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Timothy Ball: “Still just a theory”


Prominent climatologist Dr. Timothy Ball talks about the links between evolution and global warming controversies. HT to UD subscriber Frost for the link to the article.

Environmental extremism must be put in its place in the climate debate

By Dr. Tim Ball & Tom Harris
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Canada Free Press

Many people are starting to realize that much of what they’ve been told about climate change by governments, the United Nations and crusading celebrities is simply wrong. Not surprisingly, the assertion that “the science is settled” in a field the public is coming to understand is both immature and quickly evolving, is triggering growing public skepticism. Alarmists respond by upping the ante, making even more extreme and nonsensical forecasts, which in turn further fuels healthy public disbelief.

This pattern of exaggerated, and finally ludicrous assertions influencing debate in society is an old story. Extremists and extremism have always defined the limits for the majority. Climate extremism will increase in the near future as purveyors of politically correct but flawed views of climate change attempt to defend the indefensible.

Realization of this misdirection, and in many cases, deception, leads to the next stage in the life cycle of such mass delusions. People begin to ask, “What is the motivation for the scare? How was society so easily misled? Why did so many otherwise intelligent people accept or even promote the scare?

In this and subsequent articles I (Dr. Ball) will suggest answers to these crucially important questions.

Like all philosophies that come to dominate society, climate hysteria is part of an evolution of ideas and needs an historical context. The current western view of the World essentially evolved from the Darwinian view. Even though it is still just a theory and not a law 148 years after it was first proposed, Darwinian evolution is the only view allowed in schools. Why? Such censorship suggests fear of other ideas, a measure of indefensibility.

