Study Funded In Part By Koch Brothers Affirms Link Between Global Warming And Human Activity

A study by a former skeptic of global warming — and funded in part by the Koch Brothers — has confirmed that human activity is likely causing the Earth to warm. Prof Richard Muller was once a critic of global warming but now says the evidence is clear in establishing the connection to human activity.

Muller leads the Berkeley Earth Project and assembled an impressive array of scientists to use new methods and some new data to investigate the global warming theory. The study reached the same conclusion of earlier studies.

The Koch brothers were not the only funders who have historically opposed global warming theories, but the scientists still concluded that the data speaks of itself. Muller wrote: “Three years ago I identified problems in previous climate studies that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming. Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause.”

Source: BBC

59 thoughts on “Study Funded In Part By Koch Brothers Affirms Link Between Global Warming And Human Activity

  1. Prof Richard Muller has now passed remedial earth science with the help of the Koch brothers. I call it progress. Now he can get to work on that earth centered universe theory.

  2. It must be time to start on the “global warming is going to be good for us” phase of the manure wagon run.

    This follows the pattern those people laid down with cigarettes:
    Its not happening
    OK, it happens but its not really a big deal
    OK, it is a big deal but we didn’t know
    OK, we knew but we did do it on purpose
    OK we did it on purpose but it was your fault for starting
    OMG! you are killing us with lawsuits – think of the poor farmers!

  3. Three years ago I identified problems in previous climate studies that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming.

    The core problem is psychological, and Freud’s prescient urging that a psychiatry for meme complex (groups that think alike) analysis and therapy be developed.

    He left the development of that discipline for future generations.

  4. oops …

    The core problem is psychological, and Freud’s prescient urging that a psychiatry for meme complex (groups that think alike) analysis and therapy be developed, has proven to be sound.

  5. On the other hand 31,478 American scientists participating in “The Petition Project,” including 9,029 scientists with PhDs (one of whom is Dr. Edward Teller), have signed the following statement:

    We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.

    There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.

    See attached Petition Card signed by Edward Teller

    See http://www.petitionproject.org/

  6. Frankly 1, July 30, 2012 at 8:51 am

    It must be time to start on the “global warming is going to be good for us” phase of the manure wagon run.
    ==============================
    The comment (Paul O’Reilly 1, July 30, 2012 at 8:55 am) proves your point.

    The reason global warming denial propaganda is like cigarette propaganda was is because Teller (the one Paul O’Reilly named) worked for the Big Tobacco industry via his Marshall Institute (and was paid by Big Tobacco just like Mueller was paid by Koch) to publish propaganda.

    After they failed in the tobacco propaganda, Teller via the Marshall Institute took up the job of propagandizing for global warming denial.

    There is a video of a science-history lecture given by a well known professor in The History of Science, supporting my assertions.

  7. And not a single one of those 31,478 American scientists has a degree or training in climate sciences. That old sweetheart Eddy Teller may be a lot of things (see for instance the way he stabbed Robert Oppenheimer in the back & got him denounced as a commie in order to further Mr. Teller’s own career) but he knows less about Climate science than he does about about human decency.

    Keep churning the manure wagon though – its not killing the Earth which will survive quite nicely without us but it very well may kill off humans. Of course given the level of stupidity displayed by people like Paul that may not be such a bad thing either.

  8. On of my friends signed that form. He is a theoretical physicist who is one of the leading experts on ultra dense matter. He would not know a Derecho if one blew a tree across his house. A smart guy, but not a meteorologist. Teller is dead. He was born in 1908 and died in 2003 at the age of 95. I suspect his knowledge of meteorology was no better than that of the average Weather Channel viewer. He built hydrogen bombs, not atmospheric fluid dynamics models.

    People really should stick with what they know, especially when it comes to spouting off opinions. I doubt that very many of those scientists, perhaps none, would be able to withstand a Daubert challenge to their opinions if they had to back up their petition signature with testimony.

  9. This is good news for science. Unfortunately for our species, its probably too late to do anything about this now.

    As permafrost melts, it will release large amounts of methane, which, as a greenhouse gas, is about 20x as potent as carbon dioxide.

    Things only accelerate from here. Now its a positive feedback cycle.

