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The Taco Bell Arena at Boise State University was packed on Monday night. It was, of course, because of the keynote speaker at the Frank Church Conference on Public Affairs: Former Vice President Al Gore. To paraphrase Bethine Church, who introduced the former VP, this year will be marked by two events, the Fiesta Bowl and the talk by Al. Gore’s speech addressed issues of global warming and was very similar to his famous movie on the subject, An Inconvenient Truth, but updated with more statistics and findings from the past year. It also incorporated issues relevant to the Northwest and facts about specific climate-related incidents in Idaho, such as flooding, droughts and forest fires. Instead of summarizing the speech or the conference, we instead just want to start a dialogue about Gore, global warming and what Americans can do to rectify the grim situation. So check out what some of the attendees said after the Gore speech:

Gore Speaks; Now’s Your Chance to Respond

The Taco Bell Arena at Boise State University was packed on Monday night. It was, of course, because of the keynote speaker at the Frank Church Conference on Public Affairs: Former Vice President Al Gore.

To paraphrase Bethine Church, who introduced the former VP, this year will be marked by two events, the Fiesta Bowl and the talk by Al.

Gore’s speech addressed issues of global warming and was very similar to his famous movie on the subject, An Inconvenient Truth, but updated with more statistics and findings from the past year. It also incorporated issues relevant to the Northwest and facts about specific climate-related incidents in Idaho, such as flooding, droughts and forest fires.

Instead of summarizing the speech or the conference, we instead just want to start a dialogue about Gore, global warming and what Americans can do to rectify the grim situation. So check out what some of the attendees said after the Gore speech:

“There was a lot more passion than the campaign, more than his movie even.”
– Saychelle Morris, Boise.

“It wasn’t robotic.”
– Zach “Yes, That’s My Real Name” Morris, Mountain Home

“I think if he ran for president in 2008, he’d have a real chance to win and make changes – he’s already made changes.”
– Gene Eilebrecht, Boise

“I think Gore represented himself very well and created a strong need for American and global change for global warming. He has statistics to back it up and provides a compelling argument. He dispels the ignorant myth that because the opposite can be said it must also be true… I don’t know, maybe we should just drive less.”
– Joey Schuler, Boise

“I agreed with (his message); I wish more people didn’t disagree with it.”
– Cynthia Davis, Boise

“Did you see that the Taco Bell Arena was selling bottled water during the speech? But as we were leaving, the trash cans outside were filled with plastic water bottles. People just threw them away after the speech; that place didn’t recycle anything. Isn’t that waste a contributing problem?”
– Luke Wilcomb, Boise

Did you see the speech? Do you have any comments? Post them here.

About J. Gelband

Comments

  1. Vicki Hodge says:

    The impact of this important and crucial subject combined with the excitement of seeing Al Gore was a bit overwhelming for me. He is a powerful and dynamic speaker — fluxuating between jokes and alarming facts while offering fantastic hope at an opportunity to respond to the call to action and solve this problem before it’s too late. Proven science projects catastrophic events within my daughter’s lifetimes. This is a completley terrifying & paralying thought for me. Where to begin? Most of my friends haven’t even been motivated to go see the movie. But Gore urges people not to go from denial to despair — skipping the the key middle component of action. It is our moral obligation to future generations to act now. We need to demand more from our politicians. Think carefully about how we spend our powerful money. Conserve more and consume less. Be a catalyst for change. See the movie, read the book, care and be committed. We CAN solve this problem if we collectively act now.

  2. Kevin says:

    The whole situation is just sad. From the politization of the issue to the anti-science crowd plugging their ears and covering their eyes to the stuck up martyrs who think they’re the greenest people on earth running around shouting about how good the message was but that nobody is actually going to do anything about it. Afterall, we’re all a bunch of Americans right? It’s not in our vocabulary to actually change things.

    Give me a break.

    Nobody who attended tonight didn’t leave without taking something from it. And that’s the whole point. We need to increase awareness first before we can even begin to hope for sweeping change. 10,000 people turned out to listen to a former politician talk about climate change on a Monday night in Boise, Idaho? I have to say I was actually pretty proud of the turnout. This is a step in the right direction.

  3. Tom von Alten says:

    Sorry I couldn’t be there. The strong interest for his talk in Boise was certainly heartening, but then our last election showed that Ada Co. and Idaho aren’t on the same political page these days.

    Some of our former elected officials do remarkable things once they’re retired. The pressure’s off, the race is done, no more need for “handlers” and “staying on message” and following polls. They can just speak their minds, honestly.

    Others can’t retire and go away soon enough, from my point of view.

    I deeply regret that George Bush and his ilk were able to take the 2000 election. A Gore presidency might not have been able to redirect the moment of our technology and culture, but at least we would have someone aware of the issues and prepared to confront them.

    There is no escape from the fact that our climate is changing, and that it will have deep repurcussions on much of the world’s population. Small decisions matter when you multiply them by a thousand, million, 10 million, a billion.

    Americans have a lot of leverage, to use for good, or for a good time. So far, our preferences lean to the latter…

  4. bikeboy says:

    Comments on the previous comments. (NOT attacks on the commentators; I hope that distinction can be understood.)

    Zach Morris was MOST surprised that “it wasn’t robotic.” That’s pretty funny!
    (-;

    Joey Schuler felt that Algore was very convincing and compelling. And, “… maybe we should drive less.” Do you s’pose?

    Luke Wilcomb observes that the trash bins at the exits were packed with empty plastic water bottles.

    Vicki is trying not to be paralyzed with fear for her daughters, and recognizing that we need to “act now.” She has some good suggestions – “conserve more and consume less.” (I feel THAT would make a lot more difference than seeing the movie, or reading the book, or going to the Traveling Vaudeville.)

    Kevin cites the need to “increase awareness.” And that’s obviously Algore’s mission. Maybe I’m cynical, but I can’t help but feel that the vast majority of the spellbound audience “won’t do anything about it.” Or they’ll put a pro-environment bumpersticker on the back of the car they go everywhere in, and call it good… you know, to “increase awareness.”

    Some people talk the talk.
    Some people walk the walk.
    Some people do both.

    Which category is Algore in? Which category re you in? Most importantly… which category am I in? (Ask yourself.)

  5. Julie in Boise says:

    What a night. I saw Gore in 1992 when he spoke at BSU. Scars and all, he is basically the same man he was then, but the world is finally catching up with him. I was heartened by the fact my 12-year-old left more hopeful than despairing. I did, too.

    To those who still argue that we don’t know what causes global warming, I say: OK. That’s fine. But it is happening, so let’s just do something about it.

    I am sorry to hear about the non-recycled water bottles. The again, most people who came to hear Gore drove, some out of laziness, some due to distance, many because we don’t have public transit in Boise after 7 p.m. Clearly, we all have a lot of changing to do – and not just on the personal level. One thing that really struck me from yesterday’s events was Mary Christina Wood’s statement that while we reduce out carbon footprint, we also need to increase our political footprint.

