinosaur alive today would feel like you would living on top of Mt. Everest, the atmosphere is much thinner than they were accustomed to. And obviously mankind didn’t change anything then, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t changing things now, and it certainly doesn’t mean that going back to Jurassic atmospheric conditions is acceptable.

    And CO2 levels were NEVER high enough to threaten mammals (or reptiles or birds — or their progenitors).

    Not high enough to cause asphyxiation, no. But then again, heat can kill you without being hot enough to burn you.

    Why hasn’t this happened before? If all the carbon stored in all the so-called fossil fuels were released in the course of a year (and lets burn off all the forests and grasslands too), how much would CO2 concentrations increase, how long would it take for the oceans to absorb what green plants didn’t fix, and how acidic would our oceans become?

    Who says it hasn’t happened before? And what in the world makes you think that green plants are going to de-acidify water?

    (I guess you’re not to facile with searching, Michael. Why am I not surprised?)

    As I’ve explained in the past, if you make an assertion that required you to know of supporting evidence before making it, you are obligated to provide the supporting evidence. Telling someone to “do your own search” just invites the other person to say “I did do my own search, and nothing supports your assertion”, which puts you immediately back in the position of having to provide what you know.

  40. Gus W says:

    Rush is well-known for broadcasting in pure bias, the opposite of what every journalist is taught, the opposite of how every educator teaches their students to form a well-reasoned argument, and the opposite of what every parent wishes for their kids – to hear both sides of the story so they can make informed decisions.

    What I’m suspicious of is Scott McClellan’s recent revelations that the White House was in direct contact with Conservative talk show personalities in order to manipulate the message going out to the public. If a talk host does not disclose his talking points were supplied by the government, he is violating US anti-propaganda law. Can we get Limbaugh on the record on whether he took part in the massive White House media hustle?

  41. Bruce Moomaw says:

    It would be kind of nice if professional ignoramuses like Norman Rogers and Beldar would actually bother to read a few science journals — and, particularly, the news columns in them — before shooting their mouths off.

    (1) The uncertainty about the amount of CO2 that will be in the air by 2100 runs BOTH ways: a fact which should be obvious, and which has been remarked on recently in a whole series of articles in science journals. There’s a growing body of climatologists who think that the IPCC has seriously UNDERSTATED the extent of the problem. (See, for instance, the June 8 and July 6, 2007 issues of “Science”.)

    (2) The June 7 “Science News” reports the best analysis yet of CO2 levels from air bubbles trapped in glacial ice layers over the last 800,000 years. During that period, the level never rose above 300 parts per million — until this century. Now it’s at 380 ppm, and rising at a rate of 2 ppm per year. Which is not exactly surprising, given that we’re burning up hydrocarbons stored underground over a period of literally hundreds of millions of years in a single century. (As for Rogers saying that irrigation wells are a serious problem because they increase in a major way the amount of water capable of evaporating into the air as humidity — in a world where the entire water table is directly physically linked together, from underground aquifers to rivers to the ocean — well, my God.)

    (3) There have already been one hell of a lot of studies of the extent to which the increase in atnospheric CO2 might stimulate plant growth to pull it back out of the air in a self-regulating negative feedback. Answer, unfortunately: very little. Plants don’t just need more CO2 to grow: they need more water and more soil nutrients — and the supply of neither will grow. (What IS virtually certain to happen pretty soon is that the already-recorded increase in temperature of the soil in Earth’s tundras will cause them to release a large additional burp of CO2 stored right now in cold tundra soil, thereby worsening the problem.)

    (4) How long, O Lord, will the Custeresque shrinking band of GW skeptics keep dragging out that “climatologists thought in the 1970s that there was a serious danger of Earth cooling” canard? A small number of climatologists raised that at the time as one of several alternative possibilities for about 3 years in the late 1970s, and then quickly dropped it when the accumulating climatological evidence of the time conclusively disproved it. By contrast, the far vaster accumulation of climatological data we have now has been simply adding more and more, ever since the mid-1980s, to the idea that man-made global warming is by contrast a very real phenomenon. Indeed, given the common-sense facts that (1) CO2 is a potent greenhouse gas, both directly and indirectly (as has been known for a century), and (2) we are dumping far more of it into the air than has existed there for tens (and perhaps hundreds) of thousands of years, it would be astonishing if it DIDN’T produce a major problem.

