TCS Daily


The End Is Not Near

By Tim Worstall - April 11, 2006 12:00 AM

There's good news, more good news and then, unfortunately, some bad news, on the subject of climate change. What would you like first? Right, the good news it is then.

In all of the arguments about climate change the two questions that have always loomed largest for me are: how much of it is there likely to be? and what are we going to do about it? If it all ends up being 0.1 degrees Celsius in a century then obviously we don't do much about it and if it's going to be 10 degrees Celsius next week then we'd better get a move on.

The Kyoto Protocol was never going to be one of the things I thought we should do as it does not very much at great expense. I'm also on record here as stating that I think technology will save us, for my day job involves some contact with certain parts of the alternative energy research world and things are moving a great deal faster than the wider world seems to recognize.

Having said that (revealing my prejudices as it were) the question of how much change we're likely to see is obviously the most important. We have a number of different estimates, using different methods, and some of them push some very scary numbers indeed. I don't mean just the usual alarmists (those who say we should all be dead already from the pesticides in our baby milk, we've already drowned from the ice caps melting and so on) but even some of the more sober scientific studies say that they can't rule out 6-degree C rises, higher even. Which is why this paper is so cheering. It looks like we can rule out runaway warming purely as a result of CO2 emissions. For an easier to understand explanation try this at the blog of one of the authors.

We have a number of different ways of trying to work out the "climate sensitivity," that is, what sort of temperature change would we expect to see from a doubling of the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere? The International Panel on Climate Change (the UN's offshoot looking into all of this on our behalf) has in the past given a range of 1.5-4.5 degrees C. Various other methods have also been used and these are the ones that don't rule out those very large changes that the alarmists tell us about in the newspapers all the time. Which leads to the interesting thing noted in the new paper:

We made the rather elementary observation that these above estimates are based on essentially independent observational evidence, and therefore can (indeed must) be combined by Bayes' Theorem to generate an overall estimate of climate sensitivity.

So instead of wondering which of our estimates might be correct we look at all of them and come to the correct answer. This pretty much rules out the extreme outcomes and gives us, as they say, a climate sensitivity of 3 degrees C. There's still a range there but the researchers are quite clear about the fact that they didn't think that the scientific community is ready for such a low number to be announced. All of which is of course extremely good news. Even if everything else said about climate change is true, if every Friends of the Earth pamphlet is spot on in every detail, we're still not going to have runaway global warming as a result of CO2 emissions.

Excellent, the second piece of good news also shows that estimates of how much of a rise in CO2 emissions we are going to see are also too high. Ian Castles and David Henderson made the point (explained here at TCS in 2004) that there was something decidedly odd about the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES). This is the series of economic models that tries to look at how the world is going to develop over the next century and then give the tonnages of CO2, methane and so on that will be pumped out into the atmosphere. There were several substantial criticisms (the way the use of regional growth figures would have made North Korea richer than the US in 2100 was a particular delight) but perhaps the most important was the one about the use of exchange rates.

It's well known that if you use market exchange rates to compare relative levels of wealth between rich and poor countries that you'll end up overstating the differences. Things made locally and consumed locally (so called non-traded goods) will be cheaper in the poor countries for, it being a poor place, people get paid less, amongst other factors. So when we try to make such international comparisons we are supposed to use Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) exchange rates (which take account of these differences in prices) so that we measure the true gap in wealth correctly. This shouldn't have made much difference to the SRES except for the fact that most of the models assumed "convergence". That is, that most of the poor countries would end up becoming not just less poor in absolute terms but also less poor in relative terms. Well, if you measure that poverty in the first place using market exchange rates (which the SRES did) then obviously you will overstate the amount of growth that will happen to get to that convergence. That's part of the Castles/Henderson case, that the SRES assumes too much growth in the economy over the next century. This, of course, means that they're overstating the increase in emissions that the scientists then plug into their climate models.

Many were not all that taken with this argument, amongst them the Australian economist John Quiggin, and he's continued to work away at the problem, including making submissions to The Stern Review (the UK Government's look at the economics of climate change). In the course of this he's received a paper (not peer reviewed, this is a working paper) from a colleague, a W. Erwin Diewert, which tells us that there is indeed substance to the Castles/Henderson critique. Not quite as much as was originally claimed (but then they've already dialed back from their very large first claims) but large enough for this to be the conclusion:

What conclusions can we draw from the above algebra? It seems possible to draw the following tentative conclusions:

    • Castles and Henderson are right to criticize the first part of the SRES modeling strategy, which relies on market exchange rates to calculate per capita real income differences between countries. It would be much better to use ICP PPP's for this first part of the SRES modeling strategy. The differences between PPP's and market exchange rates can be very large so their criticism is not a negligible one.
    • Quiggin is right to implicitly criticize the entire SRES modeling strategy. It would be simpler to abandon the two stage modeling strategy and make direct comparisons of energy intensities across countries and assume energy convergence rather than real income convergence.
    • Either way, the SRES model should be reestimated.

