Climate change and Winter Olympics: Sites getting harder to find

One of the world’s greatest displays of athleticism may soon be viewable only on video recordings if climate change is left unchecked. Though the Games recently concluded, Winter Olympics organizers still have big challenges ahead of them – finding host cities with acceptable winter conditions.

Researchers at the University of Waterloo in Canada and the Management Center Innsbruck in Austria found that only six of the 19 cities that have hosted Winter Olympics in the past would be able to reliably host the games again if current climate patterns hold and the carbon pollution that causes climate isn’t limited.

In Sochi, officials had to cancel test events due to a lack of snowpack and were only able to move forward because Russian organizers stockpiled 16 million cubic feet of snow from last winters’ snowpack to ensure the games could continue as scheduled. The same happened in Vancouver when helicopters had to be used to dump snow onto snowboarding sites.

The effects of climate change have been unfolding on an international stage. It’s time that policies to address it took center stage in Washington.

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Comments (108)

  1. Submitted by Laura Griffin on 03/12/2014 - 06:05 pm.

    Just out of curiosity….

    How long did it take the author to stop laughing before he could submit this article for publication?

    Seriously? With the harshest winter in 3 decades across North America and much of Europe, not to mention snowfall in Egypt and Israel, etc for the first time in 110 years. Record ice and lowest temperature ever recorded in Antartica and you wonder if we’re going to run out of places for the winter olympics?

    The Global warming hysteria crowd just sound more and more delusional with each passing day.

    • Submitted by Kurt Nelson on 03/13/2014 - 08:22 am.

      Just out of curiosity

      What other science do you reject. Cancer research, they have not proven what causes all types of cancer, so that research must be suspect too right.
      Provide a list of scholarly, peer reviewed journals that bolster your argument that the earth’s climate is not changing due to an increase in atmospheric carbon – oh what’s that you say, you can’t.
      And remember Faux news is not a legitimate source for science.

      • Submitted by Steve Rose on 03/13/2014 - 11:37 am.

        The Challenge to Prove a Negative

        That is truly a classic.

        Provide a list of scholarly, peer reviewed journals that prove your argument that the earth’s climate is changing due to an increase in atmospheric carbon.

        This link to the EPA website talks about climate forcers at work in the past and present.

        http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/science/causes.html

        Stories about anthropomorphic global warming (AGW) sell better when the anecdotal evidence just out the door isn’t so contradictory. Of course we all know the “weather-not-climate” argument, but the AGW articles seem to like above average temperatures. That is why these letter and stories have been scarce for a while.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/17/2014 - 09:31 am.

          Indeed, a classic

          I don’t think you read all of the page you link to. About half-way down, we get this:

          “Recent climate changes, however, cannot be explained by natural causes alone. Research indicates that natural causes are very unlikely to explain most observed warming, especially warming since the mid-20th century. Rather, human activities can very likely explain most of that warming.”

          • Submitted by Steve Rose on 03/17/2014 - 10:29 am.

            Thanks for pointing that out.

            “human activities can very likely explain most of that warming”

            There are some soft words in there, like “most” and “likely”. That doesn’t sound like the conversation is over, settled science, consensus, nothing to discuss. Ten or even five years ago, a statement on the EPA website would have had a more dogmatic tone.

            The overarching argument of the anthropomorphic climate change apologists and evangelists is that there is nothing to discuss. Really, a discussion about how there is nothing to discuss? That is as good as it gets?

            Skepticism drives the advancement of science.

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/17/2014 - 11:08 am.

              Apparently, you don’t read much science. “Very likely” is how scientists (real ones, that is) frame conclusions.

              Where do you get the idea that an EPA website would have been “more dogmatic” in the past? The only reason the language of the conclusions would be toned down is the screeching from the politically influential, denialist crowd (who espouse their own brand of dogma).

              “Skepticism drives the advancement of science.” And ignorance, whether based on politics, economics, or religion, impedes it.

        • Submitted by Kurt Nelson on 03/18/2014 - 09:24 am.

          Evidence

          Do you really believe that the pumping of carbon and other gasses into the atmosphere has had no effect on the earth’s climate.

          20 years ago, if you had suggested to plant hardwoods in the Arrowhead, for instance, as replacement after a forest disturbance, you would have been laughed out of the room, but, that’s what is happening. Foresters are planting hardwoods, where hardwoods would not grow 20 years ago. Why would they do this, if there was not evidence of a warmer Minnesota – seems like a waste of time and money to plant a long-lived tree if they thought it would not survive. Yet, there you go, hardwoods in the Arrowhead.
          Crazy anecdotal evidence (oh wait, this is actual evidence).

          Just returned from northern Europe, (Germany, Austria and SLovenia), and to a person I spoke with, and I talked to a lot of people, they all said the same thing: this winter has been so warm, all we get is rain, no snow, no cold, just a winter killing warmth. Huh, I guess looking beyond your little sphere can be challenging, but try it.

    • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 03/13/2014 - 12:03 pm.

      Huh?

      Did you just make up all those statements as you were typing them? SOME areas of North America have experienced record cold, but not all areas by any stretch of the imagination. Alaska, which is part of North America last I checked, experienced record heat in January. They posted a high of 61°!

      Also keep in mind that contrary to popular belief, North America is not the world. I checked temperatures in Helsinki, St. Petersburg, and similar places last month while we were going through our cold snap. They were in the balmy 30s while we were freezing our petunias off.

      And why are we having these whacked out temperature swings? Because the jet stream isn’t following its normal pattern. And why isn’t it following its normal pattern? Because the heat differential between the tropics and the poles isn’t as pronounced, which allows the jet stream to meander more and stay in one place longer.

      Thank you for following the bouncing ball today as we teach the deniers a little basic science.

  2. Submitted by John Roach on 03/13/2014 - 10:16 am.

    Global warming is wrong

    …because there’s snow in my back yard. This is the kind of reasoning that avoids the issue and ignores the vast amount of data that says otherwise.

    January global temperatures overall were the 4th warmest on the modern record. Alaska’s temperatures were extremely warm, as was western Canada, Greenland, Southern Russia and Mongolia. Sochi was also well above average, which led to poor conditions for the Olympics.

    In the Southern Hemisphere, it was the warmest January ever recorded.

    The Twin Cities experienced a winter that is just about “average”. If you think it was unusually cold, what that shows is that you haven’t lived here for very many winters.

  3. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 03/14/2014 - 03:53 pm.

    Averages

    What Mr. Rose fails to include in his analysis is that some studies rank 2007 as the third warmest on record. To say that 2013 wasn’t as warm isn’t much of a claim. One study ranks 2013 as the fourth warmest globally and another as the fifth.

    While those figures don’t include January of this year, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that one month of data does not negate decades of data points. Yes, it was cold in Minnesota and some parts of the United States in February. No, that has not dropped the average temperature of the planet.

