Is it reasonable to be a global warming skeptic?


Yes, India was a country I had in mind. About 15 years ago I went to a dinner at the Embassy of India in DC and their ambassador made a big speech about how they couldn’t afford all the pollution controls and environmental regulations that the US and other countries wanted them to follow because their economy was not developed enough yet. I can see his point to a degree, but I suspect his country is not the only one saying that, and at some point it starts to add up.


It’s interesting that we’ve been provided similar options about Obamacare.
That said, I agree that people want both, a high standard of living and clean air. And if they want clean air enough, the free market will provide the clean source of energy.


India is experimenting with use of Thorium to generate electricity.

China is building a lot of nuclear reactors.

France gets 80% of its electricity from nuclear. [The rest of the world averages about 20% from nuclear.]

Right now the “best” fuel for generating electricity is coal. [Yes, coal.] You use all kinds of fancy filters to get rid of the pollution. But we have a lot of coal and it is easy to burn and generate steam and run the steam through a steam turbine.

Some people are trying to burn natural gas to generate electricity, but you need a special gas turbine and they cost upwards of $50 million each. And they require overhauls because the high temperatures erode the turbine blades.

Hydro is an excellent source of electric generating, but pretty much all of the hydro sites are already used up.

If this sort of thing is interesting to you, then get Ed Heiserodt’s book, “Under-Exposed: What if Radiation is Actually Good for You?” by Ed Hiserodt, 247 pp, paperback, $14.95. He discusses all aspects of nuclear power. The book is on Amazon. And also get Howard Hayden’s book, “Energy - A Textbook”. and

Finger pointing doesn’t work; you need data. And with these these two books you have a lot of data and a lot of history.

[Solar and wind are “boutique” sources and only generate about 2% despite the high cost and huge wishful government subsidies to try and make it work.]


It is “energy advocate” not the energy advocate.


Hi upant,

Michaels is a self-described "luke-warmer, i.e. someone who believes we are contributing some to recent warming. But as he points out: “The key misconception [of the Paris accord] is that all of the warming since the Industrial Revolution — 0.9 degrees Celsius — is a result of human activity.” This is highly improbable.

BTW, he gives a very good talk here on the trustworthiness of science:


Hi Bear,

I was in New Delhi for 2 days back in 2015. By the time we left my lungs hurt. Eventually, though, the 25 million or so folks that live there will demand cleaner air.


Hi Rose,

In public discourse “climate change” means much more that the mere fact that climate is always changing. It is short-hand for the proposition that human CO2 emissions are causing dangerous global warming. But there are a lot of elements to be proved before this can be accepted, and more proof required beyond that once we get into the policy side of the debate. The upshot: A whole lot has to be true before we should adopt any public policies based on the global warming hypothesis. See here:


Hi po18,

A number of different groups have jumped on the global warming bandwagon, and all of them are noxious: population controllers, global governancers, the anti-human wing of the environmental movement, communists, rent-seeking corporations,… They are all served by climate alarmism.


In another thread Erikaspirit cited Naomi Oreskes’ book and film called Merchants of Doubt.

I responded:

To which erika replied:

Hi Erika,

I am very confident that Roy Spencer et al are not dupes of Petroleum Institute.

What is more likely, greedy scientists or greedy corporations? tis a silly question. Corporations, we can presume, will always act in their economic best interest. The motivations of individual scientists, as with all people, are complex, and we can assume they are not immune from peer pressure and groupthink or the allure of fame, money and academic success. Scientists are human beings. They can act nobly, but they can also act badly. The history of global warming controversy shows that many establishment scientists indeed have acted very badly.

Regarding conspiracy, the grandest conspiracy of them all is the IPCC, brainchild of the communist billionaire Maurice Strong. And of course, thanks to the climate gate leaker/hacker, we know key IPCC officials did a whole lot of conspiring of their own as they tampered with journals, suppressed research of dissident scientists, flouted FOIA requests, hid the decline…


OK, I’ve hopped over to this thread as iggypkrebsbach recommended.

Let’s leave aside the $ angle (oil companies!) and the so-and-so is an idiot and/or corrupt arguments.

I’ve actually studied climate change as an historical phenomenon. We actually have excellent data because of tree rings, ice cores, and analysis of cores from the ocean floor. We can pretty accurately go back and chart the climate for the last half million years. Obviously different parts of the world aren’t all the same temperature at the same time. Also obvious is that climate does change, drastically, over time. And of course there are all sorts of reasons: volcanoes, the orbit of the earth around the sun, burning fossil fuels, etc.

