Is it me? Or are we all truly insane?

At times it does seem as though we, as in mankind, are truly beyond help!

If you detect a note of frustration in the title of today’s Post and the sub-heading above, then you are not mistaken.  It comes from a series of communications that have impinged upon my consciousness over the last twelve hours or so.

This morning Rob I., from here in Payson, emailed me a scan of an article in today’s (Monday) The Arizona Republic newspaper, written by Doyle Rice.  It was entitled Study: Global temps may jump 5 degrees by 2050

I’m going to take the liberty of reproducing it in full.

As the U.S. simmers through its hottest March on record — with more than 6,000 record-high temperatures already set this month — a new study released Sunday shows that average global temperatures could climb 2.5 to 5.4 degrees by 2050 if greenhouse-gas emissions continue unabated.

The study findings are based on the results of 10,000 computer model simulations of future weather overseen by researchers at Oxford University in the United Kingdom.

“These are the first results to suggest that the higher warming scenario could be plausible,” said study lead author Dan Rowlands of Oxford.

It is a faster rate of warming than most other models predict.

Most scientists say that increasing amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal are causing the planet to warm to levels that cannot be explained by natural variability.

The study was published online Sunday in the journal Nature Geoscience and backs up similar predictions from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007.

The climate models used in the study accurately reproduced actual, observed temperature changes over the last 50 years. Assuming that models that simulate past warming realistically are the best candidates for future warming predictions, the authors conclude in the study that a warming of 2.5 to 5.4 degrees by 2050, compared with the 1960-90 average, is in the “likely range” of climate warming.

The Earth’s average temperature during the decade of 2000-10 was almost a full degree higher than the average from 1960-90, Rowlands said.

I don’t feel too bad at ‘borrowing’ the story above because I also subscribe to the UK’s Met Office News Blog and, guess what, in my ‘in-box’ this morning were two news stories from the Met Office.  Let me take them in this order.

The first one I want to refer to here is this Citizen science looks at future warming uncertainty  and includes the link to the Nature Geoscience magazine article that prompted the story in The Arizona Republic.

This is how it develops,

A project running almost 10,000 climate simulations on volunteers’ home computers has found that a global warming of 3 degrees Celsius by 2050 is ‘equally plausible’ as a rise of 1.4 degrees.

The study addresses some of the uncertainties that previous forecasts, using simpler models or only a few dozen simulations, may have over-looked.

Importantly, the forecast range is derived from using a complex Met Office model that accurately reproduces observed temperature changes over the last 50 years.

The results suggest that the world is very likely to cross the ’2 degrees barrier’ at some point this century if emissions continue unabated.

It also suggests that those planning for the impacts of climate change need to consider the possibility of warming of up to 3 degrees (above the 1961-1990 average) by 2050, even on a mid-range emission scenario. This is a faster rate of warming than most other models predict.

Just go and read that last paragraph again: “This is a faster rate of warming than most other models predict.

Then the next item from the Met Office blog was this,  Why is it so warm?  It’s referring to the specific weather conditions in the UK at present:

The last few days have been unseasonably warm but why is this happening so early in the year? The answer lies largely in the air flow directly above the United Kingdom but more importantly where that air has come from.

Just a few paragraphs down we read, “we have seen a new record high for Scotland in March as the temperature reached 22.8 °C  [73.04 °F] at Fyvie Castle in Aberdeenshire on Sunday 25 March.”  So another temperature record!

I had a quick call with Martin Lack about an hour before starting this Post and he pointed me to the Australian website of CSIRO.  There we find the latest State of the Climate report, from which we read,

The previous State of the Climate, released in March 2010 highlighted a multi-decadal warming trend over Australia’s land and oceans, an increase in record hot days and decrease in record cold days across the country, a decrease in rainfall in southwest and southeast Australia, an increase in global sea level, and increases in global greenhouse gas concentrations.

Do read the full report starting here.  Or if you want a video to watch, then here it is:

Dr Karl Braganza from the Climate Monitoring Section of the Bureau of Meteorology discusses the State of the Climate in 2012.

Also on the CSIRO website is a small piece saying,

Planet Under Pressure 2012

Scientists from around the globe are meeting in London in March to discuss ‘solutions, at all scales, to move societies on to a sustainable pathway’. Planet Under Pressure 2012 is designed to bring together senior policymakers, industry leaders, NGOs, young scientists, the media, health specialists, and academics from many disciplines.
25 March 2012

Meeting to discuss ‘solutions, at all scales, to move societies on to a sustainable pathway’.  Any rational thinking person on this planet if given a chance to reflect on the science knows we have to change our ways.  And the means to do it are clear; we are not talking rocket-science here.

