G8 summit declaration

52. We acknowledge that the UN climate process is the appropriate forum for negotiating future global action on climate change. We are committed to moving forward in that forum and call on all parties to actively and constructively participate in the UN Climate Change Conference in Indonesia in December 2007 with a view to achieving a comprehensive post 2012-agreement (post Kyoto-agreement) that should include all major emitters.

53. To address the urgent challenge of climate change, it is vital that major economies that use the most energy and generate the majority of greenhouse gas emissions agree on a detailed contribution for a new global framework by the end of 2008 which would contribute to a global agreement under the UNFCCC by 2009. We therefore reiterate the need to engage major emitting economies on how best to address the challenge of climate change. We embrace efforts to work with these countries on long term strategies. To this end, our representatives have already met with the representatives of Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa in Berlin on 4 May 2007. We will continue to meet with high representatives of these and other major energy consuming and greenhouse gas emitting countries to consider the necessary components for successfully combating climate change. We welcome the offer of the United States to host such a meeting later this year. This major emitters’ process should include, inter alia, national, regional and international policies, targets and plans, in line with national circumstances, an ambitious work program within the UNFCCC, and the development and deployment of climate-friendly technology. This dialogue will support the UN climate process and report back to the UNFCCC.

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455 comments on this post.
  1. Karen Kohfeld:

    It was interesting to see how this particular G8 meeting developed in the eyes of the press. Here is a sampling of headlines from 31 May 2007:

    SPIEGEL: Bush startet Offensive gegen Merkels Klima-Plane (Bush initiates offensive against Merkel’s Climate Change Plans)
    Suddeutsche Zeitung: Bush torpediert Merkels Klimaplane (Bush torpedoes Merkel’s Climate Change Plans)
    CNN: Bush urges 15 nations to set global emissions goal
    Fox: Bush Unveils New Climate Change Strategy
    CBC: Bush calls for climate change talks, new target by 2008
    BBC: US urges new climate goals
    Guardian: G8 leaders fight over global agreement on climate change

    It’s kind of enlightening to see how differently the same news is presented to different countries and audiences.

  2. Ksero:

    Halving global emissions by 2050… If we assume a linear reduction, approximately where would the CO2 levels stabilize? How much warmer would our planet be, according to recent models and estimations?

    [Response: Halving global emissions by 2050 (relative to 1990 levels) should give us a good chance to stop global warming short of 2 ºC above preindustrial temperatures. Allowing 2 ºC maximum warming is the official policy of the EU, Japan and Canada. I say “a good chance” because there are some uncertainties in the carbon cycle (which determines what CO2 concentrations will result from given emissions), in climate sensitivity (which determines how much warming you get given a certain CO2 concentration), and in aerosol pollution (which offsets some of the warming we are causing). Also, 2050 is not the end point – we need to keep reducing further after 2050 to stay below 2 ºC. Final thought: note the 50% reduction is global. Since industrial nations have far higher per capita emissions than other countries (e.g., US=20 tons/yr, Europe=10 tons/yr, China=4 tons/yr), industrial nations will have to reduce a lot more if some degree of fairness is to be achieved (without which important nations like China or India are not going to join the effort). That’s why some European countries are aiming towards 80% reduction of their emissions by 2050. -stefan]

  3. Tim Jones:

    “In setting a global goal for emissions reductions in the process we have agreed today involving all major emitters, we will consider seriously the decisions made by the European Union, Canada and Japan which include at least a halving of global emissions by 2050.”

    Meaningless language.

    “To address the urgent challenge of climate change, it is vital that major economies that use the most energy and generate the majority of greenhouse gas emissions agree on a detailed contribution for a new global framework by the end of 2008 which would contribute to a global agreement under the UNFCCC by 2009.”

    Looks to me like all this language comes right up against the US wall against meaningful action until doofus is over the hill. I’m ashamed for my country.

  4. SecularAnimist:

    Stefan quotes the G8:

    We are therefore committed to […] stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system […] we will consider seriously the decisions made by the European
    Union, Canada and Japan which include at least a halving of global emissions by 2050.

    Setting aside any “political analysis” of the implications of “consider seriously” as to whether the stated goal has any prospect of actually being achieved, I would be interested in RC’s scientific analysis of whether “a halving of global emissions by 2050″ (compared to what baseline level of emissions?) is actually sufficient to “prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.”

    Especially since it seems to me that ALL of the empirical observations of what is happening to the Earth right now are consistent with “dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system” being already well under way and accelerating rapidly as a result of GHG emissions to date, rather than being a future possibility that could be prevented.

  5. Caspar Henderson:

    Good question in comment 1 from SecularAnimist. Regarding the politics of it all, it’s interesting to note Kimberley Strassel sees it in the Wall St Journal Opinion Pages : Bush 1, Greens 0

  6. Timothy Chase:

    Especially since it seems to me that ALL of the empirical observations of what is happening to the Earth right now are consistent with “dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system” being already well under way and accelerating rapidly as a result of GHG emissions to date, rather than being a future possibility that could be prevented.

    I would agree – but I would also say that while things are going to be bad, they will be much worse if we continue to emit carbon dioxide at present levels. The positive feedback which will result from the carbon dioxide we have already put into the atmosphere will be quite substantial – but it will be much worse if we continue along the current path. The sooner we limit emissions, the more limited such feedback will be. And I would like to see us avoid 1000 ppm if at all possible – including the strong positive feedback from the carbon cycle itself.

  7. Fergus Brown:

    re #2: Ksero; there’s a BOTE guess on http:/fergusbrtown.wordpress.com/
    It’s probably wrong; someone here will correct it, I am sure. Hope this helps,
    Fergus.

