Posted by: bridget | 6 March 2008


Al Gore gets his.  John Coleman is feeling hot under the collar, but not in the world:

The TV weatherman of KUSI fame and founder of the Weather Channel says it’s time to set the record straight about the “fraud of global warming.” The courts might just be the place.

He said Gore, plus the sellers of carbon credits in a system set up to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, should be sued.

Comments are open.  Ruckus about while yours truly frantically scrambles to get her work done before break.

Update: For those who think that humans are the cause of global warming, check out this nifty graph of the earth’s temperature over time:

Global Temperature  (It is what some of us would call ‘prima facie evidence that anthropogenic global warming is a questionable theory.’)

Update #2: Dinopogenic global warming!

 Update #3: Because it’s pretty graph week at H,aP, here is another one for my readers:



  1. Suing a Nobel Prize winner sounds like an awfully stupid idea.

    Oh, well…someday, the skeptics will have to learn.

  2. Naturally, part of the Nobel Prize (awarded by a private group in a foreign jurisdiction) is immunity from suit in the United States.

    Actually, it’s a fairly brilliant idea. He is being sued for the truth of his claims, which the Nobel group never analysed – remember, he won the Peace Prize, not one in science.

    Incidentally, have you heard of this thing called “the sun”? It is that thing in the sky that is really bright. When you see it, it’s warmer out. When you get closer to it, you get warmer. When it is in a period of high solar activity, the entire solar system (including Mars and Venus, not just our little blue and green planet) gets warmer.

  3. I was unaware that the Nobel Prize was the equivalent of a signed note from God.

    Even the peace prize – remember, Arafat got it.

  4. Bridget,

    I assume your note about high periods of solar activity is a reference to the 2007 New Scientist article by two U.W. mathematicians. Article is here:

    It was widely reported in the conservative press as casting doubt on climate change. The opposite is true. The study’s authors actually said that their data confirms that the present models of human effects on climate are right:

    “Tung says his findings provide important real-world evidence that climate model predictions of global warming are correct. For instance, they show that the temperature changes are two to three times as strong in polar regions. On the face of it this is surprising, because the variation in solar radiation is greatest in the tropics. But Tung says ‘it reinforces the idea of melting ice as an amplification mechanism in the climate-change models.'”

  5. Ian,

    Briefly, since I have to run:
    No, the solar activity hypothesis has been around for a long time, so no, I’m not referring to that study. Here is another one, which indicates that climate temperatures closely track solar activity.

    Around 1000 AD, long before humans were expelling massive amounts of greenhouse gases into the air, England was wine country and Greenland was, well, green. Toastier time. Look at the fluctuations of the earth’s climate over hundreds of thousands of years (well, I’m sure that you, Ian, actually have done so; this is the general “you”) – there is at least a reasonable argument about both the signal to noise ratio of any anthropogenic influence, and of our ability to regulate the earth’s temperature.


    Great line. :)

  6. For Bridget (is that your name? The author’s name, anyway):

    Your statement that the earth was warmer during the “Medieval Warm Period” simply doesn’t hold water. There is little evidence to suggest that the planet was warmer then than it is right now.

    Granted, scientists agree that certain areas of the world (specifically Europe) may have been slightly warmer. But trivial evidence of vineyards in Britain does not reflect whatsoever global trends in temperature.

    The NOAA says on its website that the supposed “MWD” is simply unfounded.

    You can check it out yourself.

    The second skeptical claim you seem to make has to do with solar activity.

    This is also simply untested and untrue. We started recording solar activity with satellites in 1978. And yet, there has been no significant increase in solar activity! How is it that the last thirty years, years with the fastest increases in global temperature, was caused by something that has remained relatively constant?

    Scroll down to the last two graphs; they show the cycles of the sun’s activities. Aside from natural, regularly occurring increases and decreases in activity, there has been absolutely no drastic variation in the sun’s pattern.

  7. What? He doesn’t want to sue Senator Inhofe? Wasn’t it Inhofe that claimed that global warming was just a scam for the Weather Channel to make money?

    Now I need to check my sources.

  8. Your statement that the earth was warmer during the “Medieval Warm Period” simply doesn’t hold water. There is little evidence to suggest that the planet was warmer then than it is right now.

    So essentially the climate really hasn’t changed since medievel times anymore than the dawn of the industrial revolution. The ice was not melting in 1922 and polar bears dying ? During the late 20 th century the ice wasn’t thickening and polar bear population exploding ? In less than a year it’s not the air but the sea ? Work on these.