The problem in 2017 is that virtually all major cities are built on the coasts of oceans. If our cities were all at 5,000+ feet, like Denver, it wouldn’t be such a big deal. And then of course there are issues about the growing season, the movement of disease carrying insects into what are now temperate areas, etc. So the problem is that the developed world has built its entire existing infrastructure around the climate as it has been for the last 200 years or so. Any changes could be catastrophic.

If you look at the climate history of the last 50,000 years, we really emerged from the last ice age only 10,000 years or so ago. And this inter-glacial period has temperatures that are, in fact, lower than most previous inter-glacial periods. And this particular inter-glacial period has gone on longer than most in the past. As they say in the stock market, “Past performance is no guarantee of future performance.” But it’s worth checking out.

The problem is that things are complicated, as you may have noticed. The Arctic is warming faster than other areas; so less sea ice year round; less sea ice = more heating of the darker water; more heating = more melting, etc.

But is Co2 created by man contributing to climate change? It certainly seems so. Does it matter? Again, it certainly seems so. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? That depends on where you live and how rich you are. If you’re living in Bangladesh, you’re pretty much screwed. If you live in Denver, you mainly have to deal with indirect effects. Should we do anything about it? Probably.


Actually India and China are developing solar and wind power much faster than the US is. There was even a farmer in India who took two old 55-gallon drums, split them down the middle and made his own vertical axis wind generator. And some villages that take all their manure and human dung and are making biogas for cooking and electric generation-- the remainder to that process is even better fertilizer than when you put it on the fields directly.

And European countries are stepping up to the alt energy plate.

It is the US, which has the highest per capita emissions, that is lagging behind, and with dire consequences from other forms of pollution from those fossil fuels. And now we have an administration that is striving to dismantle all efforts to go on alt energy or become efficient, and does care if people are polluted to the gourd.

We just prefer to be profligate, wasteful, inefficient, non-conservative and breathe harmful air & drink poisoned water, or at least make our minorities and poor do that so we can wastefully use up as much fossil fuels as fast as we can in persistent pursuit of happiness, which keeps eluding us.


Don’t forget the very rich opponents of the hypothesis who profit from its rejection.

Irrelevant observation because it is much harder to predict the course of a specific event than it is to predict a statistical trend, which is all AGW does.

Use of that denigrating expression adds nothing to honest debate and just puts you one the same level as the alarmist you criticize for their emotionalism.


I agree. Very good assessment. Choice is one thing, demand and force to accept one’s views is an entirely different issue. When we don’t have a choice to disagree we have a major issue.


Denialist is an appropriate term. Skeptic refers to a person who does not accept something due to lack of evidence, but is willing to accept it if good evidence and theory are given. For CC such has been given since 1995, when warming reached 95% confidence, and the theory has been with us for some 200 years and is solidly accepted by science. Since then the evidence has become much stronger, and the last of the skeptics switched to accepting anthropogenic CC by 2005.

So we are now 12 from then, and those who do not accept it by now should most certainly be called denialists, because there is no evidence whatsoever – even if Hurricane Zelda were to crash into their mid-western houses 10 or 20 years from now – that would ever convince them. Nothing at all could ever convince them.

BTW, there are still a good number of Holocaust denialists over 70 years after the fact. Don’t know where you got the idea they had all disappeared or switched into accepters.


But that’s just it— you can have plain old “take care of your surroundings”, where you might choose paper or canvas bags over plastic, or you might choose to cloth diaper instead of disposable diaper, or where you might choose to store things in glass rather than in plastic, or you might choose to walk or bike or mass transit to work instead of drive a short distance. No one’s arguing that those aren’t good things— it’s not like man-made climate change skeptics are supervillains on Captain Planet, and get paid according to how much toxic waste they can dump, or forests they can clear-cut. :slight_smile: I used to live in the Houston area, and the plants would illegally burn emissions on overcast days, when the satellites couldn’t monitor what was going on… it made it hard to keep a good paint job on a car. I’m not interested in supporting “let’s-illegally-dispose-of-toxic-waste-to-save-a-dime” industrialists, just as I’m not happy that the EPA is systematically ruining toilets, washing machines, and hot water heaters in their efforts to make things more “eco-friendly”.

But alarmists of any type are hard to listen to, and climate alarmists fall in that group. Take, for example, ice ages. We know ice ages exist. They come in cycles. The last one wrapped up about 11,000 years ago, although after the end of the Medieval Warm Period, there was another Little Ice Age. But in the 1970’s, it’s all “WE are causing the glaciers!” and you have Life Magazine saying “by 1985, air pollution will reduce the amount of sunlight hitting the earth by 1/2!” and “the world will be 4 degrees colder by 1990 and 11 degrees cooler by 2000” and stuff like that. And they all had the science and the models and the statistics to back it up.

