Archive for Sunday, July 2, 2006

Inconvenient Truth’ is proof of fundamentalist left

July 2, 2006


Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," confirms my suspicion that there are fundamentalists of the left as well as fundamentalists of the right. Both have pet beliefs that they hold sacred and will defend against any challenge. In Gore's case, global warming caused by humans is an article of faith. To question it is heresy. Ignoring it will lead to perdition. His movie isn't "An Inconvenient Hypothesis." It's gospel TRUTH.

Critic David Denby, reviewing "An Inconvenient Truth" for the New Yorker, treats the movie reverently - uncritically, in fact. It's fascinating how closely his secular interpretation of Gore's movie follows a religious, biblical script. In Denby's view, Gore has been to the mountain top and come back down with infallible truth chiseled in stone.

"Anyone in possession of a major truth that he can't get others to accept begins to feel that he's losing his mind," wrote Denby. "The skepticism he meets turns him into a soreheaded obsessive. : Al Gore has been in possession of a major truth about global warming for more than 30 years."

What qualifies Denby to make that pronouncement - or Al Gore to utter his dire prophecies, for that matter - is left unsaid. It's enough for Denby that Gore's science is "vivid and terrifying." Ironically, his portrait of Gore is the portrait of a religious fanatic - not someone "in possession" of truth so much as possessed by it. We're supposed to feel sorry for Gore. He's trying to save us and we don't appreciate it.

In the movie, Gore alternates his doomsday pronouncements with Thoreau-like moments of communion with nature and shots of himself gazing out the windows of airplanes, brooding or pecking at his laptop, as if he alone bears the fate of the planet on his shoulders. Then it's back to the lecture hall for another round of disaster graphs, images of melting glaciers and bloated bodies floating on the floodwaters of hurricanes, and Al sermonizing on the coming collision between civilization and nature.

We've got 10 years before we reach the point of no return, according to all-knowing Al. If we don't change our ways, we'll be treated to "a nature hike through the Book of Revelation." Talk about revealing. Gore's conflation of global warming with the biblical vision of Apocalypse says everything about where he's coming from. All that's missing is a mention of the Antichrist and the beast with seven heads rising up out of the sea.

Perhaps you're thinking we shouldn't make light of such matters. Gore is talking science, not metaphysical fundamentalist babble. He claims that the debate is over and there's 100 percent agreement within the scientific community. By the way, is that the way science works - the scientists get together, vote and the majority rules? At any rate, this is an extravagant misrepresentation. Some scientists disagree with Gore.

A recent article in the Canada Free Press quotes Professor Bob Carter of the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University in Australia: "Gore's circumstantial arguments are so weak that they are pathetic." Many members of the "scientific consensus" Gore evokes have no expertise in climate science, and the computer models on which climatologists predict the future have been "consistently wrong in all their scenarios," according to University of Winnipeg climatology professor Tim Ball. CO2 levels were over 10 times higher 450 million years ago than they are today, according to Carleton University paleoclimatologist Professor Tim Patterson. At that time, "the planet was in the depths of the absolute coldest period in the last half-billion years."

Who knows what's true? Partisans on any issue pick facts to suit their prefabricated beliefs. Scientists have been known to fudge on data to uphold their theories, and most of us - Gore included - aren't qualified to judge. It seems plausible that human activities are affecting the climate and atmosphere. Certainly, cutting back on fuel consumption makes sense for all sorts of reasons. But we need to acknowledge the uncertainties and complexities of global warming as well as the costs and benefits of change.

A group of distinguished economists recently ranked malnutrition and disease as priorities to address among the problems that face us. Using our limited resources to fight global warming was dead last, because it "would cost a colossal amount and yield distant and uncertain rewards."

According to one estimate, total elimination of burning fossil fuels might change the global climate by one degree over a period of 350 years. Even if humanity ceased to exist, the planet would continue to experience extreme fluctuations of climate that would be catastrophic from our point of view. Such considerations are off Gore's map.

Gore is a moralist, not a scientist. He says that global warming is a moral rather than a political issue. The internal combustion engine is his version of Original Sin. He shows cartoon scales with gold bars balanced against the Earth, as if to reduce this complex issue to a matter of human greed. It's an expression of the kind of hubris that places human beings at the center of the universe. Gore isn't really that different from those who think that natural disasters are expressions of God's wrath.

What strikes me about people of Gore's mindset is their almost misanthropic negativity. They seem to get a positive pleasure from preaching a gospel of doom. They have little faith in human ingenuity to solve problems and adapt to changes. Gore seems more interested in winning converts than in solving problems. He presents himself as a prophet, a voice crying in the wilderness: "Repent." His movie ends like a Billy Graham evangelical summons: "Are you ready to change the way you live?"

