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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/6650/heres-your-chance-to-restore-my-faith-in-government/

Here’s your chance to restore my faith in government

May 18, 2007 by

This blog has hosted some, shall we say, interesting debates on the question of global warming. For those who are convinced that it is an urgent issue that requires action, I have a question. Suppose, for the sake of argument, that claims about global warming are all true. It is happening, we are causing it, and it will change the environment. In this way, global warming reminds me of terrorism. It exists. It’s bad. It causes real harm to people. It also gives rise to apocalyptic predictions about how terrible the consequences will be if we do nothing, it becomes “a threat to our very way of life”, and it is of course a problem so huge and intractable that only collective action coordinated by the government can stop it. So it was with terrorism. But what were the results that we got? The government’s solutions were at best inefficient and counterproductive and at worst gross violations of people’s rights. We now have prisons where we hold people without trial and torture them, we’re being spied on by our own government, we’re sending the young men and women of my generation to be maimed and bleed out their lives in a faraway country and an unwinnable war. It has become yet another reason for the state to devour more power, more money, and more lives. And six years later, we are no safer. Terrorism is not gone. The problem is not solved; indeed, our leaders speak of a war against it that will last beyond our lifetimes. It will consume our money, our freedom, and our people with no end in sight. So even if every single terrible prediction about global warming is true, why should I have any confidence whatsoever in state-sponsored solutions to the problem?

{ 76 comments }

TokyoTom May 22, 2007 at 7:48 am

You didn’t confuse me you lying spammer.

Graeme, no one could possibly hold a candle to you in the spamming department. I invite readers to check out the “bigbirdbrain” cite above, devoted by a libertarian blogger specifically to the behavior of Ozzie/GMB/Graeme.

However, I expect you to be a specifically support your claim that I am a liar, or to apologize and back away from it. Seriously. Otherwise you will prove yourself not a gentleman and unworthy of further discourse.

You may note that I specifically responded to your request for durther evidence on Dr. Reisman’s “bugaboo” thread. You might also note that conveniently New Scientist just last week posted a serious of extensive reports on the most common climate change myths and misconceptions, that may be helpful to you: http://www.newscientist.com/blog/environment/2007/05/climate-myths-special.html#nbicomments.

TT

Dennis May 22, 2007 at 7:49 am

TokyoTom,

Your conclusion regarding respiration rests on the following assumption, which while not correct, does force your also erroneous conclusion:

“Axiomatically, as primary productivity (food production via photosynthesis) is relatively steady (although it may be altered as a result of climate change and human activities), an increase in the number of humans implies less food to be consumed/Co2 to be respired by other animals. Thus an increase in humans necessarily implies a decrease in other animal biomass.”

The levels of vegetation and plant growth are not relatively steady, as you assumed. At times in the geologic past, such as in the dinosaur period of roughly 100 million or so years ago, the earth was notably warmer, wetter, and contained significantly more vegetation, and thus, increased food production through photosynthesis. Also, during the last ice age of 10,000 or 15,000 years ago, significantly larger parts of the earth compared to today were covered by glaciers, thus precluding food production via photosynthesis in areas so covered. The natural world is dynamic, at times extremely dynamic, and there is not a reasonable basis for assuming that food production via photosynthesis is constant. In fact, there was a time in the distant geologic past when there was no life, plant or animal, and hence, no food production on the earth.

In addition, you apparently contradict yourself in that you admit to the possibility of changing food production through photosynthesis in the second parenthetical statement of your above comment.

The last sentence of your comment, which I believe is erroneous, states that an increase in human biomass necessarily implies a decrease in other animal biomass. I absolutely am not stating or implying that you are a supporter of “animal rights”, but I hate to think what the animal rights activists could do with that conclusion.

Finally, I do not believe that my remarks regarding CO2 levels in the atmosphere are “irrelevant.” They indicate just how little CO2, especially from human sources, is actually in the atmosphere, especially as compared to other “greenhouse” gasses.

Scott D May 22, 2007 at 9:26 am

I know that Austrians oppose subsidies. I leveled no accusations of hypocrisy, but rather expressed surprise at the general lack of consistent interest in attacking subsidies to the energy industry.

Well, it certainly looked like an accusation to me. If you want to propose getting rid of subsidies to energy, you have my support. Note that this also means eliminating subsidies to ethanol and wind power. The market must be set free to find the best solutions.