But the climate alarmists live in the same box with the overpopulation alarmists (hello, Thomas Malthus!); the global famine alarmists; the peak oil alarmists… and when you look at the overpopulation alarmists, you see they’re really for eugenics for the poor and the unfit (and guess who gets to decide who’s unfit); and when you look at the global famine alarmists, you see that famine usually exacerbated in areas whose infrastructure is nonexistent due to war and corruption; and you see billions put into renewable energy for decades (which isn’t a bad thing in itself), they still go bankrupt, even with massive subsidies and mandates.

I guess the thing is, with “good” science, you expect people to change their hypothesis if their results aren’t matching what they expect. But instead, so much climate science gets adjusted or ignored when the facts don’t match the hypothesis-- how often have there been news stories about “NOAA data tampering” or “doctored data sets a record”? Or charts that look really impressive, until you realize they’re talking about changes of a tenth or a hundredth of a degree?


And unfortunately for the AGW proponents, there is no significant statistical trend. It has been demonstrated by scientists that the models cannot accurately predict what has already happened. All the AGW statistical trends are also in that category. They cannot predict a trend with any statistical certainty. They just keep monkeying around with data to try and make it work.

And yet people still believe in AGW given all the disrepute it has.


Can you please provide some citations to this work in the scientific literature. I think you may be mistaken about your claim.


And this response largely misses LbN’s point. In principle, if one were able to predict weather across the globe precisely and to extend those predictions precisely over long-time scales, one could use those predictions to uderstand climate change over the same time scales. But no sensible person would do that, any more than trying to used a molecular dynamics simulation for an Avogadro’s number of molecules to derive the ideal gas law. There are better ways of understanding aggregate phenomena than building them up from the smallest components.


Walter Williams has been around longer than I have, and has a better memory of the issue’s life cycle and various failed predictions–

In 1970, when Earth Day was conceived, the late George Wald, a Nobel laureate biology professor at Harvard University, predicted, “Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.” Also in 1970, Paul Ehrlich, a Stanford University biologist and best-selling author of “The Population Bomb,” declared that the world’s population would soon outstrip food supplies. In an article for The Progressive, he predicted, “The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.” He gave this warning in 1969 to Britain’s Institute of Biology: “If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.” On the first Earth Day, Ehrlich warned, “In 10 years, all important animal life in the sea will be extinct.” Despite such predictions, Ehrlich has won no fewer than 16 awards, including the 1990 Crafoord Prize, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences’ highest award.

In International Wildlife (July 1975), Nigel Calder warned, “The threat of a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind.” In Science News (1975), C.C. Wallen of the World Meteorological Organization is reported as saying, “The cooling since 1940 has been large enough and consistent enough that it will not soon be reversed.”

In 2000, climate researcher David Viner told The Independent, a British newspaper, that within “a few years,” snowfall would become “a very rare and exciting event” in Britain. “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said. “Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past.” In the following years, the U.K. saw some of its largest snowfalls and lowest temperatures since records started being kept in 1914.


In 1970, ecologist Kenneth Watt told a Swarthmore College audience: “The world has been chilling sharply for about 20 years. If present trends continue, the world will be about 4 degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990 but 11 degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”

Also in 1970, Sen. Gaylord Nelson wrote in Look magazine: “Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian (Institution), believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.”

Scientist Harrison Brown published a chart in Scientific American that year estimating that mankind would run out of copper shortly after 2000. Lead, zinc, tin, gold and silver were to disappear before 1990.

Erroneous predictions didn’t start with Earth Day. In 1939, the U.S. Department of the Interior said American oil supplies would last for only another 13 years. In 1949, the secretary of the interior said the end of U.S. oil supplies was in sight. Having learned nothing from its earlier erroneous claims, in 1974 the U.S. Geological Survey said that the U.S. had only a 10-year supply of natural gas. The fact of the matter, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, is that as of 2014, we had 2.47 quadrillion cubic feet of natural gas, which should last about a century.

Hoodwinking Americans is part of the environmentalist agenda. Environmental activist Stephen Schneider told Discover magazine in 1989: “We have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. … Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.” In 1988, then-Sen. Timothy Wirth, D-Colo., said: “We’ve got to … try to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong … we will be doing the right thing anyway in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.”

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