    Contact your officials. Tell state legislators we need local option taxing authority for public transit. Ask legislators to hold public hearings on the state energy plan (which, according to a flier handed out last night – sadly, on non-recyclable bright yellow paper!) may pass through the interim committee without public comment this Thursday.

    Finally, if you want to read a bit more about the speech and see what some folks from beyond Boise are saying about Gore and his future role, check out my diary on last night at Daily Kos:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/1/23/04220/5197

  6. Brett Broek says:

    Former Vice-President Gore delivered his important message last night with passion, conviction, and an authority that comes only with years of research and scientific proof. How anybody could believe that global warming is not a genuine threat to the quality of life we here in Idaho enjoy is a mystery to me.

    Our world stands on the brink of a doom of our own making, and the message I walked away with last night was one of the need for action now. “Policy matters” and the simple truth is we can reduce America’s carbon footprint by reversing our attitude about our ability to change things in our own nation. Our current administration makes every effort to force the population to believe we are incapable of understanding or effecting the many variables threatening our world today, but the speech I heard last night proves that the knowledge needed to make positive change is already available to everybody willing to listen!

    This was an amazing wake-up call and a great first step. We can do this…

  7. Monty says:

    It is interesting to note that the anti-science crowd believes in science when it comes to human health but the science of global climate change is bunk. Medical science is performing miracles in improving the human condition but the science of global climate change is rejected as a “liberal plot” to get people out of their cars. You can’t win with the “flat earthers”. And because of the flat earthers, we are 30 years behind in dealing with this critical issue.

  8. Chuck Oxley says:

    FINALLY — a Democrat gets a little ink in Idaho. Even so, I thought the news coverage in the Idaho Statesman and particularly the video on KTVB Channel 7 (by far, Boise’s most watched television news) cast a needlessly negative shadow over the event. The coverage focused as much on the handful of protesters and on Sen. Larry Craig’s “Don’t believe the hype” message as much as it did Al Gore’s point about global warming.

    During his presentation, Gore noted that of the more than 900 peer-reviewed scientific articles on the subject of global warming, NONE of them say that global warming is not happening. He also showed a magazine article or advertisement (I couldn’t tell which it was in the short slide) showing that medical doctors preferred to smoke a certain brand of cigarette. His point was, there will always be one or two pseudo-scientists willing to sell out to the industry that has harming people or polluting the planet.

    KTVB’s clip of Larry Craig said this:

    “Al Gore is sending a very mixed message. He may get a Hollywood award, but message he is trying to preach around the world is not selling.”

    Actually, the rest of the world does get it. The Kyoto agreement has 169 countries signed up to address the global warming issue. The United States and Australia are the only developed countries that have refused to join the rest of the world in trying to preserve the planet.

    Ergo, it’s really just Larry Craig and a few other neo-eco-dolts who haven’t comprehended the problem. They may have their heads in the sand, but sooner or later their up-pointed butts are going to fry in the heat. Maybe then they’ll get it.

  9. Jay Jurkowitsch says:

    Luke’s comment about the Arena NOT recycling next to any of the water bottles go right to the root of ALOT of problems!! We ALL have to DO our part – words are meaningless without ACTION!!
    We ahd ALL better decide what we will sacrfice to help solve any of these problems and I mean SACRIFICE!!
    Jay J

  10. Jay Jurkowitsch says:

    Luke’s comment about the Arena NOT recycling next to any of the water bottles go right to the root of ALOT of problems!! We ALL have to DO our part – words are meaningless without ACTION!!
    We ahd ALL better decide what we will sacrfice to help solve any of these problems and I mean SACRIFICE!!
    Jay J

  11. Marion says:

    First how did Mr. Gore get to Boise from Tennessee or whichever home he was staying at prior to his visit? Did he share with the participants how many gallons of fuel it took to get here and how many to go back?
    Did he present an estimate of the impact on the environment of all of the fuel burned by attendees of this little talk? Did he offer suggestions of how to get alternative fuels, does he perhaps support an environmental group that funds research?
    In other words will the fuel burned for this talk result in any positive alternatives? Or was it perhaps just more hot air increasing the “global warming”?

  12. Marion says:

    Medicine has identifiable outcomes that are provable. Global warming is strictly theory. So far no predictions, such as the terrible hurricane season have come true.

  13. Gene Eilebrecht says:

    Marion, if you actually watched Gore’s movie or heard him talk, you would have the answers to all of the questions you just posed. Which are, yes, yes yes, yes, and yes. Wow. Pull your head out of the sand and actually listen to people who have been researching this problem for over 30 years, and you will see that there is a TON of evidence supporting everything Gore is talking about. He doesn’t just make this stuff up and not offer sources or numbers to support it. Global warming is a fact, supported by not just one study, but hundreds, not to mention direct observation. If it rained, would you question the “science” that you will get wet if you stand in it? That is basically what you are doing now. Watch the movie “An Inconvenient Truth” before you criticize. If you have watched the movie, you must have watched it with your eyes closed and your ears stuffed with cotton.

  14. Brett says:

    Actually Marion,

    The “identifiable outcomes” of global warming are not only measurable and already proven scientific fact, if you took the time to watch the The Honorable Al Gore’s film (or even watch the news) you would see that the terrible hurricane seasons have already begun and will only get worse.

    Before you start repeating pundit jargon to the readers of NewWest.net you might want to do some research first. Take a nice look at our Rocky Mountain forests devestated by beetles, the devestation of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and the disappearing snows on Mount Kilimanjaro before claiming no predictions about global warming have come true. It is happening before your very eyes…

  15. Jay Jurkowitsch says:

    Marion; Global Warming IS NOT a Theory; unless you’re living in a cave on Mars, with a case of Cranial-Rectal Insertion!!
    How the various people who speak for-against ANYTHING is an old arguement that is a cheap and useless shot!
    DIRECT action by everyone is the right step in te right direction;ALL have to Sacrifice!!

  16. Matt Bullard says:

    Marion, one of the points that Gore makes is to show how the science of global warming has evolved to the point where we have moved beyond what you say is “theory”. He quotes a study that took a random sample of 900+ scientific papers on the subject of climate change to determine if there was disagreement in the scientific community on the subject of human cause. Of the 900+ papers, ZERO papers disputed the notion the humans are contributing the problem. So yes, medicine has identifiable problems that are provable. So too does climate change. We are already seeing the warming. It can be measured. The measurements were predicted. What more do you want?

  17. Elizabeth says:

    “Medicine has identifiable outcomes that are provable”

    Yeah, like my Mom getting toxic hepatitis from her “new and improved” heart medicine for the condition she developed from being overmedicated for a “slightly sluggish thyroid” which was caused by placing her on HRT for which she had no symptoms, but her doctor said would protect her heart.