So when Martin Lack catches my attention with a recent piece entitled The seven woes of the Tea Party and I am linked to this article by Rick Santorum, I feel as though it must be me!  This is what Mr. Santorum writes:

The Elephant in the Room: Challenging science dogma

As with evolution, the ‘consensus’ on climate change has become an ideology.

Questioning the scientific consensus in pursuit of the truth is an important part of how science has advanced through the centuries. But what happens when the scientific consensus becomes an ideology that trumps the pursuit of truth? Answer: Those making legitimate inquiries are ostracized, the careers of dissenters are destroyed, and debate is stifled.

Unfortunately, I am referring not only to the current proponents of the theory of man-made global warming.

With the penultimate paragraph reading thus,

Why? Well, maybe because Americans don’t like being told what to believe. Maybe because we have learned to be skeptical of “scientific” claims, particularly those at war with our common sense – like the Darwinists’ telling us for decades that we are just a slightly higher form of life than a bacterium that is here purely by chance, or the Environmental Protection Agency’s informing us last week that man-made carbon dioxide – a gas that humans exhale and plants need to live, a gas that represents less than 0.1 percent of the atmosphere – is a dangerous pollutant threatening to overheat the world.

Frankly, I am lost for words and probably best that I am!  Lost because irrespective of political ‘left’ or ‘right’ the science of where this so-called intelligent species we call homo sapiens is heading, is beyond question.  I use the phrase ‘beyond question’ not as a statement of fact but as a statement of truth.  For science, as this non-scientist understands it, is about distinguishing the truth from ‘non-truth’.

Our beautiful companions for thousands of years truly do know better.  That’s the truth you see in those eyes below.

The truth is always clear, Mr. Man. Just open your eyes!

15 thoughts on “Is it me? Or are we all truly insane?

  1. It was a nice touch – I think – to juxtapose the words of scientists with those of Rick Santorum.

    The marketplace of ideas allows the views of someone with an MBA and postgraduate qualification in Law to be treated as equal to those of 100s if not 1000s of climate scientists… Many many people have been deceived into trusting their own judgement on something over which they have no right or ability to have an independent opinion: We rely on expert opinions for many things; and we do this because we cannot all be experts on everything. I include myself in this category – I may be scientifically-trained and I may consider that I understand the science – but I have not done the research; I merely choose to trust the opinions of the relevant experts who have.

    So Paul, it is not you nor I that is the problem; it is the marketplace of ideas that is insane.

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  2. Further to me commenting above on yet another temperature record set in Scotland on the 25th, I see that in my email inbox this morning is this from the UK Met Office, “Temperatures continue to break records across parts of the UK. Cromdale in Moray reached 23.2 deg C on Monday breaking the record set the day before for the warmest March day in Scotland.

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  3. Paul – re Santorum: First, his suggestion that “a gas that represents less than 0.1 percent of the atmosphere” couldn’t possibly be harmful is ludicrous. Second, he is off by a factor of four. In 2009, the CO2 global average concentration in Earth’s atmosphere was about 0.0387% by volume. By 2011 is had risen to 0.0392%. Compared to our pre-industrial concentration of 0.0280%, it represents an exponential climb.

    However tempted I am to point my finger and laugh at Santorum for being a buffoon – (pause, as I give in to temptation) – the opening question deserves examination. “… What happens when the scientific consensus becomes an ideology that trumps the pursuit of truth?”

    We’ve seen it before. The greatest minds of their time held the earth as the center of the Universe. Faulty conclusions are often drawn from inadequate data. It was once determined that if a piece of cheese wrapped in an old cloth was stuffed in a dark corner of a room, it would create a mouse. The conclusion was drawn by evaluation of all the observable data. After all, science is defined as the observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena. Experimental investigation to establish mouse creation proof-of-concept would yield reproducible results.

    All too often, science has difficulty separating itself from scientists: its “believers”. Scientific conclusions become ideologies when scientists align themselves with them. When reputations are at stake, when money is riding on outcomes, when it’s important that conclusions be “believed”, the line dividing scientists from science is blurred. Scientific consensus becomes ideology when we take the observations we’ve made, we’ve identified them, described them, and built theories to explain them, and then we make predictions of future phenomena based on them. Science can identify a rational truth. Science does not make predictions based on a rational truth. Scientists do.

    When it comes to making predictions, we all find evidence to support what we already believe. Ultimately, it’s not the facts that require examination when we make predictions of the future, it’s our beliefs. Anytime we string together seemingly related facts in order to predict an outcome, it is our responsibility to closely examine the facts we’ve selected to string together. Whether it’s global warming or the creation of a mouse, we can find evidence to support our assertions.