    Once again, the Great Lakes is not the entire world.

    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 03/15/2014 - 12:24 pm.

      Once again?

      I didn’t bring this winter’s weather to the conversation, but once it came to the table the need for an infusion of truth became evident. The National Weather Service data does not indicate an average winter, not even close. If you haven’t heard or don’t get outside much, you might believe that this winter was “about average”. Accountability and honesty, two enemies of an agenda driven argument.

      • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 03/15/2014 - 06:26 pm.

        Data Points

        Again, the United States, let alone Mr. Rose’s back yard, is not the entire planet. Even granting for a moment the assumption that this winter had below average temperatures, One data point does not a trend make. You’re always going to have variations up and down in any system, some years with more snowfall than last and some with less. Overall though the average world-wide temperatures are trending up.

        • Submitted by Steve Rose on 03/15/2014 - 08:45 pm.

          My Yard

          The only person talking about my yard is you. So, “granting for a moment the assumption that this winter had below average temperatures.” That is quite a concession for a denier that this was a cold winter.

          I never denied that the average global temperature is trending up. In fact, data indicates an increase of about 0.5 C over the last 100 years. This fact is confirmed in the linked report below.

          http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/last_100_yrs.html

          “Temperatures have increased by about 0.5° C over the last 100 years. Most of these increases occurred in the first 50 years of this time period.

          Carbon dioxide (CO2) has also increased over the last 100 years– from about 300 ppm to 370 ppm. Interestingly, the majority of these additions have occurred in the last 50 years, when temperature increases have been slowest.”

          Independent data from orbiting satelites have been continuosly measuring global temperatures since the 1970’s and indicate that over the last 25 years there has actually been a slight decrease in overall global temperatures.

          Assuming that at least part of the source of CO2 additions in the last 50 years is anthropogenic (man-made), the likely scenario is (at the level of additions involved) that CO2 concentrations in our atmosphere are an effect of temperature– not the other way around. The perturbation of CO2 equilibrium has not had the proportional effect on temperature that greenhouse activists predict.”

  4. Submitted by Tom Karas on 03/15/2014 - 10:35 am.

    Great Lakes Ice Cover

    The ice cover that goofy cherry picking climate denier folks are lurching after this winter is actually a very good indicator that global climate change is happening. Thank you very much. One of the oldest human recorded annual events is the number of years the ice covers Grand Traverse Bay in the LP of Michigan. This is a very simple, human observation of when the ice grows out to Power Island.
    It is recorded in the number of years per decade that the ice reached the island. Very simple, easy to understand. Google it.
    Results are:
    1850 – 8 years
    1860-9 years
    1870 – 9 years
    1880 – 9 years
    1890 – 10 years
    1900 – 10 years
    1910 – 9 years
    1920 – 8 years
    1930 – 9 years
    1940 – 7 years
    1950 – 9 years
    1960 – 7 years
    1970 – 9 years
    1980 – 8 years
    1990 – 6 years
    2000 – 3 years
    2010 – 1 so far this decade
    One of those hockey stick type graphs that even Minnesotans could relate to.

    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 03/15/2014 - 04:27 pm.

      Liquified Petroleum?

      The google didn’t find the LP of Michigan. Goofy.

      So, more ice on the Great Lakes and less ice on Grand Traverse Bay (part of the Great Lakes) are proof positive of anthropomorphic climate change. Do tell us.

    • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 03/17/2014 - 09:04 pm.

      And in the thousands of years prior to 1850?

      164 years is a blink in earth’s climate history.

      • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 03/18/2014 - 07:31 am.

        History

        Yeah, but not in terms of humans. We’ve got a little more at stake if the climate changes dramatically over the next couple hundred years.

      • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 03/18/2014 - 08:47 pm.

        And don’t forget

        Traverse Bay was all ice for thousands of years when it was part of a glacier.

  5. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 03/15/2014 - 09:27 pm.

    Summer vs Winter

    I have to wonder if the globazl warming deniers will suddenly believe the phenomenon is real when summer hits and we’re dealing with termperatures in the 90s and 100s. They come out of the woodwork when it’s winter–in the northern hemisphere–but disappear when July rolls around.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/17/2014 - 09:33 am.

      Summer

      In the summer, it will be “Al Gore got fat and sold his TV network to the Arabs.”

      You don’t expect any logical arguments from this crowd, do you?

      • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 03/17/2014 - 07:33 pm.

        Cold Winter

        Sadly, no I don’t. It doesn’t appear any amount of evidence would convince some people that global warming is real.

        • Submitted by jason myron on 03/17/2014 - 09:02 pm.

          The only evidence they’ll ever accept

          is when the water level reaches their lower lip. Then, they’ll blame it on Obama.

  6. Submitted by Steve Rose on 03/16/2014 - 08:08 am.

    Woodwork?

    Those that dare to speak against the anthropomorphic climate change apologists and evangelists are likened to insects and rodents that come out of the woodwork when it is winter. If that is what you need to carry your argument, then by all means proceed with that approach.

    Over the course of science history, there have been some notable dogmas, settled science, which persisted for hundreds and thousands of year, be yet they don’t stand today. The geocentric universe hasn’t been gone that long; a while before that we had a flat Earth. The true deniers deny that there is anything to discuss, and bristle at all challenges to their dogma.

    I will still be around when it is July, and I expect that temperatures will reach 90 and 100, as they have throughout the recorded history of Minnesota. The temperature has never reached 114 in Minnesota in my lifetime, but it did in July 1917 and again in July 1936.

    • Submitted by Eric Flesch on 03/18/2014 - 05:48 am.

      anthropomorphic?

      Your use of anthropomorphic makes no sense. I think you have your terminology confused. The comon understanding of the A in AGW is anthropogenic.

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 03/18/2014 - 08:40 am.

      Indeed, there never was a geocentric universe, nor was the Earth ever flat… it was the collective perception that was incorrect. The fact that most people believed the Earth was flat AND the center of the universe doesn’t make it true, and their opposition was religious in nature, not evidence-based.

      Fast-forward to today, and we are faced with a theory of anthropogenic (not anthropomorphic) climate change which is supported by the vast majority of scientists who specialize in climatology and/or meteorology.

      Remember, gravity is also a theory, but we don’t advocate jumping out of high windows just to test it.

      • Submitted by Steve Rose on 03/18/2014 - 09:26 am.

        Perhaps, the human ..

        Perhaps the human causation is greatly overstated, even if all of the scientists, imperfect humans with their own agendas, are on that bandwagon. Their collective perception may be incorrect.

        It can be argued that opposition by the CAGW faithful to climate discussions is religious in nature, a carbon-centric religion. Consider the treatment afforded heretics that dare question the dogma.

