Real Sceptic has its origins as a companion site for the videos produced by Collin Maessen. The site has progressed beyond this original purpose and now predominantly includes articles that are independent of the content released on YouTube. However this original content is still an important part of the site.
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Bill hosted a debate on the evidence of Global Warming. In this video I address a few of the misrepresentations of the actual science and data involved.
BILL O'REILLY: In the "Factor Follow-up" segment tonight: another global warming study debunked. In the journal Nature Geoscience, a study was printed that showed the oceans rising because of global warming. Well now the magazine says, sorry, the study was flawed. Just another in a long line of global warming problems, including the resignation last week of the U.N. global warming guy.
A flaw was discovered in the study [Sidall 2009] that predicted between 7-82 cm of sea level rise, and was subsequently retracted.
The new study [Vermeer & Rahmstorf 2009] that found this error came with an corrected estimate of 75-190 cm by 2100.
So it wasn't debunked, it was corrected.
BILL O'REILLY: Joining us now from Los Angeles is Bill Nye the Science Guy, who believes in manmade global warming, and from State College Pennsylvania, AccuWeather meteorologist Joe Bastardi, who is skeptical. So Joe, give me your best shot. Why are you dubious about this global warming business?
JOE BASTARDI: Well, first of all, let's take a look at what happened this winter, because there are a lot of people trying to now say that all the cold and the snow that we had was because of global warming. This was our forecast issued in July, and then I reissued it again in October. Notice the cold and snow in the mid-Atlantic states, snow down here in Texas, warm and dry up here, wet in California. Now, how did I come up with that? Was it global warming? No. We have an El Nino and a state of the ocean in the Pacific similar to the '60s and '70s when Bill O'Reilly was growing up and there was all that snow. The solar cycles are doing something that is reminiscent to colder times. And amazingly, amazingly, the very thing that John Holdren opined on last year, blasting soot into the high altitudes over top of the Arctic, actually happened naturally with volcanic activity last year, led to a lot of blocking over the poles this year.
O'REILLY: All right. So once again, you -- you have a meteorological explanation for what happened?
BASTARDI: Oh, yes.
O'REILLY: Now Bill, why do you believe -- and Joe doesn't believe in manmade global warming -- why do you believe in it?
BILL NYE, THE SCIENCE GUY: Well, the evidence is overwhelming. Do you agree, Joe, in 1750 the world's carbon dioxide was about 280 parts per million? Do you agree with that?
BASTARDI: Bill, you don't want to go here. Do you know why? Because I'm going to show you the correlation.
NYE: Do you agree?
BASTARDI: Yes, I agree.
O'REILLY: Wait, Joe. Wait. Let him make his point, Joe, and you can reply. Go ahead, Bill.
NYE: Do you agree that the planet Venus is warm because it has a lot of carbon dioxide in its atmosphere? And when I say warm, I mean warm enough to melt lead on its surface. Do you agree with that?
BASTARDI: I -- I don't believe we have the proper measurements of Venus from over 10 billion years ago, so I can't tell the relationship with the Earth.
O'REILLY: OK, go ahead.
NYE: I think you're throwing a red herring in there, so...
NYE: This is the carbon dioxide -- this is the carbon dioxide in 1750 in parts per million as represented by Fountain Pen Inc. This is it today. Even though it's a very, very small fraction, four hundredths of a percent, it's still quite noticeable, and it affects the world's climate.
About your explanation with -- with volcanoes, you know, this is a study done by the IPCC. This is a timeline, and it depicts volcanic activity. Well, one of the greatest revelations behind the casting, where they showed that there's a correlation between volcanic eruptions and the earth's cooling, because particulate matter gets high in the atmosphere. Well, it's only true of volcanoes near the equator. Mount St. Helens had hardly effect at all. You can see, when you extract the data on this trend, it's like the trend from this data, the world is getting warmer. It's continually getting warmer. And these data are so compelling that they overwhelm any effect it has -- that might have come from this winter.
O'REILLY: All right. Joe, you reply.
NYE: That's sort of nothing to do with it.
BASTARDI: That's simply not true, Bill. When you blast SO2 into the atmosphere over top of the Arctic, what happens is it absorbs sunlight, warms the stratosphere, which depresses the troposphere underneath and cools the troposphere. That can be documented from what happened back in 1912 if you went back and looked at the following winters. Look at this.
O'REILLY: Wait, wait, wait, Bill. Let Joe go. Let Joe…
BASTARDI: You want to bring up -- you want to bring up the CO2 argument. Why don't we just look at the sun spots back here, back in 1750, and notice that they've been coming up and along with it the temperatures.
That flashed by really fast.
Lets take a detailed look at that graph.
As you can see this rise isn't as dramatic as he made it seem.
Sunspot activity peaked in the 1950s.
And has even been going downslightly since then.
I've added a "trend line" to the graph to show this more clearly.
