Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Cloudland


Roy Spencer advances a paradigm-shattering theory on global warming:

[I]f I had to wager, I would bet on a small change in cloudiness to explain at least part of our current warmth.
Spencer offers this as an alternative to theories of warming based on human or solar activity. Which is kind of odd, since one would expect both mechanisms to have some sort of effect on cloud formation (contrails spring to mind, just for starters).

Regardless:
[I]t has been calculated that about a one-percent increase in low clouds could offset the warming from a doubling of the carbon-dioxide concentration.

Of course, it works the other way, too. A decrease in low clouds with warming would enhance the warming.

But when I mention this possibility to other climate researchers, the response is usually, “what would cause such a change in clouds?” You see, in climate research, if we can’t think of a causative mechanism, then it obviously doesn’t exist. And if we can’t measure cloud variations accurately enough to know if there has been a 0.5-percent change in the last 30 years, then we’ll just assume it hasn’t happened.

They call this science, but I call it faith.
Logicians call this petitio principii, but I call it being a yammering fuckhead.

If Spencer wants to argue that a certain amount of warming is due to changes in cloud formation, it seems reasonable to ask what caused those changes. Spencer's hope, I'm guessing, is that it'd turn out to be a matter of natural variation (or God's loving grace, if he prefers to draw on his soul-deep understanding of intelligent design).

Clouds being "a vapor that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away," I'm not sure how one would go about testing Spencer's hypothesis. I suppose we could consult anecdotal evidence (John Ruskin's The Storm-Cloud of the Nineteenth Century, for instance). But I think most scientists would want to see something a little more...well, scientific. In the meantime, it requires a lot more faith to take an "0.5-percent change in the last 30 years" as revealed truth than it does to reject it as sheer speculation.

Regardless, Spencer scolds his colleagues for failing to come up with a "causative mechanism" for his own unproven - and possibly unprovable - hypothesis, and then sneers at them for abandoning science.

I wonder how many of them duck into stairwells, or pretend to be talking on cellphones, when they see him coming....

Illustration: "Cloud study (after Alexander Cozens' 'Engravings of Skies')" by John Constable.)

19 comments:

ntodd said...

Clouds are like a comfy blankie.

steve said...

The vapor pressure of water increases almost exponentially with temperature. As oceans warm they will emit more water vapor into the atmosphere. If all other things were equal - which, of course they will not be - this would result in somewhat more cloudiness. But of course it cannot result in an amount of cloudiness that would completely counteract the warming itself. I believe that is a consequence of LeChatlier's principle..

Spencer's argument here is idiotic. It's classic neocon mirror-speak: accuse the other guy of the evil you yourself are in the middle committing. In this case miximg up science with faith.

cosmic tumbler said...

Contrails need to be studied more carefully. Lots of conspiracy theories, especially in other countries.

Leslie said...

I'm utterly baffled by your original post on the Elisabeth Lloyd book on the female orgasm. The fact that you would even open your mouth regarding a book you had not bothered to read is difficult to grasp. Is that not one of the first rules of civilized discourse? The apology indicates some integrity but how dare you write so harshly regarding a book you had not even skimmed. Shame on you.

r. bob vega said...

leslie, phila absorbs more from a quick once-over than simpletons like yourself could ever understand.

EG: he's learned more from a toilet-stall once-over of the IPCC report than Richard Lindzen picked up in his whole forty year career in climatology.

leslie said...

r. bob vega: Was that ad hominem supposed to be clever? Or is your knee jerk response intended to defend the author of this blog from criticism? Stop the silliness R. Bob! I'm simply expressing some exasperation at the thought of posting a very derogatory public response to something that one has not taken the time to read. Call me a simpleton, call this a quick once-over. I only read the post on this blog on the Lloyd's Female Orgasm book today, you've probably never even read the post but that won't stop you from responding. Carry on.

r. bob vega said...

leslie I think you misunderstood my post. If you're looking for well researched commentary on scholarly topics you're in the wrong place. My comment alluded to 'Phila's' glib portrayal of Richard Lindzen (MIT's distinguished climate scientist) as a 'petrodollar whore', despite Phila's total ignorance of Lindzen's scientific positions. Who needs experts-for-hire like Lindzen when we have wikipedia-bound dilettantes offering their "expertise" for free? Isn't the internet empowering?

Phila said...

I'm utterly baffled by your original post on the Elisabeth Lloyd book on the female orgasm.