        Flat Earth and geocentric universe theories enjoyed widespread popularity among the wicked-smart of the day, but now reside in the dustbin of scientific theory. It is only in retrospect that we know that what was universally believed was rubbish.

        Is Gravity a theory? I thought Gravity was a movie.

        • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 03/18/2014 - 10:10 am.

          Actually, the ‘wicked-smart’ of the day were those who challenged the conventions of flat-earth and geocentrism.

          I reject your assertion that those who accept climate change as even existing are part of some ‘religion’ or ‘cult.’ I think it speaks to your own inability to conceive of a complex world in which there are more than two points of view on any given topic. That your mistreatment, perceived or real, comes down to people calling you mean names pales in comparison to the actual persecution of scientists at the hands of the dogmatic religions of the era… which still happens to this day in many places in the world.

          • Submitted by Steve Rose on 03/18/2014 - 10:45 am.

            Another Rejection?

            I reject your rejection, which I am certain carries great meaning for you.

            I found this to be an interesting read regarding the CAGW religion; I included an excerpt below.

            http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/04/the_religion_of_global_warming.html

            “Global warming is harsh toward skeptics, heretics, and other “deniers.” One of the most dangerous features of the global warming religion is its level of intimidation of the heretics, the non-believers. For example, former Vice President Al Gore called skeptics “global warming deniers.” Many climatologists have been intimidated into silence, or have had calls to punish them go out.

            There is much at stake in getting people to believe in the global warming religion — so much so that some scientists, using government grants, are fraudulently manipulating climate data and engaging in criminal activity, as revealed in what has been called “Climategate” or “Fakegate.” Disclosure of the Climategate e-mails in November 2009 showed how the global warming clergy was willing to distort evidence and suppress dissenting views in the interest of the faith.”

            • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 03/18/2014 - 11:18 am.

              Points

              1. Repeating lies does not make the lie real. Climate science consensus is not a religion, it is a scientific consensus.

              2. ‘AmericanThinker’ is a right-wing opinion site.

              3. The author of the article you link to, W.A. Beatty, has also penned such articles on AmericanThinker as:
              “Obama Will Say and Do Anything”
              “Will American Liberals Ever Wake Up?”
              “Socialism, Obama, and America’s Future”
              “Whether by Gun or Abortion, Murder Is Murder – Period”
              And my personal favorite: “Global Warming? Yeah, Right!”

              As to Mr. Beatty’s education, experience, and qualifications to speak on climate change: (from AmericanThinker) “Dr. Beatty earned a Ph.D. in quantitative management and statistics from Florida State University. He was a (very conservative) professor of quantitative management specializing in using statistics to assist/support decision-making. He has been a consultant to many small businesses and is now retired. Dr. Beatty is a veteran who served in the U.S. Army for 22 years. He blogs at rwno.limewebs.com.”

              In other words, he is not an expert, and he most certainly has a stated political ideology and agenda.

            • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 03/18/2014 - 12:20 pm.

              Original Comment

              I had posted a longer bit on this but it seems to be stuck in moderation. I’ll sum up: AmericanThinker is a right-wing site, the author of the article is a self-avowed ‘very conservative’ right-wing professor of quantitative management studies (not a climate expert), and scientific consensus is not a religion. That article you posted the link to and quote is just one non-expert ideologue’s opinion.

  7. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 03/16/2014 - 10:40 pm.

    Data

    It’s fun–and funny–to watch the deniers do mental gymnastics around the data as the CO2 level and global temperatures rise. They cherry pick a data point here and there and pretend that this negates mountains of evidence to the contrary. Ooo, it was cold this winter in Minnesota, therefor the ENTIRE PLANET is also as cold as we are. These people pick up a pebble from the ground and think they have all the answers figured out while ignore the mountain of evidence looming behind them. I know I shouldn’t point and laugh at such people, but it’s all you can do when such lunacy presents itself.

    Their theatrics are just another act in the stage of life as we watch the panorama of bad decisions play out on our environment.

  8. Submitted by Steve Rose on 03/17/2014 - 08:26 am.

    Lunacy from the woodwork

    Rest assured that the man that pointed and laughed never turned out to be the fool.

    Are you looking forward to picking cherries in July? “I have to wonder if the globazl [sic] warming deniers will suddenly believe the phenomenon is real when summer hits and we’re dealing with termperatures [sic] in the 90s and 100s.”

    Dogma in science doesn’t have a stellar track record. Though Aristotle was a smart dude, after about 2500 years his geocentric physics and astronomy were understood to be another theory on the ash heap of scientific thought.

    Inquiring minds will continue to explore; you and your settled science consensus choir can provide the dissonant background music.

  9. Submitted by jason myron on 03/17/2014 - 08:42 am.

    The google didn’t find the LP of Michigan. Goofy.

    When you’re reduced to attempt ridicule at a simple key error, you’ve already lost the argument.

    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 03/17/2014 - 09:18 am.

      That was an enlightening one

      Enlightening, because it used cherry picking (of a very small area) to attack cherry picking. And, I did the recommended google, which yielded links to the Libertarian Party of Michigan. You can’t make up stuff this good.

      The argument is not lost by attacking the argument. Attacking the message is superior to attacking the messenger. Your confederates on this message board resort to messenger attacking characterizations, “goofy cherry picking climate denier folks”, “They come out of the woodwork”, ” I know I shouldn’t point and laugh at such people, but it’s all you can do when such lunacy presents itself.”

      That approach truly gives the argument the appearance of desperation.

      • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 03/17/2014 - 06:29 pm.

        Arguments

        Do you mean attacking the messenger like this?

        “Are you looking forward to picking cherries in July? “I have to wonder if the globazl [sic] warming deniers will suddenly believe the phenomenon is real when summer hits and we’re dealing with termperatures [sic] in the 90s and 100s.””

        Or are you only referring to other people attacking messengers and not your own?

        When people ignore scientific data the only option left is to shrug, laugh, and walk away. It’s not like presenting more data is going to sway them in any meaningful way whatsoever.

        • Submitted by Steve Rose on 03/17/2014 - 09:54 pm.

          No.

          Were you called a name, referred to as goofy, your comments as lunacy? Did someone accuse you of dwelling in woodwork? No, your message regarding temperatures in July, temperatures that are typical, was attacked. I hope that you can understand the difference.

          No one in this discussion has ignored scientific data. However, the settled science position has no interest in new data, as the consensus has been reached, and considering anything else would be folly. That is a display of disinterest in scientific data; sticking to the IPCC 2007 report because you like it better than IPCC 2013 report.

    • Submitted by Dan Landherr on 03/17/2014 - 09:31 am.

      It is a reading comprehension error, not a typo

      The city is located in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan (LP).

  10. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/17/2014 - 09:06 am.

