Just how many astroturf groups did tobacco fund?

Thanks to the Tobacco documents we've learned how tobacco companies have secretly funded astroturf organizations like junkscience.com, secretly paid for think tanks to run political campaigns for them, and even created their own astroturf scientific journal. The latest pile of astoturf to be uncovered is detailed in a new paper by Anne Landman, Daniel Cortese and Stanton Glantz:

'The multinational tobacco companies responded to arguments about the social costs of smoking and hazards of secondhand smoke by quietly implementing the Social Costs/Social Values project (1979-1989), which relied upon the knowledge and authoritative power of social scientists to construct an alternate cultural repertoire of smoking. Social scientists created and disseminated non-health based, pro-tobacco arguments without fully acknowledging their relationship with the industry. After the US Surgeon General concluded that nicotine was addictive in 1988, the industry responded by forming "Associates for Research in the Science of Enjoyment" (c.1988-1999), whose members toured the world promoting the health benefits of the use of legal substances, including tobacco, for stress relief and relaxation, without acknowledging the industry's role. ...

Strategies included creating favorable surveys and opinions, infusing them into the lay press and media through press releases, articles and conferences, publishing, promoting and disseminating books, commissioning and placing favorable book reviews, providing media training for book authors and organizing media tours. These programs allowed the tobacco industry to affect public and academic discourse on the social acceptability of smoking'.

The paper is subscription only, so I've put some extracts below the fold.

The Social Costs/Social Values Project

ICOSI created a subcommittee, the Social Acceptability Working Party (SAWP), to develop measures to combat the social cost and passive smoking issues. SAWP's initial chairman was RJR's VP of Public Affairs, who also served on the TI Communications Committee. George Berman, a former PM employee who started a consulting firm, helped organize and direct SAWP (Senkus). In 1979 Berman, along with the industry law firm Jacob & Medinger, RJR VP and Assistant to Chairman of the Board, and Brown and Williamson's Senior VP and General Counsel developed ICOSI's global strategy (Pepples, 1979a). ICOSI members adopted the plan in 1979 ((ICOSI), (Update of Projects), (Pepples), (Social Costs/Social Values) and Special Account No. 1) to secretly recruit and fund a group of prominent academic sociologists, philosophers, economists, anthropologists and political scientists to develop arguments promoting the benefits of smoking, refute arguments about the social costs of smoking, and emphasize the negative effects the companies believed smoking bans had on society.

SAWP members had already identified and approached social science academics (Berman) who were sympathetic to industry positions and agreed to participate (Pepples): Richard Wagner (professor of Economics at George Mason University), Robert Tollison (former economic consultant to the US Treasury Department and professor of Economics at Texas A&M and later George Mason University), Robert Nozick (professor of Philosophy at Harvard University), Sherwin Feinhandler (sociologist and lecturer at Harvard Medical School specializing in cultural anthropology of tobacco, alcohol and drug research), Peter Berger (professor of Sociology at Rutgers and later at Boston College), Aaron Wildavsky (Chairman of Political Science Department and Dean of the Graduate School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley), Edward Harris (a political scientist at South Connecticut State University), and Martin Gruber (finance expert at New York University). These people helped extend SAWP's reach into academia to recruit more consultants ((Goals of SC/SV) and Special Account No. 1) for the new SC/SV program.

A February 1980 SAWP progress report on the SC/SV project states that the academics would be commissioned to conduct "cross-cultural research" to "emphasize the social importance of smoking" (Goals of SC/SV), find ways to reverse the research describing the social costs of smoking, and "support the view that smoking is 'normal' behavior, a view that many social scientists would defend if given the information to do so". Other activities included participating in academic conferences nominally sponsored by third (non-tobacco) parties and organized in ways that would minimize evidence of industry backing (Marcotullio).

