Talk:2007-05-02 From Papal Indulgences to Carbon Credits Is Global Warming a Sin

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In the absence of sufficient time to properly digest either the article or the response, here's my take:

  1. If you presume that global warming is a hoax, then of *course* buying and selling carbon credits is a scam, and morally similar to the sale of indulgences by the Catholic Church.
  2. The article focuses on this way of looking at it because it avoids the whole question of "is global warming something we should be trying to reduce" by that very presumption, and carefully hiding it behind another layer of debate. (Sort of like most political debates, where we see *both* sides of wrong answers to irrelevant questions.)
  3. Monbiot is right in bringing the discussion back to the question of "is it or isn't it", and also helps by identifying some of the key claims on the "yes it is" side of the GW debate. (The validity of those points needs to be explored in greater depth -- but it nonetheless adds to Monbiot's credibility that he sticks to questions of objective fact, and it adds to the "yes" side's credibility that they tend to do the same while the other side generally spends most of their time pursuing various rhetorical deceptions. ...though those same points Monbiot raises are not really explained, and it remains to be seen whether they really *are* key points as far as the issue is understood by climatologists. But at least he gives us a starting point for Googling or Wikipediating; Cockburn gives us nothing and tries to distract our attention before we notice.)

(On the subject of 9/11 conspiracies, see 9/11 anomaly denial.)

Also, Cockburn seems to be emphasizing the charge of fearmongering on the part of GW advocates – a charge I have seen made elsewhere, and which completely (and possibly deliberately) misses the point.


Here are Cockburn's main points:

Alexander Cockburn (bulleted list item 1):

There is still zero empirical evidence that anthropogenic production of CO2 is making any measurable contribution to the world's present warming trend.

Alexander Cockburn (bulleted list item 2):

The greenhouse fearmongers rely entirely on unverified, crudely oversimplified computer models inparticular water is exactly that component of the earth's heat balance that the global warming computer models fail to account for

Alexander Cockburn (bulleted list item 3):

CO2 production has varied over the 20th Century, which does not match what you would expect in historical C02 atmospheric levels. The first, wavy line is the worldwide CO2 tonnage produced by humans ... it starts in 1928, at 1.1 gigatons ... peaks in 1929 at 1.17 gigatons ... by 1932 human CO2 production has fallen to 0.88 gigatons a year ... in 1933 it began to climb slowly again, up to 0.9 gigatons.

Alexander Cockburn (bulleted list item 4):

The not very reliable data on the world's average temperature (which omit most of the world's oceans and remote regions, while over-representing urban areas) show about a 0.5Co increase in average temperature between 1880 and 1980

Disputes the accuracy of the world's average temperature however does accept the Earth is warming.

Alexander Cockburn (bulleted list item 5):

Water in the form of oceans, clouds, snow, ice cover and vapor "is overwhelming in the radiative and energy balance between the earth and the sun Carbon dioxide and the greenhouse gases are, by comparison, the equivalent of a few farts in a hurricane."