  8. Sock Puppet of the Great Satan:

    “Regarding the politics of it all, it’s interesting to note Kimberley Strassel sees it in the Wall St Journal Opinion Pages : Bush 1, Greens 0 ”

    Strassel’s a fool, not that that’s unusual in the reality-exclusion zone of the WSJ op-ed page.

    She either didn’t read, or her frontal lobes didn’t disgest, the implication of paragraph 52 and 53 of the G8 declaration. Bush’s attempt to go around the UN/Kyoto framework went nowhere: so its compulsory, not voluntary, reductions on the table. Yeah, post-Kyoto China and India will be in the mix, but that was always the intention as anyone familiar with the history of Kyoto would know. Bush’s capitulation got bought off with a paragraph or two on technology, but that’s it.

    “Looks to me like all this language comes right up against the US wall against meaningful action until doofus is over the hill.”

    But it was always going to be that way. At least now Inhofe will be a bit more embarrassed when he calls AGW a fraud.

  9. Angela:

    But will the nations really fullfill there goals and not produce worse emmisions from coming technologies.

  10. Timothy Chase:

    PS

    My response in #6 was in response to SecularAnimist in #4 but I apparently didn’t finish formatting.

    My apologies.

  11. Ike Solem:

    An exercise in the use of Orwellian language?

    “1) The most recent report concluded…. that global temperatures are rising, that this is caused largely by human activities

    2) We are therefore committed to taking strong and early action to tackle climate change in order to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system…

    3) We share a long-term vision and agree on the need for frameworks that will accelerate action over the next decade…

    4) We acknowledge the continuing leadership role that developed economies have to play in any future climate change efforts to reduce global emissions…

    5) This major emitters’ process should include…. the development and deployment of climate-friendly technology.”

    Notably missing from this document are any of the following words or phrases:

    Fossil fuels, coal, petroleum, natural gas, global warming, deforestation, renewable energy, solar, wind, carbon dioxide, methane, emissions caps, carbon taxes, insurance, catastrophic events, economic collapse, etc.

    Essentially, all they said is that they acknowledge that global warming is due to unspecified human activities, that it will have ecological consequences (no mention of economic consequences, other than the insinuation that taking action of global warming might threaten economic growth), and that coordinated global action is required, but that economic growth and energy security must be taken into account, and that they’ll meet to talk about it again.

    This document glosses over the fundamental problems: the need to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources, and the need to halt the ongoing deforestation trends. Since global fossil fuel use is dominated by the G8, and since much deforestation involves raw material export to G8 countries, the failure to plainly address these issues is an abdication of responsibility.

  12. biffvernon:

    Whatever G8 leaders say, there is little chance that we will beat the oil depletion curve. 2050 takes us about 40 years beyond Peak Oil. We’ll burn all the conventional oil whatever happens, taking us up to maybe 450ppm CO2. We just have to keep fingers crossed on feedbacks at that level. What our wonderful leaders need to concentrate on is finding a way of ensuring that the coal, tar and shale stays locked underground.

  13. Dick Veldkamp:

    Re #4 Measured against what?

    It seems to have become the convention to compare with 1990 emission levels.

    Regarding absolute levels, unfortunately news sources can’t seem to agree yet on kgs of carbon (molecular mass 12) or kgs of CO2 (mass 44), a factor 3.7 difference.

  14. Maggie:

    This is a big step. Kudos to the (many) scientists who provided the information/analysis on which the policy makers based their decisions. This didn’t happen overnight, but they’re rolling along now.

    Take time to appreciate where we are now.
    And pat yourselves on the back!

  15. Timothy Chase:

    biffvernon (#10) wrote:

    Whatever G8 leaders say, there is little chance that we will beat the oil depletion curve. 2050 takes us about 40 years beyond Peak Oil. We’ll burn all the conventional oil whatever happens, taking us up to maybe 450ppm CO2. We just have to keep fingers crossed on feedbacks at that level. What our wonderful leaders need to concentrate on is finding a way of ensuring that the coal, tar and shale stays locked underground.

    Perhaps, but we have plenty of fossil fuel to burn:

    It had occurred to Hogbom to calculate the amounts of CO2 emitted by factories and other industrial sources. Surprisingly, he found that human activities were adding CO2 to the atmosphere at a rate roughly comparable to the natural geochemical processes that emitted or absorbed the gas. The added gas was not much compared with the volume of CO2 already in the atmosphere – the CO2 released from the burning of coal in the year 1896 would raise the level by scarcely a thousandth part. But the additions might matter if they continued long enough.(2) (By recent calculations, the total amount of carbon laid up in coal and other fossil deposits that humanity can readily get at and burn is some ten times greater than the total amount in the atmosphere.)

    The Discovery of Global Warming: The Carbon Dioxide Greenhouse Effect
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm

    (emphasis added)

  16. Alexander Ac:

    Just to hope, these are not empty words… one thing is to say something and the second thing is to *do* something. Politicians have been speaking about the CO2 reduction for so long…

  17. Ike Solem:

    Maggie, it really isn’t a big step; in fact, since no binding emissions targets are proposed, it is actually a step back from the original Kyoto protocol, opened for signature back in 1998, and which also contained the very same statement:

    “stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”

    I suggest taking a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Carbon_Emission_by_Region.png

    Despite the protestations of US politicians about their concern about global warming, the facts are that US emissions are projected to increase at an unchanged rate – 11% per decade (see NYT Revkin 03-03-07) This means that the carbon emission trends are not expected to change.