    Earth has undergone comparably big changes in global temperature for other reasons in the geological past — but they’ve been stretched out over tens of thousands of years (we could easily adapt to the coming change if it was that leisurely), and had any as rapid as this one occurred when humanity was around, it would have been comparably destructive to human society.

    Which of course leaves us with the much more difficult question of just what the optimal course of action is for dealing with man-made GW is — and I imagine that we are going to have to throw a combination of everything but the kitchen sink at it (carbon taxes, new energy-production technologies, new energy-conservation technologies, possible new CO2 re-sequestration technologies, massive worldwide migrations of population, simple endurance of increased worldwide misery). The one course of action that is NOT acceptable is sticking your head in the sand in the hope that it will be cooler under there.

  42. Bruce Moomaw says:

    As for the Fat Boy himself, I have — oddly — only seen one poll, ever, of his actual popularity with the US public: one run by Gallup in Sept. 2006, right after he announced that you could clearly tell that Michael J. Fox was faking his Parkinson’s Disease symptoms in his TV ad for the Missouri stem-cell initiative. (Now, THAT’S class.)

    Result: 65-29 negative nationwide — which means there’s a good chance that his attack on Fox threw the very close Missouri Senate race, and with it control of the US Senate, to the Dems. Go, Rush!

  43. Norman Rogers says:

    I had thought you moonbats had gone away to lick your wounds. Oh, well

    Convection does not get energy from the sun to the earth, nor from the earth back into space.

    True, but you are deliberately trying to obfuscate your previous assertion — that the heat capture mechanism purported to be the engine of global warming is the RADIATION of energy by the few CO2 molecules in our atmosphere that is subsequently ABSORBED by the earth and then re RADIATED back into the atmosphere. I explained to you that the principal heat transfer mechanism is CONVECTION (by several orders of magnitude). Now you’re just trying to pretend your really not as stupid as I have amply demonstrated.

    OBTW, here’s a cite from the National Weather Service that explains all this and gives us LOTS more information.

    Convection
    Convection is the transfer of heat energy in a fluid. This type of heating is most commonly seen in the kitchen when you see liquid boiling.
    Air in the atmosphere acts as a fluid. The sun’s radiation strikes the ground, thus warming the rocks. As the rock’s temperature rises due to conduction, heat energy is released into the atmosphere, forming a bubble of air which is warmer than the surrounding air. This bubble of air rises into the atmosphere. As it rises, the bubble cools with the heat contained in the bubble moving into the atmosphere.
    As the hot air mass rises, the air is replaced by the surrounding cooler, more dense air, what we feel as wind. These movements of air masses can be small in a certain region, such as local cumulus clouds, or large cycles in the troposphere, covering large sections of the earth. Convection currents are responsible for many weather patterns in the troposphere.

    It has been thought that an increase in carbon dioxide will lead to global warming. While carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been increasing over the past 100 years, there is no evidence that it is causing an increase in global temperatures.

    In 1997, NASA reported global temperature measurements of the Earth’s lower atmosphere obtained from satellites revealed no definitive warming trend over the past two decades. In fact, the trend appeared to be a decrease in actual temperature. In 2007, NASA data showed that one-half of the ten warmest years occurred in the 1930’s with 1934 (tied with 2006) as the warmest years on record. (NASA data October 23, 2007 from http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.D.txt)

    The 1930s through the 1950s were clearly warmer than the 1960s and 1970s. If carbon dioxide had been the cause then the warmest years would have understandably been in the most recent years. But that is not the case.

    The largest differences in the satellite temperature data were not from any man-made activity, but from natural phenomena such as large volcanic eruptions from Mt. Pinatubo, and from El Niño.

    The behavior of the atmosphere is extremely complex. Therefore, discovering the validity of global warming is complex as well. How much effect will the increase in carbon dioxide will have is unclear or even if we recognize the effects of any increase.

    Michael: CO2 is a weak green-house gas, yes, but that fact alone doesn’t make the modelers morons.

    Actually it does. Because they base ALL of their catastrophic claims on their notion that a (very) slight increase in average temperatures (purportedly due to CO2 effects) would occasion a huge rise in average humidity — WHICH WOULD BE THE REAL DRIVER FOR INCREASING TEMPERATURES. Go ahead, ask me for a cite! And you wonder why I think you’re a moron?

    Michael: CO2 is the focus because it’s what we have control over.

    Control over? And, you wonder why I think you’re a moron? What percentage of the yearly CO2 contributions are from mankind? Natural sources of carbon dioxide include the respiration (breathing) of animals and plants, and evaporation from the oceans. Together, these natural sources release about 150 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, far outweighing the 7 billion tonnes of man-made emissions from fossil fuel burning, waste incineration, deforestation and cement manufacture.