  9. Yep, I was right. Sen. Inhofe publicly accused The Weather Channel of being behind the “global warming hoax” to attract viewers.

    If I were Jon Coleman, and I thought there was a conspiracy, I’d sue the guy who publicly accused me of being part of it first.

  10. Oh I see…Coleman left The Weather channel a while ago. never mind.

  11. Let me get this straight:

    When the Arctic is warmer than you would expect, based on solar activity, that’s global warming.

    When Europe is warmer than the rest of the world a thousand years ago, that is evidence for current global warming.

    Your own article says,

    There are not enough records available to reconstruct global or even hemispheric mean temperature prior to about 600 years ago with a high degree of confidence.

    We do know, however, that there have been various Ice Ages, a Snowball Earth (about 700 milllion years ago, IIRC), and some very warm times.

    For those who missed the memo, I’m an envirnonmentalist. I haven’t eaten meat in ten years, in part because of environmental concerns. What I do not appreciate is an unmitigated power grab and global hysteria that is based on very shaky science and unproven speculation.

  12. As for your last question, read the article I linked to in my response to Ian.

  13. Teresa,

    I didn’t know that. Maybe he’s next on the list. :)

  14. “When the Arctic is warmer than you would expect, based on solar activity, that’s global warming.”

    No, it’s not. Global warming is the increase in average temperature of the lower atmosphere of the planet.

    And you took the quote totally out of context. “There are not enough records available to reconstruct global or even hemispheric mean temperature prior to about 600 years ago with a high degree of confidence.”

    That’s where you stopped. Here’s what they say directly after that: “What records that do exist show is that there was no multi-century periods when global or hemispheric temperatures were the same or warmer than in the 20th century.”

    Again, the Medieval Warming Period did not exist.

    Your examples of periods of cooling are true; no environmentalist or climatologist is trying to say that the Earth’s temperature does not vary. It does!

    But that is not the issue. The issue is the rapidity of the warming, and the fact that the warming is anthropogenic.

    Saying, “I’m an environmentalist who doesn’t eat meat” has no bearing on this issue. I’m not trying to call out your loyalties; what I am trying to do is point out factual inconsistencies of the global warming skeptic. I think it’s great that you choose not to eat meat. I think it’s great that you think for yourself. But I don’t think it’s great that, when faced with overwhelming evidence to the contrary, you still find it appropriate to doubt.

    As regards the last article you wrote, the second article I posted is a sufficient response; the study takes into account total solar irradiance (TSI), which the authors define as “total solar irradiance describes the radiant energy emitted by the sun over all wavelengths that falls each second on 1 square meter outside the earth’s atmosphere–a quantity proportional to the “solar constant” observed earlier in this century.”

    Basically, your article’s concerns that solar winds and other solar activity are not taken into account by climatologists is disproved with this study; the NGDC took all solar activity into account with their study.

  15. Mars ?

  16. Thanks, Fray.

    Look, you half-wit: it is pretty freakin obvious that the earth’s temperature has changed very, very dramatically over time. Self-evident piece of information #2: people in the 1970s were pulling out their hair over global cooling.

    There is no “overwhelming evidence” that there is both global warming that is caused by humans. Correlation does not equal causation. Learn to think for yourself.

    Oh, by the way, one of the articles you cited lead me to these fancy schmancy charts of the earth’s temperature:

  17. Oh, another random question: considering that Victorian England was significantly more polluted than is the modern-day version (and, actually, any western country), wouldn’t you expect things to be a bit chillier now?

    Final question: what is the ideal temperature (to at least one decimal point, please) of Earth? If we are below that, should we heat up the earth? If it’s too hot, when do we know when to stop trying to cool it?

  18. Your examples of periods of cooling are true; no environmentalist or climatologist is trying to say that the Earth’s temperature does not vary. It does!

    But that is not the issue. The issue is the rapidity of the warming, and the fact that the warming is anthropogenic.

    That is so painfully dumb it hurts to read.

    1. Correlation does not equal causation.
    2. Refer to my earlier point. If the earth has been this warm before, what’s the problem? What is the ideal temperature? So it’s okay for the earth to tilt on its axis and heat up a few degrees, but it’s not okay for us (even assume that there is anthropogenic global warming, which is totally in question) to contribute 1/10th of a degree F to this warming?

    Ouch. My head hurts.

  19. Wow; I didn’t mean to offend you. No need for name calling.

    It seems like your argument is going something like this: if global warming has occurred in the past, why is it such a big deal now? And you also seem to reject the idea that GHGs cause warming, as well.