Now I'll have to take what these four gentlemen, Castles, Henderson, Diewert and Quiggin tell me is their conclusion slightly on trust. But they do all agree, that the end result of their collective two-year ponder over this question is that the SRES is using the wrong numbers and or methods and that the calculations need to be done again. There are differences about how much they think things will change if these sums are done again but they are (like the good academics they are) telling the IPCC that it needs to do its homework over.

But don't you think that's two pieces of good news? That climate sensitivity is less than previously thought and also that the models everyone's been using for the past five years over-estimate (to a still argued over degree) the likely emissions over the next century?

Want the bad news? The IPCC isn't going to take any notice:

In 2001 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a set of scenarios in the Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES). These scenarios have been developed in a four year process with many scientists involved in the writing and the review process. The SRES scenarios played an important role in the Third Assessment Report (TAR) of the IPCC and will be used in the upcoming Fourth Assessment Report (AR4). The 21st IPCC plenary session (November 2003) decided that no new baseline scenario would be prepared for the AR4, in view of the time it takes before new scenarios are taken up by the research community and used in publications.

AR4 is to be published in 2007. AR5, the fifth assessment report is presumably due in 2013 or thereabouts and that's the first time that the SRES models will be looked at again. Now I don't know about you but I don't think that's all that acceptable. We are (depending upon which side of the argument you are on) either facing the greatest threat to the health of the planet or we're about to spend trillions upon trillions of dollars on fixing something that doesn't actually need fixing.

Don't you think having a few guys cranking through some spreadsheets to find out which might be a good idea? Soonish?

The author is a TCS contributing writer living in Europe.

Categories:

197 Comments

Would be nice…
But I won't count on it. The fact is all of the models are badly skewed as are many of the sciencocrats who are involved in deciding what is useful and used and what isn't. I'm sorry, but I had little faith in the whole climate crowd to begin with; this is just another little bit of evidence that shows why I was right to be skeptical in the firt place.

Is the earth warming, yes. Why? Look to the sun, the stars and the past. It has happened before, it is happening now and it will happen again; when the time is right it will all begin to cool and those who come after us will look to this time as the "good old days".

The End is not Even Nearly Near
I believe it is well established that the economic projections of IPPC scenarios are absurdly high.

So are their highly unscientific projections of global warming. Here is some hard data and references to counter the scare-mongering.

Most of the alarming predictions from the pro-Kyoto enthusiasts come from two sources:

a. Climate computer models that are simply exercises in curve fitting, and which prove absolutely nothing;

b. Grafting together dissimilar data sets - for example Dr. Michael Mann's discredited "hockey stick", which grafted tree ring proxies to recent surface temperature measurements.


It is interesting to note that the statements of so-called "climate skeptics" of five years ago still hold true, while the pro-Kyoto global warming crowd are always having to re-invent the nature of their crisis, as one-by-one their scary conclusions are discredited.


Let's examine some allegations by the climate skeptics that have never been adequately addressed by the pro-Kyoto crowd:

1. Climate has always changed, long before man could have had any impact on it. For example, contrary to Mann's hockey stick, the Medieval Warm Period was warmer than the present.

2. Much of the recent alleged surface warming actually occurred from ~1850 to ~1930, before the huge increase in the use of fossil fuels.

3. In spite of the huge increase in fossil fuel use from ~1930 to ~1975, global average temperatures actually cooled slightly over this period.

4. Some surface warming has been reported from ~1975 to 2005 but it has been difficult to separate the urban heat island component from true surface warming. The surface temperature data set appears to be rather compromised in much of the world.

5. The USA's NOAA data set, which is likely the very best in the world, actually shows slight summer and fall cooling from 1930 to 2005, and about 0.5 C warming only in winter and spring seasons. http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/cag3/na.html

6. Satellite and weather balloon data show no net warming in the Lower Troposphere ("LT") from ~1975 to ~2000. The satellite data set provides far better coverage of the planet than the surface data set. http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/t2lt/tltglhmam_5.2

7. There is a possible small increase (~0.2 degrees C) in global average LT temperature from ~2000 to 2005 , but this change is within the margin of uncertainty.

