A few reviews of Lomborg's "Cool It"

[Editor's note by Super G] There's an advertisement for Bjorn Lomborg's new book on the left. The editors and staff debated whether or not to run the ad. On one hand, Lomborg's attempt to "muddy the waters" in the discussion on climate change can be seen as counter-productive to goals of The Oil Drum. On the other hand, a policy that separates editorial and advertising decisions can prevent advertisers from unduly influencing our content. (The corollary is that we have run ads we don't like.) In the end, we've decided to run the ad alongside the critiques of Lomborg's book below.

Bill McKibben in the New York Review of Books:

Doubtless scientists and economists will spend many hours working their way through Cool It, flagging the distortions and half-truths as they did with Lomborg's earlier book. In fact, though, its real political intent soon becomes clear, which is to try to paint those who wish to control carbon emissions as well-meaning fools who will inadvertently block improvements in the life of the poor.

Just ask yourself this question: Why has Lomborg decided to compare the efficacy of (largely theoretical) funding to stop global warming with his other priorities, like fighting malaria or ensuring clean water? If fighting malaria was his real goal, he could as easily have asked the question: Why don't we divert to it some of the (large and nontheoretical) sums spent on, say, the military? The answer he gave when I asked this question at our dialogue was that he thought military spending was bad and that therefore it made more sense to compare global warming dollars with other "good" spending. But of course this makes less sense. If he thought that money spent for the military was doing damage, then he could kill two birds with one stone by diverting some of it to his other projects. Proposing that, though, would lose him much of the right-wing support that made his earlier book a best seller—he'd no longer be able to count on even The Wall Street Journal editorial page.

The Wall Street Journal is indeed more supportive:

A Calm Voice in a Heated Debate

In this world of Republicans and Democrats, meat-eaters and vegetarians, dog lovers and cat lovers, we have a new divide. On one side are global-warming believers. They've heard Al Gore's inconvenient truths and, along with the staff of Time magazine, feel "worried, very worried." Humanity faces no greater threat than a warming Earth, they say, and government must drastically curb carbon-dioxide emissions. On the other side are those who don't think that the Earth is warming; and even if it is, they don't think that man is causing it; and even if man is to blame, it isn't clear that global warming is bad; and even if it is, efforts to fix it will cost too much and may, in the end, do more harm than good.

Standing in the practical middle is Bjorn Lomborg, the free-thinking Dane who, in "The Skeptical Environmentalist" (2001), challenged the belief that the environment is going to pieces. Mr. Lomborg is now back with "Cool It," a book brimming with useful facts and common sense.

Given that the "middle" for the WSJ is usually the position halfway between theirs and Hillary Clinton's (on foreign policy) or Robert Rubin (on the economy), one can presume that it's the same in this case...

Meanwhile, Chris Mooney writes on DeSmogBlog about Lomborg's book comments on hurricanes, his area of expertise:

Lomborg starts off his treatment of the hurricane-climate issue by showing how some environmentalists have over-hyped the science, either by directly linking climate change to individual events like Hurricane Katrina or by ascribing too much certainty to conclusions that are still the subject of considerable expert debate. Here, the "skeptical environmentalist" does indeed score some easy points: Greens should have been much more cautious on this subject in the wake of Katrina. Lomborg is also right to note that even if we're worried about worsening hurricanes due to global warming, it doesn't necessarily follow that our most immediate policy solution should simply be to cut greenhouse gas emissions. We are committed to significant warming no matter what happens, and if this warming is going to spark stronger or more destructive hurricanes on average, the most immediate policy prescription ought instead to be investing in better hurricane preparedness (although of course there are many other valid reasons to cap emissions).

But from here, Lomborg grows increasingly misleading. Before long, we find him citing a late 2006 statement from the World Meteorological Organization as representative of the current scientific consensus on the relationship between hurricanes and global warming. There's nothing wrong with the statement itself, but Lomborg reduces its ten points down to only three--all of which cut in Lomborg's ideological favor--while failing to share the rest of what we know with his readers. In fact, read in full, the statement outlines a number of ways global warming should worsen hurricane impacts that are a matter of consensus (to say nothing of potentially larger magnitude changes that are still debated but that may well be happening). Consider these two "consensus" points that Lomborg completely omits: "It is likely that some increase in tropical cyclone peak wind-speed and rainfall will occur if the climate continues to warm. Model studies and theory project a 3-5% increase in wind-speed per degree Celsius increase of tropical sea surface temperatures"; and "If the projected rise in sea level due to global warming occurs, then the vulnerability to tropical cyclone storm surge flooding would increase."

Having downplayed some of the more troubling elements of the scientific consensus--and simply dismissed the possibility of more dramatic changes that are currently being debated--Lomborg then seizes on one item in the WMO statement in particular--"The recent increase in societal impact from tropical cyclones has been largely caused by rising concentrations of population and infrastructure in coastal regions"--and runs with it. It is indeed an accepted position among hurricane specialists that the spike in recent storm damage is largely the result of having more people and property in harm's way. But from here Lomborg leaps to the totally incorrect conclusion that changes to hurricanes themselves as a result of global warming are a concern that can be minimized.


As a result, when it comes to hurricanes, he only tells the side of the story that will help him downplay the seriousness of global warming.

Salon also has is own book review:

Global warming is not as bad as it's made out to be, argues Bjørn Lomborg. But he cherry-picks evidence to manufacture a scientific and economic consensus that doesn't exist.

They also have an interview with Lomborg himself:

I agree that when you make it more expensive to use fossil fuels, people will spend more money on research and development. But let's not buy things right now that make us feel good but result in fairly trivial carbon cuts. As you probably know, we have lots of windmills in Denmark. We felt incredibly good about this in the '80s and '90s. So we spent a lot on windmills that turned out to inefficient. Now we basically have to take down all our old windmills and put up the new efficient ones. My point is that maybe we shouldn't have put up the first ones. We should have invested in research and development and waited to put up bigger, better windmills.

But wasn't that a necessary process? Creating the first windmills is what led to the development of better ones.

Yes, but if you want to get a better windmill, maybe you put up one or 10 or even 100. Economists disagree on this. But you don't need 1,000 or 10,000. My point is: Don't do stuff before it's efficient, but make sure you get faster to the point where it gets efficient.


I'm simply saying, "Don't trust me, just like you shouldn't trust Jim Hansen."


It's true that a lot of people say that Kyoto is an insurance, although it's typically not economists. It's shrewd but it's a drastic misuse of the word "insurance." Insurance means that you pay a small premium and if an unlikely event happens, you get all your money back. If your house burns down, you get the money so you can buy a new house. It amounts to a reduction in the chance of something bad happening. But by buying insurance against climate change, if your house burns down, you don't get anything. You could say you get a door back.

To use my favorite metaphor, saying "insurance" is like talking about lowering the speed on highways. It ensures you a little more safety, but it also has clear costs. And we need to have a conversation of asking, How quick should we drive? Clearly it shouldn't be 250 miles per hour, and likewise it shouldn't be 5 miles per hour. We need to have that sensible discussion. I'm happy to have the discussion of whether it should be 55 or 50, but I think it's silly when people come and say it should be 5.


You write: "Alarmism has a long history in the climate debate. Perhaps most chillingly, this was evident in the witch trials of medieval Europe." Are you really comparing Gore, Bill McKibben, the Natural Resources Defense Council, New Scientist magazine to the leaders of the Inquisition?

No, no, not all.

What's the purpose of that analogy?

It's to point out that weather has always been a huge part of human discourse.

To finish, the final word to Bill McKibben, form the first review above:

Lomborg casts himself as the voice of reason in this debate, contending with well-meaning but wooly-headed scientists, bureaucrats, environmentalists, politicians, and reporters. I got a preview of some of these arguments in May when we engaged in a dialogue at Middlebury College in Vermont; they struck me then, and strike me now in written form, as tendentious and partisan in particularly narrow ways. Lomborg has appeared regularly on right-wing radio and TV programs, and been summoned to offer helpful testimony by, for instance, Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, famous for his claim that global warming is a hoax. That Lomborg disagrees with him and finds much of the scientific analysis of global warming accurate doesn't matter to Inhofe; for his purposes, it is sufficient that Lomborg opposes doing much of anything about it.

But Lomborg's actual arguments turn out to be weak, a farrago of straw men and carefully selected, shopworn data that holds up poorly in light of the most recent research, both scientific and economic. He calculates at great length, for instance, his claim that the decline in the number of people dying from cold weather will outweigh the increase in the number of people dying from the heat, leading him to the genial conclusion that a main effect of global warming may be that "we just notice people wearing slightly fewer layers of winter clothes on a winter's evening." But in April 2007, Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the panel of experts whose scientific data he prefers to cite, released a report showing, among many other things, that fewer deaths from cold exposure "will be outweighed by the negative health effects of rising temperatures world-wide, especially in developing countries."

I like to follow all the threads on TOD, but I just can't keep up. Back in June there was a discussion of Coal and Climate Change by Dave Rutledge http://www.theoildrum.com/node/2697#more
What I got from that discussion was that 'global warming' won't happen because the world will run out of fossil fuels before CO2 level rises enough for any of the IPCC scenarios to happen. Have I missed any posting that points out serious errors on Prof. Rutledge's work? Why does global warming remain a concern to this community. Lots of people are very worried about GW, but we have been introduced to a far bigger concern. I think that none of Lomborg's arguments really address the 'Rutledge scenario'.

Well, part of the argument you refer to is based in the idea that there may not be enough fossil fuels to continue at the rates that some of the energy scenarios project. However, those IPCC scenarios may also fail because the leave out the possible last desperate gasp and grasp for the remaining fossil fuels of some really damaging short-term scenarios.

Cutting down forests for wood fuel has a carbon impact that compares with fossil fuels and the IPCC scenarios don't really take any of that into account. Trying to convert cellulose to alcohol or coal-to-liquids also may be a real problem.

In an energy short world, global warming could end up being the gift that keeps on giving.

Hi ST,

The IPCC scenarios do include changes in forest area, grasslands, cropland, and land for biofuels. You can get the spreadsheet at



Jim Hansen himself has addressed this. Even with slightly generous estimates of remaining oil and gas reserves, the total level of global warming will be bad assuming we use them all up, but not catastrophic.

The really big problem is coal. We DO have enough of it to do tremendous damage (push natural geological/biological feedforwards into a big acceleration), and it looks like we are exactly on track to do so.