Raise questions about global warming in the company of true believers and you'll get the same kind of response you'd get if you questioned the literal truth of the Bible in the company of Christian fundamentalists. For disciples of global warming, "An Inconvenient Truth" will be like catnip, an act of atonement for our affluence and excesses.

"Every school, college, and church group, and everyone else beyond the sway of General Motors, ExxonMobil, and the White House should see this movie," wrote Denby. That's a perfect example of the knee-jerk demonization we associate with religious extremists. I'm reminded that Sean Penn keeps an Ann Coulter doll which he disfigures with cigarettes in unmentionable places. What does that tell us? That enlightened secular liberals may resort to voodoo too. One more inconvenient truth.

George Gurley, a resident of rural Douglas County, writes a regular column for the Journal-World.


bjamnjm 11 years, 10 months ago

Conservation, reduced emissions, clean-up and disposal of hazardous materials costs way to much. It reduces profit and increases responsibility for all corporations and entities which are either conserving, reducing emissions or having haz. waste disposed of appropriately. At the same time, oil company profits are through the roof. A few months ago Exon/Mobile announced record profits. Last week, so did Chevron. There is no money in caring for the Environment and lots and lots of money in activities that presumably injure the environment.

I don't know if human activity is causing climate change or not. Having said that I believe we should be good stewards of the earth as I try to be. A paradigm shift in the way that we (humans) think and do everything is necessary if we are really going to make a go of this environmentally friendly scheme. We have to find a way to make conservation and such profitable. For example, if one were to consider the externalities when pricing an automobile things would change. You would include the cost of cleaning up the pollution created when digging the resources out of the earth, putting them together and then the pollution created by driving the car.

Then, cars would be quite expensive and the most environmentally friendly car would be the cheapest and presumably the best seller. Thus, the impact on the environment created by humans would be reduced. Currently, our taxes pay for most of the clean up necessitated by the pollution the automobile industry creates.

A paradigm shift is our only hope of reducing human impact to the environment. I don't know if that can happen.

xenophonschild 11 years, 11 months ago

It seems that - despite arguments to the contrary - humans do contribute to global warming, and to a degree that may have devastating consequences on us all in the not too distant future.

Al Gore's approach to the issue aside, if what he's saying is true, we need to start paying attention, and even make any necessary changes, even if they cause us economic pain.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 11 months ago

Questions can and should be raised about the contribution of human activity to global warming. But Gurley's attempt to put himself in some sort of "moderate" position on this is laughable. The fact is that the vast bulk of the data as interpreted by the vast majority of climate scientists say that human activity is very likely causing global warming, and the effects of that warming will very likely be disastrous on a scale that Gurley's mind is obviously incapable of grasping-- so he resorts instead to denial.

Godot 11 years, 11 months ago

Bozo just proved George right!!! Good job, George.

devobrun 11 years, 11 months ago

Bozo The vast bulk of data, and the computer models used to interpret these data do not represent facts. They are conjectures.

The "large number of climate scientists" argument is spurious. Your characterization of Mr. Gurley as being of insufficient mind to grasp the scale of the science is childish.

Mr. Gurley has posed an alternative perspective to that of Mr Gore. Gurley hasn't offered alternative "facts". He has reminded people that adopting human interpretations of information as "facts" is a fundamentalist thing to do.

Perhaps discussing the possible errors in the computer models and data would be a reasonable thing to do.

Straight-up CO2 models show that temperature rise will be about 1 C max. The doomsday scene is a result of positive feedback effects of increased H2O causing additional warming.

I believe that we are conducting a test of these models right now. Until the climate warms or not over the next 100 years or so, we will be engaged only in speculation.

Using the term "science" to justify the computer predictions is erronious. That science requires test, and the test is only happening as we speak, shows that statements of prediction at this point are not scientific.

Stop using the term "science" to describe the predictions of climatologists and Mr. Gore. It ain't science. It is leftist fundamentalism. It is cultural, political, even entertaining verbage. The "truth"?


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 11 months ago

Devo-- Perhaps we will all survive by using your very narrow definition of science and doing absolutely nothing to reduce human-induced global warming. But if you're wrong, and the computer modeling is right, we'll all be too dead or struggling for mere survival to gain much satisfaction in saying we told you so.

