CRU hack


by Andre
Tags: hack
Coldcall
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#55
Nov24-09, 04:54 AM
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I agree with Evo.

This has become an ideological issue and the current discussion pertaining to the CRU email hack or leak is not about the actual science, but is about the process for doing science.

The fact that in the West we are being asked to spend trillions on the assumption (now very questionable) that we are primarily responsible for golbal warming makes it a political and cultural issue.
seycyrus
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#56
Nov24-09, 08:06 AM
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Quote Quote by Integral View Post
I have seen no evidence of this being a political discussion. The title of the thread is not political in nature and as a matter of fact there in NO discussion of the title, only of the "stolen" emails.

I am moving this to Earth sciences where it should have been posted in the first place.
I'll apologize upfront for offending anyone.

But this moderation seems to be very much in-line with tactics suggested in the stolen emails.
seycyrus
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#57
Nov24-09, 08:08 AM
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Quote Quote by TheStatutoryApe View Post
Ummm... and how often has it happened?
*AND*, how often is it going to happen in the future as predicted by AGW?
Andre
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#58
Nov24-09, 11:19 AM
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Quote Quote by Evo View Post
This thread is about the political aspects of climate change.

There is nothing here discussing science, it is dicussing the current events surrounding it.

See the article from the Wall Street Journal Politics section. This is not about the science, this is about unethical practices and the politics involved. Monique already decided that this topic was not suitable for the earth forum, which is for discussing the science only.
There are two elements here, firstly the recycling of tipping point predictions and their political/ scientific merit and secondly the hack of a CRU computer exposing some sensitive e-mail discussions of which there is a locked thread in the Earth forums. Obviously that is not about science but about how climate 'science' is made. About the latter some more interesting opinions edit: removed links to non-mainstream sources.
Evo
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Nov24-09, 12:06 PM
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Quote Quote by Andre View Post
There are two elements here, firstly the recycling of tipping point predictions and their political/ scientific merit and secondly the hack of a CRU computer exposing some sensitive e-mail discussions of which there is a locked thread in the Earth forums. Obviously that is not about science but about how climate 'science' is made. About the latter some more interesting opinions edit: removed links to non-mainstream sources.
Andre, we don't allow biased blogs as references. You can link to the individual news articles such as the WSJ.

Lawmakers Probe Climate Emails
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125902685372961609.html

Climate Emails Stoke Debate
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125883405294859215.html
Evo
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#60
Nov24-09, 12:24 PM
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I will be cleaning this thread up later. Any discussion of actual science needs to go into the earth forum and will be deleted, feel free to repost any data related to climate science in the earth forum, this thread will strictly be for discussion of the political and ethical aspects of climate science.
Naty1
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#61
Nov25-09, 08:40 PM
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Recent reports suggest IPCC man made global warming data has been a fabrication for political purposes:

From the Washington Times:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/...lobal-cooling/

If true,even in part, heads will roll and law suits likely will be plentiful!!
Evo
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#62
Nov25-09, 09:55 PM
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Sorry an incorrect post was moved that didn't belong here. I will try to move them back to the earth forum later. There is some glitch.
Coldcall
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#63
Nov26-09, 04:07 AM
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RE: The leaked or hacked CRU emails. (as of yet there is no evidence of any hacking)

In my opinion the mainstream media have focused on the wrong aspects contained in those emails. The "nature trick" email is no smoking gun because i think its reasonable that they were actually discussing a mathematical shortcut.

However, the really worrying part in the CRU emails revolves around how a small cabal of climate scientists colluded in order to suppress a fully critical peer review process. No contextual understanding is necessary in order to come to that conclusion based on any neutral reading of those emails.

Further more there are the emails which discuss amongst other things:

1) Deleting important emails and data relating to FOI requests. (This is illegal)
2) Convincing the FOI officials that because those applying for the release of info were agw sceptics, the requests should be rejected. (It should not matter one jot about the motives of the FOI requests).
3) Discussions about getting sceptical scientific colleagues removed from peer review boards.
4) Discussions about getting certain editors of scientific publications removed because they were not agw alarmists.