Dennis May 22, 2007 at 9:31 am

For those who are interested, this article that is extremely skeptical of AGW appeared today on LewRockwell.com:

http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig5/lowi6.html

Lisa Casanova May 22, 2007 at 9:19 pm

Tom,
For the record, I oppose all subsidies. They are market distorting and evil. However, the writing I do has an opportunity cost, and there’s just not enough time in the day to rail against every government subsidy or program that pisses me off. No doubt the energy market is greatly distorted by subsidies, as are many markets. Part of what concerns me now is that as people are looking for alternative energy, the government will distort the market for alternative energy, and waste opportunities to remedy possible climate change, by investing in technologies produced by corporate welfare whores who engage in rent seeking behavior rather than letting market competition bring the best alternative energies to the forefront. The quest for subsidies and government favoritism is neverending and engaged in by everyone, both those who contribute to a problem and those who claim they can solve it. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of good ideas about how to end that as long as the incentive structure that we now have in government is in place.

TokyoTom May 23, 2007 at 12:59 am

Lisa, thanks for your reply. I am happy to hear you oppose all subsidies – so do I, especially the looming prospects of counterproductive new ones.

And while I am sympatheic to your point about opportunity costs, I think that now is the perfect time for Austrians to be loudly arguing that if ANYTHING is to be done about “enwergy security”, “alternative energy” or climate change, that first and foremost we ought to be removing existing subsidies and rigidities that favor fossil fuels and stand in the way of greater competition and flexibility in the energy sector.

While I appreciate the above, I am sorry that you did not see fit to address my comments to you on how climate change differs from the war on terror or my questions about seeking to systematically and practically apply the key Austrian insights on environmental issues to climate change (or other problems with open-access resources).

Regards,

Tom

TokyoTom May 23, 2007 at 1:23 am

Dennis, the main point is that humans are responsible, directly and indirectly, for virtually all of the rise in CO2 levels. Can you confirm whether you agree with this?

My secondary point to you that human respiration does not contribute to rising CO2 levels climate change I supported with cites. If you disagree with those sources, I am eager to hear why. This point is based on the fact that the CO2 we respire is derived from CO2 that was previously in the air and was removed by photosynthesis; by respiration we are simply recycling CO2 that was already in the atmosphere, not adding new CO2.

I agree with you that over geologic time the levels of primary production by plants changes, but we emerged from the last ice age 10,000+ years ago. This long-term plasticity in the level of primary production does not weaken my point that, for the time being, the growth in human populations necessarily implies that there is less food to be consumed/Co2 to be respired by other animals and thus a reduction in their relative biomass. I concede that greater levels of atmospheric CO2 might be leading to greater primary production, but there is no certainty that this will offset the growing levels of primary production consumed by a burgeoning human population.

Luke May 23, 2007 at 8:27 am

What a terrible comparison.

The anti-terrorism measures we have taken are like bathing in acid to get rid of fleas. The drastic steps needed to address global warming are like getting a tumor cut out. The people on this site need to stop smoking so much ideology and touch reality once in a while.

The government will make a lot of stupid moves and act too slowly, as it always does, because it is run by a lot of callus opportunists and ideological trained monkeys. So? What other institutions do we have at our disposal for collective action when we need to take it? The so called “free-market”? The faith in capitalism’s ability to solve all social problems expressed on this site (as well as the denial of global warming) is based only on the will to belief and ignores the facts.

I too question the legitimacy of the state. I too feel we must consider the funding source of scientific studies. That said, all science is funded by someone and everyone has an agenda, but that does not invalidate all scientific knowledge. Some interested party can influence the results of a few studies, but the consensus of the peer-reviewed scientific community regarding hard science issues where piles and piles of data exist is as close as we get to knowing just about anything.

Maybe some of the folks here could benefit from taking a couple of weeks off from reading Ayn Rand and your beloved prophet Mises and try some Karl Popper. Self-consistent theories may seem very real, but if they are not firmly rooted in empirical fact they can lead you far astray. Wake up and smell the data!

Yancey Ward May 23, 2007 at 9:21 am

Luke,

The problem is your analogy is not quite complete, as you almost imply yourself with the phrase “drastic steps”. As it stands now, the drastic steps being proposed involve cutting the tumor out with a butter knife in a portable toilet that hasn’t been cleaned in a month. And this is being proposed without knowing that the tumor is even malignant.