    “If the earth has been this warm before, what’s the problem?”

    Like I said in my previous post, it’s the rate at which warming is occurring that alarms us. The only other times that we know of in the past hundreds of thousands of years that had such rapid increases and decreases in almost always resulted in massive species die-offs.

    “There is no “overwhelming evidence” that there is both global warming that is caused by humans. Correlation does not equal causation. Learn to think for yourself”

    Actually, there is. The best info with regards to that is Workgroup I’s report (Workgroup I of the IPCC).

    It states that CO2 is the most drastic cause of global warming; it states that “The primary source of the increased atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide since the pre-industrial period results from fossil fuel use, with land-use change providing another significant but smaller contribution.”

    The science clearly, explicitly demonstrates the validity of our concern regarding climate change.

    There is no ideal temperature for this planet; it constantly changes. But it does not change as quickly as it is right now. That’s the danger.

    Finally, you’ve now used two anecdotal pieces of evidence concerning England to contest the findings of the majority scientists. Deleted for violation of the comment policy. I’m a reasonably intelligent and thoughtful woman; attacking me personally, on my own blog, doesn’t fly. Maybe other people allow you to make an argument that way, but data don’t disappear just because you do not happen to like the results of the argument. Clear?

    England is a dot on the map; the levels of CO2 emissions were high for one area, but are minuscule compared to the emissions coming from the US, Australia, China, millions of automobiles, oil refineries, coal plants, etc.

  20. I’d like to just point out that proving their science in court has not worked out well for those going against the scientific consensus in the past.

    As an attention-grabbing technique, it would probably be very effective, but as a means of proving their point, I don’t think it will get much traction.

    My current view on a lot of these old topics is that the consensus science isn’t going to get anywhere mostly because scientists just aren’t in the business of “selling” ideas. They’re not going to convince anyone to change anything, no matter how much information they produce.

    So I guess we’ll find out for sure one way or another…and boy do I hope the scientists are wrong – but I don’t think they are.

  21. No medieval warming period, eh?

    Whazzam! Not conclusive, I grant, but interesting nonetheless. Lets do cite authorities all day!

  22. :-)


    You KOWN we’re not going to be citing authorities much longer.

    That get’s boring! Soon, we will begin attaking the credibility of each others sources. Then comes the name-calling.

    I think it usually happens when the denialists start citing Fred Sanger, because how can you not attack a source that insists cigarette smoke isn’t harmful? It’s hard to resist, but does not bode well for the debate. :-)

    I’ve been sucked into these things before, but seriously, they are not productive,and not much fun. Policy won’t be decided at this level, and minds won’t be chaned by this kind of a debate. It’s futile.

    Theo posted her opinion, and for what it’s worth, she’s got a reason for having that opinon. People who want to change her mind are going to have to try somthing different than merely flopping down a study or two. A study or two is a data point here or there, and that doesn’t convince systemic thinkers.

    I’d advise taking a more global approach. Someone here who knows the issue well should create a blog entry that walks through the known forcers…addresses their reletive importance to the problem, and then details the case for why we should try to address those forcers that are human caused.

    I’m pretty sure Theo will read it and let you know how you did, when she has time.

  23. Mark Hoonagle has some very good comments for those of you who want to help convince people of Global Warming.

  24. Just the fly on the wall of an open thread here. The IPCC gets applauded a lot yet there are a number of scientists/participants who either denounce it’s findings or it’s preparation. There is also the point to consider that the IPCC wasn’t created by each individual 2000+ “scientists etc”. Without getting into name calling or going tit for tat with links,studies and on and on can I ask a few questions. One at what time was anyone sucked into the thread ? Does anyone think the denialist vs alarmist thing is getting a little stupid ? One more. Is there anyone that denies the IPCC and many other GW/CC proponents has proven through all there switches in positions illustrates the right to some skepticism ?

  25. in2thefray,

    Depends on what you mean by switches in positions. If you mean adjusting the model to accomidate new information, then I would say that no, it doesn’t justify skepticism.

    Everytime new information shows that a part of the model is wrong…that information is tested and either falsified or upheld. If the new information is upheld, the model is adjusted to accomidate the new information. If it is falsified it’s put on the scrap heap and the researchers can either suck it up and move on, or they can run to places like the Heartland Institute and cry about how they are just like Gallileo.

    So every time the model is found to be inaccurate, it’s predicitve accuracy becomes greater, due to it being corrected.

    Unfortunatly, individual studies are often not put in the proper perspective by the media and other non-sciencticfic organizations.

