Thursday, December 10, 2009

Vaclav Klaus, president of Czech Republic

While away in Dallas, here are two clips from a Peter Robinson's Uncommon Knowledge interview with the Czech president, Vaclav Klaus.




18 comments:

Dave Evans said...

Gil - do you read these comments that people put here? You rarely engage with them.

Is it a waste of time?

Gil Bailie said...

Dave,
I do my best in that regard. I try not to censor commends. I rarely decide not to publish one. But I often do not respond -- either because I haven't had time to keep up with them or because if I did the work at hand would be neglected. I regret my limits in this, but it's simply due to my limited capacity to juggle too many tasks at once. I apologize for that.
Meanwhile I'm grateful to those who take the time to comment and especially to those who engage with others pro and con.
I'm in Dallas now giving a weekend retreat, so -- again -- I'm distracted, but, as always, grateful.

Anonymous said...

Gil,
If you only have time to post and not comment, that's plenty good enough for me. I don't always leave a comment (obviously) but I don't think I've missed a post since I found this place a few months ago.
In other words, please don't stop doing what you're doing, no matter how much.
Now you know all those missing comments were mine.
:-)
Rick F.

Dean said...

There's a sizable difference between "being against individual freedom" as Vaclav Klaus suggests and constraining the largess and reckless corporate consumerism by which it is falsely defined. Making necessary sacrifices today to insure that there is someone around to enjoy freedom in the future seems more to the point. We issued rationing books during WWII. We rationed butter, meat, eggs, milk, gasoline, cooking oil, tin, lead, steel, rubber, aluminum, gold, silver and a hundred other things during that time. People had regular brownouts and blackouts to conserve power. We endured travel restrictions and check posts. People worked 16 hour days in munition and war industries to insure that our soldiers had adequate resources to fight with. Through it all, we managed to live without complaint and made numerous sacrifices of blood and treasure both overseas and at home to insure that freedom continued to the next generation. Britain endured double or triple the sacrifice we made, all while being bombed senseless by the Germans and seeing London reduced to rubble. And we whine because someone asks us to turn some lights out, walk to the store instead of driving the SUV, or turning the thermostat down? The longer we wait, the less pleasant those sacrifices will be.

To paraphrase Vaclav Klaus, were politicians satisfied that a "beautiful idea" had been offered them after the bombing of Pearl Harbor? Was there sufficient evidence that we were at war, or did we really need a proclamation to finalize it? We were isolationist at the start of WWII and fiercely opposed to involvement in another war. Winston Churchill was almost alone in proclaiming the danger we faced, until the "beautiful idea" of Pearl Harbor gave him what he needed. Was he being an opportunist as a result? How many Pearl Harbors do we need? Is New Orleans the pearl harbor of Global Warming? How about the European Heat wave in 2003 that killed 37,451 people? Maybe Catarina, the first hurricane-intensity tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Southern Atlantic Ocean? The megafires in Ketchum, Idaho? and near Los Angeles? Fire seasons that are two months longer each year and fires that are ten times bigger? The opening of the Northwest Passage due to melting ice? Grass growing in Antarctica? The destruction of the Great Barrier Reef? The Ganges river running dry? Malaria, Cholera, Lyme Disease, Dengue fever spreading to higher altitudes as a result of warming temperatures? Take your pick. But please stop the denialism. This is a serious and real crisis, and it's not going to be wished away.

Doughlas Remy said...

Gil, I just read an interesting article by Dave Lindorff, called “Climate Change Conspiracy Theorists Are Today’s Flat Earthers.” He says his eighth-grade science teacher used to have a banner running across the top of the blackboard. It said, “If you can’t measure it, it doesn’t exist.”

The corollary to that is, “If you can measure it, it does exist.”

The changes that scientists from every major world science organization have described are measurable and have been measured. Projections about future change are made on the basis of these measurements. That is the way science works.

You may live in a part of the world where climate change is not something that you can observe by looking out the window. But many people in the world can see its effects just that easily. They can see melting glaciers from their window every morning as they prepare breakfast. People living on the Maldive Islands and in Bangladesh are watching as the sea water encroaches on their land. These rising sea levels are caused by the melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice shelves. People who have visited the Great Barrier Reef have seen for themselves the damage to coral reefs caused by ocean warming. People living near the Ganges River are seeing increased flooding because of the melting of Tibetan glaciers, and by 2030 the river’s flow is expected to be only a seasonal occurrence resulting from monsoons.

I could go on and on, but I hope you see the point. People like you and me work indoors and have little real contact with nature. We live in our heads. We don’t notice things that are going on outdoors, or really much care about them in some cases. We have lost our sense of connectedness.