    There is also no acknowledgement in the document of the economic problems that global warming is causing – see Stern report graph

    The only people who should be patting themselves on the back are the fossil fuel lobbyists, who once again have headed off meaningful action on global warming.

  18. Timothy Chase:

    … and on the Glacier Front…

    (emphasis added below)

    WHILE world leaders talked about global warming in Germany, scientific reports of melting at the poles continued to flood in.

    In Antarctica, a satellite study revealed that hundreds of glaciers are speeding up as they flow into the sea. In Greenland, the number of days a year when snow melts is on the rise, NASA has found.

    Satellite observations of the Greenland ice sheet, which are made daily, have shown that the period when snow melted during 2006 was 10 days longer than the average for the previous 18 years.

    A study published in the journal Eos found the melt also occurred at higher altitudes than before.

    Dr Marco Tedesco, of NASA’s Joint Centre for Earth Systems Technology, said melted and refrozen snow absorbed up to four times more energy from the sun than dry snow, creating a feedback loop that could accelerate melting.

    Glaciers one day, sea the next: melting of poles gathers pace
    Email Print Normal font Large font Deborah Smith Science Editor
    June 9, 2007
    http://www.smh.com.au/news/environment/glaciers-one-day-sea-the-next-melting-of-poles-gathers-pace/2007/06/08/1181089326379.html

  19. biffvernon:

    Projected US emissions may be based on optimistic assumptions about oil production rates. Oil is such a useful fuel it will all be used as fast as it can be produced. Not using oil in one sector of the economy just allows it to be burnt in another sector. The effort has to switch to not burning coal and unconventional oils if we are to limit CO2 emissions.

  20. Tim Jones:

    The declaration states:
    “In setting a global goal for emissions reductions in the process we have agreed today involving all major emitters, we will consider seriously the decisions made by the European Union, Canada and Japan which include at least a halving of global emissions by 2050.”

    “…less than Kyoto.”

    I wrote this was meaningless. Actually it’s even more disingenuous. Peak fossil fuels will have come and gone by then. The halving will be perforce. In the meantime the world will have burned every molecule of carbon it can find.

    The G8 didn’t commit to take meaningful actions to curb C02 emissions by keeping fossil fuels or their oxidation products in the ground. In the meantime the greedheads serving the industrialized nations with raw materials are cutting down the tropical (terrestrial) carbon sinks as fast as they can keep the chainsaws gassed up.
    see:
    Expansion of Industrial Logging in Central Africa
    Science 8 June 2007:
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/316/5830/1451?etoc

    After the rainforests are gone in Africa, S.A. and Indonesia they’ll replant it in African oil palms and sugarcane for even more fuel to add to atmospheric load of greenhouse gas.
    see:
    “Why is oil palm replacing tropical rainforests?”
    http://news.mongabay.com/2006/0425-oil_palm.html
    Google over THAT.

    There is evidence that the oceanic sinks are approaching saturation.
    see:
    “Vital Ocean ‘Carbon Sink’ Nearly Full”
    http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2007/05/17/southernocean_pla.html?category=animals&guid=20070517150030

    More greenhouse gas on the way. Fewer ways to make it go away. What difference will it make it we commit to halve CO2 concentrations by 2050? By then we’ll be on a runaway train. Do we have inspired elected leadership? Or do we have cop-outs to business as usual as it becomes the theft of the future.

    Empirical evidence: there’s so much empirical evidence out there that something radical is happening it’s hard to keep up.
    How do you convert a gazillion tons of fossil fuel into 8 gigatons of CO2 a year and NOT cause an effect?

    Thanks RealClimate. Even Cockburn gets cooked on a slow burn here.

  21. pat n:

    I think that if we are serious about the need to cut greenhouse gas emissions we’d show it by drastically cutting air and highway travel beginning with a freeze on all non-essential travel by air. I’d also stop fireworks celebrations.

  22. Andreas Müller:

    For the leaders of this world climate change has priority 48, if my observation is correct that the list starts with a 48.

  23. Robert A. Rohde:

    Re #2, #7: A reduction of carbon emissions by half by 2050 is broadly consistent with stabilization at 450 ppm, which is generally viewed as somewhere in the ballpark of a 2 degree Celsius warming. Merkel apparently chose this target with a 2 degree limit in mind.

  24. Doug Heiken:

    With the UN as the recognized forum for negotiating climate agreements, I suppose Bush & Co can rest easy, knowing that skeptics (US and China) can take turns with their vetos.

  25. Aaron Lewis:

    As scientists, one of our duties is education. We need to make everyone clearly aware of the climatic implications of their actions, or lack of action.

    Our global climate is an environment for economic activities. Climate scientists need to proactively explain what climate projections mean for human economic and social activities. For example, at what point will open water in the Arctic affect the corn in Nebraska? At what point does warmer water in the Gulf of Mexico affect the airline traffic in Denver? This is a broader scope than climate scientists have seen for themselves in the past. Climate scientists need to educate people on what climate projections mean for biodiversity concerns. Again, this is new scope.

    Such proactive educational efforts will bring complaints that climate scientists are being alarmist, activist, and political. However, that is just the price of doing good science. Remember how Newton was rewarded for inventing the science that started us building mathematical models of physical systems? (He was locked up! His response was to write a textbook, and thereby to educate future generations.)

    For all that I admire about realclimate, it remains quire sedate, and respectable; even when the ice is melting much faster than the models predicted; even when global CO2 emissions are increasing faster than the models assumed. What do you say, when they look you in the eye and ask, “Why didn’t you tell us it was going to happen this fast?â�� and “Why did you not tell us how bad it really was going to get?” Are you going to say that there was an institutional policy against “being alarmist?”