So leaving aside the emails about "tricks" and "hiding declines", the fact that these scientists seemed so intent on removing any critical probing of their data and findings is the real disgrace and will permannently stain the repuation of the scientific community.

Can anyone imagine Bohr and Einstein writing letters to their on-side colleagues colluding in order to bias the peer review process over foundational qm? Neither of those two intellectual giants would ever have dreamed of such disgusting and anti-scientific behaviour.

In contrast the CRU scientists are a complete disgrace to their profession. Dr Phil Jones should resign and all their previous studies should be analysed to an inch of its life so that we can ascertain if their work stands up to scrutiny.
Count Iblis
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#64
Nov26-09, 08:46 AM
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So leaving aside the emails about "tricks" and "hiding declines", the fact that these scientists seemed so intent on removing any critical probing of their data and findings is the real disgrace and will permannently stain the repuation of the scientific community.
I don't think so, given the fact how the sceptics are regarded within the climate science community. No reputable scientist would want their data to be reviewed by people who they regard as completely incompetent.

In this case there are emails in which some suggestions were made, but no action was taken. So, there is nothing more than some private talk amoung scientists. And what they say is not out of line with what happens in any other discipline.

You can even take Einstein and consider his reaction after his paper on gravitational waves was rejected by the Physical Review. That reaction was not really very professional.
Evo
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Nov26-09, 08:52 AM
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The people whose e-mails and data files were released are working on a statement to defend themselves. When it comes out, I'll post it here.
sylas
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#66
Nov26-09, 10:11 AM
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Quote Quote by Evo View Post
The people whose e-mails and data files were released are working on a statement to defend themselves. When it comes out, I'll post it here.
There are already a number of statements available. I've been holding my peace on this here for the most part because I'm not sure what good it can do, and it is not entirely clear to me what guidelines we should be operating under. But in any case:

The initial hack was at the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, and the files were all stolen from their system. They have released three simultaneous statements; and I also provide an earlier comment and a response from another directly involved scientist. Here are the formal responses:
The most comprehensive discussions of the stolen emails is taking place at a couple of blogs. Normally blogs are not appropriate sources at physicsforums; and if mentors deem this inappropriate I will not object to removing the following links. However, in my opinion this is a case where the blogs are directly relevant; they are maintained by people involved directly in the affair in various ways, from the side of the CRU and from the side of their critics. Realclimate is an education blog seeking to explain the mainstream climate science perspective by active working scientists who are very prominent in the field, and Climate Audit is a blog specifically aiming to give a detailed examination, or "audit" of various conclusions of scientists as represented at realclimate. In both cases, the comments at the blogs give a picture of the two very different reactions; as the majority of commenters at each blog tend to align with the views of the blog itself.

Edit: removed blog links.

Both blogs were directly involved, both by virtue of extensive mention of the blogs and their authors in the stolen files, and by direct involvement with the hack. As well as the original theft from CRU, the so far unidentified hackers attempted to compromise the realclimate blog, and replace its content with a message pointing to the files; and they also made early announcement of the files at climate audit.

I may comment more on my own view of the whole affair at some point -- which you can probably guess -- but for the time being these are the most directly relevant statements available.

Cheers -- sylas
Sorry!
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#67
Nov26-09, 11:30 AM
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I don't understand however how everyone can look at what the scientists said in a select few e-mails and go automatically against them and what they talk about. Meanwhile they forgot completely that the people who released the files hacked into a government research facility and stole confidential information; for political purposes. I guess it's because one seems 'just' and one doesn't however how is releasing only specific emails which make the unit look bad and forcing people to take them out of context a 'just' thing to do...

Actually if you read the responses Sylas posted you can see that the scientists are responding pretty much the same way I did before. Everything they did in relation to 'hide the decline' or 'tricks' was already known to the public... they never tried to keep any of it secret but since most people who are skeptical of climate change don't actually do the research into climate change (just sit on their couch and say its bull----) they wouldn't know about those papers and the reasons behind them saying 'tricks' they used. Of course these people will jump when e-mails get released where scientists are using these words in probably not the best of ways but, something to keep in mind is that, they aren't writting these e-mails to you or to ever been read by the public, they were writing them to other climate scientists who understood exactly what was meant in the e-mails. Considering the reputation of many skeptics I would hate to see their e-mails released on the web for everyone to see.

