Estimated 40 Percent of Scientists Doubt Manmade Global Warming

Jan 03, 2011 | 

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Estimated 40 Percent of Scientists Doubt Manmade Global Warming

Jan 03, 2011 | 



PRINCETON, NJ (January 3, 2011)—S. Fred Singer said in an interview with the National Association of Scholars (NAS) that “the number of skeptical qualified scientists has been growing steadily; I would guess it is about 40% now.”

Singer, a leading scientific skeptic of anthropocentric global warming (AGW), is an atmospheric physicist, and founder of the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP), an organization that began challenging the published findings of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in the 1990s. SEPP established the Leipzig Declaration, a statement of dissent from the 1997 Kyoto Protocol that has been signed by over one hundred scientists and meteorologists.

Asked what he would like to see happen in regard to public opinion and policy on climate change, Singer replied,

I would like to see the public look upon global warming as just another scientific controversy and oppose any public policies until the major issues are settled, such as the cause. If mostly natural, as NIPCC concludes, then the public policies currently discussed are pointless, hugely expensive, and wasteful of resources that could better be applied to real societal problems.

NIPCC is the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, another group established by Singer. In 2009 NIPCC published Climate Change Reconsidered,an 880-page report on scientific research that contradicts the models of man-made global warming. Singer believes that global warming exists but that human contributions to it are minimal. In the interview Singer said he believed his efforts in the last twenty years had been successful in disproving the notion that “the science is settled.”

Singer continues his work in the sciences, focusing lately on geophysical research and the Earth’s atmosphere. He is professor emeritus of environmental science at the University  of Virginia, and he was the founding Dean of the School of Environmental and Planetary Sciences at the University of Miami (1964-1967) and the Director of the Center for Atmospheric and Space Physics University of Maryland (1953-1962).

The National Association of Scholars does not take a position on global warming but advocates for a full discussion of all sides of the controversy.To learn more about NAS, visit www.nas.org.

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Image: Pixabay 

CONTACT: Ashley Thorne, Director of Communications, NAS: 609-683-7878; thorne@nas.org 

Dion

| July 31, 2012 - 12:50 PM


Pulling numbers out of thin air is a terrible and odious way to have a debate with “both sides of the argument.” That 40% number is a falsehood- there is about a 98% consensus of all scientists who study this phenomena that anthropogenic climate change is a reality, and every major scientific institution in the world supports the conclusion of man caused global warming.

Want a number that isn’t pulled out of thin air? Multiple REAL polls have showed that it’s possible 1/5 of Americans believe that the sun goes around the Earth. So hey, let’s have a debate about whether the earth goes around the sun—there seems to be more honest disagreement with that than there is over man made global climate change.

But not personally liking global climate change doesn’t make it any less true- and misleading people through made up data is reprehensible.

Bill Hubbard III

| October 17, 2012 - 10:48 PM


Dion…. Here are Mr. Singer’s credentials, in case you missed them:  He is professor emeritus of environmental science at the University of Virginia, and he was the founding Dean of the School of Environmental and Planetary Sciences at the University of Miami (1964-1967) and the Director of the Center for Atmospheric and Space Physics University of Maryland (1953-1962).  I tend to believe his 40% estimate.  What credentials do you have in order to state 98% of scientists agree global warming is man-made?

I believe Mr. singer"s conclusion is well founded: ” I would like to see the public look upon global warming as just another scientific controversy and oppose any public policies until the major issues are settled, such as the cause. If mostly natural, as NIPCC concludes, then the public policies currently discussed are pointless, hugely expensive, and wasteful of resources that could better be applied to real societal problems.”  What say you Mr. Dion? 

Joshua

| November 02, 2012 - 8:28 PM


Climate change is obviously occurring, but what is not so obvious are the factors involved and their respective impact. We don’t know if man plays a major or insignificant role in the equation and we don’t even know if the effects we are currently witnessing are unique or cyclical.

The fact that we hear so much about the melting of the Arctic ice caps and hear virtually nothing about the growth of the Antarctic ice caps is telling- global warmers aren’t interested in data that doesn’t support their politicized campaign against pollution. Their cause is noble and I support the notion that we should take care of the resources given to us, but using spotty science to promote that cause is unwise. The ends do not justify the means.

Add to the fact that the “solutions” to a problem (which may be man made or man made-up) is cap and trade and carbon credits only further fuels the skepticism- particularly when the very ones who are pushing the global warming agenda are those who are in a position to profit from it (ie Al Gore). Furthermore, the green companies that have been given tremendous government subsidies have a track record of going bankrupt- so again, our “solutions” to a questionable problem do not seem to produce the desired results. They have nearly all been a colossal waste of (often taxpayer) money.

Maybe we should rethink our green strategies and stop using questionable science as a blunt instrument of change.

lol for fools

| January 06, 2013 - 10:36 PM


Bill - there are numerous studies showing the 98%, maybe you should go look t them instead of believing one person with creditntials, just because you agree with what is said, doesnt make it true.

