Climate and gospel

October 3, 2013 | 83 comments
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IMG_20130929_0007About a year ago I took the liberty of asking the Brethren what their opinion was on climate change. My reason was that we as Dutch have a temple below sea level, probably the only one in the world. How did the Brethren envisage the future of the Dutch temple, considering sea level rise due to perceived and expected climate change? As LDS temples are destined for eternity, what are the long-term perspectives of this particular House of the Lord? Is it going to be flooded when the waters rise, inundated when the ‘inconvenient truth’ hits Holland? We as Dutch Saints are concerned about “our” temple, as in the long run the slow sinking of the Netherlands and the rising sea levels due to climate change might well form a threat for us, and thus for our temple.

The Dutch and Belgians are quite climate conscious, and follow with great interest the global debates about climate change. Last week the new IPCC report on climate change came out and again we learned that climate change is real and that Homo sapiens is for a major part responsible for it. For those in the scientific community this is not very surprising, but the level of certainty has increased since the last report and the long term trends seem to be incontrovertible, despite short term seeming reversals. But especially the crucial role of human interference is spelled out clearer than before, though here the band-width of interpretation remains larger. Of course, there are still die-hard climate skeptics, but the ground under their feet is not getting more solid. In fact, their opposition and detailed critique on the former IPCC report has honed the analytical acumen of climate scientists. Science is debate, and through that debate in climate science the consensus has become clearer and more nuanced. This very week Mitt Romney raised global warming as a top issue; he believes global warming is occurring and is human-caused though he is not certain to what extent. That is, in fact, a very apt summing up of the scientific consensus: it is there and we are, somewhere, part of the picture.

The Brethren did take my question seriously and after a month I received a very polite answer, in a formally signed letter, stating that the Brethren had no opinion on the issue of climate change.

So, there we stand: ecclesiastically there is no official position of the Church on climate change. That should not be overly surprising, as the climate usually is not defined as a moral issue. But this depends on what one considers a moral issue; our church defines morals routinely in terms of sexuality, but our human interference with our planet in fact is quite moral – Romney is right in that. This moral aspect of the climate has been stipulated many times in the Scriptures. Some examples.

In the Old Testament the Lord battles with thunder and hail stones against Pharaoh (Ex. 9:33), or uses heavy weather to punish his covenant people (1 Sa 12:18). In the New Testament Jesus is lord of wind and water (Mt 26:8-10), his return is announced with lightning, hail, fire and blood (Mt 24:27, Rev. 8:7, 11:19, 16:21). Rain is often used as a sign of blessing (Deut. 32:2) – strange for the Dutch but understandable for Utahns. But more generally, the regular and stable rhythm of the seasons – the very thing we call climate – is portrayed as a symbol of the covenant with the Lord (Gen. 8:22). And nobody considers the Flood as ethically neutral.

In our restored gospel we have a wonderful expression of the ‘state of the earth’ in relation to iniquity, in one of the most beautiful apocalyptic passages in the Scriptures, Moses 7:48
48 And it came to pass that Enoch looked upon the earth; and he heard a voice from the bowels thereof, saying: Wo, wo is me, the mother of men; I am pained, I am weary, because of the wickedness of my children. When shall I rest, and be cleansed from the filthiness which is gone forth out of me? When will my Creator sanctify me, that I may rest, and righteousness for a season abide upon my face?

The earth pained by filthiness … that sounds exactly what we as human beings are inflicting upon Gaia by pollution and greenhouse emissions; ”wickedness” easily accrues sexual overtones in LDS discourse; however, I cannot imagine the Earth being overly concerned with the sins of our underbelly, though very much with chemical and nuclear waste disposal, and with the rapid depletion of resources, a combined wickedness that could well “pain” Earth. If we ruin our climate, we break an old covenant. Morality does include our handling of our planet, so when our leaders do not take a stand on this, this belongs to the individual agency of the Saints, to our stewardship. The days of the climate skeptics are over, also in the Church; we are – as Hugh Nibley often has pointed out – the stewards of our patches of the earth, our vineyards, our remains of paradise. Do we act as such? Do we even speak about it?

We surely do not want the next dedication of a temple to look lika this …

foto tempel in het water NL

Walter van Beek

83 Responses to Climate and gospel

  1. Kent Larsen on October 3, 2013 at 10:44 am

    Romney made a climate change statement? I missed it.

    And I can’t seem to find it anywhere. Anyone have a link?

  2. Julie M. Smith on October 3, 2013 at 10:55 am

    http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865587515/Romney-tells-U-business-school-students-hes-done-running-for-president.html

    Under key issues. Unfortunately, it is a summary and not a quotation:

    “He also raised global warming as a top issue. Romney said he believes global warming is occurring and is human-caused, although he added that he is not certain to what extent.”

  3. Howard on October 3, 2013 at 11:01 am

    It only took a month for the brethren to determine they have no opinion? Things must be improving!

  4. Caffeine Drinker on October 3, 2013 at 11:28 am

    If the sea level does rise, wouldn’t it it be slow, over a period of about 200 years?

    We could slowly rebuild our cities as the water levels rise.

  5. wmp on October 3, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    I wonder what an official church position on climate change could possibly look like?

  6. jeff hoyt on October 3, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    Based upon your statement “the days of the climate skeptics are over” I presume you have not studied this issue much. The fact is the level of skepticism in the scientific community has increased since the climate models have proved to be dramatically incorrect. The IPCC is a political body and is pursuing a political agenda.

    A couple comments:

    Please bear in mind the “95%” certainty is presented as though it is a statistical confidence interval. It is no such thing, just a number essentially plucked from the air. The obvious questions is – how in the world does the confidence increase when the computer models from the last report were so far off?

    I could get into an extensive discussion of this, but economics has taught us that stewardship of the environment is much more palatable when wealth is sufficient to meet peoples basic needs. The mass poverty that would be created by making power inaccessible to much of the world would certainly negatively impact the earth. We are called to look after not just the earth, but more importantly God’s children. What the IPCC is asking would damage the earth a little and God’s children a lot. I would like to believe the IPCC is pure in motive, but given the track record of the UN I am not so sure.

  7. Jon Young on October 3, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Perhaps the brethren are right to pass judgment, but don’t really know how to articulate their response. My thinking is the church may be compared to a math or English class where we learn the tools of communication and thought processes rather than what to think or do with them. All issues may be moral when ultimately applied, but much of what we learn at church are tools for our own personal approach to solving problems as individuals and communities. I wouldn’t take the church’s stance of no official position on climate change to mean there is no right answer or that the church won’t use climate change concerns in future decisions.