I think however that Phil Jones should probably lose his position as director (that is his position correct?). Suggesting to delete e-mails is just not the way science should be conducted. Although they do have a reason for wanting to delete the e-mails he never should have suggested it at all... it's a good thing they didn't listen (or some of the skeptics on here would have a point about how them deleting their e-mails proves they have something to hide).
Astronuc
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#68
Nov26-09, 12:56 PM
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Some interesting commentary from climate scientists who "recognize that climate change is real and that human activities are probably contributing to that change." They don't say humans are causing climate change or global warming, but that human activities are probably contributing to the change. On the other hand, they offer caution as to remedial actions.
A fundamental point that needs to be understood is that if any of these proposals (including the Kyoto protocol) are implemented, they will have an effect on the climate so small that it cannot be detected.

None of these proposals will change what the climate is doing enough to notice.

Those are good reasons not to artificially force energy prices up. While raising energy costs might damage the economy, it would disproportionately hurt the poor, especially those people living on the world's social and economic fringes.

While no direct evidence of ecological damage from carbon dioxide has been found, that is no excuse for reducing environmental protection.

We shouldn't undo the good things that have been done to clean the air and water. More should be done, especially in developing countries.

Beyond quality of life issues, human life itself is significantly more threatened by polluted water, polluted air, habitat destruction, unbridled population growth and a host of related ecological problems than it is by global climate change on the scales that we have seen in the past 28 years.

Millions of children around the world die every year due to water borne diseases. Tens of millions of people are forced to breathe air that is blackened and made toxic by fumes from leaded gasoline, industrial pollution and cooking fires.

Women and girls in some developing countries are forced to walk miles each day from their villages to the receding edges of the forests to harvest green wood and other low-energy biomass for the fires they use to cook their meals and heat their homes.

A U.N. report estimated that 1.6 million people most of them women and children die each year due to indoor pollution from cooking fires.

While the extent of human impacts on global climate change remains uncertain, research by our colleagues at UAH confirms that deforestation and land conversion are changing regional weather patterns and the local climate over some parts of the world.

We should also do what the U.S. does best: We should encourage and support the scientists and engineers who will develop new sources of low-cost energy. Just as transportation was "de-horsified" in the last century, we believe energy in the 21st century will continue to be de-carbonized.

Ironically, actions that artificially inflate the cost of energy might hamper those efforts, as healthy economies can better afford to find and develop alternative energy sources and cleaner energy technologies.

We should also enhance the national and international infrastructure for dealing with climate and weather events, including droughts, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes. We know these events will continue to happen whether the climate changes or not. Everyone would benefit if we were better prepared when they happen.

Finally, we recognize that climate change is real and that human activities are probably contributing to that change. We should continue to devote resources to monitoring and studying the climate system, so we can develop the systems that will let us know what the climate is doing and respond appropriately. Perhaps, at some point in the future, we might even be able to reliably forecast what the climate will do in future generations.

Dr. John R. Christy & Dr. Roy Spencer
Earth System Science Center
The University of Alabama in Huntsville
http://www.uah.edu/News/climatebackground.php

That's not propaganda, but a thoughtful discussion.


Perhaps the problem is the communication (or propaganda) by proponents of AGW/GW (be they alarmist scientists and policymakers) and dismissive skeptics or opponents of AGW/GW.
sylas
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#69
Nov26-09, 01:04 PM
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Quote Quote by Sorry! View Post
I think however that Phil Jones should probably lose his position as director (that is his position correct?). Suggesting to delete e-mails is just not the way science should be conducted. Although they do have a reason for wanting to delete the e-mails he never should have suggested it at all... it's a good thing they didn't listen (or some of the skeptics on here would have a point about how them deleting their e-mails proves they have something to hide).
Looking at more of the context of that remark is very revealing, in my opinion, and you can certainly do so with the stolen emails. I am in two minds about whether it is proper to trawl through them. But there's an unfair attack on the victims of the theft, IMO, and perhaps this can justify looking at more context to see how unreasonable it is.