  10. Teller’s been dead nine years. Times have changed, albeit too slowly. I despair for my grandkids, who’ve been left with a pile of crap to dig out of.
    And this announcement will destroy a couple of the old farts I have Saturday lunch with. I hope 16 pt. type is big enough.

  11. The latest inevitable like is a University of Texas Austin authored a report that there is no link between ground water pollution and Fracking……. Then all hell broke loose when they found out that he sits on the board of one of the drilling companies that sponsored the results……. Life imitates apes at times…..

  12. “See attached Petition Card signed by Edward Teller”

    Yes Teller also agreed that nuclear energy was a good thing for us all. Perhaps the residents of Japan might differ. Teller was an ego-oriented scientist of the worst kind.

  13. Wow! Someone finally bit the Koch hand that was feeding him! I guess his paycheck will be late!
    Maybe now we can get to work to slow or stop the things that we are doing that causes the warming! I am not holding my breath though.

  14. Global warming may be followed by an ice age. If the Gulf Stream stops, as it might as its salinity decreases, the warming will stop, probably abruptly.

  15. Bettykath,

    You are quite right. The concept of “global warming” was originally tied in with the result being a counter-intuitive Ice Age. I guess they tried to simplify the dangers too much. This is why “Human Created Climate Change” creates a truer meme.

  16. In October 2011, despite the papers not being accepted, Richard Muller launched a major international publicity blitz announcing the results of the “BEST” project. I wrote to him and his coauthor Judy Curry objecting to the promotional initiative since the critical comments of people like me were locked up under confidentiality rules, and the papers had not been accepted for publication. Richard stated that he felt there was no alternative since the studies would be picked up by the press anyway. Later, when the journal turned the paper down and asked for major revisions, I sought permission from Richard to release my review. He requested that I post it without indicating I was a reviewer for JGR. Since that was not feasible I simply kept it confidential.
    On July 29 2012 Richard Muller launched another publicity blitz (e.g. here and here) claiming, among other things, that “In our papers we demonstrate that none of these potentially troublesome effects [including those related to urbanization and land surface changes] unduly biased our conclusions.” Their failure to provide a proper demonstration of this point had led me to recommend against publishing their paper. This places me in an awkward position since I made an undertaking to JGR to respect the confidentiality of the peer review process, but I have reason to believe Muller et al.’s analysis does not support the conclusions he is now asserting in the press.

    I take the journal peer review process seriously and I dislike being placed in the position of having to break a commitment I made to JGR, but the “BEST” team’s decision to launch another publicity blitz effectively nullifies any right they might have had to confidentiality in this matter. So I am herewith releasing my referee reports.

    http://www.rossmckitrick.com/

  17. Irregardless of the merits to the study and theories of global warming, I really cannot see a downside to not polluting the environment.

  18. Dredd’s comment (Dredd1, July 30, 2012 at 9:11 am) suggests that I worked for Big Tobacco. Not true. I am a retired ex-prosecutor with a B.S. Degree in Physics and no tie ever to the tobacco industry. I am a skeptic that human action is a significant cause of climate change because there are far too many unaccounted for variables that have yet to be measured to allow that conclusion. Additionally, faulty science and things like the disingenuous hockey stick chart cast many of the outspoken advocates of anthropogenic climate change in a suspicious light. Being a skeptic does not mean I am a denier; it means that I don’t think science has made the case yet (and I personally doubt that it will do so in the end). But then, excuse me…my judgment is my own and it is based on reading the hard science and not from reading editorial opinions by scientists or politically motivated operatives with an agenda.

  19. Mike Spindell
    1, July 30, 2012 at 11:59 am
    “See attached Petition Card signed by Edward Teller”

    Yes Teller also agreed that nuclear energy was a good thing for us all. Perhaps the residents of Japan might differ. Teller was an ego-oriented scientist of the worst kind.

    Wow, I actually disagree with Mike for once (about nuclear power, not Teller). Nuclear power, in my opinion, is the best available power source to fulfill our needs until investment in green energy sources can help them become sufficiently efficient and they can be produced on a large enough scale. The by-products of burning coal for fuel (and using gasoline to power our cars) are far worse (in terms of their impact on the ecosystem and people’s health) than the (relatively) small amount of radioactive waste produced by nuclear plants. The people of Japan might differ, but the people of the US thought that torture and invading Iraq were both good ideas after 9/11… I don’t think that the opinions of traumatized people on the event that caused their trauma are reliable.