Natural disasters are a brutal reminder of how connected we really are, and sometimes a disaster is the only thing that can wake us from our slumber.

Even if you could not directly observe the effects of global warming by, e.g., looking out your window, your eyes and ears and brain have extensions. There are photographs and videos. A first-hand observer can write a report for you to read. A scientist can collect data showing changes over time or large-scale changes that cannot be properly viewed from an individual perspective.

There is no conspiracy about global warming any more than there is a conspiracy about the earth’s rotation around the sun. As Lindorff puts it, “Conspiracy theories abound where people are fearful and ignorant.” We’re not likely to leave behind the fear, but if we could become better informed about climate change, we would have much less to be fearful about. What is truly frightening about the denialism we’re witnessing is that it impedes constructive action.

Let’s look at the science and stop listening to people who can only offer us baseless “opinions.”

Gordon said...

Doughlas,

I don’t follow your logic. Are you really saying that warming climates (putting aside the last ten years) is in itself evidence of AGW theory? Would that then mean that the Medieval, Roman, and Minoan Warmings were evidence of the same? If not why not?

AGW skeptics are now “deniers,” worse than holocaust deniers, ignorant, dangerous to the world and everyone’s future. Can’t you hear the words getting angrier and louder, the mob gathering? How will the deniers be silenced?

Doughlas Remy said...

Gordon, the difference between current warming and earlier ones is in their cause. Our burning of fossil fuels is spewing 70 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every day, and the effects of CO2 are very well understood. The distance between the Earth’s surface and the outer edge of the atmosphere is, on average, only about as far as a fit jogger could run in about an hour. So it is a much thinner layer than most people realize, and we cannot continue indefinitely to inject our greenhouse gases into it without beginning to feel some effects. The effects are already measurable and have been for many years.

AGW is a fact, though many aspects of it are still not understood. It is like Darwinian evolution or the rotation of the earth around the sun. People who claim the earth is flat are in denial. People who claim AGW is a hoax are also in denial. Ignorance and fear cause people to enter into denial about measurable and observable realities like evolution, heliocentrism, etc. No one likes to throw around words like “ignorant” carelessly, but I think we would all agree that the word aptly describes those who cling to the idea that the sun orbits the earth. They are not educated at all, or their science education is severely deficient. The same can now be said of AGW deniers.

I can understand that some people, like yourself, are earnestly interested in finding out the truth and are only just beginning to examine the evidence. These are the skeptics. They are not calling the whole thing a “hoax” and a “fraud.” My purpose is to challenge those who do make such claims and to encourage the skeptics to keep their attention focused on this matter. In all of this, I am insisting that we consult only the most reliable authorities (e.g., the NOAA, the IPCC) and that we not waste our time listening to people who lack expertise and wouldn’t know an expert from a hedgehog.

Denial about heliocentrism may not be dangerous, but denial of AGW is very dangerous because we may have already passed the tipping point. If we have, then we must act urgently to mitigate the effects of the changes under way.

The words are getting angrier and louder because more and more people are beginning to wake up to what is happening, and they want action. If you research this, you will discover that the U.S. military has serious concerns about political stability in areas most affected by climate change, and these are not just on the other side of the world. Just yesterday morning, NPR aired a segment about the effects of AGW in Florida, and, again, I must repeat that these are not just predicted effects, but actual, current, observable ones.

Gil’s “certainty” about AGW is not based on science. It is based on information and opinion from the sources that he reads, most of which have ties to the Church, to the GOP, or to the think tanks and “product defense” firms that comprise the Manufactured Doubt industry. These groups are committed to preserving the status quo as it relates to population growth, economic growth, and fossil fuels consumption. The “experts” cited by these sources are not scientifically authoritative.

Doughlas Remy
http://thebentangle.wordpress.com/

Anonymous said...

Doughlas,
One could waste (as I have) a great deal of time trying to show people like you all the great number of times and ways in which you do just exactly what you are accusing others of doing. Especially you do it to Gil, no less. Who I might add never invited you. Yet you continue to attack. I saw your other comment accusing him of “doing it for the money”. Have you no shame?

But here is just one short example to address that is just chock full of error, slight of hand, ignorance, and religious zealotry:

"AGW is a fact, though many aspects of it are still not understood. It is like Darwinian evolution or the rotation of the earth around the sun."

AGW is not a fact, and for several reasons.

