The work to read after seeing “An Inconvenient Truth”

A good online review of my book from Truth & Progress:

Hell and High Water: Global Warming–the Solution and the Politics, Joe Romm. This work might be called the work to read after seeing An Inconvenient Truth. AIT provides the hopeful future, a muted discussion of many of the risks and difficulties facing us/US in turning the tide on Global Warming. Romm hits us in the face, hard, with a terrifying future and doesn’t mince words about the challenges ahead. In many ways, Hell and High Water might be the Global Warming work of most interest to the politically engaged (Democratic and/or Republican). Romm lays a strong case as to how Global Warming could be the death sentence for the Republican Party as reality becomes ever blatantly at odds with Republican Party rhetoric (or, actually, that Republican denial is ever more apparently at odds with facts staring us all in the face). Romm also highlights how, in an ever more difficult world in the years to come, either the United States figures out how to lead in dealing with mitigating/muting Global Warming and its impacts or risks becoming a pariah nation, with dire implications for the Republic and its citizens. Romm has been working literally for decades to try to move the globe toward a more energy efficient, renewable energy path, with experience working with the Rocky Mountain Institute and directing Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy in the Department of Energy during the Clinton Administration. Romm can be found blogging at Climate Progress.

39 Responses to The work to read after seeing “An Inconvenient Truth”

  1. Ron says:

    I have two questions for you hysterical greenies. I wonder if you can answer them.

    As you must know if you’ve done your homework, Clinton/Gore signed on to Kyoto way back in 1998, two years before they left office (which is why, as you must also know, George Bush CAN’T sign it) but the Senate has taken no action toward ratifying it. Why hasn’t Gore been pushing for them to get busy?

    And why won’t Al Gore publicly debate manmade global warming if his ’science’ is so solid? A public debate, if he’s right, could only help the cause.

    Oh, and maybe one more question: Do you have the courage to let my questions stand, or will you delete them?

    Then what’s really behind the hoax you might ask? Do a google search and a blog search on these names – Paul Watson; Maurice Strong. And then do some thinking for yourself.

  2. Joe says:

    No hysterical Greenies here. Kyoto covers 2008 to 2012 — it is far too late to ratify it.

    I’ve done one on one debates with Denyers and understand why Gore won’t do it — it is very hard to debate someone who just makes up stuff. Second, a debate leaves the false impression that there are an equal number of credible experts on both sides, when in fact 99.9% of the relevant scientific community believes humans are changing the climate and failing to act in the near future will have dire consequences.

    Your names are a red herring. The work of thousands of scientists are the reason I and others believe in global warming.

  3. Steve says:

    First, I agree that Joe Romm’s recent book Hell and High Water is one of the very best in its genre. I hope it gains wide circulation and popularity. If nothing else, perhaps it will prompt Congress and other states to follow California’s lead in electrical energy efficiency and related policies.

    Second, I’d be interested to know whether Mr. Romm and his publisher have a program for offering reduced-price copies in bulk which can be purchased by non-profit groups or for classroom use.

    Third, I don’t quite understand the obsession of individuals such as Ron who seem to be after little more than perceived intellectual one-upmanship on these and other issues. Global warming is not something you want to incorrectly underestimate, so even if these individuals personally want to deny and do nothing, why should it matter if someone else is proactive? The doers are a hedge against the doubters’ guessing wrong and causing your own unhappy, albeit collective, future?

    Ron: If you think the “greenies” are picking my pocket, and want to show me the light — so I can rationally balance that against the existing data and future scenarios outlined in Mr. Romm’s book — then by own means show me that light.

    I personally come from the center on this and most other public policy issues, though I am not the least bit active in politics. I do try to stay informed and listen to both sides, however.

    Reduced energy consumption, particularly that derived from non-renewable fossil fuels, is not simply a climate crisis/global warming/climate change matter (though that could prove to be, by far, the most compelling matter).

    Our “addiction to oil” — President Bush’s words– has us off fighting wars at great cost (to American tax-payers only) while causing the immediate and unnecessary loss of American and other lives. Excess oil consumption increases demand which increases price and, along with inefficient energy use, is a net drag on GDP. These are concerns which traditionally have been voiced most actively by the traditional right in this country. Why, therefore, should anyone care if a so-called “greenie” gets to the same result through different reasoning, concerns, and priorities?

    Perhaps because politics is not “personal” for me here in Southern California, I just don’t understand why time and productive energy is spent debating individuals whose own agendas and articulated interests do not line up internally consistent with one another to begin with… within their own so-called value system.

    For twenty years, I’ve seen idiotic positions advanced in the courtroom, often combined with unethical practices, by purportedly educated attorneys, experts, and their clients. In my early days, I would try to persuade my adversary to see the light. Now, my clients, experts, and I typically just spare the time, expense, and aggravation… we go on to secure the “W” in the courtroom or elsewhere… and we then move on, leaving them to point the finger at each other trying to figure who — in their own camp — was the biggest fool.