  20. Mike,

    Full disclosure: my brother-in-law works for the NRC–but I still think that nuclear is the best available medium-term solution to our power needs. I would be happy to have a viable alternative, but I don’t see it. Survival of our society is going to require some tough choices… and a lot of the time the right choice is going to really suck. But it beats the alternatives…

  21. Mike, I think cold fusion has already been invented. Several of my male clients insist their wives have a monopoly it.

  22. I met Dr. Teller many years ago. A more arrogant and opinionated person would be hard to find. He was very bright, but should have stuck to nuclear physics.

  23. Paul O’Reilly, unless I misread his comment Dredd is not saying that you worked for big tobacco but that someone you named did.

  24. Slarti & OS,

    Cold Fusion was a joke and will be until someone figures it out. I may sound serious almost all of the time, but I rarely take myself that seriously. My distaste for nuclear power is a visceral one. I don’t trust its keepers enough to prevent bad things happening.

  25. Off Topic:

    Is the Natural Gas Industry Buying Academics?
    —By Tim McDonnell
    Mon Jul. 30, 2012
    http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2012/07/fracked-professors

    Excerpt:
    Last week the University of Texas provost announced he would reexamine a report by a UT professor that said fracking was safe for groundwater after the revelation that the professor pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Texas natural gas developer. It’s the latest fusillade in the ongoing battle over the basic facts of fracking in America.

    Texans aren’t the only ones having their fracking conversations shaped by industry-funded research. Ohioans got their first taste last week of the latest public-relations campaign by the energy policy wing of the US Chamber of Commerce. It’s called “Shale Works for US,” and it aims to spend millions on advertising and public events to sell Ohioans on the idea that fracking is a surefire way to yank the state out of recession.

    The campaign is loaded with rosy employment statistics, which can be traced to an April report authored by professors at three major Ohio universities and funded by, you guessed it, the natural gas industry. The report paints a bright future for fracking in Ohio as a job creator.

    One coauthor of the study, Robert Chase, is prominent enough within the state’s natural gas universe that his case was recently taken up by the Ohio Ethics Commission, whose chairman called Chase “more than a passing participant in the operations of the Ohio oil and gas industry” and questioned his potential conflicts of interest. As landowners in natural-gas-rich states like Texas and Ohio struggle to decipher conflicting reports about the safety of fracking, Chase is a piece in what environmental and academic watchdogs call a growing puzzle of industry-funded fracking research with poor disclosure and dubious objectivity.

    “It’s hard to find someone who’s truly independent and doesn’t have at least one iron in the fire,” said Ohio oil and gas lease attorney Mark F. Okey. “It’s a good ol’ boys network and they like to take care of their own.”

  26. Mike,

    My support of nuclear power is a pragmatic one and I’m all for its keepers being kept on as short a leash as possible (I believe in socialized utilities–at least until we’ve fixed the incentives in the economy to stop abuses of the system by private utility providers). I don’t get the joke–probably because the term “Cold Fusion” takes me down a very different associative path… and I’ve never imagined you as someone that takes themselves that seriously. ;-)

  27. Prof Richard Muller, a new believer in humans causing global warming is an advocate of fracking natural gas. (guest on Rachel Maddow, 7/27/2012)

    And what is the relationship between the Koch Brothers and fracking? Products of the Koch’s: Asphalt, chemicals, commodities trading, energy, fibers, fertilizers, finance, minerals, natural gas, plastics, petroleum, pulp and paper (Wikipedia)
    ———————————–

    We should be following the example of Germany.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/26/us-climate-germany-solar-idUSBRE84P0FI20120526

    Excerpt:

    Germany sets new solar power record, institute says

    By Erik Kirschbaum

    BERLIN | Sat May 26, 2012 2:02pm EDT

    (Reuters) – German solar power plants produced a world record 22 gigawatts of electricity per hour – equal to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity – through the midday hours on Friday and Saturday, the head of a renewable energy think tank said.

    The German government decided to abandon nuclear power after the Fukushima nuclear disaster last year, closing eight plants immediately and shutting down the remaining nine by 2022.

    They will be replaced by renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and bio-mass.