It is a theory in how people use the term. In the way the term is used it is to say that man’s “carbon footprint” is significantly and detrimentally affecting the earth’s atmosphere. I take issue with the “significantly” and “detrimentally”. Now you can say “well you used those words”. But you cannot deny that their meaning is the point of the use of “AGW”.

I do not deny that man’s activity affects the atmosphere. It is a matter of the scale between the 2 things; proportion. As in, I dropped my cell phone the other day, I’m certain it upset the earth’s rotation to some degree. I do not deny this either.

AGW is a theory. It is not settled science. The system is too complex, too large and too many variables, some of which are orders of magnitude larger than the humans in the equation. Such as the sun. Which is a complex and significant system in itself.

AGW is like Darwinian evolution in that is also not a fact. I think he is right, but that is just my best guess. The amount of data available is too small with tremendous gaps in it. And both Darwin’s theory and AGW most certainly is a theory and not a scientific fact because…are you ready…

It is not repeatable. Especially AGW for the reasons I give in the paragraph on “complex systems”. So to place AGW, evolution and the earth’s rotation around the sun in the same group of "like things" is caused due to ignorance or slight of hand. Anyone at anytime they wish can repeat the calculations involved in the latter and get the same results. And we can’t in the other two. This is a fact.

AGW is not a fact. And you can thank those pretend scientists who corrupted the data; committed fraud. Now neither of us know, including the whole world. It is a fraud on a scale we’ve never seen. If you cared about truth or true science, you would demand a full and public investigation. Instead we are getting delays and undeniable cover-ups. No self-respecting scientist would want to be associated with any such disgusting behavior in their profession.

Rick F.

Doughlas Remy said...

Rick, in your first paragraph you quoted me as saying something that I never said.

We are supposed to have invitations to blog here? Sorry. I didn’t get the memo.

How can you accuse me of religious zealotry? I’m not even religious.

Dropping your cell phone is not like spewing 70 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every day.

Your paragraph about repeatability was unclear, so I cannot address it. Are you talking about falsifiability?

The “leaked memos” incident has been thoroughly investigated. There is no fraud. You get your news from the FOX channel, perhaps? Try NPR.

Doughlas Remy
http://thebentangle.wordpress.com/

Anonymous said...

We know what this means,
"Cornerstone Forum is your baby, and I know it needs funding, but what are you delivering in exchange for the ROI?"

You also know what repeatability means. To refresh your memory, it means you can't duplicate the results in an experiment. Therefore, it remains a theory.

RE the invite, you may not need one, but why the attacks here? You don't see Gil stalking you at your place.

I don't watch Fox news. Like NPR, it no where near offers the depth of thought I find useful between traffic signals. If one is into touching soundtracks behind and between your "stories" then it fits the bill. It would be as bad as talk radio but it doesn't allow the common folk to call in.

Rick F.

I would provide links to my sources but it would do no good.

Gordon said...

Doughlas,

“I am insisting that we consult only the most reliable authorities (e.g., the NOAA, the IPCC)....”

Well, okay. I’ll accept your ground rules and limit the bounds of reason to the IPCC and NOAA:

UN IPCC Atmospheric Chemist Dr. Steven M. Japar. He contributed to their Second (1995) and Third (2001) Assessment: “Temperature measurements show that the [climate model-predicted mid-troposphere] hot zone is non-existent. This is more than sufficient to invalidate global climate models and projections made with them!”

Dr. George T. Wolff, an atmospheric scientist formerly on the EPA’s Science Advisory Board, serves on a committee of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): “There is no observational evidence that the addition of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions have caused any temperature perturbations in the atmosphere.”

Meteorologist Hajo Smit of the Dutch UN IPCC committee. “Gore prompted me to start delving into the science again and I quickly found myself solidly in the skeptic camp...Climate models can at best be useful for explaining climate changes after the fact.” -

South African Nuclear Physicist and Chemical Engineer Dr. Philip Lloyd, a UN IPCC co-coordinating lead author: “The quantity of CO2 we produce is insignificant in terms of the natural circulation between air, water and soil... the [IPCC] Summaries have distorted the science.”

IPCC reviewer and climate scientist Dr. Vincent Gray, an expert reviewer on every single draft of the IPCC reports going back to 1990: "the main purpose of the report is to provide a spurious scientific backup for the absurd claims of the worldwide environmentalist lobby that it has been established scientifically that increases in carbon dioxide are harmful to the climate. It just does not matter that this ain't so."

Stanley B. Goldenberg of the Hurricane Research Division of NOAA: “It is a blatant lie put forth in the media that makes it seem there is only a fringe of scientists who don’t buy into anthropogenic global warming.”