Ryan

| December 16, 2013 - 6:47 PM


The 98% is a figure pulled from reading only the abstacts of sientific paper, if they read all the papers fully they would have got a different figure, scientists were appalled over this because their papers were falsely represented, the figures show more like , 24% believe that changes to the climate are normal and we have a minimum affect,17%  believe climate change is both anthopogenic and natuaral, they are skeptical that the scientific debate is settled regarding the IPCC modelling, they believe that we can’t take action till the research becomes unbiassed, 10% believe in both anthrogenic and natural climate change but believe the source of damage is largely unknown, 5% believe climate change is both anthropogenic and natural and cause a moderate risk, they are skeptical that the IPCC modeling is acurate, this leaves 36% beleiving in anthropogenic climate change and 8% against it, according to the peer reviewed organization studies, the old review showed 3% dis agree with agw so they published 97% agree we are the cause, they neglected to say that over half of the 97% believe we have minumal affect, you need to be careful of people with an agenda

JAMES MATKIN

| February 13, 2015 - 1:07 PM


Some scientists submit solar data contradicts the view there is any significant man made warming.  Proponents of global warming are pushed in the corner with this data and refuse to countenance any room for doubt and rather resort to name calling with cult like religious overtones ie “deniers.”  Fortunately, Canadian government sees the uncertainty in this debate and steps back from taking negative economic action.  How is global warming responsible for record freezing winters with mountains of snow and two decades without any increase in warming?  Indeed the data is contradictory enough to put in play the question are we entering the next ice age.  It is entirely possible that the sun, and variations in the earth’s axis not man are wrecking havoc with our climate.  Dr. Abdussamatov points out that over the last 1,000 years deep cold periods have occurred five times. Each is correlated with declines in solar irradiance much like we are experiencing now with no human influence. “A global freeze will come about regardless of whether or not industrialized countries put a cap on their greenhouse gas emissions. The common view of Man’s industrial activity is a deciding factor in global warming has emerged from a misinterpretation of cause and effect.” Another recent article by climatologist and former NASA Consultant, Joh L. Casey predicts “ICE AGE NOW” with 30 years of record cold temperatures around the globe. 

I submit the first and last word on climate change should come from the sage advice of the famous nobel prize winning physicist, Richard P. Feynman. 
“The scientist has a lot of experience with ignorance and doubt and uncertainty, and this experience is of very great importance, I think. When a scientist doesn’t know the answer to a problem, he is ignorant. When he has a hunch as to what the result is, he is uncertain. And when he is pretty darned sure of what the result is going to be, he is in some doubt. We have found it of paramount importance that in order to progress we must recognize the ignorance and leave room for doubt. Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty—some most unsure, some nearly sure, none absolutely certain.”  Nobel Prize Scientist Richard P. Feynman.

We must leave room for the “doubt” about mans role in global warming and question if it is real, especially as we struggle with the coldest winters around the world over the past decades.

Roald Larsen

| October 01, 2015 - 5:15 PM


100% of real scientist knows there’s no man made global warming, cause, if you can’t empirical show the effects, real scientists know you have to go back to 0-hypothese. If you don’t, you’re not a scientist. That means; No Man Made Global Warming!

Les K

| November 01, 2015 - 1:17 AM


Cooke’s 98% consensus amounted to 76 out of 77 self-described “climate scientists” agreeing.

Chris

| November 20, 2015 - 4:49 PM


Dion, that 98% lie was proved fraudulent many years ago. Stop making up stats.

JAMES MATKIN

| November 20, 2015 - 7:15 PM


There is no doubt S. Fred Singer’s estimate of sceptical scientists about the anthropogenic global warming theory are growing as the evidence of contradicts the theory.  The Pacific Islands are increasing by 8% not abrading; the Antarctic ice is Incredibly gaining 100 billion more ice pack annually, there has been no hurricane in North America for > 10 years. The seas rise is only 5 inches over the past 100 years not 6” as thought.  Most important the 97% “consensus” study Cook et al (2013) has been thoroughly refuted in scholarly peer-reviewed journals.
Investigative journalists at Popular Technology looked into precisely which papers were classified within Cook’s asserted 97 percent. The investigative journalists found Cook and his colleagues strikingly classified papers by such prominent, vigorous skeptics as Willie Soon, Craig Idso, Nicola Scafetta, Nir Shaviv, Nils-Axel Morner and Alan Carlin as supporting the 97-percent consensus.For example Scafetta explained. “What my papers say is that the IPCC [United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] view is erroneous because about 40-70% of the global warming observed from 1900 to 2000 was induced by the sun.”

Joe

| November 30, 2015 - 7:44 PM


98% of North Koreans think Kim Jung-un is the best leader in the world, the other 2% are dead.

It depends on where you take your polls at.

Charlie

| January 15, 2016 - 1:42 AM


Well then let’s meet the scientists
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZzwRwFDXw0

george jones

| April 08, 2016 - 8:23 PM


could use more science info

Collin Ford

| May 20, 2016 - 10:19 AM


This website is so stupid, Global Warming is happening, look at the facts. There are 40 percent of scientists that do not deserve to be scientists because they are not seeing what a 7th grader can.

Calob Williams

| May 20, 2016 - 12:26 PM


global warming sucks

Joe

| May 20, 2016 - 12:54 PM


According to a National Geographic article March 19, 2003 “Climate Change Killed off Maya Civilization” The Mayans were also wiped out by global warming. Maybe they should have drove hybred cars. Oh wait there were no factories, cars, or anything man made that would do that.  Hmmmm

gary demos

| May 27, 2016 - 12:49 PM


It seems most of what is proposed in dealing with climate change is a desirable direction for the people of Earth. Regardless of whether human activity is adding to climate change or not. Renewable energy, energy storage, fusion energy, small new tech fission energy, energy efficiency, biomimicry, etc. Ground, air, and water pollution from fossil fuels .... via extraction, transportation, and burning are agreed upon ... yes? Conservation seems a logical way to proceed as with about 3 billion people at the cusp of being voracious consumers of natural resources .... scarcity is usually the source of conflict and war.

Joshua

| May 27, 2016 - 2:49 PM


Gary Demos,

Not exactly. Most of the proposed “solutions” for AGW at best simply delay the inevitable while eroding civil liberties in the process. Renewable energy sources are great, but they are not capable of replacing fossil fuels either in capacity nor price competitiveness. Even many anti-fossil fuel experts admit that nuclear is the only technology currently available that can actually replace fossil fuel energy.

So the truth is, if we let the alarmists drive policy, our energy costs will skyrocket, world productivity will plummet, poverty will increase, government will have more control of our lives and all of this will have a pretty negligible effect on the climate. That is not a desirable direction at all.

Iain

| December 08, 2016 - 7:47 AM


Joshua,

Dubai might disagree.

http://www.apricum-group.com/dubai-shatters-records-cost-solar-earths-largest-solar-power-plant/

Iain

Joshua

| December 08, 2016 - 10:48 AM


Iain, From the article you just posted:

“Still, with this somewhat unique bid, 50% lower than Acwa Power’s winning bid in the previous phase II submitted just 18 months ago, the danger arises that Dubai’s tender raises global expectations of the cost of solar to a level that cannot be quite matched elsewhere, making the industry get somewhat ahead of itself.”

Solar isn’t this cheap universally, and even at these process, the manufacturing of much of the technology itself is subsidized and therefore artificially low. Regardless, solar can’t match fossil fuel in total output irrespective of cost. Nuclear is the only “alternative” fuel that has the capacity to meet global energy demands.

Iain

| December 08, 2016 - 11:10 AM


Joshua,

The trend is ever downwards for renewable energy and incidentally you seem to have missed from the same article “All three lowest bids by themselves clearly set a new world record for the unsubsidized cost of solar electricity.”

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/plugged-in/the-price-of-solar-is-declining-to-unprecedented-lows/

The average solar radiation that hits the earth is about 340W per M2. To power the worlds energy needs by 2030 with Solar alone then you would need an area approx the size of Spain.

http://uk.businessinsider.com/map-shows-solar-panels-to-power-the-earth-2015-9?r=US&IR=T

The massive disruption will occur with breakthroughs in energy storage, hence the huge amounts of money pouring into research in that area.

Your statement that “our energy costs will skyrocket, world productivity will plummet, poverty will increase, government will have more control of our lives” seems to be not the case.

American Samoa for example has seen an improvement in the quality of life with a switch to solar http://nordic.businessinsider.com/this-island-in-american-samoa-is-almost-100—powered-by-tesla-solar-panels-2016-11/

Joshua

| December 09, 2016 - 11:17 AM


Iain,

There’s no such thing as “unsubsidized” solar. While the plant itself may not have been, many, many of the panels, technology and components used in its construction are.

The cost to cover the area of Spain in solar panels would be multiple trillions of dollars and would have serious ecological effects of their own.

Multiple solar companies have gone bankrupt in the US even after billions of taxpayer money was used to subsidize them. Solar energy caused energy prices to double in Germany. So if and when solar can stand on its own in a free market economy and beat fossil fuels in a fair fight, I’ll support it. Until then, it’s a giant experiment at taxpayer’s expense. I certainly hope it pays off, but at this point it looks like a scam with lofty and unrealistic promises.

Iain

| December 09, 2016 - 1:56 PM


Joshua,

Oh dear, can you cite anything that states there is no such thing as unsubsidised solar or renewable energy sources on the planet or did you just make that up?

Look here is another one http://www.solarcentury.com/uk/media-centre/solarcentury-connects-in-panama/

Absolutely it would cost trillions of capital investment, likewise we have invested trillions in fossil fuel energy production since the industrial revolution began. However like displacement of steam and horse drawn power sources renewable energy will lag and then surpass that which proceeds it.

Fossil fuels have an associated capital cost and operating cost, compared to renewable energy the operating cost is much higher as there has to be a continuous supply of fuel from inside the earth to the point of use. This operating cost is going up over time i.e. the easy fields have played out and renewable energy capital investment required is declining over time. The tipping point has already come or is nearly here.

Well with German prices I have seen an increase but it is certainly not double say 2006 prices https://www.cleanenergywire.org/factsheets/what-german-households-pay-power but then they decided to shut down all their nuclear power plants so something had to replace it.

However I agree with letting the market determine power prices so would advocate removal of subsidies of all energy sources i.e. US fossil fuel http://priceofoil.org/fossil-fuel-subsidies/

We can also factor in externalised air pollution costs http://www.nhs.uk/news/2016/02February/Pages/Air-pollution-kills-40000-a-year-in-the-UK-says-report.aspx

Then again look at China, the worlds largest investor, the government is not subsidising itself.

Anyway I’ll leave you with this quote: “The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty – a fad.” — The president of the Michigan Savings Bank advising Henry Ford’s lawyer, Horace Rackham, not to invest in the Ford Motor Co., 1903

Joshua

| December 09, 2016 - 8:25 PM


Iain,

We already know that US-manufactured panels are subsidized (as are nearly all other aspects of solar energy). Other than the US, China is the other big manufacturer—and their government has subsidized their manufacturing cost as well:

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2012/0320/China-subsidized-solar-panels-US-finds.-Are-tariffs-the-right-response

So I’m not sure what other major manufacturer you would like to put forth which DOESN’T receive any subsidies, but I’d wager if one exists, they aren’t very competitive in the market as a direct result and therefore don’t hold a significant market share. So before you “oh dear” someone and scoff at their comments, you may want to do some basic research on the subject.

Furthermore, the main consortium which won the bid on the Dubai project was Masdar—which is owned by UAE. So in effect, at least part of this solar plant is publicly funded. Therefore though hidden a bit in a shell game, this project is government subsidized:

http://energytransition.de/2016/05/understanding-record-low-3-cent-solar-in-dubai-in-context/

As for my German stat, you may be right. I think the “double” figure I was thinking of was that Germany’s energy prices are double that of the US.

Not sure what you mean by China’s government “not subsidizing itself.” That sentence makes no sense. They certainly subsidize solar.

Uh, I’m not claiming fossil fuels, or any existing technology will always be around while any newer energy technology is just a fad. Not that solar technology is exactly “new”—it’s been around since the late 1800’s. What I’m saying is that solar has a long track record of over-promising and under-delivering. If you want to have FAITH that the technology will someday fulfill those promises, that’s fine. I’m just looking at the facts on the ground right now. I’m not against renewable energy and I don’t profit from their failure. I just want real-world market competitiveness and reliability before I demonize and tax our current cheap energy providers out of existence.

gary

| December 10, 2016 - 4:34 AM


Hi Joshua,
  to have any kind of discussion that hopes to give a relatively accurate depiction of what is happening and extrapolate .... you have to start with good information. If you check out subsidies for fossil fuels over the last 20 yrs I think you will find that they are considerably more than subsidies for renewable energy. I believe that fossil fuel industry still gets about 15-20 billion a year. Nuclear power plants do seem to be a stepping stone to complete energy generation coming from renewables in conjunction with increasing energy efficiency and conservation. Nuclear fusion is something that could change the game. In quite a few places in the world solar/wind are presently cheaper for both installation and generation of electricity. If you check out Google news on any given day, and do a renewable energy search in news, the amount of implementation of renewable energy is pretty impressive. A fellow with a pretty good track record for making accurate prognostications is Ray Kurzweil. You might check out his prediction for exponential increases concerning solar power.

Iain

| December 10, 2016 - 6:04 AM


Joshua,

When you make the claim, cite the source, good to see you’re doing that now.

With regards subsidies they are phasing out or have been for different sources of renewable energy i.e. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-11-05/say-goodbye-to-solar-power-subsidies

Even in China http://www.pv-magazine.com/news/details/beitrag/china-considering-solar-subsidy-cut_100021797/#axzz4SQhjgA68

As stated before I would like to see subsidies for fossil fuel removed and also external costs such as healthcare due to air pollution factored in as that would give a true cost of power generation.

Same with Nuclear, clean up and storage costs of waste need to be factored in too.

With regards Dubai, from your link:

“First, the bid came from a consortium led by Masdar, essentially a company owned by the UAE. Couture says it is likely that Masdar felt it needed to win the bid politically in order to gain a firmer footing in its home market. Couture adds that the arrangement “is effectively more of a PPP” (public-private partnership), than a traditional, privately financed IPP (independent power project).

The price itself is probably also artificially low due to a host of factors:

Low land prices (possibly free);
Very good loan terms (including low interest rates and quite likely a long loan tenor);
An indexed price (i.e. escalating over time);
Very low taxes in the UAE; and
Low-cost labor.”

However the same link illustrates unsibsidised costs elsewhere too. Also it reinforces how the cost model goes from a dominant Opex one to Capex.

It’s not surprising solar has not delivered before, look at the cost profile in the last 40 or so years https://cleantechnica.com/2014/09/04/solar-panel-cost-trends-10-charts/

Gary, thanks for the heads up I agree with Kurzweil, as we are at or reaching that tipping point and costs will only go down.

http://fortune.com/2016/04/16/ray-kurzweil-solar-will-dominate-energy-within-12-years/

Today looks different than four years ago and likewise four years will look different today.

Joshua

| December 10, 2016 - 11:42 AM


Gary,

Yes, I’m aware that fossil fuels are also subsidized. You are also correct that they receive more total dollars in subsidies than solar does. What you fail to account for is that the reason is because fossil fuels produce a much larger portion of our energy.To compare apples to apples, you would need to take the total amount of subsidies for fossil fuels and solar and then divide them by their energy output to get the subsidy cost per megawatt-hour.

Someone has already crunched the numbers for us (see link below) and found that subsidies for fossil fuels amounts to $15,720.69 per megawatt-hour while subsidies for solar amounts to $19,280.42 per megawatt-hour. So solar actually has the per-unit advantage in subsidies. On top of that, fossil fuels are tangible goods which are heavily taxed by both state and federal governments, so some of those subsidies are recovered. Sunlight on the other hand is not a taxable good, so there is no recuperated subsidy costs. But by all means, continue to lecture me about “starting with good information.”

http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/The-Great-Fossil-Fuel-Subsidy-Myth.html

I’m not arguing about predictions, I’m arguing about recorded history and actual facts *right now*. Both you and Iain keep shifting to straw man arguments about possibilities in the future with as-yet-discovered technological breakthroughs in energy storage etc. I’m not arguing that solar is worthless or that it won’t make advances in technology or that it won’t someday make more economic sense to utilize. I’m simply saying that the solar industry has consistently over-promised and under-delivered all while asking for more government money, then subsequently filing for bankruptcy. So it’s clear that solar, despite receiving more subsidies per unit of energy actually produced, is not yet viable in a free market.

Furthermore, it is completely incapable of providing reliable energy 24/7/365 until massive breakthroughs in energy storage are both discovered and then made cost effective, which is decades away even by the most optimistic prognosticator. Until then, solar will continue to only supplement, not replace, fossil fuels.

—-

Iain,

I didn’t cite a source originally for my subsidization claim because I thought it to be common knowledge.

As for some expiring solar subsidies, according to the Bloomberg article, that will happen at the end of this year (assuming congress doesn’t renew them). So we don’t know what effect that will have yet. Same with China—they are proposed cuts. If the two major manufaturers in the world reduce or eliminate production subsidies, my guess is that solar cell costs will increase substantially and therefore solar will look even less favorable compared to established energy sources. But we’ll see.

As I pointed out to Gary, solar is subsidized more per unit than fossil fuels are, so if removing subsidies for both were to happen, solar would be impacted to a greater degree. As for your desire for healthcare to be factored into the fossil fuel costs, that is more of guilt propaganda than logical argument.They certainly could not be used for subsidy arguments as the government doesn’t pay for all those healthcare costs (we’re not a single-payer socialist system in America). Furthermore, it would be difficult to use healthcare costs in favor of solar energy plants because the vast majority of air pollution related healthcare costs are associated with AUTOMOBILE exhaust, not coal or gas energy plants. Replacing every coal-fired plant with a solar one won’t do ANYTHING to reduce automobile emissions—solar energy plants won’t suddenly and magically make every vehicle solar powered. Here’s the MIT study to back that claim:

http://news.mit.edu/2013/study-air-pollution-causes-200000-early-deaths-each-year-in-the-us-0829

Again, I’m not talking about predictions, I’m sure solar costs will continue to go down (unless subsidies are all withdrawn, then there will be an increase followed by gradual decreases). I’m completely in favor of solar supplementing or replacing fossil fuel energy plants IF and WHEN they make economic sense. If switching to solar will increase energy prices in the US, I’m not in favor of it. If it can be cost competitive with fossil fuels, I’m all for it.

Iain

| December 10, 2016 - 12:21 PM


Joshua,

Of course it is common knowledge that there are subsidies applied to various renewable generation schemes, your specific claim was to refute the claim by Dubai that their solar power plant was unsubsidised, hence the burden of proof will always be on you to back up a refutation.

We’re not constructing straw men because Solar and other renewable energy schemes are proving to be more cost effective than fossil fuels right now in certain applications and that is only expanding. We’re at a transition which is where fossil fuel costs are rising and renewable energy costs are falling, and they are starting to cross over.

In terms of pollution why the straw man with caps, no one thinks vehicles will magically turn into electric overnight. However this pollution will be reduced especially for pollutants like SO2. http://www.air-quality.org.uk/08.php

Of course it is not guilt propaganda, those costs are externalised and someone has to pay so the cost to a society is the same no matter public or private health provision.

Today it looks like fossil fuel prices are on the rise again as non Opec countries agree to cut production https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-12-10/non-opec-joins-opec-in-first-global-oil-output-cuts-in-15-years

How nice to be off that price roller coaster, have clean air and not litter the landscape with fracking wells one day.

gary

| December 10, 2016 - 1:07 PM


Hi Joshua,
  hmmm. I don’t want to go off on tangents. The fossil fuel subsidies are for an industry that is mature and has probably realized any significant technological gains. Solar has been around for awhile but implemented on a very small scale to facilitate satellites and space ventures. Fracking ..... water pollution, earthquakes, and the transportation of fossil fuels has been and continues to be a problem. The extraction,, in many cases, is done on public land and the return on investment for the government is minimal. That is a form of subsidy. The remnants of coal electrical generation is a nightmare. Sludge and coal mining are a bit of a disaster. Mercury in the air and its effects on human health are a serious concern. Nuclear power plants have been subsidized to an extreme degree as ..... all the research done to implement nuclear power was provided by the government to private industry for free. The money to build nuclear power plants was provided by government as no private industry wanted to foot the bill. Nuclear power plants have no legal responsibility for civil cases against accidents that might happen ..... it is waived by the government. I have concerns about photovoltaics as the amount of materials necessary to fabricate enough modules for a significant amount of the population would seem to be crazy. Increasing efficiencies might help as the technology is changing pretty fast. Solar feed into the grid is realizing a form of taxation by the utility companies in some states ..... as far as individuals feeding in. I do like the idea of decentralized electricity generation as the umbilical cord would no longer force people to be at the mercy of the utility companies frequent monopolies. This is a very broad topic as we are in the midst of dramatic change in a short period of time and there are a myriad of possible solutions….. perhaps not a single solution but local solutions to suit the variables specific to each city, county, state, country. It seems the U.S. has leveled off in electrical use since about 2014. I would give more references but have been working a lot. It was nice talking to you and it’s good to play devils advocate with each other. If we have open minds we can actually learn from each other.

Joshua

| December 10, 2016 - 1:50 PM


Iain,

If it is common knowledge that solar panel production is subsidized, then I shouldn’t have to provide a link backing my assertion that said components used at the plant in Dubai are indeed subsidized. But whatever, if you want a link for every statement and can’t be bothered to do your own fact-checking, that’s fine.

Yes, solar is cost effective “in certain applications.” Those applications currently are very limited however as even the Dubai plant would indicate. If and when those limited applications present themselves, ONCE AGAIN, I AM ALL FOR IT. It’s when solar is propped up in the free market and forced upon the consumer at their expense when I oppose it. I’m not sure how much more clear I can be on that point.

True, fossil fuel prices fluctuate and when prices are high, that does make solar look more enticing—but only as supplemental production at this point as solar cannot run 24/7/365. So again, I AM NOT AGAINST SOLAR ENERGY. I am for cost competitiveness. Period.

I called bunk on your healthcare cost argument because the majority of air pollution health costs stem from cars, not energy plants. Therefore it’s not a strong argument for solar, but rather a strong argument for either electric cars or else cleaner internal combustion engines.

True, the costs of associated healthcare are an additional burden on society. But of course every technology has some health effect on society or the environment—including solar. Now, as some of these costs and effects are known and others unknown, I would propose we keep cost-correlated comparisons limited to the direct and easily falsifiable columns rather than attempt to calculate all the possible correlated costs. So I wouldn’t entertain healthcare arguments from solar advocates in the same way I wouldn’t entertain bird-frying arguments from fossil fuel advocates.

We can certainly agree that solar is in general *cleaner* than fossil fuels and would likely have some associated health benefits, but I don’t feel it would be intellectually honest to include arguable cause/effect healthcare costs in the direct cost of energy units for the average American consumer as the statistical chance they personally will incur medical expenses directly related to their energy bill are exceedingly low. I may develop carpal tunnel syndrome as a result of using my computer too, but for Samsung to factor that into my cost comparison sheet when trying to convince me to buy a phone rather than a laptop to access the internet would be ridiculous.

I agree that being free of the fluctuating price of fossil fuels would be preferable—assuming all else being equal. I’m not sure if the landscape being littered with solar panels rather than fracking wells would be any improvement however. I definitely detest the wind farms I drive through as they are far more of a blight due to their size, motion and aircraft warning lights than any oil field I’ve ever seen. I imagine the size and light reflection off solar panels en masse would be a bit of an eye sore as well. So this is a wash in my mind.

Joshua

| December 10, 2016 - 2:05 PM


Gary,

Thanks for the reply. I would agree with a lot of what you said. I would point out that the fossil fuel industry in *constantly* improving it’s technology and as a result, is cable to locate, access and extract fossil fuels that were previously thought impossible. So while the industry is certainly “mature”, government subsidies are not therefore automatically unnecessary or even less beneficial compared to solar. I would agree in general that newer technologies often provide more return on investment, but they also carry far more risk.

I would LOVE to be “off the grid” so to speak and provide my own energy needs. Maybe someday that will be possible, but traditionally, the reason why an energy company exists is because individuals can’t afford all the startup costs, maintenance and upkeep on their own personal systems. The same reason why the majority of people rent homes rather than buy. I’m skeptical the basic economic factors that play into that reality will change anytime soon.

Thanks for the discussion.

Iain

| December 10, 2016 - 5:43 PM


Joshua,

We’ve been talking a lot about solar but when it comes to energy production one needs a mix, hence I should have been more clearer in referencing renewable energy production rather than just solar.

With regards Dubai you wanted to refute their claim, it was specific hence the request to cite your source, for example do you know where the fab for those panels is located, who made them what if any subsidy was applied at manufacture and what if any tariff was applied on import.

Look if you don’t get it fair enough, I can’t be bothered discussing any more.

You seem to be creating straw men for healthcare costs associated with air pollution, renewable energy combined with electric vehicles is how one reduces air pollution. Otherwise the cry of Telsa vehicles being coal powered would ring true.

The trend for renewable energy generation globally is increasing, for example http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-37767250

A lot of people in a lot of places are making the same decision to use more renewable energy generation vs traditional fossil fuel, when to use your own words within a few decades storage hits the price point for wide adoption then that is when there will be massive disruption. Until then it will continue to increase in growth.

You’re right about the up front costs, in the UK I buy my energy from Ecotricity which allows me to pool my money with others to increase renewable energy production, https://www.ecotricity.co.uk/about-ecotricity

Anyway has been a good discussion and look forward to looking back in a couple of years to see where the world is.

Leslie Garisto

| December 13, 2016 - 10:59 AM


Is anyone concerned that the words that began this comment thread are “I would guess”?  On what, pray tell, does Singer base his guess?

Joshua

| December 13, 2016 - 11:24 AM


Leslie,

Very few studies have been done to ascertain scientific support numbers for AGW, but I would venture a guess that professional scientists in those fields have a feel for where their colleagues agree and disagree and they read each other’s work and run in the same circles. So if they put their observational skills to use alongside the dta and studies which ARE known, they can probably come to reasonable conclusions.

Here’s one such study among meteorologists which showed only 52% support for AGW among scientists back in 2013:

http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/BAMS-D-13-00091.1

If you take the findings of that study, you would conclude that the skeptics in the scientific community are around 40% as well (those who believe global warming is either mainly caused by natural causes, that there isn’t enough data to make any statement, or else that they don’t believe global warming is occurring stands at 38% in that study).

Iain

| December 13, 2016 - 11:53 AM


And just for completeness here is a list of various studies including actual climate scientist consensus on AGW.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surveys_of_scientists’_views_on_climate_change

For climate scientists it’s over 90% for the recent years.

Joshua

| December 13, 2016 - 12:23 PM


The Wikipedia list isn’t complete as it apparently only lists studies which favor the “consensus” view. It even lists the largely discredited Cook study.

Furthermore, the idea that “in recent years” the number of consensus has increased to “over 90%” is absurd. The study I linked to was done in 2013 and the latest study listed on the Wikipedia page was done in 2014. The infamous Cook study was done in 2013 as well. So you have Cook’s discredited “97%” claim in 2013 as well as another study the same year finding about 52% while the Verheggen study in 2014 claiming about 90%. Either scientists are incredibly fickle or else each of these studies had very different control factors, parameters and questions.

Either way, the exact numbers seem elusive, which is why Singer “guessed” at a number rather than quoting some authoritative study findings. Of course science isn’t a democracy, so consensus means absolutely nothing. The majority view in science is simply an indication of what’s popular, not what’s correct. Popular views have been upended time and time again throughout scientific history.

Iain

| December 13, 2016 - 1:10 PM


Joshua,

Am really interested in studies of climate scientists that show a contrarian view, do you have any studies of work by climate scientists that favour the view that climate change is not being forced by humans i.e. AGW is bunk? Say in the last five years?

If you read the first paragraph there has been one in 2016 too on the list.

The link you put forward was to meteorologists who work in the field of meteorology (weather) as opposed to the related field of climatology (weather conditions averaged over a period of time).

Science isn’t a democracy and consensus does not imply it is, to quote a definition “Scientific consensus is the collective judgement, position, and opinion of the community of scientists in a particular field of study. Consensus implies general agreement, though not necessarily unanimity.”

So in this case it would be the scientific consensus of scientists who work in climatology.

Iain

Joshua

| December 13, 2016 - 4:42 PM


Iain,

There have been many studies published that are very contrarian to the popular AGW theory. In fact, there’s an entire international board formed for the “skeptical” view called the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) which formed largely because many scientists felt the IPCC was far too politicized and biased. Many scientific journals are as well, so the “peer-reviewed” process is often less about making sure papers are scientifically accurate and more about filtering out unpopular views. My background is in science and I’ve followed the issues in several fields over the years (the climate debate is an interest to me, but not the main field I track with).

There was a recent study by German scientists (you’ll have to google translate) that predicted global cooling and another little ice age rather than any form of global warming:

http://www.eike-klima-energie.eu/2013/11/29/lassen-sich-zukuenftige-erdtemperaturen-berechnen/

There’s of course all the new solar physics models that have been released in the past few years which indicates the sun, not CO2, is the primary climate factor, and they are predicting global cooling as well (and having a difficult time getting published and taken seriously by the “consensus” holders):

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/08/12/winter-is-coming-warns-the-solar-physicist-the-alarmists-tried-to-silence/

According to a new study out of Stockholm University this year and published in “Nature” which studied the last 1200 years of rainfall patterns, current climate models don’t align with actual history, so they are highly dubious in their predictive ability:

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/04/06/ooops-another-big-failure-of-the-climate-models-rainfall-did-not-increase/

One published paper this year (in “Nature” again) actually argued that man’s air pollution has SLOWED warming affects:

http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v9/n4/full/ngeo2673.html#affil-auth

Then there was a point-by-point takedown of AGW arguments put forth in a 195 page white paper by the prestigious Society for Mathematical Calculation just last year:

http://www.thenewamerican.com/tech/environment/item/21853-mathematic-consultancy-legendary-physicist-ipcc-expert-throw-wrenches-into-un-climate-summit

There’s also the damning fact that widescale “adjustments” have been made to raw data collection to skew the results to favor the AGW position in NOAA and GISS data sets . (Too many sources and links for that whole scandal). So along with having terrible models that haven’t predicted anything correctly, the IPCC and warmists have also been engaged in (or unwitting victims of) fraudulent data to begin with.

There are many other studies out there of course, these are just a few that I could think of off the top of my head (again, this field isn’t my primary area of interest). Though two years old, here is a list of over 1300 peer-reviewed papers which support the skeptic’s view:

http://www.populartechnology.net/2009/10/peer-reviewed-papers-supporting.html


I apologize, I didn’t see a 2016 study in the Wikipedia page. My point still stands however—the wiki page obviously isn’t complete and massively different results can be found from study to study even within the same time frame, so clearly the methods are not consistent enough to be able to make any definitive claims—even if consensus mattered one iota.

Yes, my original link was a survey of meteorologists. As that field has been around for a heck of a lot longer than that of “climate science” (specifically climatology), I would include their expertise, rather than exclude it. As you said, it’s a related field. In fact, there are a lot of related fields that tie into the highly complex climate change debate, so it can be challenging to label one scientist as an authority and another not. Clearly a field like civil engineering wouldn’t have much to weigh in on, but geology, biology, physics, meteorology, atmospheric sciences, oceanography and many others all hold small pieces to the puzzle.

CLimatology itself is but a small portion of the pie and really started as its own field after WWII. The majority of its existence as a field has been during the populism of AGW theory, so it’s very jaded as a field. AGW is what has largely put climatology on the map and provided billions in funding for it, so to think they would look at their cash cow critically really is a bit naive. Science isn’t altruistic—it’s a business and conflicts of interest are present. A recent expose was written showing just how financially skewed and biased science is, as well as documenting that the vast majority of scientific studies are pure garbage as science has shifted into a publishing business model rather than sticking to the scientific method. It’s a great read:

http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/saving-science

Iain

| December 13, 2016 - 7:03 PM


Damn, and here I was thinking you would link me a study that should climate scientists now overwhelmingly have come to the conclusion that AGW is bunk.