Now lets continue where we left.
BASTARDI: Basically, it comes down to this. If you look at the strength of correlation to warming, and this is courtesy of meteorologist Joe Deleo (ph) -- CO2 since 1895 -- you can see .43, the sun .57, the ocean .85. But since 1998, CO2 is going next to nothing because the earth's temperature is flat-lining, and CO2 is coming up.
So what you have to believe, folks, is this: that the sun, plus the ocean, plus the volcanic activity, plus natural reversal has less effect than the yearly human contribution, equal to the width of a hair on a one-kilometer bridge of a trace gas needed for life.
The change in temperature might not be much, but it's there.
The reason the rise isn't as pronounced has to do with the fact that 1998 was an exceptionally warm el niño year.
Also the shorter a period you use for temperature changes, the less likely it is that you get a significant change.
Phil Jones gave a really good explanation on this subject in a BBC interview. You'll find this interview in the video description.
He also implies that our atmosphere is to big to be influenced by the 'small' amount of CO2 we release.
Shall we take a look at how big the atmosphere actually is?
The small white sphere is the entire atmosphere of the planet.
Our atmosphere is a lot less "substantial" than a lot of people imagine it.
What we release in to the atmosphere can have very serious effects, even in very low quantities.
The hole in the ozone layer is one of those examples.
This hole is caused by concentrations measured in parts per trillion, and not parts per million as is the case with CO2.
Also the heat trapping properties of CO2 are well known in science.
John Tyndal was the first to discover this in 1861, and since this discovery we had a lot of time to refine those calculations.
BASTARDI: So if you want to believe that, you can go ahead and believe that.
O'REILLY: All right, let Bill reply. Go ahead, Bill.
NYE: Actually, Joe, Mr. Bastardi, the last 10 years are the warmest decade on record.
BASTARDI: Sure, measuring with satellite.
NYE: ...was an especially warm year. 1998 was an especially warm year, as was 2006. Now, what's happened is you showed back in September on this program this graph. And it starts around here 2001, and the idea is that it shows the world cooling off. Well, actually, it's weighted because of the especially warm 1998. When you extract the data as the...
BASTARDI: Exactly right.
NYE: ...Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has, you see it go up and down, but the trend is up. Now what -- here's the question for you, Mr. O'Reilly or Mr. Bastardi. In whose best interest is this? The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change does these studies. They argue about it. That's what Climategate was about. The one guy calls the other guy an idiot. One guy calls his method no good. The other guy says his method is really good. But the world is getting warmer. Carbon dioxide is a very strong greenhouse gas. It has a very long residence time in the atmosphere. It is making the world warmer, along with methane and other human activities. In whose best interest is it to deny this stuff?
O'REILLY: All right. Let me give Joe the last word. Go.
BASTARDI: All right. All right, Bill. How are you -- how are you measuring -- when measuring temperatures since the satellite era began in the late '70s at the end of the last -- what we call the cold PDO. What I want to show you real quick, folks, is...
O'REILLY: Let him finish.
BASTARDI: ...the Pacific Decatur (ph) Oscillation. If we take a look at this right back here, we see that during the '70s here, you can see the TIME magazine from the late '70s, we were in a cold PDO. We've been warming it up. We are now turning colder.
This is a red herring.
These events don't drive climate change, they do however influence global temperature.
Even with cold and warm PDO periods, global temperatures have been going up.
The only effect a cool PDO has had is a slowing down of the increase in temperature.
BASTARDI: And the fact of the matter is that, if I'm right -- and this is the greatest debate, Bill Nye, the greatest lab experiment ever. If I'm right, the reversals will lead to a degree to a degree-and-a-half cooling. If you're right, they're not. But what are we worried about right now?
BASTARDI: What we have to look at is 20 or 30 years.
O'REILLY: I'm worried about I have to go to a break. And I am making an appeal to the deity to come on this program and tell us, once and for all, what's going on.
Hey, gentlemen, that was fascinating. I would flunk courses in both of your classes. But I really appreciate you taking the time. Thank you for the good debate.
The inaccuracies and misrepresentations wasn't the thing that bothered me the most.
I've come to expect them from Fox on anything they report on Global Warming.
What bothered me is that for a channel that is supposed to be 'fair and balanced',
they gave the sceptic the nice big graphs and animations,
and let Bill who represented the main stream science argue with illegible graphs and pictures.
That's not my definition of fair.
Also 97% of climatologists [Doran 2009] agree that current warming is due to our release of CO2.
That debate has gone and passed among climatologists.
So let's listen to the scientists who actually do the science, and stop listening to the people who misrepresent the science involved.
- The Sidall 2009 study:
- The Sidall 2009 study retraction:
- Vermeer & Rahmstorf 2009 study:
- John Tyndall:
- Phil Jones BBC interview:
- Doran 2009:
- Fox News transcript: