Showing posts from 2014

Global Warming, What Hope Do We Have?

I have been writing and telling people for some time now about the dire consequences of doing nothing about global warming.  I have started a novel, the last chapter of which was going to be hopeful that humanity would survive, albeit bereft of civilization, reduced to something like North America three hundred years ago, tribal groups surrounding the Arctic Circle.

In the past year or so, I've been driven to greater positive thoughts.  While it remains true that the American politicians like Oklahoma Senator Inhofe corrupted by oil money continue to prevent any serious actions preventing global warming, there are many other people acting to make a difference in small ways, inventing, developing, distributing, and putting into action alternative energies.  And other people gathering together to talk about what needs to be done.  People are demonstrating.  The United Nations is acting. Local groupsaround the world are meeting to confront the challenges of global warming in their pa…

Meat Production and Global Warming

Extreme weather has already had effects on crops, e.g., wheat in Russia in 2010 and in Australia in 2012, both from lack of rainfall.  And this year olive crops in France, Spain, and Italy.  These events mattered a lot to the farmers affected but had little impact on the world supply of wheat and olives.  But this is only a hint of what will come if nothing is done about global warming.  Extreme weather will have a widespread negative effects on crops.  The Guardian reports that the climate change panel, IPCC, says that "global warming is fueling not only natural disasters, but potentially famine - and war".   If nothing is done, the 8 billion people on this planet fifteen years from now will have less food than we have now for 6 billion people.  There is no other implication we can take from this than that there will be mass starvation.

But there's a worse food problem.  It turns out that "the global livestock industry actually produces the same amount of greenhous…

Grave Warning on Global Warming

The NY Times lead article this morning is on the climate talks in Lima.  Their conclusions are grim:
they warn that it now may be impossible to prevent the temperature of the planet’s atmosphere from rising by 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. According to a large body of scientific research, that is the tipping point at which the world will be locked into a near-term future of drought, food and water shortages, melting ice sheets, shrinking glaciers, rising sea levels and widespread flooding — events that could harm the world’s population and economy. 3.6 degrees would be serious, but the problem is
While a breach of the 3.6 degree threshold appears inevitable, scientists say that United Nations negotiators should not give up on their efforts to cut emissions. At stake now, they say, is the difference between a newly unpleasant world and an uninhabitable one. Yes, uninhabitable.  From the start I've made dire predictions about the consequences of global warming, but they are based on nothi…

The Bottom Line on Global Warming

Scientists and policymakers have generally settled on 2°C as the amount of global temperature increase, over pre-industrial levels, the climate can take without creating truly dangerous upheavals. Because the effect of carbon in the atmosphere is cumulative, staying below that threshold requires a hard limit on the amount of carbon the world emits between now and 2100. We’ve already blown through a bit over half of that “carbon budget.” Last week’s World Energy Outlook 2014 from the International Energy Agency (IEA) projects that, on our current course, we’ll chew through the rest by 2040. The bottom line is we cease all CO2 emissions by 2040, which won't happen.  So 2 degrees Celsius is not going to happen.
While IEA projects that renewables will grow aggressively between now and 2040, overtaking coal as the globe’s leading source of electricity, and that coal and oil use will effectively plateau by that point, fossil fuel use — and thus carbon emissions …

global warming hysteria

My friend believes that my thoughts on global warming, for example, are pure hysteria.

When I was in college, scientists began to point out a serious problem with population growth, that food resources might be outpaced by the world's population.  The people bring this to the public's attention were called hysterical.  Some scientists sprung into action, and we had the green revolution which without exaggeration saved the lives of billions of people.

During that time I followed Science Magazine as my way of being a scientist.  In 1979 I started reading about a strange kind of cancer, Kaposi Sarcoma in gay men.  After several articles over months, I began to realize that gay men needed to pay attention to this.  The science was clear, something very bad was going to happen.  Something had to happen fast. But gay men continued their usual social activities, including public baths.  They didn't believe in the science.  Two years later the cause, a virus, was discovered, and …

Republicans and the Keystone Pipeline

The Keystone Pipeline is an environmental disaster.  Besides what is being done to Canadian land to dig up the tar sands oil, if the result is to burn that oil somewhere is to exacerbate global warming.  But that aside, why are American Republicans so ardent about approving the pipeline?  What is that pipeline going to do for Americans?  Very little.  Something like 50 permanent jobs.  And that's it.  Everything else is a loss.  Several thousand miles of pipeline that could burst and destroy land and pollute water.  So why are Republicans making such an issue about it?

