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Global Warming goes to court

  1. Mar 13, 2008 #1
    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,337710,00.html

    Al Gore is getting sued for fraud. This should be interesting. Now the debate is forced into the presentation of evidence suitable for a court of law. Will the outcome change the worlds mindset?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 13, 2008 #2
    I'm sorry, why would a court of law be some sort of high standard for evidence? It hardly cares about truth in any way. It's a game between two opposing parties.

    All you have to do is implement the Wookie defense.
     
  4. Mar 13, 2008 #3

    Pythagorean

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    to be fair, he was talking about "the world mindset". Not that I disagree with you, but to some the courts ARE a higher standard.
     
  5. Mar 13, 2008 #4

    Ivan Seeking

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    So, first of all, Gore is not being sued, there is just some unqualified weatherman talking about suing him. He also said that there is no global warming per se, and that if Gore "knows" that carbon is not having an impact, then he should be held liable. In other words, he alleges intentional fraud by Gore about the essence of the science that is backed by the IPCC and that Gore received a Nobel Prize for publicizing. :rofl:

    John Coleman

    Hmmmm, I wonder how many times I've heard this sort of thing in S&D. I may have banned him before... :biggrin:

    I might add that actually reading DOZENS of papers and talking with NUMEROUS scientists may be going above and beyond the call of duty.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2008
  6. Mar 13, 2008 #5

    What? If a US court can't determine something to be final, who can? You? They will have all the experts stating providing their evidence, and the evidence, as given, will be judged objectively. What more do you want? What kind of debate would be acceptable to you?
     
  7. Mar 14, 2008 #6

    russ_watters

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    Courts are not designed to be arbiters of all disagreements, drankin. Science is best settled by the scientific community.
     
  8. Mar 14, 2008 #7
    If the debate cannot be held by the scientific community to the point that everyone comes to a general consensus, then why not the tried and true US court system, russ?
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2008
  9. Mar 14, 2008 #8

    russ_watters

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    Because the courts are simply not equipped to handle such issues. What does a judge know about climatology?
     
  10. Mar 14, 2008 #9
    The verdict would carry about as much weight as Oprah's top 10 books ever list. Except tax payers would be paying for the list.
     
  11. Mar 14, 2008 #10
    By the same token, we should have the courts settle which M-theory is correct, if any.
     
  12. Mar 14, 2008 #11
    That's what the "experts" are for. If something is "scientific" a court can't make a valid decision? That's rediculous. This is done every day. What the experts have to do is lay out the facts to their most basic premises. They have to break it down and show their evidence. If a particular side cannot support their case as well as the other then you have a decision that represents it. Like I asked, "What more do you want?"

    All Al Gore has to do is lay out the facts.

    The ID case was done in this way, the evidence was presented, a verdict was reached based on the evidence provided. I see no reason this cannot be done with the Global Warming debate in the same way. What would be a better forum?
     
  13. Mar 14, 2008 #12
    The laboratory? Something about a scientific verdict bothers me. Can you imagine a judge saying that the next big theory is correct/incorrect? That's not how its supposed to work.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2008
  14. Mar 14, 2008 #13
    Could you point the way to a particular laboratory that could settle this debate? I'm sure there are countless scientist that would like to observe the results.
     
  15. Mar 14, 2008 #14
    Unfortunately at this time I don't think there is one, and that's fine. I'd rather not know the answer than have some 'judge of the law' give me one, wouldn't you?
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2008
  16. Mar 14, 2008 #15
    All the suit would settle is if Al Gore based his information fraudulently I imagine. That's not really the point. The point is, get all the information together before an unbiased panel to filter and point one way or the other, or that no conclusion can be made at all. Regardless of the "judgement" we will all have the most conclusive information presented publicly and we can make up our own minds from the most persuasive arguments.
     
  17. Mar 14, 2008 #16
    Look at the most serious court cases: rape and murder trials. A lot of the evidence is witness testimony and a lot of speculation. It's NOT by any means an episode of CSI.

    Things that are accepted as evidence in court would get you beat up in a physics department. By all the nerdy professors.
     
  18. Mar 14, 2008 #17

    Art

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    Gore's documentary has already been the subject of a court case in the UK with the result the judge found 9 serious errors of fact and so ruled that if shown to children in schools it must be accompanied by a warning and the counter arguments also must be presented. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/education/7037671.stm
     
  19. Mar 14, 2008 #18

    vanesch

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    The problem is that "experts" are polarized now too. So depending on WHICH expert you pick, you know what he will say. This debate has come up several times here on PF already, but the SCIENCE of global warming is far less settled than proponents or opponents sometimes seem to claim: in other words, there is not such a thing as a complete and clear consensus in the scientific community as to what exactly happens, due to what causes and so on, like, for instance, in electrical engineering, just to take a silly example. That doesn't mean that there is nothing, either. But for the moment it seems that the "politically correct" word in climate science is to say that there will be global warming, caused by human effects. If you say that, you get grants, you get invited by politicians, tv-shows, and everything, while if you say the opposite, you are defending oil companies etc... From the moment that these issues get mixed into the position taken by a scientist (which is also a human being), one cannot count anymore on his neutrality. In other words, you won't find a NEUTRAL EXPERT. And so, according to how you set up your panel of experts, you can predict already what will be the outcome, but with a strong bias towards "global warming is humanly caused". Now, it is not because of this, that there is no such AGW ! But is not yet an indisputable scientific fact. It might not be there.

    To prove a CAUSAL link implied by AGW, one needs to turn an OBSERVED correlation into a genuine cause-effect relationship. The observed correlation is that there is a slight increase in global temperature on one hand, and an increasing concentration of CO2 on the other. But one can find other correlations: there's a correlation between the increase in global temperature and the average processor speed of the sold personal computers over the year too.

    Now, nobody is going to think that increased processor speed in PCs is causing global warming. There's a correlation, but not necessary a causal link. However, with CO2, it might. Then, one also has to indicate that this CO2 is *the cause* of human emission, and not the consequence of some global warming.

    There are two ways to prove beyond scientific doubt that there is a cause-effect relationship in science, and neither has been achieved in AGW. The first one is an indisputable derivation of the relationship from well-known physical laws, which makes accurate predictions of the observed correlation, and which indicates the causality.

    In other words, if one is able to model, using only known physical laws, precisely the warming of the earth that results as a consequence of an increase of CO2, then one can assume that the cause-effect relationship is demonstrated and even understood as a function of the used laws. Well, to my knowledge, that has never been done in this case. There are a lot of computer models, but they all need "phenomenology" like cloud formation, soil response, vegetation response and all that, and on these things there's so much uncertainty that you can "warm" or "cool" as you like. This is not to say that this is not a good approach, but the problem is simply very complicated.

    The other way is experimental: if you can arbitrarily VARY the cause, and the effect remains correlated, you've also shown a cause-effect relationship. In order to do so, you should, say, divide by 10 human CO2 emissions, and wait long enough to see the "glitch" in the global temperature. This is probably the kind of experiment we're tempting in the 21st century, by trying to cut back on CO2 emissions for 30 years, wait for 40 more years, and compile the data :smile:

    So the two approaches to indicating a causal link have not been applied beyond doubt. So you can't yet state with scientific "certainty" that AGW is true. Scientifically, there are *indications*, like the prediction of SOME models, and the observed correlation of CO2 and warming. But none of this is yet at the stage where the relationship has been scientifically proved without any reasonable doubt, like it is, for instance, concerning the prediction of the next solar eclipse, or the prediction of the current that will flow in a given resistor when exposed to a certain voltage or anything of that kind.

    However, does it mean that we have to *dismiss* AGW ? It certainly would be reckless to do so. After all, the scientific indications that one has seem rather to go in the sense of it. This is probably why many scientists take on this attitude. Moreover, behaving AS IF AGW is true is a good thing, because this might induce humanity to seriously reduce CO2 emissions, which is necessary in any case to perform the 21-century experiment. One needs to convince people of the reality of AGW in order for the scientific experiment to be conducted in the first place.

    So, the good attitude as a scientist is to tell Bob in the street that AGW is true, and that he urgently needs to cut down on CO2 production. This will allow the global experiment to be performed. However, within the scientific community, one should keep a reserved attitude as should every scientist before his experiment has shown any definite result :biggrin:
     
  20. Mar 14, 2008 #19

    Art

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    Vanesch did you see the link in the other GW thread detailing the atomic absorption spectrum for CO2 and showing that AGW theory defies the known laws of physics? http://www.middlebury.net/op-ed/global-warming-01.html Do you think this paper makes a compelling argument?
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2008
  21. Mar 14, 2008 #20

    vanesch

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    Well, I see one big blunder already:
    This is a totally erroneous estimation, for the following reason. If we consider the CO2 to be independent particles of the oxygen/nitrogen, then the total RATIO of (inert) oxygen particles to CO2 particles doesn't influence the absorption by CO2. In other words, there's strictly no reason to incorporate the FRACTION of CO2 in the overall estimation of the absorption. Imagine that, as he writes, 5 meters of (1 bar of) CO2 would be sufficient to absorb a specific line, which would mean, say, 8% of the entire output.
    In that case ADDING extra oxygen/nitrogen, say 1000 bars, and then EXPANDING this to, say, 50 kilometers wouldn't change anything to the absorption, but in his calculation, one would diminish the absorption with the ratio 1/1000.

    What counts, in radiation absorption, is the absorption cross section (a physical property of the molecule) times the total number of molecules "seen" by a beam of radiation per unit of transverse surface.

    So what counts is the number of CO2 molecules in a column of 1 cm^2 for the entire height of the atmosphere. And we don't care how much OTHER stuff is in there.

    That said, there are other points which are enlightening in the article...
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2008
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