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posted by LaminatorX on Friday May 16 2014, @03:49AM   Printer-friendly
from the Head-in-the-Tar-Sands dept.

Time Magazine reports that Wyoming, the nation's top coal-producing state, has become the first state to reject new K-12 science standards proposed by national education groups mainly because of global warming components. The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are a set of science standards developed by leading scientists and science educators from 26 states and built on a framework developed by the National Academy of Sciences. The Wyoming science standards revision committee made up entirely of Wyoming educators unanimously recommended adoption of these standards to the state Board of Education not once but twice and twelve states have already adopted the standards since they were released in April 2013. But opponents argue the standards incorrectly assert that man-made emissions are the main cause of global warming and shouldn't be taught in a state that ranks first among all states in coal production, fifth in natural gas production and eighth in crude oil production deriving much of its school funding from the energy industry. Amy Edmonds, of the Wyoming Liberty Group, says teaching "one view of what is not settled science about global warming" is just one of a number of problems with the standards. "I think Wyoming can do far better." Wyoming Governor Matt Mead has called federal efforts to curtail greenhouse emissions a "war on coal" and has said that he's skeptical about man-made climate change.

Supporters of the NGSS say science standards for Wyoming schools haven't been updated since 2003 and are six years overdue. "If you want the best science education for your children and grandchildren and you don't want any group to speak for you, then make yourselves heard loud and clear," says Cate Cabot. "Otherwise you will watch the best interests of Wyoming students get washed away in the hysteria of a small anti-science minority driven by a national right wing group "and political manipulation."

 
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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by mendax on Friday May 16 2014, @06:30AM

    by mendax (2840) on Friday May 16 2014, @06:30AM (#44117)

    From the posting:

    Wyoming Governor Matt Mead has called federal efforts to curtail greenhouse emissions a "war on coal" and has said that he's skeptical about man-made climate change.

    Skeptical? CO2 is a greenhouse gas, humanity has pumped vast quantities into the atmosphere, it can be proved scientifically how CO2 affects the atmosphere's capability to retain heat, and it has been proven that the planet's average temperature has risen significantly. What more does he need? A wall chart to hang in his office? Perhaps someone should take away his crayons and blunt-nose scissors and put him in the room with the grown-ups.

    This guy is a human ostrich who's putting his head in the sand. I'd like to put his head into some Alberta tar sands and hold it there for a few years.

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by khallow on Friday May 16 2014, @07:33AM

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday May 16 2014, @07:33AM (#44123) Journal

    CO2 is a greenhouse gas, humanity has pumped vast quantities into the atmosphere, it can be proved scientifically how CO2 affects the atmosphere's capability to retain heat, and it has been proven that the planet's average temperature has risen significantly. What more does he need?

    Note what you actually said. First, that CO2 is a greenhouse gas in an oversimplified model that isn't actually the Earth with atmosphere and weather. Second, what is a "vast quantity"? You use an unscientific term which is highly subjective and not all that relevant to the actual argument. Third, you have expressed your opinion that the Earth's temperature has risen significantly over some undefined time frame. Significance is yet another thing in the eye of the beholder. There is a measurable warming in the industrial age, but no one has actually shown that it would cause harm which is my standard for significance.

    I doubt there is a state in the US that has less reason to care about your opinion than Wyoming does. Even if there is substantial global warming, Wyoming has little reason to be concerned. Their lowest elevation is well above sea level and about the only two real problems would be the alleged drying of the US continental interior - which includes Wyoming, and the shortening or even ending of the snow season in the state. That's not much reason to care especially given that the stakes here are the destruction of two major Wyoming industries, coal mining and petroleum extraction, and the indoctrination of its youth by ideologies which don't care about Wyoming even a little.

    Either present a case with rock-solid evidence for action against global warming and related issues or accept that you're just not going to get the action on global warming that you desire.

    If your ideology requires willing scapegoats, then your ideology is destined to fail.

    • (Score: 2) by mendax on Friday May 16 2014, @10:16AM

      by mendax (2840) on Friday May 16 2014, @10:16AM (#44143)

      I doubt there is a state in the US that has less reason to care about your opinion than Wyoming does.