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Frickley pit? I've not really strayed far from Weatherfield since I were a lass. In fact, my garden gnome is better traveled then I am! At the moment I'm mostly painting nature scenes. Oooh I don't really know where I'd be without my painting! Not since I gave up the gin anyway :) Mavis Riley
Mavis - my brother's PhD in the 90s research was on coal, and he reckoned that it would be economic to recover coal from the coal tips (our mother found this hilarious, because her father worked down Frickley pit for most of his life). Dave @ 15 - can we quote-mine you on that? Bob O'H
Dave & Mavis: Just noting the "energy carrier" principle:
. . . where a given technology "needs" energy in a form that allows delivery of services such as transportation, it is often worth the while to expend more energy than will be recovered from the carrier to get the form of energy needed.
--> For instance, hydrogen will be such a carrier [unless some for m of the bugs that sometimes make H2 can be developed to change that . . .] --> A related example is that until was it a decade or two ago, it cost more energy to make a solar PV cell than was recovered from it. But, especially for space applications, the cell weighed a lot less than the energy input equivalent to what it would deliver. --> Some argue that gasoline is a case in point [takes more energy to extract and process crude to make gasoline, then transport to point of delivery than is in the gasoline . . .] So, it all depends on what we need. But, bottomline, we do need ultimate energy sources that can sustain such efforts and technologies. On coal too, with synthesis techniques, absent fears over GW, coal would be coming on strong just now as an alternative source of fuels. For instance, if gas-powered vehicles were to be modified to be flexible fuel from 100% ethanol or methanol to 100% gasoline, then methanol from coal would probably be very price competitive with gasoline right now. [I gather the mod costs about US$ 100/vehicle, at least at factory.] My own suggestion is that we are going to see diversification in the energy sector. Alcohol fuels with various sources [I like Holtzapple's mixed alcohol fuels from cellulosic biomass by using cow rumen bacteria], butanol [close substitute for gasoline], and biodiesel. The long shot high potential payoff on this last is that certain micro algae are 30 - 50+ % oil, and grow v fast -- crop cycle times of 2 days have been reported. So, we could look at up to about 15 - 20k gal/acres per yr. Work the numbers and you will see that this gets us to a potential crop that can replace oil -- actually, many argue that oil is largely the geo-processed remains of such ancient algae. Of course a key factor here is that diesel engines are very much more efficient than Otto cycle [gasoline] ones. My further bet is that battery technologies will continue to improve sufficiently that we will move to flexible fuel, plug in hybrid vehicles and also fuel cell vehicles, probably alcohol fuelled [as such compounds are a more convenient and concentrated store of H than hydrogen gas.] Electricity sector will diversify, and on this one I have my eye on pebble bed modular fission reactors, and now on solar PV in light of Nanosolar's evident breakthrough on literally printed PV cells. Dye-sensitised TiO2 and similar things building on Gratzel will also make a difference. Getting back to AGW, it is still a theory, it still has evidential challenges and the feedback links form CO2 to H2O vapour, and GW impacts are still very speculative. Can we all just take time to say: GIGO, no computer simulation is to be taken as equivalent to empirically observed reality? So, we should balance our case for actions on energy: take actions that are prudent on other grounds, not just AGW. Getting out of the very volatile and geostrategically dangerous oil market makes a lot of sense if it can be pulled off. [Remember, salt was once a strategic commodity; but once the supply-demand dynamics shifted -- e.g. think on impacts of refrigeration -- things changed.] With apologies to Yoko: Just imagine: a lot of oil dictators suddenly without geostrategic leverage . . . GEM of TKI kairosfocus
Mavis Incredible as it may seem, given that all ID proponents are knuckle dragging neanderthals, I have faith that science & technology will continue to deliver the solutions we need. DaveScot
Where I come from originally, a tiny place, many coal mines shut down in the 70's and 80's. This caused many people many problems and personally I had to move in with relatives to survive. So the price of a fossil fuel has already got to the point where it is not economically recoverable. What happens when/if oil gets that point? We spend more and more energy in a diminishing circle trying to get less and less oil? Once I left Grange-over-Sands the influence the coal mines lessened and things normalised, thankfully. Well, I don't really know what will happen with the methane hydrate in the end. I hope some simple way to exploit it will be found. Mavis Riley
Mavis You make a common mistake in the cost of recovering fossil fuels by using money for the cost. Cost must be measured in energy. If it takes more energy to get a barrel of oil out of the ground than is in a barrel of oil then that oil is not economically recoverable. Same applies to methane. DaveScot
@ Frost122585 Don't forget all the frozen methane and other similar sources of energy. With the price of oil being what it is these sources are looking more and more interesting and increasingly good value for money. Everything could yet still change! Mavis Riley
Dave, Every body knows the answer to that one. The ocean doesn't pollute mother earth so the global warming stays away from it. Of course there is almost no evidence for atmospheric warming either. http://www.aetherometry.com/Electronic_Publications/Politics_of_Science/Global_Warming/Section_I_5.html It does say that pollution is a contributor to a "local" warming effect that influences the occasional slight warming deviations from normal. CO2, though a drop in the bucket, appears to be scorching up the world! Yet it got colder last year. Frost122585
Bennith Approximately 25% of the all the coal in the world is located inside the continental United States. Oil is only important for internal combustion engines (coal was used to power human industry long before gasoline came along) which can be replaced with electric motors and/or be converted for use with biofuels. Please explain how the oceans got cooler if the atmosphere at the surface got warmer. DaveScot
Of course, you are right. Currently alot of it is under the feet of people we call friends but I think we both know they are really not! Invade Canada!!!!! tribune7
All the oil isn’t under the feet of our enemies.
Of course, you are right. Currently alot of it is under the feet of people we call friends but I think we both know they are really not!
The ocean cooled a tiny bit because it gave up more heat than it gained.
Of course. And if it gave up less heat then it gained then it would have warmed.
I’d be careful about thinking more and writing less in the future if you want to continue here.
... Bennith Karlow
Bennith All the oil isn't under the feet of our enemies. The ocean cooled a tiny bit because it gave up more heat than it gained. I'd be careful about thinking more and writing less in the future if you want to continue here. DaveScot
It seems to me that ocean temps could well decline from 2002 and 2007 and that global warming could still be true. It's not as if we have an exact model of climate change.
Rationalize it, explain it, just don’t deny it.
Previosly you have said that coal/gas etc was placed on the earth for us to discover and exploit. I paraphrase. So, what's your explnation (as you challenge others to do so) of the decline in temps you mention? Is there an ID spin here? Can the EF be used to detect design in this temperature decline? Ok, that last one was a joke, but you get my meaning. Once you start placing meaning in what just as well could be explained as random chance (coal being there for us to exploit) then you have to find meaning in all things (decline in ocean temps 2002 to 2007). For example, why was all the oil designed to be under the feer of our "enemies"? Bennith Karlow
ATBC First of all, I'm expelled from ATBC so save your silly platitudes about me talking at you from here. Glad to do it there. Just get Wesley to unblock me. Secondly, all the shouts about me linking to a retracted report on global ocean temp decline is unfounded. The study, then the correction, were done in 2006. I linked to a 2008 magazine report that quoted that described the project and quoted a lead investigator. The quote did not contradict anything I wrote. Global ocean temps declined slightly from 2002 to 2007. Deal with it. You can call it insignificant all day long but that doesn't counter the claim - ocean temps DID decline. They didn't stay the same, they didn't rise, they declined. Rationalize it, explain it, just don't deny it. DaveScot
Has the increased greenhouse effect, that the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere is alleged to be causing, been tested in a laboratory? I'm no scientist, but it seems to me it'd be a fairly straightforward experiment to set up. Meanwhile, I heard an AGW "scientist" on the radio talking about the danger of blah-blah-blah by 2050. I expect we'll see them keep pushing the date further out -- milking this cow till she drops dead. jstanley01
I can't begin to describe the similarities between the global warming debate and the debate over evolution. Question Darwinism? They assume you have a religious conviction. Question AGW? You're obviously with Exxon. Bring up ID? You must be anti-science. Suggest maybe carbon offsets are pointless? They insist you're killing those cute little polar bears, and are anti-environment. And the list goes on... F2XL
Everything becomes a cause and when it does it becomes impossible to stop it in it tracks. I mean look at all of this Crystal Skull stuff that is going around right now. If we can't put that to rest then how can we put global warming to rest? I think the global warming cult is going to be around for a long time. Hopefully poeple like ball and such will attack the climate models and correct and debate them at every turn. There is afterall a lot at stake, and I dont mean the polar ice caps or New York City- im talking about loosing trillions of dollars out of the world economy spearheaded by the US and the loss of rights, freedoms and liberties that are difficult to get back such as Limits on the ammount of power a person can use What kind of car they have to drive What kind of fuels and such they must use Taxes on certain non-green behaviors Global tax to "The World" because the US expells the most CO2 Each of these main categories just opens up the door for more worthless regulation down the road. And with people like Obama getting so much support - what I say is no exaggeration, it could very well be right around the corner. Global warrming is, at the end of the day, just a supplemental movement for the left wing (national and international) poltical agenda. Frost122585
For Guthrie: Please try to keep up. Ocean temp data blogged here: The Mystery of Global Warming’s Missing Heat
Josh Willis of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 2003 completed the deployment of 3000 oceanic robots that dive 1 kilometer deep and record the water temperature. The unexpected result is that the robots have found that the ocean cooled slightly in the past 4 years.

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