    Now, ask me for a cite. Let’s show the world how little you know about the subjects you opine on.

    Michael, do you really believe that you can eliminate mankind’s contribution — or that eliminating 7 parts vs. the remaining 150 parts would actually make a difference? And, do you wonder why I think you’re a moron?

    Michael: A dinosaur alive today would feel like you would living on top of Mt. Everest, the atmosphere is much thinner than they were accustomed to.

    Um Michael? Don’t you insist on cites for these kinds of assertions.? Actually, there is quite a bit of theorizing on this — and it may be true. But, so what? The increased air pressure would have been due to increase O2 concentrations (it weighs more).

    Michael: heat can kill you without being hot enough to burn you.

    OK, Michael — now we’re gonna burn to death! You ought to read some of Lomborg’s works. He demonstrates that [Portion of comment in violation of site policies deleted.] far more deaths due to extreme cold conditions would be averted than the increased deaths attributable to warmer temperatures. Another “Inconvenient Truth”, Michael?

  44. Norman Rogers says:

    Portion of comment in violation of site policies deleted.

    1. Rush is a commentator — not a “journalist”.
    2. The notion that journalists must be taught “journalism” is [Portion of comment in violation of site policies deleted.. ]It’s really about conforming to the bias of “conventional wisdom” — and you’re a prime example, Gus.
    3. Do you think parents want their children to hear about the needs of pederasts? Or Maoists? (Actually, I’m sure you do).
    Portion of comment in violation of site policies deleted.

    EDITOR’S NOTE: Keep commentary to discussion of issues.

  45. Norman Rogers says:

    OK, this is for Gus, who wrote: Rush is well-known for broadcasting in pure bias, the opposite of what every journalist is taught, the opposite of how every educator teaches their students to form a well-reasoned argument, and the opposite of what every parent wishes for their kids – to hear both sides of the story so they can make informed decisions.

    Um, Gus? Surely I’m not the first to have concluded you’re a moron!

    1. Rush is a commentator — not a “journalist”.

    2. The notion that journalists must be taught “journalism” is another idiocy that you morons subscribe to. It’s really about conforming to the bias of “conventional wisdom” — and you’re a prime example, Gus.

    3. Do you think parents want their children to hear about the needs of pederasts? Or Maoists? (Actually, I’m sure you do).

    And, you wonder why I think you’re a moron?

    Bruce Moombat tells us: The uncertainty about the amount of CO2 that will be in the air by 2100 runs BOTH ways …

    DUH! So why do you idiots persist in telling us, WE’RE DOOMED (unless we act right now!) And, THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED!!!! And you wonder why I think you’re a moron?

    And: The June 7 “Science News” reports the best analysis yet of CO2 levels from air bubbles trapped in glacial ice layers over the last 800,000 years.

    Gee, Bruce — why limit your research to the last 800,000 years? You think of yourself as a “scientist”, don’t you (even if the rest of us are laughing — and sneering — at you). Is it because if you extend the historical range of your “citation”, CO2 levels were MUCH higher? And that there is overwhelming evidence that CO2 is a follower — AND NOT THE DRIVER — of temperature? (check out the Carboniferous Period and the rate of absorbtion of carbon) And, do you really wonder why I think you’re a moron?

    And, There have already been one hell of a lot of studies of the extent to which the increase in atnospheric CO2 might stimulate plant growth to pull it back out of the air in a self-regulating negative feedback …

    Bruce, you moron — this is how it works! You’re just as stupid as Michael — you idiots don’t understand that there is a fixed amount of carbon in and on our planet. More isn’t created — and it never gets used up. Instead it gets cycled — and the biggest moderator is our oceans. Is it any wonder that you’ve never found anyone who would pay you what you think you’re worth?

    And, CO2 is a potent greenhouse gas

    No, Bruce, CO2 is a VERY WEAK greenhouse gas. (see the explanation in an earlier post — you idiots think you can claim that a small increase in global temperatures that MIGHT be occasioned by slightly elevated CO2 levels would ABSOLUTELY CERTAINLY POSITIVELY occasion a LARGE increase in water vapor — which would be the actual driver of REALLY INCREASED TEMPERATURES). And, do you really wonder why I think you’re a moron?