The back-to-the-future substitution of coal for depleting oil and gas will accelerate. That's worse even per joule/BTU of raw combustion energy because there's no hydrogen in coal, unlike oil and gas---all the energy comes from oxidization of carbon, resulting in greenhouse emissions.

And then there's the extra energy inefficiency of coal-to-liquids, coal-to-gas etc, requiring additional primary energy to get the useful end product to substitute for gas and oil.

There is hydrogen in coal, just not as much as in oil and NG.

I didn't know that. I assumed it was mostly just plain C.

What is the %age, or more relevantly, what is fraction of energy released which comes from hydrogen combustion in CH4 (presumably the maximum) typical gasoline or petroleum, and coal?

You'd have to make an unrealistic assumption about extractable coal reserves (plus shale to oil, tar sands etc.) to believe that we don't have enough fossil fuels to really wreck the Earth's climate.

We do. And then there's deforestation.

Peak coal is a neat idea, but there is a lot of coal out there, especially when you throw in the brown coal in places like Poland and the eastern states of Germany.

If we can blow the top off Kentucky mountains, then we can get at that coal.

Coal is almost entirely used for electrical generation, these days.

At least in the US, there's an easy substitution with wind, which is only a couple of cents per kwh more than coal (and cheaper, if you internalize all the external costs). Wind was 20% of new generation in 2006, and growing 40% per year. I think we could put a moratorium on all new coal plants, if we really wanted to. It might take a bit of demand management to handle peak demand periods, but it's pretty doable. In 10 years we could grow wind to the point that we started reducing coal useage.

I find that encouraging.

Even if warming maxes out at 3C I believe
Hansen says we will have a 'different kind of Earth'.

Big Coal is in denial about an early peak. When mechanical digging becomes prohibitive underground gasification will get the remainder. Right now they just can't dig it up fast enough.

I am far more concerned about climate change in the long run, though I think peak oil and gas may be worse crises in the short run. Looks to me like we have enough fossil fuels to get us to a 2C tipping point with the potential from there to have run-away positive feedbacks related to the loss of polar ice and methane emissions from soil. Very difficult to model where this would head because the science is weak on soil-vegetation dynamics and the speed of polar ice melt.

Lucky for us, the solution to both problems is the same.

1) Conserve. Cut our energy needs thus prolonging our supply of oil and coal. Cut our 'nasty' emissions by burning less fossil fuel.

A watt of power that we don't consume is one that we don't have to generate and "one watt" less pollution.

2) Get more 'green' energy on line. Same results, plus building for an oil-free future. Or at least for a future in which we use oil only when absolutely necessary.

So we build less efficient windmills, PV panels, wave generators than what we might be able to build 10, 20 years from now. Big F-ing deal. Right now we can build 'good enough to make a difference'. And that will give us some breathing space to make better devices down the road.

We can recycle those old mills and panels when the energy required to recycle is substantially less than that which would be created by the new mills/panels.

Time to fire up the plants and crank out some green goodies.




Let's throw another problem into the mix, along with global warming and 'peaking stuff': Health.

We're spending a lot of money because we're dumping so much 'nasty' into the air. We're hurting a lot of people. We're hurting a lot of growing things.

Getting more green power on line has (at least) a triple payoff.

Decreasing the power of certain oil producing nations and reversing some cash flow problems might be a couple more reasons....

The prospect of the arctic being ice-free within the next decade stuns me. It's another order of magnitude (sort of) rate of increase in the rate of increase.

There is this snippet from Kolbert's "Field Notes from a Catastrophe":

"Obviously, if you get drought indices like these, there's no adaptation that's possible. But let's say it's not that severe. What adaptation are we talking about? Adaptation in 2020? Adaptation in 2040? Adaptation in 2060? Because the way the models project this, as global warming gets going, once you've adapted to one decade, you're going to have to change everything the next decade. [David Rind, GISS climate scientist, p111, Kolbert, Field Notes from a Catastrophe]"

I'd never thought of it that way but had focused on "what is the right paradigm" and how important it might be to jump to it directly. The requirement for a radically changing series of adaptations pretty well shoots holes in all the lifeboats. Restructuring our entire resource base decade over decade just to keep up - not going to happen.

cfm in Gray, ME

"The prospect of the arctic being ice-free within the next decade stuns me"

Why? It's been free in the past. Even back as far as 1880 a ship made it ice free from the Pacific to the Atlantic. Also in 1944 a wooden RCMP boat on patrols made it through there ice free on several trips across the top.

It's not a problem.

London, Ont.

No one is ahead of their time, just the rest of humanity is slow to catch on.

You appear to be confused. We are not talking about the northwest passage, which are the trips to which you refer and which, by the way, were not completely ice free. No, we are talking about the entire arctic, all of it, every stinking square inch of ocean, being ice free. If you fail to understand the impact of that, then you need to refresh your understanding of the topic.

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." -- Dr. Albert Bartlett
Into the Grey Zone

Here's what I wrote in another thread on this topic:

"I once looked at the numbers with a friend and to my surprise, Jeremy Legget did something similar (with slightly different numbers) in his speech on the conference.

Our result:
Gross Climate Limit: 4.90 GtCeq/y (IPCC for 2000-2100)
- Land use change: 1.60 GtCeq/y (IPCC for 2000-2100)
- Livestock GHG: 1.25 GtCeq/y (FAO, for 2004)
= Net Climate Limit for Energy: 2.05 GtCeq/y max.

I.e. Net Climate Limit for Energy for 2000-2100: 205 GtCeq

(GtCeq means gigatons of carbon equivalent. There are other units around, like CO2eq, so if you want to compare, be careful!)

If you compare this "climate limit" of 2.05 GtCeq with the various reserve estimates, you find that even with the most conservative fossil fuel reserve estimates, we can just afford to burn all the oil and gas that's there but only if we do not burn a single gram of coal at the same time.

So, as many speaker said during the conference: Peak Oil will not save us from Global Warming, especially not if CTL and tar sands will be used as large-scale substitutes.



Reference to the FAO report:

In addition to COAL....

There are lots of other sources of CO2.

Last week's Drumbeats had stories about CO2 emissions from clear-cutting jungles and bogs to grow palm-oil in Indonesia and Malaysia. The smoke is bad, but as the water table in the bogs falls, they release massive quantities of CO2 - as much in 2005 as nearly one third of the entire US CO2 output!

There are also other GHGs.

Leanan also had stories in the Drumbeat about NO2 from fertilizers, which is 2x more greenhouse intensive than CO2. Enough is sprayed on corn and soybeans for ethanol or biodiesel to make "bio-fuels" a NET greenhouse contributor.

There are worries about thawing permafrost methane and ocean-based methane (clathrates?). There are lots of industrial solvents that are much more potent than C02.

The editors and staff debated whether or not to run the ad. On one hand, Lomborg's attempt to "muddy the waters" in the discussion on climate change can be seen as counter-productive to goals of The Oil Drum. On the other hand, a policy that separates editorial and advertising decisions can prevent advertisers from unduly influencing our content

I hope you keep debating. Most will take the ad as a tacit endorsement of the book's content by TOD.

Most will take the ad as a tacit endorsement of the book's content by TOD.

I don't agree. Right now, The New York Times website is running an ad for the Infiniti G Coupe. Do people come away with the impression that the Times "endorses" the car?

If we reject ads based on their content, then the ads we do run can be seen as endorsements. But if we run every ad that's submitted to us, it is impossible to discern which products we endorse and which we don't.

Much more likely it would be seen as Lomborg endorsing the content of TOD as the fear is always that advertisers control the content of their media outlets not that the outlets endorse their advertisers.

If ExxonMobil wants to support TOD, by all means let's let them since it could be taken as an implicit endorsement of the view that global oil production has already peaked, espoused by so many of us here.

: )


I don't agree. Right now, The New York Times website is running an ad for the Infiniti G Coupe. Do people come away with the impression that the Times "endorses" the car?

If we reject ads based on their content, then the ads we do run can be seen as endorsements. But if we run every ad that's submitted to us, it is impossible to discern which products we endorse and which we don't.

People understand that newspapers sell ads to anyone as their funding mechanism. They don't necessarily understand that about websites like TOD. Indeed, I had assumed until now that TOD did have standards.

And what's wrong with endorsing quality stuff?

If, indeed, TOD runs every ad that is submitted, you have a valid point. So are there no standards whatsoever? And if there aren't, why is this string even posted? Certainly not for the majority of folks who will never read it.

That queasy feeling may be a bad burrito, or maybe there actually should be standards and TOD staff kinda realizes that.... I'm just guessing.

Credibility is a fragile thing.

And what's wrong with endorsing quality stuff?

There's nothing wrong with endorsing quality stuff. You can find our endorsements of good ideas and products in the center column of the page—not the left column.

...why is this string even posted?

I posted the editor's note to clarify our policy on advertisements.

I can see why this is a hot potato, but as long as the ad gives a fair summary of what it is advertising - the 2 review quotes give me that summary OK - then I say keep it. If the ad said "this contains the truth about GW" then I would object. I welcome any skeptical environmentalists, and their guide. I wont buy it or read it.

If he is saying that there is lot of hype, hand-wringing and political rhetoric that will mean we do nothing useful in the end to affect the outcome, then I don't need to read it because I think that already.

And one of the two review quotes is from none other than the National Review. I think that suffices to give (hopefully) most people an idea of what a political piece of cr*p the book is; little to do with science, or indeed honest research.

When asked, I said that Lomborg was too tendentious and we should not run the ad.  However, taking his money and using it to run negative reviews of his book isn't bad.

Indeed, to make progress in the GW debate you absolutely need books like "Cool It" to debunk, and getting people to buy and read the book is not such a bad thing.

Personally, I never feel comfortable in a conclusion until I have thoroughly considered the best the opposing group has to say about the matter. Otherwise, I am quite liable to be just believing someone telling me what I already want to believe.

The thing that is so compelling about the view that Peak Oil has occurred or is imminent is the utter weakness of the best opposing arguements and their supporting data.

Question is -- business / press or not?

Yet, clearly, Lomborg's voice is a seriously counterproductive one in seeking to move toward a more sensible path.

What is frustrating is that the basic question: let us try to figure out real metrics for helping judge investment decisions is one that make sense. By definition, we have limited resources. Investing them soundly, supported by real evidence, is something that we should all support.

Sadly, though, Lomborg is invested in truthiness rather than truth.