They also produced books on the benefits of smoking:

A preliminary promotion plan for Smoking and Society prepared by PM Management Corporation (Cory) kept tobacco companies out of sight: "Most of the PR [for the book] should come from the publisher (the most credible third party)." PM proposed especially promoting psychologist Hans Eysenck's claim in the book that "Genetic factors, not smoking, may make smokers susceptible to smoking related diseases -- a concrete alternative to the tired defense that the smoking-health link 'isn't proven'" (Cory, 1986a). PM also suggested emphasizing anthropologist Sherwin Feinhandler's claim that "Smoking plays positive social roles in the normal give-and-take of getting along with others" because Feinhandler provided "something positive to say about smoking that doesn't raise the health issue". The book would be promoted as "a resource for journalists, scholars and policy people -- a mother lode of the most respectable information on the 'other sides' of smoking issues" to librarians and "professors who might touch on this issue in courses in political science, economics, anthropology, philosophy and other fields represented by the book's contributors," with free copies provided to journalists and social scientists stressing the "positive social roles of smoking [and] anti-smokers' welfare-statism". Press releases sent to economists would stress the novel argument of "anti-smokers' transfer of wealth to themselves".

In 1988 Tollison and his George Mason University colleague, economist Richard Wagner, published Smoking and the State: Social Costs, Rent Seeking and Public Policy concluding that clean indoor air laws impose significant economic costs upon society and that government efforts to regulate public smoking were coercive, arbitrary intrusions into private life. The preface stated that there was a "continuing controversy within the scientific community about the effect of smoking on the health of smokers and nonsmokers," even though the US Surgeon General had by then issued 19 reports linking smoking with disease. A single line in the preface says the book was produced under a grant from the TI.

Associates for Research in the Science of Enjoyment (ARISE)

In direct response to the US Surgeon General's 1988 report concluding nicotine is as addictive as heroin or cocaine, in 1988 Rothmans Tobacco (of the UK) and PM clandestinely assembled group called Associates for Research in Substances of Enjoyment (ARISE), an international group of sociologists, psychologists, ethicists and scientists to separate nicotine from other addictive drugs in the public's mind (ARISE93a) and (Pritchard)). According to a press release prepared by PM Media Relations but issued by ARISE, ARISE presented itself as an esteemed group of "apolitical" experts who commented "independently" on the topic of how substance use enhances quality of life (Daragan). According to a 1993 PM report, ARISE conducted studies on "different aspects of puritanical trends infringing on consumers use of and access to ... everyday pleasures" (ARISE93b) and a 1994 activity report described its objectives as helping tobacco companies "position tobacco as one of the products associated with pleasure" and "expand the 'politically corrupt science' concept" (ARISE94).

The spokesperson and lead organizer of ARISE was David Warburton, Director of the Human Pharmacology Group at the University of Reading in the UK. Warburton was selected for his industry-friendly views on nicotine and addiction and his longstanding relationship with UK tobacco companies. Rothmans Tobacco had long supported Warburton's research, which consistently reinforced the claims that nicotine enhances performance and is not addictive (Boyse and Wesnes and Warburton). Other ARISE associates included Digby Anderson (Social Affairs Unit in London), Christie Davies (sociologist from the University of Reading), Sherwin Feinhandler, (anthropologist from Harvard University who was also involved in the industry's original SC/SV project), John Luik (philosopher who previously worked as a professor of Ethics at Brock University, Canada), Frank van Dun (Professor of Philosophy of Law from the Universities of Ghent, Belgium and Linmburg, Maastricht, Netherlands), and a number of other psychologists from the UK, Switzerland, US, and Australia (ARISE96b). ...

Through ARISE, the sponsoring tobacco companies generated news articles around the world that ridiculed and derided public health goals around smoking and reassured people about the relative safety and benefits of smoking. A media progress report on ARISE activities covering September 1993-March 1994 contains 292 pages of press clippings, transcripts, articles, tapes and other media coverage ARISE generated in Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Spain, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, South Africa and the United States (ARISE94a). A 1996 presentation prepared by the ARISE secretariat for the tobacco companies reported that from 1994 to 1995 ARISE generated 646 press articles, 178 radio reports and 72 TV broadcasts in 17 countries, reporting that the coverage contained "minimal criticism of ARISE" (ARISE96a).

Hat tip: Harry Clarke.


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Associates for Research in the Science of Enjoyment (ARISE)

They really shouldn't have put the I in the acronym.

By natural cynic (not verified) on 19 Feb 2008 #permalink

And now I want some research on the astro turfing around climate change.

I think there is a bit of it about.