    And, Earth has undergone comparably big changes in global temperature for other reasons in the geological past — but they’ve been stretched out over tens of thousands of years (we could easily adapt to the coming change if it was that leisurely), and had any as rapid as this one occurred when humanity was around, it would have been comparably destructive to human society.

    Bruce, you should try (holding your nose and) reading Lomborg. If indeed the most dire warming scenarios unfold, it will be easy (and cheap) to deal with them. Indeed, the benefits (longer growing seasons in now colder climes, shorter winters (no change to summers), fewer deaths due to cold) far outweigh the problems. Are you really as stupid as your writings suggest?

  46. Michael says:

    I had thought you moonbats had gone away to lick your wounds. Oh, well

    And the name calling begins, this doesn’t bode well for your argument.

    True, but you are deliberately trying to obfuscate your previous assertion — that the heat capture mechanism purported to be the engine of global warming is the RADIATION of energy by the few CO2 molecules in our atmosphere that is subsequently ABSORBED by the earth and then re RADIATED back into the atmosphere.

    Okay, poor wording on my part, I apologize. Yes, convection is responsible for the majority of heat transfer in the atmosphere. However, radiation is how it gets in, and radiation is how it gets out, anything that happens in between is irrelevant to libido.

    Actually it does. Because they base ALL of their catastrophic claims on their notion that a (very) slight increase in average temperatures (purportedly due to CO2 effects) would occasion a huge rise in average humidity — WHICH WOULD BE THE REAL DRIVER FOR INCREASING TEMPERATURES.

    Hmmm, I haven’t seen that notion in all of the catastrophic claims I’ve seen. But they again, I’m on record as being skeptical of catastrophic claims anyway.

    Natural sources of carbon dioxide include the respiration (breathing) of animals and plants, and evaporation from the oceans.

    And where to you suppose those animals or the oceans got the carbon dioxide from in the first place? It doesn’t matter how much we circulate it, all that matters is the total amount there. When I exhale, the CO2 I breath out comes from hydrocarbons that I consumed in plant matter, which extracted the CO2 from the atmosphere some time before. There is no net increase in CO2 in the atmosphere because of this process. Please don’t call me a moron while you’re making such obviously flawed arguments.

    Um Michael? Don’t you insist on cites for these kinds of assertions.? Actually, there is quite a bit of theorizing on this — and it may be true. But, so what? The increased air pressure would have been due to increase O2 concentrations (it weighs more).

    During the Jurassic period, O2 levels were 130% of today’s levels, while CO2 concentration was 500% of today’s levels. During the Cambrian period, CO2 levels were nearly 12 times today’s levels, with O2 at only 63% of today’s levels. Oh, and CO2 weights more than O2, by about the weight of a carbon atom.

    OK, Michael — now we’re gonna burn to death!

    Didn’t I specifically say you don’t have to be burned to die? In nearly those exact words?

    You ought to read some of Lomborg’s works. He demonstrates that even if the most outlandish musings of you morons come true, far more deaths due to extreme cold conditions would be averted than the increased deaths attributable to warmer temperatures.

    And that has what to do with what exactly? The US incendiary bombing of Tokyo directly killed more people than our atomic bombing of Hiroshima, that doesn’t mean we should use atomic weapons more often.

  47. Norman Rogers says:

    Michael, there’s no need to appologize for “poor wording”. Poor argumentation, ignorance of basic facts, supercilious attitude — yes, but you don’t have the mindset to admit to being wrong.

    In fact you demonstrated ignorance about the basic heat transfer mechanisms central to what passes for theory amongst the faithful warm-mongers. And you don’t even know the groundings for the wildass claims of catastrophic threshold effects (they ALL depend on unstoppable and ever increasing humidity to get enough greenhouse effect AND to absorb and hold and eventually transfer enough energy to our oceans to actually make a difference in global temperatures).

    Since you like cites, why don’t you give us one to the scenario you’re most fearful of. Provide one that actually links to raw data, underlying theories, and modeling details. Let’s see if you can find one that doesn’t depend on water vapor.

    And Michael, you claim to “be on record” (cite?) as being skeptical of catastrophic warming. If that’s so, then why advocate doing anything? I’ll make an educated guess that you’re wildly against permitting more domestic oil drilling because (amongst other things, I’m sure), any successes wouldn’t impact domestic supplies for fifteen to twenty years. If you don’t want to do anything now that might help Americans in the near future, why are you so anxious about doing SOMETHING now about Global Warming — which may never occur (it seems to have stopped nearly ten years ago — and may never have occured at all).