None on the reviewers has come up with a single fault made by Lomborg. This will give many people the feeling that GW is an issue of belief rather than facts, hence 1-0 to Lomborg...

Huh? How is ignoring the bits of a report that say the opposite of what you claim (using other bits of that report) not a "fault"?

You are my friend, talking horse manure. Consider:

But from here, Lomborg grows increasingly misleading. Before long, we find him citing a late 2006 statement from the World Meteorological Organization as representative of the current scientific consensus on the relationship between hurricanes and global warming. There's nothing wrong with the statement itself, but Lomborg reduces its ten points down to only three--all of which cut in Lomborg's ideological favor--while failing to share the rest of what we know with his readers. In fact, read in full, the statement outlines a number of ways global warming should worsen hurricane impacts that are a matter of consensus (to say nothing of potentially larger magnitude changes that are still debated but that may well be happening). Consider these two "consensus" points that Lomborg completely omits:

Chris Mooney

The IPCC report, to put it bluntly, eviscerates Lomborg's argument; maybe that's why he devotes but a single paragraph to it in the book, scoffing at "several commentators" who called the estimated reduction of 3 percent by 2030 "negligible."

Bill McKibben

Global warming is not as bad as it's made out to be, argues Bjørn Lomborg. But he cherry-picks evidence to manufacture a scientific and economic consensus that doesn't exist.


You must not have read the same reviews as I did.

Clearly you are not reading and assimilating the reviews.

They all give Lomborg some form of credit and then rip him to shreds (quite politely) for playing fast and loose with the evidence.

For more direct assault and trashing, you could check out: Putting the Heat on Lomborg: http://www.postcarbon.org/putting_the_heat_on_lomborg

I never got involved in the email debate about whether or not this add should be run - but I agree in principal that it should be run and an objective debate by those who have read the book should follow. I've not read the book so cannot comment.

However, at ASPO 6 in Cork, Pierre-René Bauquis showed this slide. I'd never seen the O2/N2 data before. And none of those I've spoken to since are familiar with this data.

The decline of O2/N2 provides a direct link to rising CO2 being caused by burning fossil solar fuels (as opposed to warming causing CO2 to be expelled from ocean water and clathrates). The reference is given simply as R. Keeling SIO. Anyone got a source reference link for this work?

http://bluemoon.ucsd.edu/publications/ralph/ contains PDFs of his papers. The O2 balance one gets into the O2/N2 ratio as a marker for fossil fuel CO2 production.

SIO probably stands for Scripps Institute of Oceanography, and R. Keeling probably means this guy.

I suspect that you're not looking at data from a peer-reviewed publication, but information privately communicated.

This makes it sound like it's BS, which it is not.

I agree that the data is highly unlikely to be BS.

What I'm trying to communicate is that there isn't an easily cited publication somewhere that you can point to where this data has all been published -- the last few years don't appear to have made it to publication yet.

If somebody wants the raw data, the only way to get it is is probably to email Ralph Keeling.

Wrong Keeling, though son of the correct Keeling. The Keeling responsible for the Keeling Curve was Charles David Keeling (April 20, 1928 - June 20, 2005)who began to collect samples of the atmosphere from the Earth's surface in remote locations in California including Big Sur and the White Mountains. Keeling was the first to scientifically validate, and it was excellent science, that the concentration of C02 in the atmosphere was increasing through time. At the urging of Roger Revelle, the same Revelle that inspired Al Gore's mania, Keeling established a sampling station on Mauna Loa in the state of Hawaii. The station on Mauna Loa began operation in 1958 (?), continues to be operational, and is the source of the data set from which the Keeling Curve is derived. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_David_Keeling, or read _Thin Ice: Unlocking the Secrets of Climate in the World's Highest Mountains_ by Mark Bowen, Ph.D. (physics) -- a most excellent book on climate change, the history of relevant climate science, and the challenges of performing field work at +/- 20,000 for weeks on Nevado Huascarán in Province of Yungay-Cordillera Blanca, Peru, and many other equatorial latitude high mountains.

This O2 decline graph http://www.csiro.au/files/mediaRelease/mr1999/OxygenMeasurements.htm
is a few years out of date. It should parallel (O - delta)/N.

From Wikipedia'a article on Lomborg:
"On January 6, 2003 the DCSD reached a decision on the complaints. The ruling was a mixed message, deciding the book to be scientifically dishonest, but Lomborg himself not guilty because of lack of expertise in the fields in question":

Objectively speaking, the publication of the work under consideration is deemed to fall within the concept of scientific dishonesty. ...In view of the subjective requirements made in terms of intent or gross negligence, however, Bjørn Lomborg's publication cannot fall within the bounds of this characterization. Conversely, the publication is deemed clearly contrary to the standards of good scientific practice.


One used to hear that, ignorance is no excuse, yet in Lomborg's case the old maxim seems to have be reversed. Here, ignorance is an excuse.

None of this would matter that much, if the subject of potential runaway climate change and it's consequences weren't so serious. That people of great power and wealth listen to Lomborg and his influence has global reach is both tragic and depressing.

The Danish scientific committe that looked at his publications seem to mean that, though his writings could be defined as 'scientifically dishonest' in a strict and narrow sense; Lomborg himself isn't really 'guilty' of this 'crime' because his articles, books, aren't really science at all, and he isn't a real scientist qualified to work in this field. So, his very 'incompetance' and lack of the relevant, formal, qualifications, means that one can't really expect him to produce proper 'scientific' work, and this kind of absolves him from the charge of malign and blatent dishonesty, because his understanding of the area of study, climate change and global warming, is just so lacking. Wow!

Fundamentally, I don'y regard his writings as science, but journalism, therefore, one cannot apply the same strict standards of peer-review to non-scientific material. What irks me is that so many people think he's 'climate scientist' and give real credence to his statements that they don't deserve.

Personally I don't have anything against him speaking out and expressing his views and scepticism about Al Gore, or global warming, or whether climate change is a positive or negative thing. He's entitled to his views, just like anyone else, just like any other person. I've met truckers in bars that have strong opinions about the global warming hoax too. Only these people don't appear on the front of globally circulated magazines and newspapers and no one thinks they're 'experts' in the field.

Clearly Lomborg has an important role to play in the debate. He's telling the priviliged rulers of the world that everything is going to be allright. That their ideology, prejudices and lifestyles are safe, that basically business can continue as per usual and fundamental change isn't necessary. This must be a great comfort to them. I wonder, do they really believe it?
In private don't they to see that the wheels are starting to fall off the wagon?

Worst, Lomborg is a distraction and a time consuming waste of energy that could be used more productively. I don't believe he really contributes anything positive to the discussion of how we deal with climate change. I wish though he were irrelevant, unfortunately he isn't.

Worst, Lomborg is a distraction and a time consuming waste of energy that could be used more productively. I don't believe he really contributes anything positive to the discussion of how we deal with climate change. I wish though he were irrelevant, unfortunately he isn't.

An intelligent man, who ought to know better, provides intellectual cover for doing nothing against the greatest man-made environmental crisis, ever.

Just as Thabo Mbeki, President of South Africa, has provided legitimacy to the movement questioning the connection between AIDS and the HIV-virus, so Lomborg has provided legitimacy to the 'there is no global warming/ there's nothing we should do about global warming' movement.

An intelligent man, who ought to know better, provides intellectual cover for doing nothing against the greatest man-made environmental crisis, ever.

Er, for what? We don't fully understand climate change, but assuming we did, how much carbon would we actually cut from emissions at any reasonable cost? Kyoto wont be close to enough to even be noticable.

Is climate change occuring? We think so.

Is it anthrpogenic? Probably, but its possible that its a part of a longer term cycle that happened to coincide with industrialization.

Is there anything we can do to mitigate it? No one really knows this. It might be to late to avoid feedback effects and mitigation efforts might be lost in the noise.

Do the cost of mitigation efforts and outweigh potential benifits? Theres no way we can know this. There's lots of rhetoric going on and politicization of this issue but it goes nowhere for policy decisions, or even if any policy decision made will do anything measurable at all.

When he claims that Gore is bordering on hysteria he fails to mention that it is a con job.
Carbon trading is the next bubble and highway robbery at the highest level.
Is just a sample result if you Google Gore-Carbon credits and scam. There are dozens of pages of results.

Right, and if I google Moon Landings-Hoax and NASA I get dozens of pages of results too.

It should be noted that Gore tries to offset his emissions in the best way he can figure out how. Climate change is an evolving science. Our understanding of things are moving very quickly and this is reflected in the volatility of the carbon offset markets. I'm not an expert on US tax structure but if Gore is getting a Tax break because he using offsets to ensure he is not polluting in correlation with his energy consumption then it means the system is working. If some of the offset technology is shown in hindsight to be based on flawed theories then that is the risk of playing the markets but those companies will go bust and the drift towards the best possible science will continue.

It sounds like the books author believes global warming is happening, and there is no question in my mind that it is, even if there are many questions as to exactly why. I have no problems with conservation and reducing ones footprint, even if it turns out to be only a partial solution.

What I'm saying is that there is no way in the world that having, for all practical purposes, the likes of Goldman Sachs controlling carbon trading would lead to good results. And this is the end result of the shysters plan. No doubt in my mind that they intend this to be the next bubble.
They want to give someone in some far away sh*t hole 20 cents and charge you 20 G's for it. LOL.


I've been a member of Oil Drum for a year and this is my first comment since it's in my field (Atmospheric Science). In the 80s and 90s I was involved in the leading edge of the "Global Warming" issue...now more accurately labeled "Climate Change".

I'm still involved to a much lesser degree but communicate occasionally with who I consider some of the top scientists in this field.

I'd like to offer the following basic points...

1.) The Sun-Earth-Atmosphere Energy/Carbon/Hydrologic budget is still poorly understood.

2.) The models used today have little or no skill using proper scientific protocols. Due to physics and error growth problems... these models have not improved appreciably in 15 years and by some measures...have actually become more unstable and in some scenarios...show less skill due to the powerful non-linear processes (mainly H20...the most powerful compound in the universe except for ammonia) .

3.) The IPCC report is inadequate and unbalanced. A key reason...it omits the most powerful greenhouse gas...H20. It also is deficient in other aspects such a land use changes, aerosol feedback issues and some others.

4.) Science is based on data and reproducibility. Not emotion, fear and hype. BTW...just as "Peak Oil" should be (in my view).

5.) The following observational data indicates some questions that need clarification...