    Time is better spent by others on more deserving people and activities.

  4. Ron says:

    Well, first of all, the 99.9% figure is incorrect – even though the Green Prophet Mr. Gore told you so. But don’t take my word for it; I’m just a troll in a blog. Do your own reading and thinking. The ‘relevant scientific community’ should mean ‘climatologists’, not just any scientists looking for grant money.

    And second, the names are not red herrings. You may be unfamiliar with them, but they are guys ‘on your side’. They are global goverment folks and de-populationists (as in reducing the worlds poulation). What would YOUR good ideas be for reducing the worlds population? Watson, for instance, wants to reduce the population by about 5.5 billion. What would be a good way to do this? And what would we do with all the bodies? Rotting corpses give off greenhouse gases, by the way…..

    Go ahead, look him up. He’s on the board of the Sierra Club. He made his name sinking whaling ships (and killing whalers). He’s a true eco-warrior….

    One way to kill a bunch of people, without getting your hands dirty, would be to restrict the availability of coal, wood, etc for cooking and heating in third world countries. And controlling energy would certainly give some folks some real power.

    But maybe it’s just as Steve says. It may not really matter if Gore is correct. It may not matter if global warming is real. It’s all good if it helps the environment, right?

  5. Steve says:

    I should clarify my earlier post…

    As to Ron, my point is not that “it’s all good” simply because, without more, it helps the environment. Environmental activists can have the same lopsided, selfish interest/special interest proclivities as countless other liberal and conservative groups with one-issue agendas.

    I would caution Ron, however, on belittling and discouraging those leaders and, especially, those everyday people who see this issue differently and feel they should do something about it primarily because, I detect and suspect (having been there myself), that Ron has run into some annoying environmental activists in the past.

    My point earlier was twofold. First, if the issue is simply, “Is it real or is it a hoax?” then time and effort is wasted — on this particular issue, at least to my thinking — in having devoted individuals spending too much time arguing with those who believe it is a hoax. You are unlikely to change their views, they are increasingly in the minority, and they tend to be primarily irrational obstructionists (though not always).

    Second, it is a highly calculated risk to recklessly bet (and then act or fail to act) on the proposition that global warming is a hoax, because the consequences of guessing wrong on this issue are quite adverse (as I understand the literature) and the case for a scientific conspiracy of this magnitude is pretty weak, frankly. Right now, the biggest risk factor is that we have underestimated the extent of the problem, the trendline, and the capacity to adjust.

    I’m not a scientist, I haven’t read all the studies, and I don’t know of “globally warming” from first-hand observation of field data and computer models. Like most people, I’m being asked to trust a variety of government and academic experts, many with considerable training and specialized knowledge. What do I risk by ignoring them? What do I lose by trusting their opinions and advice?

    In this case, the balance overwhelmingly favors trusting these experts who are voicing increasing concern over climate crisis issues and imminent tipping points. The view appears to be corroborated repeatedly by more and more, better and better, sophisticated studies (and dissenting opinions would be abundantly out there if the evidence supported them… believe me, there is money for those advocating dissenting opinions). For me, some of this is intuitively corroborated here in Southern California by increased number and severity of heat waves, record drought, and record wildfire activity.

    Still, coming as I do from the center, and well aware of countless other public policy needs we have, I’m not inclined to “jump on the bandwagon” entirely (while I’m open to continually learning more from both sides), but I cannot see why, as one example, people would not advocate energy efficiency measures be adopted nationwide such as those in existence in California and outlined by Mr. Romm in his recent book. These have economic benefits as well as addressing environmental issues.

    In fact, I have serious moral reservations about policy-makers who would be indifferent, or even actively opposed, to measures which would protect all Americans and reduce their cost of living, even if it also addressed, in small part, global warming concerns. This is a stubbornness — which conservatives, moderates, and liberals all despise in President Bush — which is intolerable.

    The case is even stronger for reducing oil dependency. Americans are ridiculously vulnerable to the whims of Asian investors holding our public debt, part of which is caused by our financing imperialistic campaigns we cannot afford. Our thirst for oil puts us in wars we don’t need. On a blunt level, the kid next door who is now a high school football star may very well be killed in Iraq next year because too many of us get a ego jolt from driving an Expedition or Hummer… not to mention because the CEO of ExxonMobil would like to earn an extra $20,000,000 this year (which he will never spend meaningfully anyway).

    Again as to Ron, until you show me someone is seriously picking my pocket beyond my personal measured assessment of the risk factors laid on the table, why should I worry if it ultimately proves to be incorrect science… or exaggerated science… we are dealing with here? We are addressing multiple issues with the same solutions. And that said, again, why actively oppose and belittle people who are trying to do something (to YOUR benefit if your science is wrong) if it is no harm or cost to you?