    And what argument did I make that you claim is “flawed”? I explained to you that every bit of carbon mankind releses into the atmosphere has been there before. And I asked you to answer a very simple question: if all of the carbon now stored in fuels and plant life were released into the atmosphere in a short period of time (say a month or so), how long would it take for the oceans and plant life to absorb it?

    Obviously, this kind of question is beyond your skill set.

    And your parting argument is priceless. Let me see if I can distill it for you:

    Michael claims that we needn’t consider the net benefits of global warming — and the actual costs to mitigate what little hardshops would ensue — because the USA of killed more Japs with napalm than with nukes. Did I get it right, Michael?

  48. Norman Rogers says:

    Michael, there’s no need to appologize for “poor wording”. Poor argumentation, ignorance of basic facts, supercilious attitude — yes, but you don’t have the mindset to admit to being wrong.

    In fact you demonstrated ignorance about the basic heat transfer mechanisms central to what passes for theory amongst the faithful warm-mongers. And you don’t even know the groundings for the wildass claims of catastrophic threshold effects (they ALL depend on unstoppable and ever increasing humidity to get enough greenhouse effect AND to absorb and hold and eventually transfer enough energy to our oceans to actually make a difference in global temperatures).

    Since you like cites, why don’t you give us one to the scenario you’re most fearful of. Provide one that actually links to raw data, underlying theories, and modeling details. Let’s see if you can find one that doesn’t depend on water vapor.

    And Michael, you claim to “be on record” (cite?) as being skeptical of catastrophic warming. If that’s so, then why advocate doing anything? I’ll make an educated guess that you’re wildly against permitting more domestic oil drilling because (amongst other things, I’m sure), any successes wouldn’t impact domestic supplies for fifteen to twenty years. If you don’t want to do anything now that might help Americans in the near future, why are you so anxious about doing SOMETHING now about Global Warming — which may never occur (it seems to have stopped nearly ten years ago — and may never have occured at all).

    And what argument did I make that you claim is “flawed”? I explained to you that every bit of carbon mankind releses into the atmosphere has been there before. And I asked you to answer a very simple question: if all of the carbon now stored in fuels and plant life were released into the atmosphere in a short period of time (say a month or so), how long would it take for the oceans and plant life to absorb it?

    Obviously, this kind of question is beyond your skill set.

    And your parting argument is priceless. Let me see if I can distill it for you:

    Michael claims that we needn’t consider the net benefits of global warming — and the actual costs to mitigate what little hardshops would ensue — because the USA of killed more Japs with napalm than with nukes. Did I get it right, Michael?

  49. Bruce Moomaw says:

    I’ll say this, James: you don’t just flush out trolls, you flush out Balrogs. Until such times as Rogers goes back and actually READS the most elementary statements of climatologists (he can start with literally any science journal on Earth, since climatologists long ago considered every “point” he’s tried to make), there’s no point in wasting hours of my time arguing with him. Dr. Johnson’s famous statement about criticism being wasted on pure idiocy definitely applies in this case.

  50. Michael says:

    Michael, there’s no need to appologize for “poor wording”.

    I was actually apologizing for the confusion it caused, not the wording itself.

    but you don’t have the mindset to admit to being wrong.

    You haven’t been here long enough to make that kind of judgment, sorry. Stick around for a year or so, then try again.

    Since you like cites, why don’t you give us one to the scenario you’re most fearful of.

    How about this one:
    I’m on record as being skeptical of catastrophic claims anyway.

    And Michael, you claim to “be on record” (cite?) as being skeptical of catastrophic warming.

    Again, stick around for a while and you’ll know it’s not just a “claim”. Funny, I had assumed by the previous quote that you hadn’t read this portion.

    If that’s so, then why advocate doing anything?

    Because doing something is better than a not-quite-catastrophic-but-still bad outcome. For the same reason people can support ANWR drilling without believing that the US economy will collapse without it.

    I’ll make an educated guess

    I find that difficult to believe.

    that you’re wildly against permitting more domestic oil drilling because (amongst other things, I’m sure), any successes wouldn’t impact domestic supplies for fifteen to twenty years.

    Or, you could go back and read through some comment threads on that very topic, and see me criticizing people, including front-page authors, for making that very argument. Again, you haven’t been here long enough to make any kind of judgments.

    And what argument did I make that you claim is “flawed”?

    You claimed that animal and plant respiration caused a net increase in atmospheric CO2 levels. You also claimed that O2 is heavier than C+O2. The first is flawed logic, the second is mathematically wrong.

