Posts Tagged ‘Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’
But first Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Cynthia.
(Image courtesy of UK’s Met Office blog post: Top ten romantic weather phenomena.)
My dear Dan,
In a way this stunningly beautiful photograph is a reflection of our long relationship. Over the 33 years that we have been friends you and I have enjoyed many calm moments and tried to make sense of this crazy world. Yes, we have often disagreed about many things but never fallen out; not even come close to it. No better illustrated than me wanting you as my Best Man when Jean and I were married November 20th, 2010.
Your email to me of the 4th February was a difficult one to embrace; the Controversy Continues one. The last thing I wanted to do was to react impulsively because I knew you would disregard such a thoughtless response. After all, we have known each other’s views on the matter of climate change for a very long time.
Thank goodness I did sit on my hands. It allowed a more reflective part of my aged brain to compose a blog post on Learning from Dogs. The post that came out on the 12th under the title of Doggedly seeking the truth.
That post then led to yesterday’s post Truth never follows a straight line. Two essays that gave me much joy. Thank you.
But the plain fact of the matter is that I profoundly disagree with the idea, as expressed in your email heading, that there is any controversy over the question of global warming resulting from man’s behaviours. I know from our years of friendship that you are open to all sorts of ideas. Meaning you wouldn’t be closed-minded to the biggest issue facing Homo sapiens and all the species on this planet, the one of anthropogenic global warming (AGW).
So let me offer you some links that make it very clear as to the reality of what is happening to this planet.
Start with this one Why Climate Deniers Have No Scientific Credibility – In One Pie Chart. Or this one IPCC Draft Report Leaked, Shows Global Warming is NOT Due to the Sun.
Then there’s this one A Brief Note on the Latest Release of Draft IPCC Documents and this one Global Extinction within one Human Lifetime as a Result of a Spreading Atmospheric Arctic Methane Heat wave and Surface Firestorm. I could go on and on.
Perhaps the reason that so many intelligent people ‘avoid’ the truth of what we are doing to this planet was voiced in a recent comment by Prof. Guy McPherson on Learning from Dogs, “Perhaps Upton Sinclair had it right, years ago: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”
Even though you and I are well past salary days it doesn’t alter the chilling realisation that comes from embracing the truth of climate change and global warming: The undermining of just about everything that we have embraced over our years. No wonder it’s so much easier to stay within familiar comfort zones! To remain hypocrites as Jean and I do!
Let me close with the words uttered by mother Dellarobia to son Preston in Barbara Kingsolver’s book Flight Behavior: ”It won’t ever go back to how it was, Preston.“
In my heart I know that to be the truth.
Jean and I send you and Cynthia our fondest love,
As a dog follows a scent.
I have been pondering about how one gets to the truth of a complex issue. And there’s none more complex nor more essential in terms of the truth of an issue than Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW).
It was kicked off by an email received from Dan Gomez. Followers of Learning from Dogs will have seen mention of Dan’s name as he regularly sends me bits and pieces. Indeed, let me refer you to a post that came out last August, Feeling depressed? Join your pals in the pool! and this extract:
Regular followers of Learning from Dogs will know that Dan and I go back a long way; far too long! In fact the occasion of me becoming aware of Mr. Daniel Gomez was at a Commodore Computer dealers conference in Boston, Mass.
I was giving a talk promoting a UK word-processing program that I was marketing for the Commodore. That software was called Wordcraft and I think the year was 1979, possibly 1980. Anyway, I used the word ‘fortnight’, which back in England is a common word meaning two weeks. Immediately, a voice called out from the audience, “Hey Handover, what’s a fortnight?“
The session deteriorated rapidly thereafter! Dan and I became very good friends and his LA company Cimarron became my West Coast USA distributor for Wordcraft. And it was Dan’s sister, Suzann, who invited me down to Mexico for Christmas 2007 which led to me meeting my beloved Jeannie! Funny old world!
Dan is a smart cookie. He holds a degree in psychology, as well as being a very easy guy to get along with. We have been good friends for more than 30 years.
Anyway, back to the theme of the post; determining the truth of a complex issue.
Recently, Dan sent me an email with the subject heading of The Controversy Continues – A couple of Articles for your Digestive Tract….
The first article was:
Report shows UN admitting solar activity may play significant role in global warming
A leaked report by a United Nations’ group dedicated to climate studies says that heat from the sun may play a larger role than previously thought.
“[Results] do suggest the possibility of a much larger impact of solar variations on the stratosphere than previously thought, and some studies have suggested that this may lead to significant regional impacts on climate,” reads a draft copy of a major, upcoming report from the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
According to Bloomberg News, US carbon emissions are down 13% over the past five years and that they are now the lowest since 1994. In fact, we are more than halfway to President Obama’s goal of a 17% reduction below our peak year of 2007.
Coal has fallen to only 18% of our energy use (down from 23% in 2007) and natural gas is up to 31%. Natural gas has half the carbon emissions of coal.
Evidence suggests that climate change and global warming are happening, but at a much slower rate than doomsday warnings suggested. We are now on track for an increase in global temperatures of one degree centigrade by 2100. This increase is not enough to cause major flooding or rises in sea levels.
Please feel free to read the whole Dick Morris piece here.
So on the face of it, two convincing reports, especially the one from Alec Rawls.
Now let me turn to Professor Guy McPherson; professor emeritus at the University of Arizona. Just take a peek at the professional recognition granted to Professor McPherson.
Guy McPherson writes a blog called Nature Bats Last. It is described thus:
This blog focuses on the natural world, with a particular emphasis on the twin sides of our fossil-fuel addiction: (1) global climate change and (2) energy decline. Because these phenomena impact every aspect of life on Earth, specific topics range widely, and include philosophy, evolution, economics, humanity, politics, current events, and many aspects of the human condition.
Less than 3 months ago, Guy McPherson visited Greenfield Community College in western Massachusetts to deliver his presentation “The Twin Sides of the Fossil-Fuel Coin: Developing Durable Living Arrangements in Light of Climate Change and Energy Decline.“
It lasts for just 40 minutes and needs to be watched. Why do I say needs to be watched? Because tomorrow I delve deeper into the challenges facing ordinary folk and watching the presentation and reflecting on the start of this post are very pertinent to following the scent of truth.
A stark reminder that more of the same will hurt us.
On the 14th August I published a post with the title of From feeling to doing. The post was a 15-minute video presented by David Roberts of Grist showing, in essence, how fundamentally simple was the issue of climate change and how profound the implications if we didn’t halt the rise in the temperature of Planet Earth.
I’m not going to insert that video in this post because you can click on the link above and do that yourself. What I will do is to draw your attention to the accompanying article on Grist under the title of Climate change is simple: We do something or we’re screwed. That article includes the slides that were in the video, such as this one:
So with that in mind, here’s what the BBC published on their news website yesterday morning,
Science advisor warns climate target ‘out the window’
By Pallab Ghosh, Science correspondent, BBC News
One of the Government’s most senior scientific advisors has said that efforts to stop a sharp rise in global temperatures were now unrealistic.
Professor Sir Robert Watson said that the hope of restricting the average temperature rise to 2C was “out the window”.
He said that the rise could be as high as 5C – with dire conseqences.
Professor Watson added the Chancellor, George Osborne, should back efforts to cut the UK’s CO2 emissions.
He said: “I have to look back (on the outcome of sucessive climate change summits) Copenhagen, Cancun and Durban and say that I can’t be overly optimistic.
“To be quite candid the idea of a 2C target is largely out of the window.”
As the BBC points out Professor Watson is a highly respected and world renown scientist on climate change policy and is currently Chief Scientist at the Department for Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and a former Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Professor Watson was also with the World Bank and an advisor to former Vice President Al Gore. The BBC item goes on,
Professor Watson, who is due to step down from his role at Defra next month, suggested that the Chancellor, George Osborne, reconsider his opposition to tough measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
Mr Osborne has said that the UK’s ambitious targets for CO2 should be relaxed so as not to drive businesses to countries which have set themselves much lower targets.