* Surface observational data support a warming
anywhere from 1 degree Fahrenheit and almost 2
degrees Fahrenheit with the greatest changes in the
high latitudes consistent with Global Warming
Theory. This SUPPORTS "Global Warming" and
lends credence to "Climate Change" Concerns.

* Three types of long term (27+years) Upper Air
observational Data show little or no cooling at
5,000 to 45,000' AGL (Above Ground Level) NOT
CONSISTENT with Global Warming
. Why is this?
Shouldn't this be strongly researched? To refresh
some basics CO2...it is a strong absorber at 11.5 to
17.5 microns. Using the sound and valid Wein's
Displacement Law (derivative or related to Plank
Law) this is between roughly +20F and -50F. This
is major concern to most serious Climate Folks as
it's not in line with strict theory.

* The Carbon Cycle or increase in CO2 in the
atmosphere measured in ~9 locations worldwide have
shown a remarkably steady increase of ~1-1.5
ppmv/yr for nearly 50 years. Yet, according to
official data the yearly increase of C02 has gone
up 4 to 5 times. Using mass or energy continuity
principles, there should be a change in the rate of
change. Why the discrepancy?

There are many others, but my basic point is its in human nature to want quick answers and one can succumb to hype due to ignorance.

My suggestion is... encourage the highest quality OBJECTIVE research . I've had more than one close friend comment to get research money requires a type of mercenary attitude. THIS IS NOT SCIENCE.

My interest in Peak Oil is two fold...

a.) Our family in Texas in the past (had some oil wells on
our land), plus my brother is in the Financial Energy
Business in Houston Tx.

b.) I'm quite interested in all forms of energy and science
and my geosciences background has led me to this
subject as a concern for several years.

Anyway, hope this helps and please keep up the good work!


I think you need to get back into the field more scientfically. This will help acuaint you with current state of research, at least at a Scientific American lvel.


*) upper atmospheric cooling happens at stratospheric levels, and this has been observed.


*) of course climate models have plenty of water in them. Water vapor is well known and accounted for. Clouds are the tricky ones but still the uncertainty here is now known to not break the big picture in any event.


* Carbon is going into the biosphere and the oceans as well as the atmosphere, not all of it shows up. There are complex geological processes und uncertainties about the sequestration, as you say the overall budget it not completely understood. But this is somewhat irrelevant for the bottom line: isotopic analysis of the carbon in the atmosphere leaves no doubt the excess is due to human emissions of previously fossilized carbon.

* The actual physics of CO2 and other greenhouse absorption at upper stratospheric level is more complex than typically explained in elementary textbooks. There are issues with doppler line broadening at low pressures etc, but they have been all resolved. Direct in situ measurements of the radiation budget --- by aircraft, balloon and spacecraft have been ongoing for decades and they support fully the predicted changes from atmospheric chemistry.

This isn't directly at your concern, but it was enlightening to me:


I'm still involved daily in my profession, just different applications (more severe weather genre).

If your interested in research, which is my point to begin and end with...I encourage you to look at Climate Science at...


Several of the world's top Climate Scientists have been involved. The data and list of papers are so conclusive (to my points) that the web was retired Sept 1.

RealScience links you refer are not completely accurate, also they misrepresent the USAF data, as I was a lead program manager/scientist in this.

That's the problem, education and letting the data speak correctly for what it does or does not say. Not formulating an opinion beforehand.

I'm more concerned about our credibility 20 to 30 years from now. I deal with the media routinely, and they want "eye catching" sensational type stories. That aggravates the education and information issue.

Ok, Let me see if I get this straight I'm supposed to consider your views completely unbiased and of equal merit to those of scientists whose specialty is Climate Science and are currently engaged in research in this subject? So I guess you can point us to your peer reviewed research in Climate Science?

However by your own words you state that your background is in the geosciences and your family owns or at least has owned oil wells?

In my layman's view that is a bit like accepting the opinion of a neurosurgeon who owns the clinic where one gets tested for prostate cancer. With regards to carcinoma of the prostate, I'd rather have the educated opinion of the proctologist first, if you don't mind.

Granted the Neurosurgeon being an MD might even correctly diagnose a prostate cancer upon occasion but it isn't his explicit specialty, if you get my drift. Plus the fact that he owns the clinic and would possibly benefit financially from a particular diagnosis might make a prospective patient just a wee bit uncomfortable. No? Just sayin.

If your concern for this scientist is monetary motivation then be aware that AGW research for the past 20 years has been $50 BILLION from governments. Combating the dogma of AGW in the same time frame was $18 MILLION.

More and more scientists, including those involved in the IPCC reports and have left, are starting to speak out and supporting the view that AGW is dogma not science.

London, Ont.

No one is ahead of their time, just the rest of humanity is slow to catch on.


You've taken an (overestimate) of all research into climate and weather over the last 20 years, and made it out that that is *all* research into global warming.

There are not more and more scientists questioning global warming, there are fewer and fewer.

I found this comment on the air. Quite true to it.

Let's play loopy logic

So if the USA alone spends $70B PER ANNUM in defence reserach why hasn't it won in Iraq and Afghanistan. Why are Somalia and Zimbabwe the way they are. Why are any terrorists at large?

Surely that's a lot more than climate research at $3B per annum.

How much is spent globally on medical research -so why does malaria and cancer still exist?

How much is spent on paleogeology each year? Surely not necessary - what's that going to do for me?

How much is spent on the Melbourne Cup each year and silly hats?

Stop the nonsense already.

Another comment caught in the air:


They are spending 3 billion euro on the CERN particle accelerator alone in their quest to discover the Graviton, the theoretical particle that enable the gravitational force to exist. Much more will be spent on using and staffing the CERN centre of research.

I'm sure that the discovery of the graviton is of much more use than GW.



This reference is quite typical of RC - no quantification or references. It is well accepted by Climatologists that the GW impact of adding CO2 varies logarithmicly. If you believe the surface instrument average temp. increase, and if you believe that CO2 is the 100% cause of recent warming, we have about o.7 degrees C warming for 100 ppm delta CO2. If we had a linear relationship, adding another 180 ppm to get to doubling of the pre industrial revolution level (if you believe ice core data) we would have an additional 1.3 degress C warming, not the 2 to 5 degrees projected by the more conservative climate models. With a logarithmic relationship, you would have only 0.7 degrees C max. If there are other contributors than CO2, you would have proportionately less temp. increase from added CO2.
If you quantify the CO2 available from published reserve estimates of oil NG and coal, and you use realistic estimates of production rates, you have just enough CO2 to give you that doubling, so we are looking at, worst case, 0.7 degrees C additional warming in this century. There are no scientific papers that support the scary temp. increases > 2 degrees C, only some climate model results.
A few years ago, when I discussed (electronically) the problem of carbon availability with a representative of IIASA, the guys who did the IPCC SRES scenarios, he fell back on resource estimates, not reserve estimates. Peak oilers, by this time, know that resource estimates are 3P or 10% probability estimates. High school students know that adding several 10% probability estimates gives a sum of vanishingly small probability.
Some of you guys who make such certain pronouncements really need to start quantifying things. The SRES are pretty typical of IPCC "science". Apart from the impossibility of the worst estimates, none of them are assigned any probability, leaving the IPCC free to present any scary scenario they wish. LOL. Murray

What if the current surface temperature increase has been suppressed by other factors and what if those factors decrease or come to an end? In the sources I have seen thus far there seems to be some good evidence of a cooling effect from global dimming, and that further, global dimming has been just barely able to keep up with global warming yielding a small net warming trend. Finally, the particulates that support global dimming have lifespans in the atmosphere that are a small fraction of the lifespan of CO2. Thus the concern is that any decline in particulates will exacerbate the warming by an unknown amount.

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." -- Dr. Albert Bartlett
Into the Grey Zone

We can all do "what ifs" till the end of time. Dimming is a new topic since about late 2005 or early 2006, and is still controversial. Solar forcings is a much better researched phenomenon and the "what if" for that one is that the sun seems to be entering a quiescent phase that will lead to global cooling, so the AGW warming, if any, will be welcome.
"What if" the reported average surface instrument temp increase is overstated, especially since ca 1980. The evidence that it is is accumulating rapidly.
Did dimming cause the cooling from ca 1940 to ca 1975? Luisdias has posited WWII aerosols. However there is no evidence to support such a position, no peer reviewed papers, no measurements, no quantification of possible sources. What does seem to be known is that aerosols fall out of the lower atmosphere (as high as they can be launched with conventional bombs) in days, and persist for less than 2 years when launched into the stratosphere by a major volcanic event like Pinatubo which was equivalent to several H bombs. Aerosols are just a convenient plug for the models so they can backcast the cooling that otherwise can't be generated.
Did dimming slow the warming from ca 1975 to ca 2000, or has it only slowed things since mid 1997 (global temp is essentially flat from mid 1997 to mid 2007). If the latter, what is causing the dimmiong? If the former what kicked in about 1997 to strengthen the effect?
What we KNOW is that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, much less important than water vapor, atmospheric concentration of CO2 has been increasing at a slightly accelerating rate since 1958, estimated surface instrument average global temperature increased from ca 1900 to 1940 (continuing a warming trend evident since ca 1700 at the end of the LIA), possibly coinciding with an increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration, declined from ca 1940 to 1975 in spite of increasing CO2, increased again from ca 1975 to 1998 coinciding with increasing CO2, and then went flat for the last decade in spite of increasing CO2. There is no scientific evidence linking CO2 certainly to warming other than the weak logarithmic greenhouse gas effect. There are numerous models that show a relationship, but the models omit more elements of atmospheric complexity than they include (and exclude any solar forcing with the exception of irradiance in some models), they cannot backcast past ca 1900, they cannot forecast next month, and they do generate greatly dissimilar forecasts when fed with the same assumptions of future conditions.
We also KNOW that there are numerous contradictions between AGW theory and measured or estimated data. The most glaring may be that theory says that the troposphere will warm more rapidly than the surface, but estimates of tropospheric warming from satellites, corellated reasonably well with measurements from radiosonde balloons, show slower warming in the troposphere. Of course if the surface warming is overestimated the theory may be validated, but then the warming will be much less dramatic. Also warming should be more pronounced at higher latitudes, but there is no, repeat no, warming in Antarctica except for the peninsula, where the warming is probably caused by ocean currents, not atmospheric CO2. If you review actual temp. plots for the 50 odd GISS stations north of 63, you can also find no convincing evidence that the last decade was warmer then the decade from 1932 to 1942, and more importantly you can find no correlation between warming and CO2 increase. Most of the warming comes from abrupt discontinuities possibly correlated with PDO and NAO switches.
Believe what you will y'all, but be aware that your AGW beliefs are far more conjecture than science.
Also, since Borg is being whacked (probably correctly) for cherry picking his arguments, please note that the RC reference I responded to above also cherry picked the info presented, leaving out any but descriptive material, and not mentioning algorithmic variation, which is quite typical of AGW alarmists. Sauce for the goose?? Murray

"What we KNOW is that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, much less important than water vapor,"

WVP is a feedback gas. The atmospheric concentration only changes as a result of temperature changes. The higher the temperature, the more WVP, which then exerts its own GH effect. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/04/water-vapour-feedb...