It was a mistake, for which I apologized publicly and privately. I also did my best to explain why I made that mistake, without trying to exonerate myself. And I also left the post online, at Dr. Lloyd's request, so that she could use it as an example of how her work had been misrepresented.

If Dr. Lloyd had any further requests to make of me, I'd be happy to fulfill them.

My comment alluded to 'Phila's' glib portrayal of Richard Lindzen (MIT's distinguished climate scientist) as a 'petrodollar whore', despite Phila's total ignorance of Lindzen's scientific positions.

While I don't have Lindzen's expertise in climatology, and never claimed to, I do have some knowledge of his positions...thanks in part to the op-eds he's written, and his various public appearances. Apparently, he feels that his arguments, as he presents them, are accessible to non-experts like myself. I'd agree with him on that.

My characterization of Lindzen as a "petrodollar whore" is based on reports like this one: "Lindzen...charges oil and coal interests $2,500 a day for his consulting services; his 1991 trip to testify before a Senate committee was paid for by Western Fuels, and a speech he wrote, entitled "Global Warming: the Origin and Nature of Alleged Scientific Consensus," was underwritten by OPEC."

Since Lindzen is one of the skeptics who claims that "consensus" is being driven by the financial stakes of scientists, I think his own alleged conflicts of interest are fair game.

And while calling him a "petrodollar whore" may be uncivil, it's really not much worse than comparing childhood education about climate change to the Hitlerjugend, which Lindzen saw fit to do back in April of 2007. (Full disclosure: I used Google to find this quote.)

So, to sum up...yes, I am indeed one of the majority of people who finds the scientific consensus on climate change more compelling than Lindzen's dissent (especially since I've read critiques of Lindzen like this one, and this one, and this one.

I'm not going to make any apologies for that, sorry.

You can comfort yourself with the fact that if events ever prove Lindzen right, I'll look very foolish.

If he's wrong, on the other hand....

Hecate said...

You have trolls almost as dumb as Atrios' trolls.

Phila said...

If anyone's interested, here's the post in which the phrase "petrodollar whores" appears.

I think I can claim to have come by my beliefs honestly.

r. bob vega said...

There's that talent for misleading summaries. Lindzen didn't discuss "childhood education about climate change" -- his comment addressed questions like "How are you going to educate your parents about global warming?" -- which anyone can see is exploitative question-begging.

I'm glad you answered my complaint regarding glib 2nd hand summaries with more borrowed testimony from your favorite web-experts, retired journalists etc. If were a glib dilettante googler with an agenda I would do the same. Your cutting and pasting skills are enviable, but I'd be more impressed with firsthand criticism on scientific grounds.

May I ask, do you have any formal scientific training to *evaluate* the arguments made at realclimate? Do you have any academic credentials yourself, or even any university level scientific training? Or is your role in this discussion sort of a poll taker of scientific opinions (where Australian professors of computer graphics receive equal footing with the head climate scientist at the world's foremost scientific academy?)

Phila said...

There's that talent for misleading summaries. Lindzen didn't discuss "childhood education about climate change" -- his comment addressed questions like "How are you going to educate your parents about global warming?" -- which anyone can see is exploitative question-begging.

Anyone but me, apparently. The comparison to the Hitlerjugend is a bit over the top, regardless.

Your cutting and pasting skills are enviable, but I'd be more impressed with firsthand criticism on scientific grounds.

Well, in the "petrodollar whores" post, I addressed Iain Murray's misrepresentation of the IPCC findings at some length. Did you find that unscientific? You might also have a look at my rebuttal of the Anchoress? Is that unscientific? Or cut and pasted? For that matter, how about the argument in this post?

It is unscientific to point out the logical flaws in denialist arguments, which is what 99.9 percent of my climate posts do? Was it unscientific of me to factcheck this argument? Or to consult the primary documents that were misused in support this argument?

While I'm not a climatologist, my posts on this subject stick pretty well to matters I'm perfectly qualified to discuss: denialist arguments that are being advanced to a general-interest readership, and their agreement with facts or logic. And not complicated or obscure or even controversial facts, mind you, but simple and undeniable ones, like the fact that there's a difference between weather and climate, or the fact that an NAS panel recommended taking steps towards mitigation in 1991.

Again, let's take this post as an example: Whose work do I crib from in order to criticize Spencer? No one's. Whose arguments do I use here? My own.

If you want to challenge those arguments, go ahead. Otherwise, bugger off.

r. bob vega said...

It is unscientific to point out the logical flaws in denialist arguments, which is what 99.9 percent of my climate posts do?