“I would say to George Osborne, ‘work with the public sector. Work with the public on behavior change. Let’s demonstrate to the rest of the world that we can make significant progress here” Professor Watson argues that the UK and Germany should continue to take the lead in driving efforts to reach an effective international treaty.
“If we carry on the way we are there is a 50-50 chance that we will get to a 3 degree rise,” he said.
“I wouldn’t rule out a 5 degree world and that would be quite serious for the people of the world especially the poorest. We need more political will than we currently have”.
It shows that the impact on human health, the availability of food and water, the loss of coastlines becomes progressively worse as the average temperature of the planet rises.
The 2C target was agreed at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting in 2010.
The majority of countries though prefer a lower target of 1.5C.
A number of analyses have also concluded that the 2C would be missed. The most recent was by the International Energy Agency earlier this year.
Professor Watson added that deep cuts in CO2 emissions are possible using innovative technologies without harming economic recovery.
“This doesn’t take a revolution in energy technology, an evolution would get us there.”
What I would add to this report that has been widely circulated is that while it’s natural to assume, ‘We need more political will than we currently have‘, that political will flows from the will of the people.
Take the effect of a 4C rise, as David Roberts explains,
Which is described in the Grist article as,
Here’s the edition of the Royal Society journal that came out of the conference on 4 degrees C of warming. Read through it and see if you think “hell on earth” is an exaggeration. Desertification, water shortages, agricultural disruptions, rising sea levels, vanishing coral, tropical forest die-offs, mass species extinctions, oh my. Kevin Anderson, one of the lead scientists involved, was moved to say that “a 4 degrees C future is incompatible with an organized global community, is likely to be beyond ‘adaptation’, is devastating to the majority of ecosystems, and has a high probability of not being stable.”
So come on people, get real! Make sure that the democratic systems work and that our leaders know the sort of change that has to take place. As the wise Professor highlighted, ‘… deep cuts in CO2 emissions are possible using innovative technologies without harming economic recovery.’ Sort of makes sense to me. How about you?
Truth: the true or actual state of a matter.
Well nothing complicated about the definition, is there! If only society was equally motivated by getting to the truth of climate change. Yes, I know I’m being naive!
Why my mini-rant?
I’m well in to James Hansen’s book Storms of my Grandchildren and it’s confirming my fears about the issues that are facing mankind now! But more of that later.
What triggered me putting ‘pen to paper’ was a recent report from the Yale forum on climate change and the media. Here’s how it opened,
Scientific Consensus Stronger than Scientists Thought?
Bruce Lieberman May 2, 2012
More than two decades after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) began publishing the latest scientific consensus on the globe’s changing climate, widespread doubts persist in the U.S. over whether there really is widespread agreement among scientists. It’s the primary argument of those who deny basic scientific foundations of warming.
But new and innovative survey results suggest the consensus among scientists might actually be stronger than the scientists themselves had thought.
The battles to define and debunk scientific consensus over climate change science have been fought for years. In 2004, University of California San Diego science historian Naomi Oreskes wrote about a broad consensus she found after studying 928 scientific papers published between 1993 and 2003.
But what I found deeply fascinating was that later on Bruce Lieberman, the report’s author, lists in detail the actual levels of agreement compared to the perceived levels. To make it easier to take in, I have amended the telling differences to italic.
In sum, the newly released poll results identified surprisingly common points of agreement among climate scientists; and yet for each point, those scientists underestimated the amount of agreement among their colleagues. The results:
- Human activity has been the primary cause of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures in the last 250 years. (About 90 percent of respondents agreed with this characterization, but those respondents estimated that less than 80 percent of their scientist colleagues held that view.)
- If governmental policies do not change, the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere will exceed 550 parts per million between 2050 and 2059. (More than 30 percent agreed, but those respondents estimated that just over 20 percent of their peers held that view.)
- If and when atmospheric CO2 concentrations reach 550 ppm, the increase in global average surface temperature relative to the year 2000 will be 2-3 degrees Celsius, or 3.2-4.8 F. (More than 40 percent agreed, but those respondents estimated that less than 30 percent held that view.)
- If governmental policies do not change, in the year 2050, the increase in global average surface temperature relative to the year 2000 will be 1.5-2 degrees Celsius, or 2.4-3.2 F). (More than 35 percent agreed, but those respondents estimated that just over 30 percent held that view.)
- The likelihood that global average sea level will rise more during this century than the highest level given in the 2007 assessment of the IPCC (0.59 meters, 23.2 inches) is more than 90 percent. (More than 30 percent agreed, but those respondents estimated that less than 20 percent held that view.)
- Since 1851, the U.S. has experienced an average of six major hurricane landfalls (> 111 mph) per decade. The total number of major hurricane landfalls in the U.S. from 2011-2020 will be seven to eight. (Nearly 60 percent agreed, but those respondents estimated that just over 30 percent held that view.)
- The total number of major hurricane landfalls in the U.S. from 2041 to 2050 will be seven to eight. (About 35 percent agreed, but those respondents estimated that less than 30 percent held that view.)
- Given increasing levels of human activity, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere can be kept below 550 ppm with current technology — but only with changes in government policy. (Nearly 70 percent agreed, but those respondents estimated that just over 50 percent held that view.)
Now back to Hansen’s book. Here’s what Hansen writes starting on p.144,
Sea level rise is one of the two climate impacts that I believe should be at the top of the list that defines what is “dangerous,” on any time scale that humanity can imagine. Ice sheets take thousands of years to build up from snowfall. Reasonable “adaptation” to a large sea level rise is nearly impossible, because once ice sheets begin to rapidly disintegrate, sea level would be continually changing for centuries. Coastal cities would become impractical to maintain.
The other climate change impact at the top of my “dangerous” list is extermination of species. Human activities already have increased the rate of species extinctions far above the natural level. Extinctions are occurring as humans take over more and more of the habitat of animal and plant species. We deforest large regions, replace biologically diverse grasslands and forests with monoculture crops, and introduce foreign, invasive animal and plant species that sometimes wipe out the native ones.
Hansen points out that about a billion people live at elevations less than 25 metres (81 feet).
I included a short video of James Hansen in a Learning from Dogs Post just a few days ago. You’ll find it here – go and watch it – and think about the truth!
Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened.– Winston Churchill
Dan Gomez offers up an alternative view.
Many of you read the post I called Please help! that came out exactly a week ago. If you were one of those readers you will have read how Dan and I go back 33 years. In many ways we see eye-to-eye but not over mankind’s influence over the climate of our Planet. To be clear, my own view is that we are very close, if not already past, the point of preventing a massive collapse of the biosphere. Dan believes that we are living through possibly the biggest hoax in history.
Dan, however, has been willing to provide evidence that supports his view and has given me permission to reproduce some of his emails to me. That’s generous of him – thanks Dan.
Let’s start with Dan’s reply to my offer to buy him the book Betrayal of Science and Reason by Paul & Anne Ehrlich. This is what Dan sent to me,
PH – I guess I could write all day and provide numerous scientific papers and positioning that would repudiate a lot of the popular press on “Global Warming” or “Climate Change”, if that is more PC. Read a little from the good Senator below and then I’ll buy you HIS book.
This is all about money and power, not weather. As the Senator points out, when he saw that the “Cap and Trade” bill was shot down, he stopped commenting. Then, more and more regulation from the UN and EPA Agency provoked this new book.
Once again, the science is at best moot and at worst fraudulent. Each of us must make up his own mind. Global climate cooling or heating will continue operating under geological time rules and, oh yeah, the Sun, Oceans and Regional Oscillations contribute a little.
As long as world governments don’t take public money or redistribute public money for their own “climate control” self-interests, I don’t really care. If there was no public money at stake, there would be no controversy.
People will continue to build houses below sea level in New Orleans. Another, bigger hurricane will flood them out again. Apparently, we can’t even stop this kind of nonsense through more legislation and then expensive emergency re-routing of public funds. This is part of the reason that the public sector is broke.
If private agencies wish to donate money to stop the rising seas or just support related studies, tant mieux. Just don’t add yet another set of agencies and regulations as another layer of big government. This only results in an ever higher tax structure and declining standards of living.