    As to Joe, to clarify, I did not intend to suggest vigorous debate of solutions, and the weighing of competing domestic and foreign objectives, is not to be fully encouraged, even if sometimes caustic and time-consuming. That’s where time should be spent — not with hoax theorists, which was the point why Gore cannot be bothered with these debates — and that is where suggestions such as those in your excellent book can become refined and implemented in win-win situations.

    Failure to act, by Americans, has multiple consequences here.

    As one example, look, I’m in California. People drive a lot. Gasoline takes a big chunk out of their pocketbooks. If Honda and Toyota can make an attractive, safe, durable, fuel-efficient car, people are going to buy it. If Detroit is too stupid to get it, tough. Where are the Detroit-made hybrids which, for Japan, are so popular as to be regularly understocked in foreign car dealership lots?

    Those lost jobs in Detroit had nothing to do with global warming. We have not yet taxed gasoline to address carbon emissions, so Americans are losing to Japan because they were, and are, stupid in this arena. They spent all their time spreading around their lobbyist dollars in Washington trying to get protection, and they lost in the real world. (And, having ignored American progressive voices for several decades, they are now losing and spending their time pointing the finger at each other.)

    Have a nice weekend.

  6. Brian C.B. says:

    The world is already set on a course for relative depopulation: urbanization empowers women, and empowered women have fewer kids. Sometime in the past few years, the world shifted from more rural to more urban. Predictions are for population to peak in the next few decades, then recede, as the effect of fewer births bites. This has rather little to do with the danger of greenhouse gases, but quite a lot to do with some wignut’s whacked-out implications that those of us who support resource conservation are in it for TEH GENOCIDE. Global warming, or rapid climate change, is likely to bear down most brutally on those living in coastal, low-lying areas. This would include the delta-dwellers in Egypt and Bangladesh. Mass killings, by starvation or cyclonic flooding or simple climate-change drought, are the stuff of inaction against global warming, not action against it.

    (Confession: Joe and I have met on account of we both had a gag-writer hobby. I was much, much funnier than Joe, which has nothing to do with the fact that I approach this problem as an urban designer and architect. Also, I am much better looking. As well as being funnier.)

  7. Ron says:

    Steve, I’d like to pick at several things you had to say above.

    “Those lost jobs in Detroit had nothing to do with global warming.”

    True enough. It had to do with the unions pricing their members out of the marketplace.

    “We have not yet taxed gasoline to address carbon emissions, so Americans are losing to Japan …”

    So you’d like to see still-higher gas prices? Already, most of the price of that gallon of gas is taxes. And exactly how would that increased tax plunder help the environment? By making it impossible for most of to afford, so we stop driving? Do you really think that’s the answer?

    “until you show me someone is seriously picking my pocket beyond my personal measured assessment of the risk factors laid on the table, why should I worry if it ultimately proves to be incorrect science… ?”

    I’m sure I can’t do that, seeing as how you would apparently like to have, for instance, gasoline prices so high that we see seriously decreased consumption. In fact, you are obviously quite socialist and/or fascist in your leanings, so I’m sure it would be a tough sell to convince you that taxation, etc. is ‘picking your pocket’ at all. You believe people and their money are just more resources to use for the ‘public good’ don’t you? Or like the de-populationists, you might actually give some sympathetic
    consideration to the idea of just eliminating 4 out 5 of us …. Of course, think what THAT would do to tax revenues!

    “if the issue is simply, “Is it real or is it a hoax?” then time and effort is wasted —”

    If we are talking here about science, the effort to determine what’s real or unreal is very important; the whole point of science after all. On the other hand, if what you’re talking about is cracking down on energy use and human ‘overpopulation’, JUST IN CASE there MIGHT be a problem, then I can see why debating and any further scientific inquiry would be a waste of time.

    Maybe it’s just me, but if I’m going to be asked to give up more of my money, or even be ‘asked’ to die for the planet – I’d really like to see the science. Call me a denier, a flat-Earther, an irrational obstructionist, a traitor, a heretic, or whatever you want. Don’t just tell me that there MIGHT be a problem. And don’t tell me the sky is falling if you can’t back it up with science.

    Like you, I’m not a scientist. I just hear what the politicians and the news outlets tell me; but I’d still love to see the debate.

  8. Ron says:

    Hey Brian: Tell us a joke.

  9. Steve says:


    My point is that Joe’s spending time on you is a waste of time, for exactly the reasons displayed in your comments. You went way wide of the issues, missed my point(s) entirely, and resorted to name-calling having absolutely no information about me personally.

    First, my point was very simple — unions or no unions — Detroit does not have a competitive hydrid vehicle because it didn’t develop the technology, which is inexcusable incompetence by Fortune 500 company executives. This competitive weakness goes beyond hybrids, by the way, and should be a wake-up call to American manufacturers in this setting and others. Ignoring the science — and ignoring customer needs and preferences tied to that science — is bad business.