    I explained to you that every bit of carbon mankind releses into the atmosphere has been there before.

    I’m not arguing with you on that, I’m simply stating that the atmospheric conditions, when it was there, were not suitable for our current ecosystem.

    And I asked you to answer a very simple question: if all of the carbon now stored in fuels and plant life were released into the atmosphere in a short period of time (say a month or so), how long would it take for the oceans and plant life to absorb it?

    The oceans will only absorb until they reach an equilibrium, which by definition means that there will still be an increase in atmospheric CO2, even after the oceans have absorbed all they are capable of. Plants are not currently CO2 deprived, so increasing the availability of CO2 won’t actually cause much increase in plant growth. So the answer to your question is that it will never be fully absorbed. Without a mechanism to remove some of it from the carbon cycle, the increase will remain.

    Did I get it right, Michael?

    No, and I’m beginning to believe that you don’t want to either. Still, your “moron” tick didn’t introduce itself into every paragraph of your post this time, I guess that’s a good sign.

  51. Norman Rogers says:

    Michael, I was actually apologizing for the confusion it caused, not the wording itself.

    Michael — the only one who was “confused” was you. You don’t know squat about atmospheric physics, as we’ve amply demonstrated. The problem with ALL of the warm-mongers wild-ass modeling claims is that there isn’t enough CO2 in the atmosphere to absorb enough energy or to hold it to make a damned bit of difference to the earth’s temperature. ALL of these idiots depend on an enormous increase in humidity to justify their silliness. There isn’t ANY way to demonstrate their necessary phenomena — nor is there any way to model what would happen to the excess humidity (think cloud formation, think excess reflectivity, think nobody can possibly base any predictions on these assumptions — except you morons).

    You, Michael, claimed that the energy absorbed by CO2 molecules would be RE RADIATED back to the earth. Now you say you’re sorry your words caused confusion? What a joke! What is it in your psyche that won’t let you admit you shot your mouth (OK keyboard) off half-cocked and you got it wrong?

    Oh, I “haven’t been around here (this blog?) long enough” to judge your ignorance and refusal to admit to error? I guess this blog must be your echo chamber, right? Sorry to burst your bubble.

    And now you claim that “doing something” to solve a non-existent problem that wouldn’t make a bit of difference anyway — is better than a “bad outcome”. Again, I suggest you read Lomborg. He grants your (ilk’s) worst predictions and then demonstrates that even if the most dire of your predictions come true, it’s still far, far cheaper to let it happen and mitigate against it (make the seawalls a little higher and such) than to impoverish our progeny to try to prevent your scenarios. Even if Kyoto were fully implemented, it would push back the worst case 100 year temperature rise by SIX YEARS! And NOBODY is adhering to Kyoto.

    And I’m not (and most scientists are not) willing to grant you anything. There’s no science behind the IPCC — just politics. You luddites want to kill off most of humanity so you can go back to living in trees (I guess your primary motivation is take the toys away from people who can afford them because no one will pay you enough to enable you to buy your own).

    And, your logic defies understanding. First you claim that we needn’t consider the net benefits of global warming — and the actual costs to mitigate what little hardships would ensue — because the US of A killed more Japs with napalm than with nukes. And now you tell us you want to take some meaningless action today because some people can support drilling in ANWR even if they don’t believe our economy would collapse without it. Huh?

    OBTW, atmospheric pressure MAY have been greater aeons ago because Oxygen (O2)is a LOT heavier than NITROGEN (N) — like more than twice! (you moron). Now do you get it?

    And, I guess you don’t have the chops to actually do any real science (why am I not surprised?) No, Michael, atmospheric CO2 will never be fully absorbed by the oceans. But, the levels will stabilize, depending on temperature and gas pressure. No, Michael, the CO2 won’t “remain” in the atmosphere. That which can be absorbed, will be absorbed. Have you never taken a college level chemistry course?

    The answer to the question (which you obviously cannot answer) is that levels will return to approximately where they are at present. The earth has survived the Indonesian fires of the nineties:

    WASHINGTON, DC, November 8, 2002 (ENS) – Wildfires that scorched parts of Indonesia in 1997 spewed as much carbon into the atmosphere as the entire planet’s biosphere removes from it in a year, shows new research published this week. The fires, which destroyed thousands of forest acres and left peat bogs smoldering for months, released as much as 2.6 billion metric tons of carbon – mostly in the form of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) – into the atmosphere.