You haven't pointed out any logical flaws on Lindzen's part. You've used the revelation that he once received a (smallish) sum from Exxon as evidence that he's a corporate whore sellout, who's perjured himself before Congress multiple times in exchange for "petrodollars." Is this the kind of rigorous logical analysis you were describing? Sounds to me like "well poisoning".

(Incidentally, your post mentioning Lindzen doesn't challenge or present any facts... like your offhand slander of Lindzen it dwells quite a bit on how the CEI's board of experts has no background in Climate science --like yourself-- how they're all on the take etc., then some links to some other "on message" bloggers. ie, more meta-argumentation, blended with vicious ad hominems.)

If you have any logical or scientific criticisms to make of Lindzen, I'm eager to read them. You might start with the following testimony he gave before the Senate Commerce comittee (a generalist audience if ever there were one):

http://www-eaps.mit.edu/faculty/lindzen/Testimony/Senate2001.pdf

I'm particularly interested in your fact-based criticism of what Lindzen himself represents as a "consensus view" (pp. 2-4) Assuming you disagree with any of the eleven points he makes there, by all means let's hear a logical explanation why. You've fired the shot across Lindzen's bow, accusing him (twice) of prostituting his scientific credentials for money. It must be very obvious that Lindzen is a perjurer and a liar, and I'm sure you're capable of imparting that certainty using only Lindzen's testimony and your own facts.

r. bob vega said...

whoops, seems as if my pdf link was cut off:

one more time...

Phila said...

Incidentally, your post mentioning Lindzen doesn't challenge or present any facts

Not true, as anyone who actually reads it can see.

Anyway, your issue with me basically seems to boil down to my characterization of Lindzen as being on the take. Fair enough.

Apparently, you're not supposed to suggest that a scientist could be "prostituting his scientific credentials for money." Even though he himself sees money as one of the driving forces behind climate "consensus." Fair enough.

I'm not sure why you're bringing this up in this post. But again, fair enough.

I'll be happy to give you my "fact-based" take on Lindzen's argument, though it may take me a day or two to get to it. Keep watching this space.

chris said...

Perhaps cloudcuckooland would be more apt in view of the comments.

Phila said...

OK. Re: Lindzen's testimony, the first thing worth noting is that it's six years old. Obviously, I'm not going to go through it line by line in order to determine what was a defensible point of view at the time of his testimony, and what wasn't.

Also, just as a preamble, I question that the media is largely to blame for the prevalence of "catastrophe scenarios." I agree that doom and gloom tend to get overemphasized (I've said as much here, many times), but it's also true that this overemphasis gets overemphasized by skeptics.

Again, the 1991 NAS synthesis paper - which acknowledged uncertainty, but also pointed out the dangers of complacency - seemed to me to strike a good balance. But their call for mitigation was downplayed or ignored by pretty much every newspaper I checked, and was recently denied outright by Gregg Easterbrook.

In other words, while the media have a role in promoting alarmism, they also have a role in promoting complacency and defending the interests of big business. Seems like an odd thing to have to explain to an intelligent adult...but such is life.

With that in mind, I'll tackle Lindzen's points of so-called consensus, which I'll abbreviate for speed’s sake:

this brings us about half way to the radiative forcing associated with a doubling of CO2 without any evidence of enhanced human misery

Whether there was "any evidence of enhanced human misery" in 2001 is debatable. More to the point, it's a strawman. It's not logical to focus on “human misery” (however that's defined), as opposed to stresses on ecosystems or organisms (e.g., polar bears), which may or may not indicate looming problems for humans, but could be grounds for concern either way.

temperature is always changing, which is why it has proven so difficult to demonstrate human agency.

But not, apparently, to treat it as an ideological fantasy of zealots and dupes.

Such positive feedbacks have neither empirical nor theoretical foundations. Their existence, however, suggests a poorly designed earth which responds to perturbations by making things worse.

So Lindzen is claiming that positive feedbacks have no theoretical foundations? Before I attack that statement, would you care to defend it?

The second statement seems to be made on aesthetic grounds. "Poorly designed" by whom, and "worse" according to whose standards? Why can't "perturbations" lead to increased instability? And how is an earth that allows this to happen "poorly designed"? This argument is inane, at best.

Note, too, that Lindzen is editorializing over the very points on which he claims there’s "widespread agreement." By doing so, he runs the risk of implying that there's widespread agreement that positive feedbacks have no theoretical underpinning, or that an earth on which they occurred would be "poorly designed."