    Second, I used gasoline taxing in support of a causation argument, and made no comment on policy — to tax or not to tax — at all. Read it again above. Gasoline prices are rising because crude oil prices are rising. Did you happen to notice that? Global warming taxes have not been added on top of that natural economic cause-and-effect, so no one is asking you, in that particular arena (unlike in Europe), to make a further sacrifice.

    You decided to miss the point and get paranoid about taxes and convert me into a socialist and facist in the same breath. Your “points” from there on are so unconnected to the issues, increasingly irrational, and marked by such over-reaction, to who knows what, that all I’ve done is expose the fact that you’re a waste of time for people concerned with these issues.

    (Your Bush Administration has taxed you more than you realize, by the way. Look at the federal debt, trade deficit, and deterioration of the dollar — that bill will need to be paid sooner or later, through taxes and deteriorating standard of living, particularly where dollar-denominated assets are involved. Your pocket is getting picked more by Washington right now than it has been in a very long time. If you don’t get it, then start cracking the books.

    If you want to “see the science” then read Joe Romm’s book… go to his cited authorities and read them… then explain how all these authorities conspired to get it wrong.

  10. Ron says:


    I didn’t call you names. You are correct in that I have no personal information about you; only the ideas you have recently written. Your ideas are socialist and/or fascist – that’s what taxing and regulating industry and the economy is. I didn’t say YOU were necessarily a Socialist or Fascist. I’m sure you’re a very intelligent and a helluva great guy – just look at the time you’re spending with me when I’m really such a waste of time. And I’m not even taking that personally; I know you’re just attacking my ideas, as I am yours.

    And believe me, it’s not ‘my Bush administration’. I didn’t see ANYBODY running last time that I would have wanted to see in office(and I don’t this time, either). And I fully agree that we are getting our pockets picked more and more, worse and worse, all the time. If taxing and spending was still the test for ‘liberal vs. conservative’, Bush would be the most liberal president we’ve had in a long, long time.

    And speaking of Joe Romm: The guy is an expert on hydrogen fuel cells and such. He’s not a climatologist, or even a meteorologist. He may be a brilliant man, but his bottom line depends on anthropogenic global warming being real. The hysteria puts money in his pocket. You must always consider your sources. Just like Al Gore makes millions from selling ‘carbon offsets’. Romm may be a genius in his field, just as Gore apparently is in the political field, but they are both salesmen.

    Also, I’m sorry that my argument came out as shrill as it did, but I’m not sure it’s any more shrill than the ‘we only have a few more years to act or we are all going to burn up’ crowd. And please take my word for this: I’m not making up the stuff about the depopulationists.

  11. Brian C.B. says:

    Sorry. I’m not your humor whore, Ron. But, I will send you a headshot to back up that “much better looking” claim.

  12. Ron says:


    I certainly didn’t mean to imply you were a whore, sweetie. I just thought I might get a little sample (wink wink).

    And, yes, I’d love to see a pic. You are over 18, right?

  13. Ron says:

    One problem I have with this whole ‘debate’ is the concept of ‘scientific consensus’. Consensus is a political, not scientific, term.

    Here’s an interesting, but non-scientific, exercise: You know there’s lot’s of information to find out there by doing a Google search for ‘global warming’, and a lot of it is quite scary; but try adding ‘climatologist’ to your search terms and the results – the ‘consensus’, if you will – changes dramatically. It’s quite interesting how many climatologists are anthropogenic global warming doubters, compared with the doomsayers who are in other fields like geology, biology, politics, and entertainment.

    Try it –

  14. Ron says:

    Or answer me this question: If it’s pretty well-established that ice ages are cyclical, why aren’t the warming periods in-between also cyclical? Doesn’t that make sense?

    I found some good info on the relationship between the sun’s cycles and our orbital cycles to ice ages in my kid’s 6th grade science textbook.

  15. john says:

    Hey Ron:

    As Joe noted, you guys just love to make stuff up. Fact. Overwhelming majority of climate scientists agree that human activity is heating up the earth and that it’s a bad thing.

    Fact: At least three times in the geologic record we had unusual volcanic activity that mimicked what we’re doing today in terms of releasing GHG into the atmosphere (although these happened at a much slower rate than what we’re doing). Every time it has resulted in warming greater than what our models suggest will happen, and it has been devastating in terms of ecologic damage and species depletion.

    Now, I’ve seen troglodytes and scientific illiterates such as yourself (not calling you names, just putting you into the taxonomy which best fits folks who ignore reality and make stuff up) take this set of acts and say something like this:

    See, if it happened before, then there’s nothing we can do, and heck, maybe we’re not the cause now.