    Of course, lining out all of this academic quibbling begs the question, “What do you believe, Ken?” I’ve strung together some seemingly related facts and come to these conclusions:
    1) Earth’s ambient temperature is climbing
    2) It is highly likely that humans are major contributors
    3) If allowed to continue, it’s highly likely the earth will become uninhabitable to humans
    4) Humans will perish
    5) The earth will heal
    6) Santorum is a… (never mind)

    The fulcrum rests beneath “if allowed to continue”. Your passion, Paul, for this topic brings it to us, in one form or another, daily. As a result, I find myself noticing small ways that I can use my resources more responsibly. For encouragement, I look to smokers. Since the first surgeon general’s report on smoking and health (1964), there has been a major decline in smoking prevalence. Oh, people still smoke… just fewer of them do. At one time, our national economy was based largely on the export of tobacco. I’ve lived long enough to see significant change. It’s encouraging. Thank you for continually nudging us.

    — Ken
    .

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    1. Oh Ken, what a fabulously erudite comment from you! Really deserves its own Post but I hope many of hundreds of readers so far today (3.35pm) have taken in your wise reflections. And, of course, you are so correct in reminding us all that reinforcement of our own biases is part of being human. Which doesn’t amend the conclusions you list in any way at all! Thank you so much for taking the time to add to the debate, Paul

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    2. Hi Ken. Have you seen Barry Bickmore’s 45-minute video on ‘How to avoid the truth about climate change’?
      http://bbickmore.wordpress.com/about-this-blog/how-to-avoid-the-truth-about-climate-change/

      I have re-posted it on my blog – and have since referred to it frequently – here:
      http://lackofenvironment.wordpress.com/2012/02/09/how-to-avoid-the-truth-about-climate-change/

      If not, you should watch it; you will love it: It contains an excellent section on why climate change “sceptics” are not like Galileo.

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  4. I think I’ve found your answer…. we’re not insane afterall, just incredibly lucky.

    Last night I watched a documentary about super volcanoes. http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/supervolcanoes/

    I learned that a vast pocket of magma is poised to erupt in Yellowstone Park (now at its 600,000 year cyclical eruption) which will dump enough volcanic ash into the atmosphere to lower the earth’s average temperature by that very same 5 degrees those silly scientists are worried about global warming.

    Hurrah! Now we can sleep at night, get up in the morning, jump in our SUVs, drive to our favourite fast food restaurants for our plastic milkshakes and fat burgers and toss the leftovers into the local land fill.

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    1. Wen, I think I detect a slight ‘tongue-in’cheek’ tone to your comments! But, seriously, thanks for the reminder to watch that film! In the end, Planet Earth’s future is assured irrespective of the antics of these strange two-legged creatures.

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      1. Yes tongue-in-cheek-ish, but also serious, my feeble attempt to show how silly I think the Santorum-like efforts to reason our human culpability away with mis-direction, errors and omissions, and wilful blindness – how dangerous for anyone to take those arguments seriously. An ideology?

        It’s shameful at the moment to be Canadian with our tar sands policies and its appalling pollution. The reality is that a clear majority of Canadians do not agree with the PM and PC policies to pursue oil in Northern Alberta. A visit to http://ww3.tvo.org/ (Ontario Public Television) to view recent documentaries, especially ‘White Water, Black Gold’ demonstrates public opinion and government dismissal of same.

        For my own personal experience, my husband and I have concluded that the only way we can make a contribution is to make our own grass-roots changes. We are solar, heat with wood (carbon neutral), composting toilets and kitchen scraps, and lately are choosing as much local food, goods and services as possible. The Transitions movements are a great example and well worth emulating for all of us.

        I think it’s pretty clear that waiting around for governments and big business to solve environmental problems is dangerous to our health and well-being — it’s important to hear voices directly from our scientists, but I think we are very foolish (insane) to refuse to take action now. What are people waiting for, and at this date, does it really make much difference who or what is causing such environmental and climate devastation?

        What’s the saying…. walk softly and leave nothing behind but your footprints. Even that may be too little, too late, but let’s hope not.

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      2. Wen, so much of your last reply resonates with Jean and me. We went solar about 3 months ago, have some young chicks growing up (for egg laying), new vegetable beds about to be planted out, compost our food waste and so on.

        Then the latest ‘project’ is the forming of Transition Town Payson that I’m sure will be written about on LfD in coming weeks.

        So, yes, it is the time for all people who care to do something and I am struck by how broad that feeling is. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Paul

        Like

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