    Hoofnagle asserts that the inaccuracies in science reporting by the media are not the fault of scientists. I guess technically, he is right – however, if scientists don’t want their credibility destroyed, they DO need to do something about it. A person can get all uppity about how they are not ETHICALLY to blame for the fumbling of information by others…but in the world of realpolitik…well, you win or you lose.

  26. The thing is, it’s one thing to be skeptical; it’s quite another to use bad science to try and support a position simply for the sake of supporting it.

    The science on global warming and climate change is solid; I think that the debate that really needs to happen is one concerning solutions. What are we supposed to do about this? Carbon tax? Cap and trade? Biofuels? Nuclear? More hydro?

    These days, those are the relevant questions.

  27. “These days, those are the relevant questions.” You’ll find there are plenty of people on the “other” side that agree with that . Carbon Tax No,Cap and Trade=peope didn’t like it when Reagan tried it but it was a good idea then and now. Biofuels=need better science and economic impact thinking. Ethanol in the Midwest has bred refineries that can’t sustain themselves due to price drops and Brazil and poor nations are discovering that ethanol=food prices soaring.Nuke. Perhaps I’m stereotyping but aren’t the same people concerned about GW the “No Nukes” type ? Hydro ,solar and wind. Regional solutions for global problems sure.

  28. in2thefray,

    I thought that regional solutions were ALWAYS better. :-)

    Considering how much energy is lost in long transmission corridors, why not regional?

    You dismiss it as though the problems with having a region use available alternative energy sources to supply it’s own needs is obviously rediculous, but I don’t follow your reasoning. Could you detail it a little more for me? I might have missed something.

    But it doesn’t seem any more rediculous than burning coal to create energy and then sustaining massive losses in thousands of miles of transmission wires.

    As for nukes…there are very few “no nukes” types anymore. Most people seem to be more of the “don’t build it here, don’t store the waste here, but hey, if you can put the plant and the disposal site far away, wire the power over to me, baby!

  29. Well I don’t see where I dismissed or mentioned regional here but that is my stance. Ethanol doesn’t transport so it’s a regional thing. Not everywhere can utilize wind due to wind,land,other stuff in the air.On a regional basis and by that I mean super local. Brownfields should /could be developed into energy sites. Be it greenfields of solar arrays or a natural gas powered power plant tied into the surrounding areas mini grid. This allows for smaller size. I think there should be major tax breaks for the people in the Northeast who use oil for heat. the tax breaks would go to buying into the “Free Watt” systems.
    As for nukes the US actually created the material recycling technology that France uses. The US also has a hole in the ground in Nevada that has extremely solid science behind it for waste disposal.On a global note. Paint stuff white, preserve fresh water and recycle. That’s me. Kyoto and Bali ain’t

  30. in2 the fray,

    Thanks for expounding.

    I interpreted this”

    ” Hydro ,solar and wind. Regional solutions for global problems sure.”

    As being dismissive of regional solutions.

  31. Deleted for violation of comment policy. No ad hominem attacks – veiled or not – please.

  32. 31 comments, surely this is a record for your blog, no? Enjoy your break.

  33. The IPCC is what we like to call “biased.” I have news for you: the burden of proof you carry in this argument is far, far higher than the one I carry. You must demonstrate:
    1. that the earth is indeed warming (and has not leveled off in the past few years – which it has, but you’re too much of an ideologue to care);
    2. that it is caused solely or mostly by humankind and not by the various other mechanisms; AND
    3. that humankind can somehow change this situation.

    I need to demonstrate:
    1. that alternative explanations are reasonable (i.e. that there is a debate); or
    2. that there is no global warming outside of normal cyclical fluctuations.

    Your arguments refute each other, which is actually pretty funny, if they weren’t the basis for an unmitigated power grab. First, we can’t measure climate very well and use proxies; then, we KNOW for CERTAIN, absolutely positively, that the temperature is increasing faster than it did in the past, will continue to do so, will result in extintction (because nothing ever, ever EVER died off before humans!), and humans are to blame.


  34. Re: Nuclear energy.

    We haven’t had a plant built in the U.S. since the 1970s. Back in the ’60s, it took about four or five years to get the plant up and operational. By the 70s, it was up to 12 years. From an economic standpoint, this is problematic: the biggest cost of nuclear power is the cost of building the plant (which includes the cost of money during construction). This time lag massively increases the cost of construction. Once built, a nuclear power plant generates energy that is almost too cheap to meter; that is when the cost of building the plant is recovered.

