63 thoughts on “Obama’s Climate Speech

  1. Jim

    Saying that “ninety-seven percent of scientists” “acknowledged the planet is warming and human activity is contributing to it,” as Obama did in his speech, is both wrong and meaningless.

    How is it wrong? And surely the views of an overwhelming majority of subject experts have some meaning.

    new average U.S. temperature records were set by one-fifth of a degree Fahrenheit. This is meaningless since the measurement uncertainty in most of the record is one-half degree Fahrenheit

    Do the authors not understand averages?

    CO2, an odorless, invisble gas essential to plant life and in no way a pollutant

    97% of climate scientists think it is causing harmful climate change. That makes it a pollutant.

    And much of what you told Georgetown students on Tuesday was indeed a lie

    As far as I can tell the authors of this piece haven’t identified a single lie, only statements that they disagree with. Apparently Obama expressed the views held by most scientists in the field, which is the rational thing for a layperson policy maker to do.

    1. Karl Hallowell

      As a aside, the article gives reasons why:

      As ICSC policy advisor Lord Christopher Monckton just showed, the study that backs this claim is fatally flawed. First, science is never determined by a show of hands. If it were, the Earth would still be considered flat and the center of the universe and space travel impossible. Second, the only statistic that could be interesting would be the fraction of scientists who study the causes of climate change and support the idea that our CO2 emissions are causing serious climate problems. There has never been a reputable survey that asked experts this question.

      1. Jim

        Multiple surveys of the climate science literature and working climate scientists have found overwhelming support for the view Obama expressed. If it were true that “the fraction of scientists who study the causes of climate change” are wildly out of step with their colleagues, you’d think Monckton or others would have produced their own survey to publicize that fact, but of course they haven’t.

        1. Karl Hallowell

          Multiple surveys of the climate science literature and working climate scientists have found overwhelming support for the view Obama expressed.

          Now, Obama expressed views considerably beyond merely that some part of AGW was caused by humans. That’s the deceptive nature of your citing of these surveys. Note the sentence before the one I bolded “Second, the only statistic that could be interesting would be the fraction of scientists who study the causes of climate change and support the idea that our CO2 emissions are causing serious climate problems.”

    2. rickl

      97% of climate scientists think it is causing harmful climate change. That makes it a pollutant.

      Tell that to the plant kingdom.

    3. George Turner

      And the 97% includes “denialists” who were shocked to find that their scientific papers were being counted as supporting the consensus. The warmists are so inept they can’t even get their invalid junk science right.

    4. Rick C

      “97% of climate scientists think it is causing harmful climate change. That makes it a pollutant.”

      97% of people here think you’re a moron. That makes you a moron.

      97% of people once thought the Earth was the center of the Universe. That makes it the center of the Universe.

      1. Jim

        If 97% of doctors recommend one treatment, and 3% recommend another, which do you choose? An overwhelming majority isn’t always right, but on average it’s your best bet. It certainly isn’t an obvious “lie”.

        1. Gregg

          “If 97% of doctors recommend one treatment, and 3% recommend another, which do you choose?”

          Moronic analogy as the doctors in question do not have a political agenda. The climate priests do.

          The climate priests do not have to worry about being sued for malpractice when they massage the data, bury data that counters their claim, and draw unsupportable conclusions.

          If the priests could be sued for malpractice they wouldn’t be so vociferous. In fact they’d shut the EFF up.

          1. Jim

            Moronic analogy as the doctors in question do not have a political agenda. The climate priests do.

            You don’t like what the scientists say, so you dismiss them as biased. That’s a way to make you feel better, but it makes it impossible for science to inform policy making.

          2. ken anthony

            Jim, science is not majority rule. Especially when the scientists in question have a political agenda.

            What part of one lone scientist with one lone fact are you missing?

        2. Leland

          It certainly isn’t an obvious “lie”.

          It’s a lie when you claim 97% of doctors recommended a treatment, when it fact over half of them explicitly did not recommend the treatment. You are a liar, Jim. You can paint the lie into any anecdote you choose, and it will still be premised on the original lie.

          This isn’t the first time Jim has lied about numbers.

