RealClimate logo


Round up and thanks

Filed under: — group @ 25 February 2007

A few tidbits from around that may be of interest:

  • Tom Yulsman is running a new blog (now linked in our blogroll) for the Center for Environmental Journalism at U. Colorado, Boulder, covering climate change as one of his ‘beats’.
  • The Global Roundtable on Climate Change (GROCC), made up of business leaders, NGOs and academics released a statement on climate change. (Coverage BBC, Reuters)
  • The UN Foundation (an independent NGO established to support the UN mission) has helped put together a site called ‘IPCC facts‘ to help with the outreach associated with the IPCC Fourth Assessment. We haven’t examined every page, so if there are any questions, this is as good a place as any to go over them.

On the lighter side, those people who are fond of the offsetting concept (usually applied to carbon emissions) may find this site interesting (hat tip to Yarrow).

Finally, the more multi-lingual of our readers may have noticed the proliferation of translations of RC posts in recent weeks. We now have regular contributors translating articles into French, Slovak, Swedish and Portugeuse (as denoted by the hybrid flags associated with relevant articles). We can offer them nothing more than our deep gratitude – recent contributions have been from: Valérie Masson-Delmotte, Fernando Manuel Ramos and Ivan Bergier Tavares de Lima (ClimaGaia), Alexander Ač, Olivier Daniélo, Etienne Pesnelle, Jacob Wallström and Yves Fouquart. Many thanks to all!

(And if anyone else would like to help out on an occasional basis translating posts to their native language, please let us know. )

Update: And now turkish! (thanks to Figen Mekik).


70 Responses to “Round up and thanks”

  1. 1
    Jeff Pierce says:

    Would it be possible to get an realclimate overview of carbon offsetting? I saw several research groups at AGU who advertised on their posters about how the carbon emissions from their travel to the conference was offset by a payment to various carbon offset companies. How legit and/or useful is this?

  2. 2
  3. 3
    Justin says:

    Heck, I’m still trying to translate some of these posts into English! ;)

  4. 4
    Craig Allen says:

    Re #1 and #2: A variation on carbon offsetting I recently saw seems to have a lot of merit. The company offering the offsets is using it to purchase carbon credits from wind and solar electricity producers by paying them the difference between their production cost and the price of coal fired electricity in the same market. This makes the no or low CO2 alternatives competitive – thereby encouraging the building of more capacity. And at the same time, it allows consumers to support non-C02 energy even if their own electricity grid does not yet include such providers.

    Inevitably some of these schemes will be snake-oil, especially at this stage of the game when policy and compliance monitoring may not yet be keeping up with developments. But this is one scheme that seems to be making a direct positive difference to the way the energy market is developing.

  5. 5
  6. 6
    Ike Solem says:

    RE#4, such a ‘market-based’ approach is not going to have any real effect on the current energy situation. What is obvious is that the world will have to voluntarily stop burning coal, and that means shutting down the coal-fired power plants that do exist and replacing them with solar and wind energy. This will be a gigantic task; coal-fired electricity generation is at something like 2,000,000 GW of power, while wind is around 20,000 GW and solar is near 500 GW – and that’s just in the US. There is no way a ‘market-based approach’ is going to change that situation.

    A good analysis of the faults of market-based cap-and-trade approaches by William Schlesinger is available (free full text) at http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/314/5803/1217

    Government-based regulatory, tax and subsidy strategies will have to be applied on a very large scale if fossil fuels are to be replaced by carbon-neutral energy technologies.

  7. 7
    Craig Allen says:

    Re #6: I agree that it is not feasible for off-setting alone to solve the CO2 problem. However, if it can enable low CO2 energy generation companies to push ahead with their projects in advance of legislative support, I think that it can make a real difference. There are a number of innovative technologies being worked on that may get a significant boost from carbon offset funding. For example, hot dry rock geothermal and solar tower electricity generation. Such ventures will be more attractive to investors if funds from off-setting (in advance of the implementation of carbon taxation) can ensure that they are cost competitive with coal.