But I don't buy your claim to moderation any more than I buy Gurley's. Strong evidence is there, but you prefer your denial just to cling to your own precious orthodoxy.

ouroboros 11 years, 11 months ago

If devo and godot are asking that we not use the term science, I guess that's fine. They obviously use the dictionary to suit their points of view. While Mr. Gurley has taken a interesting point of view of Mr Gore, it's not new. Mr Gore is a highly motivated, successful politician, much more successful in his losses than any of the writers here in their "wins." Of course he's obsessing about the environment - you of the "let's wait and see if it really happens" empiricists and your "doesn't matter cause we'll all be saved" fatalists aren't engaged in the discussion, and have brought out the worst in the left, aka Mr Gore.

I'd like to make several comments, NOT points, to spur the discussion. Just one really. Read The Long Emergency, by James Kunstler. Global warming, impending ice ages, all are possible, even probable. What is germane is not whether these things can happen, they have and they will again. Of course human activity has had some influence, have we reached a so-called tipping point? Who gives a rat's behind. Let's just divide up the country into red and blue and freakin' duke it out. Consume the oil and goods, support the WalMart Target Nation - Drive, Drive, Drive! We're all going to hell in a bucket, so might as well have a good time!

xenophonschild 11 years, 11 months ago

Why are conservative Republicans so stupid?

And not just stupid, but consistently stupid?

Do they blindly believe everything the right-wing press, the RNC, and the White House tell them to?

Do they feel it's okay to bury their heads in the sand about potential global warming issues because it would cost our economy too much - short term - to address the problems, with no appreciable bottom line other than correcting a potentially devastating problem?

This is why conservatives are a curse on our society - past, present, and especially the future.

We need another Stalin to cleanse our society of them.

devobrun 11 years, 11 months ago

And if I'm right, and the computer models are incorrect, we will all be living a poor quality of life. Because we have all this energy at our disposal , but we don't dare touch it.

Kinda of like original sin, dontcha think? Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

I really don't like guilt trips from religious types, including your religion, Mr. Gore.

Fundamentalism is all about tellin' other people what they must believe if they are to be saved.

Once your anger subsides, bozo, think about the proscriptive nature of environmentalism, evolution, PETA, etc.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

devobrun 11 years, 11 months ago

bozo, xeno, ouro, Mr. Gurley has posited the question that maybe the movie is wrong. Maybe the science and political message are erroneous. Maybe we are all witnessing the emergence of a new religion, environmentalism.

"Raise questions about global warming in the company of true believers and you'll get the same kind of response you'd get if you questioned the literal truth of the Bible in the company of Christian fundamentalists."

Your responses above seem to confirm Mr. Gurley's point.

Tom_Canada 11 years, 11 months ago

Please have a look at my other piece: You see, it is not just a minority of nuts making the case that the most convincing evidence is that the very tiny human contribution of carbon dioxide is highly unlikely to be the cause of significant global climate change. And, no, among scientitsts who study the causes of global climate change using REAL data, not coputer simulations, there is a massive controversy aboutt he causes of CC - no consensus is there at all, which is to be expected considering how new the field is.

devobrun 11 years, 11 months ago


The cornerstone of global demise theories is in the positive feedback aspect of the model. That is, increased CO2 and methane cause increased H2O vapor.

Well, H2O is such a powerful greenhouse gas (orders of magnitude more important than CO2 and NH4 combined) that it is the only way to justify the doomsday prediction.

Ask any engineer about positive feedback mechanisms and you'll hear them say: Stay away from them if you can. Modeling simple transistor, crystal oscillators (such as the one running your computer clock right now) are the most difficult task for circuit designers.

Oh, multiple circuits comprising systems gets difficult. But I'm talking about just a few components to build an oscillator based on positive feedback. Its surprisingly difficult to do.

When I look at the multiple feedback (some positive, some negative) models for the temperature of the earth, I know from experience that the modelers are blowin' smoke. Positive feedback systems are very touchy. Small parameter changes yield completely different results.

I just don't believe the modelers. I wonder what the proponents of environmental catastrophe models say the cost to society is for us to reverse our reliance on energy? Is that part of the model as well? Or do they just ignore the possibility that the cure might be more immediate and devasting to humanity than the disease?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 11 months ago

Feedback loops are already in evidence, and while the effects of feedback loops in the future might not be as devastating as the models predict, they could just as easily be more severe. Even a very conservative estimation of the effects of these feedback loops spells disaster for hundreds of millions of people.

Sure, we can just do nothing and continue to burn off fossil fuels at ever increasing rates until there is absolutely nothing that can be done about the global warming it is very likely creating or exacerbating, but that would make us even stupider than the dinosaurs who didn't see the asteroid coming, but couldn't have done anything about it, anyway.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 11 months ago

BTW, Devo, currently available technology could cut energy usage by 50%, if there were the will to do so.

devobrun 11 years, 11 months ago

"Scientists working in the field" should be your key to evaluating their work.

It simply doesn't serve them to come up with results that are negative. They wind up without a job.