    Hight School debate

    GW deniers are functioning on a High School debate level, they’re not trying perform any legitimate intellectual work. We really need to get this straight in American, High School debate, i.e. taking a position and working backwards for evidence, it a sport, not legitimate intellectual work or even a serious attempt at problem solving.

    I seriously think this is yet one more area where sports mentalities are screwing our ability to make rational public policy. We should eliminate debate classes from our school systems and replace them with explicit critical thinking and logic classes. We tend to assume that critical thinking and logic are acquired as a mater of course in math and science classes, but they’re not.

    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 03/17/2014 - 09:56 am.

      REJECTED/ Wait, I see what your are doing …

      Paul, you haven’t beaten your “high school debate” drum since Friday (Biased Shmiased post). Those of us that were not on the debate team in high school cannot identify with that reference. Wait, I see what you are doing; you employ that device to belittle someone or their argument or both. You are at the head of the adult table, and those of us engaging in “high school debate” are at the kid table. Now I see.

  11. Submitted by John Appelen on 03/17/2014 - 10:02 am.

    Though Fascinating

    Do either you CAGW believers or deniers have any “irrefutable” links you would like to share?

    I have created a list over at G2A and I would like to add to it if possible. Here are 2 worth looking at.

    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303945704579391611041331266?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052702303945704579391611041331266.html

    http://www.climatesciencewatch.org/2014/02/20/mcnider-and-christy-defend-inertia/

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/17/2014 - 11:53 am.

      John

      Scientific consensus doesn’t emerge from irrefutable “links”. It’s not a question of confirming you “beliefs”, its a matter of evaluating the evidence.

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/17/2014 - 12:29 pm.

        A Consensus of Believers

        A consensus of “Believers” is not a Consensus. And based on the list Jerry left for me on G2A, it seems there are quite a few credible scientists out there that are not CAGW believers yet. Especially with regard to its likelihood, severity, potential costs, causation, etc.

        Personally, I am happily on the fence on this one. I believe it is worth monitoring and studying, but not worth stopping the use of inexpensive fuels that improve the quality of live for many people at a reasonable price.

        Besides it seems these “Believer” experts are having a real hard time creating computer models that actually work. It is kind of hard to believe they truly understand what is happening when their predictions are so far off..

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/17/2014 - 12:31 pm.

        Jerrys List

        Scientists questioning the accuracy of IPCC climate projections

        Judith Curry
        Freeman Dyson
        Richard Lindzen
        Nils-Axel Mörner
        Garth Paltridge
        Peter Stilbs
        Philip Stott
        Hendrik Tennekes
        Fritz Vahrenholt

        Scientists arguing that global warming is primarily caused by natural processes
        Khabibullo Abdusamatov,
        Sallie Baliunas
        Robert M. Carter
        Ian Clark,University of Ottawa
        Chris de Freitas
        David Douglass
        Don Easterbrook
        William M. Gray, Colorado State University[37]
        William Happer
        Ole Humlum
        Wibjörn Karlén
        William Kininmonth
        David Legates
        Tad Murty
        Tim Patterson
        Ian Plimer
        Arthur B. Robinson
        Nicola Scafetta
        Tom Segalstad
        Fred Singer
        Willie Soon
        Roy Spencer
        Henrik Svensmark
        Jan Veizer

        Scientists arguing that the cause of global warming is unknown

        Syun-Ichi Akasofu
        Claude Allègre
        Robert Balling
        John Christy, contributor to several IPCC reports.
        Petr Chylek
        David Deming
        Ivar Giaever
        Vincent R. Gray, New Zealander
        Antonino Zichichi

        Scientists arguing that global warming will have few negative consequences

        Craig D. Idso
        Sherwood Idso
        Patrick Michaels

        High profile anti global warming scientist Bjorn Lomborg projects the economic effects of prevention or adaptation.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/17/2014 - 02:01 pm.

          A consensus of disbelievers

          Trotting out this frequently circulated list proves nothing other than your ability to use Google.

          I notice you label all of them “scientists.” While I don’t doubt anyone’s credentials in that regard, are all scientists created equal? Should a geologist’s statements on climate be given the same weight as, oh, I don’t know, a climatologist’s? A cardiologist and a dermatologist are both doctors, but I know which one I would rather have doing my coronary bypass.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/17/2014 - 03:32 pm.

            These Seem Credible

            Messrs. McNider and Christy are professors of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and fellows of the American Meteorological Society.

            Mr. Christy was a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore.

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/17/2014 - 04:43 pm.

              That’s two

              Hardly an overwhelming number.

              There is no such thing as unanimity in any human endeavor. The fact that some with a scientific background doubt the causes/extent of global warming is hardly to be taken as proof that it is not happening. Philip Stott has a scientific background, but speaks out publicly against heliocentricity, just to take one example.

              I see you’re quoting the Climate Depot website pretty freely. They are one of the many who have created their own dogma, that anthropogenic climate change is not happening. Why is there dogma any less pernicious than the contrary belief?

              • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/17/2014 - 05:10 pm.

                Both sides

                Did you look up the qualifications of those on the list before questioning them? By the way, the list came from one of my commenters. I have no idea where he got it.

                I have no heartburn with either side, I just find it amusing that both sides seem adamant to claim that their view is the TRUTH and that the other’s is LIES… And that “THEY” are being irrational and self serving… That is why it is an open topic on G2A right now.

                My concern is that the CAGW believers want to incur a HUGE expense on our society. Which of course hits the lower income people the worst. I sure hope they can prove their belief beyond a shadow of the doubt before incurring these costs.

                • Submitted by Steve Rose on 03/18/2014 - 08:54 am.

                  Dogma

                  The ardent CAGW believers deny that there is anything to talk about; their conclusions were reached in the 1990s and they are uninterested in new data, unless it supports their agenda.

                  I am a skeptic; I am not selling any dogma. The data seems to indicate that the Earth’s mean temperature has increased about 1 degree C over the past 100 years. Earth science research indicates that climate has always been in flux, and past periods have been warmer and atmospheric carbon ppm has been higher than today. What is mankind’s role and what’s is mankind’s power to effect change? If we could change the mean temperature, what should it be? I think that it is the apogee of human arrogance to think that we control the thermostat. Let’s dial it back a degree or five.

                  • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/18/2014 - 09:11 am.

                    Skeptic?

                    The “skepticism” of the deniers is just a cover. The truth is, they don’t WANT to acknowledge that global warming is real, and that it is caused by humans. They want to keep their big ol’ trucks, they want to keep their fossil fuel industries running, they want to stick it to the tree-hugging libruls.

                    “I think that it is the apogee of human arrogance to think that we control the thermostat.” I think it is the apogee of blindness to think that humans cannot influence climate.

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/18/2014 - 01:19 pm.