Rosa Compagnucci, professor or Atmospheric Studies, the author of two IPCC reports in 2001: “humans have only contributed a few tenths of a degree to warming on Earth and that solar activity is a key driver of climate. There was a global warming in medieval times, during the years between 800 and 1300. And that made Greenland, now covered with ice, christened with a name [by the Vikings] that refers to land green: Greenland.”

Meteorologist Thomas B. Gray is the former head of the Space Services branch at NOAA: “Nothing that is occurring in weather or in climate research at this time can be shown to be abnormal in the light of our knowledge of climate variations over geologic time. I am sure that the concept of a ‘Global Temperature’ is nonsense.”

Environmental physical chemist Dr. Kiminori Itoh of the 2007 UN IPCC AR4: promotion of climate fears is “the worst scientific scandal in the history.” He added that “When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists.”

It amazes me that all these scientists (not mention others from Princeton, NASA, MIT, CalTech, and those substandard sources that you've disallowed) are as simple minded as flat-earthers like Gil and myself.

Gordon said...

Doughlas,

Here's one more simpleton for you to correct: Will Happer.

He was Director of Energy Research at the Dept of Energy when in 1993 Al Gore fired him for not being on board with his agenda. “I was told that science was not going to intrude on policy,” says Happer. Or maybe he wasn’t a good enough scientist? Subsequently, Happer was awarded the Alexander von Humboldt Award, the Broida Prize and the 1999 Davisson-Germer Prize of the American Physical Society. He’s currently a Professor of Physics at Princeton.

Last year Happer said this: “I have spent a long research career studying physics that is closely related to the greenhouse effect, for example, absorption and emission of visible and infrared radiation, and fluid flow. Based on my experience, I am convinced that the current alarm over carbon dioxide is mistaken.... Mistakes are common in science and they can take a long time to correct, sometimes many generations. It is important that misguided political decisions do not block science's capacity for self correction, especially in this instance when incorrect science is being used to threaten our liberties and wellbeing.... Fears about man-made global warming are unwarranted and are not based on good science. The earth's climate is changing now, as it always has. There is no evidence that the changes differ in any qualitative way from those of the past. We are currently in a warming cycle that began in the early 1800's, at the end of the little ice age. Much of the current warming occurred before the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere were significantly increased by the burning of fossil fuels. No one knows how long the current warming will continue, and in fact, there has been no warming for the past ten years,” he continued. “Carbon dioxide is a natural constituent of the atmosphere, and calling it a ‘pollutant’ is inaccurate. Humans exhale air containing 4 to 5 per cent carbon dioxide or 40,000 to 50,000 parts per million. Plants grow better with more carbon dioxide. The current levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are about 380 parts per million, exceptionally low by the standards of geological history. Over the past 500 million years since the Cambrian, when fossils of multicellular life first became abundant, the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have been much higher than current levels, about 3 times higher on average. Life on earth flourished with these higher levels of carbon dioxide,” he added. “Computer models used to generate frightening scenarios from increasing levels of carbon dioxide have scant credibility. There is little debate that the direct effects of doubling carbon dioxide concentrations would be very small, perhaps 1 to 2 C of warming. To generate alarming scenarios, computer modelers must invent positive feedback mechanisms that increase the greenhouse effect of water vapor, which is responsible for over 90 percent of greenhouse warming. Observations indicate that the feedback is very small and may actually be negative. Changes in atmospheric water vapor and cloud cover may diminish, not increase, the small direct effects of carbon dioxide,” he concluded

I have his contact information if you want to lecture him about his ignorance of science.

Anonymous said...

Gordon,
I must take issue with the fact that you did not include me in the camp with you and Gil.
After all my hard work...
Rick F.
:-)

Gordon said...

Sorry Rick F., I meant to say that you’re as backward and simple-minded as I am. But I probably drool more.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Gordon. I accept your award.
Drool on.
Rick F.

Anonymous said...

Well, times up.
(bang bang bang)
The Gordon, Gil and Rick F. Very Scientific Science Review Committee Panel has collected all the votes and divided by four. We have consensus. AGW science is now settled. Sorry, Doughlas. There is no such thing as AGW. The climate may go free.
We won.

Rick F.

Doughlas Remy said...

Rick, enjoy your victory celebrations (premature though they are), and have a wonderful holiday season.

Watch this space. I have some information for you, but I haven't had time to compile it, as the Christmas juggernaut and other matters have been bearing down on me.

Doughlas Remy
http://thebentangle.wordpress.com/

Anonymous said...

You too, Doughlas.
I know the feeling. Trying once again to enjoy this unique time of the year. So far, so good.

Rick F.