Senator Cruz of Texas stated that this was about American oil dependence, but that isn't true.  It's Canadian oil, how does this make us independent?  This has to make us wonder about Senator Cruz' mental agility.

Here is my theory.  Republicans often blame liberals for their world patriotism, and that is true. Liberals think about all people in the world and want what's best for everyone, American …

The Morality of Inaction of Global Warming

The IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is essentially a conservative organization because it is composed of country representatives with disparate interests with regard to climate change.  Nevertheless, they have just come out with a report describing inaction on greenhouse gases as immoral.  With inaction the consequences, they state, are irreversible and catastrophic.  What makes it immoral is that the costs of preventing this outcome is so very small relative to the consequences, a point I've made in a previous post

The Republicans have taken over control of the U.S. Senate.  This means Senator Inhofe of Oklahoma will be the new Chair of the Committee on Environment and Public Works.  He has already stated that any action on global warming would be immoral:

His favorite Bible verse, Genesis 8:22 is: “As long as the earth endures, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” About that, he said to a radio interview…

The Dire Consequences of Global Warming

Scientists are now saying that we are on the path to six degrees Celsius of global warming.  This is catastrophic. 

Such a rise – which would be much higher nearer the poles – would have cataclysmic and irreversible consequences for the Earth, making large parts of the planet uninhabitable and threatening the basis of human civilization.
"It would cause a mass extinction of almost all life and probably reduce humanity to a few struggling groups of embattled survivors clinging to life near the poles."
"As the ice-caps melt, hundreds of millions will also be forced to move inland due to rapidly-rising seas. As world food supplies crash, the higher mid-latitude and sub-polar regions would become fiercely-contested refuges.

This is what we are bequeathing to our descendants, and it may be too late to do anything about it.  Let us hope they are wrong, but then clearly if anything can be done about it, it has to be done right now.   

Dramatic Increase In Arctic Temperature

New findings show a dramatic increase in atmospheric temperature in the Arctic.  What is happening in the Arctic has been my interest for some time, ever since I read about the PETM, the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum.  This occurs at the boundary of the Paleocene and Eocene, and was initially known as a time of the greatest loss of sea life in the history of our planet.  Later it became clear that a very large amount of methane flowed into the atmosphere, possibly from the release of methane hydrates in the sea floor.  The result was acidification of the oceans killing off most carbonate sea life and sea life dependent on them.

Another consequence was a dramatic increase in atmospheric temperature.  The PETM is a case study for what is now happening now.  We are putting many times more CO2 into the atmosphere than what had happened then, and so, if we do nothing, the result will be something far worse.   Sea levels rose more than 100 feet, and global temperatures increased 9 degree…

Islam, Christianity, New Atheism in the Aftermath of Global Warming

Currently religion and non-religion are hot topics.  The boundaries of left and right have dissolved on this issue.  There are some on the political left unsparingly attacking Islam while others call for religious tolerance.  The political right are not divided on this issue, some calling for the complete destruction of Islam, which is filled with some irony since many on the right who are Christian share certain values with Islam, for example, the subjugation of women to men and the denial of evolution.
Identification with a religion is decreasing among young people.  So we have a mix of prevailing movements in religion.  But what I'd like to describe here is what we might expect as the social order deteriorates under global warming.  It's really happening even now in some parts of the world, Syria, South Sudan, Libya.  Millions of people are in forced migration from wars and deprivation.  Every day hundreds from North Africa trying to get to Europe, and hundreds more trying…

It's Worse Than We Thought, Update

I've warned that global warming is worse than they say.  Evidence for this has been found, and reported on here and here.
A major new study finds that “scientists may have hugely underestimated the extent of global warming because temperature readings from southern hemisphere seas were inaccurate.” In short, as New Scientist puts it, “it’s worse than we thought.” and
global warming's effect on upper ocean temperatures between 1970 and 2004 has been underestimated by 24 to 58 percent Most of the focus on global warming has been on atmospheric temperatures but the oceans are heating as well.  And now we find that the warming of the oceans has been underestimated.

It is worse then we thought, and even less is being done about it.

Averting Global Warming Good For The Economy

Paul Krugman confirmsmy argument that preventing global warming can be good for the economy. It is tragic that the few people that own at oil and coal companies can keep us from the certain dire consequences of global warming, social disorder, mass starvation, migration of entire populations of countries northward.

Arctic Sea Ice Decline

I've already discussed the issue of a secular trend inside of independent variation in the context of the ENSO (La Nina, El Nino) effects on atmospheric temperature.  I pointed out there that many people don't seem to be able to follow the difference between the secular trend and the variation around it caused by events that have little or nothing to do with the trend itself.   This confusion causes some people to swing around on global warming as the local independent variation goes up and down. has produced a great diagram that illustrates this problem.  Here the secular trend describing the Arctic sea ice is negative, i.e., downward.  People who aren't able to distinguish the random motion around the trend from the trend itself, and who are predisposed against global warming, seize upon the return of sea ice even though the secular trend is clearly downward.  Every time it goes up they get excited.  When it goes down their attention wanders elsewh…

Media Coverage Of Global Warming

The New York Times devoted an almost entire Science Section on Sep 23 to global warming.  And today (Sep 30), there are two strong articles, "California is Burning", and extreme heat in Australia. Both of these articles were characterized by explicit links of extreme weather to human-caused global warming.  Of course, I see it, but I'm afraid the evidence, as compelling as it is to people who already are convinced of global warming, won't have much of an effect on the global warming deniers.  It boggles my mind, thinking of all the evidence that currently exists, that more of it is needed to get some real action on preventing the worst (cough*carbon tax*cough).  But I'm not sure these articles are going to do it.

Some believe, like a frog cooking in a pot being brought to a boil, that many people will never acknowledge global warming, continuing to deny it as each small tick of data dribbles in.  So what we need is something undeniable, something so overwhelming …

Climate Change March in New York

Obama spoke at the United Nations about the urgency to fight climate change.  And on Sunday 300,000 people marched for climate change.   If something really is done about climate change, this week will go down in history, and people who marched will remember being there much as people remember being at the Civil Rights March of 1964.

However, if, as I fear, the oil and coal companies, the Koch Brothers, and the Republicans in Congress succeed in keeping anything from happening, the march and Obama's talk will be minor historical footnotes.

I hope that doesn't happen.

Solving Climate Change Would Be Good For The Economy

I've posted about this before, but it deserves repeating.  It is a point made by Obama in a State of the Union speech, and made again today by Paul Krugman:
I’ve just been reading two new reports on the economics of fighting climate change: a big study by a blue-ribbon international group, the New Climate Economy Project, and a working paper from the International Monetary Fund. Both claim that strong measures to limit carbon emissions would have hardly any negative effect on economic growth, and might actually lead to faster growth. This may sound too good to be true, but it isn’t. These are serious, careful analyses. Over a hundred years ago, the major way of getting around cities by horseback was becoming a problem.  Just keeping up with dung removal was a serious issue.  Then came the automobile solving all those horse problems.  Of course that created a new problem that we're now dealing with, but at that time, personal transportation based on horses was then a very seriou…

Snow in North Dakota in September?

One of the most common plot lines in novels and movies is where the guy sees his girl friend in a compromising situation with another man and is faced with a dilemma:  does she or does she not love him.  All the evidence looks the other way.  The rest of the movie or novel presents how he deals with this.  In fact, the more successful movie presents even more "evidence" that she's more interested in the other guy.  The audience, us, sees that all that evidence is thoroughly misleading, and we become more and more agonized as it appears that our guy is going to give up even though we know the evidence is misconstrued. What this narrative device emphasizes is how important it is to see through the evidence for the truth. If we don't, we lose the girl.

There's something far more important than getting the girl at stake in global warming.  Snow in North Dakota in September?  That looks bad for global warming.  Maybe we should be more worried about global cooling.  W…

The Ozone Hole

In the 1980's scientists raised the alarm about gases that were destroying the ozone layer that sits above our atmosphere, such as gases used in air conditioners, refrigerators, and aerosol spray cans, The ozone layer protects from the sun's ultraviolet radiation endangering life on this planet.  If the entire ozone layer were to have been destroyed life here wouldn't exist as we know it.

This situation was brought to the attention of governments which took action to eliminate or reduce the chemicals affecting the ozone layer, and today the ozone has recovered to 1980 levels.

Science spoke, the people listened, and catastrophe averted.  And now we have another looming catastrophe.  Science has spoken, but is anyone listening?