    A team of scientists led by Susan Page from the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom attempted to estimate the mount of carbon released by the 1997 fires, and their potential effects on global warming. In an article published in the November 7 issue of the journal “Nature,” the researchers conclude that these fires were “a major contributor to the sharp increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations detected in 1998.”

    This 2.6 Billion tonnes (metric tons) contrasts with the 7 billion/yr mankind may be responsible for.

    Are you going to prevent natural fires and volcanic eruptions too, Michael?

    And Bruce, (poor Bruce). Have I reduced you to just casting silly insults towards me? Why don’t you cite some “climatologists” (can you get a degree in this now? Our tax dollars at work!) to refute the NWS article I cited above (no atmospheric warming, AT ALL). No fun, huh?

  52. Bruce Moomaw says:

    OK, Mr. Rogers; let’s quote from NOAA, of which the National Weather Service is but one part. (This quote from NOAA, by the way, is dated 9 months later than your quote from the southern branch of the National Weather Service — that is, the period in which Bush political flacks got caught deliberately fiddling with the agency’s scientific pronouncements, as the Administration has now been publicly forced to admit.)

    “Global surface temperatures have increased about 0.74 deg C(plus or minus 0.18°C) since the late-19th century, and the linear trend for the past 50 years of 0.13°C (plus or minus 0.03°C) per decade is nearly twice that for the past 100 years. The warming has not been globally uniform. Some areas (including parts of the southeastern U.S. and parts of the North Atlantic) have, in fact, cooled slightly over the last century. The recent warmth has been greatest over North America and Eurasia between 40 and 70°N. Lastly, seven of the eight warmest years on record have occurred since 2001 and the 10 warmest years have all occurred since 1995. [By the way, the recent fuss over whether temperatures were higher for 2 years in the 1930s than in the 1990s is entirely a reference to temperatures in the US — and even there it’s debatable. There is no question at all that average WORLD temperatures are higher right now than they have been for at least a millennium — Moomaw]

    “Recent analyses of temperature trends in the lower and mid-troposphere (between about 2,500 and 26,000 ft.) using both satellite and radiosonde (weather balloon) data show warming rates that are similar to those observed for surface air temperatures. These warming rates are consistent with their uncertainties, and these analyses reconcile a discrepancy between warming rates noted on the IPCC Third Assessment Report (U.S. Climate Change Science Plan Synthesis and Assessment Report 1.1).

    “An enhanced greenhouse effect is expected to cause cooling in higher parts of the atmosphere because the increased ‘blanketing’ effect in the lower atmosphere holds in more heat, allowing less to reach the upper atmosphere. Cooling of the lower stratosphere (about 49,000-79,500 ft.) since 1979 is shown by both satellite Microwave Sounding Unit and radiosonde data (see previous figure), but is larger in the radiosonde data likely due to uncorrected errors…

    “There has been a general, but not global, tendency toward reduced diurnal temperature range (DTR: the difference between daily high or maximum and daily low or minimum temperatures) over about 70% of the global land mass since the middle of the 20th century. However, for the period 1979-2005 the DTR shows no trend since the trend in both maximum and minimum temperatures for the same period are virtually identical — both showing a strong warming signal.

    “Indirect indicators of warming such as borehole temperatures, snow cover, and glacier recession data, are in substantial agreement with the more direct indicators of recent warmth. Evidence such as changes in glacial mass balance (the amount of snow and ice contained in a glacier) is useful since it not only provides qualitative support for existing meteorological data, but glaciers often exist in places too remote to support meteorological stations. The records of glacial advance and retreat often extend back further than weather station records, and glaciers are usually at much higher altitudes than weather stations, allowing scientists more insight into temperature changes higher in the atmosphere…

    “Paleoclimatic data are critical for enabling us to extend our knowledge of climatic variability beyond what is measured by modern instruments. Many natural phenomena are climate dependent (such as the growth rate of a tree for example), and as such, provide natural ‘archives’ of climate information. Some useful paleoclimate data can be found in sources as diverse as tree rings, ice cores, corals, lake sediments (including fossil insects and pollen data), speleothems (stalactites etc), and ocean sediments. Some of these, including ice cores and tree rings provide us also with a chronology due to the nature of how they are formed, and so high resolution climate reconstruction is possible in these cases. However, there is not a comprehensive ‘network’ of paleoclimate data as there is with instrumental coverage, so global climate reconstructions are often difficult to obtain. Nevertheless, combining different types of paleoclimate records enables us to gain a near-global picture of climate changes in the distant past.