No, I'm not a conspiracy theory guy. It just stands to reason that working to put oneself out of a job is not the direction that one would naturally take.

If my job title was climatologist, with a specialty in long term effects of CO2 and other trace greenhouse gases emisssion on the temperature, why would I say that it isn't a significant affect? I'd be lookin' for something else to do next week.

Well, CO2 and CH4 are not significant greenhouse gases in and of themselves. They are only important if they cause H2O to increase. Positive feedback.


devobrun 11 years, 11 months ago

Regarding global warming, it is the emitted carbon that must be reduced. Oil, coal, methane are the culprits.

Besides nuclear energy production and reduced human activity, I don't see anything else to reduce the carbon emissions.

You got some?

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 11 months ago

well go out and enjoy the global warming to day it is a holiday weekend.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 11 months ago

We very well may be up the creek without a paddle, but we don't know that, so it's not a good justification for doing nothing but the same ole, same ole.

Water vapor is in a constant cycle in and out of the atmosphere-- not so for other greenhouse gases, and it's the increase in the amount of these gases that appear to be leading to a very dangerous tipping point, part of which leads to greater amounts of water vapor in the atmosphere.

devobrun 11 years, 11 months ago

Don't ya just love evidentiary science? Computer models? Humans asserting that their idea is science, therefore it is true?

Its a model, folks. Models aren't real.

Electrical engineers now use computers to design electronic things. The models are very sophisticated. The models are tested and tested and tested until they are now really close to the real world. They still have to build the circuit to test it.

EE departments in universities still have laboratories where the components are placed on a breadboard.

I know its old school. But it is real. These tests are what make modeling of electronic circuits science, and what makes climatology not.

Thus, climatology is but one of several human endeavors that claim science, without much hope of testing. Bogus.

It is all pretty much just a philosophical discussion until Kyoto comes along. Now there is a reason to discuss the costs and benefits to reducing human activity. Implementation is real, it will change our lives. Unlike electronics (you don't have to buy a video telephone), Kyoto will be imposed on me. Whether I like it or not.

Ah, um, I don't like it.

Larry McGlinn 11 years, 11 months ago

Good job, George Gurley! It is good to finally read an article by someone that has "stable manners" (for you Al Gore followers that means HORSE SENSE). At one time didn't Al claim to invent the internet?

ouroboros 11 years, 11 months ago

Yup, just as I thought. No one is willing discuss the possibility that we're ALL right: global warming in the short run (100 years) followed by cooling/ice age in the next several hundred/thousand. It's not my life, or my grandkids, so why should we take these "wacko liberal enviro modelling fool Dems" seriously? Pick your church, as long as it's mine, and we'll all walk hand in hand into the great white rapture. Conservatism rules, stay in the engineering box that works, and ridicule those fools who don't see the world thru my (rose-colored) view.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 11 months ago

As I said, Devo, your clinging to your own very narrow orthodoxy doesn't make you any better than the other wishful thinkers out there, including those at junkscience (they are appropriately titled, though.)

devobrun 11 years, 11 months ago

Yer right bozo, the site is perfectly named. And they are just as wishful in their thinking as are the "scientists" they debunk.

My take on Al Gore and is that neither knows the answer to the issue of global warming.

My "orthodoxy" is that all of this enviro-doomsay is "of humanity". A reality created by people like religion, complete with the guilt, reverence, proscription, etc.

Mr. Gurley sees it that way, too. Good for him.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 11 months ago

Well, you're still not in anything like a "moderate" position. I haven't seen Gore's movie yet, but if the content of the movie says that a preponderance of available evidence says that global warming is happening, and that it likely will lead to a less habitable planet, then the hysteria-dressed-up-as-moderation coming from the likes of you and Gurley is nothing more than that.

But I agree, it'd be better to have a real-sized model of the earth and test out all the hypotheses on it rather than use computer models. Have you got one in the testing stages yet?

ASBESTOS 11 years, 11 months ago

Let's just say for discussion sake that AL Gore and "the vast majority of Scientists" take on this is correct. Do you really think we can do anything about it?

China and India have HUGE amounts of CO2 emissions that are "off book" and "exempt" and are only likely to increase. As we have seen already out of CHina and India with a billion each is 6 times the population of the US and as they become more "wezternized" oi!

That is a freight train that is not going to stop. ON this issue yes the US currently emits 25% of the REPORTED greenhouse gasses. The offbook ones in the other countries is cooking 2-3 meals a day on charcoal or wood times almost 2 billion people, where in the US we cook on much more efficient electricity, NG, and propane.

Very little cooked on wood (except for smoked brisket. mmmm!)

