Learning from Dogs

Dogs are integrous animals. We have much to learn from them.

Doggedly seeking the truth.

with 29 comments

As a dog follows a scent.

P1110019

Casey doing what dogs do so well – picking up a scent.

I have been pondering about how one gets to the truth of a complex issue.  And there’s none more complex nor more essential in terms of the truth of an issue than Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW).

It was kicked off by an email received from Dan Gomez.  Followers of Learning from Dogs will have seen mention of Dan’s name as he regularly sends me bits and pieces.  Indeed, let me refer you to a post that came out last August, Feeling depressed? Join your pals in the pool! and this extract:

Regular followers of Learning from Dogs will know that Dan and I go back a long way; far too long! In fact the occasion of me becoming aware of Mr. Daniel Gomez was at a Commodore Computer dealers conference in Boston, Mass.

I was giving a talk promoting a UK word-processing program that I was marketing for the Commodore. That software was called Wordcraft and I think the year was 1979, possibly 1980. Anyway, I used the word ‘fortnight’, which back in England is a common word meaning two weeks. Immediately, a voice called out from the audience, “Hey Handover, what’s a fortnight?“

The session deteriorated rapidly thereafter! Dan and I became very good friends and his LA company Cimarron became my West Coast USA distributor for Wordcraft. And it was Dan’s sister, Suzann, who invited me down to Mexico for Christmas 2007 which led to me meeting my beloved Jeannie! Funny old world!

Dan is a smart cookie. He holds a degree in psychology, as well as being a very easy guy to get along with.  We have been good friends for more than 30 years.

Anyway, back to the theme of the post; determining the truth of a complex issue.

Recently, Dan sent me an email with the subject heading of The Controversy Continues – A couple of Articles for your Digestive Tract….

The first article was:

Report shows UN admitting solar activity may play significant role in global warming

A leaked report by a United Nations’ group dedicated to climate studies says that heat from the sun may play a larger role than previously thought.

“[Results] do suggest the possibility of a much larger impact of solar variations on the stratosphere than previously thought, and some studies have suggested that this may lead to significant regional impacts on climate,” reads a draft copy of a major, upcoming report from the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The man who leaked the report, StopGreenSuicide blogger Alec Rawls, told FoxNews.com that the U.N.’s statements on solar activity were his main motivation for leaking the document.

The second article was from the Dick Morris website, from which I offer this extract (if, like me, you hadn’t heard of Mr. Morris before, details are here):

According to Bloomberg News, US carbon emissions are down 13% over the past five years and that they are now the lowest since 1994. In fact, we are more than halfway to President Obama’s goal of a 17% reduction below our peak year of 2007.

….

Coal has fallen to only 18% of our energy use (down from 23% in 2007) and natural gas is up to 31%. Natural gas has half the carbon emissions of coal.

Evidence suggests that climate change and global warming are happening, but at a much slower rate than doomsday warnings suggested. We are now on track for an increase in global temperatures of one degree centigrade by 2100. This increase is not enough to cause major flooding or rises in sea levels.

Please feel free to read the whole Dick Morris piece here.

So on the face of it, two convincing reports, especially the one from Alec Rawls.

Professor McPherson

Professor McPherson

Now let me turn to Professor Guy McPherson; professor emeritus at the University of Arizona.  Just take a peek at the professional recognition granted to Professor McPherson.

Guy McPherson writes a blog called Nature Bats Last.  It is described thus:

This blog focuses on the natural world, with a particular emphasis on the twin sides of our fossil-fuel addiction: (1) global climate change and (2) energy decline. Because these phenomena impact every aspect of life on Earth, specific topics range widely, and include philosophy, evolution, economics, humanity, politics, current events, and many aspects of the human condition.

Less than 3 months ago, Guy McPherson visited Greenfield Community College in western Massachusetts to deliver his presentation “The Twin Sides of the Fossil-Fuel Coin: Developing Durable Living Arrangements in Light of Climate Change and Energy Decline.

It lasts for just 40 minutes and needs to be watched.  Why do I say needs to be watched?  Because tomorrow I delve deeper into the challenges facing ordinary folk and watching the presentation and reflecting on the start of this post are very pertinent to following the scent of truth.