Publication Date: February 28, 2012
Americans are over-regulated and over-taxed. When regulation escalates, the result is an increase in regulators. In other words, bigger government is required to enforce the greater degree of regulation. Bigger government means bigger budgets and higher taxes. “More” simply doesn’t mean “better.” A perfect example is the entire global warming, climate-change issue, which is an effort to dramatically and hugely increase regulation of each of our lives and business, and to raise our cost of living and taxes. In The Greatest Hoax, Senator James Inhofe will reveal the reasons behind those perpetuating the Hoax of global warming, who is benefitting from the general acceptance of the Hoax and why the premise statements are blatantly and categorically false.
In another couple of emails, Dan wrote,
There are two questions to answer: Whose science do you want to believe and who profits? My source of direction stems from a natural skepticism of big science when big money is involved. One of the definitions of science is that it is never completely understood and new discoveries as well as new methods of collecting data are ever changing. As we know, new evidence pops up everyday. So, to assume that “my science or your science” is irrefutable relevant to global warming, is not “good science”. Taking billions of global dollars out of private enterprise as well as higher public sector tax in order to “change the world- maybe” is irresponsible and dangerous.
Oh yeah, and I forgot, the world’s broke. Ask a Greek plumber or, for that matter, a Greek apparatchik, where global warming fits into his budget decisions……?
Then Dan wrote in another email,
Emotionalism aside, I can’t argue the science issues except by contributing relevant articles by other scientists with opposing views. There are many. I can comment on the political power and self-interest motivations of many proponents and that’s always fun……
Before spending trillions that the world does not have, let’s see if we can get the conversation a little more firmed up….. We need to really find out how sensitive the atmosphere, lithosphere and hydrosphere really are – without assumptions. Pretty hard thing to do even with advanced mainframes, GIGO…..
and then offered the article,
Ten Years After the Warming
February 26th, 2012 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.
The version of global warming theory being pushed by the IPCC is that anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are causing a radiative energy imbalance of the climate system, leading to warming.
The radiative forcing history being used in the latest IPCC climate models looks something like the following, with red areas representing times when the climate system’s “stove is turned up”, that is, with heat accumulating in the system.
(Actually, the correct analogy would be that the stove setting remains the same, but the lid partially covering the pot is covering it a little more over time…but that’s too hard to explain.)
As can be seen, in the last 10 years the estimated forcing has been the strongest. Yet, most if not all temperature datasets show little or no global-average warming recently, either in the atmosphere, at the surface, or in the upper 700 meters of the ocean. For example, here are the tropospheric temperatures up though a few days ago:
So what is happening? You cannot simply say a lack of warming in 10 years is not that unusual, and that there have been previous 10-year periods without warming, too. No, we are supposedly in uncharted territory with a maximum in radiative forcing of the climate system. One cannot compare on an equal basis the last 10 years with any previous decades without warming.
There are 5 possibilities for the recent cessation of warming which are most discussed:
1) cooling from anthropogenic aerosols has been cancelling out warming from more greenhouse gases
2) natural cooling from internal climate fluctuations or the sun is cancelling out the GHG warming
3) increased ocean mixing is causing the extra energy to be distributed into the deep ocean
4) the temperature ’sensitivity’ of the climate system is not as large as the IPCC assumes.
5) there is something fundamentally wrong with the GHG warming theoryitself
Of course, some combination of the above 5 explanations is also possible.
The 1st possibility (aerosol cooling is cancelling out GHG forcing) is one of the more popular explanations with the climate modelers, and especially with NASA’s James Hansen. The uncertain strength (and even sign) of aerosol forcing allows the climate modelers to use aerosols as a tuning knob (aka fudge factor) in making their models produce warming more-or-less consistent with past observations. Using an assumed large aerosol cooling to cancel out the GHG warming allows the modelers to retain high climate sensitivity, and thus the fear of strong future warming if those aerosols ever dissipate.
The 2nd possibility (natural cooling) is a much less desirable explanation for the IPCC crowd because it opens the door to Mother Nature having as much or more influence on the climate system than do humans. We can’t have that, you know. Then you would have to consider the possibility that most of the warming in the last 50 years was natural, too. Goodbye, AGW funding.
The 3rd possibility (increased ocean mixing) is one of the more legitimate possibilities, at least theoretically. It’s popular with NCAR’s Kevin Trenberth. But one would need more observational evidence this is happening before embracing the idea. Unfortunately, how vertical mixing in the ocean naturally varies over time is poorly understood; the different IPCC models have widely varying strengths of mixing, and so ocean mixing is a huge wild card in the global warming debate, as is aerosol cooling. I believe much of past climate change on time scales of decades to many centuries might be due to such variations in ocean mixing, along with their likely influence on global cloud cover changing the amount of solar input into the climate system.
The 4th possibility (the climate system is relatively insensitive to forcing) is the top contender in the opinion of myself, Dick Lindzen, and a few other climate researchers who work in this field.
The 5th possibility (increasing GHGs don’t really cause warming) is total anathema to the IPCC. Without GHG warming, the whole AGW movement collapses. This kind of scientific finding would normally be Nobel Prize territory…except that the Nobel Prize has become more of a socio-political award in recent years, with only politically correct recipients. The self-flagellating elites don’t like the idea humans might not be destroying the Earth.
The longer we go without significant warming, the more obvious it will become that there is something seriously wrong with current AGW theory. I don’t think there is a certain number of years – 5, 10, 20, etc. – which will disprove the science of AGW….unless the climate system cools for the next 10 years. Eek! But I personally doubt that will happen.
As long as strong warming does not resume, the heat-hiding-in-the-deep-ocean explanation will provide refuge for many years to come, and will be difficult to convincingly rule out as an explanation since it takes so long for the deep ocean to warm by even a tiny amount.
Instead, there probably will be a tipping point (sooner than later) in popular perception when the public and Congress decide the jig is up, and they are no longer interested in hearing how we ‘might’ be headed for Armageddon.
The public already knows how awful scientists are at forecasting the future…especially a future of doom, which curiously seems to be the only future scientists know how to predict.
Now the challenge in this Post is not to make it so long that it becomes tiresome on the eyes, irrespective of the content.
So I’m going to leave it at this point and, perhaps, next time include some of Dan’s other points and comments in the light of how readers respond to this Post.
Further to my Please help! post.
On Monday of this week, I posted an item called Please help! It was to demonstrate how easily two people, with a long-standing friendship, both interested in the world around them, can differ over something so fundamental as man’s affect on our Planet.
I hoped that it would attract those who see things more clearly, and I was not mistaken. Not only did the item receive 1,334 readings on that day, there were a number of focused comments, plus emails to me personally. One of those comments was from Patrice Ayme, a long-standing friend of this Blog, who referred me to an article he had written in 2009, called BIOSPHERE COLLAPSE. I gratefully republish that article with the written permission of Patrice.
BIOSPHERE COLLAPSE, not “Climate Change”.
by Patrice Ayme.
It is a curious thing to observe how far some humans will go to make themselves the center of attention. Maybe it’s out of cowardice. After all, to become the center of something, however illusory, however silly, allows one to forget the fragility of the human condition.
A handful of top notch elite scientists can be found, who are among those who are skeptical about the fact that burning the fossil fuel accumulated in the last 400 million years is causing a dangerous warming of the climate. Those who belong to the elite are generally not climate scientists, but, unsurprisingly geologists or geophysicists (that means, paid by the burning of fossil fuels).
Moreover, when one looks at their arguments, or even their graphs, one generally find obvious bias. I have explained before that denial is big business, and that the sun itself has conspired with the giant fossil fuel business (the ultimate conspiracy theory!)
But this streak of solar cooling is not enough for the partisans of atmospheric poisoning. It seems as if they were hell bound not only to poison the air and the oceans, but reason itself. (I have explained in other essays that reason itself is the preferred target of the plutocrats and their agents.)