Any Australia-specific references or astroturfs?

Unfortunately there's no great surprise here. I think that most people already thought that tobacco companies would do or say just about anything to promote smoking. The amazing thing is that more hasn't been done about it. But I suppose politicians get nice financial contributions to play along.

I recommend the WHO Tobacco Atlas, especially Growing Tobacco.

In particular, read the deforestration percentages: people not only cut down trees to plant tobacco, but they cut them down to burn to cure the tobacco... hence, tobacco usage has a direct influence on land-use and thus climate change.
The Business of Tobacco is a good summary of the worldwide business, including the number of hectares/country devoted to tobacco.

I also continue to recommend the excellent history by Allan M. Brandt "The Cigarette Century", which does an in-depth study - I did a review in: Amazon
and mentioned some of the parallels with other industry disinformation efforts.

For one last topic:

If you haven't seen, for example, Twista Lime or Winter MochaMint:

Google: candy-flavored cigarettes

and as to why they tobacco companies do that, it's because they are smart marketeers:

Google: cigarettes teenage brain development

If you can hook someobdy while their brain is still developing, you can "wire-in" addiction, whereas if they start later, they have a much easier time stopping... so make sure you get them early.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 19 Feb 2008 #permalink

I think we...err...they...oops backspace not working...should get to fund some crappy astroturf sites. After all, you guys have Dan Rather and all. Pinkos.

Evan -- it's hard to tell if you are trying for irony. If not, start here.

TCO -- Someone has been pulling your modules lately, and it's not us. I expect to hear you start singing "Daisy, Daisy" at any moment. Stop. Please.

Did anyone ever actually believe anything written about tobacco use by these Astroturf groups? I certainly don't know anyone who bought that crap. The tobacco groups really just made themselves look painfully stupid.

They really shouldn't have put the I in the acronym.

Someone wondered if Milloy's "The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition" (TASSC) should be called "The ASS Coalition".

ben: One thing I've learned with the rise of the internet is that there is absolutely no idea so stupid, debunked, flawed, or unbelievable that no-one will believe it.

Speak to anyone's ideological bias with enough authority, and they will buy it. Collary: We suspect this of everyone else, and despite the fact that no-one's immune, we all think OUR beliefs are held on rational reality.

Did anyone ever actually believe anything written about tobacco use by these Astroturf groups? I certainly don't know anyone who bought that crap. The tobacco groups really just made themselves look painfully stupid.

"smoking does not cause cancer."

"human CO2 does not cause climate change."

"gun control does not reduce gun violence."

"the DDT ban killed millions"

"no more than 50000 iraqis died after the invasion"

does anyone really believe this CRAP?

obviously the answer is YES and obviously YOU are part of that group!

sod wrote: "Did anyone ever actually believe anything written about tobacco use by these Astroturf groups? I certainly don't know anyone who bought that crap. The tobacco groups really just made themselves look painfully stupid."

This is weird, I thought it was gonna' take another five or so years for the climate skeptics to start in with, "but did anyone actually believe Exxon Mobil when these groups they funded said that global warming isn't real. Come on! We know it's happening. I'm just concerned about these crazy environmentalists acting like it's all going to be bad."

Hey, Sod. You're pulling the trigger on this argument a few years to early. Hold your powder.

Sod, sorry about that. Meant to point out that the post was meant for Ben. Damn denialists scamper across the internet like roaches at a dirty Chinese restaurant.

Also of note is Project Brass. From SourceWatch:
"Project Brass was a 1993 Philip Morris (PM) project designed to confuse the public regarding the health dangers of exposure to secondhand smoke, and to minimize the damage that the secondhand smoke issue was causing the tobacco industry. Project Brass was PM's response to the Risk Assessment issued on January 7, 1993 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that classified secondhand tobacco smoke (also known as Environmental Tobacco Smoke, or ETS) as a Group A Human Carcinogen, the same rating the agency gives to asbestos, radon gas and vinyl chloride.
PM also creates third party front groups that advocate ventilation, like the "Hospitality Coalition for Indoor Air Quality." In virtually every venue where a public health smoking restriction is proposed, some business group (either existing or newly-appeared) will claim that the law is too much "government intervention." The "anti-government" strategy was proposed in 1993 by Burnett in Project Brass."