8. During the forty year period 1961-2000, both the number and intensity of landfalling U.S. hurricanes decreased sharply. The year 2005 remains an anomaly and we need more years of data to draw any different conclusions. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pdf/NWS-TPC-4.pdf

Based on the data, one would conservatively conclude that:

Increased atmospheric CO2 is at most a minor driver of warming. Closed form solutions suggest an upper limit of a 1 degree C warming from a hypothetical doubling of atmospheric CO2. There is no evidence of an "amplifying effect" as assumed in higher estimates from computer climate models.

The surface warming is largely natural and may now be driving a slight warming response in the LT. Since any possible LT warming is lagging rather than leading the alleged surface warming, it is very difficult to conclude that the alleged surface warming is primarily caused by increased CO2 in the atmosphere.

Closed Form Solution to Bound the Warming Question
Using the USA NOAA seasonal and annual data from 1930 to 2005, I calculate 0.3 degree C additional warming from today for a hypothetical doubling of CO2.

Based on 0.38 degrees F average annual warming from 1930 to 2005 - note that all of this warming occurred in winter and spring and slight cooling occurred in summer and fall.

Obviously, this analysis makes certain unconservative assumptions about the relationship of atmospheric temperature and CO2 (by ascribing all warming and cooling to atmospheric CO2) - and still there is no problem.

Actually, if I were inclined to worry (and I'm not), it would not be about warming - it would be about the cooling during the USA's growing and harvest seasons. Could evil CO2 actually be preventing even greater cooling, which could threaten the growing season of the world's greatest food producer?

k = deltaT/ln(CO2b/CO2a)

deltaT = k*ln(CO2b/CO2a)

Run using USA NOAA annual and seasonal data, converted to degrees C (1930 to 2005):

k CO2a CO2b deltaT Case
0.730 285 380 0.21 Base Annual
0.730 380 560 0.283 Due to 2*CO2.

k CO2a CO2b deltaT Case
-0.278 285 380 -0.08 Summer-Fall
-0.278 380 560 -0.108 Due to 2*CO2.

k CO2a CO2b deltaT Case
2.120 285 380 0.61 Winter-Spring
2.120 380 560 0.822 Due to 2*CO2.

Hope these three tables are readable.

pathetic attempt
This is a pathetic attempt to create controversy where there is none. Scientists believe in global warming as a threat as much as they believe in anything -- effectiveness of vaccinations, ineffectiveness of laetril, harmfullness of smoking, etc.

Typical TCS
After a long absence, I am back to stir up s**t.

Has anyone here heard of the Hydrate Hypothesis (http://www.planetsave.com/ps_mambo/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=6724&Itemid=1)?

This pretty much changes the model radically, leading to much faster warming. Also, the evidence for lower temperatures was largely the result of incorrect placement of sensors on weather balloons (http://www.wired.com/news/planet/0,2782,68510,00.html?tw=newsletter_topstories_html) and not on any real data. Additionally, NASA has shown that the North Atlantic is acting as a much larger heat sink than was expected, causing slightly less atmospheric warming, but at the expense of ocean warming, particulary in equatorial regions. Also, 2005 was the warmest year in recorded history, warmer than anything pre 1930 and post recorded temperature, which completely destroys a few previous posters assertions.

In fact, seems like LiberalGoodman is the only one who has actually read any of the data. For the rest of you, there is a lot of it out there, once you start to sift through and reject anything not submitted for peer review, you get a pretty clear picture that the forecast is actually worse than previously thought, and empirical evidence to back it up (ie: melting in both greenland and the antarctic).

stirring up s**t
I presume the writer above is setting up a farm in Greenland since we are now warmer than any time in recorded history. Farming was active there during the Medieval Warm Period.

I also feel the need to point out the fact that, contrary to all the optimistic postings above, the problem being addressed is not warming but capitalism which must be stamped out. Logic11 comments on scientific opinion on smoking. Second-hand-smoke is an excellent example of the political agenda of the "scientific community." The original data was collected on the wives of heavily smoking Japanese men who lived in tiny apartments. Everything since has been a house of cards built upon that non-typical sample and using projections much like those used in the global warming campaign.

I think you are a phony....
and that the data you claim is also phony. "2005 was the warmest year in recorded history,"? Really? I suppose this might be true if your dataset is limited to only that period of human history occuring after about 1300AD. I've been studying the resultant effects of past paleoclimate change for 20 years now and my data says that

Pathetic indeed!
"LiberalGoodman" uses false analogy to make his false point - this tactic is simply dishonest and foolish.

I have read both the references posted by pottymouth "logic11":
The first point, the hydrate hypothesis, is defective. If this were a major problem it would have manifested itself during the Medieval Warm Period, which was warmer than today, and it did not.
The second point, concerning measurements of atmospheric temperatures by weather balloons and satellite, is more serious. However the temperature measurements from satellites had already been adjusted for orbital decay in my reference on Lower Troposphere temperatures. Problem solved, and still no serious global warming!