    Medical and pharmaceutical technology is based on the same kind of science as is Gore’s argument for global warming. In fact, I would argue that the peer reviewed work cited by Gore is more reliable, and has undergone more public scrutiny than much of the research that is done by Pfizer and other health industry corporations. Many policy decisions in health care are based on a handful of studies with relatively short experimental phases, rather than literally hundreds of studies conducted over many years that show data representing thousands or millions of years of data. From that perspective, the scientific footing of Gore’s argument is much more sound than that of many applications of modern medicine.

    bikeboy is right about walking the walk, I’m sure there’s much more that most of us could do to change our way of life, but even cycling 24/7 is not the only answer. I for one would like to have seen a presentation on the items listed at the end of Gore’s talk, the specific measures that can be implemented on the macro scale to put the brakes on carbon train to hell. But I have already been in a state of alarm and despair for some time, and was luckily raised by parents who endeavored to live lightly on the earth through stewardship and a simple lifestyle. We have done many of the things suggested for personal responsibility for some time, but have become more committed over time.

    But although I have probably always considered myself an “environmentalist”, I have learned that the depth and breadth of what that should mean to me, as translated into a way of life, has evolved and become more important as my awareness of the connections between my behavior and the consequences becomes more apparent. Many people are struggling along this path, have good intentions, but maybe need a bit of leadership or motivation to make changes.

    Change is hard, and I think humans by nature are acquisitive and jealous of their resources. It takes some energy to stop, think, and analyze our own behavior, then that has to be translated into action, change, destruction, renewal. Scaring the crap out of folks about global warming isn’t the solution in itself, but it’s a damn good start to get the ball rolling. For many people, the realization that we are a part of the environment, not simply a beneficiary will be a significant step forward in being willing and able to respond. Too little too late, bikeboy might say, but Gore’s presentation has had a greater impact on some people I know than anything I’ve seen on the environmental front before. Probably many people will leave the talk and change nothing, but I know may will, and that’s at least pushing the trend in the right direction.

    The plastic bottle thing was pretty ridiculous. I’m going to write Pres. Kustra about that and I hope others do as well. I remember when I was an undergrad at BSU in the 90’s, trying to get a recycling program on campus. You’d have thought that we were asking to store nuclear waste in the stairwell from the response of the administration. After attending and returning from grad school in California, I realized there were a million ways the University could reduce its environmental impact. That was 17 years ago and it seems they’ve made little progress in all that time.

    But the bottle is a good example of how our current economic system does not include the real costs associated with products and services. We need to have a bottle deposit program and there has to be a cost associated with all packaging so that there is forethought (all containers must be recycled, and recycling provided at the point of end use) not just afterthoughts (gee, what do I do with this plastic bottle?). I did by a bottle of water against my preferences, but needed something to avoid a coughing fit during the talk. I brought my bottle home to recycle, but they could have had tap water in compostable cups and solved the whole thing (they could have asked for a donation if it was a fundraiser and probably made more money)

    So Gore’s talk is not a solution, but a starting point for many people to understand the enormity of the problem and begin the personal assessment needed to change our behavior. It’ has also served to bring folks together, and that’s a good thing, because though we all have personal responsibility, a global problem cannot be addressed without global cooperation. I’d say 10k in Boise is a heartening start.

  18. Ishmael says:

    Did the President acknowledge “Global Climate Change” in his speech last night? I recorded it and rewound to listen to his wrap up on energy and the environment over and over and it seemed to me to be the first time he publicly recognized the issue. Is this different than acknowledging “Global Warming”?
    If so, maybe now is the time to hold him to it and get back to the Kyoto Treaty.
    I agree that if Al Gore ran for president the way he campaigns for global warming, he would have won in 2000 and could have a great shot in 2008. Will the real Al Gore please run, not the stuffy puppet that was controlled by “campaign advisors”.
    While many may question the impact of his movie, the reality is it has brought a lot more attention to the topic to those who care not to read.

  19. Vicki Hodge says:

    I’m an Idaho native and I see first hand the effects of Global Warming — my Mom and Grandmother have greater stories to tell of winter months covered in snow. Snow that didn’t melt in an hour — snow that accumulated and remained throughout the winter months — schools being closed for snow days. This hasn’t been the case for years. Global warming is not theory — it is fact. It is real. Look around and see for yourself, or listen to all the educated people of our time. Please stop denying Science — your ignorance is dangerous and reckless for future generations.

  20. bikeboy says:

    IMO, there are two issues that should be kept well-separated.
    – Global Warming
    – The impact of human activity on the global climate

    I didn’t attend the Algore Show, but I have no reason to doubt that some global warming is going on.

    But – how much of it is the result of human activity, burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, etc? Algore and his disciples are convinced we ARE having a negative impact. But there’s hardly consensus, even among those who are experts on such things. (Personally, I’m open-minded. I’m not convinced, but I’m happy to look at the evidence. Nor am I convinced that we have any power to positively impact the climate, by implementing new austerity measures. But I won’t dismiss the notion.)

    THAT SAID, however… IMO the worst aspect of our free-enterprise American culture is the “bigger is better” mentality. Elizabeth put it this way: “humans by nature are acquisitive and jealous of their resources.” (Another expression is the bumpersticker that says, “He who dies with the most toys, wins.” Pathetic!) We love our stuff. We like our stuff to be bigger and better than the Joneses, down the street, because that’s how we measure success.

    So, how do we change that mentality? Heck if I know. I abandoned my automobile 22 years ago, and am 100% bicycle (except for the occasional hauling or out-of-town pleasure trip). I would NEVER go back… and it has essentially nothing to do with global warming. When I see some Bozo driving himself and his briefcase to work in a 7500-pound, 20-foot, 8mpg super crew cab dually turbo-diesel pickup, I think he’s an idiot… but should he be prohibited from it? Heck if I know. (I’d much rather it be voluntary… people recognizing the problem and changing their lives to be smaller-footprint. Personally, I believe ever-upward-spiraling gas prices will take care of some of the problem. Bozo in his monster-truck will look even stupider when it costs him $250 to fill the tank.)

    I’m heartened by President Bush’s (stated) desire to reduce our fuel consumption by 20%. But whether it’s Algore or Bush delivering the message… I’d rather see the walk, than hear the talk. There are too many Posers and finger-pointers, wanting to tell everybody else what to do.

    I can choose to live an economical, thrifty, CONSERVATIVE lifestyle, while we continue to study what impact our activities have on the planet, and feel good about doing my part.

  21. Jay Jurkowitsch says:

    BikeBoy ; you say that humans are, by nature,acquisitive (aka- greedy and hording); that is the system created by the Judeo-Christian Europeans since the early part of the Roman Empire. MOST, if not all, sustainable cultures have been pretty much a sharing culture and have always looked down on hording, excessive wealth and so forth. The Potlatch custom of the Pacific NW Indians was a sysytem where the successful/wealthy and powerful could make amensd for thier, sometimes, obscene welath – by giving ALOTof it away and/or destroying it. Our culture has adopted this system in a minor way; charitable contributions; i.e. the Gates Foundation – but he has soooo much MORE!!