  8. 8
    Femke de Jong says:

    I thought that offsetting your CO2 travel emissions by planting trees was not internationally recognized as offsetting because you can never guarantee that those trees won’t be cut and burned in the future. (releasing the CO2 again)
    But THE most popular offsetting site over here (the Netherlands) is http://www.klimaatneutraal.nl (climateneutral), which has 5 tree planting projects and only 1 energy saving project.
    The last project is also a bit dubious. They’re trying to introduce low energy light bulbs in the Jamaican tourist industry.
    I’d rather have some of the innovative offsetting that #7 talks about.

    Btw, I won’t mind translating some posts to Dutch, but it’s only a very small percentage of the world population that will be able to read them ;).

  9. 9
    Mike says:

    Hi chaps

    On the subject of round ups here’s something I discovered in my daily trawl.

    http://www.ecoearth.info/shared/reader/welcome.aspx?linkid=69834

    It’s scarey that global warming is already impacting on health issues.

    On a cheerier note congrats to Dame Helen Mirren but Leonardo Di Caprio gets a green Oscar for his website. I heard somewhere he’s got an eco-vehicle of some sort. Now if only they could get the unit price down.

    http://leonardodicaprio.org/

    Keep up the good work.

    Mike

  10. 10
    Karen Street says:

    A British speaker at the AAAS conference said they will be drafting a report on what to look for in voluntary offset organizations; the final report will be ready sometime later this year. The British pay offsets when sending people to conferences, and double the rate for flying. I don’t know whether British calculators are more accurate than American ones, would love to see that in the report as well.

    I went to 3 calculators, none of which count mass transit, and got results that differed by more than a factor of 2.

  11. 11
    Tumer Gundem says:

    Please let me know whenever I can help you to make any translations to my native language (Turkish)

  12. 12
    Alexander Ac says:

    Dear RC,

    it is my pleasure to do the translations of good articles ;-) but unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation about the global warming topic (also) in Slovakia (though I think people are much better informed than in US). A lot of people tend to look at climate science as a “political science with pre-determined results”. And that scientists are looking at “only CO2 and not other factors…”
    And also some people think, that it brings You more money, when You are doing research in this field. I really don’t know, how these people came ti this conclusions…
    well, but there is a lot of people recognizing the difference between the climate science and “alarmism” a’la James Lovelock.

    Recently, George Kukla wrote a very strange article about that we should prepare for a coming ice age and that increasing temperatures bring more snow to polar regions and thus starting the global cooling and offseting the sea level rise…
    he also notes, that at the moment, tropical regions are warming more, than polar regions, which is also a strange statment.
    Meanwhile, H. Svensmark new theory emerging is here ;-)

    http://www.innovations-report.de/html/berichte/physik_astronomie/bericht-79628.html

    well, for many people there is no consensus in the statment, that humans are significantly affecting the climate. Unforunately, this blog is still needed, not only bringing good science, but also for a better future. That is at least my opinion,
    Continue doing a good job ;-)

  13. 13
    Jason says:

    Apparently the Wall Street Journal has an energy-focused blog that is reading Real Climate, among a few other key blogs.

    http://blogs.wsj.com/energy/

  14. 14
    Giacomo says:

    Fascinating in-depth article on the recently announced UN stance on global warming and its human consequences, with some useful facts and figures

  15. 15
    Hank Roberts says:

    I’m hoping to hear from Andrew Alden, who visits here — he wrote this on his about.com page:
    http://geology.about.com/

    Sunday at AAAS: Titan, Europa, obfuscation

    “… information about some of America’s agents of ‘agnotology,’ the production of ignorance and doubt. The textbook example is the decades-long effort by the tobacco industry to preserve its business by denying that smoking causes lung cancer and other diseases. A similar effort on behalf of that spectacular technical failure, the Strategic Defense Initiative and its successor missile-defense programs, was mounted by the Marshall Institute starting in 1984; after the fall of the USSR the institute broadened its portfolio to include climate-change science. Today’s anti-global warming effort includes veterans of both campaigns and most of the same techniques. ….”

  16. 16
    Hank Roberts says:

    The ‘Please Send Us Your…” posting has two links to a linkspammer. Wikipedia keeps good track of them; this particular operation is listed here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Spam/2007_Archive_Jan#SEO_world_championship

    [Response:thanks - I was wondering about that... - gavin]

  17. 17
    Mike says:

    Gents

    So much for biofuels. Reminds me of a front cover of an engineering magazine titled “The Hydrogen Hoax”.

    http://money.uk.msn.com/investing/articles/nicklouth/article.aspx?cp-documentid=3519865

    Keep up the good work.

  18. 18
    Lynn Vincentnathan says:

    Here’s the comment I made at MarkLynas.org re carbon offsets:

    I don’t feel quite right about them, either. I havenâ??t used any of them, but Iâ??ve thought we should reduce our GHGs as much as possible, and it would also be good to help others do so.

    For this we can have “CARBON REDUCTION GIVING.” That is, we help others (esp those in need) reduce, e.g., by giving them CF bulbs, etc. We offset our usual charity donations with energy/resource efficiency donations.

    My husband actually came up with the idea. We went to a retreat at a Benedictine monastery. Last year I made comments about their showerheads wasting water. This year I was amazed to find the showers all had the low-flow heads with off-on soap-up switches. But it was my husband who told them this year about their lights, and they said they had never heard of CF bulbs…

    So now weâ??re planning to go back with a load of CF bulbs.

    Weâ??ve been sending them monetary donations, but these bulbs will be the gift that keeps on giving…for their savings & for the earth.

    Maybe we could call them EARTH GIFTS.

  19. 19
    Hank Roberts says:

    Another tidbit if the Contributors allow — following up on earlier posts about disappearing honeybees, there was some speculation it was climate-related. Not so.

    The recent NYT stories had only hints that “certain pesticides” might be involved. It looks like good epidemiology is focusing on that cause:

    http://duggmirror.com/environment/Earth_Life_Threats_Alarming_Disappearance_of_Honey_Bees/

    According to that source, the problem seems to follow national borders. No one has publicly named the systemic pesticides that were banned in the nations where bees are still healthy,as far as I can find. Here’s what I found:

    “… honey bees have also been disappearing in huge numbers in Spain and Poland. Adding to the European mystery is that Spain has very large commercial beekeeper operations with at least 3 million colonies of honey bees, similar to the United States. But Poland’s 400,000 hives are largely raised on individual farms where smaller bee colonies are separated from each other. If the answer were disease, you would not expect Poland’s separated hives to be plagued by large numbers of honey bee disappearances as in Spain and the United States.

    “The two European countries with the largest honey bee populations are France and Italy. It might be significant that those two countries banned certain pesticides in recent years because beekeepers there became convinced that systemic pesticides were killing off honey bees. And so far, neither France nor Italy has yet reported the collapse of honey bee hives.

    “Dave Hackenberg suspects that the culprit in this unprecedented honey bee disappearance is systemic pesticides – poisons designed to stay inside plants and kill off insects that damage crops. Systemic pesticides are not supposed to kill off honey bees, but David Hackenberg explains why he thinks that’s the problem.

    “David Hackenberg, Owner, Hackenberg Apiaries, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania: ‘We move bees up and down the East Coast. We moved the last of our bees in October 2006. And a month later, in early November, … 400 hives of bees … had just disappeared. Empty boxes. No dead bees on the ground. No dead bees anywhere.’…

    “‘The bees have died – I mean they’ve died some place, but nobody knows where they are – whether they flew off a mile or two miles or what to die. I mean, we just don’t know how far out they are going.’
    “…
    “‘… (normally) other bees will come in and rob out the honey that’s left and there are a few predators. Here in the south, we have a hive beetle that moves in and we have a wax moth that moves in and starts eating up comb and stuff. The interesting thing about this whole thing is that none of these (normal) things happen. The bees do not bother these (deserted) combs. They (honey combs) literally sit there for weeks and they (other bees and insects) don’t come to take the honey out of the boxes; the beetles don’t bother them; the wax moths don’t bother them. So, it’s just like there is something in there that’s repelling everything else.’

    “‘…we’re hearing from Europe now that Poland and Spain – they have lost astronomically large numbers of bees this past fall.’”

    http://duggmirror.com/environment/Earth_Life_Threats_Alarming_Disappearance_of_Honey_Bees/

  20. 20
    Elizabeth says:

    Hey Lynne,

    Carbon Reduction Giving is a great idea. You might be able to do even better than CFs, though. Check out the new LED lights. They’re supposed to be even more energy efficient. Here’s one website –
    http://www.ccrane.com/lights/led-light-bulbs/index.aspx

    Hey Hank,

    Thanks for all the great links you provide. I especially enjoyed the link to “The Authoritarians” a while ago.

  21. 21
    Hank Roberts says:

    Eh? Undeserved credit, I think; not found in a search; likely I posted a pointer to David Brin’s site, where ‘The Authoritarians’ is mentioned among much else: http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2007/02/war-on-science-and-counter-attack.html

    Likely you met author Bob Altemeyer here:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/02/round-up-and-thanks/index.php?p=395#comment-24496

  22. 22
    David says:

    Hello:
    I would be very pleased to help you about translations from English into Spanish.
    Just contact me.

  23. 23
    Leisureguy says:

    We’re having a brisk discussion on global warming at ShaveMyFace.com, and I am valiantly defending the reality of global warming and humankind’s role in it, with some assists. But recently someone lobbed this quotation at me:

    “Appearing before the Commons Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development last year, Carleton University paleoclimatologist Professor Tim Patterson testified, “There is no meaningful correlation between CO2 levels and Earth’s temperature over this [geologic] time frame. In fact, when CO2 levels were over ten times higher than they are now, about 450 million years ago, the planet was in the depths of the absolute coldest period in the last half billion years.” Patterson asked the committee, “On the basis of this evidence, how could anyone still believe that the recent relatively small increase in CO2 levels would be the major cause of the past century’s modest warming?”

    Can you provide a pithy response? Is this guy just an outlier from a group judgment? Anyone want to join in the discussion?

    Many thanks for whatever you can offer. Michael

    [Response: Your answer is in this paper by Royer et al., also featured in the upcoming IPCC report. It doesn't look like PAtterson is right. -stefan]

  24. 24

    He’s not a paleoclimatologist, he’s a geologist, a rather obscure one at that.

    The following climate experts signed the letter: R. Tim Patterson, PhD, Professor of Geology at Carleton University; Tim Ball, PhD, Retired – Professor of Climatology at University of Winnipeg; Anthony Lupo, PhD, Professor of Atmospheric Science at University of Missouri – Columbia; David Legates, PhD, Associate Professor in Climatology at University of Delaware; Pat Michaels, PhD, Professor of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia; George Taylor, M.S. Meteorology; Gary D. Sharp, PhD Scientific Director, Center for Climate/Ocean Resources Study; Roy W. Spencer, PhD Principal Research Scientists, The University of Alabama in Huntsville; Jon Reisman, Associate Professor of Economics and Public Policy; University of Maine at Machias/ Maine Public Policy Institute Scholar, Willie Soon, PhD, Science Director, Tech Central Station and Sallie Baliunas, PhD, Enviro- Science Editor, Tech Central Station.

    You may now yawn.

  25. 25
    Reasic says:

    I just posted an article on by blog about a skeptical climatologist who was interviewed on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show. I’d appreciate it if anyone could help me with his arguments on the show. I’ve heard most of the skeptical nonsense before, but he mentioned something about weather cooling us down, and canceling the warming effect, that I hadn’t heard before. Thanks.

  26. 26
    Jeff says:

    I was disappointed to find that the special reports and blogs contained within the Weather Channel’s website do not accurately reflect the prevailing scientific view of global warming. In trying to give scientists and their skeptic colleagues equal weighting, they leave the reader with the false impression that global warming may be due to natural variability. How can I reassure my students that there is a scientific consensus about global warming when so many websites deliberately mislead them? The kicker is that the report referenced below is at odds with the Weather Channel’s official position on global warming.

    See, e.g.
    http://www.weather.com/newscenter/specialreports/hotplanet/index.html

  27. 27
    Bruno says:

    Re: #23

    There are numerous reasons why Tim Patterson’s statement is irrelevant, the first among them being that no geologist in his/her right mind would expect a 1:1 correlation between pCO2 and temperature for the entire Phanerozoic. That’s just absurd. CO2 is not the only agent of climate change.

    Second of all, pCO2 reconstructions for rocks that are several hundreds of millions of years should be taken with a grain of salt. I don’t doubt that CO2 levels were much higher during the end-Ordovician (~450 Ma)… but that isn’t really relevant either.

    Why? Because 450 million years ago, Earth was NOTHING like it is today. If it were practically identical, but with substantially higher pCO2, then Patterson’s analogy would be meaningful. However, common sense does not work in Tim Patterson’s favor (to the point that I suspect that even Patterson knows he has made a shoddy analogy). Here are a few ways in which the Late Ordovician Earth differs substantially from today:

    - The sun was about 5% less luminous
    - Land flora were vastly different (dominated by nonvascular, mosslike plants). The land was probably considerably more barren back then.
    - The configuration, size and shape of the continents was vastly different
    - For that matter, the exposed surface area of the continents was different.
    - The length of a day was shorter by nearly 3 hours
    - Compared to the other two Phanerozoic icehouses (the modern and the late Paleozoic) the Ordovician icehouse was relatively brief and violent — 0.5 – 1.5 millions of years as opposed to tens of millions of years. In fact, recent work by Saltzman et al (2005) indicates that the icehouse may have occured BEFORE the “10x-14x” pCO2 event that Patterson is so fond of… in which case, CO2 could have brought the planet out of that icehouse.

    I could go on and on, but you requested a pithy response… and I’m afraid that I have already gone past that. Suffice to say that Patterson’s statement has no bearing on recent climate change and sounds ridiculous to many geologists such as myself.

  28. 28
    Tas says:

    A bit of light-hearted diversion and a science-free post, since we are talking translations – “A few tidbits from around that may be of interest:” translates into UK/Australian english as “A few titbits from around that may be of interest:”.

    Several sources suggest that an outbreak of prudishness in American language led to this delicate modification of the language. When I look at modern/popular American influence, and typical western norms, I find this an amusing throwback. Now back to more serious things…

  29. 29
    pete best says:

    Once again we have another Daily Telegraph writer trying the same old tricks on refuting climate change:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml;jsessionid=VOOC5KI2RP0QNQFIQMFSFGGAVCBQ0IV0?xml=/opinion/2007/03/01/do0102.xml&posted=true&_requestid=1228157#comments

    First off is the sun and cloud formation by cosmic rays of which at the present time there is no real proof either way, however that means to a skeptic that it is true that cosmic rays cause clouds to form.

    Second is sunspots and the LIA and the MWP, although not global climate events they are proof of climate change being natural, yes we agree but not in the conext of modern climate change being largely human made.

    and so it goes on.

    Tiring aint it now but at least we can see that it is truely a reluctance by even moderate right wingers and other vested interests to keep the debate going and to delay action on reducing CO2 emissions by all accounts which simply means higher emissions for some additional profit no doubt to keep wall street working and all of us in work.

  30. 30
    Mike says:

    Hi chaps – tripewatch at your service! More from the Monckton brigade…

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml;jsessionid=VL4N4YH3HAGALQFIQMGCFFOAVCBQUIV0?xml=/opinion/2007/03/01/do0102.xml

    Read and weep I reckon or wait – 2hrs 1 minute! 2hrs laughing and 1 min to debunk.

    Keep up the good work

  31. 31

    [[Can you provide a pithy response? Is this guy just an outlier from a group judgment? Anyone want to join in the discussion?]]

    Certainly. He’s indulging a fallacy often seen in laymen with no knowledge of climatology: that AGW proponents are saying CO2 is the only possible cause of climate change. It isn’t, and no one said it is. The temperature of the Earth is also affected by its orbit, its albedo, by Solar activity, by volcanoes, by giant impacts, and by the placement of continents and oceans. In any case, the case for CO2 causing the present warming isn’t based solely, or even at all, on historical correlations. It’s based on radiation physics. Other things being equal increased CO2 in the atmosphere will yield a hotter surface, simply because CO2 is a greenhouse gas and that’s how greenhouse gases work.

  32. 32
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Re 25: It sounds as if Spencer is buying into Lindzen’s BS of self-regulation–do these guys know anything about the dynamics of chaotic systems? Can you say metastability and strange attractors?
    The argument that climate defines the greenhouse effect is basically saying that everything but water vapor is negligible–demonstrably false, as CO2 accounts for about 8-12 degrees of warming. The thing is, while Christy seems to be making a good faith effort at science, Spencer seems to be moving ever more into the obstructionist camp.

    [edit]

  33. 33
    stefan says:

    If you want to compensate your CO2 emissions you can also do that via thecompensators, who retire them from the EU emissions trading scheme. If you want this with a piece of jewellery that has the serial number of your emission permit stamped on it, go to (caution, advertisement) rahmstorf.eu.

  34. 34
    SecularAnimist says:

    Early in the discussion Ike Solem wrote: “… coal-fired electricity generation is at something like 2,000,000 GW of power, while wind is around 20,000 GW and solar is near 500 GW – and that’s just in the US. There is no way a ‘market-based approach’ is going to change that situation.”

    I don’t disagree that we need something more than “markets” to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to wind and solar for electricity generation — namely, government policies at all levels that encourage and facilitate the transition.

    Having said that, it is actually heartening that “the market” is really in love with wind and solar. According to WorldWatch Institute:

    In 2005, global production of photovoltaic (PV) cells – which generate electricity directly from sunlight – increased 45 percent to nearly 1,730 megawatts, six times the level in 2000. Cumulative production, at just over 6,090 megawatts by the end of 2005, has increased on average 33 percent a year since 2000, making solar power the world’s fastest growing energy source.

    Global wind power capacity jumped 24 percent in 2005, reaching nearly 60,000 megawatts at the end of the year. Wind energy generation has more than tripled since 2000, making it the world’s second fastest growing energy source after solar power. The estimated 11,770 megawatts of wind capacity added in 2005 was 41 percent above the previous record annual addition set in 2003.

    Private investment is pouring into both technologies — for example, Silicon Valley investors including the founders of Google have been investing many millions of dollars in setting up large-scale production of Nanosolar’s new thin-film photovoltaic materials, which promise to revolutionize electricity production with ultra-low cost, easily deployable PV surfaces. And with demand for both wind and solar soaring around the world, meeting the demand is becoming a challenge. A big expansion of production capacity is already needed, just to meet the existing demand.

  35. 35
    Lynn Vincentnathan says:

    #20, thanks, Elizabeth. I just ordered some LED lights. I do have a couple, but from years back (they last forever & give lots of light per .1 Watt), so I’m hoping the tech has improved even more…the prices are coming down.

    #26, “global warming may be due to natural variability.” Actually that’s probably a correct statement. I think there’s something like a 5 to 10% probability that GW is due to natural variability and not our GHG emissions (scientists can jump in and correct me here).

    So the big question is, if common-sense persons were presented with a bottle of poison (with a skull & cross-bones), and it said there was a 5 to 10% probability that they’d live (a 90 to 95% probability that they’d die) if they drink it, would they drink it? Especially when carrot juice, coke, and beer are available to drink?

    So knowing that one saves money without lower living standards by reducing GHGs, and knowing that there’s a high probability that AGW is happening and will kill off a lot of the world’s biota, including us, would the common-sense person persist in wastefully emitting GHGs?

    Next big question, what proportion of the people in the world have common sense?

  36. 36
    rick hanheide says:

    I’m trying to read the IPCC SPM and got all the way to page 5 before getting stuck. Table SPM-0 is a list of sources of sea level rise (thermal expansion, glaciers and ice caps, Greenland, and Antartica, with numerical values for each). The next line is “sum of the individual climate contributions to sea level rise”. I was expecting that to be the “sum” of the four listed components, but it’s certainly not.

    I’m sure you have noticed and explained this already – please just point me to where…thanks

  37. 37
    Reasic says:

    Re 32: Thanks, Ray. If he’s taking Lindzen’s theory, he sure did make sound as if it was his own. I think at one point he said he didn’t think anyone else was working on it.

    [Response: I had a look at the link myself, and it's a little hard to say just exactly what Spencer had in mind. I agree with the second part of Ray Ladbury's comment, but I don't think you need to go into notions of chaos and metastability to address the the question of self-regulation. Even a plain vanilla system with one stable fixed point depending on a parameter (say T = f(CO2)) can have different slopes dT/dCO2. Lindzen has inner faith that the slope is small (most recently because of the debunked IRIS idea), whereas verified models give a much higher slope. I wouldn't describe self-regulation as "Lindzen's theory," so much as "Lindzen's Faith," since there is no evidence for self-regulation of a sort that would moderate anthropogenic global warming significantly, and there have been various different self-regulation mechanisms proposed by Lindzen and others (all wrong, so far). What Spencer seems to be implying is that the Earth's temperature is fixed a priori, and that the greenhouse effect just adjusts itself to yield energy balance at this mystically fixed temperature. He implies the adjustment occurs through changing water vapor content of the atmosphere. This picture is not supported by physics of radiation balance, by thermodynamics of water vapor, by water vapor dynamics, or by water vapor observations. On a time scale of millions of years, there is a regulator involving feedback between temperature and silicate weathering, but it's evidently not a very tight thermostat, since we can still fall into a snowball or a cretaceous hothouse. The short answer is that if Spencer were right, we couldn't have ice ages or Cretaceous hothouses. Heck, we probably couldn't even have Summer and Winter. --raypierre]

  38. 38
    Mark A. York says:

    Extinction rates if species go extinct and we don’t know about their existence are they really extinct? I think yes, but some would have us believe this is evidence of less effect akin to downgrading tropical storms, thus there will have been less intensity all along. Right.

  39. 39
    Reasic says:

    Thanks for the explanation, raypierre. That’s kind of what I figured, but on a less technical level. :P

  40. 40
    Steve Bloom says:

    Re #26: Those pages are at least six years old and (AFAICT) have had their internal links removed such that they can only be found via a search. Most coming to the site looking for information on global warming will tend to end up on the (newish) special climate pages, where a qualified climatologist (Heidi Cullen) is up front.

  41. 41
    P. Lewis says:

    Re # 36 and Table SPM-0

    See The IPCC Fourth Assessment SPM and follow the SPM link and download the version with the corrections as of 5 Feb. Table SPM-0 is now Table SPM-1. These errors were noted and talked about in #11 and #43 (et seq.?) in the above RC linked article and they appear to have been corrected in that new SPM version.

  42. 42
    rick hanheide says:

    Re #41: P. Lewis, thank you very much. Funny, I could have sworn I read the entire discussion. My excuse is that I’m new here, and am having a hard time remembering which sections of which discussions I have already read and which are new. (Now the hot set ups are those discussion boards that keep track for you. So when you log back in to the site, each discussion heading will say “12 new comments”, or “0 new comments”, or whatever. Ok, now back to a differnet topic, where my notes tell me I’m up to #107 !!).

  43. 43
    Jeff says:

    RE #40: Thanks for the clarification, Steve.

  44. 44
    Rob Jacob says:

    Can someone comment on the differences between the recent UN Foundation report on reducing climate change and adapting to current impacts and what IPCC Working Groups II and III do? There seems to be some overlap. I know the UN Foundation isn’t part of the U.N. but the U.N. did request this report.

  45. 45
    David Wilson says:

    your endorsement of the Center for Environmental Journalism led me to visit their site – not very well done I am afraid, too bad, a quibble you might say except all of this work is vitally important

  46. 46

    I know a lot of languages but English is my main one, do you need people the other way? I actually can no longer read Japanese, really, although I still speak it, but I read Russian, Danish, German, French, and Spanish with reasonable fluency. I used to work doing scientific translations from Russian and German.

  47. 47
    pete best says:

    Re #34. Secular Alarmist, I agree with your assessment regarding the potential of wind and solar, how long does it take a wind turbine and PV/Solar to offset its CO2 production costs and how does using sustainables manage to offset energy growth. Can it keep up and replace fossil fuels in time to stave off 2 to 3 degrees of warming?

    Another area that requires much closer inspection is energy efficiency in tune with sustainable power. Governments should be looking very seriously at saving the use of 40% of electricity by subsidising alternatives such as 1/5th energy lightbulbs and higher mpg cars etc.

    Still it is going to take a long time to even offset a small amount of the world 850 million vehicles due to their cost and the time lag.

  48. 48
    CobblyWorlds says:

    Channel 4 UK: “Heads up” in case it’s needed.

    From a quick Google I think that this has already been picked up on by The Guardian. Channel 4 in the UK are giving a fresh airing to the usual defunct set of contrary arguments this Thursday night in a ‘documentary’ (more like fantasy).

    The Great Global Warming Swindle.
    http://www.channel4.com/science/microsites/G/great_global_warming_swindle/index.html

    The above link to Channel 4 “Science” (make that pseudo-science) gives a run down. There’s enough to know what’s coming and rebute just about everything in it. I’ll be watching the programme in case of any surprises. Then revising my rebuttal/formal complaint, which is already largely written. This get’s really really boring.

    For those watching it, or replying to it.

    Frohlich’s PMOD dataset.
    “The observed change of [Total Solar Irradiance] difference between two successive minima amounts to -10 ppm which is not significantly different from zero at the 3-sigma level.”
    ftp://ftp.pmodwrc.ch/pub/Claus/ISSI_WS2005/ISSI2005a_CF.pdf

    http://cr0.izmiran.rssi.ru/clmx/main.htm The main page of the climax neutron monitor site. If you select the start year to the earliest possible, 1953, and leave the end period, which should be 1997. You can click on “Plot” and you will see a level graph with no overall trend.

    No trend in TSI since ’76, no trend in GCRs since the ’50s. No wonder the contraries tend to overlook the warming since the ’70s.

    Channel 4 even try to sell on this old nugget of iron pyrites.
    “In fact, the experts in the film argue that increased CO2 levels are actually a result of temperature rises, not their cause, and that this alternate view is rarely heard.”

    Yes, it’s rarely heard because it’s so inept as to be toe-curling.

  49. 49
    Hank Roberts says:

    > 45, David Wilson, re CEJ
    Chuckle. I thought the environmental journalism blog a good start, but I admit I found your own website a lot more fun, a lot more passionate, and with a lot more links to pursue. Worth visiting.

    Maybe the cold, dry, rarefied air of Colorado takes something away rather than being the ideal environment the CEJ people claim; I suspect they set it among the people they’re trying to reach, who are pretty conservative.

  50. 50
    Hank Roberts says:

    Hey, a question for the contributors — who’s watching the biology change?
    I recall a decade or more ago, long before the statisticians were confident about saying they could tease any actual physical change out of natural variation, the biologists were well able to document the changes happening — ranges and distributions moving, populations shifting.

    Nature works with a much bigger ‘n’ than any experimental program can round up.

    Studies like this one, for example, from seven years ago, ought to be getting more attention here, I submit, or can you point us to any other forum dealing with the most responsive organisms likely to show climate change effects, the small ones?

    And tangentially, here’s a sighting of “harbinger” long before the pundits tried to paint the term as a political word:

    Symbiont-Bearing Foraminifera: Harbingers of Global Change?
    Pamela Hallock
    Micropaleontology, Vol. 46, Supplement 1: Advances in the Biology of Foraminifera (2000), pp. 95-10
    http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0026-2803%282000%2946%3C95%3ASFHOGC%3E2.0.CO%3B2-1&size=LARGE

    “…. Symbiont-bearing benthic foraminifera also appear to be sensitive to increasing intensities of biologically-damaging ultraviolet radiation, exhibiting damage to symbionts, calcification and reproduction, as well as increased susceptibility to infestation and predation. On the other hand, the larger rotaliid and globigerinid taxa, which secrete low-Mg calcite shells, may fare well as atmospheric CO2 concentrations increase, at least relative to the high-Mg calcite miliolid foraminifera and aragonitic corals, as falling pH of surface waters increases energetic expenditures for calcification.”


Switch to our mobile site