    Wrong, bozo. Fortunately for us, volcanic activity has not been particularly high for several millenia. The real issue, of course, is what would the world look like if it had been? Answer: Very very bad.

    So here’s your lessons, Ron. 1) This experiment has been run before, and it was devastating — that’s a fact, well established. If you’d like to look up this, google the Paleocene/Eocene thermal maximum.

    2) Even the worst models and predictions coming out of the IPCC are best-case forecasts, because they do not have antagonistic assumptions like increased volcanic activity, or postive feedbacks like clathrate melting, and more recent science suggests bad stuff is happening faster than we originally predicted (and no, that doesn’t invalidate the theory – it just means we have more and better information).

    So here’s a question for you, Ron: What’s the percentage in ignoring even the slightest possibility that global warming is real? I mean, the only downside of taking it seriously is that we get off hydrocarbons, quit sending all our money to petro-terrorists, and clean up our air.

    The downside of ignoring it? global catastrophy of one scale or another.

    HMMMMMMM — tough one, eh Ron?

  16. john says:

    Oh yeah, as for your kid’s 6th grade science book and cycles — none of those cycles even begins to explain what we’re seeing. Maybe if you used sources a little better than 6th grade science you wouldn’t look like such an utter fool. Try studying the science (not the knee-jerk conservative anti-science you’re relying on) and then come back and let’s have an educated discussion.

  17. Ron says:


    You said “Overwhelming majority of climate scientists agree that human activity is heating up the earth and that it’s a bad thing.”

    Show me. Not just an article where Al Gore or some movie star says so. Show me something that proves your ‘fact’ that the overwhelming majority truly see a problem. I’d love to pick apart your survey, if you’d just tell me which one you’re relying on.

  18. Joe says:

    Survey? Are you serious? John is referring to the work of the thousands of scientists involved in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
    Try reading the reports of Working Group I, II, and III.

  19. john says:

    Couldn’t have said it better myself, Joe.

    But here’s th thing: Surveys measure opinion. Global warming isn’t an opinion. It’s gone form Hypothesis to theory, and it is now as esconced in science any theory. It’s grounded in physics. Hansen — a physicist — has a nice ay of articulating the “forcing” effect of ghg in watts per meter squared. You can look that up in that 6th grade science book you seem to rely on.

    By the way, you still haven’t answered question:

    What’s the percentage in ignoring even the slightest possibility that global warming is real? I mean, the only downside of taking it seriously is that we get off hydrocarbons, quit sending all our money to petro-terrorists, and clean up our air.

    If you’re wrong, however, and global warming is real, we get global devestation. Sort of like Pascal’s wager ..Got an answer? Or do you just want to throw meaningless brickbats around?

  20. Steve says:

    Joe and John:

    I hope you convert Ron to your cause. It’s a worthy use of your time, and we’re all on the edge of our seats waiting to see who wins this high school debate.

    I didn’t realize it was even an issue, that these “Denyers” had anything to say. I thought the issue was, how much time do we really have, and have we underestimated that time-table? In the world I come from, spending too much time on a weak argument or witness just lends it more credibility.

    You guys need to really start thinking hard — between now and November 2008 — on how to appeal to the center on this issue in the context of every other emerging public policy issue out there as discussed, for example, in former Senator Bill Bradley’s most recent book, The New American Story.

    Frankly, I’m more impressed with what Schwarzenegger has DONE on this issue (in the context of balancing other immediate and sometimes competing political demands) than most so-called progressive Democrats in this country in this country (save Al Gore).

    Ron: You’re a clever little critter, aren’t you? Getting Joe to ignore all his other bloggers and focus on you.

  21. Ron says:

    There are somewhere around 2500 names on the IPCC report, the majority of which are not scientists. Of the scientists, the vast majority are not ‘climate scientists’. Worldwide, there are really only a few hundred genuine climatologists, the vast majority of whom were not involved with the IPCC report in any way! But then, you guys already knew that, didn’t you?

    And again I’ll say – “It’s quite interesting how many climatologists are anthropogenic global warming doubters, compared with the doomsayers who are in other fields like geology, biology, politics, and entertainment.”

    And not all of the research done by the various scientists (of all stripes) even agreed with the ‘findings’ of the IPCC panel. Some even took the very unusual step of suing to have their names removed from the report. But then, you knew that too, didn’t you? (Hey, I know you guys weren’t born yesterday)

    The report also admits to considerable uncertainty, which you and Al Gore, unfortunately, don’t. Al even uses the infamous Hockey Stick Graph as the keystone of his slideshow, which was dishonestly flawed and subsequently removed from the report.

    The fact is, the IPCC was quite political. They started with the conclusion they wanted and lined up scientists and political advisors to help corroborate it.