  22. Marion says:

    People have been human since the beginning of time, there is a passage in the Bible that says to take the log out of your own eye before you worry about the sliver in your neighbor’s eye. That would be such good advise for environmentalists to take.
    They protest the drilling of a well because of the beauty of a place, then use up a couple hundred gallons of gas each to go look and see what they saved.
    This confrence is a wonderful example of the “do as I say, not as I do” mentality of environmentalism. If Gore or any of the other believers had been truly concerned about the effect of fossil fuel, the whole thing would have been by teleconference on the internet, Mr. gore invented.
    They spend millions of dollars in taxpayer funds to save a mouse with the barest of science, and require individual families to bear the burden of maintaining it. But they spend none of their own money for habitat protection or to ease the burden of those supporting the mouse. They use their own money for lawsuits to force the continued protection at someone else’s expense.
    Real greed is demanding the use of other people’s property without compensation, and filing lawsuits to get it.

  23. pete geddes says:

    Here’s a quiz. No fair if you first use Google.

    How much have global temperatures risen (in degrees Celsius) since the nineteenth century?

  24. Sysiphus says:

    “People have been human since the beginning of time”. Huh? Marion, your comments disclose that you haven’t spent any time actually studying Mr. Gore’s presentation or investigating the scientific basis for the concerns regarding global warming. Instead you insist on repeating the ideologically based blatherings of alleged hypocrisy in an effort to discredit a movement that seeks to identify and address the problems of one component of the consequences of overpopulation. Without going into too much detail Gore indicated that there are things we as individuals can do to ameliorate the consequences and there are things we can do as a society to address the problems. But I don’t think anyone at the conference argued that we all have to start walking everywhere we need to go. Please spare us.

    Do something constructive. I did attend Gore’s presentation and true to my nature and training was skeptical of some of what I saw. For example he cited a stat that of the over 900 peer reviewed scientific articles on the subject of global warming not one criticized the theory. Find us a peer reviewed scientific article that condemns the concept of global warming or its potential consequences. Otherwise go stick your head back in the Bible and pray for God to sort it out. But stop insisting the earth is flat and its our own hypocrisy that keeps it that way. You might be interested to know that Gore also gave a biblical basis for the requirement that we do something about the problem.

    And you too bikeboy, “But there’s hardly consensus, even among those who are experts on such things.” You guys really should become familiar with the presentation before you lay into it.

  25. HuTom says:

    You must not be familiar with Marion’s blatherings Sysiphus. Say what you want about him, but Marion DOES believe in equal treatment of all issues. He drools his hate based drivel on as many as he can.

  26. Sysiphus says:

    Nope I’m a newbie here. I suspected Marion was a troll. Thanks for confirming it.

  27. pete geddes says:

    No quiz takers yet? O.K., here’s another tidbit:

    Amongst greenhouse gas sources, livestock production is greater than transportation. Animal production accounts for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions and 37 percent of all “human-induced” methane comes from livestock.

    See the UN Food and Agricultural Organization report “Livestock’s Long Shadow”. http://www.virtualcentre.org/en/library/key_pub/longshad/A0701E00.pdf

  28. Vicki Hodge says:

    Hi Pete Geddes — I didn’t answer your quiz, but I do know what you’re talking about. Here’s another article that clearly explains the connection between diet and global warming.

    http://www.earthsave.org/globalwarming.htm

  29. pete geddes says:

    Hi Vicki:

    Good stuff. Now, how about taking a stab at the quiz?;-)

  30. Sysiphus says:

    Hi Pete. I cheated and went here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming

    Very informative. Less than one degree. But I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make with that.

  31. pete geddes says:

    Full points for honesty! Just curious as to the general level of understanding here. Of course, even small changes in temperature can have dramatic effects.

  32. Marion says:

    Could you guys define troll for me? Does that mean someone who disagrees with you by chance?

  33. dubya says:

    I thought it was very exciting to see 10,000 people there to hear him talk but sheesh, I wish he woulda tried to shake it up a bit, maybe not do the same damned thing he did in the movie. Sure there was a bit of Idaho data and some new studies, but I felt like I would have had a more productive night if I’d stayed home, watched the movie again and did dishes.

  34. Sysiphus says:

    I borrowed this definition from another site. Trolling is a sad reality of internet life. Most trolls tend to be blatant, posting comments that are clearly intended to provoke an angry response. Other trollish messages are posted simply to disrupt the conversation in a diary. Directly replying to the content of a trollish message is usually a waste of time; trolls tend not to be interested in actual debate.

    Your comments above rely heavily on hyperbolic speculation which tends to go off topic and is otherwise specious. If the label isn’t appropriate then I apologize.

  35. bearbait says:

    Where in the earth handbook does it say climate has to be static?

  36. Marion says:

    So Sysiphus, I use my real name, and post things I have strong feelings about. Who decides that I am a troll and not those of you arguing on the other side? I do not resort to calling names to make a point, nor do I think it proves others point when they do. I am hard pressed to think humans turned the universe from disastrous global cooling to disastrous global warming in thirty years. What affects the sun today will not be known for hundreds of years, we wouldn’t even know if it went out becasue fo the time it takes for light to reach the earth.
    I certainly feel you are entitled to your beliefs, as I am entitiled to mine. I am a normally very saving, frugal person and will continue to be whether it is global cooling or global warming. If we all do what we can and let others do the same wwe might get somewhere.

  37. Irwin Horowitz says:


    Marion, as someone with a Ph.D. in Astronomy, I must correct the inaccuracies in your last post concerning the Sun. First, it takes light about 8 minutes to reach the Earth after leaving the solar surface (photosphere). It takes the energy created in the core of the sun from nuclear fusion millions of years to work its way out to that surface. However, we know what is occurring in the core from observations of neutrinos that are a by-product of those fusion reactions and which escape from the Sun in only a few seconds. The Sun is a stable star at this time, and will remain so for about 4-5 billion more years, with a slow increase in its overall luminosity over that span of time.

    Thus to summarize…we do know what’s happening with our Sun. It is not going to suddenly “turn off”. It does not vary by more than a fraction of a percent in its overall energy output on human timescales.

    Now, as to the debate over global warming versus global cooling. I would venture to say that the climate models and analysis tools available back in the ’70s were substantially less sophisticated than they are today and thus to continue to refer to those predictions in the current context is irrelevant. Are there any noted climatologists today who are putting forth theories of global cooling? If so, can you provide a link or other reference to their work?

    One need only look to our planetary neighbor, Venus, to see the effects of a runaway greenhouse due to excessive CO2 in the atmosphere. And trust me, it isn’t pleasant. Whether global warming is a result of a natural cycle or due to human activities, it makes sense to try to limit, as much as possible, how much carbon gets converted from a solid/liquid state into gaseous CO2, if for no other reason than to avoid turning our planet into a ‘carbon-copy’ of Venus (pun intended).

  38. Marion says:

    You are correct about the time for sunlight to reach the earth, I was confused about the 250 light years and the meaning of it.
    I agree that equipment 30 years and more ago would not be as sophisticated as today’s equipment, so how can temperatures be compared to claim a <1 degree increase worldwide now?
    So if Venus has excessive CO2 how does that implicate man in any way?
    This article about Mars is also of interest along the same lines:
    http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?page=article&Article_ID=2736.
    All of that being said, I do believe each of us is responsible for our own use of resources and less is better, but I draw the line at forcing some people to take stringent measures, while others are running around dictating and burning those same saved resources.
    If I attended Mr. Gore’s talk, my first question would be how much fuel did he, himself consume totally last year?