      1. Jim

        The 97% claim comes from

        No, there have been multiple studies and surveys coming to this same conclusion. And no such survey has reported a significantly different conclusion.

          1. Jim

            I’m sure they’ve all been criticized. But is there a better survey that comes to a significantly different conclusion?

          2. Bart

            That’s like saying, I know this plane doesn’t look very air-worthy, what with its missing wings and all, but do you have a better one?

            It is more or less tautological that the people doing the nose counts have an agenda. It is unwise of you to propagate the myth that scientists are objective observers above the fray, with nothing but strictly rational attachment to their arguments. Tomorrow, they may decide on a pet hypothesis which to you is anathema.

        1. Bart

          The funny part is, a claim of say, 80% would have stacked the deck nicely, and been believable enough to keep people from digging. But, the proponents were so desperate to close off debate that they thought up an absurd number. 97% of climate scientists would not agree on the color of the sky. Even tinpot dictators know better than to rig their elections so blatantly.

    5. Bart

      “Do the authors not understand averages?”

      Do you understand the difference between an average daily temperature, and an average across many days? Because, it is the former that was being discussed.

      1. Jim

        The authors think that an average can’t have greater precision than its component measurements. Apparently they don’t understand averages.

  2. Karl Hallowell

    Saying that “ninety-seven percent of scientists” “acknowledged the planet is warming and human activity is contributing to it

    [...]

    97% of climate scientists think it is causing harmful climate change. That makes it a pollutant.

    Jim, merely contributing to global warming is not the same as causing harmful climate change. And even if you had 97% of some group of scientists agree that it causes harmful climate change doesn’t mean that it actually does.

    1. Jim

      merely contributing to global warming is not the same as causing harmful climate change

      The alternative is that we’re contributing to/causing harmless or beneficial climate change. Do you think that’s what those 97% believe?

      1. Karl Hallowell

        They could also just not have an opinion because they don’t know enough to have an opinion.

  3. Trent Waddington

    Nobody is denying that climate change is “real” and that coping with such changes can be challenging. What skeptical scientists do question, however, is the degree to which human activity causes those changes.

    Well, for a start that’s just wrong. Plenty of people are denying that climate change is “real”. But even if we accept this as given, how does human activity matter? If climate change is real and coping with such changes can be challenging, it doesn’t matter whether humans are the cause or not. If this is true, the only relevant questions are: how challenging? and, what’s the cost of doing nothing?

    I think the answers to both these questions are: not much.

    p.s., quoting Monckton just puts you in the stupid corner.

    1. Larry J

      I’ve yet to see anyone denying that climate change is real. The Earth’s climate has been changing throughout geologic time, sometimes much colder than today (ice ages and Snowball Earth) and sometimes much warmer. The climate is changing today and will continue to change in the future. The bone of contention is to what degree, if any, are humans changing the climate? Next, what, if anything can or should we do about it?

      1. Edward M. Grant

        I’ve yet to see anyone denying that climate change is real.

        Well, there are those who claim the temperature was perfectly steady for thousands of years until the invention of the SUV, where it suddenly rose several degrees…

        The rest of us are well aware that the climate changes without humans doing anything.

    2. Bart

      “If this is true, the only relevant questions are: how challenging? and, what’s the cost of doing nothing?”

      If humans are not the cause, the other question is, can we do anything about it? Are the means even within our purview?

      “…quoting Monckton just puts you in the stupid corner.”

      Dissing Monckton just puts you in the stupid and easily manipulated by AGW proponents’ corner.

      1. Trent Waddington

        Whether it is anthropomorphic or not is irrelevant. Humans don’t cause rain, but we can build umbrellas. Humans did cause Tom Cruise, but there’s not much we can do about him.

        Dissing Monckton just puts you in the stupid and easily manipulated by AGW proponents’ corner.

        Yeah, that must be it. Couldn’t be that I’ve read everything they idiot has ever wrote, watched his presentations and generally found him to be a pompous ass who can’t make a logical argument to save himself.

        1. Bart

          OK, you find him personally distasteful. Don’t know why that’s germane. As for logical argument, there are two nodes in that system where the fault could lie. One is at the point of delivery, and the other is at the point of reception.