  35. More later. Heading off soon, and this has been a very, very long few days.

    TT – nah. There was a thread that hit 60-something a month or so back.

  36. Deleted.

    In case you missed the post directly below this one, I have been traveling for the past few days. Between Friday and Monday morning, I had the joyful experience of driving 1,600 miles, a large chunk of it in the snow – so it was something like 33 hours in the car. I also went to a Federalist Society symposium (which you would know if you bothered to do so) and a doctor’s appointment. I then slept.

    I have done by best, in my very limited time, to provide evidence that the Earth’s temperature has fluctuated dramatically over thousands – and indeed, hundreds of thousands – of years. I have also provided (see second graph above) extremely persuasive evidence that the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has almost no correlation to the earth’s temperature throughout history.

    Any time I introduce evidence, you say that it’s wrong. Any time I bring up a reason why a) your conclusions are incorrect, or b) there is actually a debate about the subject, you unerringly conclude that those studies or reasons are not sufficient. Now, given that I cannot either blog from my car, and there is no study, theory, or explanation which would lead you to conclude that there is even a rational debate about anthropogenic global warming, I will ask that you not comment here any longer.

  37. Regardless of whether this is a record or not, congrats on stirring up the pot. ;-) And once again, enjoy your break.

  38. Good post. What is sad is that so much of the country accepts global warming as fact, and thinks it is caused by humans and that carbon credits and other silliness will save us.

  39. You’ve got to be kidding me. I cited four scientific articles; you cited one.

    I have been TRAVELING. Again, do you expect me to blog and drive at the same time? 33 bloody hours in a freakin car, and that does not count time at a conference and at a doctor’s appointment (with associated calls to my family afterwards – ongoing medical crisis & all). At this point, you are berating me for not making this my top priority.

    Oh, check out the graph. You hadn’t responded to it, so I figured that I had played a trump card. :)

    You deleted my comments that were “ad hominem” (which they most certainly were not), while leaving your comments in which you call me an ideologue, a “half-wit,” suggest that my comments are “painfully dumb it hurts to read,” along with various other comments.

    1. My blog. 2. Not to sound entirely childish, but you started it. 3. See below, you hypocrite.

    Such actions are absolutely hypocritical, unnecessary, and arrogant. Your blog, your rules; but don’t expect people to take you seriously when you’re striking comments for the record for no reason.

    Oh, I forgot! “Please don’t come to my blog, insult me, and berate me for not having put up well-researched scientific studies when I’ve been running across half the country” is not a sufficient reason to strike your b.s. comments.

    Bryson, the proper protocol is to take the discussion over to your own blog. You are well aware that I did not intend this to be a global warming debate; that you Technorati-ed or otherwise trolled about the internet for a fight to pick; and that I don’t have the time to pick a fight. If you were actually interested in a scientific debate, you would actually respond to our comments (In2theFray nailed your sorry butt with his query about Mars – yes, Mars is heating up – is that our fault, too?), and more importantly, formulate a coherent analysis of the “global warming debate.” Is it that parts of Earth are heating up? At one point, you get your panties in a twist about the ice caps. Then you don’t give an airborne duck about England and Greenland heating up during the Middle Ages, because China wasn’t toasty – or may not have been toasty, since we measure temperature by proxy. Well, you’ve just articulated a standard that cannot be disproved: global warming is whatever its supporters say it is. It’s average temperature when that behooves you; isolated temperature changes when that suits your whims; any data that the temperature of another PLANET is changing will be ignored; and data that demonstrate (see graph, which you’ve ignored) that global warming has no correlation to carbon levels.

    Then you get on your high horse. Unbelievable.

  40. I haven’t read all these comments, but living in WY, I say, bring on the global warming baby!

  41. That’s funny — with a polar bear being my avatar and all. :)

  42. Eh…whatever. I’m sorry; I usually don’t get involved in these sort of stupid blog fights. It’s just not the kind of person I am. Well, most of the time, anyway.

    Anyway, I hope you accept my apology, have a safe trip, and that there’s no hard feelings.

  43. […] ado, this week’s Comment of the Week goes to Laura (southernxyl), for her comment on the pending litigation against Al Gore, regarding his claims about global warming: I was unaware that the Nobel Prize was the equivalent […]

  44. Query for the global warming folks: As the temperature of the Earth has not increased since 1998, how can you even worry about global warming? If it’s localised warming, then why fret, as we clearly saw this happen in Europe and Greenland long before humans began to develop industrially? If global warming is about mean temperature, why should we consider this to be a problem, as the earth is… getting cooler?

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