Solving the ozone crisis required manufacturers to change their methods.  Chemical sources had to be shut down.  Some companies went bankrupt.  Suppliers lost their customers.  But there was adaptation.  Suppliers moved on.  Investors moved on.  Cri…

Avazz - Organizing for Action Against Global Warming

Anyone 30 years old or younger should be paying very close attention to global warming.  It is their world that is going to be dramatically affected.  When I was young I thought the world would be very much like it was then.  I was very wrong, but in a good way.  From working with a slide rule in an undergraduate class in physics to smartphones and a computer on my desk with enormous amounts of power.  I could not have possible imagined my world today at that time.

But we can imagine a lot of what the world will be like in twenty or thirty years if nothing is done about our pumping CO2 into the atmosphere, and it will not be good.  Just as we were in the streets against the Vietnam War -- we even closed down Interstate 5 here in Seattle in 1972 -- so young people have got to be demonstrating against the oil and gas companies or they will be confronting a dire future.

There is an organization working to do just that, Avazz.
Avaaz—meaning "voice" in several European, Middle …

Zombie ideas

Paul Krugman today wrote about zombie ideas.  These are ideas that circulate among us which have no basis in fact.  The one he's describing is the one brought into existence by an
infamous 2010 letter accusing Bernanke of debasing the dollar in which
none of the people who signed that letter admitted to having been wrong or even a hint of reconsidering now four years later.  Despite all evidence to the contrary, not even are they able to admit to reality, they continue to believe the zombie idea is still alive.

The discussion of climate change is filled with zombie ideas, ideas that refuse to die in spite of all evidence against it.  A characteristic of a global warming denier is that they seize upon an idea that seems true at the time and packs that idea around like a warm blanket.  They don't follow how that idea is doing in climate science.  They don't really read any more about the idea to see if it stands up. Instead they bring that idea out whenever the topic comes …

Global Warming Denialism, Part 3

Cato Institute, one of the more important conservative think tanks, posted an article a few years ago claiming that global warming had turned into global cooling.  This was done using one of the more common methods for statistical lying called "cherry picking".  They started their time series of global temperatures with 1998, one of the highest of the last twenty years because of a major El Nino.  In other words, they did a time series analysis starting with a high temperature event that had nothing to do with global warming.  That is classical lying with statistics.

This year they gave the task of this analysis to someone else and were forced to conclude that the planet continued to warm.

So the global warming deniers at the Cato Institute have had to back off from complete denial to an alternate position, "adaptation" -- okay, it's increasing, but we will be able to deal with it.  The problem is that we aren't going to be able to deal with it.  The Cato …

Global Warming and GMO's

Industrial agriculture is working hard to defeat GMO labelling.  Despite what opponents say about GMO, this is a very complicated issue, one with implications for the impact of global warming.  There are reasons for opposing what industrial agriculture is doing with GMO.  It's capitalism doing what it can do, monopolizing food products in order to make (cough extort cough) more money from the consumer.  It's a lot like the pharmaceutical industry where drug companies, with their exclusive right to some medication, make huge amounts of money.  And where there is not much money to made, such as with antibiotics, and other medications for third world diseases, the industry basically says too bad, we're not going there because we won't make any money.

There will be 8 billion people to feed in twenty years or so and we will need GMO.  We will need drought-resistant crops.  We will need to help food plants adapt to new conditions.  GMO is critical for this.  But industrial a…

Diary of the Last Age, food

I've already discussed seafood.  But there are already effects of global warming on agriculture and husbandry.  Extreme weather events are having an impact on prices of meat and grain.  Droughts affecting wheat and corn are going to affect meat as well since cattle and sheep are fed grain.  Food is going to become more expensive, more scarce, and then on top of that the world's population is approaching 8 billion by 2025.  This is happening to some degree right now, but extremely exacerbated in coming years.  Mass starvation is certain to occur.  Everyone reading this now will be affected.

Perhaps the countries of the world will get it together and impose a carbon tax, the only real solution to global warming.  If that happens, the importation of food will become close to prohibitive.  No more fresh fruit and vegetables year around.  Everything in the grocery store will become seasonal, and local.  People will relearn canning and storage for the winters.  It'll be like th…

Global Warming Hiatus

The underlying global warming trend is being driven by the CO2 we're pouring into the atmosphere.  Most of the CO2 is being absorbed by the oceans acidifying them and thereby endangering carbonate sea life (oysters, clams, shrimp, krill).  What remains in the atmosphere is warming us and it has been steadily increasing:

There's an important distinction to be made between the underlying secular trend and the variation around that trend.  The observed time series of the atmospheric global temperature has slowed over the last 15 years, providing fodder for global warming deniers.  But the observed time series is not the underlying secular trend.  Other independent factors, such as ENSO which operates on top of the secular trend, both positively and negatively, must be taken into account.