IF Global Climatic chang IS occuring, harping at the United States is preaching to the chior. The rest of the world is responsible for a hell of a lot more greenhouse contributions than the US, because many of the greenhouse gas productions world wide and in the "Kyoto Protocol" are not listed.

I am all for proactive means and protections, but I don't think the US should have to "go it alone" on shouldering the load as we have to do on WoT and poverty aids etc.

I just wish that those that are only critical of the US (as a proxy for I hate Bush) would look EQUALLY CRITICAL at the rest of the countries, especially the third world countries where tyrants do not protect the peoples rights. DO you think someone like Mugabe is going to care on whit about global climatic change, if he doesnot care about basic human life, let alone human rights.

You have to start gauging the response and the data. I am all for proactive response to this problem, but the rest of the world has to come along, the US can't "shoulder the load" all the time for the world and then get criticized all the time as the bad guy.

xenophonschild 11 years, 11 months ago

I don't like to agree with ASBESTOS, but he's right in that China and India are freight trains that aren't likely to stop. They will continue to ramp us their emissions of carbon dioxide, with no decrease in sight.

The Chinese have social order issues that they feel take precedence over environmental issues. At any one time, they have a floating contingent of 100 million people out looking for work, any kind of work, at any wage. The Chinese government believes that finding opportunities to employ any of these people is more important than any environmental concerns . . . whatsoever.

How do we impact the Chinese and Indians, who face similar circumstances?

One answer may be to depend on American ingenuity to find a way to cleanse the atmosphere of excessive levels of carbon. Unfortunately, I don't recall what issue of Discover that discussed the effort, only that it is both feasible and within our abilities.

devobrun 11 years, 11 months ago

Very nice ASBESTOS,

The argument from ASBESTOS is a counter to Al Gore based on political realities. Include the potential scientific errors, and we are being asked to seriously alter our economy for benefits to the environment that are not at all clear.

This movie and the movement behind it are just a guilt trip.

We have air conditioning and live to 80 years. Now shouldn't we all feel bad about ourselfs (finger wagging)?

Of all the people on earth to tell us to be good scouts, the left give us Al Gore. The Dems are in trouble.

devobrun 11 years, 11 months ago

Careful xeno, engineers are the evildoers that caused the problem in the first place.

This isn't a rational argument with solutions. This is a battle for scientists and politicians; supermen who save us from the evil implementors.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 11 months ago

Yea, the old "everyone else is doing it" argument is the best tack to take for the world's only superpower and supposed world leader.

I guess if enough of the human race is willing to play Russian Roulette with the climate like you guys are, then it really doesn't matter how many bullets are chambered as long as there's at least one in there, cause you'll keep firing till we blow our collective brains out.

xenophonschild 11 years, 11 months ago


Good post. I applaud that you get to the heart of the matter, and make good sense.

I despair that the present administration can, or will, do anything substantial about global warming. It will take a Democratic administration, one sensitive to environmental issues, to exert leadership on the problem.

Just hope we don't hit the "tipping point" before then.

Godot 11 years, 11 months ago

Judging from the discussion Gurley's article has generatged, George deserves a raise.

Godot 11 years, 11 months ago

TomPaine's post has the words "screed," and "idiotic" in just the first sentence.

Like the old saying goes, you throw a stone into a pack of dogs, and the only one that howls is the one that got hit.

Just keep on proving George right. This is very entertaining.

Godot 11 years, 11 months ago

"TomPaine's post has the words "screed," and "idiotic" in just the first sentence.

Like the old saying goes, you throw a stone into a pack of dogs, and the only one that howls is the one that got hit."

And Bozo agrees with TomPaine. Two dogs with one stone.


xenophonschild 11 years, 11 months ago


No one is waiting for you . . . to answer the content of TomPaine's excellent post.

Paine notes that Gore speaks from facts, not religious drivel, or the opinions of economists. "Shoulder-shrugging, know-nothing, scientifically-illiterate, habitual hard-core agnostics" are the real negativists.

Either stand and answer . . . or shrug your shoulders like the good troglodyte you are.

Godot 11 years, 11 months ago

"Paine notes that Gore speaks from facts:

Hahahahahahaha. He speaks from conjecture.

Godot 11 years, 11 months ago

Astrology, scientology, climatology: entertaining pseudo-religious belief systems.

Kelly Powell 11 years, 11 months ago

The sooner we lose 75% of the earths population the better (as a drinker and a smoker I am allready doing my part to shuck this mortal coil)

melott 11 years, 11 months ago

Here is an example of Girley's informed comment:

He quotes "University of Winnipeg climatology professor Tim Ball" regarding incorrectness of computer models of climate. Ball has not been a professor there since 1996, not even Emeritus. He now works with an organization called EnviroTruth which is funded by Exxon-Mobil.

