Why Global Warming is True: Converging Lines of Evidence

The below video provides a wonderful example of how you can increase the confidence of your conclusions through converging lines of evidence. The chart at the end of the clip is quite simply stunning.

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We know the earth is old through converging lines of evidence (geology, biology, and physics all point to a similar conclusion); we know the Holocaust happened through converging lines of evidence (testimony, written records, physical evidence); and we know that global warming has been happening over the last 130 years through converging lines of evidence. This is why right wing anti-warming idiocy should rightly be considered on a par with young earth creationism and Holocaust denial.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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13 Responses to Why Global Warming is True: Converging Lines of Evidence

  1. devin says:

    Reblogged this on devin's place of fun, creation, and more! and commented:
    must listen

  2. Luke says:

    It is not idiocy to question whether temperature changes are the result of man-made activity. It is not idiocy to question whether significant changes in the use of fossil fuels in the United States will have an impact on worldwide temperature change. It is not idiocy to question the motives of those who advocate hundreds of billions of dollar of taxes on the US economy for redistribution to the poor of the world. What is idiocy is the arrogant and unfounded belief of liberals that they are smarter than conservatives.

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      Luke,

      You’re right that the policy implications of global warming are up for debate, but the empirical question of whether the planet has been warming ought to be largely settled among reasonable people. Converging lines of evidence also point to man made causes. At least debate in good faith and concede these two facts.

      My own solution is a technical one (cleaner energy, efficient architecture and transportation, global seeding of clouds with refracting particles, and the sinking of carbon to the bottom of the sea through growing vast organic mats that take up the carbon). Many environmentalists don’t want to talk about these techno-fixes because it messes with the Ecotopia narrative they prefer. Pragmatically, though, this is how we’ll probably deal with the issue as technology advances over the next century and we come to take over not just the course of our own genomes, but the regulation of the biosphere. We’re collectively heading for a Technotopia with Ecotopia elements (in my view).

      That reminds me of a cartoon I recently saw. A person calling another person says, “It’s the 21st century, where’s my jet pack?” The answer, obviously, is that the smart phone in the person’s hand is better than a jet pack. Left and right in this country are like that person when talking about global warming. They’re not thinking out of the box. They think the world is running in roughly the same tracks that it always has. They’re engaged in a debate using dated assumptions about where we’re headed as a civilization (which is toward techno-urbanization and then into space).

      –Santi

  3. dcyates says:

    Does this video (and your subsequent comments on it, Santi) intend to say that the climate… Let me take a breath here and see if I’ve got this straight… that the climate… CHANGES?!?! That at various times there are general warming trends and at other times general cooling trends?!? (I thought it felt a bit warmer today than it did yesterday. So, because of that, it only makes sense that we completely overhaul our entire energy and economic system.)

    Santi, I don’t know anybody who would argue against the fact that there are general overall changes in the climate — and that’s all that this video even attempts to say. But there is still tons of legitimate debate over whether or not it’s manmade. Until and unless AGW advocates can show us how to account for the Medieval Warm Period of roughly 1,000 years ago (and the similarly warm period of 2,000 years ago), and still blame human activity for it, then of course there’s still legitimate debate.

    Two thousand years ago, Roman records indicate that it was so warm (in at least the northern hemisphere) that some of the finest wine throughout the empire was being produced in Britain. A thousand years ago, vineyards were being cultivated as far north as northern England. And you can still go to some of these northern English towns and find yourself strolling down “Vine Road” or “Vineyard Lane.” Or you can visit the old Gothic cathedrals in these towns that were built around that time and marvel at the stained glass depictions of vineyard workers, with each window bordered with twisting vines. When was the last time you heard of wine being produced in England — much less northern England?!?

    A thousand years ago it was so warm that vikings could grow crops in Greenland that sustained them year round. (Not to mention that they saw fit to name the place GREENland!) Likewise, when they ventured further west and discovered what is now Newfoundland, they called it Vinland. Let’s take a wild guess as to why? However, after a couple hundred years, temperatures eventually grew too cold where they had to abandon their colonies in both places.