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29 Responses

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  1. O.o… ad hominem alert:

    A leaked report by a United Nations’ group…

    Hmm… alarm bells started ringing when I read this; climate deniers often resort to such tactics. And whaddayaknow; the whistle-blower here is one who proudly claims:

    I am an occasional co-blogger at Anthony Watts’ climate skeptic website

    On the grounds that climate deniers have no scientific credibility, I’ll not waste my time on this; if and when it’s published is soon enough.

    Dick Morris apparently believes that fracking is good.

    On the other side of the coin you offer Guy McPherson, whose blog is entitled Nature Bats Last.

    ‘Nuff said.

    pendantry

    February 12, 2013 at 00:46

  2. I could swear you had asked me about Alex Rawls before. Either way, Skeptical Science has demonstrated that his leaking of the IPCC’s AR5 report is not the act of an independent whistle-blower – it is the act of a skeptical mole who got involved in the review process solely to sabotage it; and the headline is a classic piece of cherry-picking of one sentence and ignoring the rest (of a very large document).
    IPCC Draft Report Leaked, Shows Global Warming is NOT Due to the Sun (14 December 2012)
    A Brief Note on the Latest Release of Draft IPCC Documents (9 January 2013)

    The deliberate spreading of misinformation is a fundamental part of the industry-led movement to deny the reality of anthropogenic climate disruption. Alex Rawls is just part of this campaign and I therefore do wish that you would consult me before deciding to help publicise and/or lend credence to such nonsense.

    Martin Lack

    February 12, 2013 at 03:11

  3. Thank you gents. Martin, your last sentence suggests you misunderstand the central theme of this post. Watch this space!

    Greatly appreciate both comments, of course.

    Paul Handover

    February 12, 2013 at 05:37

  4. A minor correction: The embedded video is from a presentation at Greenfield Community College in western Massachusetts. Thanks for posting it, and for helping spread my work.

    Guy McPherson

    February 12, 2013 at 07:11

    • My very great pleasure. I’ve edited the post as well, (I had originally put GCC in Arizona). Hope you will be able to stay with this theme over the next few days. And welcome to Learning from Dogs!.

      Paul Handover

      February 12, 2013 at 08:06

      • Kudos to Paul. Unless Pendantry cares to correct me, Guy MacPherson has not commented on either his blog or mine. I remain very grateful to Pendantry for bringing this video to my attention.

        Martin Lack

        February 12, 2013 at 08:56

      • @Martin typo alert:
        “Unless Pendantry cares to correct me, Guy MacPhersonMcPherson” ;)

        pendantry

        February 12, 2013 at 13:04

      • Greenfield, not Glendale :)

        Guy McPherson

        February 12, 2013 at 13:29

      • Got it! And I corrected the web link that you guys didn’t spot!! Come on, I expect better from the audience! ;-)

        Paul Handover

        February 12, 2013 at 16:19

    • Dear Professor MacPherson, I would be very interested to know what you make of the comments I received after posting the above video on my own blog recently, which resulted in me amending what I had originally written? For example, it was noted by others than most methane hydrate oxidises before it reaches the atmosphere…?

      http://lackofenvironment.wordpress.com/2013/02/06/climate-sensitivity-is-now-irrelevant/

      Martin Lack

      February 12, 2013 at 09:00

    • Pendantry, why are you telling me now (after the good Professor has had to point out my error)? I started the mis-spelling because I assumed YouTube was right and you were wrong (very foolish). should have checked name on screen in video… All very embarrassing… Have now corrected all my mistakes where I can (i.e. on my blog).

      Martin Lack

      February 12, 2013 at 13:24

      • Oh, Martin, Martin… I apologise unreservedly for being a fool. It was only after I scrolled further down the page that I spotted that the error had already been acknowledged.

        The Internet: facilitating miscommunication at the speed of light since the late twentieth century.

        pendantry

        February 15, 2013 at 05:16

  5. I’m not sure what type of response you’re seeking, Martin Lack. I miss many critiques of my work because people misspell my name. For my latest assessment of climate chaos, click here and pay particular attention to this line from a 1990 UN report: “Beyond 1 degree C may elicit rapid, unpredictable and non-linear responses that could lead to extensive ecosystem damage.”

    grmcpherson

    February 12, 2013 at 11:15

    • With apologies, Professor McPherson, I thought I had been (unlike others) studiously spelling your name correctly. I am now very embarassed to realise I was wrong all along… Like many others who have watched your presentation, I am left hoping you are wrong but fearing you could be right. Despite it all though, the prediction of global extinction withing 40 years makes even the claims of James Hansen seem mild by comparison.