    Which brings us back to Maurice Strong, the Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, under whom Kyoto was drafted and the IPCC study took place. Strong is a businessman first and environmentalist a distant second, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but he’s also a eugenicist and depopulationist and in bed with the likes of Du Pont , Shell , Dow , Ciba-Geigy, Mitsubishi, Ashai Glass , Atlantic Richfield , ICI , Swatch, 3M , PetroCanada, Union Bank of Switzerland, Nestle, Con-Agra, etc. etc. In some circles he is called ‘the man with the rolodex to die for’.

    Go ahead, look him up. I’m not going to do your thinking for you; I’m just going to point out where to look. You might start with a history of the Rio Summit. And don’t blame me if you find the Green Messiah’s name (Al Gore) popping up, too.

    And ‘what’s the percentage in ignoring even the slightest possibility that global warming is real?’

    A big savings in taxes, cost-of-living, and avoiding handing a LOT of power over to people and corporations who many view as criminals, that’s what!

    This all seems counterintuitive doesn’t it? That’s what propaganda can do to you.

    Gentlemen, start your search engines!

    This bozo is going to bed now.

  22. Ron says:

    Oh, yeah: and if the IPCC report IS correct. We MIGHT get up to a 30cm rise in ocean level by 2100.

    Get back from the water, kids.

  23. Joe says:

    Steve: Thank you for your long and thoughtful reports. Keep ’em coming.

    Ron: Don’t misquote the IPCC, even if you don’t believe it. The IPCC report explicitly said its sea level rise projection ignores the possible contribution from ice sheet dynamics causing rapid disintegration of the Greenland and and Arctic ice sheets.

    Also, not sure where you get the facts on IPCC makeup: “Hundreds of experts from all over the world are contributing to the preparation of IPCC reports as authors, contributors and reviewers.”

  24. Ron says:

    I didn’t try to quote anything, so I’m sure I didn’t MISquote anything.

    More importantly, did I say anything that wasn’t factual?

    I’m just trying to get you to think beyond the propaganda; about who and what is behind this, if – just perhaps – this manmade global warming idea turns out to be exaggerated.

    I’m hoping you did the Google search on Maurice Strong. I’m not expecting you to find his personal diary outlining a grand conspiracy, but I think you’ll find enough to make you go “hmmmmm” and enough to show that I’m not just “after little more than perceived intellectual one-upmanship” or an “utter fool” or a “bozo”.

    Believe me, I’m all for conservation, whether we’re talking about energy or species. But if this manmade global warming scare is a bunch of hooey like it looks, then at the VERY LEAST it’s a serious distraction in time and money from the real issues.

  25. Mack says:

    Ron is a kook. He talks a good line, but virtually everyone is in agreement on this one.

    Gormley tells it like it is…………..

  26. Joe says:

    “if this manmade global warming scare is a bunch of hooey like it looks”???
    Looks to whom? Maybe to conservative ideologues, but not to anyone who has taken an objective look at the science.

    I don’t care if there are some extreme people who believe in the dangers of global warming — Lyndon Larouche is a Denyer (try googling him) — does that somehow discredit all Denyers….

  27. Ron says:

    Was that a Freudian slip? You’re right, does the fact that some extremists are also deniers, discredit all deniers? Like Me?

  28. Ron says:

    Hey Mack,

    I guess you and Gormley are a couple of those discreditable extremists. Thanks for the example.

  29. alvinwriter says:

    Debates on global warming are really useless. At least I think both sides agree that there’s really a warming trend going on. But it’s really hard not to care if you don’t feel or witness the effects directly. Ice will still melt even as activists spread the word about the dangers ahead while their critics will always be close behind offering second opinions.

    I think there has to be a consensus on what do do rather than grapple about who is right. It’s just like what is really happing when sea ice melts due to warm weather. The melting is very obvious, but what people do not see is that this allows the oceans to absorb more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere since the absence of ice on the surface allows for free gas exchange. Nature always finds a way to make opposites meet and people should do the same.

    You can read about how melting ice promotes gas exchange which may offset global warming effects in this link to TheNewsRoom:

    Email to find out how you can make use of great news from TheNewsRoom.

    – Alvin from TheScienceDesk at

  30. Ron says:

    Thanks Alvin, sounds like you and I could probably agree on a lot. Yes, of course, the Earth is warming up some. And has been since the Little Ice Age. And you point out one way in which the Earth is self-regulating. Another factor is that silica binds carbon dioxide, carrying it into the sea with runoff. More rain means more runoff, more carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere.

    The Earth is an incredibly complex system, and what some hysterical people don’t seem to realize is that humans are a natural part of that system. We are not ‘the AIDS virus of the Earth’ as Paul Watson says, deserving of extreme control. We are part of this beautiful, mind-bogglingly complicated system. To boil the whole system down to one poorly-understood factor is short-sighted, unscientific, and a waste of time and money.