Consistent with this, even the IPCC Policymakers Summary notes that no significant trends have been identified in tropical or extratropical storm intensity and frequence.

No argument here.

that warming is likely to be concentrated in winters and at night. This is an empirical result based on data from the past century. It represents what is on the whole a beneficial pattern.

That warmer winters and nights are beneficial "on the whole" is not a belief on which there was, or is, widespread agreement. Lindzen is once again editorializing, as well as making the sort of gratuitous assumptions and extrapolations he deplores elsewhere (beneficial to whom, and according to whose standards?).

that temperature increases observed thus far are less than what models have suggested should have occurred even if they were totally due to increasing greenhouse emissions.

No comment, as I'm not qualified to assess this.

Such claims, therefore, do not constitute independent verifications of models. Note that natural variability does not require any external forcing – natural or anthropogenic.

Obviously, claims can't provide verification here; no sane person expects them to. And no one, as far as I know, is arguing that climate variation is impossible without external forcing. Instead, they're arguing that anthropogenic forcing is the best explanation for the warming that's been observed. Which, as Lindzen notes, rests heavily on the reliability of models (and their various interpreters). About which, more shortly.

that large computer climate models are unable to even simulate major features of past climate such as the 100 thousand year cycles of ice ages that have dominated climate for the past 700 thousand years,

Again, I'm not qualified to assess this. However, would it be fair to say that dissenting views on the utility of modeling can't be dismissed quite this easily (and especially not by comparing it to local weather reports, as we'll see Lindzen do shortly)?

that major past climate changes were either uncorrelated with changes in CO2 or were characterized by temperature changes which preceded changes in CO2 by 100's to thousands of years.

I don't think it's accurate to say that there's "widespread agreement" on this point (at least as regards its apparent implication that if CO2 doesn't initiate warming, it can’t accelerate warming).

that increases in temperature on the order of 1F are not catastrophic and may be beneficial.

Lindzen stated earlier that observed warming represents "a beneficial pattern." Here, he says warming "may be beneficial." It'd be interesting to know why he hedges his bets in the second quote. But either way, the term "beneficial" remains undefined, along with the methodology and standards that allegedly lead to that conclusion.

that Kyoto, fully implemented, will have little detectable impact on climate regardless of what one expects for warming.

No argument here. Well, a small argument, actually, because Lindzen's exaggerating a bit for emphasis. But in practical terms, I agree that Kyoto is not sufficient to make much of a difference.

Moving beyond this, I'll make a few quick complaints.

1. Lindzen generously concedes that "it may be argued that the prediction of gross climate changes is not as demanding as predicting the detailed weather." Regardless, he sees fit to print a facile editorial cartoon that conflates local weather reports with climate modeling. For someone who worries so much about the effects of media misrepresentation on the uninformed, this strikes me as somewhat disingenuous.

2. Lindzen advances a theory in which the pursuit of money and prestige have warped climate science, to the extent that "relevance has come to be identified with alarming the public."

In order to challenge the consensus on AGW, this theory ought to be based on some sort of compelling evidence. But it seems to be based on little more than Lindzen's gut feelings about how people and organizations behave (which, again, are strongly biased in the direction of perceiving "alarmism," at the expense of other factors that are plainly at work, like government resistance or industry lobbying).

The larger problem is Lindzen's pretense to objectivity. To the extent that what he says about competition among scientists for "relevance," or money, or status is true, it's true universally.

The strategy of identifying oneself with "the scientific method" in order to defend it's honor rather than one's own is a classic one. To paraphrase Pierre Bourdieu, the definition of what is at stake in science is one of the things at stake in science; defining your own work as properly scientific is one of the best (rhetorical) ways to marginalize and confound your competition. Thus, Lindzen harps on the real and speculative conflicts of interest that cast doubt on his colleagues' neutrality, while soft-pedaling conflicts of interest that might affect people’s perceptions of his neutrality.

All of which is a longwinded way of saying that this is not a very compelling (or scientific) part of Lindzen’s argument. To put it very politely.

3. In his section on the IPCC, he complains - correctly - that the media blur distinctions, garble probabilities, and misrepresent data. I have no problem with any of this. However, he ignores the extent to which media misrepresentations also encourage complacency and willful ignorance (and, naturally, the extent to which his own downplaying of the controversy over, say, positive feedbacks might serve that end).