  28. Now that Muller has seen the light of sanity, after we get back in control of energy use, if we can, we must see once and for all that we live on a sphere with limited livibg space, please be advised that we no longer have the natural resources or technology to solve the problems of a continiously growing population and the economic growth it has been taught to expect. If we save ourselves, we must continue on a path of zero population growth to save the bio-systems and the beauty of the Earth we can all enjoy.

  29. Guess someone didn’t get the memo on how global warming was a hoax and the numbers were fabricated.

  30. Mike

    I couldn’t agree with you more on nuclear power. Aside from the safety problems; however a person looks at it, when a dam fails if inundates all downstream, a coal fire plant burns up and a natural gas plant explodes, a nuke plant lays a centuries long zone of exclusion and pollutes areas on geographic scales.

    Let us look at it from a cost / basis point of view. The immediate cost savings is actually miniscule compared wtih the long term storage issue. 200,000 years in many cases. So if the fuel lasts for a few years but creates a dangerous storage liability for 50,000 times that how can this be economical?

  31. If cleanup and storage were a part of the equation, nuclear power would never have made it off the ground. But in characteristic capitalistic fashion, the government helped pay for it, the utilities grab the profits and the taxpayers get stuck with the pollution and cleanup. Same with coal, and oil.

  32. Slartibartfast,
    Have you come up with a way to dispose of toxic radioactive waste, yet?
    Please get back to us when you do.
    Thanks.

  33. Bob K.,

    How wonderful that you can boil down a complex, nuanced situation to a simple knee-jerk reaction. If we don’t build more nuclear plants in the short term, then we will build more coal-fired plants* (and probably a lot more, since nuclear plants usually produce more power). This will create greenhouse gasses as well as other point-source pollution exacerbating climate change as well as creating wonders like acid rain. It will negate any pollution savings from, for instance, electric vehicles as they will still be being powered by burning fossil fuels. Nuclear power, on the other hand, produces no greenhouse gasses and a limited amount of material which is radioactive, corrosive, and very toxic. This is not a no-brainer either way, and I think that the best viable solution is nuclear power coupled with subsides for solar and wind to speed their development (all of which is merely to keep us going until we get fusion power–which pretty much solves the problem of power and significantly mediates the problem of radioactive waste [and eliminates the problem of other waste]), but if you’d rather put up new coal plants all over the place, then I trust you’ve come up with a way to reverse man-made climate change–if not, please get back to us when you do. Until then don’t imply I’m the one who is naive.

    * Since we aren’t putting the money into wind and solar right now that would allow them to develop into a significant part of the solution anytime soon (Rmoney seems to have pledged to do his best to dismantle what wind power there is in the US if elected and I doubt he will be pushing solar either…), and the other choices (blackouts or reducing power use) are pretty much political non-starters.

  34. Slarti, we just need to harness the hot air energy coming from inside the Beltway. I no longer watch TV on Sunday mornings, because I hate to see the First Law of Thermodynamics violated. There truly is a perpetual source of hot air energy. If we could harness it, our energy needs would be solved.

  35. “The Berkeley Earth project studies have not yet been published in peer reviewed scientific journals, but the team has submitted them to the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres.” -BBC

    In other words, no peer review, not valid. And considering who is doing the review… still bias, still insufficient. The problem isn’t that experts are reviewing other experts’ work, it’s that it’s such a rarified field of statistics, geology, physics, etc. that no laymen can possibly understand the issue sufficiently to form their own conclusion. Doesn’t stop them from trying, but still… In other words, once the scientists have lost their credibility, it will be a long, long time before they can get it back. Simply refering to it as funded by skeptics is an insufficent argument to restore the confidence in scientists who have repeatedly shown deceptive and incomplete data sets in order to pursue politcal agendas. Even scientists operating in good faith, such as this set supposedly was, can come to different opinions. As long as the issue is political, there will be doubt. Frankly, I won’t be alive long enough to care, and I have no children, so… whatevs.

  36. Actually, I do have a way to get rid of radioactive waste.

    Put it in lead lined containers. Encase them in reinforced concrete. Sink the whole mess to a subduction boundary zone just on the side of the zone where one tectonic plate is being pushed under another. As the plate is subducted, it carries with it the encased nuclear waste into the mantle where it becomes molten and diffuses into larger body of magma there. There should be no (or very small) risk of detonation and with careful site selection, this solution would pose minimal threat to sea life and/or water quality. It would be expensive, but less so than burying it in a hollowed out mountain and trying to figure out a way to label it so that in 10,000 years when no one speaks English people will still know it is dangerous radioactive waste.