By Laser Potato (not verified) on 21 Feb 2008 #permalink

Step back, folks, for perspective.

There is nothing in this peculiar to the tobacco industry except that it got revealed by a huge dump of documents, thanks to the court settlement.

The _tactics_ are not new or specific to the industry.

Remember, they're doing it to you right now for phthalates.

They're ramping up to do it to you for something you won't likely know about for years.

They did it for lead. Asbestos. PCBs.

What else?

By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 21 Feb 2008 #permalink

They did it for lead. Asbestos. PCBs...What else?

Tyrone Hayes and frogs. Chapela and GM corn.

Andura Smetacek.

Tech Central Station.



And now I want some research on the astro turfing around climate change.

Which reminds me: what's the world's leading "scientific" publication of AGW denialist research at the present time? I keep hearing about Energy and Environment, but are there any better(*) denialist publications out there?

(*) in whatever sense

Wow. Did a post on the Global Warming denial industry yesterday. Was working on a very long one for the Tobacco industry, too, and ran into these guys: FORCES International. They're just a small cog in the huge noise machine that tells you all about the wonderful benefits of smoking.

Anyway, great source. Thanks.

Yup. Which is why looking at science journals matters.



"This study provides a comprehensive characterization of total, MS and SS smoke emissions for the 1R5F (ultra low nicotine), 2R4F (low nicotine), and 1R3F (standard nicotine) research cigarettes research cigarettes, including emission factors for a number of toxic compounds (e.g., benzene) and tobacco smoke tracers (e.g., 2,5-dimethyl furan). Emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulate matter (PM) are quantified using a dynamic dilution emission measurement system that is shown to produce accurate, rapid and reproducible results for over 30 VOCs and PM. SS and MS emissions were accurately apportioned based on a mass balance of total emissions. As expected, SS emissions greatly exceeded MS emissions. The ultra low nicotine cigarette had lower emissions of most VOCs compared to low and standard nicotine cigarettes, which had similar emissions. Across the three types of cigarettes, emissions of benzene (296-535 μg cigâ1), toluene (541-1003 μg cigâ1), styrene (90-162 μg cigâ1), 2-dimethyl furan (71-244 μg cigâ1), naphthalene (15-18 μg cigâ1) and other VOCs were generally comparable to or somewhat higher than literature estimates using chamber tests."

They don't dare promote the right to surround themselves with the identified chemicals -- so they call it 'pleasure' (sigh).

By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 23 Feb 2008 #permalink

as a librarytarian, i assert that your right to have lungs ends where my right to emit potentially toxic complex organic ompounds into the atmosphere begins .

Carl Sagan lied about nuclear winter because he was a pinko commie lover, soft on defense Democrat. He even admitted it later. Worth lying to advance an end.

So we should get to also.

Oh...and your little budd Paul Ehrlich was wrong about all the doomsday scenarios from the 70s. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Stupid hippy liberal. Put him out in Al Queda and let the Pathans bugger him.

Worth lying to advance an end. So we should get to also.

So... TCO's lies about people lying somehow justifies TCO's lies.


A lie for a lie makes the whole world fine, eh?

The 'he hit me back first' school of ethics.

By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 23 Feb 2008 #permalink

TCO you can't win. The real thing will always be not only more deranged than you imagine, but more deranged than you can imagine. As some scientist said. But a good summary, nonetheless, TCO.

By Marion Delgado (not verified) on 24 Feb 2008 #permalink

BPL et al.:

TCO is getting perhaps too meta, so I'll attempt to translate. The point is, scientists don't get everything right, of course, and Sagan on nuclear winter and Ehrlich on population are too good examples where popularizer-scientists probably exaggerated (Sagan) and/or were off by time scale or quantity of effect (Erlich) or can be fudged to appear so (Rachel Carson). And Dan Rather's production staff did accept documents from a source that was, ultimately, unknown and through an intermediary who could not confirm their provenance.