Dennis May 23, 2007 at 9:57 am

Luke,

May I respectfully suggest that you read the article mentioned in the below post, as it may give you a better understanding of the current state of the science, and to a lesser degree the institutional influences, regarding AGW.

http://blog.mises.org/archives/006581.asp

Luke May 23, 2007 at 11:00 am

Dennis,

There will be a few convincing-sounding voices that deny AGW… and evolution, and the holocaust. This does not refute my point in the least. In fact, you provide a great example of what I am talking about. There will be a few “experts” who provide legitimations to any given ideologically-based position in a technical field. There are incentives to do this and a few will respond to those incentives, either out of a lack of integrity or a genuine attachment to the ideology. Some studies also go bad simply due to an unlucky sampling of data. A few bad studies either way prove nothing. This is why peer-review and the development of general consensus are required for the accrual of scientific knowledge in human society.

Michael A. Clem May 23, 2007 at 12:32 pm

TT may be a nag, but I think he’s got a point: wouldn’t a good first step in addressing global warming be to end governmental energy subsidies? One could argue that the subsidies are themselves contributing to the problem. And even if one doesn’t believe in global warming, or that humans are largely responsible, wouldn’t it still be a good step to take anyway?

Lisa Casanova May 23, 2007 at 10:25 pm

Tom,
Go easy on me, dude! I’m blogging from a hotel lobby at a scientific meeting at like 11 at night. The key thing that I believe global warming and terrorism (and nuclear war and meteors hitting the earth and alien invasions) have in common is that regardless of whether they turn out to be the coming apocalypse or completely imaginary, the government will seize on any kind of threat to expand its power in ways that seldom do anything to solve the original problem. I have even less confidence in solutions that involve coordination of a bunch or world economies, since we’re talking about not just one government with its perverse incentives, rent seeking behavior, etc., but several. Maybe I could better answer your concerns if I knew some more about your thoughts, so I’ll toss the question back to you: what if AGW is for real but it’s too late to undo it? What should we do then?

Dennis May 24, 2007 at 7:04 am

Luke stated:

“There will be a few convincing-sounding voices that deny AGW… and evolution, and the holocaust.”

My link to the article in question was done in a polite and civil manner. The article attempts to point out what appears to be significant problems with the AGW hypothesis, especially the temporal sequence of the variables.

Part of Luke’s response was to equate those who are extremely skeptical of AGW with those who deny evolution and, even worse, the holocaust. I will remain polite and civil and let the part of Luke’s comment quoted above speak for itself and Luke’s tactics.

Luke May 24, 2007 at 7:17 am

Dennis,

I will let the company with whom you share your tactics speak for itself. I will also take your “polite” ad hominem as a concession that you have no real rebuttal to my actual points.

Dennis May 24, 2007 at 7:39 am

Luke,

I have said much about your points in my many other comments regarding the AGW issue on this site.

And again, I will let the first sentence of your comment speak for itself and your tactics.

TokyoTom May 27, 2007 at 10:18 pm

Dennis, what, enough time to complain about “tactics”, but not enough to make substantive responses? Come on man, where’s the beef?

Tom

TokyoTom May 27, 2007 at 11:02 pm

Lisa:

- “Maybe I could better answer your concerns if I knew some more about your thoughts.”

I can’t believe that you actually wrote or mean that.

- “the government will seize on any kind of threat to expand its power in ways that seldom do anything to solve the original problem”

Okay, so we know that rent-seeking is presents a problem in seeking government-based approaches to climate change and other resource-management problems. Why can we not then have a positive agenda of encouraging and conceiving private approaches?

- “I have even less confidence in solutions that involve coordination of a bunch or world economies, since we’re talking about not just one government with its perverse incentives”

Actually, the fact that any situtation must be negotiated and agreed internationally by a diverse array of nations with very different interests should have the opposite effect, as it makes rent-seeking extremely difficult. International negotiations are more akin to private posturing and dickering over how to manage a joint;y-shared resource.

- “what if AGW is for real but it’s too late to undo it? What should we do then?”

Always happy to address a question! Obviously we need to adapt.

Domestically, that will largely happen without the need for government meddling. It will be helpful if we stop denying that the climate is warming, and then proceed to other steps to reduce our vulnerability. Some of these step may involve government (including eliminating incentives to build in risky areas, eliminating rigidities in siting decisions and providing compensation to NIMBY protestors).

But the biggest task will be in helping the most vulnerable societies adapt to climate change – in the third world, which suffers the greatest environmental stresses and is least prepared to deal with climate change. The most important focus must be on helping them to improve their governance and thus increase their wealth (recognizing that kleptocracy has kept them poor). This is by no means an easy task. Is the West up to any kind of challenge in this regard?