  39. Matt Bullard says:

    Marion – the same line that Gore is causing more harm than good traveling the globe, wasting fuel, while telling people we must “force” others to take “stringent measures” is getting really tiring, for the simple fact that it is just not part of what Gore is saying. I guess it looks like hypocracy, but I, for one, support his efforts and am willing to concede the extra CO2 his travels produce if he is able to convince others, both individuals, corporations, and governments, to reduce their impact. Did I notice that most of the people who attending in Boise drove? I sure did! But I think that says more about Boise’s lack of public transportation than anything else. I also noticed that there was a lot of carpooling going on, and my wife and I were not the only ones who rode our bikes.

    If you and other doubters would listen to what is being said, you’d here that he is actually not advocating that we force others to take extreme actions that limit behavior, rather that we use existing technologies that are readily available NOW, to replace high CO2 output sources like coal fired power plants and low mileage cars and trucks.

    And I’ve noticed that every time someone has asked for some proof or reference of your assertions, you’ve not be able to produce it…

  40. pete geddes says:

    http://www.cei.org/pages/ait_response-vid.cfm

    “Minds, like parachutes, only work when open.”

  41. bearbait says:

    don’t get your exercise jumping to conclusions….gwen mulkey…

  42. pete geddes says:

    “The truth that is suppressed by friends is the readiest weapon of the enemy.”
    Robert Louis Stevenson

  43. Marion says:

    I’m not sure what references you want, I msut have missed it. I’m not sure just what Mr. Gore is telling folks to do, if he is saying drive less, the internet would work well for that and save 10s of thousands of gallons of fuel. My point is it would be more effective if he asked folks to do what he is doing, and show the way.

  44. Sysiphus says:

    Marion I agree with your point on name calling. It adds little to the debate but I don’t see how you are providng to the debate countering Gore’s assertions on global warming when YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT HE IS ADVOCATING. Ben Franklin once said: “Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.” But it was very big of you to acknowledge the correctness of the assertions of an astrophysicist. Its a step in the right direction. Now I understand that they have copies of Gore’s video at most video stores and even the public library if it galls you too much to pay for it. Give it a whirl.

    ps I don’t think you are a troll in that you are being intentionally disruptive. I think you are sincere in your concerns. But I wish you would get informed first instead of parroting the rebuttals from ideologically based misinformation sites. I still look forward to the answer to my previous request: “Find us a peer reviewed scientific article that condemns the concept of global warming or its potential consequences.”

  45. Irwin Horowitz says:

    Marion,

    I tried to check out your link concerning Mars, but got an empty page at the National Center for Policy Analysis. Looking around their site, it was clear that this is a group that is adamantly opposed to any acknowledgement of global warming, so I would not be inclined to take their word on this issue, as their bias is quite evident. I would like to see an unbiased source, such as a peer-reviewed article in a SCIENTIFIC journal, that disputes the role of CO2 in overall atmospheric warming. Can you provide that to us?

  46. Matt Bullard says:

    Marion, once again, you just plain miss the point. Gore is not a scientist. You are right, I would NOT say, nor would he, that his movie is a “peer reviewed study” in and of itself. However, he is presenting/communicating the data of many scientists and of many “peer reviewed studies” in a manner that is understandable to the general public – at least in my opinion (I have a BS in Atmospheric Sciences and so I do feel qualified to say that the science is very complicated and not easy to understand).

    All that being said, I do know that a group of climate scientists has “reviewed” the slideshow/movie that Gore gives on a point by point basis and they found no issue with what was presented. You can read that here:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=299

    The other point you are missing which you might be able to grasp if you decided to watch the movie is that while turning down the heat and driving less are part of the solution, the much greater challenge is building the political will to change policies that can affect the causes on a much larger scale (in areas that I’ve already mentioned, fuel economy, coal, etc). The cool thing is that, with or without you, it is already happening. As evidence, check this: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/business/articles/0125biz-talton0125.html

    Did you notice that our own President acknowledged it in the State of the Union? A friend said to me this week, “If Al Gore can draw 10,000 people in Boise, Idaho, the President acknowledges global warming, and corporations are beginning to address it all in the same week, something must be going on.”

  47. Sysiphus says:

    And Marion, do you hear that sound? It is the sound of the rest of us beating our heads in frustration on our desks after your last comments. Your refusal to educate yourself earns you troll status, not in effort to denegrate you but just shorthand for “you’re not worth the effort.” Lead, follow or get the hell out of the way. But you add nothing to this dialogue.

  48. Irwin Horowitz says:

    Marion,

    Thank you for providing an updated link to your reference. In response, I provide a link to an article on the website of the American Institute of Physics which argues that the future impact on global warming due to changes in solar irradiance will be minimal compared to the effects of increased greenhouse gases such as CO2:

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/solar.htm

    I append this line from the introduction to this article by Spencer Weart:

    “By the 1990s, there was a tentative answer: minor solar variations could indeed have been partly responsible for some past fluctuations… but future warming from the rise in greenhouse gases would far outweigh any solar effects.”

  49. bearbait says:

    And Sysiphus, I thought your lot in life was to roll that rock up the hill, again and again. Or is that how you see yourself with Marion’s perception of the world? It appears that you are most comfortable preaching to your own choir, and far from it being not an effort to denigrate, perhaps you don’t understand you do it without effort. Until you can convince the person who does not travel in your circles that you are correct, you, too are blathering to the unfair Gods as you push that stone up the hill.

    Global climate change is part of the history of the earth. Paul Martin says humans were the cause of the last great extinctions, and those who don’t agree say it was climate change. Either way, periods of change in vegetation and animals happen, whether man is involved or not. Axis tilting, eliptical orbits, sun spot activity, there are many reasons for climate change. I would never discount man, nor would I not think 5 or 6 billion people have any part of it.

    You have to understand that Gore as the messenger is not acceptable to all people. This is America. We shoot messengers as a matter of fact. Perhaps the same information with a messenger with a broader following would make sense.

  50. Sysiphus says:

    I appreciate a dialogue with people that disagree. Like I indicated in my first post I was skeptical of many of the assertions made which I hoped would have given me some credibility with other who shared those concerns. I can see where the messenger could give you cause for skepticism but argument through character assasination is a pointless and facetious tactic that has unfortunately become vogue particularly among the ideological right. I’ll accept attacking the substance of the argument but killing the messenger is a desperate and unhelpful tactic. It was this same tactic that was utilized to quash dissent by professionals in government on the conduct and necessity of the war in Iraq. Indeed all critics were attacked for not supporting the troops, lacking patriotism, and even treason. Look where it got us.

    My efforts here were to engage in a dialogue in a critical manner to arrive at the truth. Killing the messenger gets me no closer. And for insight into my character you might read some Camus.

  51. bikeboy says:

    Bikeboy: “… how much of [global warming] is the result of human activity, burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, etc? Algore and his disciples are convinced we ARE having a negative impact. But there’s hardly consensus, even among those who are experts on such things.”