  8. whizzbang on October 3, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    The lived experience for the brethren is what will they do when a flood hits the Temple area? Like Pres. Benson said it’s better to prevent and prepare than to repent and repair

  9. james on October 3, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    They won’t lead on this issue. You can be sure of that. They are a $40 billion company that might lose some of that wealth if society actually properly accounted for the true costs of our economic output. Environmental damages from mining, automobile emissions, etc. are never factored into business models overtly. Instead they are passed onto the population at large while the business owners reap the benefits of exploitation. Romney was a master of that and he made a lot of money sticking debt and environmental costs on a company while painting a bright pro-forma future that allowed him and his cronies to cash out before trouble inevitably came.

  10. Raymond Takashi Swenson on October 3, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    James, you are living in a fantasy world in which anyone who is wealthy is per se evil.

    ALL political issues have moral implications, but the Church is not responsible to tell us how to vote on issues that are not in its particular area of responsibility, which is concerned with our individual actions and intentions. The Church “teaches us correct principles” but we are responsible to “govern ourselves”.

    Fifteen years have passed since the Kyoto Protocol was issued. Al Gore served as VP until 2000, and ran for president then, but he never pushed to present that treaty to the Senate for ratification during his remaining three years in office, nor did he make it a focus of his election campaign. In all that time, NONE of the computer models used to make predictions about the future temperature of the earth have been validated. What reality has shown is that ALL the models wildly overpredicted how much warming would occur between 1998 and 2013. When a scientific theory does not match reality, the rules of science say that it must be scrapped and replaced with something that works better. For some reason, there is great reluctance for some climate scientists to admit that their predictions are unreliable and they need to go back to the drawing board. They need to figure out the factors that they left out of their theories and models.

    If there is a moral dimension to this, it is the need for being honest with ourselves and others.

  11. ji on October 3, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    The Church is in the business of saving souls, not pushing social or economic policies. Souls can be saved even if the climate is changing.

  12. Laura on October 3, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    Brilliant post, Walter! Thank you. I’m a scientist working on air quality–close to climate, but not quite–and I strongly believe it is part of our moral and spiritual duty to care for the earth. I’m particularly concerned with the effects of our environmental neglect on the poorest and sickest in society–those least likely to have the resources to deal with the ill effects or move somewhere else. Part of our duty to care for the poor and the needy certainly includes making sure that even the least among us has access to the natural resources needed to sustain life and health. I’ve blogged about this at LDS Earth Stewardship (http://ldsearthstewardship.org/2013/03/intro-to-a-series-the-air-we-breathe/). Perhaps if you’re not already a member of the group, you might consider joining? We need more people with your interest and insights.

  13. Clyde on October 3, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    It would never cross my mind to write the “brethren” their opinion on a political issue like climate change. I think that is just plain weird.

  14. Clyde on October 3, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    I left out “to ask”

  15. Cameron N on October 3, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    Walter, I think you are correct in that morality does include stewardship, however the rest sounds much like mixing scripture with philosophies. Pollution and global warming are two different issues.

    Also, the feet under skeptics’ ground is getting more solid–if we go by fruitfulness and evidence and not by marketing and politics. What may well be the next leap in scientific understanding is beginning to emerge in the vein of the Electric/Plasma universe theory. This theory regularly predicts and explains local and cosmic events with regularity, while all the mechanical physicists are left to keep being surprised. They even have some ideas that correspond with inconceivable scriptural catastrophes:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/ThunderboltsProject

    I personally find a direct correlation between escalating eccentric pride and capacity to believe that a few billion people will ruin a planet. My intuition tells me that future generations will laugh at our self-centeredness and capacity to think that we already understood the foundation of the universe and only needed details to be filled in (as has been the case in all previous generations of this cycle).

  16. Cameron N on October 3, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    I might add, please don’t take my passion for discerning what I see as fraudulent public politics as conflicting with my passion for stewardship in the realm of consumption and pollution or with my passion for the scientific journey.

  17. Cameron N on October 3, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    I might also add (last time) that the Lord seems to be concerned with pollution inasmuch as it significantly infringes on agency. Apart from that, it appears to me that we are generally left to get sick, get cancer, and die at our appointed time. As Elder Scott said recently, good habits are more about quality of mortal life than quantity.

  18. SteveP on October 3, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    Walter, this was right on the mark. As an ecologist watching the real time changes in sea levels and ocean acidification it is scary. I see there are still people buying the denial arguments there is no scientific consensus. There is. Thank you for posting this.

  19. Cameron on October 3, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    To be clear Steve, many deny the claims of the consensus and proposed policy changes, not the consensus itself, nor that sea levels and ocean acidification are not a concern.

  20. Steve on October 3, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    “the feet under skeptics’ ground is getting more solid”

    Hardly. 1) An increasing number of skeptics are accepting anthropogenic global warming, such as Univ. of California physics professor Richard Muller, who conducted a study funded by the Koch brothers, who are global warming-denying billionaires, only to confirm that global warming is occurring and highly likely the result of collective human activity: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15373071. 2) The Electric Universe theory has gained little traction in the scientific community and is often promoted by creationists and global warming deniers to make them feel better about the inconvenient truths that have been revealed through more sound scientific methods. 3) The suggestion that many of the conclusions of mainstream science about global warming is simply just “marketing and politics” is hardly believable. There are no ideological agendas existing among promoters of Electric Universe theory?

    I don’t understand why so many religious folks are so up in arms about the idea of anthropogenic global warming. I can’t see how accepting global warming would conflict with one’s religious beliefs at all.

  21. Steve on October 3, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    I’m no physicist or climatologist, but I think I’ll trust the near consensus of climatologists over the junk science of a few denialist cranks paid by oil and coal companies.

  22. jeff hoyt on October 3, 2013 at 11:12 pm

    Steve;

    1 – I do not see where anyone said accepting or rejecting global warming has anything to do with religious beliefs.

    2 – Muller is old news. Look at the climate scientists that have gone the other direction as the evidence has taken them.

    3 – There is no “near consensus” and never was except in the broadest terms that man can affect temperature, which doesn’t necessarily even mean through carbon release.

    4 – If you want to discount those whose funding might affect their conclusions you should start with those that are recipients of the tens of billions spent as government climate research funding instead of the couple thousand received from oil companies.

    5 – I have made many offers over the years to wager with climate alarmists that computer models would overstate actual warming. Not a single one was willing to put their money where there loud mouths were.