Useful information is available here:

Indur Goklany’s “Adaptive Management of Climate Change Risks”, http://www.fraserinstitute.ca/admin/books/files/AdaptiveManagementPost.pdf

The Business Roundtable, “Closing the Technology Gap in the Developing World: A Practical Strategy to Address Global Climate Change”, http://64.203.97.43/pdf/20040616000ClosingtheTechnologyGap.pdf

The Business Roundtable’s series of papers here: “ISSUE: Global Climate Change”, http://www.businessroundtable.org/TaskForces/TaskForce/issue.aspx?qs=6575BF159FF49514481138A6DBE7A7A19BB6487BE633F

I look forward to your responses.

Regards,

TT

Dennis May 28, 2007 at 7:34 am

TokyoTom stated: “Dennis, what, enough time to complain about ‘tactics’, but not enough to make substantive responses? Come on man, where’s the beef?”

I am sorry, TT, but I believe my response to Luke’s accusation implying, if not stating, that skepticism regarding AGW is similar to denying evolution or especially the holocaust was required, appropriate, restrained, and civil. I take great offense to this particular tactic used by Luke. I hope your comment above is not indicative of your agreement with this type of tactics.

And as I also stated, over a period of many months, I have made my views on the AGW issue reasonably clear. However, my views (and similar views by others) are given little respect since they are extremely skeptical of the science and politics of the consensus AGW position. The views of AGW skeptics are generally brushed aside in a manner similar to and almost as fully as those of Austrian School economists, praxeologists, and supporters of a 100% reserve gold monetary standard. My latest response regarding AGW(http://blog.mises.org/archives/006581.asp)
is reproduced below:
**********************************************
“TokyoTom,

In response to your last posting, here is what I believe we know about the [AGW] topic. We now know that the temperature changes have preceded increases in atmospheric CO2, again a very significant finding as it relates to cause and effect.

We also know that CO2 causes warming in lab experiments; [however,] this has not been demonstrated in the complex real world climate. Moving from a controlled lab experiment to complex real world climate is a major step. Yes, we do have climate models that predict current and future CO2 caused warming, but these are the same general type of models that at times can not even accurately predict next week’s, even the next day’s, weather. I also note that if the argument that initial real-world warming is caused by CO2 is suspect then the feedback argument must also be suspect.

In short, given the evidence currently available, there is no good reason to conclude that the hypothesis arguing that increases in CO2 cause warming in the extremely complex real word climate is any more correct, especially given the temporal sequence of the variables, than other explanations for global warming, including the cosmic ray theory.”

***********************************************

By the way, I would not take offense if you do not respond, and I would not argue that I had “proved” or “won” anything. Honestly, I do not view this blog as a venue to badger or convert opponents, or as a tit-for-tat process, or as a process to impose one’s opinion on others. I have tried to approach this blog as a venue in which to exchange information and opinions.

TokyoTom May 28, 2007 at 9:22 am

Dennis, thanks for responding. The only reason why I troubled you was I thought that we were having a conversation. I too view this blog as “a venue in which to exchange information and opinions”, and was hoping to hear back from you on where we had any shared agreement on facts and if you had any insights on the climate that you cared to explain. It has been frustrating that you have chosen not to clarify what you consider to be “facts”, including the following that I posed to you on July 4 last year, again in September and earlier this month:

“Dennis, it’s undisputed that man is responsible for a 33% increase in the levels of atmospheric CO2 since pre-industrial levels and for a doubling of methane levels. The build up has been accelerating, and annual increases are multiples of what they were in the 50s, for example. CO2 levels appear to be higher than those for any period over the past 400,000+ years, and we are headed for a doubling in this century. Even if we stopped all GHG emissions today, the warming [effect from these GHG emissions] would continue for 100 years. Scientists expect that a doubling of CO2 levels, if stabilized at that level, would lead to global average temperature increases of 5 degrees F – of which we have experienced a one degree increase so far.” http://blog.mises.org/archives/005248.asp

The last sentence is admittedly based on expert’s views, by why are the other items so hard to acknowledge as facts?