Interested parties read my references and draw their own conclusions.
The USA summer and fall cooling from 1930 to today is particularly interesting.
These plots can easily be re-created yourself by going to http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/cag3/na.html
Enter:
Data type: Mean temperature
Period: Summer (etc.)
Location: United States
First Year to Display: 1930
Last year to Display: 2005
Line chart
Hit "Submit" and the plot and green trend line are displayed.


What Risk?
Check out the book "What Risk?" It discussed the 2nd hand smoke and As issues and shows how science can go wrong.
The issue with climate change is just as described in the article.
People who 'think' they know the world will burn up if we don't do something NOW want to spend lots of other people's money on projects with NO idea of their effects. If you just want to advocate riding bicyles and turning down the thermostat, fine, or even pushing for nuclear power, great. But when you want to take MY money for your dubious projects based upon highly uncertain data and models, well, I will just have to speak up and say PROVE IT without a reasonable doubt and hold on to MY money more tightly.

I think you are a phony....
and that the data you claim is also phony. "2005 was the warmest year in recorded history,"? Really? I suppose this might be true if your dataset is limited to only that period of human history occuring after about 1300AD. I've been studying (professional geologist) the resultant effects of past paleoclimate change for 20 years now and my data says that:
1. High-latitude regions of the Earth (where temp rises are being observed) are still emerging from the recent ice age;
2. The current glacial interstadia is in its infancy and that the climate will continue to warm, with or without input from human activity;
3. The previous interstadia was much, much warmer resulting in shorelines that transgressed present shorelines by elevations at least 72 feet above current mean sea level (other Pliocene-Pleistocene shorelines occur at even higher elevations); in addition to the evidence given above (these observations made by geologists 100 years ago), modern treeless, tundra regions were heavily forested and buried by loess during the recession of recent glaciers.
4. Continuously frozen regions were not frozen during the last interstadia and that recent permafrost thawing is occuring naturally, without human input.
Finally, your assertion that sensors were incorrectly placed on weather balloons is ludicrous. That you and the other climate scaremongers are phony is well established amongst those of us professionals who actually study the paleoclimate and we laugh at you, but I'm willing to stick my neck out and make a prediction:
All evidence points to a cooling Earth (ev. -- recent ice ages, entropy, cooling sun, etc.) and that current warming trends are real (Earth's surface has undergone numerous oscillations in temperature giving short-term and long-term variability) and unpredictable (all models fail and must be constantly modified to fit changing data), and that in the future, mankind will do whatever it can to artificially warm the planet's surface to prevent the far greater catastrophe of global cooling -- resulting in the next and inevitable ice age.


Discovery...
Sorry about my previous post. I've learned that if you hit "tab" on this page, it functions as "Post Message".

You are the World
I've noticed in your postings here and elsewhere, that you always try to bloster your opinions by claiming universal convergence between your thoughts and those whom you consider most informed.

"Scientists" believe this. "Everyone" says that. Of course, what you always mean is "Scientists with whom I agree" and "Everyone who thinks as I do".

It suggests you do not have the courage of your own convictions, but must seek external validation before you know how to think and act.

Venus
"Not only is Venus the nearest planet to Earth, the two also share similar mass and density. Both have inner cores of rock and are believed to have formed at roughly the same time.

Despite those similarities, Venus’ atmosphere is composed almost entirely of carbon dioxide and very little water vapor. Thanks to runaway warming from its greenhouse effect, Venus has the hottest surface of all the planets, around 864 degrees Fahrenheit"
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12254327/

Just one other point about Venus, it is CLOSER to the sun and receives TWICE as much energy from the sun. Think that might be a factor as well as 96% of its atm is CO2 at 92 times the pressure of earth's atm, while earth's is 0.03% at 1 atm?

Venus is hot!
Good comment marjon, especially the last paragraph. Many assume CO2 is the major greenhouse gas, when in fact about 95% (estimates vary) of Earth's greenhouse effect is due to water vapor. CO2 is a very distant second.

According to Veizer (2005), the atmospheric CO2 level at the time of the Ordovician glaciation (~450 MM years BP) was about 6000ppm, or about 16 times today's levels.
http://www.gac.ca/JOURNALS/GACV32No1Veizer.pdf (see Fig. 5)

"...a good deal of attention has been focused on the causes of the Ordovician Ice Age. In fact, it is not easy to see how an ice age could have occurred. Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are believed to have been 8 to 20 times their current values. This ought to have prevented anything approaching an ice age."
http://www.palaeos.com/Paleozoic/Ordovician/Ordovician.htm

Certain parties have said that the Ordovician glaciation is explained by the fact that the supercontinent of Gondwana drifted over the south pole, initiating that Ice Age. This explanation does not hold up very well, if in fact CO2 is as significant a driver of warming as the pro-Kyoto camp states.