  23. Shawn on October 3, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    I do my part to actively affect change in how I and others can improve our stewardship of the earth, but the revealed word has indicated perhaps overall those efforts are futile, as the earth will still be defiled, great pollutions created, and so forth. I can just choose to not be party to it.

    That said, there has been much rhetoric in my lifetime about animal species, and the earth in general, often rallied by actvitists, that after extensive scientific studies are conducted, have been found to not be as the activists have claimed. Thier grossly distorted, fabricated, lies about Lynx, Wolves, Snowy Owls and more have been scientifically debunked. Largely, they have run out of mega fauna to use as a scare tactic, so IMO have turned to the earth as their scapegoat, to accomplish their agenda.

    The jury is still out on how significant or insignificant mankind is on increasing the earth’s temperatures. A large amount of evidence supports we create insignificant changes globally. The earth temps have fluctuated more, of the earth’s own nature, and occassional catastrophic events, then science can demonstrate we have done. Historically, mankind has created pollutions that should have affected the earth’s climate substantially – with much coal and wood burning that cities never saw daylight, YET no detectable changes, then a volcano erupts, and temps drop in some regions for a few years – one event was part of our church history!

    Just as not every temple in our past has weathered destructive forces, perhaps nor will all of them do so in the future. God will spare those he wishes, and perhaps not others. Perhaps no temple will be needed in your location, as the population will have relocated as well.

    I’m reminded of Joseph Smith’s words on the destruction of certain cities in the last days. Then the words of Wilford Woodruff, following which Brigham Young declare true, and would be fulfilled. Of Elder Woodruff’s revelation, he stated Boston would be swept into the sea.

    Other prophetic utterances have been made that state that many other cities will also be destroyed in the last days, and note that they are not all named. Pure speculation could infer that the environmental causes that would allow such to occur in Boston, might also affect the Netherlands, Sydney, Dubai, etc. Scientists have made models of sea depth and its affect on these cities if the polar caps melted significantly.

    Frankly I’m more engaged in being prepared for, and discovering why the stars will fall from the sky, moon turning red, and my personal worthiness at that time; then I am about if the earth’s natural ebb and flow is going to be warmer over the next 50 years, and bring us closer to the environmental conditions of Adam, or colder, and bring us into another ice age.

  24. Shawn on October 3, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    ..

  25. Steve Martin on October 4, 2013 at 12:25 am

    “Climate change” is political.

    The gospel has nothing to do, whatsoever, with politics.

    Fot those who reject the complete forgiveness of sins by Jesus on the Cross for the ungodly…the climate in their eternal destination could become radically warmer.

  26. Steve on October 4, 2013 at 2:21 am

    Jeff, no one did mention anything about global warming having to do with religious beliefs. My question was why is that so many religious folks tend to be up in arms about anthropogenic global warming?

    Can you please direct me to comprehensive statistical research that shows significant divergence of opinion about whether or not there is global warming and whether or not it is human-caused among active climatologists? Anderegg et al.’s survey of 1,372 of the most actively publishing climatologists shows a virtual consensus that human activity is causing warming: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/06/04/1003187107.full.pdf+html.

    Lastly, there sure is a lot of alarmism, overstatement, miscalculation, and bad predictions among proponents of anthropogenic GW. But there is overwhelming evidence that human activity has a causal relationship with warming, which in turn has demonstrably harmful effects on the environment, although the extent of which is greatly debated.

  27. Walter van Beek on October 4, 2013 at 2:28 am

    Yes, whizzbang, the Salt Lake temple is prone to flooding as well. I actually considered including a Photoshopped picture of the SL temple in water, but decided against it. Protecting it would be easy – for the Dutch. The First Presidency can call us, whenever they like.
    Walter

  28. Walter van Beek on October 4, 2013 at 2:48 am

    Dear Steve
    The gospel is about salvation of living souls, as its primary and central focus, I agree. That is not political. However, our ‘works’- by which we are judged as well – , do include our actions towards our fellow souls, and that involves a wider roster of moral choices. In these latter choices the gospel impinges on political issues, according to one’s individual conscience and understanding. And politics should include moral choices as well, to be of any value.
    By the way, glad to hear that the central heating at the lower echelons of our eternal destination is till in working order.

  29. Walter van Beek on October 4, 2013 at 2:58 am

    Dear Shawn
    Your remakrs make me humble, as a small part of a tiny part of the Vineyard. Yes, maybe the Netherlands (including Belgium) must be swept away before the very last days, and we all here with our feet in the swampy clays of the Low Countries relocated to safe and dry high grounds. It is, I suspect, a question of time frame, i.e. whether the Second Coming will be long enough in the future for the effects of climate change to hit us first, and annihilate my country. I suspect we will have that amount of time, but that is purely personal.
    Walter

  30. Walter van Beek on October 4, 2013 at 3:03 am

    Dear Laura
    Thanks. I will join
    Walter

  31. Walter van Beek on October 4, 2013 at 3:24 am

    Dear Steve (there seem to be several Steve’s in this thread)
    I am a cultural anthropologist, not a climate scientist, but climate debates are cultural – as well as political. Also in my own field there is debate, as there should be. The debate in climate sciences has been particularly fierce because of the political ramifications, economic interest and public impact of visual imagery. Climate science has to steer between the big money available for the alarmist reporting and for the sceptical undercurrent, and the need for scholarly distance and systematic reflection. Also, the high profile IPCC reports had to be made under time pressure and constant political, ecological and ideological scrutiny. Our climate-science-colleagues managed to escape these pitfalls rather well – but not completely- and did arrive at a general consensus. But one has to be grateful for the climate sceptics here as well; even if they might have overstated their critiques – which I think they have – their role in forming the consensus, and in guarding climate schience against overstating their cause for political reasons, has been highly valuable.
    I agree with the voices that call out for a stop on future IPCC reports: no need any longer, and try to depoliticize the scientific debates.
    Another question, which I will tackle later, is why some people have so much trouble with the notion of climate change. Watch the next post.
    Walter

  32. Steve Martin on October 4, 2013 at 6:25 am

    I believe they have trouble because they know that the climate constantly changes and has done so since before Adam…without our help.

    The Sun and the Guy who controls the Sun, has much more to do with it than what kind of light bulbs we use or cars we drive.

    See if the IPCC ever recognizes that one. Fat chance.

  33. roger on October 4, 2013 at 10:24 am

    I look at creation as an on-going process. We are the co-creators of the Earth with God. This elevates our responsibility for the Earth to a very high level.