    Evidence also indicates that farmers used to grow crops over vast swaths of Siberia. If all of that past “global warming” or “climate change” was caused by human activity, I’d sure like to know how.

    • Luke says:

      The evidence for manmade global warming is irrefutable. After all, the noted climatologist (and nutritionist), Mayor Bloomberg, attributed hurricane Sandy to global warming.

      • Santi Tafarella says:

        Luke,

        Great way to change the subject. I eagerly await the day Rush Limbaugh invites a panel of respected climate scientists onto his show. Whenever right wing media discuss global warming, they never do so in the presence of experts, do they? They just talk out of their ass.

        –Santi

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      dycates,

      The reality is this: you’re not an expert in climate science, but you have scattered observations that convince you that the consensus of climate scientists on this matter is wrong. If you were being reasonable, you would apportion your own beliefs to the evidence and to expert opinion. And as a lay person, you would draw the sensible conclusion that the experts, being experts, are far more likely correct on the matter than you are. A little humility might suit you better than your current (ridiculous) excess of confidence.

      • dcyates says:

        Santi,

        Not being an expert climatologist hasn’t kept you from commenting on the subject. Why should it keep me? But something that is certainly manmade here is this so-called “scientific consensus” on AGW; I know of plenty of highly renowned, professional, expert climatologists who don’t consent to it. But aside from that, I readily admit that my argument (along with my “current ridiculous excess of confidence”) is not so much based on climatology as it is on historical fact. And I can’t help but notice that my, albeit implicit, question — “How can the extended periods of, at least perceived, uncommon warmth, of roughly 1,000 and 2,000 years ago, be explained in terms of human action?” — not only remains outstanding, but hasn’t even been attempted. Instead you chose to attack my personal character. (There’s a name for that line of argumentation, but it escapes me at the moment. ;-))
        Not that you should really care, but please know that I sincerely possess considerable respect for you and your intelligence, Santi. However, I’m sorry to say that it’s anything but warranted by such responses as those above.

    • szopen says:

      Is your argument of the kind: two days ago I was hit by a stupid girl; a day ago I was hit by a stupid girl; therefore, when I was hit today, it is impossible that it was stupid boy who hit me?
      Second, is your claim similar to my claim, that since I bought in IKEA cheap table, and it was cheaper than year ago, therefore global inflation in my country does not exist?

      Check where is southern tip of Greenland on map, BTW.

      • David Yates says:

        szopen,
        Have you ever been to Greenland? I have. Not a single portion of it lies south of the 60th parallel. Believe me, it is way too cold there to grow crops that will sustain any sizeable population year-round. And it’s only been in the last few years that hardier crops and vegetables — like barley and potatoes (which will grow practically anywhere) — can now be grown as far north as the 70th parallel, but with still relatively meagre harvests. But as recently as when I was there (about 15 yrs ago), even that was not possible.
        Re: your “violent girl” question. No, my line of argumentation is more to ask the question, “Considering a particular girl kissed you two days ago without provocation, and the same girl kissed you yesterday, again completely without provocation, why would you jump to the conclusion that her kissing you today was actually an act of aggression, and that it was because of something you did?”
        Re: your “crappy Swedish furniture” question. Again, no, my claim is more along the lines of, “Because, along with the cheap IKEA table I bought today, everything else is I buy is cheaper now than it was a year ago, not only is there no inflation, but deflation is not necessarily a bad thing — despite what govt-paid experts might be telling me.”