4. The IPCC, he claims, makes alarmist interpretations more likely, because they "use a summary to misrepresent what scientists say,” and because they’re "exploiting public ignorance." Since he himself has drastically simplified the debate over climate modeling for a non-expert audience - presumably without wishing to “misrepresent” anything or “exploit” anyone - perhaps he could’ve come up with a more charitable interpretation? He’s coming dangerously close to conspiracy-theory territory here.

Also, he claims that the involvement of governments makes the IPCC more likely to emphasize alarmist viewpoints, as though governments have no imaginable bias towards maintaining the status quo, and derive no power and money from catering to industry.

Granted, governments vary, and some might see opportunities to increase their power (or what have you) by supporting emissions caps. But for some reason, Lindzen's sociology of science doesn’t have much to say about governments that have a vested interest in downplaying risk.

A really scientific investigation of these issues would attempt to identify all the conflicting forces, and quantify their various interests and influences; Lindzen, by contrast, is essentially offering a narrative (and by an amazing coincidence, he turns out to be its hero).

A few general points to close with. As I said earlier, much of this debate comes down to the reliability of climate models, which (like the vast majority of people on earth) I have no personal ability to assess.

It might surprise you, but I myself am troubled by this, given my agreement with William of Ockham's view that you can't claim to "know" something scientifically simply because someone else has represented it to you as scientific fact. It's SOP to overcome this dilemma with talk of "consensus," but that doesn't sit too well with me on philosophical grounds, either.

And yet. We sometimes have to make practical choices - especially on an issue as fundamental as this one - despite the imperfections in our knowledge.

The process of peer review etc, while far from infallible, is at least a defensible basis for choosing sides. (And God knows we’ve made epochal and dangerous decisions on the basis of far less research and honest debate and consensus than AGW has generated.)

Lindzen wants to suggest otherwise, at least in this instance, with his accusations of corruption and conspiracy and moneygrubbing. But for some odd reason, he doesn't want to be subject to the same sort of speculation. And that's why I called him a "petrodollar whore," ultimately...not because he's a wholly owned subsidiary of ExxonMobil, whose sole purpose on earth is to do their bidding (which I honestly don't believe), but simply to underscore the fact that he can’t meet the idealist/Romantic standards for neutrality that he hopes to impose on his colleagues. He wants to discourage "rewards" for promoting alarmism, but not for promoting complacency; like most skeptics, he doesn't even seem to acknowledge that such rewards exist, even as he himself enjoys them. That - along with the rather devious style of argumentation I've detailed here - makes him less than credible, in my book.

But you know what? I'd like for him to be right. I really would. I lust after the socialist workers’ paradise as much as the next irresponsible alarmist, but if the price to be paid is the one outlined in the worst-case IPCC scenario, I’m willing to tighten my ideological belt for another century or two.

There’s plenty of alarmism about what addressing AGW will do to the world (or, God forbid, to the economy)...but again, it doesn't seem to me to be based on much of anything beyond red-baiting, and predictions of economic collapse and mass starvation that've been deployed against virtually every regulatory measure that's ever come down the pike.

One last point. Upthread, you complain that I'm not any more of a climate scientist than, say, Iain Murray is. One difference, obviously, is that I'm not paid handsomely to tour the country trashing the IPCC.

Instead, as an unpaid and not very enjoyable hobby, I do my best to find the holes in denialist arguments in the mass media, for the dubious benefit of my small (or cozy, let's say) group of friends.

If I get facts wrong, people like you are always at liberty to say so. (It might also be nice if you acknowledged when I was right, once in a while, but I won't hold my breath on that.)

I'm not going to say anything more about this here, as much for your sake as mine. If you want to challenge everyone who accepts the "orthodoxy" on climate change, it’s high time you moved on to the next "glib dilettante googler." There are an awful lot of us, after all.

r. bob vega said...

First of all, Lindzen doesn't claim that "positive feedbacks have no theoretical foundations" - rather positive feedbacks from “poorly handled water vapor and clouds.” Obviously Lindzen has written about positive and negative feedbacks of all kinds and to imagine he’d deny the existence of positive feedback itself betrays a near total ignorance of his scholarly work.

Low clouds are widely considered to be negative feedback. The models are unable to account properly for the magnitude and distribution of low cloud cover and in fact are almost blind to the fundamental physics of cloud formation. I could direct you to a dozen realclimate pieces on this topic or you can google them yourself. Lindzen’s statement is completely correct and your reading is simply confused (& betrays a startling ignorance of GCMs and their critics)

However, would it be fair to say that dissenting views on the utility of modeling can't be dismissed quite this easily?

