Man-made We're screwed

Man-made We're screwed

"What we found is that temperatures increased in the last hundred years as much as they had cooled in the last six or seven thousand," he said. "In other words, the rate of change is much greater than anything we've seen in the whole Holocene," referring to the current geologic time period, which began around 11,500 years ago.

Philip2 | 26 May, 2013

Every day, we use 85 million barrels of oil, 19 million tons of coal, and 300 billion cubic feet of natural gas. As you will probably recall, C + O2 = CO2, so burning these fossil fuels creates a lot of carbon dioxide:

This is exactly why CO2 is building up in the atmosphere:

CO2 is a greenhouse gas, so the extra CO2 warms the planet. A summary of the physics at Just search for "PhysTodayRT2011" once you get there.

The warming of this extra CO2 is on top of natural variations. Scientists study all of the factors that influence the climate; here is a comparison: . The spikes are volcanoes, which have a short-term cooling effect.

The effect of the additional CO2 is a few extra watts per square meter added to earth’s energy balance. Can that tiny amount of extra energy warm the planet? Sure looks like it:

The extra heat can go different places; some of it is melting the ice caps, some of it is going into the oceans, and some is appearing as an increase in surface temperatures. It's important to keep an eye on long-term trends.

Bottom line: our climate is changing and the main cause is human use of fossil fuels. And the fossil fuel barons don't want you to know that.

Tomas | 26 May, 2013

I love all the junior (read completely unqualified) "scientists" debating a subject for which they no qualifications.... Particularly those deniers regurgitating the Fox News talking points.
To them, I ask, why are you so against considering that client change is real, and why are you so anti-science (other than that you are born-again and think people road dynasaurs).

Rather than pretending you know the minute details and picking and chosing select bits of data that support your position, I would maintain that it makes more sense to rely on your common sense, and the experts. 1. What we are seeing in the world totally makes common sense. 2. Virtually every scientists in the world says this is real and that it is man made.
Yeah, yeah, I know what you're saying, "not ALL scientists agree". Bull shit. A few hacks, supported by big oil, who disagree is not a valid voice in the debate.

These are same "corporate scientists" that said smoking does cause cancer and seat belts don't save lives.

JaneW | 27 May, 2013

Now, the literature has actually been examined. Despite the meteorologists .....

We analyze the evolution of the scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming (AGW) in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, examining 11 944 climate abstracts from 1991–2011 matching the topics 'global climate change' or 'global warming'. We find that 66.4% of abstracts expressed no position on AGW, 32.6% endorsed AGW, 0.7% rejected AGW and 0.3% were uncertain about the cause of global warming. Among abstracts expressing a position on AGW, 97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming. In a second phase of this study, we invited authors to rate their own papers. Compared to abstract ratings, a smaller percentage of self-rated papers expressed no position on AGW (35.5%). Among self-rated papers expressing a position on AGW, 97.2% endorsed the consensus. For both abstract ratings and authors' self-ratings, the percentage of endorsements among papers expressing a position on AGW marginally increased over time. Our analysis indicates that the number of papers rejecting the consensus on AGW is a vanishingly small proportion of the published research.

Brian H | 28 May, 2013


Only the ignorant think scepticism comes from Fox. Personally, I've never seen a single item on the subject there. But you might have a look at this:

Requires a ½-hr attention span, though. Sorry.

wcalvin | 28 May, 2013

Suppose you found an error in one line of evidence, serious enough to cause you not to rely on it.

There would still be 11 other independent lines of evidence. See the videos from the National Academy of Science.

JaneW | 28 May, 2013

Who has a half-hour these days. We're all too busy writing fora comments.

JaneW | 28 May, 2013

Oh, and sometimes I even use a ?

Timo | 28 May, 2013

While I don't agree with Brian H about are we getting global warming, I have to ask: is it a bad thing we have it? Really. More heat means more moisture from sea to atmosphere means more rainfall. It changes weather patterns which might cause local problems with crops, you get weird weather phenomenons, some minor species extinctions and some problems with raising sea levels but it also might open up new opportunities and there is one big continent at south pole that is now nearly completely uninhabitable. With good luck it might restore Sahara too

Main problem I see in global warming is that people are stupid and can't see beyond their own navel.

Hi_Tech | 28 May, 2013

Help me understand why we have this large argument going on in the Tesla Blogs? I think we can all agree on the following two points that make sense to be in this blog:
1. If I was in my closed garage with my ICE car running, I could die.
2. If I was in my closed garage with my (future) electric Model S running, I'm not in danger of death due to exaust.