You say that “We also know that CO2 causes warming in lab experiments; [however,] this has not been demonstrated in the complex real world climate. Moving from a controlled lab experiment to complex real world climate is a major step.” I say that you are forgetting that we know that CO2 produces noticeable affects not only on Earth, but also n Venus and Mars:

“What about Venus and Mars? Unlike Earth’s atmosphere, their atmospheres are about 95% CO2. But it’s not the percentage of CO2, it’s the total amount in the atmosphere. Venus has a very thick atmosphere: at the surface, the atmospheric pressure is ninety times that at Earth’s surface! … So the Venusian atmosphere is set into overdrive as far as the Greenhouse Effect is concerned, cooking its surface. The Martian atmosphere, in contrast, although nearly pure CO2, is very thin: less than 1% the pressure of Earth’s. Mars barely has any Greenhouse effect–it’s only warmed about 10F above what it would be without an atmosphere. Earth, of course, with a moderate Greenhouse Effect, is “just right.”

“So the first step in understanding the climates of Venus, Earth, and Mars, is the relative amounts of Greenhouse gases in their atmospheres: Venus has too much, Mars too little, and Earth just the right amount (in fact, water vapor, which is one percent of our atmosphere, dominates most of our Greenhouse effect—but additional CO2 can dramatically change the amount of Greenhouse effect).”
http://www.phys.lsu.edu/faculty/cjohnson/climate.html

“Venus has an extremely thick atmosphere, which consists mainly of carbon dioxide and a small amount of nitrogen. The pressure at the planet’s surface is about 90 times that at Earth’s surface—a pressure equivalent to that at a depth of 1 kilometer under Earth’s oceans. The enormously CO2-rich atmosphere generates a strong greenhouse effect that raises the surface temperature to over 400 °C (752°F). This makes Venus’ surface hotter than Mercury’s, even though Venus is nearly twice as distant from the Sun and receives only 25% of the solar irradiance.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus

See also
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/04/lessons-from-venus/
http://www.aip.org/history/climate/Venus.htm
http://encarta.msn.com/text_761578504___0/Greenhouse_Effect.html

Regards,

Tom

Michael A. Clem May 28, 2007 at 11:29 am

TT, from what you present about Venus and Mars, couldn’t we more readily conclude it is the “thickness” of the atmosphere, or the atmospheric pressure, that is the major cause of warming? In which case, we would want to know if Earth’s atmospheric pressure is changing…

Dennis May 28, 2007 at 12:24 pm

TokyoTom,

I still do not understand how the second paragraph of your above comment explains away the causation problem that evidently exists regarding the temporal sequence of atmospheric temperature increases and CO2 increases. And again, man-caused increases in CO2 do not necessarily lead to increased atmospheric temperatures given the complexity of the earth’s climate (versus a lab or a greenhouse), and given the problems that climate models at times have in accurately predicting extremely near-term weather. In addition, regarding how much atmospheric CO2 increase man indisputably is the cause of, see an article today on LRC, especially regarding the carbon isotope issue:
http://www.counterpunch.org/cockburn05262007.html.

Regarding the Mars and Venus issues, the level and percentage of CO2 in their atmospheres is not the only difference between these two planets and Earth. I admittedly have very limited knowledge of these issues, but one seemingly important fact is that the three planets are at considerably different distances from the sun, and obviously receive dramatically different amounts of energy from the sun. Also, regarding other planets, others have noted that the atmospheres of other planets may also be warming, which would seem to call into question the AGW hypothesis as the only, or even the major, correct explanation of the current warming on earth.

TokyoTom May 28, 2007 at 9:32 pm

Michael, the greenhouse effect on a planetary body is a function of what’s in the atmosphere and how much of it there is, not of the “thickness” of the amosphere per se. Thus, one does not track greenhouse trends by simply measuring atmospheric pressure.

Regards,

TT

Michael A. Clem May 28, 2007 at 11:40 pm

I was just going by what you posted, which clearly shows a strong correlation between warming and atmospheric pressure. Of course, correlation is not causation, but if nothing else, it surely shows that the circumstances on Venus and Mars are not all that comparable to Earth, and I fail to see what their atmospheres tell us about Earth’s atmosphere.

TokyoTom May 28, 2007 at 11:43 pm

Dennis, thanks for your comments.

- “the causation problem that evidently exists regarding the temporal sequence of atmospheric temperature increases and CO2 increases.”

What causation problem? Does the fact that prior to the arrival of economic man CO2 increases apparently trailed (and were apparently initially triggered by) temperature increases mean that:
- CO2 is NOT a GHG?
- that such historical increases in CO2 played NO ROLE as a feedback/reinforcer of further temperature increases?
- CO2 levels (and other human forcings) have NOT INCREASED since industrial times? or
- that the modern increase in CO2 levels CANNOT exert any warming effect?