  34. james on October 4, 2013 at 11:06 am

    Raymond Takashi Swenson:

    Nobody is per se evil. That’s a straw man argument. However, under our economic system, the law basically demands that corporations seek the bottom line and environmental costs have never been a factor in that bottom line. Our church leadership for better or worse subscribes to the corporate party and Rush Limbaugh for the most part. So, to think that they would take the lead on global warming is silly. That was my point. They don’t want to sacrifice the bottom line unless forced to do so.

    Whether or not global warming is man made or part of the natural cycle is still an open question. However, is man adding to the problem? Can’t we agree that there is global warming? If so, what should be done? Should we frack the earth to death and ruin drinking water? It has already happened in Pennsylvania. Beijing China is almost unlivable due to out of control emissions. Can’t we agree that this is a problem? If your house is dirty, don’t you clean it up? Don’t you make those responsible pay for the clean-up?

  35. Steve on October 4, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Walter, you’re right that some skepticism has played an important moderating role in climate science. But there is healthy skepticism, and then there is denialism and conspiracy theory. I fear that much of the discourse on global warming has been overtaken by the latter. And whatever alarmism there has been about global warming has been far outweighed by a powerful denialist current within the political right in the US.

  36. Lisa B. on October 4, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    My reading of Doctrine & Covenants 104 tells me I will one day account/ be held accountable for how I personally have used “the stewardship” (all the stuff, and the abilities and opportunities) I’ve been given. I have long had this vision of approaching the judgment bar and being given a visual of the costs of my wastefulness and non-productivity in terms of cultivation of the earth and use of her resources. It’s not a happy thing to imagine, and it does fill me with grief. And then I return to creating too much trash, using far too much plastic, avoiding mercury-containing bulbs for health reasons, driving to places I could also walk, I don’t compost or garden, I consume more than I should across the board (not just meat or food in general). I think the way we all live is by extortion of the earth, and I don’t think these are minor or merely political concerns. The earth is the Lord’s, and we are supposed to be as responsible as stewards as we are able. Making excuses doesn’t get us off the hook.

  37. jeff hoyt on October 4, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    Steve;

    You can find research about the divergenge of opinion on climate change by reading the study you link. The Supporting Materials and Methods cites their identification of climate researchers. Their numbers indicate about 34% of the researchers were skeptics. You have to dig, but it is there. In refining their numbers to exclude those with less than 20 published articles on climate they came up with about a 90/10 split, but it should hardly be a surprise that researchers more engaged in publishing (largely those that depend on continuing funding) would offer an opinion that supports a call for continued and increasing funding. The opening language of the study makes clear that the researchers purpose was to marginalize skeptics so their conclusion is not surprising. The data they used was virtaully all from 2007 and earlier, so it makes sense that with 6 more years of no temperature change the precentage of skeptics would have to be increasing.

    Someone commented on the skeptics being bought by oil companies. I believe I just read the US spends $70 billion per year (don’t hold me to this, in any event the amount is huge) on climate change research. That seems to me a larger conflict than what energy concerns spend.

    It seems the fact that climate trends are not close to the dire predictions of a few years ago would be a cause for celebration, or at least bring an introspection to those calling for a draconian response. Please help me understand why the response has been close to the opposite.

  38. Raymond Takashi Swenson on October 4, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    James: I think your fears about pollution are a bit overblown. I speak as someone who has worked in the field of environmental regulation for thirty years.

    Fracking takes place a mile belowground. Groundwater that we depend on for human consumption and farming is only accessible if it is no more than about three hundred feet deep. There are plenty of natural materials in the soil under our feet, including petroleum and methane, arsenic and lead and sulfuric acid, uranium and radon, that are not good for us to drink. There was never a time when all natural groundwater was safe for human consumption.

    Carbon dioxide is essential to the cycle of life. All of the carbon in the body and fruit of plants is taken from the less than 1% of the atmosphere that is CO2. At night, much of that CO2 is released as the plants grow. Every animal, from insects to humans, releases CO2 as we breath.

    CO2 and its greenhouse warming is also essential. Without it, earth would be too cold to sustain most of the species we are familiar with.

    As CO2 is absorbed by rainwater, it has a role in erosion of continents, and is carried underneath continents as tectonic plantes subduct under other plates. The CO2 released is one of the engines of vulcanism. Those cycles, which also redistribute essential minerals, are important to making the earth habitable.

    There may be an ideal concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, but it is certainly NOT zero. There are scientifically documented positive effects on the health of plant life in higher CO2 environments. On the other hand, sea level rise is a natural phenomenon that has been going on since the end of the last Ice Age, and it will reverse when the next Ice Age starts up. 10,000 years ago, the region between the Netherlands and Britain was a broad, dry plain. I think everyone admires the intelligence and effort that the Dutch applied to reclaiming inundated lands, but it is absolutely not “natural” in any sense. That climate developments may eventually make such an unnatural condition unsustainable should not surprise us, no matter how much it harms us. The North Sea has been growing for millennia.

    We are way overdue for the start of the next Ice Age. It may be that human agriculture has added just enough CO2 and methane to forestall that global disaster. I think we are far better off dealing with a bit more warmth than with mile thick ice covering Chicago and all of Canada.

    The most basic problem with the schemes for combatting global warming by impoverishing modern civilization’s energy usage is that the actual quantification of the costs and the benefits has not been performed. Cranking down the rate of human CO2 generation to match the natural rate of CO2 removal would have a devastating effect on human health, as well as on the plant and animal life that depends on us. Yet the actual predicted reduction of CO2 levels is miniscule, and the forecast net effect on global temperatures is imperceptible against the “noise” of El Nino variations and natural temperature variations each year and decade. We can kill our civilization, and get no identifiable benefit. We will probably be much better off investing more resources into understanding why our climate models are such failures, and mitigating specific adverse effects of any real warming, while enjoying the beneficial effects of warming.

    The erection of windfarms to provide electrical power is not an effective answer to CO2 powered warming. The manufacture of wind generators, and their delivery and erection, requires tremendous ADDED emissions of CO2, so much so that it is INCREASING CO2 levels. Because CO2 takes a long time to come ot of the atmosphere, it will be decades before windpower can even contribute a net decrease in CO2, let alone any decrease in global warming. In the meantime, windpower costs much more than other sources, meaning that there is less money to address other environmental issues, let alone feeding and housing people and keeping them healthy. More costs for electrical power means less money for higher cost healthier foods, etc., or for aiding the poor and people struck by natural disasters. It means that electric vehicles become less financially attractive. People who can’t afford to run air conditioning will have higher mortality during heat waves, etc.