The formal statement by Professor Jones concludes with the following:
My colleagues and I accept that some of the published emails do not read well. I regret any upset or confusion caused as a result. Some were clearly written in the heat of the moment, others use colloquialisms frequently used between close colleagues.

We are, and have always been, scrupulous in ensuring that our science publications are robust and honest.
He's right; and it would have been better to write always with the view that emails can get stolen. He is right to express regret. Most of the stuff in the emails that looks bad is merely being misunderstood; but there are also things said that were better not said. I don't think that is a resigning offense. These were private emails, and in context they are quite understandable even when not always laudable. There is no indication of any actual fraud, hoax or public deception.

I think resignation is the wrong thing entirely; and (IMO) merely plays into the probable desire of the hacker to disrupt and distract and otherwise do damage to the work of these scientists and of the CRU.

Enough of the stolen emails were released to get some real insight in to what went on BEFORE the remarks that appear most damaging.

The deluge of improper FOI demands

The University of East Anglia was at this time subject to an extraordinary deluge of vexatious and frivolous freedom of information demands. Some readers will disagree with my choice of adjectives; what is on record is that they were getting up around hundred demands in rapid succession; and most of the demands were rejected (all of them? I don't know). The rejection was appealed, and the rejection was upheld. That is, the demands really were deemed to be invalid. The more you look at the background the worse it looks for the individuals making those demands; not for the scientists who were being harassed.

Enormous amounts of time and energy were wasted, and given the new legislation in the UK which had not been fully tested in the courts, scientists were rightly concerned about decisions that might extend beyond what was a reasonable release of information. Releasing data, of course, is a good thing; and the CRU is acting as well as they possibly can given their own legal constraints.

Deleting emails before they became subject to some vexatious FOI demand is not illegal. There's been all kinds of conflicting statements made about this, much of it really nonsensical; but the discussion in the stolen emails does show people intensely frustrated by certain specific demands that THEY certainly considered to be merely vexatious harassment, and which as it turns out, they were able to demonstrate to be basically frivolous to the officers in charge of handling the FOI requests.

Steve McIntyre, for one, will disagree; and to declare my own bias up front, he is in my opinion near the rock bottom of climate denial. He did have the potential to be a credible skeptic -- which is a GOOD thing in science -- and that potential was wasted. This is, of course, a personal judgment and I to not propose to argue for my view. I understand not everyone will agree with me; I declare my own bias.

Deletion of private emails not yet subject to a FOI request is a step to consider, IMO. There is no indication that any data or other actually relevant scientific information was ever destroyed, and this is emphatically denied by all concerned. It would be a bizarre thing to do, frankly, and even with the matter of emails it seems people didn't actually end up bothering to delete anything.

If you really want to get a feel for what these guys have been putting up with, then you can try getting hold of the stolen emails, and reading the 5% or so of them (that is, about 50 emails) that have the string FOI, or "freedom of information". Don't just pick the ones that look worst; look at the whole history of what was happening. I don't expect to persuade anyone already with a strong view (and I am in that category also, I admit).

How to engage as a scientist in these circumstances

I do agree with Phil Jones and others that many emails were ill advised in how they were expressed. I expect folks will be more cautious in future. But in my honest opinion it is the skeptics involved in this who end up looking like complete tools when you read the whole sequence. I don't mean all skeptics; I mean the ones specifically involved in the harassment of scientists.

Skepticism is in general a good thing. I admit to thinking that a lot of skepticism on climate is credulous naivety; but in general I am still happy to take it all as genuine good faith concerns from people who think I am the one who is naive, and simply address the associated science questions on a case by case basis as long as people find a value in it, in the proper science discussion forum. Nothing about this emails affair will change that.