    There is a fire! The time has come to stand up, and shout, �Fire!� The G8 leaders are not going to do anything until the Climate Scientists stand up and shout, �Fire! FIRE!, FIRE!� A calm and rational discussion of an issue does not get that issue to the top of a G8 Leader�s �to do list� these days. These G8 Leaders will have to hear real panic in their experts voices before they take action.

  26. bjc:

    #21
    I assume you are joking? If not, what exactly is the impact of fireworks on GW?

  27. Paul Dietz:

    Peak fossil fuels will have come and gone by then

    Even coal? If in situ gasification of coal is feasible — and it’s been done in Russia for decades — then a great deal of the stuff is potentially exploitable, even that left behind in closed underground mines.

  28. Chad:

    I have several comments:

    First, several people have noted that the Kyoto treaty was binding and this declaration was not. I am a bit confused about the significance of the term “binding”, as most of the wealthy nations that signed the Kyoto treaty are going to break it. Only a handful will meet their targets, generally because of one-time factors rather than sustained change. Will these nations that signed the treaty and then broke it be punished? If not, what does “binding” really add to the equation?

    Second, how does population growth and decline factor into the equation? Japan, for example, is now loosing people and allows very little immigration. In contrast, the US has a much higher birthrate (around replacement levels for the native born), has an increasing native population due to the baby boom echo, and allows a large number of immigrants each year. Our population could easily increase by 30% or more by 2050, obviously making it much harder to meet any set percentage reduction in emissions. Europe falls somewhere in the middle. Is this accounted for in any way, and should it be?

  29. Timothy Chase:

    Robert A. Rohde (#23) wrote:

    Re #2, #7: A reduction of carbon emissions by half by 2050 is broadly consistent with stabilization at 450 ppm, which is generally viewed as somewhere in the ballpark of a 2 degree Celsius warming. Merkel apparently chose this target with a 2 degree limit in mind.

    Very few countries are projected to meet their obligations under the Kyoto Protocol – even with the loop-holes and “cheating.” Halving emissions with increased population growth (as is required to meet the targets) currently seems highly unrealistic – without major investments in new technology. The United States is still refusing to participate, and both China and India insist on being exempt while modernizing their economies.

    Under the A2 scenario (which would seem far more likely), eleven different models involving carbon cycle feedback were run.

    The results?

    In the coupled simulations, atmospheric CO2 concentration ranges between 730 ppm for LLNL and 1020 ppm for HadCM3LC by 2100 (Fig. 1a). Apart from UMD and CSM-1, all models simulate historical CO2 close to that observed.

    Climate-Carbon Cycle Feedback Analysis: Results from the C4MIP Model Intercomparison.
    Friedlingstein P, Bopp L, Schnur R, Zeng N
    J Clim 2006 19:3337-3353

    (emphasis added)

    It should be noted that in their projections the IPCC has not taken into account the positive feedback from the carbon cycle. Likewise, they don’t seem to be doing that well with feedback from the cryosphere. The artic icecap is disappearing more rapidly than has been projected – as are the glaciers – and there is reason to believe that the positive feedback from the carbon cycle is already kicking in.

    From the ocean:

    The significant difference between the observed decrease of the CO2 sink estimated by the inversion (0.03 PgC/y per decade) and the expected increase due solely to rising atmospheric CO2 (-0.05 PgC/y per decade) indicates that there has been a relative weakening of the Southern Ocean CO2 sink (0.08 PgC/y per decade) due to changes in other atmospheric forcing (winds, surface air temperature, and water fluxes). For comparison, the mean Southern Ocean CO2 sink is estimated to be between 0.1 and 0.6 PgC/y (Table S1).

    Saturation of the Southern ocean CO2 sink due to recent climate change
    Corinne Le Quere, et al
    Science. 2007 May 17; [Epub ahead of print]
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/1136188v1
    (subscription required)

    (emphasis added)

    We weren’t expecting that sort of positive feedback from the ocean until 2050.

    … but it doesn’t appear to be just the ocean:

    In general, we find that the remarkable feature of the 2002-2003 anomaly seems to be that climate fluctuations, not only related to El Nino and occurring across all latitudes, acted together to create an unusually strong outgasing of CO2 of the terrestrial biosphere. Further research will be required to investigate if this fluctuation carries features of projected future climate change and the CO2 growth rate anomaly has been a first indicator of a developing positive feedback between climate warming and the global carbon cycle.

    Impact of terrestrial biosphere carbon exchanges on the anomalous CO2 increase in 2002â??2003
    Knorr, et al
    Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 34 (5 May 2007), L09703.
    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2007/2006GL029019.shtml
    (subscription or purchase)

    (emphasis added)

    There is more, but this is probably enough for right now.

  30. Tibor Kiss:

    �The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best is now.� Chinese proverb.

  31. Nick Riley:

    The G8+5 countries have a duty to keep to their declaration on climate change. We have a responsibility to hold them to account. Those of us working in this vital area of science and technology also have a duty to provide the knowledge base required to enable the target to be achieved.

  32. pete best:

    It is interesting to note that as the world is projected to require 70% more energy by 2050 than is used now and begs the question of where this additional energy will come from if not from fossil fuels? This 70% increase in energy requirements may well come from sustainable energy and nuclear fission power perhaps but that still leaves present levels of carbon release unchanged. Maybe we can sequester carbon from coal but commercially that technology 10 years away from commercial proof and another 10 years away from global deployment making coal a decidely difficult energy decision for the carbon conscious. Lobbying of US congress however seems to win the day in many ways and I would not be suprised to see many new coal fired power stations in the USA and hence worldwide built in then ext decade without carbon capture fitted.