Instead you link a whole bunch of denier site articles or papers such as the one in nature that states models need to improve as its news and AGW is based solely on models.

You then critcise the whole peer review process despite it passing publications such as related to the EM drive which the popular view should state does not work.

http://www.parabolicarc.com/2016/11/21/nasa-peerreviewed-paper-controversial-em-drive-published/

Next it is data sets have been fraudulently constructed as if all the countries in the world are in some global conspiracy which is what would be requried in order to pull this off.

Then you proceed to state climatology is very jaded as a field and finish with science is a business. Well at least you didn’t come back with science is a religion which is usually a denier response.

In reference to you being unable to find a 2016 link here it is:

http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/11/4/048002

With reference to your other links I’ll just reference https://skepticalscience.com/ for readers to have a look at.

In the meantime the world moves on and Breakthrough Energy Ventures has been set up to push innovation forward https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-12-12/bill-gates-pushes-green-energy-on-call-with-trump-while-building-1-billion-fund

Joshua

| December 13, 2016 - 11:18 PM


I linked to SEVERAL studies that would indicate AGW is a questionable conclusion and your response is to label them all as “denier” studies. When you write off every study and scientist that doesn’t agree with your conclusion as “not real science”, it’s pretty easy to claim science has a consensus.

Then you label the links as “denier sites” along with the “denier papers”. For a moment I thought your inquiry was genuine, but now I see it was rhetorical, because you have zero interest in actually being informed on the skeptical position, you just want to lambast them for not agreeing with what I’m sure you believe is “settled science.” I posted from sites other than directly to the papers themselves because most people won’t read an entire paper, so the news sites are helpful to get an overview. And yes, of course the sites that don’t agree the issue is settled is going to post such overviews, not the sites which want to silence dissenting views. Don’t fall into the Genetic Logical fallacy.

I didn’t criticize the whole peer-review process. I said often it doesn’t work as intended, not never. I then provided links that clearly proved my point and you simply dismissed them without thought while blathering on with a red herring argument about EM drives.

Regarding data sets, again, you dismiss it all as a giant conspiracy without even looking into it. It’s not a giant conspiracy as there are only a select few data collection organizations in the world, the NOAA and GISS being the major players. Everyone else IN THE WORLD uses their data sets. So if those few sources are compromised, everyone’s data will be equally flawed.

But it’s clear you have no interest in honest investigation, so there’s no point in any further discussion. You seem to view yourself as the resident expert on every subject and resort to mischaracterizing my arguments in order to more easily dismiss them.

In reference to me being “unable” to find a 2016 link you post a study, done by Cook of all people, which was his attempt to vindicate himself after he published possibly the most notorious study in the category due to horribly biased survey methods and laughably small sample sets. Nevermind the fact that SEVERAL of the links I provided were from 2016. You’re not interested in open debate, only in dismissing any counter argument.

I’m not sure why any website that I link to that is known for openly supporting the skeptic view is dismissed out of hand by you for not being scientific, but you have no issue linking to a website which is known for openly supporting the “consensus” view. I don’t have a problem with that as skeptical science has some good stuff, but you clearly have a double standard when it comes to sources.

I’d address your mischaracterizations of my other points and links, but let’s be honest, you’re not interested, so I feel it would be a waste of time.

For full disclosure, I’m not an authority on this subject, but do have degrees in science—anthropology and geology. I therefore take science seriously and am not a “denier” of any theory or argument, I simply don’t turn a blind eye to studies which challenge the status quo and am familiar enough with the processes to know that in ANY field, there is far more reason to doubt the prevalent theories than those fields let on. I practice the Socratic method and am not beholden to sacrosanct theories. Without dissenting views, debate and opposing studies, science cannot progress. Silencing dissenting views, squelching debate and dismissing opposing studies is a very short-sighted tactic of the predominant view holders.

But here I am wasting space on words that won’t be considered at all, so I’ll sign off.

Clint

| June 02, 2017 - 3:29 AM


There is no consensus.

Even even if there were, once the consenus was that the earth was flat. Or the center of the universe. Or the sun revolved around the earth.

Robert

| June 11, 2017 - 12:29 AM


@joshua Your words were not for wasted space sir. What bothers me most is the teaching of climate change to elementary school children without any opposing views being offered.

john

| August 01, 2017 - 5:49 AM


That’s great. how to recondition your old batteries

JOHN F GIBSON

| September 18, 2017 - 10:01 PM


Iain and Joshua, thank you both for your contributions…very educational.

Cameron

| October 24, 2017 - 11:58 AM


“The good thing is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Memes

Cam

| November 14, 2017 - 3:48 AM


31,500 scientists have signed a petition AGAINST AGW to date, with well over 9,000 Phd’s in that group.
A layperson can easily look up previous inter-glacial periods and see they ALL had higher temperatures, higher sea levels and a variety of CO2 levels (which had NO effect on global warming) ALL previous I-G periods became significantly warmer than our current average global temperatures, with sea levels ranging from 6mtrs to 12mtrs (20ft to 40ft) higher than today.
Hippos roamed through Europe, trees grew at higher altitudes, the planet WILL become warmer before it freezes over again. Deal with it.
Attack the real threats we can do something about such as toxic pollution, polluted water, media collusion, unnecessary wars, the loss of natural habitat, the regeneration of degraded habitat, the promotion and research of Industrial Hemp products and industries, the corrupt global political-financial-military-neocon-imperial system ruining the planet today… Things that will make a difference.