    “For Northern Hemisphere temperature, recent decades appear to be the warmest since at least about 1000 AD, and the warming since the late 19th century is unprecedented over the last 1000 years. Older data are insufficient to provide reliable hemispheric temperature estimates. Ice core data suggest that the 20th century has been warm in many parts of the globe, but also that the significance of the warming varies geographically, when viewed in the context of climate variations of the last millennium.

    “Large and rapid climatic changes affecting the atmospheric and oceanic circulation and temperature, and the hydrological cycle, occurred during the last ice age and during the transition towards the present Holocene period (which began about 10,000 years ago). Based on the incomplete evidence available, the projected change of 3 to 7°F (1.5 – 4°C) over the next century would be unprecedented in comparison with the best available records from the last several thousand years.”

    Coming up: Lomborg.

  53. Norman Rogers says:

    Bruce, had you read the Introduction to your cite, you would have learned, This page is based on a brief synopsis of the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) …

    And we all know that there is NO science behind this purely political report. That indeed, the earth has been cooling since 1998.

    Can’t you come up with a cite that doesn’t rehash the IPCC garbage — and months after the fact? C’mon Bruce, try a little harder. I gave you an NWS link, at least.

  54. Bruce Moomaw says:

    And now for Lomborg — or, more precisely, his “Copenhagen Consensus” conference, as described in the June 4, 2004 “Science”, pg. 1429 (not on the Web for free, alas):

    In spending money on assisting poor countries, “Measures to stem climate change should compete with development aid, Lomborg suggests, because according to predictions ‘the developing world will suffer most of the damage from climate change.’…

    “Laying out the case for climate change [as the single most important item to spend Third World assistance funds on] was William Cline, an environmental economist at the Center for Global Development in Washington, DC. His primary evidence was the 2001 report of the IPCC, which predicts an increase in average global temperatures of between 1.4 and 5.8 deg C by the year 2100. Lomborg acknowledged that the report is ‘the best of our knowledge on climate change’.”

    So, when Rogers says that Lomborg denies the existence of a serious global-warming problem, he is… well, the polite interpretation is that he’s totally mistaken. Since then, of course, the IPCC’s follow-up 2007 report — based on continued and firmer data — has convinced such longtime additional holdouts as “Reason” magazine’s Ronald Bailey.

    Ah, but now for the really good part:

    “The most cost-effective strategy, Cline argued, would be a global carbon tax, more aggressive than the one called for under Kyoto, that would halve greenhouse emissions by the end of the century.

    “The panel [selected entirely by Lomborg] rejected that line of argument, concluding that Cline’s proposal would be ‘very bad’ investments. Panelist Nancy Stokey, an economist at the U. of Chicago, explains that the solutions would require ‘large expenditures for benefits that would come far in the future.’ ” That is, we should concentrate entirely on what’s good or bad for ourselves, and ignore all effects of this problem on our grandchildren and great-grandchildren, no matter how catastrophic they may be.

    I gather that this kind of entirely short-term reasoning is actually a mandatory rule in present-day business accounting. For the GW problem, it’s criminal insanity (especially since — given both the amount of heat energy being stored in the oceans and the fact that it’s much harder to pull a CO2 molecule out of the air than not to put it there in the first place — the longer we wait on dealing with this problem the harder it will be to to stop or reverse). Of course, that may be why it appeals to Mr. Rogers.

  55. Norman Rogers says:

    Bruce, you really are thick. Lomborg’s central thesis is that even if the wild-ass predictions of the warm-mongers come true (and Lomborg doesn’t contest them), they’re not (by FAR) the most pressing problem of humanity (lack of clean water in the 3rd world would be number one). And, if given the opportunity to prioritize problems and the costs and benefits of available solutions — ALL OF THE World’s LEADERS would place Global Warming near the bottom of their lists.

    And, Lomborg specifically addresses the problem of killing our economies (and impoverishing our children and their children) to try to pretend to prevent a problem (Kyoto would delay the most catastrophic predictions for a mere 6 years — if fully implemented) that could be easily and cheaply mitigated. Indeed, the benefits of a warmer climate far outweigh what little damage would result.

    Can’t you read, Bruce? Oh, I forgot — you’re a moron.

    OBTW, the earth isn’t warming. It’s been cooling for nearly the last decade. And, if the sun has lost it’s spots (they’re not back yet), it could get downright chilly.

    Oh goody, here’s your chance to switch gears, Bruce. Let’s see you show your fear of the coming ICE AGE!