IMO what the hacked emails affair reveals is a much darker side of the conflict; a malicious and aggressive disruption of the work of scientists, and THAT is the backdrop to ill considered remarks about deleting emails. And with the hack, from persons unknown, the harassment has extended to being outright felonious.

Cheers -- sylas
Sorry!
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#70
Nov26-09, 01:17 PM
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Quote Quote by sylas View Post
Looking at more of the context of that remark is very revealing, in my opinion, and you can certainly do so with the stolen emails. I am in two minds about whether it is proper to trawl through them. But there's an unfair attack on the victims of the theft, IMO, and perhaps this can justify looking at more context to see how unreasonable it is.

The formal statement by Professor Jones concludes with the following:
My colleagues and I accept that some of the published emails do not read well. I regret any upset or confusion caused as a result. Some were clearly written in the heat of the moment, others use colloquialisms frequently used between close colleagues.

We are, and have always been, scrupulous in ensuring that our science publications are robust and honest.
He's right; and it would have been better to write always with the view that emails can get stolen. He is right to express regret. Most of the stuff in the emails that looks bad is merely being misunderstood; but there are also things said that were better not said. I don't think that is a resigning offense. These were private emails, and in context they are quite understandable even when not always laudable. There is no indication of any actual fraud, hoax or public deception.

I think resignation is the wrong thing entirely; and (IMO) merely plays into the probable desire of the hacker to disrupt and distract and otherwise do damage to the work of these scientists and of the CRU.

Enough of the stolen emails were released to get some real insight in to what went on BEFORE the remarks that appear most damaging.

The deluge of improper FOI demands

The University of East Anglia was at this time subject to an extraordinary deluge of vexatious and frivolous freedom of information demands. Some readers will disagree with my choice of adjectives; what is on record is that they were getting up around hundred demands in rapid succession; and most of the demands were rejected (all of them? I don't know). The rejection was appealed, and the rejection was upheld. That is, the demands really were deemed to be invalid. The more you look at the background the worse it looks for the individuals making those demands; not for the scientists who were being harassed.

Enormous amounts of time and energy were wasted, and given the new legislation in the UK which had not been fully tested in the courts, scientists were rightly concerned about decisions that might extend beyond what was a reasonable release of information. Releasing data, of course, is a good thing; and the CRU is acting as well as they possibly can given their own legal constraints.

Deleting emails before they became subject to some vexatious FOI demand is not illegal. There's been all kinds of conflicting statements made about this, much of it really nonsensical; but the discussion in the stolen emails does show people intensely frustrated by certain specific demands that THEY certainly considered to be merely vexatious harassment, and which as it turns out, they were able to demonstrate to be basically frivolous to the officers in charge of handling the FOI requests.

Steve McIntyre, for one, will disagree; and to declare my own bias up front, he is in my opinion near the rock bottom of climate denial. He did have the potential to be a credible skeptic -- which is a GOOD thing in science -- and that potential was wasted. This is, of course, a personal judgment and I to not propose to argue for my view. I understand not everyone will agree with me; I declare my own bias.

Deletion of private emails not yet subject to a FOI request is a step to consider, IMO. There is no indication that any data or other actually relevant scientific information was ever destroyed, and this is emphatically denied by all concerned. It would be a bizarre thing to do, frankly, and even with the matter of emails it seems people didn't actually end up bothering to delete anything.

If you really want to get a feel for what these guys have been putting up with, then you can try getting hold of the stolen emails, and reading the 5% or so of them (that is, about 50 emails) that have the string FOI, or "freedom of information". Don't just pick the ones that look worst; look at the whole history of what was happening. I don't expect to persuade anyone already with a strong view (and I am in that category also, I admit).

How to engage as a scientist in these circumstances

I do agree with Phil Jones and others that many emails were ill advised in how they were expressed. I expect folks will be more cautious in future. But in my honest opinion it is the skeptics involved in this who end up looking like complete tools when you read the whole sequence. I don't mean all skeptics; I mean the ones specifically involved in the harassment of scientists.