ASBESTOS 11 years, 11 months ago

"I despair that the present administration can, or will, do anything substantial about global warming. It will take a Democratic administration, one sensitive to environmental issues, to exert leadership on the problem."

Xeno, wrong, the Browner Administration of EPA and the Riech Admin of OSHA denutted both agencies and damaged them more than any republican administration ever did. Brwoner and Reich changed both agencies from fininf and enforcing rules and regulations to "compliance assistance", which was a "partneringwith polluters" stance. Litsten and listen good, as I was doing backflips when Clinton got elected and appointed these folks, but after 6 years the damage was done, and our environmental business sector was gutted as were the environmental health and safety reuls.

Want to see legacy "Browner" activity, look nofarther than KDHE. That is their mantra, help the polluter and damn those who clean it up.

DUDE, I have been in the enironmental industry for 2 decades! CLeaning up the environment was one of these reasons I went into this career, and I have practiced it in many countries. SO I know a bit of what you want to do, however, blind allegiance to one party don't feed the bulldog.

As for BOZO, whom I usually like his posts wheither I agree with him or not, it aint us as in the "US". IF you think that we are the only ones to clean it up, we can't do it without China and India and that ain't gonna happen.

We need to rid the world of terrorists that just want to kill people and we can't agree on that. How in the world do you think the world will come to agree on stopping an oderless and colorless event that is as esoteric as "Global Climatic Change" when they are killing eath other either over ideology or resources, and tyrants don't give one damn about simple human life, but we the "US" always beat up on ourselves.

If you want to solve this, you will have to champion it by championing the United States. Other countries may hate us, but they will emulate us at the drop of a hat.

devobrun 11 years, 11 months ago

Ok Tom, I'll bite. "He is refuting the conservative scare tactic that says environmental regulation kills economies and loses jobs." Energy is the major component of all advanced economies. The carbon-based energy sources for travel, heating and air conditioning and electricity (read information exchange including what we are doing right now) are by far the major game in town.

Except for nuclear, all other energy recovery methods are quite inefficient or limited. Alcohol and solar burn as much energy to harness the energy as is produced. Don't give me the domestic/political argument. We are talking about reducing carbon emissions, not terrorist politics.

Wind, geothermal, hydro-electric are all limited resources.

Until we make a breakthru in something like fusion, we are faced with only one way to meet Kyoto protocol objectives. Limit human activity. Thus, the economy gets hurt.

If economists aren't scientists, then climatologists sure as hell aren't either. Tom, science is test, not evidence and theory. Evidence and hypothesis is also the realm of literature, the legal profession, history. All fine erudite endeavors, but not science. Neither is this mess of quasi-science called environmentalism.

"Shoulder-shrugging, know-nothing, scientifically illiterate, habitual hard-core agnostics like Gurley are the real negativists." Negative to you perhaps Tom, because you stand to loose your employment? Or worse yet, your faith in quasi-science. I look at "do nothing" as a very positive prescription. Remove the uncertainty of the doomsayers and our lives will be much better. Will we be wrong about global warming? Well, we just don't know, Tom. We just don't know. Learn to live with it, Tom. Be happy, you aren't expected to run the world. Relax, its OK.

"gibbering nonsense and blatant incomprehension" This is top-notch scientific rhetoric, Tom. When I read this personal attack stuff, I am inspired by the sharp critical thinking of it. Makes this engineer trust your science. Why, I think I'll go out and design a new system of energy production and storage based on your insights.

Personal attacts are a sad fact of life on these boards. They add nothing, but the attacker gets to vent his spleen. Yawn.

devobrun 11 years, 11 months ago

ASBESTOS, ROW will emulate us only if they see results. Results like air-conditioning, airplanes, antibiotics, Longer happier lives.

I simply don't see a longer, happier existance emerging from Al Gore's doomsday predictions.

So, I don't see the Indians or Chinese following us off the cliff. They do emulate us, but only when it makes sense (except for hip-hop).

xenophonschild 11 years, 11 months ago

The Chinese and Indians will not emulate us. They have population-standard of living-industrialization issues that are closely tied to the survival of governments, parties, and social ideologies.

I loath turning into a citation freak like the hated Arminius, but I suggest you all read the debate: "Will China be the next economic superpower?" at

ASBESTOS 11 years, 11 months ago

Japna finally got the Mitsubishi corporation the final piece of the Boeing Company that they needed:

They got the license and specs for the wing boxes on the boeing series of aircraft. So say so long to our aircraft industry. And yes Japan will sub out the labor intensive parts out to China, and the environmentally difficult to produce. That is how China is dealing with it. They did not build the 3 gorges dam just for the flooding, but for the hydro power. I have no idea if the environmental tradeoff of that particular event has been evaluated, but I don't think it can be anything other than good. That is exactly how China looks at things that are in it's way, roll over them with the mountian of people they have. A billion people can literally move mountians.