    Sysiphus: “You guys really should become familiar with the presentation before you lay into it.”

    So, Sysiphus, are you asserting that there is consensus among climate scientists, that global warming is the result of human activity?

  52. bearbait says:

    I sometimes can’t distinguish between passionate advocates and true believers. It appears to me, at times, that the nature-before-man advocates have a little too much Jim Jones about their approach. And I would say that about our common experience with the religious radicals of several stripes. Too much passion begins to distort the process to finding truth, and seems to only bring on the passion of the opposite view, and poof, Houston, we have polarity. True believers lined up in a face off across the commons.

    Ford just announced they lost a whole lot of billions of dollars. That is the market demanding fuel economy, passenger safety, a new direction. No government mandates. Just dollars voting their concscience. Ford is not getting enough votes to be profitable. It is in the world interest to discuss these issues, get the facts in front of the people, and have solutions that dollars or dinars can vote for or against.

    Al Gore just appears to me to represent a vastly expanded government presence in a true believer type of path to solution. I have problems with that. And I say that by the company he has kept his whole life. I don’t think he would know a market approach if it was biting his behind. My opinion. My innate cynicism. I do know that education is the venue that will provide solutions to most problems.

    Having read this week’s New Yorker, and how Putin is dealing with criticism in the New Russia, we all should be thankful that we only talk about shooting the metaphorical messenger. Putin seems to be actually taking out the messenger class with any means possible. The true believer Communists are now rolling in dough Oligarchs, with fealty to he who keeps their order, Mr. Putin. And it is all based on oil wealth, and extracting minerals to grow the Russian national treasury. Evidently, Russia is now a grain exporter, along with the oil, gas, gold, diamonds, furs, timber, and sea food. Which brings me to the question of how the whole world gets involved in the solution, not just the good ole USA? I like my creature comforts, and would like to keep as many as possible.

  53. Matt Bullard says:

    bearbait said, “I do know that education is the venue that will provide solutions to most problems.”

    Bingo. I thought that was a well written comment, bearbait, even though I don’t necessarilly think that Gore is advocating for big governement solutions. But you are right, education is the key, and I think Gore, more than anyone else, is trying to educate as many people as possible on what he and many others to be a serious problem. But like he said at the beginning of his talk, the climate crisis represents not only a danger (if we don’t act), but a tremendous opportunity, assuming we do. I am not so sure of all of Ford’s troubles are due to people demanding smaller, more efficient, safer vehicles – there is an element to the management that is hard to ignore, but you are right, the market, and coroporations, are beginning to speak. Here’s to hoping that momentum continues…

  54. bearbait says:

    I ran into a friend who used to dairy, but now raises dairy heifers on contract. I told him I see his stock as I pass by, and it looked good. And passed on a comment I had seen on television about a guy with Jersey cows. “A guy milking a Jersey don’t have enough money to buy a real cow, and is too proud to milk a goat.” His reply was that now, if it were not an organic Jersey, it would be true. But you now have to pay $3000 for an organic Jersey heifer, and that is twice what a dandy non-organic Holstein will bring. Organic milk producers milk against a negotiated price for one year ahead. Regular milk production dairies get paid whatever market price is that day, three months down the road. The market is making organic Jersey dairymen, or organic dairymen with other breeds, a lot of money. It is a market driven solution. Real or perceived, mothers see a danger in non-organically produced milk, and are buying organic. That drives evolution in the market place and on the farm.

    Al Gore is a highly paid huckster, enjoying the financial rewards of his life in government. However, people who believe they want to be a solution, to a problem real or perceived, have the right to vote with their dollars or dinars to bring about market evolution in habits and products that will reduce emissions. Not government driving a process, but the market. If Gore were practicing what he preaches, he would cycle his way to his speaking engagements. He does not because of market demands for his services, and actually makes him a part of the problem. Governments don’t do much very well. If they did, Congress and legislatures would not be in session all the time, mostly in efforts to correct mistakes they made in previous sessions.

    Government mandated new heavy truck emission standards beginning this year, so fleet owners bought all their immediate and forecast needs ahead of the mandate. Now Portland loses its Freightliner plant, 800 family wage union jobs. That is heavy handed government, and no decrease in emissions. The fleet owners will just “kit” their existing trucks, keeping them much longer with more engine rebuilds. The reduced emissions goal will not be met. A market driven need to reduce emissions would have been far reaching, and effective.

    A gallon of fuel takes a ton of freight over 500 miles by ship or barge, over 200 miles by train, 50 miles by truck, and 10 miles in a pickup. There has to be a part of the answer in those numbers.

  55. Craig Moore says:

    I would be interested in Dr. Horwitz’s further commentary on the recently published work of Dr. Robert Ehrlich and his peer-reviewed paper, “Solar resonant diffusion waves as a driver of terrestrial climate change.” See: http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/astro-ph/pdf/0701/0701117.pdf

    When there is a correlation of events (increased temperatures, CO2, and Methane) that occur roughly in the same timeframe, does A cause B and C? does B cause A and C? does C cause B and A? does any combination of two cause the third? are any of the three events catalysts rather than causes? or is there another event that triggers all three in a repetitive cyclical fashion?

  56. Dean says:

    I refer Craig Moore to a Feb. 2007 article “Methane, Plants and Climate Change” in Scientific American and the references cited there. Look carefully at the ice core data of methane concentrations in the atmosphere and how they correlate with CO2 levels there. I am not aware of any scientific explanation of the independent rise of these two gases other than human activity over the time period studied.

  57. Dean says:

    The article that Craig cites from the Financial Times is too sensational in its summary of these same researchers’ work that they originally published in Nature last year. It is well known that anerobic processes (eg decay, etc) produce methane. What these authors describe is an aerobic process that produces methane, although the actual chemical reactions are unknown. They published a table describing atmospheric methane sources which I have reproduced below. Once again a careful reading of the text and graphs shown in the Scientific American article is recommened to any reader who is interested in this topic.

    Methane Emissions
    Preindustrial times:
    233 million metric tons a year

    Wetlands (168 million metric tons)
    Biomass burning (20)
    Termites (20)
    Ocean (15)
    Hydrates (10)

    Today:
    600 million metric tons a year

    Energy production (110)
    Ruminants (115)
    Wetlands (225)
    Hydrates (10)
    Oceans (15)
    Termites (20)
    Biomass burning (40)
    Waste treatment (25)
    Landfills (40)

  58. Irwin Horowitz says:

    In response to Craig Moore:

    First, thank you for providing a peer-reviewed reference, which I just finished looking over. As for a commentary, I am not sure what you seek. The article did not address any issues with regard to CO2 or methane concentrations, nor was it concerned with short term changes in global temperatures. It was addressing issues on timescales from 10’s of thousands of years to millions of years as they relate to periodic variations in solar output. My previous comments on solar stability refered to human timescales (ie: centuries), not geologic timescales, and the article seemed more interested in addressing the observed discrepancies of the theory by Milankovich, who attempted to correlate global temperature changes on these timescales with variations in the Earth’s orbital parameters rather than changes in the solar output.