Recently a paper by Chen and Tung, climate scientists, has been published in Science offering an additional explanation for the slowing in the observed data, also described here and here.  A lar…

Dystopias, Hunger games and Falling Skies

Our planet is in very great danger of a serious dystopia, one which I've tried to describe.  The popular Hunger Games is another version of a global warming dystopia.  The movie version, however, downplays the global warming aspect.  The description in Hunger Games is quite different from mine, almost the reverse. What I see, somewhat similarly, are barricaded cities surrounded by camps of environmental refugees.  The difference is that what remains of civilized life is found in the cities, not the countryside. The cities will maintain a monopoly over the important resources, food, water, and health care.  The refugees will have to scrounge for food, negotiate for water, but may be left out of the modern health care available to the cities. They will be living in near medieval conditions, no vaccinations, no advanced hospital services.

So I see a harsh life for the refugees.  But unlike Hunger games, life in the cities won't be grand either.  Over time the social order mainta…

Global Warming Denialism - life decisions

To survive every person must be able to make responsible life decisions.  Many aren't and find themselves in very bad situations.  I remember in 1978 reading articles in Science Magazine about a strange cancer, Kaposi's Sarcoma, being contracted by men who were gay.  I could see immediately that for gay men their life decisions needed to take this into account, that it was something far worse than other sexually transmitted diseases.  It was just a glimmer of evidence.  It was another four years before it was found that a retrovirus, HIV, was severely compromising their immune systems, enough for them to develop a serious and very rare cancer.

The problem for many critical life decisions, the science is slow.   Responsible life decisions are based on science, in evidence and observation, but sometimes critical life decisions have to move ahead of the science. Gay men had no alternative but to realize their lives were at stake years before science made that clear.

Even so for …

Global Warming Denialism, part 2

A Harvard historian documents the denialism.  She makes, I think, some very important points.
Q: But what is it that you think drives the denial industry? How much of it is just pure self-interest? Is it fear of socialism - a kind of post-Cold War paranoia that you identified in Merchants of Doubt? Or is it ideological fervour like the kind you've witnessed amongst American Tea Baggers?I think it’s a complicated mix. Certainly, there are some very cynical individuals and groups who are protecting their own self-interest, with little or no regard to the consequences for others.
There are also those who have bought into the watermelon argument—that environmentalists are green on the outside, red on the inside—and that climate change is just an excuse to bring in socialism by another name.
Then there are also many people who I think believe, or have persuaded themselves, that climate change is just another fad, exaggerated by scientists who just want more money for their research, or…

Global Warming Denialism, part 1

For some time I've been wondering about people who believe global warming is either not happening or believe we don't have to do anything about it because we'll be able to handle it.  It all comes down to how each person seeks out and handles evidence.  There are interesting parallels with the evolution of life on our planet.  The evidence for evolution is overwhelming, as solid as about anything science has tackled, but there continue to be many people who deny it, a majority of the Americans, in fact.

I believe one very strong reason is that people are unwilling to follow the intellectual path to their final conclusions.  If one is well read enough in the evidence for evolution, one must reject religion entirely.  Only atheism or deism remains.  There are many people unable to accept that conclusion and thus reject it in some way.

It is the same with global warming.  If one reads enough about the evidence, the only conclusion, if nothing is done at once, is that civili…

Diary of the Last Age -- Sea Life

I live in the Pacific Northwest and I love raw oysters.  The Puget Sound (now called the Salish Sea) is home to more varieties of oysters than anywhere on the planet.  But that precious advantage is now in danger, the oysters are dying.  They are dying from the acidification of the Sound.  The fact is that most of the carbon dioxide our civilization is pumping into the atmosphere is ending up in the oceans.  And that has consequences, serious ones, for carbonate sea life, like oysters, clams, shrimp, and most significant, krill.  Krill is the main source of food for whales and other large mammalian sea species.  When the krill is gone, they'll be gone. And unless we stop pouring CO2 into the atmosphere and thus the ocean, the krill will be gone.  And oysters, and clams too.  
The important issue is that the increase of CO2 is accelerating.  There have been times with more CO2 in the atmosphere and oceans, but when their introduction is slow, it can be accommodated.  However, when …

Diary of the Last Age -- Wildfires

I remember as a young man reading about forest fires in the Northwest consuming whole forests at the turn of the last century, hundreds of thousands of acres, jumping mighty rivers and lakes.  Forest fires are a natural part of the forest life and the West has experienced many truly large ones.  It is this history that makes some people skeptical about whether the wildfires the West is currently experiencing is any indication of global warming.  There is one piece of evidence, though, that might support a global warming explanation,

Dennis Mathisen, spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, told the LA Times that “we’re seeing fire behavior we wouldn’t normally see until September.” That is it, wildfires happening in July.  There is something accelerating the process and global warming is the likely explanation.