      Yes, there are: It's a toss-up between Texas and South Carolina in the competition for state-wide idiocy and imbecility among government officials and the majority of the electorate.

      But to comment more broadly on your remarks, I ought to have just said that climate change and its human-caused component is an established scientific fact and not try to describe why. Doing any real research is not a good thing to do when a body is tired and can't sleep.

      --
      It's really quite a simple choice: Life, Death, or Los Angeles.
      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by khallow on Friday May 16 2014, @11:20AM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday May 16 2014, @11:20AM (#44155) Journal

        I ought to have just said that climate change and its human-caused component is an established scientific fact and not try to describe why.

        Which would be deceptive for several reasons. First, which human-caused climate changes are you referring to when you say that phrase? Second, so what if there is climate change with a human-caused component? You still haven't said anything scientifically valid about the extent or degree of harm of that climate change. Third, describing why is an inherent part of the scientific process. If you just assert without evidence - a way too common occurrence in this debate - then what's the point of it?

        The big problems remains. Climate proxy data from before the age of instrumentation remains unreliable and not up to the task of supporting the dire warnings of the catastrophe crowd and the data since is just too little to support the claims made. There are still huge, unacknowledged conflicts of interest among researchers and policy makers concerning this subject. Too much of the so-called debate is just blatant exercise of logic/statistics fallacies (particularly, the trio of confirmation bias, observation bias, and argument from authority). And in the small area where we can actually test predictions of the effects of climate change models, namely their effects on near future climate, they are coming up short.

        My personal take is that in the absence of new evidence, the climate change debate is already lost for the present in favor of the status quo. The proponents of the theory had plenty of opportunity and plenty of resources given to make their case and they failed to. All the major CO2 emitting societies just aren't going to change their ways based on the shoddy case that has been put forth.

        • (Score: 2, Insightful) by caffeinated bacon on Friday May 16 2014, @12:51PM

          by caffeinated bacon (4151) on Friday May 16 2014, @12:51PM (#44173)

          There are still huge, unacknowledged conflicts of interest among researchers and policy makers concerning this subject

          Lucky they have an unbiased account from Wyoming to set them straight.

        • (Score: 2) by mendax on Friday May 16 2014, @05:48PM

          by mendax (2840) on Friday May 16 2014, @05:48PM (#44316)

          My personal take is that in the absence of new evidence, the climate change debate is already lost for the present in favor of the status quo. The proponents of the theory had plenty of opportunity and plenty of resources given to make their case and they failed to. All the major CO2 emitting societies just aren't going to change their ways based on the shoddy case that has been put forth.

          Well, the case isn't all that shoddy. It has always seemed conclusive to me. But you're probably right about the debate having been already lost. Of course, attitudes *WILL* change once New York has to be evacuated and a flood gate replaces San Francisco's Golden Gate. But it will be far too late to do anything except piss on the graves of the arch-deniers.

          Personally, years ago I concluded that nothing would ever change until it was too late and that it was probably too late to do anything anyway and so I stopped feeling guilty about burning gasoline in my vehicles and driving just because I find it relaxing.

          --
          It's really quite a simple choice: Life, Death, or Los Angeles.
          • (Score: 2) by khallow on Friday May 16 2014, @06:46PM

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday May 16 2014, @06:46PM (#44341) Journal

            Well, the case isn't all that shoddy. It has always seemed conclusive to me. But you're probably right about the debate having been already lost. Of course, attitudes *WILL* change once New York has to be evacuated and a flood gate replaces San Francisco's Golden Gate. But it will be far too late to do anything except piss on the graves of the arch-deniers.

            Over how many centuries? One of the many great pretenses of this area is the idea that movement of cities over the time frame of centuries is going to be expensive. But the thing is, humanity already, in the complete absence of any significant AGW effect moves extremely often and almost nothing man-made lasts that long. For example, back around the turn of the millennium, movement of people in the US was so great that effectively the entire population of the US was moved every six years. It's slowed down a little [census.gov] since to about nine years.