Gavin repeatedly states that WVP is a greenhouse gas, the most important GHG, 70%+ of GH effect etc. He also notes that it has a feedback effect, which it clearly does because heating of bodies of water increases evaporation, putting more WVP in the atmosphere, and increasing it's GH impact. Soo?? What are you trying to imply?
Warmer sea water will also hold less CO2, such that warming increases atmospheric CO2, and increases its GH effect. So CO2 is also a feedback gas. The feedback effect of CO2 is much smaller, but so is the GH effect. As usual at RC the CO2 feedback is not mentioned.

No, water does not have a feedback effect, water is a feedback effect. Its concentration only changes as the planet's temperature changes. WVP was at equilibrium in a cooler world. As CO2 increases and temp increases, the atomosphere can hold more WVP. This, in turn, will add to temp changes, but WVP only changes concenration in response to temp changes.
It shouldn't be too hard to figure out, but here is a chart which may help you out.


I have no idea what point you are trying to make, or what you are trying to say. Please put your WVP-AGW connection in simple english for me. Your charts tell me nothing, as they exclude all manner of effects like circulation and clouds. Murray

Let me build upon this simple-minded explanation provided by TOD hero and fellow physiologist, Dr. Roscoe Bartlett.

"Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, a Republican from Maryland and a former scientist, took the opportunity later to teach Mr. Rohrabacher some basic atmospheric chemistry with an analogy. If you have 1,000-pound weights on each side of a seesaw and add 1,000 pounds to one side, it's going to go down, he said. If you have 1,000-pound weights on each side of a seesaw and add 100 pounds to one side, it's still going to go down.

The point Mr. Bartlett was making is that the natural carbon cycle was basically balanced before people started to add billions of tons of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere."


In this case when the CO2 loaded side goes down, temperature goes up. Now, picture a lake next to the seesaw. When the air temperature goes up,it can hold more water, so water will evaporate from the lake, increasing WVP, which then exerts its own influence on temperature.
Absent that change in air temperature, WVP remains fixed.
It's the opposite of pouring cold water in a glass on a hot day and watching water condense. As the air at the interface gets chilled, it can't hold as much water, so it falls out of the air. Some temp change is required to force changes in WVP.

Yes, that's all very obvious but so what? There is disagreement in climatological circles as to whether WVP exerts positive or negative forcing. Other factors being equal more WVP would mean more warming in a vicious positive feedback circle. However nature does not like positive feedback, (and other factors are neither equal or constant). If it did there would never have been the original stability you posit. More WVP in the atmosphere means more clouds, reflecting more sunlight and thus providing negative feedback for cooling. Atmospheric circulation mediates these effects and is little understood and poorly represented in models. There are those who say that the models do an adequate job on circulation, but just watch the weather channel for how far ahead we can forecast a storm track. So we have both positive and negative feedback with a time and location shifting balance and little to no understanding of the dynamics. I still don't get your point, but suspect that there is no point.

My original point? When you said "What we KNOW is that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, much less important than water vapor,", you don't understand, or won't understand, AGW; as somebody said, a stressed denier. As we have seen, molecular water, the partial pressure of water, increases follow temp increases. Its role in climate change is as a feedback, not a forcing.

"However nature does not like positive feedback,"

Huh? Ice/albedo, increasing temp and GHG outgassing from various sinks, childbirth, breast feeding, blood clotting, "Methane bubbling from Siberian thaw lakes as a positive feedback to climate warming..
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v443/n7107/abs/nature05040.html ,
temperature/pressure relationship for gases, ping pong balls on mouse traps aka nuclear chain reaction,etc.

"The ECS includes only "fast feedbacks," which NASA's James Hansen defines as follows:

For example, the air holds more water vapor as temperature rises, which is a positive feedback magnifying the climate response, because water vapor is a greenhouse gas. Other fast feedbacks include changes of clouds, snow cover, and sea ice. It is uncertain whether the cloud feedback is positive or negative, because clouds can increase or decrease in response to climate change. Snow and ice are positive feedbacks because, as they melt, the darker ocean and land absorb more sunlight.
While some Deniers -- like MIT's Richard Lindzen -- have argued that negative feedbacks dominate the climate, all of the evidence points to amplifying feedbacks dominating. That was a key point of Part I of this post; that in the real world, key climate change impacts -- sea-ice loss, ice-sheet melting, temperature, and sea-level rise -- are all either near the top or actually in excess of their values as predicted by the IPCC's climate models. The models are missing key amplifying feedbacks."

Old positive feedback examples in climate change...
"Feedback Loops In Global Climate Change Point To A Very Hot 21st Century
Using deuterium-corrected temperature records for the ice cores, which yield hemispheric rather than local temperature conditions, GCM climate sensitivity, and a mathematical formula for quantifying feedback effects, Torn and Harte calculated the magnitude of the greenhouse gas-temperature feedback on temperature."
So nature has lots of positive feedbacks. What else don't you know?
There is no disagreement about molecular water and its role as a GHG. There haven't been questions about the relationship between temperature and WVP for quite a few years. Where there are still questions... clouds and aerosols.

Hansen's newest on feedback..
As a complement to the Charney climate sensitivity, let us derive the climate sensitivity that applies if these slow feedbacks are allowed to operate: we call this the "long-term" climate sensitivity. We can obtain this "long-term" climate sensitivity from paleoclimate data by finding the scale factor that causes the GHG forcing to match the paleoclimate temperature change as accurately as possible. Figure 4 shows that multiplying the climate forcing due to long-lived GHGs (CO2 + CH4 + N2O) by 3.02°C per W/m2 yields remarkably good agreement with Antarctic temperature. Given that glacial-interglacial global temperature change is about half of Antarctic temperature change, this implies a "long-term" climate sensitivity of ~1.5 W/m2 or about 6°C for doubled CO2.
http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2007/10/1/131321/083 I couldn't help but notice that, while you were predicting a 0.7 degree C change, Hansen is talking 6. I doubt he is the one who doesn't know what he is talking about.

Please see the "surfacestations" site. Hansen's GISS folks can't even do reasonable QA on a network of weather stations. His 6 degrees C comes from models. There are no, repeat no scientific papers that can provide a physical/mathematical derivation for even 2 degrees C additional temp for doubling CO2. See http://www.sipes-houston.org/Presentations/Climate%20Change.pdf pages 44 to 49 for some details on model capabilities.

As for Hansen's 6 degrees C see:CLIMATE SENSITIVITY
"The sensitivity of the climate system to a forcing is commonly expressed in terms of the global mean temperature change that would be expected after a time sufficiently long for both the atmosphere and ocean to come to equilibrium with the change in climate forcing. If there were no climate feedbacks, the response of Earth's mean temperature to a forcing of 4 W/m2 (the forcing for a doubled atmospheric CO2) would be an increase of about 1.2 °C (about 2.2 °F). However, the total climate change is affected not only by the immediate direct forcing, but also by climate “feedbacks” that come into play in response to the forcing."

"As just mentioned, a doubling of the concentration of carbon dioxide (from the pre-Industrial value of 280 parts per million) in the global atmosphere causes a forcing of 4 W/m2. The central value of the climate sensitivity to this change is a global average temperature increase of 3 °C (5.4 °F), but with a range from 1.5 °C to 4.5 °C (2.7 to 8.1 °F) (based on climate system models: see section 4). The central value of 3 °C is an amplification by a factor of 2.5 over the direct effect of 1.2 °C (2.2 °F). Well-documented climate changes during the history of Earth, especially the changes between the last major ice age (20,000 years ago) and the current warm period, imply that the climate sensitivity is near the 3 °C value. However, the true climate sensitivity remains uncertain, in part because it is difficult to model the effect of feedback. In particular, the magnitude and even the sign of the feedback can differ according to the composition, thickness, and altitude of the clouds, and some studies have suggested a lesser climate sensitivity."

Climate Change Science: An Analysis of Some Key Questions, pp 6-7,
Committee on the Science of Climate Change
National Research Council

As for positive feedback, there are clearly lots of elements either positive or negative within a complex system, but clearly one has to look at both. Your view of WVP as a feedback gas would lead to runaway warming which clearly doesn't happen, and for sure the globe has been warmer in the recent past, especially the holocene optimum, without running away. Clearly the system that AGW dominates is self limiting. Selecting only positive feedbacks is typical of AGW folk. You really need to try being both open minded and holistic in your search for arguments. Try some of the skeptics, many of whom are also scientists. One fairly holistic write up that does deal with feedback is: http://www.junkscience.com/Greenhouse/index.html
For the best cut at sound analysis of CO2 forcing that I have found try: http://www.junkscience.com/Greenhouse/What_Watt.html
As for Hansen, I think he is terribly wrong and will be embarrased in the next few years. You may want to go back to some NASA model forecasts from 2000 that have the global temp for 2007 0.3 degrees C warmer than we are experiencing. (I have lost my url but you can do some googling). Hansen has already proven to be off the wall.
No I am not a "stressed denier". I am an objective and holistic student of GW, and find the bulk of the credible evidence relegates "anthropogenic" to a minor role at best.

Just so uninformed readers understand what junk science is, and what junkscidotcom is,...

The term "junk science", as used in political and legal disputes in the United States, brands an advocate's claims about scientific data, research, analyses as spurious. The term generally conveys a pejorative connotation that the advocate is driven by political, ideological, financial, and other unscientific motives....

The term was further popularized by Fox News columnist Steven Milloy, who used it to attack the results of scientific research on global warming, ozone depletion, passive smoking and many other topics. The credibility of Milloy's website junkscience.com, was questioned by Paul D. Thacker, a writer for The New Republic in the wake of evidence that Milloy had received funding from Phillip Morris, RJR Tobacco, and Exxon Mobil. [9][10][11] Following the publication of this article the Cato Institute, which had hosted the junkscience.com site, ceased its association with the site and removed Milloy from its list of adjunct scholars....