                      Really

                      That is interesting that you have such a cynical view of so many Minnesotans. The land of pickup trucks and SUVs. So are all truck and SUV owners truly intent on malicious evil, or is it just some of us?

                      Are the people with Hot Rods / fast cars also trying to stick it to the liberals? If a Liberal owns a truck, does that mean they are trying to stick it to another liberal? Is there a moral issue in this?

                    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/18/2014 - 03:10 pm.

                      Really

                      You’ve figured out the truth, darn it. Global warming is a plot to take away SUVs, pickup trucks, and hot rods. Al Gore told us it can be the first step (we’re going to come for your guns next). I personally have joined the plots because I secretly despise Minnesota, even though I made a conscious choice to move back here over 30 years ago. I’m not denying the role of jealousy; I;m just saying that for me, it’s pure malice.

                      I understand that there is no bad motive on the side of the deniers. The Koch brothers are concerned solely with the purity of scientific inquiry. Talk radio hosts just want to be sure that all sides to an important controversy are heard. Every middle-manager living in Burnsville who buys an F-250 for the family vehicle is just keeping faith with his Minnesota roots.

                      Are you happy now?

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/18/2014 - 04:08 pm.

                      Yes

                      Thank You

                • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 03/18/2014 - 09:24 am.

                  The cost to combat climate change now is going to look like pennies compared to the cost of living with and constantly dealing with catastrophic climate change and catastrophic weather events.
                  Given your previous posts across many Minnpost articles claiming that the poor are a hapless and lazy group of people, I find it odd that you choose to hoist them up in this argument and say ‘but what about the poor?’ Indeed, as the climate changes, it is the poor, worldwide, who will bear the brunt of that pain.

                  Also, just because there are ‘two sides’ to any argument doesn’t mean that one side’s argument is valid or somehow equal.

                  • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/18/2014 - 12:50 pm.

                    Really

                    Please point to where I commented…
                    “claiming that the poor are a hapless and lazy group of people”

                    I must have blacked out some time in the past and missed this. I do believe whole heartedly that some of the poor are hapless and lazy. Just as some of rich are hapless and lazy… I also, agree that “luck” is a factor.

                    For more on my questions regarding poverty… Answers welcome…
                    http://give2attain.blogspot.com/2012/02/why-are-poor-people-poor.html

                    I do sincerely want to help the poor to be more successful, however I want them to learn to fish whereas your crowd wants to give them the fish off someone elses table…

                    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 03/19/2014 - 09:14 am.

                      Nah

                      You may not have used that specific phraseology, but I’m not going to sift through 35+ pages of Minnpost comments just to post individual snippets. The information is there for everyone else to see.

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/19/2014 - 03:51 pm.

                      Good Choice

                      It would have been a fruitless search.

        • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 03/17/2014 - 06:46 pm.

          Scientists

          Of climate scientists, 97% believe not only that global warming is real, but also that it’s man made.

          • Submitted by jason myron on 03/17/2014 - 11:02 pm.

            Ask the deniers

            if they would get on an aircraft if they were told there was a 97% chance of it crashing.

            • Submitted by Steve Rose on 03/18/2014 - 07:25 am.

              The true deniers are the settled science crowd; they deny that there is a conversation, and their energy is spent denying rather than discussing. And, serving up interesting analogies.

              Would you get on an aircraft if you were told that there was a 97% of it landing safely? Be honest. Worldwide, there are 93,000, commercial flights. 97% flight success would have 2800 commercial airplanes crashing per day.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/18/2014 - 12:53 pm.

            Suspect Data

            If you say it enough, does it make it true?
            http://newsbusters.org/blogs/mike-ciandella/2014/01/23/misleading-97-percent-scientists-claim-resurfaces-ny-times

            I don’t know what the split is, however that 97% number seems suspect at best.

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/18/2014 - 04:26 pm.

              Suspect

              Do you really think that Newsbusters is a reliable source of information? Is it because they say they are dedicated to “exposing liberal media bias?”

              You have just proven my point about not wanting to believe global warming is real and caused by humans.

              • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/18/2014 - 06:09 pm.

                97 Percent

                You really truly believe that 97% of the world’s climate scientists believe in Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW) and that they can not get the Politicians to take action?

                I don’t have any idea if NewsBusters is reliable or not, however they asked a lot of interesting questions. How about this one? Is it better?
                http://www.populartechnology.net/2013/05/97-study-falsely-classifies-scientists.html#Update2

                Or maybe Forbes is publishing inaccurate info…
                http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2013/05/30/global-warming-alarmists-caught-doctoring-97-percent-consensus-claims/

                • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/19/2014 - 09:15 am.

                  Yes

                  I believe that the overwhelming majority–a consensus–of climate scientists believe in what you call CAGW. The politicians are not listening to the science, probably because the voters are not. It certainly doesn’t help that the energy industry has assumed an outsized role in the political process.

                  The Popular Technology article may cast doubt on the precise 97% figure, but I would hardly call their work a scientific sample. It looks to me like the cherry-picked a few anecdotes. The Forbes article just recites the Popular Technology article (anything that starts with “[g]lobal warming alarmists and their allies in the liberal media” must surely be regarded as accurate, especially if they keep saying “alarmist.” No agenda there, right?)

                  • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/19/2014 - 09:58 pm.

                    Data Bias

                    Let’s think this through… The folks who quoted the 97% number looked only at “climate change” papers. Which of course are biased to those who are being financed to find results regarding climate change. (ie that’s how they secure more funding)

                    Then they culled out papers that disagreed with their view, and apparently misinterpreted the conclusions of others. Thereby biasing the result further. And you think these folks are trust worthy. It seems these folks were the Kings of Cherry Picking.

                    I think I’ll stay undecided for now.

    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 03/17/2014 - 01:49 pm.

      Carbon

      This link challenges the heavy-weight role of carbon in climate. It seems that there is evidence that the Earth has experienced periods of warmer climate and much higher carbon ppm. Climate is affected by many variables, atmospheric carbon is but one of them; the focus on carbon is a bit simplistic.

      http://www.climatedepot.com/2013/05/14/co2-nears-400-ppm-relax-its-not-global-warming-end-times-but-only-a-big-yawn-climate-depot-special-report/

  12. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/17/2014 - 02:36 pm.

    Consensus…

    I shouldn’t have to explain this. Scientific consensus or any consensus is a function of 100% agreement by everyone. Nor is scientific consensus an opinion poll of every scientist on the planet. Scientific consensus exists when the majority of scientists in the relevant field arrive at same set of conclusions. It is simply a fact that the climate science community reached a consensus in the mid 90s that climate change is a real phenomena, and human activity is a substantial cause. As it stands now around 97% of climate related research confirms the climate change observations and the human contribution.

    http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus

    Now that doesn’t mean that the consensus is right, but if you want to challenge it simply pointing a small minority of scientist who disagree doesn’t disprove the consensus. The consensus exists because the overwhelming amount of evidence supports it. It takes an overwhelming amout of evidence to change the consensus. A list of scientist or a website here and there does not constitute overwhelming refutation. You can believe whatever you want to believe, but your beliefs are not evidence nor do they even come close to refuting the consensus.