  37. Works for me–at least until we can feed things into a fusion torch and reduce them to their constituent atoms. How about removing point source pollution once it’s been mixed with the environment?

  38. Slartibartfast,
    Yes, the problems with nuclear power are not particularly nuanced, at all. They’re quite simple.
    We can’t trust profit-making entities to produce nuclear power without cutting corners. This leads to disaster.
    No one has, and it’s likely no one will, find a way to dispose of nuclear waste. Just keep producing stuff that’s incredibly toxic for 10,000 years or more, and hope someone finds a way to render it harmless?
    I don’t remember advocating the creation of more coal-fired plants. Is your suggestion that I have, a knee-jerk response to criticism of nuclear technology? I don’t respond to the old “you must choose either A or B” tactic.
    You inferred from my response that you are naive, I did not imply it.

    There are myriad ways to reduce man-made climate change. Humanity lacks the will to do so. Humanity, for the most part, insists on overpopulating the petri dish until it dies in its own wastes.

    Perhaps an Invisible Friend will save humanity from itself.
    Perhaps not.

  39. Bob K. said:

    Yes, the problems with nuclear power are not particularly nuanced, at all.

    I suppose not for someone as naive and myopic as yourself.

    They’re quite simple.
    We can’t trust profit-making entities to produce nuclear power without cutting corners.

    Which is why we have regulatory agencies like the NRC.

    This leads to disaster.

    Hmm… even though we’ve never had a serious nuclear disaster in this country, these profit-making entities aren’t to be trusted… but I guess it’s okay to trust other profit-making, energy producing entities. After all, there’s never been any problems with, say, drilling for oil in deep water in the Gulf of Mexico…

    No one has, and it’s likely no one will, find a way to dispose of nuclear waste.

    Gene suggested a way to do it. I suggested a technology that would mediate it (with fusion anything could be reduced to its component atoms which could be easily sorted by atomic weight–this would solve a boatload of waste disposal and recycling problems…). Put it in a rocket and shoot it into the sun. There are three different possibilities requiring various plausible technologies. Personally, I’d say the disposal of waste was a much easier problem to solve than, for example, creating “clean” coal or reversing climate change and acid rain…

    Just keep producing stuff that’s incredibly toxic for 10,000 years or more, and hope someone finds a way to render it harmless?

    Hmm… cubic feet of waste which needs to be carefully contained (and if stored properly is pretty much inert) or megatons of greenhouse gasses and other pollutants being pumped into the air–let me think… Or have you come up with a perpetual motion machine which will solve all of our energy needs?

    I don’t remember advocating the creation of more coal-fired plants.

    How do you propose to meet our growing energy demands?

    Is your suggestion that I have, a knee-jerk response to criticism of nuclear technology?

    No, my suggestion is that your criticism of nuclear power is a knee-jerk reaction that doesn’t take into effect a realistic assessment of the pros and cons of nuclear power as well as other available alternatives. If you want to shutter 20% of our national power generation capability, you’d better figure out how you’re going to make up that shortfall in power production. If you can’t figure out how to do that, then your knee-jerk criticism seems pretty naive to me.

    I don’t respond to the old “you must choose either A or B” tactic.

    Fine–20% of this country’s power comes from nuclear reactors, if we shut them down, do we:

    (a) Build new coal plants to make up the difference.

    (b) have rolling blackouts until someone figures out a way to make up the shortfall that’s okay with you.

    (c) depend on some other solution that you might have but are keeping to yourself.

    I don’t consider “you must choose A or B or come up with your own solution C” to be dishonest. You seem to want to rule something out without considering the possibility that the available alternatives might be worse. That seems naive to me.

    You inferred from my response that you are naive, I did not imply it.

    Really? The suggestion that my thoughts weren’t valid unless I could solve the problem of nuclear waste wasn’t implying that I was naive? Sure.

    There are myriad ways to reduce man-made climate change.

    And one of them is to replace coal-fired power plants with nuclear ones.

    Humanity lacks the will to do so.