    I doubt that politicians truely understand the problem at hand, it is not as if we have a new energy technology ready to fill in for fossil fusl at the present time and whilst I am sure than energy efficiency can reduce carbon emissions by around 25% it will be left to the markets to decide this and that means awaiting the onset of peak fossil fuels to push up the price of it that will make other energy sources more viable. But with peak oil/gas comes the potential for war and resources contention.

    I applaude the G8’s acknowledgement of the seriousness of climate change but with 0.2 degrees decade temperature rises come 2020 that means 1 degree C will have already occured and I doubt that by that time the world would have seriously dented its carbon footprint. Then comes the next 50 years to 2 degrees. Maybe we can avoid that and I believe that is what the G8 are talking about, so called dangerous climate change.

    1 degree celcius is assured I take it and even real climate would not argue that point as the oceans have latent heat that comes some time after land warming of upwards of 0.5 C I believe. This 1 degree could assist methane release from arctic tundra and assist the drying out of biomass areas such as the Amazon and other rain forest basins.

    Is a positive feedback loop from nature itself a possibility ?

  33. Bruce Tabor:

    Here is my prediction.

    Given the politics around AGW I don’t believe much of any consequence will be done to reduce CO2 emissions until climate change starts to really hurt the major emitters. By hurt I mean changes in weather that cause major famines and sea level rises that cause dislocation of large numbers of people. Essentially the economic costs of doing nothing would by then be comparable to the costs of taking drastic action.

    By then the major emitters will be China, India and US (probably in that order). At that time I expect the turn around will be surprisingly rapid (say 20 years for a 50-80% cut in CO2 emission from the peak) and a number of technofixes will be attempted to reduce solar insulation while atmosphereic CO2 is brought under control. (Whether that works or makes things worse I don’t know.)

    If someone could say when the effects of AGW will really hurt then I think we could get a good handle on the the level at which CO2 will peak.

    This is my personal view, but I am by nature a pessimist with not a great deal of confidence in human nature.

  34. pat n:

    re 26.

    This is NOT a joke: Fireworks celebrations are harmful to the climate – they encourage travel and other excessive human activities harmful to global climate and life.

    However,

    This IS a joke (not funny):

    NOAA’s National Weather Service provides weather, hydrologic, and climate forecasts and warnings for the United States, its territories, adjacent waters and ocean areas, for the protection of life and property and the enhancement of the national economy.

    From the Mission Statement, above:

    Why is

    and the enhancement of the national economy

    in the NWS mission statement of NOAA’s National Weather Service?

    http://www.nws.noaa.gov/hdqrtr.php

  35. Nigel Williams:

    Ive just read the G8 report in full, and from my laymans perspective it makes a good read. At the level G8s primary announcements emanate from they must take a very broad brush approach, but never the less the document entails a pretty fine list of things that must be attended to in the near future. They have a committee and a program for everything that needs doing.

    G8 recognises the need for urgency, but perforce it uses yesterdays bureaucratic systems to advance the cause. Very (extremely) inclusive and carefully worked processes, not dissimilar to IPCC. G8 cannot do anything else.

    The only minor problem for us all is that the pace of climate change is lining up to be orders of magnitude faster than the pace of technical, economic and social change that the G8 program will ever see.

    Interestingly G8 seeks more transparency in regard to the extractive raw materials sector � surely a hint that all is not well with the present estimates of reserves. But already we know that oil and many other critical minerals have very short viable production times ahead; peak oil and peak lots of other things as well. When sea levels start to rise we are looking at rebuilding homes, business, communities and infrastructure for a lot of people. I think it was Gore who observed that one billion people will be displaced by a 1m sea level rise. So demand for cheap and readily available building materials and systems will sharply increase, just as critical materials like bitumen, copper, zinc and many others fall off the market. Oops. Itll be recycled materials for the lot of us, or nowt.

    I have some sympathy with Tim Jones #20 and with the approach suggested by Aaron Lewis #25. But if we are to yell FIRE, there is certainly no point yelling it at the present fire brigade – the old fire companies donâ��t have any idea how to fight this fire.

    In a way this report may well go down as the Obituary for the G8 way of global organisation â�� a last gasp in the face of overwhelming odds. The final act of a desperate man – or is it the first act of Henry the Fifth? I think what is important is that suddenly the world doesnâ��t care about what the established order has in mind for us.

    We know we have to come up with a different paradigm. Most of us we are powerless to do much about emissions at a global scale. The coal-fired power plants will run unabated and un-muzzled until people stop paying. So all we ordinary folk can do is sort out how to configure our own patches to ensure the survival of our own children in a time of rapid climate and social change. But don�t worry, our emissions will certainly drop to close to zero, but alas too late. For a while it will be G1 � every man for himself. But eventually it will be a forlorn scramble at the local level for local resources. Those resources available to us will be the scraps that are left over after the raids by more powerful gangs. The picture will not be pretty. Slavery will be back in vogue.

    So thank you RC, keep up the good work of informing the politicians of our impending demise. In the mean time the rest of us will be making other arrangements.

  36. Tim Jones:

    #27 Peak fossil fuels will have come and gone by then

    “Even coal?”

    Yes. I suspect the world will be well past the peak in production for all hydrocarbons by 2050.
    See: http://europe.theoildrum.com/node/2396

    See chart: http://www.theoildrum.com/files/possiblecoalproduction.gif

    Taking into consideration the revolution of rising expectations in India and China resulting in massive industrialization the consumption of fossil fuels may push the peak closer than the estimates.

    There is a parallel to global warming catastrophes derived from the concept of peak oil. You can see it here.
    http://dieoff.org/

    How this attenuates GW due to demand destruction is a question of how a world full of bad monkeys manage the future.