  4. dcyates says:

    “I eagerly await the day Rush Limbaugh invites a panel of respected climate scientists onto his show. Whenever right wing media discuss global warming, they never do so in the presence of experts, do they? They just talk out of their ass.” — Santi

    On the contrary, Santi, I know of numerous instances where it’s very nearly the exact opposite. Besides his pathological lying and colossal hypocrisy, Al Gore is infamous for obstinately refusing to debate anybody worthwhile on the subject of AGW. Up here in Canada, environmentalist guru — and equally egregious hypocrite — David Suzuki is just as recalcitrant as his American counterpart. As well, there’s a nationwide weekend radio program here in Canada where the host, Roy Green, issued a general challenge about four years ago for anyone in favour of AGW to come on the show and debate the issue. The challenge went week after week, month after month without any takers, and when one finally did — one Richard Littlemore (who had been recommended to the task by David Suzuki himself) — he was soundly thrashed. (And that’s not just my opinion, in his own blog he himself as much as admitted it afterwards, his primary excuse being: “In hindsight, I played perfectly into the hands of [Lord Christopher] Monckton and his happy radio host, Roy Green, who share the same goal – not to win an argument about global warming science, but merely to show that there still IS an argument. Of course there’s not. But while we danced angels around the head of a pin, I can imagine Green’s listeners thinking, ‘Oh my. This is very confusing. No wonder the government says it’s too early to take action.’ Score one for Monckton…. [!]
    It was also a tactical error to start pointing people to helpful websites with clear graphs and reliable science that could support my position. It left open the possibility for Monckton to say, ‘I could produce 35 graphs’ to the contrary – which fiction then drifted to the listeners as if it were, well, accurate in the real world.
    Thanks [and my apologies] to those of you who volunteered some much-preferable debating strategies. Maybe next time.”
    It’s perhaps noteworthy that of only the few “helpful websites” that Littlemore mentioned, one was his own blog site and another was Wikipedia!)

    Just a year after this radio debate, a much-publicized, more formal debate took place in NYC, with three on each side. I’m sure many of you already know of it, so I’ll refrain from going into the details except to point out that just prior to the debate the NYC audience was polled for their opinions on the matter and it was found that 57.3% believed in the AGW side, against just 29.9% who counted themselves as sceptics. Post debate the audience was polled again with a virtually complete reversal (especially considering this is NYC, after all): 46.2% afterwards saw themselves as sceptics against 42.2% who had maintained their adherence to AGW. And again, the debaters on the AGW side publicly admitted they had been thoroughly bested by their opponents.

    No, Santi, it’s actually little wonder why it’s so many prominent AGW advocates who have simply refused to participate in any formal debates at all. Besides the aforementioned, this includes no less than Greenpeace itself, which issued the statement, “We no longer debate people who don’t accept the scientific reality of anthropogenic climate change.” (Pray tell, who then will they debate on the issue?!? Themselves?!?) Likewise the Australian warm-monger, Clive Hamilton: “I will not be contributing any further pieces to the site (“On Line Opinion”) because it has been captured by climate change denialists.” This came only a couple weeks after he had declared, “Over the last 20 or 30 years . . . academics have been less willing to engage in public debate.” This sorry development had to change he went on to explain, and he proudly presented himself as the man to change it. Alas, that mission wasn’t to last long.

  5. szopen says:

    it is not right-wing idiocy – it is just idiocy and ignorancy. I am myself right-winger and while in the past I was AGW denier, when I started actually read about it in real, scientific blogs, i’ changed my stance over few weeks (yes, weeks, changing your ingraining beliefs isn’t easy). Most people simply do not read scientific papers and they rely on people they consider authorities – and it seems that authorities usually also don’t read scientific papers, and instead read newspapers, when AGW is trivialised, sensationalised etc.

    • David Yates says:

      szopen,
      Fine then. Lift me from my idiocy and ignorance. Show me (citing from your “real, scientific blogs” if necessary) how to account for the periods of relative warmth in the northern hemisphere roughly 1,000 and 2,000 years ago in terms of human activity, and perhaps I’ll also embark on this life-changing AGW adventure lasting (gasp!) weeks.

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