A preferred trick of those tricksters is to cut the graph depicting the concentration of CO2 at, say, 360 parts per million (ppm), when we are actually at 390 ppm! This has the undeniable advantage of masking the exponential growth of atmospheric CO2 in the last few years…
What we see in this graph is a basically flat line, followed by an exponential (the famous “hockey stick”, as a climate scientist dubbed it).
From studying ocean sea shells, we now know that the CO2 concentration did not exceed 300 ppm for the last 25 million years. That means that the basically flat line in the graph above extends considerably to the left. The basically flat line actually extends 2 kilometers to the left, at the scale of the graph above. Yes, more than a mile!
So there is no doubt that the recent CO2 exponential climb is man-made, and tied up to industry.
A related trick of the deniers is to “forget” that man has generated a lot of other gases than CO2. Those artifical, man-made gases can be up to 10,000 times better than CO2 at blocking infrared light.
A greenhouse consists of allowing visible light in, while blocking the exit of the light that heat makes, the infrared light. Three large greenhouses are Mars, Earth and Venus. All planets are greenhouses, and earth-like planets in other solar systems will have water, thus water vapor and CO2, two most powerful and natural greenhouse gases: these gases allow light in, but tend to block infrared.
Thus the heat gets trapped close to the ground, and the high atmosphere, now less warmed by infrared light on its way to space, cools down. Some ignorant fools have heard of that cooling, and screamed that it proved that there was no greenhouse, because a cooling has been demonstrated. Whereas, in truth, that high altitude cooling is expected, and proves the exact opposite, namely a greenhouse next to the ground!
When one is considering the man-made greenhouse, one has therefore to also include these exotic industrial gases and evaluate their contribution to the greenhouse. For example, the Greenhouse Warming Potential (GWP) for methane over 100 years is 25 and for nitrous oxide it is 298. This means that emissions of 1 million metric tons of methane and nitrous oxide respectively warm up the lower atmosphere as much as the emissions of 25 millions and 298 millions metric tons of carbon dioxide, respectively, over the following century.
Perfluorocarbons (CFCs) are the worst. They are used in refrigeration. The most frequent is tetrafluoromethane. Its GWP is 6,500 times that of CO2. The GWP of hexafluoroethane is 9,200 times that of carbon dioxide. Over ten years, the GWP of methane is higher than what it is over a century, because methane oxydizes quickly. Over ten years the GWP of methane is 100 times that of CO2. This means that a “methane burp“ would have a tremendous warming effect. There are reasons to believe that such “methane burps” have happened, and could happen again. They are catatastrophically violent events, complete with giant tsunamis, I know you wanted to know…
In any case we are around 450 ppm in CO2 equivalent (the exact number is fiercely debated, and irrelevant, because the yearly augmentation is so fast). We started from 280 ppm of CO2 equivalent in 1850 and at this rate we will pass a DOUBLING within twenty years.
Recent research on marine fossils has allowed us to find out the CO2 concentration over the last 25 million years: it never exceeded 300 ppm durably. (There were short spikes due to occasional major volcanic activity, but that’s always accompanied by marked and brutal drops in temperature, so Antarctic records show the two contrary effects wash each other out!)
I would go as far as saying that many papers in Nature and Science, when they deal about the climate, systematically underemphasize the planetary danger we seem to be getting in. Typically the authors’ research reveals an ominous evolution, but, then, rather meek conclusions are modestly drawn. There is no doubt an implicit pressure from the powers that be to not disrupt big business as usual, and climate scientists prefer to not bite the hand that feeds them (considering where the money, hence power, goes, that would be Goldman Sachs, or, at least, the fossil fuel/pollution establishment, which is somewhere near Goldman Sachs in the Pantheon that rules over us).
The IPCC, the world panel on “Climate Change” is the number one exhibit of meekness, and lack of common sense as far as viewing a “small” global temperature rise as tolerable. In its computations, the IPCC has refused to enter the melting of the polar ice shields, and the possibility of methane clathrate eruptions. Yet, it is known, from computing the sea level rise, and its acceleration, that the giant ice shields at the poles are melting.
It is also known that the methane (CH4) density in the atmosphere has doubled, or, maybe, quadrupled. During the last significant warm-up, methane eruption occured, causing a giant tsunami in the North Atlantic (in places, water went an incredible 80 kilometers inland!) The IPCC ignores all this superbly, preferring naively to stick to proven, observed and incontrovertible facts, and scrupulously rejecting inchoating, or probable events.
The IPCC claims to believe that limiting the global temperature rise at 2 degrees Celsius would be fine. Instead, it would be a dangerous stupidity to approach a two-degree Celsius of global temperature rise (yes, I thought carefully before using the word “stupidity“: all alternatives were found wanting).
Indeed the whole problem is not to warm up the poles too much. The global temperature rise is irrelevant. Two degrees more in Texas or Australia would just lead the offending natives to crank the air conditioning higher, and pour more prehistoric aquifer water on their greens.
Whereas the frozen poles constitute the planet’s air conditioning system. The frozen poles reflect light out into space, and make the atmosphere in a Carnot engine, with a warm source (the tropics) and a cold sink (the frozen poles). Heat is transported from warm to cold, from tropics to poles, by enormous oceanic currents, such as the Gulf Stream. Melt the poles, remove the heat reflectors, and shut down the currents.
But most of the warming, so far, is at the poles, and it has already reached nearly 5 degrees Celsius in parts (the Antarctica peninsula, for example). Yet, the global temperature rise, so far, is roughly ONLY one tenth of that. Scaling up, on present evidence, a global planetary rise of two degrees Celsius may mean a rise of twenty degrees Celsius in many glaciated polar areas (yes, a rise of 40 degrees Fahrenheit). So the poles would melt, and the Earth would lose its reflectors. Tipping points would tip, and things would get worse from there. Oceanic currents would stop. Europe would freeze in winter. Golbal temperatures would shoot up. Oxygen would disappear from huge parts of the tropical oceans, which would die. (Several of the preliminaries of these effects are tentatively observed.)
Many people reading this will scoff and say that this will not happen, because it did not happen before. Paleontologically, this is not true. Although there was no human industry to start a CO2 bubble, they have happened before (they can be generated by continental drift or super giant volcanic eruptions known as “supertraps”).
When dinosaurs flourished, the poles were warm. Dinosaurs were roaming the forests of Antarctica. Crocodiles terrorized Northern Greenland. However, the world had dozens of millions of years to adapt. Polar dinosaurs saw with the lights of the stars for months on end. Right now, we are going to hit the biosphere with the heat shock from hell.
Besides, it’s not all about “climate change”. Half of the CO2 is presently dissolving in the oceans, so a rise of two degrees Celsius means extremely acid oceans (CO2 turns into carbonic acid after it reacts with water). At the present rate of acidification, marine life will dissolve big time by 2100. That’s how a lot of the oxygen is produced, by photosynthesizing unicellular animals, with acid sensitive skeletons. Atmospheric poisoning deniers do not want just to warm us up.
Ah, also, just a reminder, some gigantic, and deep, parts of the oceans got too warm to contain enough oxygen to support life, and they have already died.
And yes, the oceans are rising, and the icecaps are melting, both in Greenland, and Antarctica. The rise of sea level is itself augmenting at the rate of 5% a year (as many of the facts in this post, published in summer or fall of 2009). It’s an exponential!
When something augments at a rate proportional to its own value, it’s an exponential. The exponential is the most important function in analysis, if not mathematics. The exponential augments extremely fast, because the bigger it is, the faster it becomes bigger. Peons who know the exponential not, have no idea the danger we are in! They have no mathematical understanding of the danger we are in. They need to take those mathematic classes they never took, to realize how immoral their ignorance is.
Accelerating down. The trend line of Greenland ice mass (green) curves downward with time, suggesting that ice losses have been accelerating.
[Credit: Isabella Velicogna, geophysical research letters.]
The more fossil fuels burned, the more hot air, the less oxygen. But not to worry! American politicians will be pleased to inform you that their super private, super bank, the one which advises the White House always, and pays bonuses with taxpayer money, Goldman Sachs, will make a future oxygen market, and will sell it short. Trust American capitalism, White House style, to adapt. Down to the last gulp of air.
On a slightly more serious note, the expression “climate change” is thus a misnomer.
In truth, we are facing a man-made collapse of the biosphere, just because full grown men want to keep on playing with fire. There ought to be an IPCB: Intergovernmental Panel on the Collapse of the Biosphere.
Atmospheric poisoning deniers want to heat us up in acid, while cutting our air supply. By 2100 CE. Of course, when that apocalypse has become the future no one can deny, there will be only one solution: nuke the coal plants. More seriously, Asia plans an enormous augmentation of its CO2 production, and that may very well become a casus belli, when the runaway exponential nature of the man-made greenhouse becomes blatant.
Technical annex 1: To calculate the radiative forcing for a 1998 gas mixture, the IPCC in 2001 gave the radiative forcing (relative to 1750 CE) of various gases as: CO2=1.46 (corresponding to a concentration of 365 ppm), CH4=0.48, N2O=0.15 and other minor gases =0.01 W/m2. The sum of these is 2.10 W/m2. One obtains CO2 equivalent = 412 ppm. That was in 2001, we are in 2010 (about). CO2 concentration is now 290 ppm, which means that CO2 equivalent is above 440 ppm.
Technical annex 2: Quoting straight from Science:
“Climate Change: Fixing a Critical Climate Accounting Error.
The accounting now used for assessing compliance with carbonlimits in the Kyoto Protocol and in climate legislation contains a far-reaching but fixable flaw that will severely undermine greenhouse gas reduction goals (1). It does not count CO2 emittedfrom tailpipes and smokestacks when bioenergy is being used,but it also does not count changes in emissions from land use when biomass for energy is harvested or grown. This accounting erroneously treats all bioenergy as carbon neutral regardlessof the source of the biomass, which may cause large differences in net emissions. For example, the clearing of long-established forests to burn wood or to grow energy crops is counted as a 100% reduction in energy emissions despite causing large releases of carbon.”
[Science 23 October 2009: Vol. 326. no. 5952, pp. 527 – 528.]
It is hard to believe that errors of such magnitude, committed by scientists (and implemented by the European Union and the US Congress) are not deliberate.
A plea to those who understand climate science so much better than I do!
Background to this Post.
Among my friends, two go way back. One of them, Dan Gomez, a lively, ebullient Californian, was indirectly responsible for me and Jean meeting in Mexico back on December 17th, 2007. I first met Dan at a dealers’ conference in Boston way back in the early days of Commodore Computers. That was the Spring of 1979 and I had flown to Boston as the owner of the 8th Commodore Computer dealership to be appointed in the UK, based in Colchester, Essex. Later, I became the global distributor of an English word processing program known as Wordcraft, written by Pete Dowson in the UK, and appointed Dan as my US West Coast Wordcraft distributor. It gave me a wonderful reason to come out to Southern California several times a year; on business, of course!
Dan and I therefore go back 33 years! Dan’s sister Suzann has a house down in San Carlos, Mexico. Suzann invited me out to Mexico for Christmas 2007 which is where I first met Jean and, bingo, Jean and I then fell in love with each other! How life flows! (Two years ago yesterday, Jean and I moved into our house in Payson with our, then, 13 dogs and 6 cats!)
OK, to the Post!
Dan has been a climate change skeptic, as in caused by man, for many years. Regular readers of Learning from Dogs will know I see things very differently. But Dan and I agree fundamentally on getting to the truth. This Blog proudly claims to seek “The underlying theme of Learning from Dogs is about truth, integrity, honesty and trust in every way.”
So when the other day Dan sent me a number of links supporting his view that “My point remains that climate change is an enormous, complex process that no computer model is going to predict and no human activity modify significantly. Big money is now at stake here and as the article shows, even trusted scientists will produce fraudulent information to further their goals as well as fill politician’s coffers.” I found my faith in my own views slighted dented. Dan is a smart guy, a good thinker and not beholden to any firm or organisation with a vested interest in denying anthropogenic global warming.
Here are some of the items that Dan referred to,
IPCC Scientist Admits Fake Data Used To Pressure World Leaders
A scientist responsible for a key 2007 United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report warning Himalayan glaciers would be completely melted by 2035 has admitted that the claim was made to put political pressure on world leaders.
Such was revealed by the British Daily Mail Sunday in an article destined to further reduce the credibility of the world’s so-called leading authority on manmade global warming.
As NewsBusters reported Saturday, the IPCC acknowledged earlier this week that its claim concerning these glaciers was based on junk science.
Read it in full here.
Then there was this,
Oregon Chapter American Meteorological Society
Anthropogenic (Human Caused) Global Warming – Is This The Greatest Scientific Myth of our Generation?”
January 25th, 2012, Portland, Oregon
First Speaker - Gordon Fulks, PhD Physics, University of Chicago
Dr. Fulks said: “My thesis tonight is simple: virtually ALL of what climate alarmists put forth as science is not. Some is half correct, some is incorrect, and too much is just plain nonsense or worse.”
This led him into what he called “one of the central problems with Anthropogenic Global Warming,” “the integrity of the data.” He discussed a variety of temperature data from land surface data that shows various manipulations and biases to the best global data from NASA satellites to the excellent ice core temperature proxies going back 450,000 years.
Second Speaker - Chuck Wiese, Meteorologist – Oregon State University
Mr. Wiese finished his presentation with the following conclusions:
1. There is nothing in the REAL atmospheric record that supports the recent temperature rise of the last century to carbon dioxide induced anthropogenic warming.
2. The tropospheric water vapor optical depth is remarkably stable but has declined recently over the last 70 years of record as carbon dioxide rose substantially in the atmosphere during the same period. This is a consistent outcome as expected by the first principle founding physics and inconsistent with atmospheric climate models.
3. Without water vapor acting as a positive feedback ( growth pattern ) to increasing carbon dioxide concentrations, the projected radiative forcing on the earth’s surface is but a grossly exaggerated calculation of what the earth’s temperature will actually do in response to carbon dioxide.
4. The earth’s “greenhouse effect” is NOT controlled by atmospheric carbon dioxide. It is modulated and governed by atmospheric water vapor and clouds, where the warming modulation is controlled by the amount of vapor and optical depth. Clouds with the hydrological cycle act to trim out water vapor into a hydrostatic, convective equilibrium. The stable atmospheric optical depth likes the earth mean temperature of 59 deg F without further solar or planetary modulation.
5. The Anthropogenic warming hypothesis by atmospheric CO2 is falsified by the real record and radiation physics.
Third Speaker - George Taylor, former Oregon State Climatologist
His presentation finished with his conclusions:
1. Human activities DO affect climate, in a variety of ways. Greenhouse gases are just one parameter.
2. Natural variations affect climate. I believe that they have been more significant influences on climate because they do a much better job of explaining observed variations.
3. Effects of future changes in CO2 are likely to be modest and manageable.
4. Many aspects of climate remain poorly understood.
The full transcripts and supporting materials may be seen here.
Then, in stark contrast, this week’s edition of The Economist has a leader about the problem of overfishing. “Of all the sea’s many problems, overfishing should be the most fixable. ” What jumped off the page at me was how that leader article started,
ACIDIFICATION, warming, the destruction of coral reefs: the biggest problems facing the sea are as vast, deep and seemingly intractable as the oceans themselves. So long as the world fails to cut its emissions of greenhouse gases, cause of the global warming behind these troubles, they will grow.
So a newspaper of the standing of The Economist is clear, “So long as the world fails to cut its emissions of greenhouse gases, cause of the global warming behind these troubles“
So if, dear reader, you can offer good supporting evidence as to why the Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society seems to contradict what so many now believe, that mankind is changing the Earth’s climate, please comment or, better still, consider writing a guest post.
A review of Michael Mann’s new book The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines.
I’m republishing in full a recent Post on Kate’s fabulous blogsite Climate Change. As a degree student, Kate is a fantastic representative of the generation that is going to have to deal in full with all the crap that my generation (born 1944) has brought about! Learn more about her here. Anything that can spread the word to those, especially in my age group, that are climate change denialists is no bad thing.
The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars
February 22, 2012 by climatesight
Throughout all the years of public disputes about climate change, arguably no scientist has taken as much flak as Dr. Michael Mann. This mild-mannered paleoclimatologist is frequently accused of fraud, incompetence, scientific malpractice, Communism, and orchestrating a New World Order. These charges have been proven baseless time and time again, but the accusations continue. Dr. Mann’s research on climate change is inconvenient for those who wish to deny that current global temperatures are unusual, so he has become the bulls-eye target in a fierce game of “shoot the messenger”. In “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines”, a memoir of his experiences, Michael Mann finally speaks out.
The story begins quite harmlessly: an account of how he became a scientist, from childhood curiosity to graduate work in theoretical physics to choosing climate science on a whim out of the university course calendar. For those who have followed Dr. Mann’s research over the years, there is some great backstory – how he met his coauthors Ray Bradley and Malcolm Hughes, the formation of the IPCC TAR chapter about paleoclimate, and how the RealClimate blog operates. This book also filled in some more technical gaps in my understanding with a reasonably accessible explanation of principal component ananlysis, a summary of millennial paleoclimate research before 1998, and an explanation of exactly how Mann, Bradley and Hughes’ 2008 paper built on their previous work.
Dr. Mann’s 1998 paper – the “hockey stick” – was a breakthrough because it was the first millennial reconstruction of temperature that had global coverage and an annual resolution. He considered the recent dramatic rise in temperatures to be the least interesting part of their work, because it was already known from instrumental data, but that part of the paper got the most public attention.
It seems odd for a scientist to downplay the importance of his own work, but that’s what Dr. Mann does: he stresses that, without the hockey stick, the case for climate change wouldn’t be any weaker. Unfortunately, his work was overemphasized on all sides. It was never his idea to display the hockey stick graph so prominently in the IPCC TAR, or for activists to publicize his results the way they did. Soon the hockey stick became the holy grail of graphs for contrarians to destroy. As Ben Santer says, “There are people who believe that if they can bring down Mike Mann, they can bring down the IPCC,” and the entire field of climate science as a result.
Michael Mann is an eloquent writer, and does a fabulous job of building up tension. Most readers will know that he was the target of countless attacks from climate change deniers, but he withholds these experiences until halfway through the book, choosing instead to present more context to the story. The narrative keeps you on your toes, though, with frequent allusions to future events.
Then, when the full story comes out, it hits hard. Death threats, and a letter full of suspicious white powder. Lobby groups organizing student rallies against Mann on his own campus, and publishing daily attack ads in the campus newspaper. Discovering that his photo was posted as a “target” on a neo-Nazi website that insisted climate change was a Jewish conspiracy. A state politician from the education committee threatening to cut off funding to the entire university until they fired Mann.
Throughout these attacks, Dr. Mann consistently found trails to the energy industry-funded Scaife Foundation. However, I think he needs to be a bit more careful when he talks about the links between oil companies and climate change denial – the relationship is well-known, but it’s easy to come off sounding like a conspiracy theorist. Naomi Oreskes does a better job of communicating this area, in my opinion.
Despite his experiences, Michael Mann seems optimistic, and manages to end the book on a hopeful note about improvements in climate science communication. He is remarkably well-adjusted to the attacks against him, and seems willing to sacrifice his reputation for the greater good. “I can continue to live with the cynical assaults against my integrity and character by the corporate-funded denial machine,” he writes. “What I could not live with is knowing that I stood by silently as my fellow human beings, confused and misled by industry-funded propaganda, were unwittingly led down a tragic path that would mortgage future generations.”
“The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars” leaves me with a tremendous empathy for Dr. Mann and all that he has gone through, as well as a far better understanding of the shouting match that dominates certain areas of the Internet and the media. It is among the best-written books on climate science I have read, and I would highly recommend it to all scientists and science enthusiasts.
“The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars” will be released on March 6th, and the Kindle version is already available.
It ought to be straightforward, but the reality is different!
Those of you, dear readers, that have been following these ramblings and musings over the last 30 months, now amounting to more than 1,200 Posts, will hopefully have sensed that Learning from Dogs is much more than a blogsite about dogs! It is, as I say here, about truth, integrity, honesty and trust using dogs as a powerful metaphor for these essential qualities of a civilised society.
But perhaps there is no topic more challenging for people to determine the truth than the topic of man’s impact on the earth’s climate. I’m sure that millions intuitively sense that we are over-consuming ourselves to oblivion. That is where I come from. I am not a scientist, just a humble writer, and rely on quality sources of information and instinct to form my conclusions in this area. I am also deeply suspicious of the largely out-of-sight relationships between large corporations, big money and politics!
I have no doubt that there are other millions of people who do believe that mankind is changing our planet’s climate.
So when I saw this article in the Wall Street Journal, I was dumbstruck. Here’s the headline and opening paragraph,
No Need to Panic About Global Warming
There’s no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to ‘decarbonize’ the world’s economy.
Editor’s Note: The following has been signed by the 16 scientists listed at the end of the article:
A candidate for public office in any contemporary democracy may have to consider what, if anything, to do about “global warming.” Candidates should understand that the oft-repeated claim that nearly all scientists demand that something dramatic be done to stop global warming is not true. In fact, a large and growing number of distinguished scientists and engineers do not agree that drastic actions on global warming are needed.
The long article closes with this paragraph just ahead of the ‘signatures’ of the scientists.
Every candidate should support rational measures to protect and improve our environment, but it makes no sense at all to back expensive programs that divert resources from real needs and are based on alarming but untenable claims of “incontrovertible” evidence.
Then in short order, up came this from the Daily Mail online,
The supposed ‘consensus’ on man-made global warming is facing an inconvenient challenge after the release of new temperature data showing the planet has not warmed for the past 15 years.
The figures suggest that we could even be heading for a mini ice age to rival the 70-year temperature drop that saw frost fairs held on the Thames in the 17th Century.
Based on readings from more than 30,000 measuring stations, the data was issued last week without fanfare by the Met Office and the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit. It confirms that the rising trend in world temperatures ended in 1997.
I subscribe both to Climate Sight and Lack of Environment, although wish I spent more time thoroughly reading these fabulous sources of information. However, I did spot an article on Climate Sight that came out on the 31st January with the heading of How much is most? It opened thus,
A growing body of research is showing that humans are likely causing more than 100% of global warming: without our influences on the climate, the planet would actually be cooling slightly.
In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published its fourth assessment report, internationally regarded as the most credible summary of climate science to date. It concluded that “most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations”.
A clear question remains: How much is “most”? 51%? 75%? 99%? At the time that the IPCC report was written, the answer was unclear. However, a new frontier of climate research has emerged since, and scientists are working hard to quantify the answer to this question.
The timing was impeccable, so far as I was concerned. I posted a comment, “While in every way that I can think of, I support the premise of mankind affecting global climate, I would love to hear from someone who could reconcile the Post above with these recent items:” and then included the links to the WSJ and Daily Mail items.
Little did I realise what a response I would get. Just wonderful! I will offer some of them to you in this piece, but please do read all the comments offered on that Climate Sight post.
First up was Dana Nuccitelli. Dana is an environmental scientist at a private environmental consulting firm in the Sacramento, California area. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in astrophysics from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Master’s Degree in physics from the University of California at Davis. (Taken from here.) This is what he wrote,
How to reconcile the two? The folks who wrote those two articles you linked are misinformed and/or misinformers. I covered the first here (and) SkS will shortly have a post on the second as well, but I covered the solar cycle issue recently here.
Dana’s article in Skeptical Science, that first link, included this:
Nearly half of the list (at least 7 of 16) have received fossil fuel industry funding, and the list also includes an economist, a physician, a chemist, an aerospace engineer, and an astronaut/politician. These are apparently the best and brightest the climate denialists can come up with these days?