  4. ken anthony

    surely the views of an overwhelming majority of subject experts have some meaning

    Sure politically, but not scientifically. In science it’s not consensus, but the lone scientist collecting the lone fact that is doing science. Science isn’t about proof. It’s about disproof.

    All scientific claims are subject to disproof or they are not science.

    Political claims do not require the same standard, but are not science.

    1. Jim

      The question Obama was addressing wasn’t one of scientific truth, it was one of public policy. Perfect scientific truth is always out of reach, and public policy decisions have to be made despite the lack of certainty. Lacking certainty, a consensus of 97% of subject experts is a strong basis for making public policy.

      1. Gregg

        This is silly beyond reckoning…

        Obama is touting (obviously false) “scientific” conclusions as a rationale for a public policy.

        You spout that 97% over and over as if it were true and as if it meant something.

        Do a little research on your own instead of constantly spouting what your Masters tell you to say.

        1. Jim

          Obama is touting (obviously false) “scientific” conclusions as a rationale for a public policy.

          They aren’t obviously false, they’re held by the overwhelming majority of experts. Obama has a choice: base his public policy decisions on the scientific views of that majority, or discount them in favor of the views of a tiny minority. To do the latter would be foolish and irresponsible.

      2. Karl Hallowell

        Perfect scientific truth is always out of reach, and public policy decisions have to be made despite the lack of certainty. Lacking certainty, a consensus of 97% of subject experts is a strong basis for making public policy.

        You claim here that because 97% of a particular group of scientists is perceived to agree that human caused climate change (and I might add they don’t necessarily agree that the climate change is harmful, that’s your spin not the actual study) happens, then that same 97% agrees with Obama’s policy proposals (which probably won’t reduce global carbon dioxide emissions due to the non-participation of China)? That’s just dishonest.

        I note that this same considerable absence of scientific certainty (a certainty which is much weaker than you claim BTW) means that we shouldn’t act until we know more. For example, we still need to determine how accurate these climate models are.

        I propose we wait two decades. If there is substantial warming in that time and the models hold up, then we have a case for action.

        1. Jim

          I propose we wait two decades. If there is substantial warming in that time and the models hold up, then we have a case for action.

          You could have said the same thing two decades ago, and you could say the same thing two decades from now. We could always wait until we know more. But if the overwhelming majority of experts are right, the longer we wait, the harder it will be to address the problem.

  5. ken anthony

    97% of climate scientists think it is causing harmful climate change. That makes it a pollutant

    Which is meaningless because of one stubborn fact. CO2 rates follow the temperatures, not the other way around.

    1. McGehee

      The introduction of molecular oxygen to the atmosphere billions of years ago caused an ecological apocalypse. Maybe it should be declared a weapon of mass destruction.

      1. Larry J

        And water vapor is an even bigger greenhouse gas than CO2. Does that make it a pollutant?

        I’m still waiting for someone to provide evidence supporting the claims of Obama’s intelligence.

        1. Gregg

          Obama cannot make a cogent scientific argument for anything – especially AGW.

          But what he CAN do is see an opportunity to grab more power and control.

          So he rides the AGW religioso wave and uses it to obtain more power.

  6. McGehee

    The only effect I could see from that speech was that the coberage made TWNBC even more unwatchable than usual in the morning. The fact MSNBC only covered it for 40-some seconds almost recommends that channel — though I’m sure the difference in time devoted to it was spent on demanding Paula Deen be flayed alive for impolitely describing the bank robber who pointed a gun at her head.

      1. Gregg

        Why don’t you read the supplied articles and find out for yourself instead of being Lemming Jim and parroting what your Masters tell you?

        1. Jim

          The linked article doesn’t answer my question. The best critique of a disputed study is a better study, but as far as I can tell no one has done a better study.

          1. Leland

            Ok, Jim. I did a study. You believe in the 97% percent story. Just you. Nobody else. About 15 other people here (actually much more) believe you are wrong and are lying.

            So you are in the 7% that believe this story. 93% think you are a liar. To quote you: Listening to the 9[3]% is no guarantee of correctness, but on average it’s a better bet than listening to the [7]%.

            Just putting your lame ass and lie infested comments into perspective.