If models can't simulate the most significant weather events in the history of the globe, or properly account for the behavior of the most significant greenhouse gas, their predictive value is obviously questionable.

his accusations of corruption and conspiracy and moneygrubbing.

Lindzen doesnt specialize in alarmist remarks about the economy. He hasn't termed proponents of AGW theories "enviro whores" or implied they're shills of the nuclear energy business, the carbon emissions trading business, the Russian or Chinese governments etc, even though hundreds of them tour the country shilling directly and indirectly for these well-funded entities. He hasn't compiled any link-friendly dossiers on his critics in the style of "exxonsecrets.com" that googlers can smugly embed in their glib analysis,

Unlike "handsomely paid" Al Gore, whose misrepresentations of climate science have been at least as egregious as Easterbrook's, Lindzen has a full time job- teaching climate science at MIT and hasn’t received a dollar from any oil company in over a decade. To the extent they appear anywhere, ad hominems are a very minor proportion of his public output on AGW. Whereas they're front and center in pretty much every article on Lindzen himself that I've come across.

It's SOP to overcome this dilemma with talk of "consensus," but that doesn't sit too well with me on philosophical grounds, either.

Glad to hear it. Why then do you use the expression without irony in just about every one of your posts on the topic? Why is it found in every editorial I 've ever read endorsing AGW theories? And why have you not subjected the realclimate crowd -- with its obscurantism, its majoritarian fallacies, its ad hominems and its precautionary principles -- to your rigorous logical standards? Instead it seems you’re content to parrot their logical errors here.

There’s plenty of alarmism about what addressing AGW will do to the world (or, God forbid, to the economy but again, it doesn't seem to me to be based on much of anything beyond red-baiting

Considering that even the Kyoto treaty, with its minimal carbon controls, has been deemed untenable by dozens of liberal democracies, I find this analysis extremely odd.

Phila said...

First of all, Lindzen doesn't claim that "positive feedbacks have no theoretical foundations" - rather positive feedbacks from “poorly handled water vapor and clouds.”

No theoretical foundations? None? At all? Anywhere?

Interesting.

Putting that aside, the issue to me isn't that Lindzen doesn't understand positive feedbacks - obviously he does, as you note - but whether he's giving his listeners an accurate sense of the debate on this point.

Lindzen doesnt specialize in alarmist remarks about the economy.

My observation had to do with his accusations against his colleagues (e.g., the IPCC "exploiting" public ignorance). Why you've responded with this strawman is beyond me. Force of habit, maybe?

Unlike "handsomely paid" Al Gore, whose misrepresentations of climate science have been at least as egregious as Easterbrook's, Lindzen has a full time job- teaching climate science at MIT and hasn’t received a dollar from any oil company in over a decade.

I don't think you understood my argument about neutrality at all. Which is a shame, because I explained it pretty carefully.

Also, since you're so worried about ad hominem attacks...I should mention that you've attacked me personally several times, while I've remained fairly cordial. Go figure!

Why then do you use the expression without irony in just about every one of your posts on the topic?

Um...for the reasons I explained, at some length, in the comment above. Maybe you don't read very well when you're angry?

And why have you not subjected the realclimate crowd -- with its obscurantism, its majoritarian fallacies, its ad hominems and its precautionary principles -- to your rigorous logical standards?

Lots of reasons, but here are three. First, they get plenty of dissent and debate at their site and elsewhere. Second, I have neither the obligation nor the time to seek out and correct error wherever it may lurk (even in cases where I'd be qualified to do so). Third, since I accept the consensus on warming, it makes sense for me to leave attacks on RC to people like yourself, who are numerous and vocal, while I concentrate on the lies and misrepresentations of people like Easterbrook and Saunders.

You must realize, on some level, that this is a pretty childish complaint on your part. I might just as well demand that you spend your time addressing errors and lies at NRO's Planet Gore. Putting ideology aside, I can imagine plenty of legitimate reasons why you wouldn't care to do that.

Considering that even the Kyoto treaty, with its minimal carbon controls, has been deemed untenable by dozens of liberal democracies, I find this analysis extremely odd.

In theory, a smart fellow like yourself should have no problem figuring out what's wrong with this argument....

Anyway, it's been pleasant, in a sense. And thanks for the link to the Lindzen piece...the "poorly designed earth" thing, in particular, was worth far more than the price of admission.

Happy trails, and best of luck with your next glib dilettante!