Now multiply the polution/exaust from ICE by a million vehicles within a large city. What do you think is happening to the air quality? Correct... it's not good for you!

Therefore, it is rather safe to say that going electric is not only wicked cool (yeah, I'm from the Boston region), but better for the local environment, at the least.

That said, I do agree with Brian H's point of view. Though it shouldn't matter when it comes to understanding the benefits of a vehicle like Tesla.

JaneW | 28 May, 2013

Just be sure you sell your NYC real estate before it is under water and get that villa on Hudson Bay. You'll be fine.

JaneW | 28 May, 2013

The speaker, Robinson, is responsible for the so called Oregon Petition, listing many people who agree with him. Unfortunately, the list is not trustworthy. Approved names on the list included fictional characters from the television show M*A*S*H, the movie Star Wars, Spice Girls group member Geri Halliwell, English naturalist Charles Darwin (d. 1882) and prank names such as "I. C. Ewe." There are also duplicate entries, single names lacking any initial, and even corporate names.

The Discovery Institute where he is speaking is an anti-science group best known for its relentless advocacy for teaching Intelligent Design in school science classes. ID is a pseudo-science form of Creationism. Federal Courts and the Supreme Court have declared that it is unconstitutional to teach it in public schools.

Much of what Robinson said in that 6 year old speech has been disproved, some of it several times over.

Timo | 28 May, 2013

If NYC gets underwater. Sea floor sinks from increased water weight, but Earth can't "compress" so that means that ground has to raise elsewhere, that means raising land. It's more complex than just "add melting ice water volume to sea volume" calculation. Some places will get underwater, but not as many as worst simplified calculations show.

JaneW | 29 May, 2013

Help me undertand why Earth can't compress. I understood otherwise. For instance,

"The crust floats buoyantly in the plastic asthenosphere, with a ratio of mass below the "surface" in proportion to its own density and the density of the asthenosphere. If mass is added to a local area of the crust (e.g. through deposition), the crust subsides to compensate and maintain isostatic balance."

I can't find any references to ground rising elsewhere because someplace subsides.

JaneW | 29 May, 2013

"With good luck it might restore Sahara too"
It might. Interesting how much conflicting information is coming out about that, even from the same source.

Nat Geo -- … now seeing signals that the Sahara desert and surrounding regions are greening due to increasing rainfall.

Nat Geo -- In Africa, climate change is exacerbating the desertification of the continent. The Sahara Desert, which covers the majority of northern Africa, is spreading southward at a rate of 30 miles per year. Desertification affects about 40 percent of the continent, and two-thirds of the continent’s arable land could be lost by 2025 if the trend continues unabated. In the region south of the Sahara Desert, 1.5 million hectares of land turn is becoming barren every year, with the Sahara expanding in a southward direction. In some african countries yields from agriculture could reduce by 50% by 2020.

Timo | 29 May, 2013

If 75% of earth crust goes down, even a bit, then it causes land to raise elsewhere. Obviously if small area gets more mass and that mass is then distrubted all around the globe, you can't see effect anywhere. Globe volume stays pretty much same. Effect unfortunately might not be fast, in here land still raises slowly from last ice age (couple of mm / year), and raise isn't equal everywhere.

In fact I believe sea level raise is caused more by thermal expansion than ice sheets melting. Thermal expansion doesn't increase mass.

JaneW | 30 May, 2013

Most recent study says that previous work had seriously underestimated the effect of thermal expansion. Latest says,
Sea level rose 3 mm a year since 1993 = 60 mm
deep thermal ocean expansion about 8mm
glaciers and small ice caps about 13mm
near surface thermal expansion about 18mm
antarctic and greenland melt about 21mm

So, 26mm from thermal expansion, 34 for melt.

4humanity | 30 May, 2013

hmmmm when was the last time the government ignored scientists that "we know of"?

Can we all say Katrina?


4humanity | 30 May, 2013

Or what about all the non corrupt scientists and doctors that screamed for so long about smoking.

Drowned out by the corrupt with only one focus: profits above all other organisms. Even above that of their own future generations.

Brian H | 31 May, 2013
4humanity | 31 May, 2013

I think the first table found at this link

Total argues against what they are trying to support.

You can clearly see a 5 year cycle of consistent temperature increases.

every 5 years there is a spike. We can see the first one in 2005 which is around 46 degrees. We then see again in 2010 5 years later another spike. Only this time is is 6 degrees higher than the last! Tracking in on average at 52 Degrees for that year.