But the "arguments" as TCO is summing them up are the arguments we're dealing with - first you drum up or wildly exaggerate "them" (meaning the liberal media, the greenie scientists, the regulation fans) "doing it" so your counter of maybe occasionally being off a little bit is just "balance" - since every issue can be framed as a combination of all-out war and sports boosterism.

i.e. all sides exaggerate, but our side has fundamentally correct values. "Our side" is always market fundamentalist and anti-communist, usually gung-ho militarist and chauvinist, and fairly often equates Christianity with civilization.

TCO's setting out exactly the kind of rhetoric that scores big with high right-wing authoritarians.

By Marion Delgado (not verified) on 24 Feb 2008 #permalink

Yup: you turds sleep free at night because real men from the thuglike red states have the guts to fight for freedom while you opine about how passe that is while you read your NYT and zip latte and listen to NPR (and think it makes you smart...when it's middlebrow).

Less ad homs and Internet Tough Guy routine and more actual content plz, TCO.

By Laser Potato (not verified) on 24 Feb 2008 #permalink

But TCO, who are they fighting, for whose freedom?

I tried to leave, but they guthrie pulls me back...

Stop picking on me. I like it too much.

What, precisely, did Sagan exaggerate about?

I'm going to keep asking, because I think the meme "Carl Sagan lied about/exaggerated about nuclear winter" is just as completely false as "Rachel Carson murdered millions of babies by banning DDT." The fact is, I don't think Sagan was wrong about nuclear winter. Remember also, please, that it wasn't Sagan's paper; it had five authors. As did the 1991 follow-up paper.

Schneider's "Nuclear Autumn" paper had serious flaws in it, not least of which is the fact that his plume heights were off by a factor of three. (The effect of aerosols on climate depends critically on altitude.) But everyone took it as the last word on the subject.

Barton Paul Levenson:

To clarify, I doubt Sagan said something he knew was false or scientifically exaggerated:
Cornell Professor Carl Sagan of the TTAPS study warned in January of 1991 that so much smoke from the [Gulf war Kuwait oil] fires

might get so high as to disrupt agriculture in much of South Asia

Sagan later conceded in his book The Demon-Haunted World that this prediction did not turn out to be correct:

it was pitch black at noon and temperatures dropped 4°-6° C over the Persian Gulf, but not much smoke reached stratospheric altitudes and Asia was spared.

This takes me back to my early college years and fighting it out with conservative scientists on this very issue - UAF has a large right-wing bias overall even in science, as the fact that we gave the world Akasofu and Kramm demonstrates. One of them, a radical conservative, was openly contemptuous of Sagan at the time (if my memory is not at fault) but later became very effective as a spokesman for the science of AGW.

But anyway, I was at the time supporting Sagan on the precautionary principle, but it was hard to nail down all the specifics of nuclear winter and say it's 50% likely that this and this will happen, etc. I should add that my own info on nuclear winter is of out-of-date. Some 2006 and 2007 studies seem to be swinging more weight back to Sagan having been reasonably accurate. I only saw intermediate studies that suggested he wasn't.

Nonetheless it's an article of faith with the target audience, the faithful, addressed by the denialists, that Sagan was proven completely wrong about nuclear winter, and hence you can't trust these liberal, military hating, technology hating, nature loving scientists, etc. etc. and that i think is what TCO is ironically referring to.

Plus, BPL, TCO is clearly ironic as his or her 10:43 post clearly demonstrates, so please don't take TCO seriously.

By Marion Delgado (not verified) on 25 Feb 2008 #permalink

Thanks Marion Delgado for a detailed and informative post--a refreshing dose of factual history and perspective.
Just on a lark I followed TCO's link to textfiles.com and found the polemic was by dear old Fred Seitz. Heh, what a character. Smoking is good for you, yeah, thatzit!

Let me see if I can sum up "Dr." Seitz's points:
a) the original Nuclear Winter argument used a simplistic computer model
b) the results have faced some criticism
c) The "liberal media" ran with the worst case view which struck a chord with the public
d) This was a bad outcome because we really needed Russia to believe we were willing to take part in a nuclear holocaust to maintain deterrence under M.A.D.