Skepticism is in general a good thing. I admit to thinking that a lot of skepticism on climate is credulous naivety; but in general I am still happy to take it all as genuine good faith concerns from people who think I am the one who is naive, and simply address the associated science questions on a case by case basis as long as people find a value in it, in the proper science discussion forum. Nothing about this emails affair will change that.

IMO what the hacked emails affair reveals is a much darker side of the conflict; a malicious and aggressive disruption of the work of scientists, and THAT is the backdrop to ill considered remarks about deleting emails. And with the hack, from persons unknown, the harassment has extended to being outright felonious.

Cheers -- sylas
I do agree with you sylas but one thing that is important in this whole thing (since this is the politics forum) is how this looks on climate science in general. Jones requesting that multiple persons delete e-mails in my opinion (regardless of the circumstance) does not look good in public light. I agree about McIntyre as well but it still does not look good in public light. What climate scientists have to do now is try to get back into favourable light (which is pretty hard considering they weren't exactly in favourable light prior to the e-mails and people are jumping on this bandwagon). I think that while deleting the e-mails is completely legal it never should have been requested. Sure making requests in the 'heat of the moment' is possible but someone in his position should not be doing those types of things.

If you look at the responses from the other scientists about the request none of them agreed with it and they point back to how it was Jones who wanted it done... it just does not look good on him at all.
Sorry!
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#71
Nov26-09, 01:21 PM
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Quote Quote by Astronuc View Post
Some interesting commentary from climate scientists who "recognize that climate change is real and that human activities are probably contributing to that change."
Any person who, on these forums, thinks that climate scientists blame global warming entirely on human activities is far removed from the reality of the situation. It is quite obvious to everyone (AGW proponents and skeptics) that these things happen on Earth naturally.

A major part of climate science is to attempt to go as far back as we can measuring the temperature. I believe in order to get our own time period we have gone back 2000 years. It's not as if they are comparing our temperature now to what the temperature was say 50,000 years ago in the middle of a glaciation.
Astronuc
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Nov26-09, 01:48 PM
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Quote Quote by Sorry! View Post
Any person who, on these forums, thinks that climate scientists blame global warming entirely on human activities is far removed from the reality of the situation. It is quite obvious to everyone (AGW proponents and skeptics) that these things happen on Earth naturally.

A major part of climate science is to attempt to go as far back as we can measuring the temperature. I believe in order to get our own time period we have gone back 2000 years. It's not as if they are comparing our temperature now to what the temperature was say 50,000 years ago in the middle of a glaciation.
It is well established that there are warming and cooling cycles. As far as I can tell, the discussion/argument is whether or not there is a current warming trend and how much of that trend is due to do human activity.

It appears that there are those who argue - there is no warming trend - and some of those claim scientists are falsifying or fudging their work to show that there is a warming trend.

Then there are those who argue that there is or might be a warming trend - but it's entirely natural - and therefore we don't need to do anything differently, i.e., we can ignore any consequences and just proceed as before, or the consequences are no big deal and we don't need to take extraordinary actions.

There there are those who argue that there is a warming trend and we must take mitigating actions to stop or even reverse the warming trend, and we must take extraordinary measures to deal with the extraordinary consequences.

And there are those who argue that - wait! - the earth is actually cooling - and we don't need to worry or we need to enhance the heating.


Ultimately - one has to look at the quality of the argument and evidence.


Now some say - well heck it was warm way back when and the earth/life survived. True. But we also know that many species became extinct. Based on that there are some who are concerned that current warming might lead to widespread death of the human population. Now some might see that a bad thing (bad in the sense that people suffer and die), but others might see that a good (reduces competition for limited resources).

At present, humanity has committed a lot of infrastructure and investment that simply cannot be picked up and moved - certainly not economically. That seems to be a principal concern with respect to rising ocean levels. There is also the related issue the more energy in the atmosphere means more active/extreme weather (hurricanes and tornadoes) which means more property damage/destruction and injury or death. That's a quality of life (human suffering) and economic issue.


So which argument is correct? And what is the appropriate course of action?


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