If this spiking continues and in the trend it seems to be, it is possible the next spike could be 6 degrees higher than the last.

Surfers have been aware of this cycle for many years, and I don't know about you, but I have been around long enough to know that the smog I have seen the past 2 days shouldn't be here.

4humanity | 31 May, 2013

The other article you posted has to be the lamest piece of work I have read. I am no scientist and certainly not the best mathematician, but I don't need to be one to see that all those flashy numbers and all those fancy equations don't really mean anything.

The reason they don't mean anything is because they are still trying to factor an unknown variable, which cannot be calculated.

That variable is Nature and how it is suppose to react. This is a question which no one can really know, like asking if god truly exists. We all have our opinions and our beliefs, but no one can introduce us to him or her.

So we must go with the facts. We know definitively if the temperatures keep increasing as they are, the ice caps will continue to melt at excessive rates. We know this because we can definitively measure the rate at which ice melts compared to the heat it is presented with.

We also know that this will contaminate a large fresh water source and destroy large land masses.

So even if this is a natural occurrence we can then come to the conclusion that it would be in our best interest to slow this process of temperature changes down, if we can.

I like your posts Brian, but really don't know why you support such a senseless point of view.

Brian H | 31 May, 2013

Horse Pucky. The ice caps are fine; even given the laughable IPCC temp rise projections it would take thousands of years to melt them. And we're due and overdue for a sharp drop into pre-Holocene ice sheet conditions anyway.

There has never been a heat crisis.
But mankind barely survived the depths of the most recent major advance of the ice; about 75,000 yrs ago, the last few thousand were hanging out on the west coast of Africa, near the equator, living on shellfish and root vegetables (depending on season).

Brian H | 31 May, 2013

As for "unknowns", the IPCC AR reports are stuffed to the gills with WAGS and acknowledgments of ignorance. But they then go on to assign all the unknown variance into their preferred "forcing".

Try wading through a few of their equations sometime. They're written so that only computers can manipulate or solve them. Which in practice means they're tweaked by programmers till the desired result emerges. "Projections" of "scenarios" is really a good description; what they are not is worthwhile projections.

holidayday | 31 May, 2013

Brian " Horse Pucky. "

So, if there was a reliable study, would you dismiss it without even reviewing the evidence?

Many of your responses seem to dismiss any and all research regarding human's impact of the environment. What is the threshold for you where you will accept evidence that humans are having an impact on the earth?

Brian H | 31 May, 2013

"Having an impact" is far from the issue. Involuntarily forcing the climate into catastrophic runaway heating is the claim. It's nonsense on every level, from no-skill models to speculative theories stuffed with assumptions, to denial of all historical precedent (warming is good, cold kills), to willingness to drive undeveloped economies into energy poverty and mass starvation (Crime Against Humanity, according to the FAO). Not just wrong, flat-out evil.

nwdiver93 | 31 May, 2013

"Involuntarily forcing the climate into catastrophic runaway heating is the claim."

Completely false; this is not the claim of mainstream science.

"willingness to drive undeveloped economies into energy poverty and mass starvation"
Has nothing to do with AGW being true or false.

Again, Brian, exactly what is driving CO2 out of the seafloor and what evidence do you have for this?still waiting for an answer to that...

Brian H | 1 June, 2013

You are denying the basis and history of the whole movement. Just the push for biofuels alone has already killed millions through driving up grain prices (doubled in 2007, and again recently, with a small drop in between). Suppressing energy developments in (e.g.) Africa has similar consequences.

That NASA page is pure propaganda, and full of errors. E.g., droughts are far more common in periods of cooling, as the atmosphere dries out. Warm periods are humid, and rainfall increases. Etc.

JaneW | 1 June, 2013

10 years? Meaningless to start with.

nwdiver93 | 1 June, 2013

Facts, Facts, Facts

Three very very simple and undeniable facts:

1) CO2 is a "greenhouse gas" in that it absorbs infrared light far better than visible light.

2) CO2 is now >390ppm up from ~280ppm 200 years ago most of that increase in the last 100 years

3) Humans now add ~30 Billion tons of CO2 annually; More than enough to be cause the increase in CO2 that has been seen.

4) 1+2+3 = AGW is true

The consequences of these facts have no relevance to the truth behind the facts... A fact is a fact is a fact regardless of the number of distractions deniers can toss in the air. 10 pages of fluff and distraction not once have these facts been directly challenged.