    In James Lovelock’s intriguing Gaia theory, the Earth is seen as an entity or organism in Her own right. Thinking in that direction, our polluting might be seen as exactly what we are supposed to be doing; an important, if not understood part of the system.

    I much prefer science to new-agey ideas, but it’s food for thought. And I haven’t seen any reason to end scientific endeavor in any field. Heck, there are researchers still studying gravity and wasn’t that field ‘settled’ quite a while back?

  31. HMM, I googled ‘maurice strong’ and found quite a lot of information. I found out he pronounces his name like ‘morris’ by the way.

    Here are two links that give a lot of biographical information.

    In this next link there was just one mention of the man in a fairly long article about eugenics and population control.

    Here is the passage that mentions him:

    “….. in a document called NSSM 200, called for a covert depopulation policy included in its American foreign aid program. At the U.N. conference in 1991 the national delegates, influenced by Maurice Strong, secretary general of the Earth Summit, supported a policy consistent with the notion that the presence of human beings on the earth and the health of the planet were incompatible.”

    I have always had a distrust of the UN and communists/socialists in general. This is indeed food for thought. I always had an aversion to the idea of a “one world government’ because it seems like having different countries sort of acts like international checks and balances, but having one all-powerful government would be like the old saying ‘power corrupts, while absolute power currpts absolutely’.

  32. Joe says:

    The fact that some extremists are also denyers does NOT discredit all denyers. The fact that denyers’ position is not supported by the facts, is what discredits them.

  33. Joe says:

    Sorry Alvin & Ron, the earth is NOT self-regulating.

    “The paleoclimate record shouts out to us that, far from being self-stabilizing, the Earth’s climate system is an ornery beast which overreacts even to small nudges,” wrote Wallace Broecker, one of the world’s leading climate scientists, in a 1995 Nature article.

    And that’s because the negative feedbacks are much weaker than the positive/amplifying feedbacks.

    I’d also note that thearticle you cite, Alvin, ends: “Overall that team calculated that the entire Arctic Ocean is capable of absorbing up to 66 million tons of carbon dioxide annually — more is possible if the sea ice melting continues. however, the amount won’t balance global warming. Currently worldwide carbon emissions are over 30 BILLION tons a year.”

    Also, Alvin, you miss the big point — if the Denyers were right, that the warming is not mostly due to human emissions, then there would be no point in regulating those emissions. Yes, the cleverest Denyers acknowledge some warming but they are fundamentally mistaken about the cause. That mistake must always be challenged.

  34. Ron says:

    Wally Broeker “is perhaps the world’s foremost interpreter of the Earth’s operation as a biological, chemical, and physical system”, as he is described in an Asahi Glass Foundation press release. He is one of the world’s leading experts on ocean circulation and how they relate to climate. (Does anyone know, by the way, whether or not he was involved in the IPCC study?)

    This is from The Cornell Chronicle, 8/6/98 –

    “We’re poking the climate system by adding greenhouse gases” like carbon dioxide, the Columbia University scientist said in a July 22 Summer Sessions lecture. “Will poking this angry beast cause it to lash out?” he asked the large Call Auditorium audience in Kennedy Hall, displaying a homemade drawing of the metaphorical “beast” incarnate.

    Broecker doesn’t know the answer to his question, he admitted, nor does anyone else. But he doesn’t want the world to find out the answer by continuing to release tremendous amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. These gases, emitted when fossil fuels are burned, could alter the behavior of the “beast,” unleashing radical changes in temperature and rainfall, he said.

    The conviction that greenhouse gases potentially promise climate damage has led Broecker to offer some unorthodox technical solutions (pumping carbon dioxide to the bottom of the ocean) and unpalatable policy suggestions (increasing gasoline taxes “dramatically”).

    …… to date, the effect of greenhouse gases on temperature has been smaller than predicted.

    Studies of Greenland ice and California sediments point to rapid shifts in temperature and rainfall that happened in a matter of decades or less. So it is best to conceptualize the climate system as having several “modes of operation,” Broecker said. Rather than changing slowly, as some would have it, Broecker said that climate can switch from one state to another abruptly.

    “Whatever this phenomenon is, it’s global and it’s big,” he said. In Broecker’s view, likely causes of climate shifts are changes in patterns of ocean currents, which carry heat to and from continents, and the amount of atmospheric water vapor, which increases with the level of carbon dioxide and raises temperature.

    …. Since no one understands exactly how the climate system works, why take the chance that adding such large quantities of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere might trip some unknown threshold level and provoke a climate shift? ”

    What I get from this is that 1) Broecker believes the real mover & shaker in climate change are the oceans, 2) does not know if burning fossil fuels is a danger because he hasn’t studied it, but thinks that it might be, 3) has determined that past climate shifts (before we can blame humans) have happened very quickly, and 4) admits that “no one understands exactly how the climate system works” but is of the ‘why take a chance?’ side.