Ironically, life on Earth will ultimately cease due to a lack of atmospheric CO2, which has been declining due to the natural CO2 sequestration that has been happening since life began on our planet.

Who/What do we believe?
I don't know why people even debate this issue anymore. I see good arguments from both sides. Both sides act like they really know what they're talking about. Both sides provide reason to dismiss supporting references to events or measurements from the other side. There seems to be tons of data out there for both sides.

All I can conclude is that we really don't know. So, do we bite the bullet and take some pain to change our behavior and try to lessen the effects of global warming, just in case its true? Or do we go on our merry way and ignore it, so we can be happy now but risk premature total destruction, just because it might not be true?

I feel like we've reached data saturation. Meaning unless we get brand new data that everyone agrees is more reliable than what we have now, any other new data will only add to the confusion.

My 2 cents: I believe global warming is real, I don't believe man has caused it, but I do believe our activities have caused it to accelerate. I believe weather patterns are and will continue to be more severe. I believe its 50/50 whether oceans will rise and ruin current coastal areas. No doubt northern glaciers are melting, but its hard to fathom enough melting to cause the oceans to rise. You'll notice I said I believe these things, its my gut feeling from everything I've read and seen. You can spout data at me to prove me wrong, but its meaningless because someone else can spout just as much data to prove me right. So, are we better safe than sorry, or is money more important?

What do YOU do?
How much of YOUR money are you willing to spend to do something about it?
Don't ask what that something is because I don't know, do you?

Save it: Here's the way the Viking settlement looks today
They didn't do farming, they raised cattle for grazing. You can see what the cattle grazed on hee, in a recent picture.

http://www.greenland-guide.gl/narsaq-tourist/img/ph-qas_flow1.jpg

The Vikings also cut down the trees that used to be there. The colony would still be there if they'd learned to hunt seals and eat fish instead of insisting on living on cattle and milk, and spending their resources building churches and killing Eskiomos.

>he problem being addressed is not warming but capitalism which must be stamped out.

speaking of pathetic
Only a tiny fraction of "scientists" believe that global warming is a threat.
Being a typical liberal, LG takes the stance that only "scientists" who agree with him, are credible.

I see that eric is as bad at history as he is every other subject
They raised cattle and farmed. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Trees that didn't grow back because the climate got colder.

The only reason they needed to learn how to fish was because the colder climate made farming and cattle raising impossible.

Building churches?? What's your evidence for this. I've seen plots of their villages, and I don't recall seeing much in the way of religious construction.

further refinements
3a) From 1998 to present, there has been no net warming. There might even have been a very slight cooling.

4a) The surface temperature data set represents less than 10% of the earth's surface area. Perhaps less than 5%.

Essentially it's the US and southern Canada, Europe and small parts of Russia, Asia, and Australia. Some major cities in South America and Africa, but because of economic and political problems in those regions, maintenance of the probe sites has been problematic.

SO not only is the data set inadequate in terms of coverage, that coverage is highly concentrated in the northern hemisphere.

another point
Let's not forget that the sun has been getting brighter over the last 20 years or so.

It's both
The latest theory that I've seen is that since Venus was closer to the sun, it never cooled enough for water to form.
No water, no life. No life, no photosynthesis to start removing CO2 from the atmosphere.

As a result, as the sun continued to warm, the climate on Venus quickly reached the point where life is impossible.

Moreover
It would appear that the earth was significantly warmer during the Paleozoic/Ordovician period than in the Cenozoic despite the fact that the sun is considerably hotter now than then. The drawdown of carbon dioxide into limestone to which you refer would appear to be the main mechanism for this. Carbon dioxide may once have been the principal greenhouse gas as it is on Venus, but it certainly no longer is such. In the case of Venus, the planet is simply too hot for liquid water to form on the surface. The long term problem for the Earth's biosphere would seem to be a shortage of carbon dioxide, not a human induced surplus.

funny thing
Your beliefs run counter to all of the science.

NOAA states categorically that global warming has had nothing to do with the recent spate of hurricanes. On the other hand, global warming, if the models are correct, should make tornadoes much less powerfull. Tornadoes are driven by temperature differences, not absolute temperature.

The two largest glaciers, containing over 90% of the world's ice, are both growing. No rising oceans there.

As to your being impervious to any evidence that doesn't fit into your belief system, I have no trouble believing that. You've shown it over and over again.