  37. climate skeptic?:

    This Hansen model that is debated a lot… these 20 year “estimations”.

    Did it predict that global temperatures would pretty much stabilize for over a decade, beginning in 1995?

    My other question is that, what is the explanation for this?

    Many credible sources give 1998 (9 years ago) as the hottest year on record. 1995 and 1997 make the list between places 3rd and 7th. The global temperature trend 1995-2007 shows no warming.

    In a time when global CO2 emissions have been increasing enormously?

    What’s the catch?

  38. Alastair McDonald:

    Re #29 And how are you going to get the G8+5 countries to keep to their declaration? At Gleneagles they promised $50 bikkion in aid with $25 billion for Africa, have did not delivered. Now they are promising the same again, but nothing on global warming. Bob Geldorf described the Aid issue a farce. At least it is a $50 billion farce. The amount to be spent on global warming means it is not a farce, it is nothing!

    Maggie, claimed this was a great achievement, and the scientists should congratulate themselves. In fact, they have produced four sets of IPCC reports and it has achieved zilch. Rather than patting themselves on the back, they should be looking to see where they have gone wrong, and working out how to FRAME their input so that it is effective.

    Stephen Schneider famously wrote So we have to offer up some scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements and little mention of any doubts one might have. â�¦Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective, and being honest. — Stephen H. Schneider, author of the book Global Warming (Sierra Club), in an interview in Discover Magazine, October 1989.

    Until the physical scientists who produce climate models take some lessons from the social scientists who study psychology, political science and the art of persuation, then we are going to see no progress.. CO2 levels will continue to rise, and the loss of land and sea ice, which keep the global climate in equilibrium, will accelerate. It is not just be the polar bears that will suffer when the global climate is disrupted. (Actually, forget the polar bears! unless that is the only way to get over to the public what is really happening.)

  39. Alan:

    I’m glad the culprits have finnally acknowledged the planet really is “sick”, thanks mainly to the IPCC’s “diagnosis” that has been shoved under their noses. Pity they won’t be taking any medicine untill 2012, but it’s better than letting mother nature cut down the polutants all by herself.

  40. Alan:

    RE #23:

    IIRC, Lord Oxborough suggested a target of 450pmm when he was chairman of the board at Shell.

  41. M.P.:

    We can be so proud on what has been achieved in a mere 20 years time. Now lets define weather and climate so that the the next G8 meeting understands what we mean.

  42. Rhett Winthrop-St.Gery:

    I think government minds will slowly gain more focus on this issue as torrential rains occur periodically and as homes and cities are buried under massive winter snowfalls over the next few years. The people will start seeking the scalps of do-nothing politicians.

    Meanwhile the science community and people in general can work on new energy and efficient energy use, respectively. It appears Germany is leading in deployment of PV arrays, Denmark in wind power, others in other ways.

    There are numerous undiscovered sources of energy and there is much more that can be done with renewable energy.

    Some places may need assistance as conditions develop: Primarily Africa, but even Australia is having dire trouble with water supply.

    It is important to keep methods and techniques for green energy, renewable energy and energy efficiency available to ordinary people.

    Ultimately the USA gets to work on problem areas, but not until everyone is jumping up and down.

    I construe the G-8 Summit as a sign of progress this time around.

  43. Rod B:

    Comment by Ike Solem â?? …..Since global fossil fuel use is dominated by the G8, and since much deforestation involves raw material export to G8 countries, the failure to plainly address these issues is an abdication of responsibility.

    Gee, Ike, did you really expect a G8 conference to issue an IPCC-partII? Between afternoon tea and evening cocktails maybe?? You AGW proponents got a collossal political jump forward, but you seem to be too myopic to see it.

  44. Phil Mitchell:

    Stefan, Could you explain why (in #2), you say:

    Halving global emissions by 2050 (relative to 1990 levels) should give us a good chance to stop global warming short of 2 ºC above preindustrial temperatures.

    According to IPCC 4AR WGIII, Table SPM.5, reductions of 50% will get us somewhere between 445-535 ppm CO2equiv. Doesn’t Fig. SPM 8 show that, in that stabilization range, we’d have to be pretty lucky to stay below 2 ºC?

  45. Rod B:

    Comment by pat n â?? …Why is and the enhancement of the national economy in the NWS mission statement of NOAA’s National Weather Service?

    Is there something unseemly about enhancing (or looking out for) the economy????

  46. Ike Solem:

    Re#43,
    A ‘collosal political jump forward’ would be for the US to strip all subsidies from the fossil fuel industry, and to strip all subsidies from fossil-fuel intensive agricultural industry as well (over $35 billion a year), and to deliver those subsidies to solar, wind, and carbon-neutral agricultural industries – as well as instituting a hefty carbon tax on all fossil fuels, and agreeing to strict emissions caps, and mandating energy efficient technology in all areas.

    Re the ‘peak fossil fuel issue’, if all easily accessible fossil fuels in the ground are burned, atmospheric CO2 levels will hit 1500-3000 ppm (sink limitation issues and carbon cycle feedbacks create the variability). This is a repost from an earlier thread:

    “Now, the estimated total fossil fuel resources left to burn (as of 2000) from http://www.worldenergy.org:
    Conventional oil – 263 (GtC)
    Shale oil, etc. – 525
    Natural gas – 422
    Coal bed gas, etc – 450
    Coal – 3370

    The preindustrial atmospheric carbon dioxide content (as carbon) was 580 GtC (280 ppm), and as of 2000 was 750 GtC (380ppm)

    How many gigatonnes of carbon per year stay in the atmosphere? Around half, so if current total CO2 emissions (as carbon) are at 7.2 GtC (only looking at fossil fuels), then around 3.6 Gt of carbon stay in the atmosphere each year – and it’s worth wondering what processes account for the uptake of the other half… meaning that it’s possible that more CO2 could start lingering.

