In his carefully-crafted movie, Mr. Gore leads off with what many consider the most persuasive data: 650,000 years of correlation between CO2 and warming/cooling trends. Problem is, that data actually shows that the trends in atmospheric CO2 trail the warming-- by a few hundred years. Clearly CO2 is not in the climatic driver's seat.

I have seen a response that goes something like this: "OK, so CO2 didn't cause those temperature variations, but it was a positive feedback, amplifying the warming trends." At first, this seems reasonable. But a second look reveals it as dubious at best. First of all, the argument doesn't survive Occam's razor. The oceans heat very slowly. If you want to cause them to give up dissolved carbon dioxide, you have to be able to warm the planet significantly for several hundred years. And if you've got a mechanism that can warm the Earth for several hundred years, what need is there in your theory for this feedback mechanism? Second, making this argument concedes that the warming observed in the 20th century is nothing unusual, well within the range of natural variation.

I think it's reasonable to ask why Gore & company are so clearly trying to lead their audience to a conclusion ruled out by the very data they present? If their case is a total no-brainer like they claim, why do they need to?

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Comment by John C on December 3, 2009 at 6:53am
Comment by Jason Spicer on December 1, 2009 at 12:04pm
Cite your sources. Where are Gore's hundreds of millions of dollars at stake? I suspect he has a diversified portfolio and is not at great risk if the climate debate doesn't go his way. I don't think he's dumb, but I'm willing to believe that he can make mistakes, like anybody else.

What I'm not willing to believe is that the AGW-deniers make honest mistakes, when they keep repeating the same debunked lies over and over, for money. That's right, the AGW-deniers are mostly financed by the fossil fuel industry. They're not at financial risk if things don't go their way, because they are paid propagandists. If you're concerned about cynicism, you need look no further than the AGW-denial camp. This gang is not out to save the planet, they're out to save the industry that's paying them.

What's more believable? That thousands of independent researchers are colluding to deceive you into supporting changes to the economy that won't benefit them directly, or that paid shills for the fossil fuel industry want to convince you to just keep doing business as usual so their bosses can keep raking in profits?

Your distrust of politicians is tainting your judgment.
Comment by John C on December 1, 2009 at 7:07am
If this is an honest mistake on Gore's part, he's clearly been overestimated. How much intelligence does it take to know that effect can't precede cause? I think he's cynical, you think he's dumb. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

For the record, I do despise Gore's arrogance: A businessman with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake accusing actual climate scientists of having their objectivity compromised by financial interests???? And challenging him on it is totally beyond the pale? You guys really don't have any problem with this?
Comment by Jason Spicer on November 30, 2009 at 1:41pm
Examine your assumptions. Perhaps it's a mistake, rather than an intent to mislead. That you so vehemently dislike Gore is obvious, if baffling. "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity" (Hanlon, et al).

AGW is a reasonable explanation of the data we see, based on a plausible mechanism. CO2 is an insulator. We've been adding it to the atmosphere like mad since the start of the Industrial Revolution. How could that not lead to global warming? I have yet to see AGW-deniers propose any mechanism to explain how it wouldn't, much less a plausible one. The burden of proof is on the deniers at this point.
Comment by John C on November 30, 2009 at 7:24am
I apologize, Jason. What I meant was that the film clearly attempts to lead its audience to the conclusion that CO2 caused warming in the past, which certainly does not rule out the proposition that it is causing warming presently. However, I repeat my question: If the science is so settled, why the need to mislead people? There should be a mountain of honest-to-goodness evidence to present.
Comment by Фелч Гроган on November 30, 2009 at 12:28am
Felch Grogan: Ad hominem.

Try looking it up some time. I'll tell you what ad himinem is not - it's not the question I asked. And it's not pointing out how eerily similar it is to the hokum that radiates out of Faux News either. Crying "ad hominem" is not it a get-out-of-jail free card either. What is your agenda?
Comment by Jason Spicer on November 29, 2009 at 1:43pm
Johh, allow me to quote myself. "Rising CO2 may not have initiated previous warmings, but it is clearly driving this one, since increasing CO2 levels have preceded the warming, not trailed it." Your assertion is that CO2 goes up after warming has occurred due to some other reason. Except that in this current case, the CO2 levels rose first, followed by the warming. Since CO2 is an insulator, it's reasonable to think that the rising CO2 caused the warming. Even if that's not how warming was produced previously.
Comment by John C on November 29, 2009 at 7:01am
Felch Grogan: Ad hominem.

Jason: It's incorrect to say the data rule out C02-caused warming, when the warming preceded the CO2?
Comment by Jason Spicer on November 28, 2009 at 11:38pm
Rising CO2 may not have initiated previous warmings, but it is clearly driving this one, since increasing CO2 levels have preceded the warming, not trailed it. It's incorrect to say that the data rule out CO2-caused warming. And the ocean absorbs CO2. The problem is, it can only absorb so much. We've been jamming so much CO2 into the atmosphere that we have overloaded the ability of earth's natural systems to absorb the excess. CO2 is an insulator. We've raised its level in the atmosphere by at least 50% since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Why wouldn't that make the temperature go up? It's utterly bizarre to think that we could pump billions of tons of anything into the atmosphere without causing some kind of change. The atmosphere is simply not as large as AGW-deniers seem to think it is.
Comment by Sarah Elle on November 28, 2009 at 11:26pm

There's no other explanation for it, it's Man-bear-pig!!! lol.... Sorry, I really can't say either way on this subject, there are too many holes in everyones argument (from what I've seen so far) to come up with a conclusive answer myself.. I just couldn't miss an opportunity for some South Park humor.. Forgive me..

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