A slight correction
It's not photosynthesis that gets rid of the carbon dioxide, Mark. It's the cold reaction of carbon dioxide with calcium silicate in the presence of water to form calcium carbonate (limestone) and silicon oxide (sand). The reverse process makes cement. Most of the world's original inventory of carbon dioxide is locked up in limestone. That's why water is important; not just because it's essential to life but essential to catalyzing the carbon-silicon reaction.

As to Venus, absolutely right, it's too hot for the formation of liquid water.

Show me the data!
There is not much conflict in the raw data.

There is considerable conflict in the articles being published. Whether peer-reviewed or not, many articles about global warming are worthless and misleading.

That is why it is better to look at the raw data and draw your own conclusions. Sources of much of the pertinent data is included in my first post, above.

Finally, I respectfully suggest that the "precautionary principle" is a baseless notion that can be used to justify any foolish action.

Best regards to all.

MarkTheJesus KNOWS, he just can't read so well
"Your beliefs run counter to all of the science."

That is such a moronic statement it makes me laugh. All of the science Mark, really?

As I correctly pointed out, the science is all over the place, hence we have the debate.

I totally understand now why your nose is so far up W's anus, Mark. You're just like him. Weak, scared, unaccountable, self-righteous, malicious, etc. Dumb yourself down a little more and you could be a right-wing pundit.

Talk about impervious to evidence and fitting into a belief system. Thats all you have are beliefs mark. You could be the smartest guy in the world but it wouldn't matter because you're so stupidly ideological.

what about diatoms?
I thought that's what limestone was made from?

thanks for the promotion, but I turn it down
no bob, you pointed out that there are lots of people with differing opions.

The science is quite consistent.

How did W get involved in this discussion? Bob, you really need to get over this fixation with the president.

Thank you for agreeing that I'm the smartest guy in the world. My mother agrees as well. I am also completely correct on this issue. As well as every other issue, but we don't need to go into those right now.

I think this is a pretty good post but…
I would agree, except I'm still not sure man has anything at all to do with it. I consider it the ultimate ego trip to believe man can have that big and effect on the planet. Sorry, we just ain't got the power.

I believe the warming will continue until there is little ice left on the planet, then the cooling will begin. With that in mind, yes the oceans will rise; probably at least 10 to 100 ft over the next 100-500 years. But I have no proof of this. As you say, just a gut feeling that the truth is somewhere in the middle. That and a pretty good grasp of the history of global climate change.

In short, this has happened before, it will happen again and this time is no different that 120,000 years ago or so (just before the last cooling and major glacial advance).

so I ask "why do anything?" If in fact we are warming the climate, it is a good thing and our great-great-great-great-great grandchildren will thank us for staving off the next glacial advance for as long as possible. If, as I suspect, man as little or nothing to do with the warming that the climate will do what it will do.

From What I've read in the history, life during a major glacial period sucks. Cold, dry, more deserts, less geenery, fewer species, etc. Give me a warming period any time!

The real agenda
This message tells us what the motives behind the global warming hysteria are. It's all about "W".

The science is all over the place but there is also a rule in statistics that the null hypothesis is the most likely. The null hyporthesis is that man is not responsible for global warming because the forces are too great. By the same token, efforts to mitigate it are doomed to irrelevance. I will believe that the left in this country is serious about global warming and greenhouse gases as a hypothesis when they support nuclear power.

Limestone
Certainly you get some limestone from organisms such as diatoms, coral etc. But the vast bulk of it comes from the inorganic reaction with calcium silicate. Limestone formation on earth started long before life first emerged.

If you think about it, one of the signs of a planet capable at one time of hosting oxygen-carbon based life as we understand it would be the presence of limestone. That would mean it has or had liquid water.

Example...
of the major problem with the climate debate: people going with "belief" instead of proof, logic, and fact.

Just because there is an enormous amount of data to ponder does not mean that the data should not be carefully considered. Along with the data comes a lot of conjecture and opinion that many take as fact because they want to "believe".

The facts are that climate change is totally natural and no evidence so far suggests that it is moving faster, slower, or more violently due to human influences. Therefore it is totally wrong to dictate a course of action based on the belief that one must "do something" when one can not state the cause, need, or result of an action. Until this situation changes and the proof is found that proves that humans are accelerating climate change I would rather not destory the economy or impose agarian communism on the masses.

Science has no room for "belief". That is the religious folk's domain. If you wish to include "belief" into science I am sure that you would not oppose Intelligent Design being taught in schools.

Actually
The very long term trend over the next several million years is a cooling trend, not a warming one.

Absolutely…
But that is a very long term trend. Presently we are in the grips of a 4 million year old ice age that is probably just in its infancy. Get ready people, colder times are coming; but not in my lifetime.

yeah right
No mark, I pointed out the science is conflicting as well as the opinions. If the science were consistent we wouldn't have this debate.