    As for your comments on causation, obviously one needs to proceed carefully before making a causal link between increased CO2/CH4 concentrations and global warming, which is precisely what climatologists have been doing for the past several decades.
    However, to argue that we should just sit on our heels until all of the evidence has been collected and evaluated (as those who oppose the work of Vice President Gore would have us do) can result in an environmental disaster. I’m not suggesting that the Earth will turn into a duplicate of Venus if we don’t do something, but we REALLY do not want to even start on that particular path. Whether or not the current increase in overall temperatures around the world are due primarily to human activity or are a result of some natural cycle, it still makes sense to me to try to limit our impact on the trend.

    As I see from the post by Dean, the overall annual emission of CH4 has increased by a factor of 2-3x since the pre-industrial era. Over 60% of this increase is due to energy production and animal waste, while wetlands account for only 16% of this increase. No doubt if we continue on our current path, without making the necessary alterations in our society, this figure will continue to grow, and forgive me, but this just seems stupid to me.

  59. Sysiphus says:

    Excellent comments folks. You’ve given me food for thought. Even you bearbait, you write well. I appreciate the libertarian perspective even though I think it is a naive notion that the market in all cases will correct itself. After all, these principles had their opportunity in the late eighteen hundreds during the reign of the robber barrons culminating in the great depression. I don’t think anyone wants to go back to that. Indeed the last notable times we attempted to deregulate, in an effort to go back to those principles, the efforts failed abysmally. For example, the deregulation of the Savings and Loan industry and the deregulation of utilities. Pure greed took over and millions of folks were caught in maelstrom. However I do agree that market driven solutions are preferable.

    As far as Gore being a highly paid huckster, yeah I was also skeptical. Its kinda why I went to get his perpective. Afterwards I’m not as cynical regarding him as you seem to be. I heard suggestions of what we could do but I didn’t hear anything closely resembling a policy statement on what to do about the problem. As Matt indicated Gore serves the purpose for educating the public about what science is telling us of the nature of the problem. I’m still not adopting a chicken little approach that some have advocated. But I think its wrong of you and Marion to criticize the man when you refuse to hear what he has to say.

    I wish I had more time to discuss the topic. I think its valuable. Bikeboy, I’m just asking if someone can refute Gore’s assertion that there is no dissent in the scientific community. No takers yet. Last comment in response to Marion. Mary K. Ham is a right wing uncredentialed bobblehead. You can keep drinking the Kool-aid but quit offering it to us as sustenance.

  60. Craig Moore says:

    God grant me the serenity
    to accept the things I cannot change;
    courage to change the things I can;
    and wisdom to know the difference.
    –Reinhold Niebuhr

    Dr. Horowitz, thank you very much. I am not in any fashion a trained climate expert. I am just an average citizen who takes a great deal of interest in wrapping my mind around how things work, especially those matters that have great consequences and sacrifices attached. We have many billions of people on the planet today and more on the way. We seem to chart “progress” by marking longevity of life, increased standards of living and health, and technological advancements to support that population. All of this requires more and more energy resources to enable this march towards progress. This, of course, contributes to the greenhouse gases that otherwise rise and fall over earth’s climate cycles without the human addition. Throughout all of these cycles for 100’s of millions of years, climate has always changed course. What I take from this realization is that whether we are here or not these cycles are likely to continue when certain threshold triggers, as yet not fully understood, are tripped. These events become even more dramatic when coupled with aerosol effects from volcanoes and collisions with space objects, the processes as described by Dr. Ehrlich, changes in the Earth’s tilt, or changes in the Earth’s orbit. All of these things have happened before, and I find reasonable to expect again.

    Dr. Horowitz, you remark about societal alterations, I think there a few “low hanging fruit” situations where we could start in the pursuit of societal resiliency and adaptability. Building projection models could be helpful for complex situations but common sense could suffice until then. Here are a few to consider. Rebuilding New Orleans. This seems like sure folly to me when building a new NO on higher ground and further inland would seem more in keeping with R&A. The next eruption of Yellowstone. Now this is rather disconcerting given its hit to the “breadbasket” of our nation and the Mississippi drainage system. Maintaining storage of grain supplies of 3 years and hardening/developing water supply options to cope with the ash plugged waterways and wintry conditions during the growing season. Other examples are tsunamis on both coasts and major earthquakes. The needs breakdown to the basics– food, water, shelter, clothing, and transportation. How do we protect what we have will while developing alternate sources so that we can continue existence. The R&A structure would not be event specific dependent. Which gets us back to climate change. What is the appropriate R&A goals we should be building towards whether the earth is warming or cooling? Here’s a theme: Humanity should strive to survive and prosper in a world where change is inevitable. This takes me back to the Serenity Prayer.

  61. Irwin Horowitz says:

    Craig,

    I too am not a trained climatologist (my background is in observational cosmology and extragalactic astronomy), and I certainly agree with the arguments you’ve put forth in your last post. One of the beautiful things about nature is its tendency to achieve balance, or equilibrium, in a system. Here on Earth, there have been billions of years of a self-sustaining system (including the input of energy from the Sun) maintaining a fairly robust equilibrium in all manner of things, including the carbon cycle. Both biological (photosynthesis) and geological processes remove CO2 from the atmosphere and lock it up in plant chemistry and in rocks. Other processes, such as volcanism in geology and respiration in biology, release CO2 to the atmosphere. If these processes weren’t in relative balance, the concentration would either increase, resulting in higher temperatures, or decrease, resulting in lower temperatures due to the greenhouse effect. These temperature changes alter the rates at which these processes occur in such a manner as to reestablish the initial equilibium. However, these processes take time. Typically, the timescales involved are measured in the thousands or even millions of years to return to balance. Our contributions towards increasing atmospheric CO2 are occuring on much shorter timescales, and the natural processes are not able to react that quickly and balance is lost. If we reduce or even reverse this trend, a climate catastrophe should still be avoidable. If we continue business as usual, our entire biosphere will suffer the consequences.

    If the theme is species survival on these longer timescales, then I would wager that one area we should strongly support is increased exploration and development of space, for it is inevitable that we will experience a worldwide catastrophe from an asteroid/comet impact at some indeterminate point in the future (like the one which wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago). For our species to survive such an event, we would most likely need to have outposts or even colonies on other bodies in the solar system (Moon, Mars, etc). We can put it off for today…we can put it off for tomorrow…we can even put it off for next week. But if we keep putting it off, eventually that really bad day is going to happen, there won’t be anything in our power to prevent it, and humanity will cease to continue to exist in our universe. And people think Al Gore is an alarmist :-).

    As for addressing issues related to global warming…it probably isn’t the brightest idea to rebuild New Orleans or the areas that were devasted by the Christmas tsunami two years ago in their former locales, especially given the release later this week of the IPCC report on climate change:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070129/ap_on_sc/climate_change_3

    So, what should we be doing? Given the inexorable growth in population worldwide, and the inevitable demands for energy that result from that as well as from the growth in technology, we should be focusing efforts on increasing dependence on non-fossil fuel energy sources. I should point out that unlike many of my fellow progressives, I support an increased reliance on commercial nuclear power, looking to the success in both Western Europe as well as the US Navy over the past several decades with this technology. I also support increased efforts to conserve and to use alternative energy sources including solar, hydro, geothermal and wind. I just don’t think the economics of those technologies are sufficient to meet all of the growing demand for energy. We should decrease our overall dependence on fossil fuel sources, whether they be oil or coal. This is what I would consider to be common sense approach to this issue.