    So you are unilaterally opposing the one method that humanity doesn’t lack the will to implement–and you imply I’m naive? ;-)

    Humanity, for the most part, insists on overpopulating the petri dish until it dies in its own wastes.

    And does that happen faster with nuclear power or coal-fired power?

    Perhaps an Invisible Friend will save humanity from itself.
    Perhaps not.

    Personally, I advocate looking at all the alternatives objectively and determining the costs and benefits of each in order to plot the best course available, but I’m sure your abandonment of empiricism for your unthinking certainty that because something you don’t like is bad, nothing else could possibly be worse. Good luck with that.

    CLH said: “In other words, no peer review, not valid.”

    That’s not what it said at all–it said that it is in the process of being peer reviewed. What’s wrong with that? The process takes time–a month after a recent paper of mine submitted I got an interim decision and have 90 days to resubmit (potentially followed by another month before a final decision). How else should one represent such a paper besides “submitted”?

  40. OS,

    Just get them into balloons–as long as they never come back down, I’ll happily write off the potential energy lost…

  41. Ultimately fission power should be gradually phased out until it’s used primarily for the military and scientific research.

    To do that, until fusion becomes viable, the power equation should be looked at from the perspective of waste not want not. Instead of wasting money on asinine disposal methods (e.g. rockets to the sun) we should exploit all that desert land we have in the South West in the form of solar farms and improved grids and transmission lines.

    Nuclear waste begets more waste every time you handle it; and so on, and so on, and so on. We should never lie to our selves and say we’re comfortable with it.

  42. Thanks, Bob, Esq.

    Let’s leave out science fiction and fantasy. I’ll take plutonium on the ground, horrid as it is, to plutonium flying over my head, any day.

    My un-nuanced, un-sophisticated point about the improbability of disposing of nuclear waste, ever –
    – simply, un-sophisticatedly, rules out nuclear power as a viable energy source.

    Of course there’s a future for nuclear power. It’s just not a future any of us wants to be in. Three-mile Island. Chernobyl. Fukushima. Coming soon, to a town near you.

    I would have chosen not to have learned the Japanese pronunciation of “Fukushima.” The “spent” fuel rods, stored in the reactor, and a significant part of the problem, are sitting there because there’s no acceptable way to dispose of them. This isn’t a problem just for future generations. It’s a problem, right now.

  43. Bob, esq.,

    The “rocket to the sun” approach was just to point out that there are possible ways to dispose of waste–I wasn’t actually suggesting that it was a good idea or worth what it would cost, just that it could be done. (mathematicians like existence proofs… ;-) ) Regarding solar, if you read what I’ve wrote on this thread you will see that I’m for using fission power as a stop-gap to reduce our dependence on coal-fired power while subsidizing wind and solar power to speed their development (I also favor spending money on researching fusion power, although that’s not as easy as subsidizing existing power sources…), but that’s not likely to make up even the 20% of our needs currently supplied by nuclear power anytime soon. I’m not saying that fission power is good and wonderful and wholesome, just that it is a lot better than the currently available alternatives…

    As for the “power equation”, I believe that all of the available options should be evaluated on an objective assessment of their merits to be used as part of a plan to get us to the long term goal of using nuclear technology only for research and oil solely to make plastics. Personally, I think that expansion of fission right now is the best available path and while I’m willing to re-evaluate that position based on objective facts, I’m not going to change my opinion because of Bob K’s unreasoning fear of nuclear power.

    Bob K.,

    Nuclear waste is not a threat to society, climate change caused by increasing emissions of greenhouse gasses potentially is.

    By the way, if you think that Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima are all on the same order, you are sadly ignorant–that’s like comparing a bruise to a compound fracture and an amputation. Sure, they’re all injuries, but they aren’t the same. You are making unequivocal statements based on your emotional reaction to nuclear power rather than looking at the matter objectively. Sorry, but I think that makes you naive. Do we have to worry about a Fukushima-type event? No–we don’t have any reactors that are similarly vulnerable (I’m sure that Fukushima could have been made to withstand what happened if it had been foreseen–all it would have required is an alternate power source not vulnerable to flooding that could have lasted until a grid connection could have been restored). Do we have to worry about a Chernobyl-type event? Not unless we let our regulatory agencies badly atrophy. Do we have to worry about another deepwater horizon-type oil spill? Do we have to worry about reducing greenhouse emissions? Do we have to worry about the health impacts of pollution from burning fossil fuels? We’ve made bad choices in the past so we are currently faced with bad decisions that we need to make. Refusing to consider an alternative because some of its consequences are bad and thereby committing yourself to something that may be worse because you are unwilling to objectively weigh the two seems shortsighted and idiotic to me…

  44. “Idiotic” is the best you’ve got? Great rhetoric! “Idiotic” is in the eye of the beholder.
    You’ve illustrated something…perhaps not what you desired. No argument to stand on? Call the other person’s stance “idiotic.”
    Conversation over.