    If we burn all the fossil fuel, that means adding 5000 GtC to the atmosphere, (if half stays up, that’s 2500 Gt) and warmer oceans and stressed forests will probably absorb less CO2, resulting in a minimum CO2 content of around 1500 ppm (and probably quite a bit higher, due to sink limitations.. and the oceans may degas methane and CO2 if they warm up a lot …). There’s also no reason to assume that all that CO2 wouldn’t stay in the atmosphere for millennia, either – meaning no ‘global cooling effect’ after the fuel is gone. This is a bit beyond the worst-case scenario in the IPCC report.”

    Don’t rely on ‘peak production’ to solve the problem. Most of the remaining fossil fuels will have to be left in the ground.

  47. Jim Galasyn:

    And I would like to see us avoid 1000 ppm if at all possible – including the strong positive feedback from the carbon cycle itself.

    We have good evidence that the wheels come off the biosphere at 1000 ppm, and probably well before. The Permian-Triassic extinction event was likely caused by a giant volcanic rift opened in what is now Siberia, and for tens of thousands of years it dumped gigatons of CO2 into the atmosphere. The result was a globally anoxic ocean which contained only anaerobes, like purple sulfur bacteria and algae. These organisms released enormous quantities of hydrogen sulfide into the atmosphere, which had the effect of poisoning most life on land, and destroying the ozone layer. The resulting extinction event lasted several million years, and it was by far the worst mass extinction the planet has faced.

    In addition, the Paleoeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum was accompanied by CO2 concentration near 1000 ppm, and it resulted in the worst extinction event in the past 90 million years. Humans will add as much carbon to the atmosphere in 500 years (1800 to 2300) as the PETM did over 10,000 years.

    To my mind, we have to stay well away from 1000 ppm or risk literally destroying the world as we’ve known it.

  48. Philippe Chantreau:

    Re 37: This has been addressed countless times, that’s probably why none of the more scientifically qualified writing here has bothered to respond to you. So, I’ll do it. The upward trend is still plain in the record. According to the best temp data sets, 2006 is either very close to or higher than the exceptional 1998, and the climb is steady from 1999. Exceptional years are going to happen. Trying to use 1998 to show that temperatures have decreased since is silly and will not fool anyone, at least on this site. I note also that exceptionally cold years are seriously lacking.

  49. David B. Benson:

    Explore this link to understand why fossil fuels can be left in the ground, with many other advantages. Encourage production of biochar.

    http://www.shimbir.demon.co.uk/biocharrefs.htm

  50. Mark Taylor:

    Re: 37

    Noone seems to be replying to this – are we supposed to ignore “climate skeptic”?

    I think the main explanation for this is that there was an extremely strong el niño in 97-98. We’ve just come out of a weaker one, which is partly why 2007 is reckoned to have a decent chance of beating 1998.

    “Many credible sources give 1998 (9 years ago) as the hottest year on record” – and others don’t, putting 2005 above it.

    It would be nice if each year was exactly 0.02 C hotter than the previous one, but things just don’t work out like that.

  51. Nicolas L.:

    re 37: “The global temperature trend 1995-2007 shows no warming.”

    Were did you get that? Go to see the global average temperature graph in the IPCC report and you’ll notice that during the 1995-2005 period the global temperature trend went up, pretty much as Hansen predicted, The 1998 being the hotest indeed because an additional strong El Nino.
    As the report states: “Eleven of the last 12 years (1995 – 2006) rank amongst the 12 hotest years in the instrumental record of Global Surface Temperature (since 1850).”

  52. Timothy Chase:

    In the inline response to Ksero (#2), stefan wrote:

    Halving global emissions by 2050 (relative to 1990 levels) should give us a good chance to stop global warming short of 2 C above preindustrial temperatures. Allowing 2 C maximum warming is the official policy of the EU, Japan and Canada.

    Hansen has suggested that anything above 1 C may be “dangerous” where by dangerous he is referring to long-term positive feedback between the ice melt in Greenland and the western Peninsula of Antarctica.

    I say “a good chance” because there are some uncertainties in the carbon cycle (which determines what CO2 concentrations will result from given emissions), …

    The positive feedback from the carbon cycle may be quite considerable – depending upon how far we let things go. For example, we are already noticing the diminished capacity of the Antarctic Ocean to absorb as much carbon dioxide as it has in the past – let alone keep up with the increased amount of carbon dioxide we are putting out. Likewise, there is at least one study which suggests that positive feedback due to the inability of plants to absorb carbon dioxide during the dryer, warmer years has begun. Then, atleast within the subarctic regions we are noticing increased methane emissions from the permafrost, particularly thaw lakes – in places like Canada, Alaska, and more importantly Siberia, although at present this appears to require wetter subartic seasons. Moreover, Hansen suggests that shallow methane hydrates are a genuine concern.

    … in climate sensitivity (which determines how much warming you get given a certain CO2 concentration),

    Currently I would assume roughly 2.8 C – although this is the long-term equilibrium level. 3 C if we want a safer figure.

    and in aerosol pollution (which offsets some of the warming we are causing).

    It certainly pays to keep in mind how aerosols appear to have been masking the effects of increased carbon emissions.

    Also, 2050 is not the end point

    It is probably past the end point for me, but by no means past the end point of my concerns.