[edit] Controversy surrounding use of the phrase "junk science"
John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton of PR Watch argue that the term "junk science" has come to be used to deride scientific findings which stand in the way of short-term corporate profits. In their book Trust Us, We're Experts (2001), they write that industries have launched multi-million-dollar campaigns to position certain theories as "junk science" in the popular mind, often failing to employ the scientific method themselves. For example, the tobacco industry has used the term "junk science" to describe research demonstrating the harmful effects of smoking and second-hand smoke, through the vehicle of various "astroturf groups". Theories more favorable to corporate activities may be praised using the term "sound science".

Edward Herman reported that from 1996 to 1998, there were 8 articles in the mainstream media labeling criticism of corporations or tort claims 'junk science' for every 1 article labeling research sponsored by corporations as such.[12]

In a February 6, 2006 article entitled "Smoked Out: Pundit for Hire", Paul D. Thacker of The New Republic reported that non-profit organizations operated by Fox News "Junk Science" commentator Steven Milloy from his home had received money from ExxonMobil while Milloy attacked research on global warming.[9] Thacker also noted that Milloy was receiving almost $100,000 a year in consulting fees from Philip Morris while he criticized the evidence regarding the hazards of second-hand smoke as "junk science".

Tobacco industry documents reveal that Phillip Morris executives conceived of the "Whitecoat Project" in the 1980s as a response to emerging scientific data on the harmfulness of second-hand smoke.[13] The goal of the Whitecoat Project, as conceived by Philip Morris and other tobacco companies, was to use ostensibly independent "scientific consultants" to spread doubt in the public mind about scientific data through the use of terms such as "junk science".[13]

"Junk science" meant peer-reviewed studies showing that smoking was linked to cancer and other diseases. "Sound science" meant studies sponsored by the tobacco industry suggesting that the link was inconclusive.

The denial industry

For years, a network of fake citizens' groups and bogus scientific bodies has been claiming that science of global warming is inconclusive. They set back action on climate change by a decade. But who funded them? Exxon's involvement is well known, but not the strange role of Big Tobacco. In the first of three extracts from his new book, George Monbiot tells a bizarre and shocking new story

Tuesday September 19, 2006
The Guardian

TASSC, the "coalition" created by Philip Morris, was the first and most important of the corporate-funded organisations denying that climate change is taking place. It has done more damage to the campaign to halt it than any other body.

TASSC did as its founders at APCO suggested, and sought funding from other sources. Between 2000 and 2002 it received $30,000 from Exxon. The website it has financed - JunkScience.com - has been the main entrepot for almost every kind of climate-change denial that has found its way into the mainstream press. It equates environmentalists with Nazis, communists and terrorists. It flings at us the accusations that could justifably be levelled against itself: the website claims, for example, that it is campaigning against "faulty scientific data and analysis used to advance special and, often, hidden agendas". I have lost count of the number of correspondents who, while questioning manmade global warming, have pointed me there.

The man who runs it is called Steve Milloy. In 1992, he started working for APCO - Philip Morris's consultants. While there, he set up the JunkScience site. In March 1997, the documents show, he was appointed TASSC's executive director. By 1998, as he explained in a memo to TASSC board members, his JunkScience website was was being funded by TASSC. Both he and the "coalition" continued to receive money from Philip Morris. An internal document dated February 1998 reveals that TASSC took $200,000 from the tobacco company in 1997. Philip Morris's 2001 budget document records a payment to Steven Milloy of $90,000. Altria, Philip Morris's parent company, admits that Milloy was under contract to the tobacco firm until at least the end of 2005.

He has done well. You can find his name attached to letters and articles seeking to discredit passive-smoking studies all over the internet and in the academic databases. He has even managed to reach the British Medical Journal: I found a letter from him there which claimed that the studies it had reported "do not bear out the hypothesis that maternal smoking/ passive smoking increases cancer risk among infants". TASSC paid him $126,000 in 2004 for 15 hours' work a week. Two other organisations are registered at his address: the Free Enterprise Education Institute and the Free Enterprise Action Institute. They have received $10,000 and $50,000 respectively from Exxon. The secretary of the Free Enterprise Action Institute is Thomas Borelli. Borelli was the Philip Morris executive who oversaw the payments to TASSC.

Milloy also writes a weekly Junk Science column for the Fox News website. Without declaring his interests, he has used this column to pour scorn on studies documenting the medical effects of second-hand tobacco smoke and showing that climate change is taking place. Even after Fox News was told about the money he had been receiving from Philip Morris and Exxon, it continued to employ him, without informing its readers about his interests.

TASSC's headed notepaper names an advisory board of eight people. Three of them are listed by Exxonsecrets.org as working for organisations taking money from Exxon. One of them is Frederick Seitz, the man who wrote the Oregon Petition, and who chairs the Science and Environmental Policy Project. In 1979, Seitz became a permanent consultant to the tobacco company RJ Reynolds. He worked for the firm until at least 1987, for an annual fee of $65,000. He was in charge of deciding which medical research projects the company should fund, and handed out millions of dollars a year to American universities. The purpose of this funding, a memo from the chairman of RJ Reynolds shows, was to "refute the criticisms against cigarettes". An undated note in the Philip Morris archive shows that it was planning a "Seitz symposium" with the help of TASSC, in which Frederick Seitz would speak to "40-60 regulators".

I don't care where Milloy gats his money, or what his view on smoking is. Just refute his positions on GW with equally good science and references. When you can't deal with the message, attack the messenger- great!
FYI I'm a democrat who detests eg The Cato Institute, but they sometimes get it right too.
Please do equal research on the funding and resulting motivation of IPCC contributors, especially the ones who won't release data and/or code.

Learn to check your own sources, especially what real climate scientists might be saying about denialists.

No. Milloy has been shown to be intentionally deceptive. If you wish to present any argument he has used you must do so ab initio and acknowledge that you are following a tainted source.

On releasing data and code, publication gives both data and methods. If you are too lazy to write your own code, then you are out of luck. Independent analysis means just that. Raw data are generally available and you need to go to the source, often the library. If, after making the effort, you cannot reproduce the result, you may ask for assistance in finding your error. If it cannot be found, then the original analysis may be examined. You simply expose your ignorance of science to raise this. By following this line you show yourself to be duped by people who are not making inquiries in good faith. I don't know how much you have personally invested in being a patsy for this sort of thing but I suggest you examine this question seriously. Given that you attack Hansen's character, while complaining about a needed exposition of the clearly dishonest behavior of Milloy, I fear that you will not like what you find in your self-examination since you may already have crossed the line from being a dupe to a participant in deception.


Oh, and Hansen off the wall? He has the best record.
(Try this one on us..."the discredited hockey stick". LMAO)

In the original 1988 paper, three different SCENARIOs were used A, B, and C. They consisted of hypothesised future concentrations of the main greenhouse gases - CO2, CH4, CFCs etc. together with a few scattered volcanic eruptions. The details varied for each SCENARIO, but the net effect of all the changes was that SCENARIO A assumed exponential growth in forcings, SCENARIO B was roughly a linear increase in forcings, and SCENARIO C was similar to B, but had close to constant forcings from 2000 onwards. SCENARIO B and C had an 'El Chichon' sized volcanic eruption in 1995. Essentially, a high, middle and low estimate were chosen to bracket the set of possibilities. HANSEN specifically stated that he thought the middle SCENARIO (B) the "most plausible"....
How can we tell how successful the projections were?

Firstly, since the projected forcings started in 1984, that should be the starting year for any analysis, giving us just over two decades of comparison with the real world....

Regardless of which variation one chooses, the SCENARIO closest to the observations is clearly SCENARIO B. The difference in SCENARIO B compared to any of the variations is around 0.1 W/m2 - around a 10% overestimate (compared to > 50% overestimate for SCENARIO A, and a > 25% underestimate for SCENARIO C). The overestimate in B compared to the best estimate of the total forcings is more like 5%. Given the uncertainties in the observed forcings, this is about as good as can be reasonably expected. As an aside, the match without including the efficacy factors is even better....

The bottom line? SCENARIO B is pretty close and certainly well within the error estimates of the real world changes. And if you factor in the 5 to 10% overestimate of the forcings in a simple way, SCENARIO B would be right in the middle of the observed trends. It is certainly close enough to provide confidence that the model is capable of matching the global mean temperature rise!

But can we say that this proves the model is correct? Not quite. Look at the difference between SCENARIO B and C. Despite the large difference in forcings in the later years, the long term trend over that same period is similar. The implication is that over a short period, the weather noise can mask significant differences in the forced component. This version of the model had a climate sensitivity was around 4 deg C for a doubling of CO2. This is a little higher than what would be our best guess (~3 deg C) based on observations, but is within the standard range (2 to 4.5 deg C). Is this 20 year trend sufficient to determine whether the model sensitivity was too high? No. Given the noise level, a trend 75% as large, would still be within the error bars of the observation (i.e. 0.18+/-0.05), assuming the transient trend would scale linearly. Maybe with another 10 years of data, this distinction will be possible. However, a model with a very low sensitivity, say 1 deg C, would have fallen well below the observed trends.

HANSEN stated that this comparison was not sufficient for a 'precise assessment' of the model simulations and he is of course correct. However, that does not imply that no assessment can be made, or that stated errors in the projections (themselves erroneous) of 100 to 400% can't be challenged. My assessment is that the model results were as consistent with the real world over this period as could possibly be expected and are therefore a useful demonstration of the model's consistency with the real world. Thus when asked whether any climate model forecasts ahead of time have proven accurate, this comes as close as you get.

Just to note that the result regarding climate sensitivity 1.5 C/(W/m^2) is an observed value and has been published in Philospohical Transactions of the Royal Society A. The caveat to its applicability is that there was a large abedo feedback at the time and we have less ice surface area today. It is a very neat analysis and the broader implications of this paper are quite important. To me, the most important thing is that they suggest that sequestration out of the atmosphere may be needed.


More WVP in the atmosphere means more clouds, reflecting more sunlight and thus providing negative feedback for cooling.

No, it does not.  For clouds to form, the relative humidity must hit 100%.  If there is enough heat trapped by water and other greehhouse gases, the RH can remain below 100% even with greater amounts of water vapor in the atmosphere.  Things remain cloudless despite more water in the air.  One summer in the Carolinas should be enough to drive that point home.

