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Global Warming Skeptics Trounce Supporters in Debate

John on March 17, 2007 at 9:41 am

Hat tip to Newsbusters for this one. Wednesday night there was a debate between global warming supporters and skeptics in New York. At the start of the debate, 57% of the audience believed in man-made global warming. At the end, the number was 42%. Here’s a link to the full transcript. The podcast will be available Wednesday. In the meantime, here’s a sampling of the skeptics’ best lines:

Skeptical quotes from Novelist Michael Crichton:

“I would like to suggest a few symbolic actions that right—might really mean something. One of them, which is very simple, 99% of the American population doesn’t care, is ban private jets. Nobody needs to fly in them, ban them now. And, and in addition, [APPLAUSE] “Let’s have the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), the Sierra Club and Greenpeace make it a rule that all of their members, cannot fly on private jets. They must get their houses off the [electrical] grid. They must live in the way that they’re telling everyone else to live. And if they won’t do that, why should we? And why should we take them seriously? [APPLAUSE]”

“I suddenly think about my friends, you know, getting on their private jets. And I think, well, you know, maybe they have the right idea. Maybe all that we have to do is mouth a few platitudes, show a good, expression of concern on our faces, buy a Prius, drive it around for a while and give it to the maid, attend a few fundraisers and you’re done. Because, actually, all anybody really wants to do is talk about it.”

“I mean, haven’t we actually raised temperatures so much that we, as stewards of the planet, have to act? These are the questions that friends of mine ask as they are getting on board their private jets to fly to their second and third homes. [LAUGHTER]”

“Everyday 30,000 people on this planet die of the diseases of poverty. There are, a third of the planet doesn’t have electricity. We have a billion people with no clean water. We have half a billion people going to bed hungry every night. Do we care about this? It seems that we don’t. It seems that we would rather look a hundred years into the future than pay attention to what’s going on now. I think that’s unacceptable. I think that’s really a disgrace.”

Skeptical quotes of University of London’s emeritus professor of biogeography Philip Stott:

“What we see in this is an enormous danger for politicians in terms of their hypocrisy. I’m not going to say anything about Al Gore and his house. [LAUGHTER] But it is a very serious point.”

“In the early 20th century, 95% of scientists believe in eugenics. [LAUGHTER] Science does not progress by consensus, it progresses by falsification and by what we call paradigm shifts.”

“The first Earth Day in America claimed the following, that because of global cooling, the population of America would have collapsed to 22 million by the year 2000. And of the average calorie intake of the average American would be wait for this, 2,400 calories, would good it were. [LAUGHTER] It’s nonsense and very dangerous. And what we have fundamentally forgotten is simple primary school science. Climate always changes.”

“Angela Merkel the German chancellor, my own good prime minister (Tony Blair) for whom I voted — let me emphasize, arguing in public two weeks ago as to who in Annie get the gun style could produce the best temperature. ‘I could do two degrees C said Angela.’ ‘No, I could only do three said Tony.’ [LAUGHTER] Stand back a minute, those are politicians, telling you that they can control climate to a degree Celsius.”

“And can I remind everybody that IPCC that we keep talking about, very honestly admits that we know very little about 80% of the factors behind climate change. Well let’s use an engineer; I don’t think I’d want to cross Brooklyn Bridge if it were built by an engineer who only understood 80% of the forces on that bridge. [LAUGHTER]”

Skeptical quotes of MIT’s Professor of Atmospheric Science Richard Lindzen:

“Now, much of the current alarm, I would suggest, is based on ignorance of what is normal for weather and climate.”

“The impact on temperature per unit carbon dioxide actually goes down, not up, with increasing CO2. The role of anthropogenic greenhouse gases is not directly related to the emissions rate or even CO2 levels, which is what the legislation is hitting on, but rather to the impact of these gases on the greenhouse effect.”

“The real signature of greenhouse warming is not surface temperature but temperature in the middle of the troposphere, about five kilometers. And that is going up even slower than the temperature at the surface.”

The supporers of global warming knew they’d lost the debate and have blamed their failure on everything but themselves. A chastened Gavin Schmidt, who blogs at RealClimate.org, offered the best excuse:

So are such debates worthwhile? On balance, I’d probably answer no (regardless of the outcome). The time constraints preclude serious examination of any points of controversy and the number of spurious talking points can seriously overwhelm the ability of others to rebut them. Taking a ‘meta’ approach (as I attempted) is certainly not a guaranteed solution. However, this live audience were a rather select bunch, and so maybe this will go over differently on the radio. There it might not matter that Crichton is so tall…

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