  45. Bob K.,

    Hmm… rather than address the argument I was making (which seems a pretty solid perch considering your inability or unwillingness to address any of the points I have made on this thread*) you’ve decided to focus on my indictment of your unwillingness to consider the issue objectively. Considering that you never answered any of my arguments, I’d say the discussion never really started.

    Your entire argument seems to be: The consequences of nuclear power are bad so we can’t use it. Well, the consequences of amputating a gangrenous limb are bad, too–but that doesn’t mean they are worse than the alternative. Until you are willing to open your eyes and consider the whole picture, you will be doomed to continue committing logical fallacies like this one.

    * funny that you try to point out a fake mote in my eye while ignoring the very real beam in your own…

  46. Paul O’Reilly 1, July 30, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    Dredd’s comment (Dredd1, July 30, 2012 at 9:11 am) suggests that I worked for Big Tobacco. Not true. I am a retired ex-prosecutor with a B.S. Degree in Physics and no tie ever to the tobacco industry.
    =========================
    I was clearly talking about Teller:

    The reason global warming denial propaganda is like cigarette propaganda was is because Teller (the one Paul O’Reilly named) worked for the Big Tobacco industry via his Marshall Institute (and was paid by Big Tobacco just like Mueller was paid by Koch) to publish propaganda.

  47. Gene H:

    good idea about burying waste so that it ends up in the mantle, here is an article you might like:

    http://www.economist.com/node/21556100

    from the article:

    “It also means ensuring that waste does not poison future generations—people who discover nuclear waste in the far future may not realise what it is…”

    “If buried in a subduction fault, the movement of one tectonic plate sliding below another would push the canisters down into the Earth’s mantle at a rate of about ten centimetres a year.”

    So you were right on target.

  48. A recent article at Commentary, quoting an AP report, discusses how the free market is crushing CO2 emissions: “Anti-CO2 activists may have to find something else to give their lives meaning. The AP reports that “the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in the U.S. has fallen dramatically to its lowest level in 20 years, and government officials say the biggest reason is that cheap and plentiful natural gas has led many power plant operators to switch from dirtier-burning coal.” *** “Many of the world’s leading climate scientists didn’t see the drop coming, in large part because it happened as a result of market forces rather than direct government action against carbon dioxide.” *** How did it happen? Shale gas and fracking: “A frenzy of shale gas drilling in the Northeast’s Marcellus Shale and in Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana has caused the wholesale price of natural gas to plummet from $7 or $8 per unit to about $3 over the past four years, making it cheaper to burn than coal for a given amount of energy produced.” Whether or not you think anthropogenic global warming is a real problem, it’s hard to overstate the significance of this. For years, the Inconvenient Truthers have been telling us the sky will fall unless Big Government comes in to regulate emissions on a global scale. *** No government or bureaucracy can centrally plan to accomplish what the self-interested nodes of a free-market system can. The U.S. brought down CO2 emissions without help from Washington or the United Nations.” The article is here: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2012/08/17/the-free-market-is-crushing-co2-emissions-fracking/

  49. Bron,

    Thanks, but I can hardly take credit for the idea as original. It has been floating around science and science fiction circles for decades. In fact, in David Brin’s Uplift series, the pan-galactic civilization known as the Five Galaxies mandates that periodically habitable planets be left fallow (much like the farming practice) in order to give their ecosystems time to recover from the stresses of hosting technological civilization. As part of the fallowing process, all the artifacts of civilization – buildings, power systems, road, etc. – are recycled through the subduction method when the planets are temporarily abandoned. Both in fiction and the real world, it really is an elegant and simple solution to a very substantial problem

  50. The drop in CO2 from by human use, if true, may be too late. There are reports that thawing in the arctic is releasing huge amounts of methane.

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