NY Times Upshot says it all

Upshot says it all in the NY Times today, August 2nd, shattering global warming denier's myths.

The conclusion:
In 2009, the respected M.I.T. global climate simulation model estimated that if we do nothing to curb greenhouse emissions, there’s a 10 percent chance that temperatures will rise by more than 12 degrees Fahrenheit by century’s end, causing wholesale destruction of life as we know it.
There’s still time to eliminate this catastrophic risk at surprisingly modest cost. If we fail to act, future historians may wonder from behind high sea walls why we allowed the more effective responses we could have pursued to be blocked by an easily debunked collection of myths.
In fact, a carbon tax would not destroy jobs, nor would reducing CO2 emissions be prohibitively costly. However, a lot of coal and oil would have to be left in the ground, and that would be costly to oil and coal producers.  So it comes down to this, the wealth of a few men versus our civilization.  So the next qu…

Militarization of the U.S. Border

Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, is deploying his National Guard to the Texas border.  Apparently his plan is to force the children crossing the border into interment camps.  This but a taste of what will be happening as environmental refugees begin their march away from land made uninhabitable by global warming.  In the not too distant future people will be swarming north to escape the drought and heat and towards the relatively livable parts of North America, the Pacific Northwest and Northeastern U.S.  What will happen at our borders then?  Rick Perry is giving us a hint of what it will be like.  At first the National Guard will be joined by more National Guard, and then U.S. soldiers.  The migration will be slow at first and the military up to the task.  But soon it will turn into a flood of people, people who have nothing but starvation and death behind them.  At first, our military will slow the deluge, but that will just produce a line of starvation south of our border.  Then the…

And now even worse

There were five extinctions of life on our planet.  One of them, the Permian-Triassic event 251 million years ago cause the extinction of 96% of sea life and 70% of terrestrial vertebrate species.  This was likely to have been caused by a sudden methane release from the ocean floor flooding the atmosphere with a greenhouse gas dramatically increasing global temperatures.

This happens because of sudden influx of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.  When it is slower the ocean and atmosphere is able to handle it.  That is what happened at the Permian-Triassic, a sudden huge amount of methane thrown into the atmosphere.  Skeptiks can say that there have been times with more CO2 or methane in the atmosphere without global warming, but that is because it is gradual.  When it is sudden, as we are doing right now to the atmosphere, the oceans aren't able to handle it and we have severe global warming.

But is what is happening now anything like what happened 251 million years ago when…

Global Warming is Worse Than They Say It Is

If it wasn't for the greenhouse effect our planet would be a frozen ball of ice.  But there is one, and human beings had the chance to build a civilization on it.  Unfortunately we are abusing it.  And there's a reason why climate scientists are very worried.

My background is in statistical methods, about 40 years of experience, and I would like to bring some of that to bear on global warming.  I am not a climate scientist but I do have the background to comment on the statistical modelling.

First, it is important to distinguish between the observations, i.e., the actual measurements, and the secular trend.  The measurements that we see are variations around an underlying trend.   That underlying trend is hard to see because the measurements bounce around a lot from what we call random, or independent shocks affecting it.  A very significant "random shock" affecting temperature is ENSO, the La Nina and El Nino oscillations.  These ocean processes have dramatic affec…

Republicans versus Democrats

For most everyone politics is about protecting and enhancing their interests.  Given that, there is a big difference between Republicans and Democrats on this.  Republicans are fairly homogeneous on their interests being essentially mostly wealthy straight white strongly religious men.  Democrats, on the other hand, are a very disparate group of people, women, blacks, hispanics, gays, lesbians, working class people, union workers.

The consequence for Republicans is a somewhat rigidly uniform point of view, guns, anti-immigration, restrictions on women's reproduction decisions,  no marriage for gays and lesbians, opposition to minimum wage, and an enduring dread of increasing national debt, collapsing value in the dollar, and rising inflation.

The consequence for Democratic Party is also a fairly uniform point of view, for gun-control, for immigration legislation with a path to citizenship for the undocumented already here, in favor of women having control over their health care de…