Things I note about this:
First, (a)-(c) sound remarkably like the denialist schtick still in use today of "computer models are all bogus." Even if you grant that a one-dimensional climate model with no oceans is indeed an extreme simplification, though a necessary level of simplification to be able to run on computers of that day, that kind of argument lost its relevance many generations of supercomputer ago. Yet Seitz and "Friends" of Science love to recycle this old trusted meme. Apparently it still plays well to the home crowd. sigh.

Then I'll just observe that (d) is a huge non-sequitur if the question is really about the factual issue of climatic risk from nuclear war. Until the TTAPS article, nobody had really looked at what might happen to the climate in a nuclear war. Whatever the verdict of history on who "won" the scientific debate about how bad this risk actually is, the perceived risk went from nonexistent to deeply troubling (even if subject to lots of uncertainties).

Seitz seems to feel that our being troubled by that risk, and talking about it so much, was just playing into the hands of the Communists. Well, there's a show-stopper, eh? The problem is that in a democracy, everyone is entitled to hear what scientists say *might* happen, and to fret about whether the risk is real, and how they feel about those risks.
Seitz implies it would have been better if those pinko lefty pacifists had never raised the question. Seitz's hawks lost that round in the public consciousness. Too bad for them.
It's certainly fair to argue that the idea of nuclear winter took on a life of its own in the public's mind, beyond the fine points of further academic exchanges over the specifics. But that was due not so much to Sagan's advocacy, as it was due to the reality that every sane human being was already appalled at the M.A.D.-ness of the Cold War and nuclear "deterrence" theory.
What I remember most vividly from that era is a rumor I heard more than once claiming that people inside the Reagan administration were talking in terms of nuclear war being "winnable", and of 30 million dead as being "acceptable" casualties.
Sadly, that rumor kept spreading based on its plausibility. The hawks on the right actually seemed capable of saying things like that. Does anyone today agree with those sentiments?
As for Russia, I'd be very curious whether historians now have access to what went on in the Soviet Union in that era as far as the question of nuclear winter. Did Russian scientists accept the theory? Did the Kremlin's perceptions of this risk play any role in their strategic decisions, including the breakthrough in disarmament talks?
Well, this is way off the original topic. As a token compensation, here's a great site that tracks the anti-science P.R. campaigns of tobacco, big oil, and friends:
My favorite book title of theirs is Stauber & Rampton's "Toxic Sludge is Good for You"


I haven't found any evidence that Sagan lied and admitted lying. -TCO

Re to #38

Dear Marion Delgado (probably a pseudonym),

it might be that you believe that science is related to politics. I completely disagree with that. Obviously, you are not familiar with the basics of scientific research. One of these basics is not to follow any kind of agenda. This is , for instance, why simple correlations must be considered with care.

When scientific results are highly erroneous then is is indispensable to show that. In the current climate debate a lot of results are not in agreement with physical and mathematical laws. Unfortunately, many of the so-called climate researchers have, if at all, a weak education in (theoretical) physics and calculus. Therefore, they produce a lot of scientific nonsense.

Here is an example:

In 1977, a book entitled The Weather Conspiracy - The Coming of the New Ice Age was published (Ballantine Books, New York). An excerpt of this book reads (see p. 71): "Many hot-earth men believe that global temperature will rise by at least 3.8 °F by 2020, given that the volume of carbon dioxide is doubled in the next fifty years. If this happened, ships could well sail the entire Arctic Circle, and the melting of the polar ice caps could cause the sea level to rise by two hundred to four hundred feet. London and New York would vanish. So would Rome, Paris, Brussels, Antwerp, Marseille, and hundreds of other cities. Trees would grow in Alaska and Siberia; cattle would be raised on what was once tundra." This excerpt is accompanied by a map of Europe showing large areas with cities of more than one Million inhabitants that are affected by flooding if the polar ice caps would melt. Obviously, the cited author is Bert Bolin, the 1st Chairman of the IPCC.

I do not know the political background of Dr. Akasofu because it is unimportant to me. He might be a member of the GOP, but I am not sure. However, to consider him as a right wing representative is absolutely absurd. Unfortunately for you, Dr. Akasofu is a well recognized geophysicist with a high international reputation. As a scientist, he is far of your league.

Clearly, I am not a member of the GOP. I never got research money from the industry or related institutions, but also not from environmental groups. I only got grants from public funding agencies. Nevertheless, for engineering departments it is indispensable to collaborate with the industry.