    The failure to quantify the extent of global warming and its precise dependence on CO2 and other GHGs, means that we cannot predict what interventions in our economy will even be worth the costs, and in particular what GHG mitigation measures are even cost effective. Nature does not care how sincere we are, how much we REALLY WANT to protect the planet. It only cares about real effects, and the real effects of global warming are just not what people have been alarmed about.

    Again, global temperatures have been basically flat for 15 years despite growth in CO2 levels. The incidence of major hurricanes and tornadoes has NOT increased in any correlation with temperature or CO2. The Arctic summer ice pack was 60% larger this summer than in 2012. Ice is growing in Antarctica too. Nobody knows why. That is hardly a strong foundation for public policies that can have significant costs for real people. I am more than happy for my share of taxes to support more climate research, and I would love to see a theory that actually can explain the climate reality of the last 150 years. But it isn’t here yet.

  39. Caffeine Drinker on October 4, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    Raymond Takashi Swenson won this discussion

  40. Steve on October 4, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    Jeff, odds are that the person more engaged in peer-reviewed publishing has more to say, is more widely accepted by colleagues, and can be considered more of an expert than colleagues who do not publish nearly as much. I would say that this is the case with pretty much all fields. So yes, the vast majority of the leading (meaning most published) climate researchers support anthropogenic GW. The skeptics are clearly not as well published.

    Bear in mind too that the US government is composed of people who have a wide range of opinions about climate change. Big oil and energy companies have a much more hierarchical structure than the government and their leaders tend to be much more skeptical about global warming than the US government is inherently a proponent of it, largely because they fear that it will hurt their potential future growth and force them to make costly adaptations. So I’ll trust studies done through US government funding more than I’ll trust studies done through big business funding.

    Here is the report on government spending on climate change-related matters published by the Congressional Research Service just three weeks ago: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R43227.pdf. $77 billion has been spent on addressing climate change (not just researching it, but building an adaptive and more environment-friendly infrastructure) since Fiscal Year 2008. Most of this (68%) has been spent on developing clean energy technologies. 23% has been spent on the US Global Change Research Program, which addresses more than just GW, but global change on the whole, which the GCRP has defined as “changes in the global environment (including alterations in climate, land productivity, oceans or other water resources, atmospheric chemistry, and ecological systems) that may alter the capacity of the Earth to sustain life.” 8% has been spent on climate change initiatives in developing countries. A whopping 1% has been spent on “plans to adapt to climate change.” So it is not as if all of this spending goes to scientists so that they publish papers and have an upper hand against climate change skeptics.

  41. jeff hoyt on October 4, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    Steve;

    I guess we just disagree on a number of things. I agree that the skeptics are not as well published. The climategate emails help explain at least one of the reasons.

    I hope there is a diversity of opinion about climate change in the government, but when you have government officials stating that skeptics are not welcome in their departments I question that all points of view are being heard.

    Lastly, you like government spending on the programs you noted while I view them as a convenient method of advancing corruption at worst and misallocation of resources at best.

  42. ji on October 4, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    The danger here is assuming God is on one’s side in a political matter — making those who disagree into enemies of God. The church can save souls, whether Democrat or Republican, Tory or Labour, PvdA or VVD. Let every man or woman be anxiously engaged in a good cause, according to his or her own conviction, and may he or she sustain others in their causes.

  43. Bryan in VA on October 4, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    Issues, such as, global warming and socialized medicine are used by statists to justify the supremacy of government over the individual. (Help, help, the sky is falling!! Only Big Government can save us!!) As the climate continues to not warm and global warming recedes as a political issue, statists will present new and different “compelling” reasons to control our lives by taking everything we have in return for a meager safety net. The cycle will repeat over and over.

  44. Jax on October 4, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    I gotta back RTS and Bryan here. This planet has gone into and out of several ice ages all on its own. Do we affect the environment? Yes. Do we CAUSE the environment to warm? No! Do a lot of people want to make it a reason to get money from others? Yes, but that is the nature of our time. Rather than getting wealth from others by raiding/pillaging/strength of arms, in the US today wealth is largely stolen by strength of mind – those who are more cunning and unethical find a way to get other peoples money by gov’t and law.

    To me, people who think we are smart/capable enough to control the environment are just as naïve as those who thought the Earth was the center of the Universe. They drastically over-estimate their own importance and effect on others.

  45. Alison Moore Smith on October 5, 2013 at 12:00 am

    I had to turn on the radiant heating and drive around in my SUV while it circulated just to keep warm yesterday — and it was only October 3. People, please, get those carbon footprints going! My heating bill’s going to be crazy this year.

    And after you do, don’t forget to contribute to my carbon offset company to assuage your guilt. I accept Paypal and all major credit cards. Also chocolate.

  46. Steve on October 5, 2013 at 12:17 am

    Jeff, look at it this way. There is no doubt that governments can be corrupt, unaccountable with funds, and wasteful. But there is also no doubt that over the past twenty years we have had many of the warmest years on record. If temperatures continue to rise and climate changes has increasingly disastrous effects, governments will likely be more capable of mobilizing public opinion on their side to justify more control of industry. It would therefore be wise of the private sector to start undertaking more environment-friendly initiatives to get a good head start. It is a win-win for private industry. If there is a shift in public opinion towards the danger of anthropogenic global warming, they’ll become the bad guys and suffer. But even if there isn’t a major shift, private industry develops new technologies and cleaner energy solutions.

  47. Steve on October 5, 2013 at 12:25 am

    Oh yes, thankfully some recent comments have reminded me that global warming IS a ‘statist’ conspiracy to get money and power. I totally forgot about that. Ah, silly me. I also totally forgot that one unusually chilly day in early October is unassailable evidence against global warming. What WAS I thinking!

  48. DLewis on October 5, 2013 at 12:29 am

    “Again, global temperatures have been basically flat for 15 years despite growth in CO2 levels.”
    The ocean has been absorbing most of our CO2 which has stalled overall warming. This is the ocean acidification that Steve mentioned he’s worried about. This is already bad for ocean life, and it will be bad for us when that carbon sink fills up completely.

    “The Arctic summer ice pack was 60% larger this summer than in 2012.”
    Comparing this year with the worst year for Arctic ice on satellite record is hardly a fair comparison. Nobody denies that year to year things will fluctuate. It’s the overall trend that matters. And that trend is towards less ice.

    “Ice is growing in Antarctica too. Nobody knows why.”
    Actually, they do. Ocean winds have increased, moving the sea ice around in ways that create pockets of water that stimulates increased ice growth. Ocean currents have also impacted this trend. But it’s important to note that while Antarctic sea ice is increasing, land ice is decreasing. The Antarctic is certainly more complicated than the Arctic, but there are explanations for why the trends are occurring as they are, explanations that account for the warmer waters the Antarctic is experiencing (that, in fact, is what is melting the land ice along the continent’s edges).

    It’s amazing how climate change can turn conservatives into tree-huggers. Frankly, it doesn’t matter if the Earth has endured climate change in the past. The issue is that WE haven’t endured climate change in the past, not this rapidly and not this globally. We don’t need to imagine if we puny humans can profoundly change the Earth and its climate. We only need to evaluate whether we can alter it enough such that the natural rhythms we rely upon to grow our food and get our water are thrown off in a way that would lead to enormous human suffering and economic costs. And evidence suggests that we can. I find this faux-humility the most dangerous kind of hubris.

  49. Cameron N on October 5, 2013 at 1:28 am

    Steve (20):

    Your points #2 and #3 are basically just assumptions about motives of the Electric Universe movement. Of course, the motivations of the thousands of scientific organizations seeking funding cannot be tainted at all.

    Of course, if you went to the actual links or were familiar with the hypothesis, you would know that part of it includes the idea that cosmic electrical forces rearranged the solar system and created spectacular plasma instability formations in the sky, which were carved in petroglyphs all around the world in recent prehistory. The theory implies that all major religions, including Christianity, may well be based on such events as people ascribed personalities to the celestial bodies.

    You would also know that they have correctly predicted dozens of behaviors over the past 30 years about comets, the sun, asteroids, and deep space.

    “I don’t understand why so many religious folks are so up in arms about the idea of anthropogenic global warming. I can’t see how accepting global warming would conflict with one’s religious beliefs at all.”

    Every generation the threat flip-flops-the alarmism comes and goes with regularity but thrives on fear and is the ultimate nebulous excuse for a power grab. The 70s was the ice age, early 1900s warming, late 1800s ice age, etc. Noone has a problem with global warming. They have a problem believing that (a) carbon dioxide directly causes warming, (b)warming is bad (don’t more people die from cold each year than heat?), (c)more taxes and less freedom will make things better.

    Contemporary mainstream science doesn’t understand electricity, the sun, or weather. The best it can do is ideate equation models and tell us that a few decades of temperature data allow us to accurately discern our impending doom.

  50. Cameron N on October 5, 2013 at 1:50 am

    Please read the above comment in a relaxed calm tone. The internet is frustrating and I’m impatient. =)

  51. Bryan in VA on October 5, 2013 at 5:42 am

    Fortunately the Latter-day Saints can rely on the more sure word of prophecy. I find these statements very comforting regarding whatever calamity is predicted for the future.

    No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done. (Joseph Smith)

    For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves. (D&C 104:17)

    Suppose the even the worst of the dire predictions of the AGW crowd become true. The Lord who knows all things from the beginning to the end will have accounted for that in His plan for us. It would be silly to assume that there are unknowns for the Lord when it comes to bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

  52. don on October 5, 2013 at 5:57 am

    Despite the disbelief of Mormons, Members of Congress,and FOX News analysts, much of the country is taking climate change seriously. This includes the U.S. military, mayors and governors, the private sector, ski resorts. And why not? Long-term thinking and planning — especially contingency planning — is usually a good thing. But even if there is no human element to climate change, why should we continue to pollute the earth, the air, the water? How can we seriously obey the part of the Word of Wisdom that counsels us not to put bad things in our bodies but do essentially the same thing in our fouled nest by allowing the earth around us to become a foul garbage heap?

  53. Steve Martin on October 5, 2013 at 6:04 am

    What if we went into a period of global cooling?

    Would we advocate driving more…using more energy…to try and raise the global temps?

    Climate Depot .com has some great articles, BTW.

  54. Walter van Beek on October 5, 2013 at 6:33 am

    Dear Don (52)
    Yes, indeed, why should we be careful with our body and sloppy with our ‘larger body’? My question to you in the US and ‘Deseret’ would be about the Mormons in the USA. In the Netherlands the LDS members are quite environment conscious, in harmany with the general cultural attitude here. What, is your impression, is the standard reaction of Deseret LDS and non-Deseret USA members to this question: denial, disbelief, acceptance, resignment, active engagement? Here in the Netherlands it does surface in Sacrament talks and lessons; when I did myself, as a high concil assignment talk, I got an enthousiast reception, especially fromthe young members. Any experiences?
    Walter

  55. Walter van Beek on October 5, 2013 at 6:40 am

    Dear Bryan (51)
    ‘The earth is full’ – with resources, people or pollution? And yes, we are agents ourselves, that implies action, not turning from the problem, but towards it, to face it and confront the ways in which the situation challenges our agency and stewardship.
    Walter

  56. Walter van Beek on October 5, 2013 at 6:54 am

    Dear Steve (35)
    Yes, the problem is denialism and conspiracy theory. That is practically absent in the Netherlands and very rare in Europe. How strong is it still in the US? Canada shifted over, from denial to full acceptance a decade ago.
    And as for the influence of mankind on the climate, one hypothesis (not yet a full theory) holds that the Neolithic Revolution (horticulture first, than agriculture) through the massive clearing of woods, suppressed an ice age – the very one that is overdue, as someone aptly remarked) diminishing it to the Little Ice Age of the 15-17th century.
    Walter

  57. Julie M. Smith on October 5, 2013 at 7:37 am

    “How strong is it still in the US?”

    Not nearly as strong as the comments here would lead you to believe.

  58. Kate Z on October 5, 2013 at 10:15 am

    I’m not a scientist so I can’t really engage with the deniers here – but I do work for big oil, and the industry as a whole has come around in recent years to acknowledge the reality of climate change. ExxonMobil stopped funding “Friends of Science” five or six years ago, and when Exxon drops an issue you know it’s time to go home.

    I do agree that stewardship of the earth is a moral issue, and wish we could get past the petty politics.

  59. Tim on October 5, 2013 at 10:19 am

    At least 90% of my Mormon Corridor ward has this problem–denialism and conspiracy theory. I think you’ll find most conservatives in the U.S., especially those without a background in science, deny that humans are responsible for global warming. And since most Mormons in the LDS are conservative…

    As far as the “logic” that humans aren’t powerful enough to affect global climate–we clearly are. For example, we have enough nuclear weapons to usher in a nuclear winter. This faux humility is just a convenient way to try to dodge acting responsibly.

  60. Cameron N on October 5, 2013 at 10:20 am

    The problem isn’t denialism and conspiracy theories Walter, it’s peer pressure and bullying. The scientific community has lost the experimental, philosophical, holistic variety it used to have. Today it is about conformity or punishment.

    The amount of people who take something as fact has absolutely no bearing on the truthfulness of that thing. I believe President Kimball said that once. No matter what subject, perhaps we should stop using the peer pressure argument. Or, I guess if we just want to avoid mockery we should just go along with whatever the general populace believes in hopes that they’ll like us and maybe be more open to accepting the gospel. Mockery is increasingly the path of a disciple in this generation. Embrace it.

    As far as environmental consciousness, most members in the US are quite environmentally conscious. They conserve, reuse, recycle, want to preserve parks, wildlife preserves, and reduce pollution. Please avoid conflating this appropriate and necessary behavior with the notion that CO2 is a pollutant and bad for the planet.

  61. Cameron N on October 5, 2013 at 10:23 am

    As to Kate Z’s comment, all the behavior of oil companies shows is that they were wasting money, not the merits or acceptance of the movement. I guess Saul Alinsky was right, repetition does beget truth.

  62. Tim on October 5, 2013 at 10:36 am

    My father lives in the Mormon Corridor. A couple of years ago, teacher in his High Priest group asked if anyone in the class was an environmentalist. Not surprisingly, my dad was the only one who raised his hand.

    Where I live, there is no recycling program. People who want to recycle can do so through private companies, but our city–and all other nearby cities–have no programs at all for recycling.

    I live in an area with a lot of open space and a lot of wind. The wealthiest man in the area–a Mormon–puts up some pretty ridiculous billboards criticizing wind power and spends a lot of money fighting windmills in the area. He has had quite a bit success in slowing down the wind energy industry in the area.

    To put it lightly, there’s certainly a lot of room for improvement in these parts.

  63. Alison Moore Smith on October 5, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    I live in the “Mormon Corridor.” Here are the Utah County cites that provide curbside recycling:

    Alpine
    American Fork
    Cedar Hills
    Eagle Mountain
    Elk Ridge
    Highland
    Lehi
    Lindon
    Mapleton
    Orem
    Payson
    Pleasant Grove
    Provo
    Salem
    Santaquin
    Saratoga Springs
    Springville

    Areas that do not have curbside but “drop-off access”:
    Cedar Fort Town
    Draper
    Spanish Fork
    Vineyard Town
    Woodland Hills

  64. Ben H on October 5, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    I am chuckling as I watch a story about church efforts for reforestation in Haiti now, between the sessions of General Conference.

  65. Steve on October 5, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    Cameron N (49), fair enough, I’ll look more into Electric Universe theory.

    Science has made significant progress in understanding the climate over the past forty years. We have all kinds of new technology that has allowed us to gather new evidence about the climate that we didn’t have previously. Furthermore it appears that we agree that the majority of the leading and most widely published climatologists support AGW. But we disagree as to why. You seem to think that they ‘bullying and peer pressure’ explain their behavior and that they punish those who don’t conform. Hardly. There are plenty of avenues for climate skeptics to go down where they will be well-funded and lauded by public and private organizations. This idea of a big bad government suppressing information about the true nature of the climate, that is promoting global warming only as an excuse to take over big industries and enrich themselves even more is unfounded and smacks of paranoid conspiracy theory. Big industry and governments throughout the world are already strong allies, and governments appear to be intent on punishing big industries only to the extent that public opinion dictates it. Government officials already have lots of money and power. If anything governments should be promoting skepticism of global warming in order to protect their interests and futures, not advocating it. Furthermore, global warming skeptics appear to have somewhat of an upper hand in the US government. The US doesn’t appear to have taken much action in preventing global warming in the past twenty years, not nearly to the degree that AGW advocates would have it do.

  66. peter on October 6, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    Please tell us who won the entire discussion caffeine drinker

  67. Steve on October 6, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    “Please tell us who won the entire discussion caffeine drinker”

    Haha. Yeah, I love it how DLewis sort of swooped and owned Raymond right after Caffeine Drinker proclaimed a victory for the denialists.

  68. John on October 6, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    Yeah, caffeine drinker proclaimed victory too soon. It’s amazing how this whole debate really centers on a logical fallacy … that we have enough information to even properly decide the issue. It seems global temperatures rise and fall in a cyclical manner and it seems that money, politics, and the corporate media gets in the way of a proper debate by paying the deniers and letting them continue to falsely accuse those seeking the truth about what’s really going on. Can we actually find out the truth?

  69. palerobber on October 6, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    @ Clyde #13

    It would never cross my mind to write the “brethren” their opinion on a political issue like climate change. I think that is just plain weird.

    what a restrictive view you have of the brethren’s domain. do you not realize that “[t]he prophet is not required to have any particular earthly training or diplomas to speak on any subject or act on any matter at any time” ?

  70. Rob Perkins on October 6, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    We have enough information. We never needed climate science, true as its predictions are turning out to be, to have enough information to guide our behavior.

    Folks who use D&C 104:17 to reassure themselves that resources will not be scare always gives me pause. The very next verse reads: “Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment.”

    Do our Friends in Fracking and all their fellow travelers impart their portion unto the poor and the needy? No? Then we have a really big problem.

  71. jeff hoyt on October 6, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    Rob;

    One – The predictions of climate change crowd are not turning out to be accurate.

    Two – Why do you presume “Friends in Fracking” are less generous to the poor than environmentalists? I am always amazed at the moral smugness of the left. It brings to mind the line from Curb Your Enthusiasm “I can’t be a racist, I drive a Prius”. Larry David knows the left well.

  72. Rob Perkins on October 6, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    That’s nice. Care to actually address what I wrote?

  73. Cameron N on October 6, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    Rob, who is qualified to endorse the generosity of the group of individuals belonging to ‘friends of fracking’ besides the Lord and their respective ecclesiastical leaders?” The subject matter you cited is serious, but I don’t know how you honestly expect someone to respond to your question.

    John (68) you are wiser than most. A good place to start would be actually gaining a comprehensive understanding and being able to predict short-term weather. Another great help would be if all the physicists and mathematicians understood electricity and were exposed to the Electric Universe theory. A third help would be a radical change in the attitudes and approach to scientific education.