    Actually sounds like a fairly reasonable fellow, as real scientists should be. I just don’t like his (par for the course) suggestion for higher taxes. And his proposal to pump stuff to the bottom of the ocean. It seems like the latter idea would be fiddling with nature and wouldn’t be supported by real environmentalists.

    But again Joe, we are back to the question of ‘the cause’. All conclusions should be open to challenge in a real scientific debate.

  35. Joe says:

    The primary cause — human emissions — is not a subject of debate any more, as the Fourth Assessment Report makes clear. You keep repeating your point as if it had any intellectual substance whatsoever — it doesn’t. The climate changed in the past when it was FORCED to change, from natural causes. Now we are forcing it change much faster than it ever did naturally.

  36. Ron says:

    Okay, fine. I’m going to stop trying to beat my opinions into your head and I’ll move on down the road. I just hope that the real scientists out there don’t buy into the ‘there’s a consensus, so the science is settled’ drumbeat and stop their important investigations.

    And I tried to tell you about some of the people behind this – what I characterize as a hoax and power-grab. Oh well. Maybe you’ll have a chance to meet Maurice Strong in your travels someday and maybe you can share a chuckle over the things written about him on the internet. Or maybe you’ll meet Paul Watson and he can regale you with stories of his adventures on the high seas or you can ask him to expound on his ideas about humans and how the population should be reduced. Enjoy.

    And good luck with the book. This issue is probably not going to go away overnight like the Y2K hysteria did, so if the book is well-written it should sell steadily for a few years at least.

    I guess I have other fish to fry closer to home. The kids are running out of summer and school will begin again soon. Last year I got into a debate about global warming with a middle school science teacher. He threw a public tantrum and lost his job (teachers don’t have tenure in this state). That was fun. You’re a lot cooler under pressure than he was.

    I haven’t met my son’s science teacher for next year yet. But I bet he’s heard of me.

  37. Joe says:

    You’re welcome here anytime.

    I also dislike the “science is settled” meme — though probably for the opposite reason than you. Like Hansen, I think the situation is considerably more dire than the IPCC lets on, which I think will be evident to most everyone within the decade.

  38. alvinwriter says:

    Ron mentioned how human beings should be considered part of the natural world and not apart from it. New-Agey as it may sound, indeed we are part of the Earth, and if our planet isn’t self-regulating when it comes to byproducts of human activity, then I’d like to say that it’s compensating, nevertheless, or at least keeps at it. It simply adjusts to the new circumstances it is presented with. Millions of years ago, volcanism was responsible for the release of CO2. Today, its smokestacks and tailpipes. But the CO2 is actually the same, and trees, then and now, still use it.

    During the Devonian period 385 million years ago, there was an explosion of forest growth which covered the Earth. This was a time when the Earth cooled, perhaps encouraged by the the spread of fern trees which took in carbon dioxide. Of course, there were no cars or other carbon-dioxide-belching machines then, but what the Earth had were lots of volcanoes.

    The growth of the fern forests could have been spurred by the high CO2 content of the air from volcanic activity. Consequently, this greenhouse gas became trapped in their tissue. Eventually, these trees died off and were transformed into the fossil fuels we now use, like coal. In effect, people now are releasing carbon dioxide that was originally part of the atmosphere anyway. It’s a shame that there aren’t that many trees to store it safely again.

    Oldest tree fossil found, scientists say:

  39. Mariposa says:

    The problem with Ron’s way of thinking, is that he doesn’t use basic, layman’s common sense….I’m not a scientist, but I believe it’s pretty obvious to most people, that you can’t turn something into nothing….and bring something out of nothing….what I mean is basically, there is no mysterious ether that greenhouse gases disappear into that are distant from our atmostphere, and therefore have no effect on the atmosphere’s behavior. Scientists do not debate the effects that greenhouse gases have on our atmosphere and the warming of the planet, aside from the human connection. No one would debate that we have exponentially increased the amount of greenhouse gases by the excessive burning of fossil fuels. (It would take an idiot not to see that.) So, if both of those statements are true, then it would follow that the excessive burning of fossil fuels, and increase of greenhouse gases has an effect on the changing climate. It just so happens that humans are responsible, either directly, or indirectly (in the case of release of C02 in wildfires) for the increase in greenhouse gases.

    It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this is a problem. The fact that 99 percent of the scientific community is in agreeance regarding the human impact on the planet, is pretty well known and accepted. Where’s your documentaion saying that’s a lie? Did you ask 99 percent of the scientific personally to see if their solidarity on the subject is really all just a hoax?

    I can never figure out what behooves skeptics to continue denying the phenomena of climate change. Regardless of your ignorance, you’ll be suffering alongside everyone else, and fewer and fewer people will give your continued and misguided skepticism another thought.