“Toasting and Roasting” Global Warming and CO2012

Ah, yes, the Lethbridge Herald. Dr. Jim’s local newspaper (with the lousiest delivery reliability on record, but that’s a different story), and home of the Public Professor column started by myself and Dan Johnson, who does enviro-sciency-insect and crop stuff in the Dept. of Geography. The Herald is also home of the “Roasted and Toasted” feature every Monday, which is not online, but would fit in just fine with the rest of the internet.

Reading it is a guilty pleasure,  but as I was telling my lovely Mary (Dr. Jim’s current Better Brain and future Mrs. Dr. Jim) just this morning, it is reassuring to discover just how many dweebs there are in the world. Makes one feel better about oneself, and on a Monday morning, that’s a good thing.

Anyway, it is a perfectly anonymous collection of newpapery tweet-like submissions by readers saying what or who they like or dislike. Most of the “Toasts” go to people who have returned wallets, shovelled neighbour’s sidewalks and the like. Roasts go to bad drivers, lousy restaurants, and various anonymous persons with disgusting habits. Almost all of the roasts feature a shocking lack of detail which makes the complaint pointless. The writer’s name is also withheld, so really, its sort of stupid, just a lot of venting without any accountability or even direction to the spew. But I suppose it makes some people feel good, not to mention empowered behind their wall of anonymity.

Here is a roast from this morning that is pretty representative:

Roast: the RCMP for not patrolling the school zones more often”. There are of course, many more than three school zones in Lethbridge, and the RCMP have no jurisdiction in town anyway, so this is obviously NOT about Lethbridge but one of the outlying towns. But which one? If I was the RCMP officer responsible for policing all the little town around here, how would I know which town needs a better allocation of resources?

But here is the one that really got my attention!

Roast: To all global warming, climate change worry warts. After all, CO2 promotes all plant growth — hence life! But then the doomsday advocates predict the end of the world in 2012 so why waste money with natural phenomena?”

“This”, as they say, “isn’t even wrong”.

So, folks concerned about the climate are to be associated with the 2012 end of the world crowd are they? On the contrary, it is the climate change denier do-nothings who are more analogous to the anti-rational Mayan-prophecy-out-the-ass doom-sayers. And WTF is this CO2 promotes life so it’s good B.S.? Hell, water promotes life too, but tell that the folks who went down on the Titanic! Too much oxygen can kill you as can too much food.


Perhaps the “Roast” was in response to Dan’s Public Professor published on Saturday. Here is the first bit.

Arguments Against Global Warming Hardly Based on Fact

Is a new ice age on the way despite evidence of global warming? Interestingly enough, we may have been on the verge of a new ice age, until it was averted by recent warming. So, a little climate change was not a bad thing, but the current data and the projections indicate that we are about to seriously overdo it. Some people dispute the warming. Is this position based on the facts?

Graphs and articles (mainly from the Internet) have been distributed claiming that historical data shows no warming in recent history, and that present annual temperatures are lower than in the past. I was sent some such graphs recently, and recognized the graphs as being plots of Greenland ice core isotope data used to reconstruct annual average temperatures during the last 50,000 years. Anyone can download this climate data from NOAA (U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). It appears that some have, and then severely misinterpreted it.

When I graphed the data myself, I realized that what the climate change denier author of the “cooling” graph was using as “recent” data ended in the 1800s! This is because ice slowly accumulates from snow. Data of this kind gives the values for 95 years before a “zero” year, and the zero year may be 1950, or another starting point. Recent data (not dependent on ice cores) is collected at weather stations such as at Angmagssalik, Greenland. This weather station shows the same pattern of recent, rapid warming since the 1970s that is found in other weather station records.

But does it matter what one coring site or one weather station tells us? Greenland is not representative of the entire planet surface, and scientists consider the “global” average heat value. Top scientist James Hansen and colleagues recently noted in a 2010 update that the rate of warming has not declined, despite year-to-year fluctuations.

But of course, it is all lost on Mr. Anonymous Know It All.

6 Responses to ““Toasting and Roasting” Global Warming and CO2012”

  1. Dan Says:

    Ha ha. The old CO2-is-natural argument. Wow, that is a tough one. It “promotes” plant growth, eh? How about that. Imagine getting to the age where you can zipper your own coat, and still not knowing that almost everything in this world that is good starts to be bad when there is way too much of it, and the other effects start to kick in. Water is important for life, so why do people complain about floods, etc.

  2. Dan Says:

    As usual, one of the biggest mysteries in the debate is “what in the Sam Hill are the deniers talking about??”

    It must be very stressful trying to make pithy comments that appear as though one is informed, when in fact one is merely parroting the list of objections from previous years’ denier websites.

    See some of the “comments” (are they coments on the topic? I can’t even tell):


  3. Allen Says:

    Arsenic is natural! Check ANY period table made in 20th century. Strychnie is ORGANIC for pete’s sake. Have some on your carrots tonight.

    The lack of common sense is depressing. As a teacher I know once said “ignorance is bliss, but why am I given so many blissful students?”

  4. Dan Says:

    You have to love deniers. Here are a few more.

    “Roast: To all invasion worry warts. After all, German industry promotes economic growth — hence life! But then the doomsday advocates predict the end of the world in 2012 so why waste money with harmless border disputes? – Conservative Friends of Neville Chamberlain”

    “Roast: To all hurricane warts. After all, water promotes all plant growth — hence life! But then the doomsday advocates predict the end of the world in 2012 so why waste money with natural phenomena? Forget this talk of dikes and weather, and have fun in New Orleans”

    “Roast: To all fussy chemical-distrusting worry warts. After all, thalidomide makes moms feel better, — hence babies, and life! But then the doomsday advocates predict the end of the world in 2012 so why waste money with fussing over imagined ‘side effects’?”

  5. Dan Says:

    But looking at the comments in the Herald article is interesting only because it is amazing that they have no better arguments to put forward. One gives a link. Google “Roy Spencer Sourcewatch” and enjoy sections such as “Climate change is natural and won’t be severe”. First they say, false. Then they say conspiracy. Then they said it’s natural and no problem. Also – interestin to see “Opposition to evolution and embrace of intelligent design”, Heartland Institute speaker; George C. Marshall Institute board member; etc. Wow, thanks for the compelling link.

    And that quite an argument: “Either I am smarter than the rest of the world’s climate scientists–which seems unlikely–or there are other scientists who also have evidence that global warming could be mostly natural, but have been hiding it.”

    Hmm, is there perhaps a third possibility? Keep thinking, it will come to you.