    From a public policy perspective it is irresponsible to ignore overwhelming evidence. When the consequences are this serious, such irresponsibility borders on negligence.

    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 03/17/2014 - 03:38 pm.

      Hedging Bets …

      Paul: Thanks for the link to NASA, I followed the link and did some poking around on their site. The first page that you linked has a lot of statements that are dated ten and fifteen years ago. I dug a little deeper on the NASA site to find some more timely information, and I found this article published there on Tuesday.

      http://climate.nasa.gov/news/1050

      An excerpt from the article, “Some recent research, aimed at fine-tuning long-term warming projections by taking this slowdown into account, suggested Earth may be less sensitive to greenhouse gas increases than previously thought. The Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was issued in 2013 and was the consensus report on the state of climate change science, also reduced the lower range of Earth’s potential for global warming.”

      The article also includes some information regarding the role of aerosols, both natural and manmade, in warming and cooling. Again, it is a bit simplistic to only consider the role of carbon in climate.

      “Shindell’s paper further focuses on improving our understanding of how airborne particles, called aerosols, drive climate change in the Northern Hemisphere. Aerosols are produced by both natural sources – such as volcanoes, wildfire and sea spray – and sources such as manufacturing activities, automobiles and energy production. Depending on their make-up, some aerosols cause warming, while others create a cooling effect. In order to understand the role played by carbon dioxide emissions in global warming, it is necessary to account for the effects of atmospheric aerosols.”

      As I mentioned above to RB, the EPA too has taken the absolute edge off of some of their statements, preferring softer language.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/17/2014 - 05:20 pm.

        John..

        ” I dug a little deeper on the NASA site to find some more timely information, and I found this article published there on Tuesday.”

        That’s old the consensus is. Like I said, this has been the scientific consensus since the mid 1990s. It’s only gotten stronger since then.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/17/2014 - 08:37 pm.

          Paul…

          That was Steve’s comment.

          Though to me consensus may or may not be stronger, but the envisioned catastrophe seems to be lessening..

        • Submitted by Steve Rose on 03/17/2014 - 08:42 pm.

          Really?

          “I shouldn’t have to explain this. Scientific consensus or any consensus is a function of 100% agreement by everyone.” Really?

          BTW, I am not John. And, the consensus has not gotten stronger since the 90s.

          Repeated for you from above, “The Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was issued in 2013 and was the consensus report on the state of climate change science, also reduced the lower range of Earth’s potential for global warming.” That is a different tune than the 2007 IPCC report, notable for its erroneous Himalayan glacier melt predictions. Watch for more cracks in the consensus dike.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/17/2014 - 03:52 pm.

      Thankfully

      The majority of US politicians have not joined the cult of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW) quite yet.

      Just curious who do you think should pay the additional costs that would be generated by changing our policies and technologies drastically? Should these be paid by the normal people who use the energy, or by someone else? You are concerned for the poor and minimum wage earners, yet you would like to increase our cost of living further by going to energy sources that will be more expensive?

      This is why severity, likelihood, costs, etc matter. Before we start charging everyone more for their energy, we had best be certain there is problem of equal or bigger magnitude.

      Since I worked in the mobile equipment development and production industry for ~22 years, I am aware of the HUGE cost our society paid to clean up the emissions from diesel engines… I am sure hoping there was some advantage gained. The upside is kept 100,000’s of engineers busy for decades.
      http://www.theicct.org/sites/default/files/publications/ICCT_LDVcostsreport_2012.pdf

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/17/2014 - 05:24 pm.

        You’re compounding scientific ignorance…

        … with economic ignorance.

        “Just curious who do you think should pay the additional costs that would be generated by changing our policies and technologies drastically? Should these be paid by the normal people who use the energy, or by someone else? You are concerned for the poor and minimum wage earners, yet you would like to increase our cost of living further by going to energy sources that will be more expensive?”

        More efficient energy will not “cost” our economy more. Current energy sources are not “cheap”. Spending will shift, the money not spent on energy for instance will spent elsewhere. But capital won’t vanish from the economy if we shift spending. Sure, existing energy producers will lose revenue, but that not “bad” for the economy or consumers.

  13. Submitted by Peder DeFor on 03/17/2014 - 04:07 pm.

    Reliable Snow

    Set aside charges of global warming or climate change, the real problem with this argument is that it’s ignorant of Olympic history. Many of the past winter Olympic games have had trouble with getting the right amount of snowfall. In fact, the first three 1924, 1928 and 1932 were all bothered by warmer and/or drier conditions than expected. The ’98 games in Nagano were actually bothered by having too much snow. If Lake Placid had hosted the games this year, they would have had problems with extreme cold.
    Winter weather can be a fickle thing.
    Sochi was an interesting choice from a weather standpoint. It has a subtropical climate with mild winters. The only reliable snow is in the nearby mountains and my guess is that some years that snowfall isn’t that reliable. In other words, the idea that we won’t be able to hold the winter Olympic games is a silly one. As always, the IOC will have to be careful when choosing a site.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/17/2014 - 05:30 pm.

      South Korea

      I was surprised when I was in South Korea on business and they told me they were hosting the next winter games. Especially since it’s highest point is only 6400 ft… And it is pretty far South.

    • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 03/18/2014 - 08:29 pm.

      That’s not the way I remember the Nagano Games (1998)

      Until right before the Games, the organizers were worried about the lack of snow, so much so that they had snow-making equipment standing by, and this in the most mountainous region of Japan, the so-called Japan Alps, with mountains that have peaks above timberline. (I crossed them in a bus during the summer of 1985, and at that time, they were snow capped year-round.)

  14. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 03/17/2014 - 09:02 pm.

    One graph;

    http://neven1.typepad.com/.a/6a0133f03a1e37970b01a73d8a0fc5970d-pi

    Following the trend will result ice-free summer arctic in less than 10 years.

    Several facts:

    Open water absorbs more heat from the sun than ice.

    80 calories are required to melt one gram of ice.

    The same 80 calorie will raise one gram of water 80 degrees.

    Those basic facts accelerate the trend.

    We will not recognize the weather or be able to deal with the climate that will occur with an ice-free arctic.

    The entire reason for the cold winter here was the cold weather displaced south by the warm air shooting up into the arctic between Alaska and Siberia. There was record warmth there, this winter.

    What will you say then, when what you deny arrives–while many of you are still around?

    • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 03/18/2014 - 07:37 am.