Putting me into a right wing corner only underlines to me that you believe that anybody who is not willing to accept wrong scientific results must be a right wing person. For your information. My parents were fighting against Hitler and his Nazi-dictatorship and they paid for their fight with a lot of injuries. Their fight is one of the reason why I am very proud of my parents. Obviously, you are not familiar with the goals and interests of true right-wing people.

Sincerely yours

Gerhard Kramm

By Gerhard Kramm (not verified) on 28 Mar 2008 #permalink

Hi guthrie,

let me quote what I wrote:

The sole question is: Is the criticism of Gerlich & Tscheuschner on the explanation of the greenhouse effect justified or not?

The basis for this explanation is the equation of the planetary radiation balance given in my comment #770. When we recognize that, in contrast to the common assumption, the Earth not a blackbody radiator is, then this radiation balance must read

(1 - a) S/4 = eps sigma T_e^4 .

The symbols are explained in my comment #770, with exception of eps, a planetary emissivity. If we use a value for eps less than unity, we will obtain an equilibrium temperature T_e higher than 255 K. For eps = 0.61 the temperature T_e amounts to 288 K. In such a case there would be no greenhouse effect. This means that this simple instance of a planetary radiation balance is inappropriate to explain the greenhouse effect, as correctly stated by Gerlich & Tscheuschner.

This was attacked by the pseudonym Eli Rabett. I tried to explain it further on his weblog. But obviously he suppressed my additional comment because I never found it.

My criticism on the common way is quite justified. First, the temperature T_e = 255 K obtained from this simple planetary radiation balance has nothing to do with the globally averaged near-surface temperature of about 288 K. Therefore, the so-called greenhouse effect might be smaller or larger than 33 K. Second, to obtain a temperature for an earth without an atmosphere under the prerequisites that the earth is rotating on its orbit around the sun (time becomes an independent variable), we have to use the same averaging principles as used to compute the globally average temperature. Otherwise, we would compare apples with pears.

Gerlich & Tscheuschner discussed this aspects in detail. They showed that such an averaging may lead to temperatures much smaller than T_e. Meanwhile, Arthur Smith from the American Physical Society confirmed some results of G & T, even though his conclusions appreciably differ from those of them. My co-author Ralph Dlugi and I also confirmed the results from G & T. Our preliminary conclusions in this matter notably differ from both. I think that is not a great problem because it is common in science to discuss all these results to derive the most accurate conclusion from them.

Nevertheless, Eli Rabett did not understand that even the result of T_e = 255 K is based on two assumptions regarding the planetary albedo and the planetary emissivity. Currently, a planetary albedo of a = 0.3 is recommended. This value is based on satellite observations. In the case of the planetary emissivity it is much more difficult to derive reliable data. Certainly, the earth is not a perfect blackbody emitter, i.e., eps < 1. Budyko, a well known climatologist, used, for instance, eps = 0.95. He also computed T_e = 255 K because he used a higher value for the albedo (a > 0.3). With eps = 0.95 and a = 0.3, we would obtain of about 258 K. These are only 3 K more, but relating this temperature difference to a difference in the emission of infrared radiation leads of a ten times higher value than the "anthropogenic radiative forcing" of 1.6 W/m^2. The latter was published in the 4th report of the WGI of the IPCC.

Note that the choice of eps = 0.9 and a = 0.3 leads to T_e = 262 K, and the choice eps = 0.614 and a = 0.3 to T_e = 288 K. Even though we do not know the exact value of eps, it is clear that eps must be greater than 0.614 to guarantee that a greenhouse effect can exist. Eli Rabett did not understand this simple result (thus, do not eat too much carrots).

It is well known that the emissivity of various materials is not close to unity. Here are some values I found in the literature:

Dry sand: eps = 0.84 - 0.9
snow: eps = 0.82 (old snow) - 0.99 (fresh snow)
concrete: eps = 0.71 - 0.9
black gravel road: eps = 0.88 - 0.95

We must not simply average such values because the local emission depends on the local property, but not on an averaged one.

Best regards


By Gerhard Kramm (not verified) on 28 Mar 2008 #permalink