Brian H | 1 June, 2013

The CO2 EFFECT is miniscule; it is a "non-condensing" GHG, and has virtually no role in the primary heat transport mechanisms of the planet: convection and conduction, multiplied by H2O's latent heat effects. There is no such thing as temperature or heat per se; it's all entropy and energy flows, and H20 "manages" those powerfully and directly, leaving CO2 as a negligible side issue, swamped at every turn.

nwdiver93 | 1 June, 2013


nwdiver93 | 2 June, 2013

"For all it's beauty honesty and effectiveness at improving the human condition science demands a terrible price - that we accept what experiments tell us about the universe, whether we like it or not. It's about consensus and teamwork and respectful critical argument, working with, and through, natural law. It requires that we utter, frequently, those hateful words - "I might be wrong"

-- David Brin

EVERY peer reviewed publication explaining the MAGNITUDE of the earths cyclical climate shifts have determined that the critical component is CO2. Water Vapor plays a significant role but only as a forcing agent; meaning that the amount of water vapor is dependent on temperature which is dependent on CO2.

We can measure how much of an effect anthropogenic CO2 has... it's ~1.5w per square meter. "Negligible" as that might be it's more than sufficient to pose a long-term challenge to our quality of life by threatening existing infrastructure like farms and ports with rising sea levels and changes in climate patterns.

Not only might I be wrong... I would LOVE to be wrong but there is no evidence that these facts are incorrect... SOMEONE FIND ME AN EXPLANATION FOR INTERGLACIALS WITHOUT USING CO2!!

Brian H | 2 June, 2013

Here's the real non-(con)sensus:

The survey results show geoscientists (also known as earth scientists) and engineers hold similar views as meteorologists. Two recent surveys of meteorologists (summarized here and here) revealed similar skepticism of alarmist global warming claims.
According to the newly published survey of geoscientists and engineers, merely 36 percent of respondents fit the “Comply with Kyoto” model. The scientists in this group “express the strong belief that climate change is happening, that it is not a normal cycle of nature, and humans are the main or central cause.”
The authors of the survey report, however, note that the overwhelming majority of scientists fall within four other models, each of which is skeptical of alarmist global warming claims.

nwdiver93 | 3 June, 2013

@ Brian H

Do you call an electrician to fix a leaky pipe?

Hey, here's an idea... you think all "experts" are equal take your MS to a Nissan dealership for it's annual service... they're car "experts" too right? No... you're not that dumb... probably not... ok, seriously don't let anyone but Tesla work on your MS. Climate questions? Ask a climatologist and the study you linked to said "there is a broad consensus among climate scientists" plus that was article was written by the CATO institute... did you also believe the tobacco industry when it said smoking was healthy? Well done on yet another superfluous post that fails to challenge the three core facts...

1) CO2 is a "greenhouse gas" in that it absorbs infrared light far better than visible light.

2) CO2 is now >390ppm up from ~280ppm 200 years ago most of that increase in the last 100 years

3) Humans now add ~30 Billion tons of CO2 annually; More than enough to be cause the increase in CO2 that has been seen.

Brian H | 3 June, 2013

Climatologists, especially the UEA/CRU lot, are Jackasses of All Sciences, Masters of None, who refuse all qualified input and vetting. Garbage In, Garbage Out is their only modus operandi.

JaneW | 3 June, 2013

Sigh. I repeat. Study of almost 12,000 peer-reviewed studies.
Among those expressing a position on AGW, 97.1% endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming...the number of papers rejecting the consensus on AGW is a vanishingly small proportion of the published research.

Of course, it's all a conspiracy to get research grants -- all 97%, right Brian?

Conspiracy theories are as American as apple pie or crippling student loans. Seemingly rational individuals are, it turns out, able to hold completely irrational beliefs that can be remarkably resistant to objective reality. We never really landed on the moon. [science_finding_i_don’t_like] is just a scam so scientists can get more grant money. Aliens live in a base underneath Denver International Airport. Psychologists (possibly under orders from a shadowy cabal of New World Order officials and cyborg Pharma executives) suggest that a combination of cynicism and a feeling of powerlessness in the face of events, combined with a little added low self worth, makes the most fertile minds for conspiracy theories to take root in.

jk2014 | 3 June, 2013

I had to chime in. Brian is a master of provoking a response on this issue. Couldn't keep away. And I can't believe he's such a fan of Elon while not supporting the core issue of global warming Elon is ardent believer in. Just plain odd.

Anyway, it really doesn't matter what Brian says anymore. The fact is nature tells us things are changing. Those that change with it, are able to adjust accordingly will come out on top. Those that don't, don't.