      Two

      They’ll say it’s just part of the natural cycle of climate change. Then when we have catastrophic migrations they’ll say it’s too late to do anything and we simply have to adapt.

  15. Submitted by Steve Rose on 03/18/2014 - 07:35 am.

    Why, that is in the future.

    Many predictions of vanishing Arctic ice have expired, but yet the summer ice remains. More than one graph, many wrong predictionns:

    http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/ice-free-arctic-forecasts/

    • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 03/18/2014 - 09:23 am.

      I’ve never changed the oil in my car, and it’s still running great.

      What’s the worry?

      I eat only cheeseburgers and fries and have never had a heart attack.

      What’s the worry?

      I have no doubt you will be around to see the changes and effects.

    • Submitted by jason myron on 03/19/2014 - 07:47 am.

      Steven Goddard?

      Seriously? You want to counter facts with a guy that denies science? Why not trot out a creationist….same thing.

  16. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/18/2014 - 08:59 am.

    “Cheap” energy

    “Coal and crude oil is pretty cheap, that’s why we use them…”

    Once again, stereotypical thinking trumps reality. You’re assuming there’s a “free” market somewhere that’s produced the best outcome. We don’t use coal and crude because they’re cheap, we use them because our existing infrastructure is organized around them. Other forms of energy are more economical but there’s are powerful energy monopolies and an existing infrastructure that’s not engineered to distribute and utilize other forms of energy. In effect, the exact opposite is true, the reason cheaper forms of energy are not being deployed is because they are so cheap no one has yet figured out how to make money distributing them. The problem with renewable energy is that it’s so cheap its hard to charge enough to provide it.

    The truth is that as an economy we’re spending too much on energy and we have an inefficient energy structure. Again, it’s a myth that cheaper energy will cost us more or deliver some kind of blow to our economy. It would deliver a blow to existing energy producers but the spending would simply shift to other segments of the economy… and that would be actually be good for the economy.

  17. Submitted by Steve Rose on 03/18/2014 - 12:38 pm.

    We should do this more often

    I will bid you all ado with a thought from H.L. Mencken (1880-1956), “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed – and hence clamorous to be led to safety – by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

    The link below to a promotion for the 2014 Minnroast includes a 2010 talk by Lizz Winstead regarding the state of the news. At about the 12 minute mark, she touches on what she calls “the fear based thing”.

    http://www.minnpost.com/inside-minnpost/2014/03/lizz-winstead-headlines-minnroast-2014-cast

    • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 03/18/2014 - 04:34 pm.

      Reporting

      That sounds like the orange alert sign down by the airport along with another one that says “report any suspicious activity.” Both are legacies of the Bush era.

      You are, of course, implying that global warming is simply something to keep the populace under control through a vague sense of fear. If that’s really the case, all you have to do is follow the very same data the scientists (not the politicians) are using and see where it leads. If your logic is sound, then that will become readily apparent and your point of view will prevail.

      If, on the other hand, your science is junk, then people will rightfully call you out on it. If the deniers are so correct in their position, why can’t they translate their point of view into sound scientific papers? Let me guess: it’s because there’s some big conspiracy to keep them from being published.

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/19/2014 - 12:22 pm.

        Deniers or Moniters

        I think most of us “deniers” are actually “monitors”. We know there may be something there that requires further monitoring and analysis.

        Whereas the believers think they know the issues, causation and answers.

        • Submitted by jason myron on 03/19/2014 - 01:56 pm.

          Sure…

          When my car starts making strange noises, I should wait for further analysis instead of being proactive and solving the issue before it becomes even more expensive and possibly catastrophic…good plan. Can I find more wisdom like this on your blog as well?

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/19/2014 - 03:57 pm.

            Yes you can

            So if your car is using a little oil or makes a ticking sound as it is warming up, do you bring it in and have the engine rebuilt/replaced immediately?

            The mechanics must love you if you do…

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/19/2014 - 05:51 pm.

            Yes You Can

            So when your car starts using a little oil or makes a slight ticking sound when it is cold, do you monitor and evaluate it. Or do you have the engine rebuilt or replaced?

            My 2002 has been ticking a little in the morning for 10 years now… No problem.

  18. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/19/2014 - 09:49 am.

    Moderators shmoderators

    Steve,

    You should know that Minnpost moderators have killed two of my posts challenging your interpretation of an article you cite. I think you should know that because conservative commentors sometimes accuse Minnpost moderators of bias.

    You say: “”The Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was issued in 2013 and was the consensus report on the state of climate change science, also reduced the lower range of Earth’s potential for global warming.” That is a different tune than the 2007 IPCC report, notable for its erroneous Himalayan glacier melt predictions. Watch for more cracks in the consensus dike.”

    Maybe if I simply point out that the title of the paper is: “Long-term warming likely to be significant despite recent slowdown” and the actual conclusion of the study is:

    “A new NASA study suggests that projections of Earth’s future warming should be more in line with previous estimates that indicated a higher sensitivity to increasing greenhouse gas emissions.”

    http://climate.nasa.gov/news/1050

    Minnpost will pass it through. Suffice to say that nothing in this study in any way represents a “crack” in the consensus.

    My reason for mentioning the moderation isn’t to complain about Minnpost moderators, I’m simply pointing out that they moderate in both directions. Although I’m sometimes puzzled by it, by and large I find the moderation here to be reasonable over-all.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/19/2014 - 05:47 pm.

      Moderation or Cracks

      I lose some of my most harmless comments. I think MP just has cracks in the floor where about 20% of our comments fall through…

  19. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/19/2014 - 10:41 am.

    Cheaper energy

    At the risk of repeating other comments I’ll answer John’s question as to which energy sources are “cheaper” than fossil fuels.

    1) You can’t just look at the current price comparisons. Coal for instance incurs around $500 billion in external costs that are not reflected in the per watt price. If were to factor the price of externailities into the price of coal, that price would double from 4.1 cents per kwh to 8.2 cents, that would make it more expensive than either wind or solar which currently sit at 4.s and 7.7 respectively. http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2012/06/24/actual-energy-costs-are-driving-us-towards-a-natural-gas-nation/

    2) When making public policy and energy decisions the CURRENT price of a particular energy source is a poor guide. You have to consider future projections. The price of solar for example has dropped something like 90% in the last few decades while the cost of coal has increased around13%. We can expect those trends will continue and renewable’s will reach parody with fossil fuels. Most observers are predicting that even at current rates, solar will match coal for instance at .25 per kilowatt hour when you factor in coals external costs.