This is ridiculous. Can anyone talk about this issue with some balance? It is obvious that the science is conflicting with itself. Yet everyone talks like they KNOW the truth. Mark, you claim "The science is quite consistent." It obviously is not.

Honestly, I hope you are correct Mark. I hope the beliefs I stated before are not correct. I'm obviously in over my head on this issue, I don't know how to interpret the data, I'm not a climate expert. So when most of the world, including many climate scientists, proclaim we should be worried about global warming, I'm inclined to believe them. But then we have a contingent, including our fearful leader, that disagrees with most of the world. This contingent happens to have a large base in the right-wing of American politics, therefore has a vested interest in protecting its corporate surrogates, the very surrogates that would be hurt most by curtailing CO2 emissions. So while its wise to question the motives of these surrogates, we should also listen and consider what they say. So the scientific evidence is flying in both directions, doing nothing but confusing the issue for the average person who just wants to know the truth.

I can only conclude we don't know the truth. So I prefer to err on the side of caution. Thats all I'm saying.

The science is not consistent, we should all be able to agree at least on that. Why are the Greenland icebergs melting at an increasingly faster rate, if global warming is not real? I don't ask that question as a support for global warming, I ask it because its a fact the ice is melting up there, its logical global warming could be causing it. Conversely on the South Pole, i've read about glaciers actually growing. I read an explanation that it is because its warmed enough down there to allow it to snow, so thats adding to the glaciers. Whats the truth?

If you are talking to me, you are preaching to the choir
I don't mind, as that is pretty much my stand down the line.

The real point
on which I think we both agree is that all of these things are very large forces, vastly larger than the comparatively trivial scale of human emissions of a very small part of the world's inventory of carbon, even assuming that we actually manage to dig all of it up and combust it.

The End is Near for Science Advisors
Energy Advisory Board Abolished
Chemical & Engineering News

The Department of Energy's decision to disband its principal scientific advisory committee next month is the latest example of the Bush Administration's refusal to listen to outside, independent scientific advice, critics told C&EN on April 10.

Established during the Carter Administration, the 28-member independent Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB) is no longer needed, says DOE spokesman Craig Stevens, and will shut down on May 20 after it completes a final report on science and math education. Stevens says two recently announced presidential initiatives will guide the department's work on energy and basic research over the next several years.

Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman "believes that we have a strong agenda moving forward with the American Competitiveness and Advanced Energy Initiatives put forth by the White House," Stevens says. "With these two initiatives, the secretary believes our course is charted for the next couple of years...

http://pubs.acs.org/cen/news/84/i16/8416doeboard.html

another problem with SRES
is that assumes that there will be no further increases in energy efficiency. Even as technology improves and energy prices go up.

the science is not conflicted
However, there are many like you that prefer to ignore the science, because their gut doesn't agree with it.

BobJones...
is the one I was actually talking to.

greenland icebergs??
I think you meant the greenland glaciers.

And they are not melting at a faster rate. In the lowlands, some of the glaciers have accelerated, but that is not the same thing as melting.

The greenland glaciers are in fact growing, not melting.

Wrong again, as always.
Why not check the facts?

>They raised cattle and farmed. The two are not mutually exclusive.

The aren't in places with longer growing seasons than Greenland. They did a little gardening, but mostly they were grazing cows.

>Trees that didn't grow back because the climate got colder.

Trees that didn't grow back because they were all cut down.

>The only reason they needed to learn how to fish was because the colder climate made farming and cattle raising impossible.

Nobody is saying the climate didn't get colder. Now it's warmer again: note the grass in the picture.

> Building churches?? What's your evidence for this. I've seen plots of their villages, and I don't recall seeing much in the way of religious construction.

Here's a picture of the ruin in Gardar.
http://www.greenland-guide.gl/narsaq-tourist/img/ph-gardar1.jpg

Feelings, wo-o-o feelings,
>But I have no proof of this. As you say, just a gut feeling that the truth is somewhere in the middle

But you're sure that the scientists (sorry, "sciencrats") who have devoted their lives to undertanding stuff are wrong. Question: when you're sick, do you assume the doctor doesn't know what he's talking about?

This is all you need to read...
>But then we have a contingent, including our fearful leader, that disagrees with most of the world. This contingent happens to have a large base in the right-wing of American politics, therefore has a vested interest in protecting its corporate surrogates, the very surrogates that would be hurt most by curtailing CO2 emissions.

Some Bush-hate and some anti-corporate tirade. Thank BJ, that will be all since your colors are quite apparent. You are in the camp that believes that if the rest of the world believes something it must be correct. Belief is all you have and that makes it very hard for logic and reason to sink in.