It's the same for our individual lives, it the same for us as a collective society. And you can see it in the economy as a glaring example that's hard to deny. Solar and EVs are some of the hottest growth stocks, if not the hottest growth stocks on the market right now and for the foreseeable future. There are countless reasons why and they all deal with the principle of sustainable production and consumption of energy. The primary driver of all commerce as we know it. And if you can't see that desperation in an economy and environment with a problem of un-sustainability, as why Solar and EV market is very attractive, then you are going to fall by the wayside regardless of pro or con global warming.

Even though many challenges exist with our current climate trends, I feel tremendously optimistic about our future in this regard. It's always darkest before the dawn and Elon, et al are handing out the best sunglasses right now. It's just inevitable. The economics work out, the ethics work out, everything is beginning to align in favor of Elon's global warming inspired ventures. To me we're beginning our path of rebalance. So, my regards to Brian, I say resistance is futile. Regardless of what you believe, CO2 emissions will decrease dramatically over the next 20 years and that's better for the environment, your lungs, and your friends, family, and children. So arguing against it is just a waist of your time.

jk2014 | 3 June, 2013

Brian, spelling mistake intentionally for you stew over.

Brian H | 3 June, 2013

CO2 emissions will increase dramatically over the next 20 years; China and India have plans for about 4X the total coal generation of the rest of the world combined, and no interest whatever in sacrificing themselves at the alter of pretend greenness.

Not that CO2 has detectable effect on the atmosphere, so the issue is moot.

jk2014 | 3 June, 2013

Everyone has plans, Brian. But when you can achieve more power output cheaper, you do it. Ask Elon what's going to be the "plurality" of power generation in 20 years and see what I mean...

jk2014 | 3 June, 2013

Op, looks like India might disagree with you, Brian. Just an example:

jk2014 | 3 June, 2013

Not greenness, just plain sense. Don't have to be in affiliated with any political party to realize that.

lph | 3 June, 2013

Brian H;
Are you long on Tesla stocks or own a Tesla?

Brian H | 3 June, 2013

The US alone spends $7 billion each year on warming “studies”, which is, in truth, nothing but a huge money laundering operation, as no real science is conducted and vapid alarmist reports the only product generated. - Pravda


TeslaRocks | 3 June, 2013

+1 Iph
Brian H;

Are you a spy for Exxon sent to seed some doubt among this group of fanatical environmental activists? In case it's not quite clear by now after 10 pages, I'll describe the results for you: it's not working. You can't fool intelligent people with false logic and fallacies for long, even though the oil industry still uses that same tactic.

SamO | 3 June, 2013

Brian H knows he can't win with facts. Just $hit in the water and make it so murky that nobody wants to swim.

JaneW | 3 June, 2013

Brian says, "You are denying the basis and history of the whole movement. Just the push for biofuels alone has already killed millions through driving up grain prices (doubled in 2007, and again recently, with a small drop in between). Suppressing energy developments in (e.g.) Africa has similar consequences."

The World Bank says, "The lack of action on climate change not only risks putting prosperity out of reach of millions of people in the developing world, it threatens to roll back decades of sustainable development."

Timo | 3 June, 2013

Don't bother arguing with Brian H about global warming, he is a denialist and has very strong confirmation bias toward evidence given.

I'm much more interested to discuss about are we actually "screwed" by global warming. Nature actually likes heat quite a lot as long as it is wet heat. True, there will be some localized disasters, but in the big picture I think this is something we should actually let happen. Maybe even deliberately add some. Kind of terraforming terra (if we can't terraform terra, what are the chances we can do that in Mars??)

Note that there is absolutely no risk of getting Venus-like climate here, we are just too far away from Sun.

Brian H | 4 June, 2013

Belief in and citing of the "denialist" meme and label is an indicator of degraded thinking. The only thing sceptics deny is the hubristic delusion that mankind possesses a magic control knob in its CO2 emissions which measurably affects climate.

We also note that the warming phases of natural variation have historically ALWAYS been immensely beneficial, and the cooling phases costly and destructive. We therefore regard the entire AGW speculation as baseless and perverse.

rlarno | 4 June, 2013

I just love the fact that Brian kan keep this thread going... amazing. Respect!

I'm also amazed at the duality of Brian, being a huge fan of Tesla and yet not of the premise that the current levels of CO2 are not in humans best interest.

ps: for my opinion of the matter, search the thread ;-)

As you were, I'll be back in another 100 (give or take) posts.