The rest of your talking points are just as baseless, tendentious or just plain wrong as that one.  Take this:

Your view of WVP as a feedback gas would lead to runaway warming....

Again, no it does not.  It leads to a higher equilibrium, not a total runaway.  Even Venus (perhaps the best example we have) did not continue heating indefinitely.  The question is what things will be like, and if they'll be good for us.  "Better than Venus" is not a very inspiring answer.

Even Venus (perhaps the best example we have) did not continue heating indefinitely. snip
And you talk about tedentious. Any thing that stabilizes at 10% of Venus would be runaway enough for me. And Venus is in no way a model for Earth for a plethora of reasons. It's just another scare tactic. (Raspberry!!!)
Your Carolinas example is just another example of a partial system. If you consider WVP as a feedback only, with constantly rising temp. always staying ahead of RH, then we could evaporate all of the water possible until all of the atmosphere available was saturated at the highest possible temperature. Nonsense. Circulation always mediates the syatem, clouds always form, and the issue of WVP as positive (due to evaporatin) or negative (due to cloud formation) forcing is still not settled..

There is indeed some level of solar input which will allow the oceans to evaporate completely.  The Sun will be that bright in perhaps 5 billion years, but not now.

The point you deliberately (and obviously maliciously) try to evade and obscure is that the presence of water amplifies the effects of changes in other greenhouse gases.  There is no longer any legitimate question to this.  The effect of an increase in water vapor is not strong enough to create a runaway loop, but amplifiers increase the level of a signal without going to their limits either.

Decided to google global dimming and came up with the following curve. comments are mine.
Anthropogenic Global Dimming!

From: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2007/aerosol_dimming.html

Sorry, the curve didn't copy, but you can see it at the above url.

Lower atmospheric aerosols related to “global dimming. Apparently global dimming was detected in the 1960s,’70s,’80s and then reversed at the beginning of the 1990s. Apart from Pinatubo, aerosols seem to have peaked about 1989, assuming they were growing pre-El Chichon. Assuming that there was dimming, and that it was caused by anthropogenic aerosols, it seems possible that the collapse of the FSU, followed by the Clean Air Act in the USA could have been the key to reversal of the trend. If that were the case, the severe Indonesian forest fires in the late ‘90s and the rapid industrialization of China, apparently accompanied by unprecedented pollution, should have led to renewed dimming in the last 10 years. That seems not to have happened.
Alarmists have posited that global dimming from anthropogenic aerosols reduced the warming that might have been expected, some implying that dimming may have prevented catastrophic warming. Why then did a reversal of dimming lead to the flattening of warming in the last 10 years? If the blocking theory were correct we should have seen an acceleration of warming instead. Another example of AGW “science”.

Not quite sure what you mean.

Rising temperatures.

Reduced dimming.

You can see both volcanic events in the temperature data. Most of the temperature rise is owing to greenhouse gasses though a portion of the recent rise could be owing to this effect. There does not seem to be any recent flattening as you claim.

Hope this helps clear things up.


I don't know where you picked that temp. curve from, and I don't have time just now to steer you to 3 others that tell a different story. The recent admission by NASA that the GISS temp since 2000 was in error, and the restoration of 1934 as the warmest year in the last century certainly does not come from your curve. Also "8 of the warmest years of the last century were in the last decade" dropped to 3 of the warmest years. Also see HADCRUT3 temps. Also see satellite troposphere temps. All show little to no trend in the last decade.

We have a stressed WGA denier in the room.

Don't be too disappointed if we don't repply you with the best counter-proofs we should have, because this, really, is not my main concern, and I bet this is not the major concern of the people in here.

So, you're playing the devil's advocate in probably the wrong place. If you're going to nitpick very precise and miniscule data possible, I don't think I'm able to answer you.

Because I don't really care that much.

I trust the scientists more than I trust your doubts, because I can't think of all those problems on my own. I must leave it to the experts, there's always something that I will miss, something I will error, something you tell me that will not be the case, etc.

Too much work, I don't care. Trust the scientists.

And if you're telling me that I'm being naive, I'll ask you who's the greatest naive: one who believes in what a scientist tells you, or one who believes in what a novelist tells you?

For last, I have the greatest filter of truth. If Bush says GW is wrong, then it surely must be right. It's flawless.

"Trust the scientists."

Then you have a problem, as 50% of meteriologist doubt the AGW alarmism. Many more prominent scientists, including those that wrote part of the IPCC report, have backed off saying the IPCC is political not scientific and its models are way off. You know their claim of "2500 top scientists"? Well, turns out that most of those 2500 are computer technicians not PhDs at all, and many on the list no longer support the IPCC report and some sued the IPCC to have their names removed.

The "consensus" is a media invention, there is no scientific consensus on AGW Theory, and anyone who claims the sience is settled on AGW is in the relm of DOGMA not science. Nothing in science is settled, especially long term climate science.

London, Ont.

No one is ahead of their time, just the rest of humanity is slow to catch on.

Stop lying. Where's your source on that stupid claim of yours?

I've only noticed a FUD note going around claiming that only 45% of scientists acknowledged the consensus, with 38% more of them just going through the debate without a word on it.

Only 7% of scientists questioned the consensus (not the theory).

The "consensus" is the correct political interpreteation of current affairs in GW, though a bit pushed over the line.

And this idiocy about "dogma"... has everyone mentioned "dogmas"? Interesting. Everytime science comes with hard facts like GW, which indicate that we better change our lifestyles, bam, someone comes with a "dogma" critic.

Wise up already.

You'll notice that the figures include both versions. The corrections do not affect trends. Perhaps you are a victim of misleading reporting?


"This reference is quite typical of RC - no quantification or references."

If I give you an apple, could I do your homework for you?

links from...


ATMOSPHERE: Global Change in the Upper Atmosphere
Laštovička et al.
Science 24 November 2006: 1253-1254
DOI: 10.1126/science.1135134

Southern hemisphere observations of a long-term decrease in F region altitude and thermospheric wind providing possible evidence for global thermospheric cooling

M. J. Jarvis




Go Bears

If the scientists tell us that we have to stabilize CO2 at 450ppm , why are you so sanguine with 560?

In your point 5, you raise three concerns. The first one, that warming has been observed with polar amplification seems as though it is not a concern since this is expected from global warming.

The second concern, that the thermal balance in the atmosphere does not seem in accord with global warming may have been addressed by Lastovicka et al. (2006). They say:

"The primary quantity directly affected by the changing concentration of greenhouse gases is temperature. The first comprehensive review of temperature trends at heights of about 50 to 100 km (6) reveals, after slight updating, the following trends: (i) moderate negative trends of about 2 to 3 K per decade at heights of 50 to 70 km, with the largest magnitude in the tropics; (ii) slightly larger cooling trends at heights of 70 to 80 km in the low and middle latitudes; (iii) essentially zero temperature trends between 80 and 100 km. Modeling studies agree reasonably well with the observed vertical and latitudinal structure of the thermal response (3)."

Your third concern, that there is no acceleration in the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration in response to accelerated emissions does not seem to me to be correct. Working with published numbers I see the rate of increase increasing possibly like time to the power of time. This would be a stronger function than the rate at which emissions increase and might indicate onset of saturation in some carbon sinks or the beginning of a carbon source runaway. The particular functional form of the acceleration is not well constrained yet, but a faster than exponetial increase is not ruled out and would put us in the regime of dangerous climate change much sooner than other projections might. I would say that the concern should be centered on understanding this acceleration.

Hope this helps.


Mauna Loa measurements of the annual change in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (thin solid line) together with fossil fuel emissions (thick solid line) and various extrapolations. A linear extraoplation (short-dashed line) reaches dangerous climate change (450 ppm) near the year 2035 (where the line thickens). This and the exponetial extrapolation (dot-dashed line) are fits minimizing Chi^2 in linear are log space respectively. The other two lines attempt to match these at the begining and end of the measurments. They have the funtional form of time to the power of time (triple-dot-dashed line) and a Gaussian (long-dashed line). The data point for 2007 is a guestimate.

I put this together because I realized that the other link above is a bit old and based in part on press reports. These data come from this link. I've also added EIA emissions data as the thick solid line. Usually, we add more carbon dioxide than remains in the atmosphere. A portion that does not remain increases the acidity of the oceans. As can be seen, a number of funtional forms for the acceleration of rate of increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are allowed. It is important to remember that this is a rate plot. All numbers above zero represent an increase in the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. Simply reducing the rate of increase does not avoid dangerous climate, it only delays it as can be seen in the thickening of the Gaussian extrapolation. The figure is a little large for display. Click on it to get details.


Super G

I have to disagree with your statement "On the other hand, a policy that separates editorial and advertising decisions can prevent advertisers from unduly influencing our content." Unless there are two determiners of what appears on TOD, advertisers on advertising and editorial staff on content, I don't see how the editorial staff can be influenced by advertisers (except in the normal economic sense). A single editorial board that makes decisions on both content and advertising hopefully can resist undue influence and simply make decisions on advertising the same way it makes decisions on content: appropriateness to the goal of the site.

This is not to say that there aren't many legitimate rationales for running the ad (raising revenue to allow the site to operate, stimulating discussion as you did here, etc.), but the rationale of allowing most ads simply to prevent undue influence by advertisers doesn't seem reasonable.

Washington, DC

Denial is a common and understandable reaction to news of impending sickness and death. Any psychologist worth his/her salt knows that its underlying cause is fear. We can reasonably surmise that Lomborg is simply expressing his fear in the only way he knows how, by attempting to fight off the harsh realities of climate change and all that it portends for human populations with another version of reality painted by his own imagination to protect him from facing the difficult and highly inconvenient truths our planet is communicating to us. The messages are clear; the messengers attempting to spread them to those with enough power, money, and clout to avert disaster are just doing their job. Some of us have hearts and minds big enough and strong enough to take it all in and assess next steps. Some of us, understandably, lock into a "fight-or-flight" response mode because we simply can't address the new information rationally and reasonably. We have all experienced this reaction at one time or another in our lives. So when we witness our fellow humans fighting back with false arguments or taking flight from reality in order to cope with the gravity of this Earth-shattering news, we can recognize and even empathize with the response, after all, global warming is scary stuff. Those of who "can handle the truth" have a responsibility to those who cannot. Rather than seeing this as a battle of the facts in the terrain of the head, we could begin to view it as a struggle of acceptance, in the terrain of the heart. Lomborg has company in a long line (growing shorter by the day however) of so-called "skeptics," not all of whom were paid by Exxon to gum up the green revolution to protect fossil-based corporate profits. Perhaps it is time for those of us who "get it" to turn to Lomborg and his ilk, give them a big proverbial hug, and say to them, "It's OK, don't be afraid, we will help you, we can do this, if only we put our heads -- and our hearts -- together."