            And while I don't have a building replacement rate, I gather most buildings get replaced within 50 years. So let's consider New York City getting gradually flooded out in two centuries. An interesting effect seamlessly happens. Real estate that is in increased danger of flooding drops in value and is eventually abandoned as it becomes too expensive to maintain. Meanwhile real estate further uphill becomes the new hot spots. Over two centuries, the city gradual builds away from the increasing shoreline (or dumps soil and rock to increase local height) without a noticeable cost. Areas that have become flood prone now have lower value real estate (where it doesn't matter as much, if the real estate project gets flooded or washed away) or even are turned into green space buffers.

            So some areas become less valuable and some areas become more valuable. The overall value of real estate doesn't change. The most claimed effect of AGW, the loss of real estate, does happen, but the real estate when it is finally lost is almost valueless. Meanwhile, real estate less susceptible to sea level rise increases in value. In this scenario, there is no significant net cost to the sea level rise of global warming as a result. The city remains in more or less the same spot it was in.

            This leads to one of my predictions in this area. Namely, that for most of the world, we will not actually be significantly inconvenienced by the effects of global warming. That's because our societies are so fluid that they would readily adjust to the effects of global warming in real time.

            • (Score: 2) by mendax on Friday May 16 2014, @09:39PM

              by mendax (2840) on Friday May 16 2014, @09:39PM (#44454)

              This leads to one of my predictions in this area. Namely, that for most of the world, we will not actually be significantly inconvenienced by the effects of global warming. That's because our societies are so fluid that they would readily adjust to the effects of global warming in real time.

              I hope that you don't eat or that you don't live in California or that you don't live too close to a coastline. The computer models predict a much drier western US, including California. The last two years of drought we've had I suspect are just the beginning of that predicted drier trend. Glaciers worldwide (although not everywhere for some reason) are melting at an alarming rate, raising sea level. If you own beach-front property, I'd dump it and move to a bit higher ground. And humanity is very close to reaching its maximum ability to produce enough food for everyone. More severe droughts and more severe storms are not going to make producing food any easier.

              With regard to New York, there are things they could do although it would be extremely expensive. It's fairly common knowledge that downtown Sacramento is on higher ground than it was originally. Because of its proximity to the Sacramento and American Rivers and the devastating floods it suffered, the city fathers made a decision to raise the street levels by about 3 meters. Existing buildings were not raised. Instead, the ground floors became basements. When Galveston, Texas was pretty much obliterated by a hurricane about 100 years ago, the decision was made to rebuild but the entire island the city was built on was raised. Both of these cities were small and labor was cheap then. Today it is a very different matter and raising Manhattan island, let alone the other New York boroughs would be prohibitive (unless, of course, the Feds wanted to finance it).

              --
              It's really quite a simple choice: Life, Death, or Los Angeles.
              • (Score: 2) by khallow on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:18PM

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 04 2014, @02:18PM (#51093) Journal

                The computer models predict a much drier western US, including California.

                I know this comment is quite late (I've been away from the internet for three weeks), but no, the models don't predict a much drier western US - some do and some predict a much milder drying (plus there's the matter of just how much temperature increase we'll actually get - that seems to be consistently over-estimated by current models). And we would expect droughts in the western US (and elsewhere) because they happen whether or not there is global warming - especially when human incompetence is involved.
                 
                 

                Today it is a very different matter and raising Manhattan island, let alone the other New York boroughs would be prohibitive (unless, of course, the Feds wanted to finance it).

                "Prohibitive" means the cost is large enough to prohibit the proposed course of action. Given that this raising would be over the course of centuries (and moving dirt is dirt cheap and likely to stay that way), I don't see what is supposed to be prohibitive about it. Nor are we talking of that much land area or that intrusive a project. For example, you could fill in when a building is torn down.

                And it's worth remembering that the Fresh Kills landfill, the landfill run by New York for about 60 years, took in enough volume of trash over that time frame that it would raise all of Manhattan Island by more than a meter if spread out over the island. They didn't need federal funding for that massive movement of materials.

  • (Score: 1) by Buck Feta on Friday May 16 2014, @03:57PM

    by Buck Feta (958) on Friday May 16 2014, @03:57PM (#44238) Journal

    Wyoming produces about 40% of US coal. Follow the money from there.

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