        1. Jim

          Public policy making is not a search for perfect truth, it’s an effort to make the best decision using the information at hand. Listening to the 97% is no guarantee of correctness, but on average it’s a better bet than listening to the 3%.

      2. George Turner

        Last week a top German climate scientist said if the lack of a temperature increase lasts for three more years, then all climate models based on the CO2 link will have been invalidated. As it stands now, only one of the models out of about forty ever had a run that showed this kind of stretch with no warming.

        In science, evidence is supposed to trump theory, even if all the scientists had been unanimous.

        1. McGehee

          In science, evidence is supposed to trump theory, even if all the scientists had been unanimous.

          That sound you hear is the entire membership of the One True, Merciless and Implacable Church of Gaia plugging their ears and screaming, “Lalalalalalala! I can’t hear you!” in unison.

        2. Jim

          Last week a top German climate scientist

          So you wouldn’t base public policy decisions on the views of 97% of experts, but you would base them on one expert’s views?

          In science, evidence is supposed to trump theory, even if all the scientists had been unanimous.

          Yes. But layperson policy makers are fools if they think they can evaluate evidence better than subject area experts.

          1. Bart

            But, every indication is that those “experts” are not doing such a good job, either. See more below @ June 28, 2013, 9:53 am

    1. Bart

      “Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had. Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics.” Michael Crichton 17 January 2003 speech at the California Institute of Technology

      1. Jim

        Consensus is the business of politics

        Exactly — and politics is how we make public policy. It would be absurd for policy makers to ignore the fact that the overwhelming majority of climate scientists think AGW is real. The alternative is public policy nihilism.

        1. Bart

          I do not put much stock in the claim that the “overwhelming majority of climate scientists think AGW is real.” You cannot deny that there is a very vocal and committed group eager to create that impression, and they have been beating that drum for about two decades now. The ones beating it loudest are decidedly people in whom I have no confidence at all. I do not believe a fair and impartial survey has been conducted to the effect of how many believe it, and how many think it is an actual matter of significant concern.

          Additonally, as I have mentioned, it is not at all unusual for the great majority of scientists to be flat out, dead wrong. I pointed out the examples of eugenics and rejection of continental drift. Another which comes to mind is the more recent near universal condemnation of the fellow who posited that stomach ulcers were caused by bacterial infection. There are many others.

          We have a misperception that we are much more learned than people of the past, and so are immune to their mistakes and rushes to judgment. And, since we are so much more enlightened now than our forebears, we can water down, if not dispense with, the scientific method which was constructed precisely to avoid such pitfalls.

          The AGW imbroglio should shatter that hubristic illusion once and for all. It’s the same as it ever was. The climate always changes. Human nature is a constant.

          Public policy has to be tempered by acknowledgment of uncertainty, especially when the proposed cure is as costly to the public as this one. A dispassionate cost/benefit analysis on this issue clearly indicates that we should not be wrecking the global economy based on a phantom menace.

          At this time, when there is a 17 year hiatus in global temperatures while CO2 levels have risen an additional 30% above levels considered representative of the pre-industrial era, it is clear that there is something seriously wrong with the hypothesis. The attempts to mark the discrepancy down to ocean heat uptake are an ex post facto flail. Currently, the evolution of the system is proceeding in the precise pattern it followed in the past. Even if we could not eliminate the possibility of catastrophic AGW in the past, at this point, it is reeling from a series of body blows. It would be foolish at this point to do anything but adopt a wait-and-see attitude before implementing policies that would almost be certain to produce more harm than good.

  7. ken anthony

    Even after 97% has been debunked, Jim continues up to 8 times to repeat it which is the main technique of the big lie. Apparently, Jim has absolutely no concern for his own credibility. It’s the party that he is willing to sacrifice for. When it comes his time, I’m sure he will happily march himself into the gas chambers singing his master’s praises.

  8. Josh Reiter

    Using Jim’s logic we could say that since the overwhelming majority of intelligence agencies believed that Iraq had a WMD stockpile. So, this makes GWB’s decision to invade Iraq the absolute best action to take in preventing a mad man dictator from destroying the World. It’s great to have Jim’s overwhelming support in the War on Terror.

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