- Claude Allegre, former director of the Institute for the Study of the Earth, University of Paris
- J. Scott Armstrong, cofounder of the Journal of Forecasting and the International Journal of Forecasting;
- Jan Breslow, head of the Laboratory of Biochemical Genetics and Metabolism, Rockefeller University;
- Roger Cohen, fellow, American Physical Society;
- Edward David, member, National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Sciences;
- William Happer, professor of physics, Princeton;
- Michael Kelly, professor of technology, University of Cambridge, U.K.;
- William Kininmonth, former head of climate research at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology;
- Richard Lindzen, professor of atmospheric sciences, MIT;
- James McGrath, professor of chemistry, Virginia Technical University;
- Rodney Nichols, former president and CEO of the New York Academy of Sciences;
- Burt Rutan, aerospace engineer, designer of Voyager and SpaceShipOne;
- Harrison H. Schmitt, Apollo 17 astronaut and former U.S. senator;
- Nir Shaviv, professor of astrophysics, Hebrew University, Jerusalem;
- Henk Tennekes, former director, Royal Dutch Meteorological Service;
- Antonio Zichichi, president of the World Federation of Scientists, Geneva.
RED – No climate science publications, member of at least one climate denialist group – GWPF (advisory board), George C. Marshall Institute (board of directors or roundtable speakers), Australian Climate Science Coalition (advisory panel), Heartland Institute (board of directors), and/or ExxonMobil
BLUE – Published climate science research
Orange – both a member of a climate denialist group and has published climate science research
Black – no climate science publications or climate denialist group membership
Next was Gail Zawacki who writes a compelling Blog Dead Trees and Dying Forests. She commented thus,
The first link went to this,
Panic Attack: Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal Finds 16 Scientists to Push Pollutocrat Agenda With Long-Debunked Climate Lies
By Joe Romm on Jan 29, 2012 at 12:33 pm
A lot of folks have asked me to debunk the recent anti-truthful Wall Street Journal article with the counterfactual headline, “No Need to Panic About Global Warming.” I’ll combine my debunking with the rapidly growing list of debunkings from scientists and others. And I’ll update this as new debunkings come in.
That the WSJ would publish an amateurish collection of falsehoods and half truths is no surprise. The entire global Murdoch enterprise is designed to advance the pollutocrat do-nothing agenda (see Scientist: “The Murdoch Media Empire Has Cost Humanity Perhaps One or Two Decades in Battle Against Climate Change”). As National Academy of Sciences member Peter Gleick explains in his evisceration of the piece, “Remarkable Editorial Bias on Climate Science at the Wall Street Journal“:
But the most amazing and telling evidence of the bias of the Wall Street Journalin this field is the fact that 255 members of the United States National Academy of Sciences wrote a comparable (but scientifically accurate) essay on the realities of climate change and on the need for improved and serious public debate around the issue, offered it to the Wall Street Journal, and were turned down. The National Academy of Sciences is the nation’s pre-eminent independent scientific organizations. Its members are among the most respected in the world in their fields. Yet the Journal wouldn’t publish this letter, from more than 15 times as many top scientists. Instead they chose to publish an error-filled and misleading piece on climate because some so-called experts aligned with their bias signed it. This may be good politics for them, but it is bad science and it is bad for the nation.
Science magazine – perhaps the nation’s most important journal on scientific issues – published the letter from the NAS members after the Journal turned it down.
A tad more surprising is that 16 admittedly non-leading scientists would choose to soil their reputations by stringing together a collection of long-debunked falsehoods. What is surprising is that these falsehoods are more easily debunked than the typical disinformer clap-trap because they are so out-of-date!
This is a long, detailed and powerful response to that WSJ article. Do try and read it in full.
Gail’s second link went to this,
Human emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases have risen so rapidly that they now overwhelm any plausible decrease in solar activity. Indeed, a paper from last June found that even if the Sun goes into “Hibernation” it won’t stop catastrophic global warming.
But that doesn’t stop serial disinformer David Rose of the UK’s Daily Mail from misleading the public — even after being slammed by top scientists in 2010 for falsely asserting “no global warming since 1995″ — see “Error-riddled articles and false statements destroy Daily Mail’s credibility.“ Rose has another willfully misleading piece, “Forget global warming – it’s Cycle 25 we need to worry about (and if NASA scientists are right the Thames will be freezing over again): Met Office releases new figures which show no warming in 15 years.”
OK, I think this is going to end up too long for one Post.
So let’s pause there and I will continue on Monday.
Would love your comments, of course!
The strange affairs of humans.
A quick piece of web research turned up a quote by the famous physicist, Richard P. Feynman, as follows,
“In physics the truth is rarely perfectly clear, and that is certainly universally the case
in human affairs.“
I thought the quote an apt introduction to an article written by Bill McKibben of 350 org fame, recently published on Tom Engelhardt’s TomDispatch blog. As always, a vote of thanks to Tom for giving me permission to reproduce his pieces.
The topic is the Keystone XL pipeline, recently sidelined by Pres. Obama and now generating some interesting musings about the political strategy that may be at play here. I have written previously about this pipeline and a quick search from the home page of Learning from Dogs using the search terms ‘keystone pipeline’ will find these articles.
Do read the full article from Bill McKibben. Despite it’s length it’s full of thought-provoking ideas. As Tom Engelhardt says in the closing sentences of his introduction, “Mark my words on this one: sooner or later, Americans are going to wake up to climate change, just as they have this year on the issue of inequality, and when they do, watch out. There will be political hell to pay.Tom”
With no more ado, to the TomDispatch article,
Tomgram: Bill McKibben, Puncturing the PipelinePosted by Bill McKibben at 8:07am, November 15, 2011.
What’s the biggest story of the last several weeks? Rick Perry’s moment of silence, all 53 seconds’worth? The Penn State riots after revered coach JoePa went down in a child sex abuse scandal? The Kardashian wedding/divorce? The European debt crisis that could throw the world economy into a tailspin? The Cain sexual harassment charges? The trial of Michael Jackson’s doctor?
The answer should be none of the above, even though as a group they’ve dominated the October/November headlines. In fact, the piece of the week, month, and arguably year should have been one that slipped by so quietly, so off front-pages nationwide and out of news leads everywhere that you undoubtedly didn’t even notice. And yet it’s the story that could turn your lifeand that of your children and grandchildren inside out and upside down.
On the face of it, it wasn’t anything to shout about — just more stats in a world drowning in numbers. These happen to have been put out by the U.S. Department of Energy and they reflected, as an Associated Press headline put it, the “biggest jump ever seen in global warming gases.” In other words, in 2010, humanity (with a special bow to China, the United States, and onrushing India) managed to pump more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than at any time since the industrial revolution began — 564 million more tons than in 2009, which represents an increase of 6%.
According to AP’s Seth Borenstein, that’s “higher than the worst case scenario outlined by climate experts just four years ago.” He’s talking about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, which is, if anything, considered “conservative” in its projections of future catastrophe by many climate scientists. Put another way, we’re talking more greenhouse gases than have entered the Earth’s atmosphere in tens of millions of years.
Consider as well the prediction offered by Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency: without an effective international agreement to staunch greenhouse gases within five years, the door will close on preventing a potentially disastrous rise in the planet’s temperature. You’re talking, that is, about the kind of freaky weather that will make October’s bizarre snowstorm in the Northeast look like a walk in the park. (That storm had all the signs of a climate-change-induced bit of extreme weather: New York City hadn’t recorded an October snowfall like it since the Civil War and it managed to hit the region in a period of ongoing warmth when the trees hadn’t yet had the decency to lose their leaves, producing a chaos of downed electrical wires.) And don’t get me started on what this would mean in terms of future planetary hot spells or sea-level rise.
Honestly, if we were sane, if the media had its head in the right place, this would have been screaming headlines. It would have put Rick Perry and Herman Cain and the Kardashians andItaly and Greece and Michael Jackson’s doctor in the shade.
The only good news — and because it unsettled the politics of the 2012 election, it did garner a few headlines – was that the movement Bill McKibben and 350.org spearheaded to turn back the tar-sands pipeline from Hades (or its earthly global-warming equivalent, which is Alberta, Canada) gained traction in our Occupy Wall Street moment. Think of it as a harbinger. Mark my words on this one: sooner or later, Americans are going to wake up to climate change, just as they have this year on the issue of inequality, and when they do, watch out. There will be political hell to pay.Tom
Obama’s Positive Flip and Romney’s Negative Flop
Is Global Warming an Election Issue After All?