You attempt to appear as moderate but what is so moderate about destroying people's way of life over science that is incomplete and inconclusive?

Dear prospector...
It's a pleasure to see a critique of GW evidence from someone who has some idea what he's talking about. I have a couple of questions I hope you can elucidate.

1) "The previous interstadia was much, much warmer resulting in shorelines that transgressed present shorelines by elevations at least 72 feet above current mean sea level (other Pliocene-Pleistocene shorelines occur at even higher elevations)".

To what degree does isostatic rebound play a role in these elevated shorelines? Is there good stratigraphic evidence of mean sea level around the globe being higher during any point in the period you refer to? Or is it just your occasional shore in northern latitudes?

2) You say " The current glacial interstadia is in its infancy and that the climate will continue to warm, with or without input from human activity".

What do you suppose might be the cumulative effect if (a) the climate is continuing to warm from "natural" effects and (b) it should happen that anthropogenic sources amplify that warming trend? Would such an instance make matters even worse?

Or are you of the school that there can be one and only one cause of GW-- either man-made OR natural?

3) Is it your position that it doesn't matter whether things are getting warmer today, because they were that warm before 1300 AD? Or before 70-80,000 YBP, as sudies of Arctic seafloor deposition seem to indicate? Or 1-2 million years BP, as you suggest?

Wouldn't you rather say that the only reason we are worried about the climate changing is that we have built our civilization HERE? Isn't it a bit irrelevant to wax philosophic about climates in the remote past, when our concern is with the world's real estate?

Does it make a difference to anyone if the wheat and corn belts move north into Saskatchewan, and Iowa and Nebraska turn to semidesert? It has happened before, hasn't it?

Would it make any significant difference to our affairs if every coastal city on earth went the way of New Orleans? Even if the prospect were a century away, wouldn't someone be concerned with averting such an event as soon as a real threat was determined?

4) Finally, all evidence points to an eventual return of the glaciers. There is no reason to believe this recently past oscillation (11,000 YBP) is the last of the series.

So if we have the prospect of significant warming changing the character of the earth within the next century, due to feedback processes already observable in the real world, and we have the further prospect of an eventual return of the ice several thousand years hence-- which is the more important to us?

I'd like your thoughtful answers to any of these points you wish to engage on.

the science is obviously conflicted
I do listen to the science, the science is all that matters. But I don't understand the science, so i need experts to interpret it for me. The interpretations I've received overwhelmingly say I should be worried about global warming. Its only right-wing nutjobs (to be blunt), like yourself, that say otherwise. I don't trust you, but I'll listen to what you say. You are making me more confused, which makes me suspicious, because its a technique you use in debate.

The fact you deny the science is conflicted is problematic. mark, I know you are ideological, so its not surprising you would only believe the science that supports your position and dismiss the rest. I'm not dismissing any of it. I'll be honest, I didn't want to tell you this, but my mind is changing on this issue. I'm pushing my gut feeling aside and going with common sense- that we don't know the truth. I'll go with Pauled's comments that global warming is a natural thing that we can't affect anyway. Because we don't know any better at this time. If you know so much then please share. If you don't have time, thats fine, then say so. Lets get some honesty instead of all this head banging. I'm tired of ideological stupidity. There would be no debate if the science was not conflicted.

Who are we supposed to believe when a scientific journal comes out and says glaciers in Greenland are melting, but you say "The greenland glaciers are in fact growing, not melting." Whats the truth? Are some of them melting and others growing? I don't know what it means to say some are accelerating. Please explain!

And you wonder why the public buys into global warming hysteria. Its been explained whats going on and why we should be worried. The cat is out of the bag, you need to go twice as far to get it back in. If you don't you're just another right-wing nutjob pushing an agenda. Just like W. Please don't be a nutjob.

Yeah, icebergs, that'll tell you my ignorance. And I probably know more than the average person. How scary is that?

More about Venus
That's not the only difference. Venus is a static planet, while Earth is a dynamic one. We have ongoing tectonic processes that continually renew the material forming the earth's surface, its atmosphere and its oceans. Venus only has one observable volcano--a huge one dominating the topography of the whole planet. This would lead us strongly to believe that there are no plate motions, and thus no plowing of the materials constituting the surface layers.

In a word, Venus is dead. Therefore I don't think it holds many lessons about processes active on Earth.

Couldn't have said it better myself…
so I won't try. What I find amazing is the fact that so many people don't get this. Just look at the climate history back 10 million, 100 million 500 million years. It's all there. But you don't even have to go that far, just look at the past 300,000 years and the picture seem quite clear to me. It is a natural thing and will continue long after the human bug is extinct or when the sun goes in a new direction. (expands, contracts, goes super nova, whatever).

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