      Martin Lack

      February 12, 2013 at 12:39

  6. No problem, Martin. I’ve been called far worse.

    Forty years seems very optimistic to me. According to Malcolm Light, writing for the Arctic Methane Emergency Group, no species has that long on this planet. Personally, I doubt humans make it beyond 2030.

    grmcpherson

    February 12, 2013 at 12:46

    • Last orders, please…

      pendantry

      February 12, 2013 at 13:08

    • Dear Professor McPherson, Thank you for the link to the AMEG blog. Why isn’t the whole climate science community talking about this? James Hansen has rightly described anthropogenic climate disruption as an approaching asteroid. However, in the week that the Earth is only just missed by the DA14 asteroid spotted less than 12 months ago, the data and/or research AMEG cite appears be an asteroid that the majority of concerned scientists have not seen (or are refusing to look at). Is that how you would characterise the situation? If so, I think it could be time for this:

      Martin Lack

      February 12, 2013 at 13:57

      • I cannot speak for other so-called scientists, Martin. Their silence in the face of near-term human extinction seems inexplicable. Perhaps Upton Sinclair had it right, years ago: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

        Guy McPherson

        February 12, 2013 at 14:03

      • This is very reminiscent to reading Clive Hamilton’s Requiem for a Species, which was one of the main triggers that led to me doing my MA dissertation on climate change scepticism and setting up my blog.

        It is therefore extremely disconcerting to find out that even scientists may be “in denial” of what is happening. I guess that people like Michael Mann feel the best way to fight sceptics is by not appearing to be too alarmist.

        Martin Lack

        February 12, 2013 at 14:11

  7. To be fair, I held out hope far too long. It wasn’t until June 2012 that I concluded the many self-reinforcing feedback loops have already triggered near-term human extinction. And I have no reason to cheer for continuation of the industrial civilization that’s killing us. I stepped off the hamster wheel of empire years ago, as I describe in my latest book.

    Guy McPherson

    February 12, 2013 at 14:23

    • That seems like a book to read. Will I have time to finish it? Sorry to be flippant but the preceding comments have the potential to sadden me extremely.

      Continuing the flippancy; will the last person to leave the planet please switch the lights off!

      Paul Handover

      February 12, 2013 at 16:24

      • Send me an email message, Paul, and I’ll send you error-riddled page proofs (guy.r.mcpherson@gmail.com). With no financial expense, there will be no self-imposed pressure to finish the book.

        Guy McPherson

        February 12, 2013 at 16:26

      • Done, with gratitude.

        Paul Handover

        February 12, 2013 at 16:45

    • Woah, tongue-in-cheek irony alert: you claim to have stepped off the hamster wheel, yet here you are promoting your book (which I do thoroughly recommend, by the way, having read it while thinking of the poor trees that died to bring it into being). (PS typo alert on your webpage title: <em>Walking Away from Empire: A Personal Journey</em> — HTML entities are invalid in that location.)

      pendantry

      February 15, 2013 at 05:26

  8. Climate change has become a confused issue with people being manipulative and insincere from both sides of the fence.

    Alex Jones

    February 12, 2013 at 16:58

    • Integrity seems an old-fashioned concept in so many ways these days. But so sorely needed now, more than ever before. Thanks for the comment, Alex.

      Paul Handover

      February 12, 2013 at 17:17

    • The only reason the issue is confused is because critical-thinking-deficient media pundits insist (nay, demand, for the sake of controversy) a ‘balance’ that gives equal weight, in all-too-busy minds, to a) the reality of the multiple crises facing us and b) the suggestion that the moon is made of green cheese that could be mined and could, conceivably, pose as a threat to McTuckyBurgers special sauce[TM].

      pendantry

      February 16, 2013 at 18:04

  9. Friend John Hurlburt sent me this comment by email and gave permission for it to be posted.

    After re-reading the post on “Extinction” and related comments, it appears obvious to this pilgrim that our choice is between people and profits. Those who deny the verified science of climate change consciously or unconsciously do so because it’s not in their personal, political or economic interest. The choice is between people and profits. It might be noted that if there are no people there can be no profits. In natural terms, a pump won’t work when the well runs dry.

    Paul Handover

    February 16, 2013 at 15:16


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