I don’t know why you keep presuming that because man once had no impact on climate that we must therefore, ipso facto, have no impact on the climate today. This is an obvious fallacy.

- “man-caused increases in CO2 do not necessarily lead to increased atmospheric temperatures given the complexity of the earth’s climate”

Dennis, even though the climate is obviously variable and affected by many other factors in a manner that is not yet fully understood, a forcing is a forcing. Climate scientists are well aware that there are other factors are at work and do not deny them. It is a difficult challenge to tease out how various forcing work out at a particular moment in time, but even as some may dispute the growing confidence thata human fingerprint is now discernable, even the skeptic scientists do not deny that human activities are now on net pushing the climate in a warmer direction – which push may be augmented and opposed by natural factors.

- “regarding how much atmospheric CO2 increase man indisputably is the cause of”

The question of attribution to man is not seriously disputed, but a tactic by those desperate to avoid any conclusion of human responsibility. They don’t deny that CO2 is greenhouse gas, but seem to magically think that because in the past temperatures rose that increases in CO2 levels today have no implications. They also in a self-contradictory manner then seek to deny that the meaningless rise of CO2 in the atmosphere has anything to do with man. Sorry, but it doesn’t wash.

I would love to see you provide ANY cite to serious SCIENTISTS (sorry, but political commentators don’t count) taking the position that man is NOT responsible for the modern rise in atmospheric CO2 levels.

Let me meet my own standards (in the hopes of being helpful to you and others) by providing evidence that man IS responsible for the modern rise in atmospheric CO2:

“Since 1751 roughly 305 billion tons of carbon have been released to the atmosphere from the consumption of fossil fuels and cement production. Half of these emissions have occurred since the mid 1970s. The 2003 global fossil-fuel CO2 emission estimate, 7303 million metric tons of carbon, represents an all-time high and a 4.5% increase from 2002.”
http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/emis/tre_glob.htm
http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/emis/glo.htm
[CDIAC - The Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center - is "the primary climate-change data and information analysis center of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). CDIAC is located at DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and includes the World Data Center for Atmospheric Trace Gases."]

http://www.physicstoday.org/vol-58/iss-5/p16a.html
CO2 Pollution and Global Warming (EnvironmentalChemistry.com) – How do scientists know that humans are responsible for the increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere and global warming?

Last (and least), evidence from evil scientists:
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=160
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=87
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=81

- “Regarding the Mars and Venus issues, … I admittedly have very limited knowledge of these issues”

That’s why I provided you with some substantive links, so you could, if you wished, improve your knowledge. Alas, it appears that you have not yet availed yourself of the opportunity. Is it lack of time, or fear of having to change your mind?

- “one seemingly important fact is that the three planets are at considerably different distances from the sun, and obviously receive dramatically different amounts of energy from the sun.”

Yes. And it is the GHG effect that makes Venus much warmer than Mercury. A much smaller GHG effect makes Mars slightly less cold than it would otherwise be. You might note, that there is a wealth of private literature and government analysis about the possiblity of terraforming Mars using the greenhouse effect. See this, for example: http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2001/ast09feb_1.htm

- “the atmospheres of other planets may also be warming, which would seem to call into question the AGW hypothesis as the only, or even the major, correct explanation of the current warming on earth.”

Let me quote back to you one of my favorite skeptics, Harvard physics Asst. Prof. Lubos Motl:

“I don’t claim that the trends observed on … these celestial bodies prove their solar or cosmic origin … But what these trends certainly do is to remind all rational people that there is always natural variability on any celestial body as long as it has any structure or internal dynamics and the only questions are the quantitative ones: how large this natural variability is and what effects are the most important ones in driving it. Denying that there is a lot of natural climate change would be extraordinarily silly.”
http://motls.blogspot.com/2006/05/global-warming-on-jupiter.html

I note that Motl refers to a number of planets and moons, not all of which appear to be warming, but simply to have atmospheres and thus climates that change. Our knowledge of these other climates is pitifully small – and can certainly NOT be taken for the proposition that man’s activities CANNOT be affecting the Earth’s climate.

Regards,

Tom

TokyoTom June 1, 2007 at 1:22 pm

Michael, care to read the links about greenhouse effects on the other planets? Some gases like Nitrogen and Oxygen are not gHGs at all. As others are fond of pointing out, the GHS actually constitute a relatively small portion of our atmosphere.

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