    3) Again, its the infrastructure not the price of fossil fuels pers se that keeps them going. Consider for instance a scenario where we have no energy supply and are about build one. The “start-up” costs of a fossil fuel infrastructure would dwarf renewable’s. Finding, extracting, refining, and distributing fossil fuels from scratch would be prohibitively expensive. It’s taken over 100 years to build the fossil fuel infrastructure we currently have. If we had to build all the refineries, hundreds of thousand of miles of pipelines, thousands of tanker cars, ships, and trucks trailers, etc. In effect fossil fuels have little if any “start-up” costs compared to renewables at this point. That doesn’t mean that if we were to invest in renewables they would never be more cost effective or efficient.

    4) Certain costs of fossil fuel are almost impossible to calculate even as externalities. We can kind of calculate the cost of maintaining a military capable of securing mid-east oil supplies for instance, but when we lose 20% of our coastline, the entire city of Miami for instance, to rising sea levels, what’s that worth? Look at the damage more extreme climates inflict, New York floods, California droughts, etc. Current estimates triple the costs of fossil fuels.

    5) Finally, using the “cheapest” energy isn’t necessarily the best public policy priority in the first place. On balance its entirely possible that paying a little more for energy will yield a better more efficient system of energy supply and distribution in the long run.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/19/2014 - 05:37 pm.

      Thanks for the Answers

      I printed your link and will read it closer later. Here are my first thoughts.

      When one compares alternatives, all “sunk” costs are ignored because they have been spent and there is nothing one can do about that. (ie except maybe salvage/scrap value) So the existing infastructure costs are ignored, and only the future maintenance, operations, etc costs should be considered. With that in mind, fossil fuels are cheaper for now. (except if one believes in CAGW causation & consequence “end of world” statements)

      Now as for new power generation facilities, you may be correct and that is likely why we have so many windmills back home in SW MN. However that does not mean that we scrap out our “already paid for” power systems before their end of life.

      Thoughts?

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 03/19/2014 - 09:50 pm.

        Thought

        If the continued use of the present infrastructure further exacerbates the the problems associated with climate change then yes, we scrap the existing infrastructure prior to its end of life date. That of course brings us back around to whether or not one thinks that climate change is real and or a problem. Round and round we go… wheeeee!

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/19/2014 - 10:14 pm.

        Depends

        I suppose it depends on how you define the end of our existing power systems life. Most of that infrastructure is decades old and failing in several locations several times a day, consider the refinery explosions that hare occurring with increase frequency for instance.

        I haven’t seen anyone make a case for anything other than a combination of transitions to alternatives combined with conservation and an upgraded and redesigned power grid. It’s not a question of scrapping the existing system before it’s time, it a question of whether or not it’s time has come or how fast it’s approaching.

  20. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/20/2014 - 09:04 am.

    Couple last thoughts John

    First, remember, no one is actually arguing that we completely scrap fossil fuels in the next 20 years. We know that’s not feasible. We’re talking about reducing fossil fuel emissions by anywhere from 50%-80% b 2050. The faster we can do it the better more than likely, but speed of the transition is limited by a variety of factors, denial isn’t needed.

    This is a great time to make the transition. The fossil fuel infrastructure is decades old and in need of trillions of dollars of upgrades and maintenance. As long as we have to upgrade the system we may as well build it to accommodate alternative energy. Its kinda like changing the timing belt on your car, as long as your in there you may as well replace the water pump even if it’s not squealing.

    The “hysteria” here isn’t blowing in from the left. The actual predictions and calculation by climate scientists have been if anything, too conservative. Right wing pundits characterize climate science as hysteria, but that’s just stereotype making. The fact is that climate change is not a political or religious phenomena, it doesn’t matter if you “believe” in it, it just is. The real hysteria is this notion that transitioning into alternative energies will crash the economy. Even conservative estimates project that if the transition causes a drag, it would be around .12% in the US. So instead GDP growth of 3.2% we see growth of 3.08%. However, I would point out that while climate change projections and calculations are based on science, economic predictions are not. Economic calculations are far more unreliable. There’s no compelling reason to predict economic collapse or even hardship. On the contrary many analysis have projected that alternative energy transitions will create 5-10 time more jobs.

    http://www.climatecommunication.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/presidentialaction.pdf

    Here’s the problem with denial. The fact is we have a very strong scientific consensus (97% of climate related researchers and research institutions). That consensus has existed since the early to mid 90s and has only gotten strogner, and the original CO2 predictions were actually made back in the 70s. The problem with focusing all your attention on dissenters is tunnel vision. Look, you and I are not going to figure out whether or not climate change is “real” anymore than you or I are going to walking into an operating room this afternoon and operate on someone’s brain. Just like when we get our cars repaired we have to rely on someone else’s expertise. When you focus on 3% of the dissenting experts you’re missing 97% of our available expertise. Deniers are missing a plethora overwhelming evidence that’s piling up year after year because they’re only looking a fraction of a fraction of the available information. It’s like that list that someone put up… there’s maybe 50 names on that list? Tens of thousands of scientists all over the world have contributed observations confirming climate change and human contributions to it over the course of four decades, and you got a list of 50 names? It’s like going to a mechanic who doesn’t believe in combustion or electricity.

    Look, skepticism if fine, but focusing all your attention on dissenters and arguing against a strong consensus is NOT skepticism. Scientific skepticism is about looking at ALL of the evidence, not just 3%. The scientific method is NOT an adversarial model, it’s not about adopting contrary positions and arguing, it’s about evidence and reliable observations. The whole point of skepticism is withhold judgement until sufficient evidence has been presented. Refusing to acknowledge 97% of the evidence isn’t skepticism, it’s denial.

    And again, this isn’t high school debate, picking a side and arguing about it is a waste of time. You need to evaluate the evidence, and Fox news and Rush Limbaugh don’t believe in evidence, they just convert everything into a ideological shouting match.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/20/2014 - 06:06 pm.

      97 Percent

      As I showed earlier, the 97 percent number is incorrect. And I have a hard time trusting “scientists” that make up numbers to sell their hypothesis. I don’t know what the correct number is, but I am certain the percentage of scientists that believe in “catastrophic” “human created” climate change is far less than 97%.

      On the upside for you it looks like Google and MSN may help sell the “catastrophe”.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/21/2014 - 08:58 am.

        Actually John

        “And I have a hard time trusting “scientists” that make up numbers to sell their hypothesis.”

        Such scientist are precisely the the ones you’ve chosen to place all of your trust in. That’s why your still denying the existence of the consensus, and that’s why your arguments are all based on outliers. Made up numbers are all you have because that’s all deniers have to offer. The idea that you don’t KNOW what the number is but you do KNOW that this number is wrong, is simply illogical and irrational. You’re the one making up numbers. That’s why what you’re doing is denial, not skepticism.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 03/21/2014 - 11:24 am.

          Certainty

          So you are certain that the 97% is correct, though you have access to evidence that says otherwise. (ie Specific authors that disagree on the record with how their papers were classified in the 97% study)

          Okay… I don’t understand your rationale, but it does explain a lot.

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