Whether they come to be the next superpower or not, they and India will become the largest polluters in the world and the largest consumers of resources.

As they say on mythbusters; "There's your problem!"

ASBESTOS 11 years, 11 months ago


No administration DEMOCRAT OR REPUBLICAN will make one damn bit of difference on "Global Climatic Change", other than taxing the heck out of you and me, ruining our economy, and giving bundles of cash (from our taxpayers) to countries that pollute THE MOST!

That is exactly how our stupid congress (republican AND democrat) "solve" problems. THey throw money at it.

Like in that IBM commercial:

"You must construct the greatest of catapult's to throw the greatest of projectiles at the problem!"


You mean we throw money at it?!


Ching by the way is a Chinese enviro-economists. LOL

devobrun 11 years, 11 months ago

Melott, "He now works with an organization called EnviroTruth which is funded by Exxon-Mobil."

One of the great misconceptions about research is that universities and adjunct research organizations (JPL,ERIM,Lincoln Labs, etc.) are non-profit.

They do not have a line in their budget called profit. They disguise profit as items called capitol improvements, or structural contingencies. Non-profits pay no dividends to shareholders. However, they make profit, build a bigger business, pay more $ to managers, and generally grow. The Kroger Co.(Dillons and others) pays no dividend. They plow their profit back into the business to make it grow.

No different than Center for Research out on west campus at KU. But businesses are evil and universities are good. Socialists, gotta love 'em. They are just so, um, 19th century.

Who backs Al Gore and why? I'll bet there is a complex but fecund reason behind the funding of this film.

Politcal power. Top-down management of the country. Experts in charge of peoples daily lives. That's my bet. Freedom to drive your car( as with all freedoms) is dangerous to socialists. The left say people are stupid and must be told what is right and wrong.

Sounds like a church to me. I think Mr. Gurley is suspicious of the motives of Al Gore too. How 'bout you guys. Do you think the players in this global warming scare are so pristine that they would never manipulate public opinion to their own benefit?

devobrun 11 years, 11 months ago

bialystocknbloom, Scientific evidence combined with intuition yields the first step of science, conjecture.

It becomes science as it is tested. Science never proves anything positively. It only tests for refutation. When a test demonstrates the conjecture in many ways over many trials, you asymptotically approach the truth. You never say that the results of science are proof, or a fact.

Religion is faith. Faith is wonderful. It isn't science.

melott 11 years, 11 months ago

devobrun, my primary point was about the accuracy of Girly's piece. he didn't even have a simple thing like where the guy worked correct. so do you trust him for big issue accuracy? that the spokesman he misplaced was really in the hire of big oil was purely secondary, although it's also telling.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 11 months ago

I don't really disagree with anything you say, ASBESTOS. The thirst of the Chinese economy for oil is the primary reason for the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Most of that oil will likely eventually end up there, anyway, but BushCo/multinational oil interests want to make sure they get their cut.

I guess my POV is that unless the US takes a leadership role now, and begins to dramatically reduce its output of greenhouse gases (a crash course in conservation measures could cut energy usage in half,) then China and India won't follow suit until it's way too late.

They will likely suffer as much if not more than anyone else if and when there are dramatic changes in climate. When that happens, whatever governments exist there will not survive the social upheaval of millions (billions?) of displaced and starving citizens.

And while terrorism is a major problem, it's laughingly insignificant in comparison to what global climate change will bring.

devobrun 11 years, 11 months ago

Melott, I try not to trust anybody, since they are all human. Humans (yes, even "scientists") are usually wrong.

Gurley's point is that there are people who question the authority of evironmentalists who also have an ax to grind.

When Al Gore goes on "The Daily Show" and says that carbon emissions will be the ruin of humanity, I just can't bring myself to believe him. All the audience claps and loves it. Man, what a bunch of mush heads.

xenophonschild 11 years, 11 months ago

Thanks, bozo. Grow weary reading the narrow-minded tripe of devobrun and ASBESTOS. When western Kansas, from the Colorado border to Emporia, is a desert like northern Arizona, they'll probably say it's God punishment on us for being sinners.

devobrun 11 years, 11 months ago

When China and India really get into battle economically with the US and ROW, they will act in a way which will maximize their political and economic power.......Period.

Global warming? Only if they can make $ off it.