  62. Sysiphus says:

    Thanks Professor. I agree that all options ought to be on the table when evaluating our power needs including nuclear. But I believe that we must internalize the costs associated with the cleanup instead of making it the responsiblity of the government to pay those, otherwise its a subsidy. Also we should incorporate a vigilant constant monitoring waste disposal program similar to the French model instead of trying to put the waste in a hole and try to forget about it. After making the waste disposal safe we should analyze the true costs associated with nuclear power to see if fits our national energy producing goals.

  63. Irwin Horowitz says:

    Sysiphus,

    First, I’m not a professor at the present time (was in the past). In fact, I generally prefer to be referred to by my first name outside of a classroom situation (just don’t call me Mr. Horowitz) :-).

    I have no problem with your suggestions concerning cleanup costs and vigilant monitoring of the waste generated by nuke plants. I may be pro-nuke, but I’m not an idiot. However, I feel that much of the progressive stand on nuclear energy seems to be rooted in irrational fear of anything with the word “nuclear” in it (though this clearly does not refer to you Sysiphus). It was much this same fear that resulted in renaming a harmless (and quite useful) piece of medical equipment from NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) to MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). Same piece of equipment…just a different name.

    Around Idaho, the anti-nuke crowd likes to refer to medical issues related to the waste at INEL (for example cancer rates and I am not denying the veracity of those issues). However, what labs like INEL did all those years ago provided scientists and engineers with a wealth of information on how to best design, build, operate and maintain commercial nuclear energy facilities, including disposal of the waste. And I suspect (though I don’t have the facts to confirm this), most of the worst of the radiological waste disposal occurred early on in the operation of the lab, and that present day technology is far cleaner as a result of what they learned.

    By all means, nuclear power generation in this country should have safety as the most important priority, both in terms of the operation of the plants as well as with respect to the disposal of the waste that is generated. But to reject an otherwise viable solution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions while still meeting the energy needs of society does not strike me as common sense.

  64. Craig Moore says:

    Irwin,

    I wish we could sit down and chat about this subject over a couple bottles of wine. We have many areas of broad agreement and only a few disagreements. I don’t wish to dwell on those. I believe it is Dr. Hawking that has urged thinking of life beyond our planet, an insurance policy against extinction. Your thoughts on nuclear power tend to reflect my own. The French are right about this, and it is probably the only real, practical alternative to carbon based power sources to put a dent in the rate of CO2 growth. Take care.

  65. bearbait says:

    In Oregon, we have the popularly elected Democrat Sec. of State, Bill Bradbury, running all over the state touting the Gore global warming party line, while the PhD State climatologist, George Taylor, an Oregon State University faculty member, gets shouted down, ignored and demeaned, when he does not concur on some points. The former is a dedicated Democrat environmental herald, and the latter a dedicated and recognized person of science.

    Why would a thinking person not think there was as much politics in the discussion as science, and perhaps more?

  66. Sysiphus says:

    Bearbait, who’s arguing with you? Hopefully we are all weighing an advocate’s bias in our search for the truth. I’m not familiar with your situation in Oregon and would be curious to know what the climatologist said that would warrant that kind of response.
    But I have noticed an interesting trend even in the comments here. The progressives are trying to get at the truth of the matter by eying information critically and using scientific reality based sources while the conservatives here are trying to pursuade referencing ideologically based sources to support their various contentions if they are supported at all. I’ve been enlightened by the dialogue between Craig, Irwin and others. I hope we all have.

  67. Irwin Horowitz says:

    Not to continue beating a dead horse, folks, but…

    In response to bearbait’s post on the Oregon situation. First, if accurate, I do not approve of any attempts to silence any reasoned voices in this debate. The very essence of science is the pursuit of truth by examination of all of the evidence. Having said that, I wonder if the loyal opposition on global warming would like to be equally harsh in their condemnation of the behavior of the Bush administration these last six years towards those government scientists who have been silenced for promoting the global warming issue. Here is a link from the AP posted Tuesday:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070130/ap_on_go_co/congress_climate;_ylt=AubZShGZeOGbhl9KqnlLn1JvieAA;_ylu=X3oDMTA5aHJvMDdwBHNlYwN5bmNhdA–

  68. Sysiphus says:

    LOL Irwin. I saw that too and thought the timing very apropos to bearbait’s contention. Your comment about “reasoned voices” cannot be emphasized enough. Certainly when the debate enters the political arena many tactics of debate stray from the scientific method. But when politicians use their office to bully scientists from being forthright with their analysis the search for truth becomes derailed. That reminds me, how is the Libby trial coming?

  69. Craig Moore says:

    In response to Irwin’s question, I for one condemn it. Like mercury it always leaks out and there is a mess to clean up. Further discussion of politics and science is at http://www.newwest.net/index.php/topic/article/dire_global_warming_forecast_sugarcoated/C38/L38/#comments

    The corruption of science by politics is nothing new. Read Dr. Pielke’s testimony at the Waxman hearings. Furthermore in the not too distant past a noted mathematician quit a “science body” over his perceived corruption of the scientific process. See: http://scienceline.org/2007/01/31/math_controversy_peck/

    “Alexandre Grothendieck is arguably the most important mathematician of the 20th century, but he has been willfully missing for the last fourteen years. Unverified accounts have him flitting about the Pyrenees or gardening in southern France, but the inheritors of his groundbreaking work in algebraic geometry can’t be sure that any of these explanations are true.

    “He is still alive, we believe,” says Susan Friedlander, a mathematics professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. If so, Grothendieck would be 78 years old; but the most current pictures available show a lean, middle-aged, bald man of monkish serenity.

    The reason for Grothendieck’s retreat is less mysterious. In 1988, after refusing to accept the highly prestigious and lucrative Crafoord prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Grothendieck released a letter to multiple newspapers and scientific journals condemning what he called the politicization of the scientific community. Prizes and awards were changing the spirit and goals of mathematics, sometimes resulting in blatant intellectual theft, he said.”

    Then there was this interesting commentary in the Seattle P-I: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/300429_cathyyoung21.html

    “Pielke has pointed out an unfortunate tendency toward political polarization within the scientific community. Last year, Tech Central Station, a Web site that supports the free-market system, promoted a statement by several scientists who dismissed any connection between hurricanes and global warming — while environmental activists promoted the views of other scientists who argued that such a connection exists.

    Most journalists and pundits have limited knowledge of science; as a result, they tend to pick whichever science best suits their political prejudices. Both science and journalism deserve better. Perhaps we can start by remembering that an ideological crusade can be as strong an inducement to bend the truth as the profit motive.”

  70. ralf says:

    is that all you have to say?