Posted by Todd Zywicki:
Climate Change and Natural Cycles:

   The other moment in the debate that struck me as quite strange was
   Biden's comment that he is certain that all global warming is manmade
   and that manmade global warming is what is melting the polar icecap:
   BIDEN: Well, I think it is manmade. I think it's clearly manmade. And,
   look, this probably explains the biggest fundamental difference
   between John McCain and Barack Obama and Sarah Palin and Joe Biden --
   Gov. Palin and Joe Biden.

   If you don't understand what the cause is, it's virtually impossible
   to come up with a solution. We know what the cause is. The cause is
   manmade. That's the cause. That's why the polar icecap is melting.

   Here's a summary of the IPCC conclusion [1]on this point:

     A UN panel of 2,500 scientists from more than 130 nations said it
     was "very likely" -- or more than 90% probable -- that human
     activities led by burning fossil fuels explained most of the
     warming in the past 50 years.

   It goes without saying that "90% probable" that "most warming" is
   caused by human activities, that is not the same as "we know" that
   "the cause" of all warming is manmade.

   Palin's answer was much more nuanced and consistent with science (not
   to mention being absolutely correct about what to do it about it as a
   policy matter, focus on the impacts and the mix of policies to respond
   to climate change):

     I'm not one to attribute every man -- activity of man to the
     changes in the climate. There is something to be said also for
     man's activities, but also for the cyclical temperature changes on
     our planet.

     But there are real changes going on in our climate. And I don't
     want to argue about the causes. What I want to argue about is, how
     are we going to get there to positively affect the impacts?

   It is obvious that there are cyclical temperature changes on the
   planet (in addition to other natural variances, such as sun spots,
   cloud cover, etc.). We have had ice ages and tropicl periods. I have
   tried to find some nuance or qualification in Biden's statement that
   he understands the difference between "all" and "most" or the possible
   role of natural causes, but I don't see it. He seems to just be wrong
   about his understanding of what the science actually says on this
   point. And again, his strident confidence and patronizing attitude
   seems completely unfounded (as with this assertions about the
   legislative role of the vice president).



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