ASBESTOS 11 years, 11 months ago

BOZO, don't mix oranges and apples. Iraq is NOW in this discussion about the Chinese? ANd Bush and multinational oil is wrapped up with Bush??

DUDE! give it up. You are trying to wrap everything around Bush and your (and other's) hatred of him. You and Xeno talk about "narrow minded", well how about EVERYTHING YOU DISCUSS IS about how BAD BUSH IS. Good lord, get off of it!

We are talking about a condition with considerable consequences, and you guys come off as the "DNC Talking Points". Sorry, that ain't goin' to solve anything anymore than a pure "republican solution" will have any effect either.

As for the "leadership role" of the US, the world did not follow us on the WoT nor did they support Resolutions THAT THEY PASSED IN THE UN!

The cure to terrorism is to kill the terrorists, that is the solution. If you cannot see that or understand that you don't understand either the enemy nor the allies. Your logic is therefore suspect.

In the Global Climatic Change issues you have to know what the solution is. There is no major agreement on the nature or severity or contribution of the human influence nor the nature or influence of natural cycles. BOth sides are "screeching" in America, and neither is loking for a solution, but are looking for "wedges" and votes, but not solutions. ANd you my friends, have been played big time.

Same thing with the illegals. The solution fine the employers and throw the bum illegal aliens and their offspring out. Very straight forward.

Logic and continunity in our political processes is entirely absent, and neither party holds either the intellectual or moral high ground on ANY issue, regardless at whose knees you worship. Together when there is agreement with what is best for the country, but neither side is willing to let the other "win" for the American people.

Our Country is dying because of blind obedience to political postures. If the country dies, the world will be a very dark place.

ASBESTOS 11 years, 11 months ago

Maybe HN51 will take care of things for us?

ASBESTOS 11 years, 11 months ago

That is "An Inconvenient Truth,", and most likely the "solution" to the problem.

Nature is really big, and this old earth can ruin our existance in a milisecond.

NOTHING is guarnteed!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 11 months ago

Talking points, ASBESTOS, and you pull out this tired old "hate Bush" cliche?

Bush is the perfect example of the Peter Principle, except that he's never shown any competence at anything in his life. I don't hate him-- I pity him for having managed to get himself in so far over his head.

Sorry that your political biases blind you to the real reasons for the invasion and occupation of Iraq-- control of the energy reserves that this house-of-cards economy is based on.

And given that you yourself brought up China's and India's growing thirsts for energy, your twisted naivete is rather quaint, in a rather foreboding kind of way, given that there is a hard core 30% of this country who likewise kiss the bumpkin-in-chief's feet for no other apparent reason than his "royal" birth.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 11 months ago

"NOTHING is guarnteed!"

Except for the human propensity to sh*t in their own bed and dining room.

ASBESTOS 11 years, 11 months ago


"Except for the human propensity to sh*t in their own bed and dining room."

This and most of your posts are about "self-hate". Do you approve of anything the human race does or produces?

devobrun 11 years, 11 months ago

Bozo and folks like him trust knowledge. They really trust knowledge when it comes from science.

Trust as in faith that science will eventually yield answers to all questions. Oh, it may take a long time to answer the tough questions, but all will ultimately yield to the Cartesian dream of rationality.

They are unafraid of conducting theoretical studies of things that cannot be tested. So, they expand the definition of science to include that which cannot be tested. Or, they define evidence as test.

These are the machinations of modern science. If you question the validity of their use of the term "science", then your are: 1) a conservative, 2) a fundamentalist christian, 3) a closed-minded bigot.

Physics and engineering have produced a huge amount of social and political clout. Bios, archeaos, anthros, and a whole host of quasi-sciences have reaped the benefit of the good will generated by physics and engineering.

The general public sees the internet and air travel, and knows that science is behind them. So along comes an archaeobotanist who uses radiocarbon dating and the public thinks that science is being done. Except the theories that emerge from the arcaeobotanist cannot be tested, i.e repeated. As more work is done by the archaeobotanist, theories advance. But still no test.

Always there are more questions emerging as old questions are answered. The "science" diverges instead of converges. This goes on until someone entirely adjacent to the field comes up with an answer that might actually be tested.

Psychology is a great example. Freud has been replaced by pharmaceuticals. Oh, psychoanalysis is still around, but it isn't used much.

Gotta go.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 11 months ago

'This and most of your posts are about "self-hate".'

You are so right-- I barely have time to eat what with the self-flagellation and all.

"Do you approve of anything the human race does or produces?"

Like my approval is necessary in some way?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 11 months ago

Devo-- when I read your posts, I can't help but picture three monkeys-- one with hands over eyes, one with hands over mouth, and one with hands over ears.

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