By Bill McKibben
Conventional wisdom has it that the next election will be fought exclusively on the topic of jobs. But President Obama’s announcement last week that he would postpone a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline until after the 2012 election, which may effectively kill the project, makes it clear that other issues will weigh in — and that, oddly enough, one of them might even be climate change.
The pipeline decision was a true upset. Everyone — and I mean everyone who “knew” how these things work — seemed certain that the president would approve it. The National Journal runs a weekly poll of “energy insiders” — that is, all the key players in Washington. A month to the day before the Keystone XL postponement, this large cast of characters was “virtually unanimous” in guaranteeing that it would be approved by year’s end.
Transcanada Pipeline, the company that was going to build the 1,700-mile pipeline from the tar-sands fields of Alberta, Canada, through a sensitive Midwestern aquifer to the Gulf of Mexico, certainly agreed. After all, they’d already mowed the strip and prepositioned hundreds of millions of dollars worth of pipe, just waiting for the permit they thought they’d bought with millions in lobbying gifts and other maneuvers. Happily, activists across the country weren’t smart enough to know they’d been beaten, and so they staged the largest civil disobedience actionin 35 years, not to mention ringing the White House with people, invading Obama campaign offices, and generally proving that they were willing to fight.
No permanent victory was won. Indeed, just yesterday Transcanada agreed to reroute the pipeline in Nebraska in an effort to speed up the review, though that appears not to change the schedule. Still, we’re waiting for the White House to clarify that they will continue to fully take climate change into account in their evaluation. But even that won’t be final. Obama could just wait for an election victory and then approve the pipeline — as any Republican victor certainly would. Chances are, nonetheless, that the process has now gotten so messy that Transcanada’s pipeline will die of its own weight, in turn starving the tar-sands oil industry and giving a boost to the global environment. Of course, killing the pipeline will hardly solve the problem of global warming (though heavily exploiting those tar sands would, in NASA scientist James Hansen’s words, mean “game over for the climate.”)
In this line of work, where victories of any kind are few and far between, this was a real win. It began with indigenous activists, spread to Nebraska ranchers, and eventually turned into the biggest environmental flashpoint in many years. And it owed no small debt to the Occupy Wall Street protesters shamefully evicted from Zuccotti Park last night, who helped everyone understand the power of corporate money in our daily lives. That these forces prevailed shocked most pundits precisely because it’s common wisdom that they’re not the sort of voters who count, certainly not in a year of economic trouble.
In fact, the biggest reason the realists had no doubts the pipeline would get its permit, via a State Department review and a presidential thumbs-up of that border-crossing pipeline, was because of the well-known political potency of the jobs argument in bad economic times. Despite endless lazy reporting on the theme of jobs versus the environment, there were actually no net jobs to be had from the pipeline. It was always a weak argument, since the whole point of a pipeline is that, once it’s built, no one needs to work there. In addition, as the one study not paid for by Transcanada made clear, the project would kill as many jobs as it would create.
The Washington Post’s Juliet Eilperin and Steven Mufson finally demonstrated this late in the game with a fine report taking apart Transcanada’s job estimates. (The 20,000 jobs endlessly taken for granted assumed, among other stretches, that modern dance troupes would move to Nebraska, where part of the pipeline would be built, to entertain pipeline workers.) Still, the jobs trope remained, and you can be sure that the Chamber of Commerce will run 1,000 ads during the 2012 presidential campaign trying to hammer it home. And you can be sure the White House knew that, which was why it was such a tough call for them — and why the pressure of a movement among people whose support matters to them made a difference.
Let’s assume the obvious then: that one part of their recent calculations that led to the postponement decision might just be the suspicion that they will actually win votes thanks to the global-warming question in the next election.
For one thing, global warming denial has seen its apogee. The concerted effort by the fossil-fuel industry to underwrite scientific revision met its match last month when a team headed by Berkeley skeptic and prominent physicist Richard Muller-- with funding from the Koch Brothers, of all people – actually found that, what do you know, all the other teams of climate-change scientists were, um, right. The planet was indeed warming just as fast as they, and the insurance companies, and the melting ice had been insisting.
Still, scientific studies only reach a certain audience. Weird weather is a far more powerful messenger. It’s been hard to miss the record flooding along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, and across the Northeast; the record drought andfires across the Southwest; the record multi-billion dollar weather disasters across the country this year; the record pretty-much everything-you-don’t-want across the nation. Obama certainly noticed. He’s responsible for finding the cash every time some other state submerges.
As a result, after years of decline, the number of Americans who understand that the planet is indeed warming and that we’re to blame appears to be on the rise again. And ironically enough, one reason may be the spectacle of all the tea-partying GOP candidates for the presidency being forced to swear fealty to the notion that global warming is a hoax. Normal people find this odd: it’s one thing to promise Grover Norquist that you’ll never ever raise taxes; it’s another to promise that you’ll defeat chemistry and physics with the mighty power of the market.
Along these lines, Mitt Romney made an important unforced error last month. Earlier in the primaries, he and Jon Huntsman had been alone in the Republican field in being open to the idea that global warming might actually be real. Neither wanted to do anything about it, of course, but that stance itself was enough to mark them as realists. It was also a sign that Romney was thinking ahead to the election itself, and didn’t want to be pinned against this particular wall.
In late October, however, he evidently felt he had no choice but to pin himself to exactly that wall and so stated conclusively: “My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet.” In other words, he not only flip-flopped to the side of climate denial, but did so less than six months after he had said no less definitively: “I don’t speak for the scientific community, of course, but I believe the world’s getting warmer… And number two, I believe that humans contribute to that.” Note as well that he did so, while all the evidence, even some recently funded by the deniers, pointed the other way.
If he becomes the Republican presidential candidate as expected, this may be the most powerful weathervane ad the White House will have in its arsenal. Even for people who don’t care about climate change, it makes him look like the spinally challenged fellow he seems to be. But it’s an ad that couldn’t be run if the president had okayed that pipeline.
Now that Obama has at least temporarily blocked Keystone XL, now that his team has promised to consider climate change as a factor in any final decision on the pipeline’s eventual fate, he can campaign on the issue. And in many ways, it may prove a surprise winner.
After all, only people who would never vote for him anyway deny global warming. It’s a redoubt for talk-show rightists. College kids, on the other hand, consistently rank it among the most important issues. And college kids, as Gerald Seib pointedout in the Wall Street Journal last week, are a key constituency for the president, who is expected to need something close to the two-thirds margin he won on campus in 2008 to win again in 2012.
Sure, those kids care about student loans, which threaten to take them under, and jobs, which are increasingly hard to come by, but the nature of young people is also to care about the world. In addition, independent voters, suburban moms — these are the kinds of people who worry about the environment. Count on it: they’ll be key targets for Obama’s presidential campaign.
Given the economy, that campaign will have to make Mitt Romney look like something other than a middle-of-the-road businessman. If he’s a centrist, he probably wins. If he’s a flip-flopper with kooky tendencies, they’ve got a shot. And the kookiest thing he’s done yet is to deny climate science.
If I’m right, expect the White House to approve strong greenhouse gas regulations in the months ahead, and then talk explicitly about the threat of a warming world. In some ways it will still be a stretch. To put the matter politely, they’ve been far from perfect on the issue: the president didn’t bother to waste any of his vaunted “political capital” on a climate bill, and he’s opened huge swaths of territory to coal mining and offshore drilling.
But blocking the pipeline finally gave him some credibility here — and it gave a lot more of the same to citizens’ movements to change our world. Since a lot of folks suspect that the only way forward economically has something to do with a clean energy future, I’m guessing that the pipeline decision won’t be the only surprise. I bet Barack Obama talks on occasion about global warming next year, and I bet it helps him.
But don’t count on that, or on Keystone XL disappearing, and go home. If the pipeline story (so far) has one lesson, it’s this: you can’t expect anything to change if you don’t go out and change it yourself.
Copyright 2011 Bill McKibben