Just a short reaction to the hand wringing over the Lomborg advert on the left of the TOD page. The real question is: why are we (and others) discussing the book by such a crackpot at all. You see in the first paragraph of the review not only that but why Lomborg has no intention of either objectivity or consistency. And that tells you perhaps why we are discussing his book. Most books by crackpots get ignored. His doesn't. The reason, of course, is the size of the budget with which author and book(s) are promoted by the people whose favourite speaker this author is.

You don't really have to look further than that.


In my opinion this site has no shortage of crackpots positing from either the left or right. To limit the comments on this site to just the lefty nutjobs would satisfy the overly belligerent posters on this site but would further unbalance the discussions. I am concerned by the increasing number of members that no longer post due to the constant barrage of posts by the opinion police on this site IMHO they have damaged the discourse on this site. They inundate us each day with their political spew with limited relevance to the sites primary mission Peak Oil.... I also seem to remember adds for the Inconvient Truth and Crude Awakening on this site I would characterize each of those efforts as having a propaganda agenda beyond the facts of their subject matter. In that vein they are not different from Mr. Lombergs perspectives.
I find it unsettling that a large number of posters screech about anyone disagreeing with their POV. They rant about the intolerance of the opposing viewpoint but time and time again demonstrate their intolerance is just as arrogant perhaps even greater. Censorship should not warranted if your convictions are so threatened by someone else's perspective then grow some thicker skin or spend you time on a site where dissent is not tolerated and you can float along in those constant states of supreme mental masturbation know as delusion and denial. As far as allowing the add for Cool It no problemo go for it.

Missing the point, I think.

Lomborg is asking a great question, positing an important challenge: Let us use metrics, data, facts to support choices as to investing our (by definition) limited resources. That is a great question and positing.

Sadly, Lomborg states true things but is not truthful in this book, selectively citing evidence to support his truthiness when not including material from literally the same page of cited work that is fundamentally at odds with his thesis.

In addition, the question becomes for those embracing Lomborg: will the same test be put against other things. Where is the best $ spent on energy? Efficiency or subsidizing new oil? Etc ...

The real question is: why are we (and others) discussing the book by such a crackpot at all.

Same reason we spent some time discussing Duncan Clarke's (The Battle For Barrels) book/open letter here and the CERA reports. We need to be aware of the whole debate, know not only our position but also that of those who disagree. Many people agree with Lomborg, to have any chance of swaying their opinion we need to be aware of what he's saying.

We need to be aware of the whole debate, know not only our position but also that of those who disagree.

I agree with you 100%, but would add that we don't even need to agree with each other, in fact it is far better that we don't.

John Steward Mill probably gave the best explanation of the value of listening to all opinions and censoring none:


On Liberty involves an impassioned defense of free speech. Mill argues that free discourse is a necessary condition for intellectual and social progress. We can never be sure, he contends, that a silenced opinion does not contain some element of the truth. He also argues that allowing people to air false opinions is productive for two reasons. First, individuals are more likely to abandon erroneous beliefs if they are engaged in an open exchange of ideas. Second, by forcing other individuals to re-examine and re-affirm their beliefs in the process of debate, these beliefs are kept from declining into mere dogma. It is not enough for Mill that one simply has an unexamined belief that happens to be true; one must understand why the belief in question is the true one.

Mill's states the harm principle in Chapter 1 of On Liberty:

“ The sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinion of others, to do so would be wise, or even right...The only part of the conduct of anyone, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.

For lots more background on Lomborg, including the controversy over his previous best-seller, The Skeptical Environmentalist, check about Putting the Heat on Lomborg, a project of the Post Carbon Institute. Add your own comments, and contribute to the FAQ on Lomborg's errors, misquotes, and selected evidence. PHL also reports on how Lomborg befuddles the mainstream media with his claim of standing "between" two competing groups of "extremists."

I was quite surprised to see the book advertised on this site, particularly as there's no obvious "roasting" on the advertisement itself. Still, it's better that depletionists do know about the existence of this book.

I remember flicking through "The Skeptical Environmentalist" a few years ago, and laughing my head off when I saw his projection for oil to remain at $30/brl. Cretin!

There are two separate issues in this post : One, a general question on the ethics of using editorial power to allow advertisements that support the publication's point of view. Second, a debate about the virtues and defects of Lomborg's book.

On the first one, I think most people agree that in open-debate publications, everybody is better off if ideological bias are eliminated from the selection of advertisements. Kudos, then, for TOD's staff for advertising "Cool It".

On the second issue, I would like first to summarize my understanding of Lomborg's point of view :

1. Global warming is real, and people are a major cause.

2. When considering the problems that global warming will cause, we shouldn't ignore the benefits of global warming, such as fewer deaths from cold.

3. The oceans rose a foot in the last hundred years, and the world adapted, so the additional rise from global warming might not be as big a problem as people assume.

4. Developing economical fossil fuel alternatives is the only rational solution to global warming because countries such as China and India will use the cheapest fuel, period. If only the developed countries who can afford alternatives change their ways, it’s not enough to make a dent in the problem.

I believe this is a nice summary of Lomborg's general position and thinking (although it is not my summary - I actually copy-pasted it from here : http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_blog/2007/09/on-the-other-ha.... ).

The only possible debate on point 1 is if Lomborg actually said so. Well, he did, and if you disagree then you should read his book again or watch any of his interviews before posting.

Point 2, if taken purely as an economic argument, makes perfect sense. The fact that the negative effects are much higher than the positive ones does not invalidate the point, altough it makes it less relevant (again, in pure economic terms).
However, the real strength of the point is psychological : acknowledging that Global Warming can have even one positive aspect seems abherrant. It is akin to recognizing that Hitler built thousands of schools and brought prosperity to Germany, or that terrorists may actually be great parents. Yes, it is true, but it produces an extremely uncomfortable feeling.
After all, we are emotional creatures. A computer or Mr.Spock may find it stupid that human brains are not wired to even consider the positives of a subject when the negatives are too large. But it is our software and we have to live with it.
The corolary is that Lomborg's point is rational, but since we are emotional creatures, it is normal to feel unease about it and reject the whole argument out of it.

Point 3 has also a similar rational/emotional aspect to it, although the key word is MIGHT. Both points 2 and 3 would be better debated in human psychology forums than in TOD or in other scientific/technical forums.

It is the last point (4) the one that touches closest to TOD's expertise. Being from a developing country, I know from personal experience that price is often the ONLY determining factor when choosing anything. The question for me is if technology is going to develop fast enough to bring the cost of alternative energy down enough to catch up with current energy prices or if it will be the energy price which will increase and catch up with the cost of technology. There is obviously no answer to this, but TOD makes a respectable job at aggregating the relevant available information.

As soon as I heard that the "science is settled" that no one now need to debate the human causation for global warming, I knew immediately that the "consensus" was in trouble.

Nothing in science is settled. AGW is a THOERY and all theories in science need to be tested, scrutinized and above all open to reinterpretation, and must be FALSEFIABLE.

But that is not what has happened. It has become highly politizied to the point that "deniers" of AGW are equated with holocost deniers. This is not science, but DOGMA!!

There is mounting evidence that CO2 is not the cause of this warming trend, but only more evidence will show that to be true or not. The bottom line is that there MUST be researched more, but stiffled which is what is happening.

There is no evidence that supports "end of the world" hype and alarmism that has gripped the media spilling into the public. The past has been much warmer and better off, CO2 levels in the geological past were 3-4 TIMES higher than today. The rate of sea level has been constant for the past 100 years of 4"/100 years, there is no "hockey stick" to that rate as one would expect.

Second, some of the solutions to combat GW, such as carbon sequestering, should be directly at odds with peak oil prepardness. If CO2 is not the cause of this warm tend, then pouring billions into sequestering CO2 underground is money that could be spent on other PO prepardness.

It also take away the awarness of PO. Once AGW is shown to have been all hype with no substance and discredited (which it will in time), then when the public gets the warning of PO and the alarmism for that, they will just ignore it as another fallicy. That is dangerous.

Third, the IPCC report of 2007 notes that there is no GW noise in the hurricane data. That is, the IPCC itself makes no connection between the current warming trend and hurricane intensity. Here we are second year in a row of dire hurricane warnings and it's been a flop.

London, Ont.
an AGW SKEPTIC! As all should be who understand how science works.

No one is ahead of their time, just the rest of humanity is slow to catch on.


You seem to have been provided with false information. The current rate of sea level rise is 13 inches/century.

Also, based on the IPCC assumptions, sea level rise would lag warming since it depends on ocean mixing for the portion of the rise owing to thermal expansion and on millennal timescales for ice sheet melting. In fact, it is looking more and more as though the second assumption is flawed and we may see 5 meters of sea level rise this century owing to rapid destruction of ice sheets.

On your second point, I think actually that the cost of sequestration is going to lead to much lower cost renewable energy, so that it will play an important virtual role.

On your contention that there is mounting evidence that cabon dioxide is not the cause of the warming trend, you are on pretty thin ice. There are recurrent challenges which pretty rapidly collapse of their own clumsiness. This does not mount up to much in the way of evidence.

Don't count you hurricanes before they hatch. There have been 12 named storms in the Atlantic so far compared with 19 at this time in 2005, but 2005 still had 8 more to go so we may still see something. This season is already ahead of 2006 and matches 2002.


Third, the IPCC report of 2007 notes that there is no GW noise in the hurricane data. That is, the IPCC itself makes no connection between the current warming trend and hurricane intensity. Here we are second year in a row of dire hurricane warnings and it's been a flop.

Actually, we had one of the 10 strongest hurricanes ever recorded, landfall in Central America.

I live on Planet Earth. What planet do you live on, that didn't have these hurricanes this past summer?

Or do only things that happen in the USA and Canada matter to you?

"The past has been much warmer and better off, CO2 levels in the geological past were 3-4 TIMES higher than today."

So were sea levels. And, today, there are 50 million people living in Bangladesh within 3 feet of sea level.