  74. Cameron N on October 6, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    ^@ John (continued from above) when I say gaining an understanding, I mean both current ‘experts’ and society as a collective whole. Wasn’t enlisting you alone in a dramatic personal quest. =)

    Here is one of about 40 informative presentations on specific contexts in which understanding and incorporation of electricity would help.

  75. jeff hoyt on October 6, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    Point one seems to address what you wrote.

    Point two I certainly thought did. Perhaps I misunderstood. What was your point?

  76. Rob Perkins on October 6, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    #75 One — Nope. Instead of that you chose to deny the consensus of 95% of all climate science studies, and to commit a tu quoque. Fallacies never engage the topic.

    The net potential energy in the climate is higher. Humans did it. Full Stop. And completely irrelevant to the use of D&C 104, which is not a scripture that’s supposed to make anybody, especially the wealthy, complacent about anything.

    # 73 — Do entities like Exxon even *have* ecclesiastical leaders? Also, are you kidding? Meteorology has advanced from being unable to predict the weather for six hours to predicting it to a pinpoint out to three days, with only a little less accuracy out to ten!

  77. Cameron N on October 6, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    Rob, I was kidding because you kind of threw out a blanket assumption about motives or intentions to what I would guess is a diverse group of people, and it surprised me as it didn’t seem relevant to the topic here.

    Since we have finally achieved 3 day accuracy at the local level (although my local forecast was about 20 degrees wrong last Monday), at what point would you say we can predict 50 years out, given the trillions of variables involved here, and the fact that the 10-20 year models were horribly wrong?

    Also, since when did popular consensus equate with truth? Certainly not in the days of Galileo, or many other similar stories? Certainly not in the days of latter-day apostasy, post- or pre- restoration? Check out the EU theory and track record, you may be surprised…

  78. Steve on October 6, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    “Also, since when did popular consensus equate with truth?”

    AGW is not popular consensus. Rather it is the majority opinion of climate scientists which they back up using state of the art technology and with mounds upon mounds of evidence, which alternative theories have not even come close to matching. Could it be wrong? Yes, of course. My position is that physics and climate science are complex and difficult subjects that are far beyond my area of expertise that I do not have time to master. So in order to inform my opinion about important physics and climate questions, I figure that I am safest going with the majority opinion, especially if it is the opinion of a far majority of the most widely published experts. The prevalence of conspiracy theory in the US, not just among lay people but also among academics themselves, leads me to take alternative theories, like Electric Universe theory, with a grain of salt, especially when a lot of the proponents of EU theory push an agenda against the Big Bang Theory and global warming.

    I also find it interesting, given the fact that you (Cameron) seem to voice a libertarian position, that many libertarians (i.e. Max Keiser) are staunch advocates of AGW, and are of the opinion that government is in bed with big oil and energy companies and not AGW advocates, and that governments need to be dissolved in order for conscientious citizens to be able to take action against AGW and other forms of human-caused environmental harm.

  79. jeff hoyt on October 6, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    Rob;

    You did not write about a 95% consensus, so it seems odd to say that I ignored it, and bizarre that you would call me out for not addressing it. You did say “true as its predictions are turning out to be”. As 98% (that should impress you) of the climate models used in the IPCC report overstated the expected increase it seemed to me I was on point in stating that your assertion was incorrect.

    I have no problem with D&C 104, and presume that your commitment to the poor is proportional to mine. Perhaps it was a tu quoque as I neglected to specifically state – conservatives are more charitable than leftists, both nominally and proportionally. Therefore your pointing at “frackers” as being under condemnation seems baseless.

  80. Tim on October 7, 2013 at 8:33 am

    The science of weather forecasts is entirely different from the science of climate change. It shouldn’t be part of this conversation. What frustrates me most about the conversation about climate change in the U.S. is that it is dominated by people who understand even less about climate change than I do. That, and the fact that those in the U.S. often trust talking heads more than the vast majority of the experts.

  81. Rob Perkins on October 7, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    #79 — No, I simply wrote, initially, that it (AGW) is true. In any case, you’re still making categorical errors: The predictions of AGW are turning out to not be precise. They’re still generally accurate: There is more energy in the hydrosphere. This has changed the behavior of the hydrosphere. The cause of the additional energy is complex, but includes the surfeit of carbon from sources not part of the hydrosphere, the methane emissions from agribusiness, and the worship of media of exchange.

    But why would I try and explain that to people who cling to disproven cosmologies, or equivocate using Galileo? Waste of time, really.

  82. jeff hoyt on October 7, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    #81 – Actually no, they have not been generally accurate. That is the reason the alarmists have had to “find” the “hidden warming” (as opposed to considering that the models might be in error) and hope that no one will ask: if the models are so good then why couldn’t they predict the heat transfer to the oceans?

    It is a waste of time if you cannot keep straight to whom you are responding or what they actually said.

  83. CeeJay on October 7, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    My dad had a PhD in ecology from Columbia. He studied global co2 cycles for the ARS (USDA), trying to anticipate how fruit yields would be affected. He was a skeptic of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (“AGW”). My dad told a story about another ARS-researcher/AGW-skeptic, Sherwood Idso, who was invited to a meeting in DC to discuss his research. Apparently Sherwood was surprised by the true purpose of the meetings, which were held to discourage and discredit him. He was bullied by the likes of Al Gore. In my dad’s words “He was never quite the same after that.”

    This isn’t to say that I’m ready to argue AGW on its scientific merits. I’m just posting this as simple anecdote to counter the claim that bullying hasn’t happened during this particular science/policy debate. For those that say there are plenty of ways to push against the approved message, I guess you can email Sherwood Idso and ask him how that’s been going for him down in Arizona. As far as I know, he is a Mormon and could have an interesting story to relate.

    Also there is an interesting study of climate-change attitudes that concluded “[G]reater scientific literacy and numeracy were associated with greater cultural polarization: Respondents predisposed by their values to dismiss climate change evidence became more dismissive, and those predisposed by their values to credit such evidence more concerned, as science literacy and numeracy increased. We suggest that this evidence reflects a conflict between two levels of rationality: The individual level, which is characterized by citizens’ effective use of their knowledge and reasoning capacities to form risk perceptions that express their cultural commitments; and the collective level, which is characterized by citizens’ failure to converge on the best available scientific evidence on how to promote their common welfare.”
    The Tragedy of the Risk-Perception Commons: Culture Conflict, Rationality Conflict, and Climate Change, which can be found on SSRN.

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