DougCounty (Ken Lassman)


Comment history

Letter: Climate action

Well, you know that the serious professional community of climatologists, atmospheric chemists, physicists and biological community have all accepted the reality of climate change and the active role human activity has played in those changes. So if you want to know what is controversial in the realm of climate change, it would be primarily things like the timing of these changes, and the details such as whether tipping points will turbocharge the changes, etc. For a more detailed understanding of climate change controversies, I recommend reading the Technical Summary of the IPCCs latest AR5 publication found here: Within these 84 pages, you'll find definitions of how they define uncertainty and how what they mean by the various terms within the realm of likelihood of outcomes. Their terminology is very rigorously defined and consistent, so when you peruse this document you can see which conclusions are the most and least likely.

Thanks for asking.

September 29, 2015 at 9:55 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Climate action

Oh, you must mean people like Willie Soon, mercenary scientist who has received 1.2 million from fossil fuel interests and even invoiced them, describing his scientific papers as "deliverables?"

I think you are confusing the techniques employed by the "merchants of doubt," i.e. those pay-to-play mercenary scientists who get bankrolled by big oil, coal and other fossil fuel interests. Most of the IPCC scientists do research funded from public sources but there is a world of difference. If you have an example of a scientist who has done similar unethical bribery that has played an important role in the IPCC process that I outlined above, by all means show me.

September 28, 2015 at 7:42 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Climate action

Funny you mention Big Tobacco and compare that process with the environmental lobby, because the denialist industry has actually hired several of the same scientists who worked for Big Tobacco to run their climate change denial/FUD campaign! For more details, check out Merchants of Doubt:

September 28, 2015 at 6:43 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Climate action

You assert that there's no intellectual honesty, so I'm asking you to take the time to review how the IPCC selects its scientists: and how the review process works:

Once you have done this, please point out how this is an intellectually dishonest process with a socialist subterfuge. Please be specific.

September 28, 2015 at 6:38 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Climate action

Just as there could be more than one reason for your car not to work, there is more than one reason for the earth's climate to fluctuate. Before you say "well, it's hubris to think that humanity is changing the climate," you need to consider the role of carbon in atmospheric chemistry and its role as a thermostat in planetary energy balance. Just as a little water or sugar in the gas tank of your car can greatly affect your car's performance, the amount of atmospheric carbon present greatly affects the amount of heat retained in the atmosphere. In the past, huge volcanic events, changes in the sun's irradiance caused by the fact that our orbit is elliptical and how that plays out in the seasons have all triggered cycles of cooling or heating up. The impact of injecting huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere cannot be done without there being a physical consequence, and our current rates of emissions (around 10 billion tonnes last year, which has been increasing 2-3% annually--a tonne is 2204 lbs) is enough to shift atmospheric heat retention from what would otherwise be a cooling phase into a warming phase. For more information, check out

September 25, 2015 at 6:25 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Climate courage

Food is an invested asset, so are coastal cities, transportation networks, etc. All of these are put at risk by unbridled consumption of the fossil fuel assets, in addition to human health, ecosystem viability and more. The challenge is not how to protect all of these assets from continued fossil fuel consumption in order to protect the fossil fuel assets, because this is impossible. The challenge is how to transition the economy from a fossil fuel based economy to a low carbon based economy in the same manner as we made the transition from a non-electric, horsepower based economy. If we fail in this endeavor, the protected fossil fuel assets become a moot point.

September 24, 2015 at 10:39 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Climate courage

And your point is???? Yes, it is well known and accepted that the Medieval Warm Period was caused by an period of increased solar activity combined with less than average volcanic activity. For more in-depth description of this, check out

Is there increased solar activity currently occurring that would be warming the planet? No. Is there decreased volcanism that would result in a warmer planet? No. In fact the IPCC has famously calculated that if it weren't for carbon emissions, because of DECREASED solar activity and NORMAL volcanism, our global temps should be going down. The only way for the physics to work is to calculate in the effect of atmospheric carbon that has been put there through human activity.

September 24, 2015 at 10:33 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Climate courage

Yup, Richard, if your goal is to sell magazines and papers, the more cherries, the better. Cherries make better pies than science.

September 24, 2015 at 3:56 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Climate courage

I'm not sure what you mean when you say that there should be no losers as billions of dollars are being lost in climate change-related damages already. How would you support the Arch Coal investors? I don't think it's fair to continue to worsen the climate just to protect some innocent third party investments that are going sour, any more than any other investment gone sour. Some of those investors might be being hurt worse by climate related losses in the next really big drought, so what would be the best path?

That's not to make light of the whole issue of stranded assets, Marc. There are literally billions, maybe trillions of dollars of assets in the ground in the form of coal, oil and tarsands that if it were all used, would create hell on earth. How to economically get out from under those assets without extracting them and pumping the carbon in the atmosphere is going to be a real challenge, one which is compounded by finding alternative sources of energy to replace it. But I am optimistic that we can find the right combination of energy efficiency, renewable energy and distribution network development that we can accomplish it incrementally but fast enough to head off the worst of the consequences of continuing down the path of business-as-usual.

September 24, 2015 at 2:14 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Climate courage

There are a bunch of groups working on what your stated goal is, Mark; I find the research and projects of the Rocky Mountain Institute to be particularly appealing, though others are working out other approaches as well. What I like about the RMI approach is that it is scalable and exportable. Check it out here: for an overview, and then dig into the website for WAY MORE detailed info.

September 24, 2015 at 12:40 p.m. ( | suggest removal )