    … – we need to keep reducing further after 2050 to stay below 2 C. Final thought: note the 50% reduction is global. Since industrial nations have far higher per capita emissions than other countries (e.g., US=20 tons/yr, Europe=10 tons/yr, China=4 tons/yr), industrial nations will have to reduce a lot more if some degree of fairness is to be achieved (without which important nations like China or India are not going to join the effort).

    It probably pays for people to keep in mind that the 11 billion figure for the leveling out of the human population itself presupposes the continued advancement of third world countries such that their increased affluence results in higher living standards and a reduction in birth rates. If we insist upon some standard of “fairness” which keeps them in poverty, birth rates will remain high, and they will be unable to adopt new technologies which will result in lower carbon emissions. If this is the case, it will be impossible to keep global carbon emissions at any level which in any rational sense might be regarded as safe.

    That’s why some European countries are aiming towards 80% reduction of their emissions by 2050.

    So far nearly all of them are having considerable difficulty keeping on the path towards meeting their obligations under the Kyoto Protocol – which was simply to halve emissions. Moreover, most of those nations are making use of loopholes – and “cheating” one fashion or another. But they are doing considerably better than the United States under the current administration – which has in fact done everything in its power to torpedo substantive international cooperation to lower global carbon emissions.

    In any case, like you no doubt, I do not believe the present is a time for complacency. The G8 Summit was a qualified success of sorts, but I would recall the words of a statesman whom I admire greatly:

    This is not the end. This is not even the beginning of the end. But it is perhaps the end of the beginning.

    – Winston Churchill regarding Operation Torch in North Africa, November 8, 1942

  53. John Wegner:

    The RSS satellite measurements for the lower troposphere shows a considerable cool-down during 2007 so far. The flip from El Nino conditions to La Nina in mid-January seems to be the best explanation.

    The RSS lower troposphere trend over the past decade (June 1997 to May 2007) is 0.0002C per year (ie. 0.000 given that the temperature figures are published with three decimal points.)

  54. Timothy Chase:

    John Wegner (#49) wrote:

    The RSS satellite measurements for the lower troposphere shows a considerable cool-down during 2007 so far. The flip from El Nino conditions to La Nina in mid-January seems to be the best explanation.

    The RSS lower troposphere trend over the past decade (June 1997 to May 2007) is 0.0002C per year (ie. 0.000 given that the temperature figures are published with three decimal points.)

    Wayne Davidson had asked you to contact NOAA about this back on 17 May 2007. I can only assume that you haven’t since they still have 0.20 C posted…

    Please see:

    NCDC: Climate of 2007- April Global analysis, Lower Troposphere and check their figure for the “RSS low-trop.”

    Get with it, man! This error of theirs must be corrected with due haste!

  55. Timothy Chase:

    Correction to #52

    I (#52) wrote:

    bly pays for people to keep in mind that the 11 billion figure for the leveling out of the human population itself presupposes the continued advancement of third world countries such that their increased affluence results in higher living standards and a reduction in birth rates. If we insist upon some standard of “fairness” which keeps them in poverty, birth rates will remain high, and they will be unable to adopt new technologies which will result in lower carbon emissions. If this is the case, it will be impossible to keep global carbon emissions at any level which in any rational sense might be regarded as safe.

    I believe that “lower carbon emissions” should have been “higher carbon emissions.”

    The argument is that the population of the third world will continue to grow near its present rate for a more extended period of time if they are held back in terms of economic development and the adoption of new technology, but they will gradually advance – with a decidedly larger population – and as such, we attempt to impose unreasonably draconian standards for their carbon emissions and if we do not attempt to aid them in the adoption of new technologies, this will quite likely result in higher carbon emissions for them and for humanity as a whole.

  56. pat n:

    Re: #45

    Rob B,

    The fact that the National Weather Service Mission Statement has enhancement of the national economy but not enhancement of the nation’s climate change preparedness suggests to me that NWS views the economy more seriously than they do climate change. NOAA’s NWS is in the Department of Commerce.

  57. climate skeptic?:

    We are counting global tropospheric and surface temperature averages from an area that isn’t even a percent of the whole globe. The years between 1995-2006 all fit in with the error margin, with the only exception of 1996. i.e. 1998 wasn’t necessarily the hottest year, but neither can you definitely say that the period 2003-2006 was hotter than 1995-1998.

    To quote CRU: “All the temperature values have uncertainties, which arise mainly from gaps in data coverage. The sizes of
    the uncertainties are such that, although it is most likely to be the second warmest year, the global average
    temperature for 2005 is statistically indistinguishable from, and could be anywhere between, the first and
    the eighth warmest year in the record. Similar analyses in the United States rank the year as first (GISS)
    and second (NCDC), but NCDC note that uncertainties arising from sparse observations or measurement
    biases make 2005 statistically indistinguishable from 1998 as well as from other recent years such as 2002
    and 2003.”

    Even if the warming trend hasn’t totally stabilized in between 1995-2007, it shows unquestionable slowing down.

    Global carbon dioxide emissions have increased at least ten fold from 1900 to 2000. In these twelve years between 1995-2007 more CO2 has been put in the atmosphere by humans than the total between 1850 and 1940. Yet the warming trend between 1920 and 1940 was stronger than it will be between 1990 and 2010.

    Aerosols are used in a god of the gaps way to explain the post World War II cooling trend, approx. ->1970 yet the said aerosols were plentiful in the atmosphere in 1920-1940 when the climate was getting warmer.

    For a layperson, this theory has so many gaps. It doesn’t seem logical.

  58. Timothy Chase:

    climate skeptic (#37) wrote:

    This Hansen model that is debated a lot… these 20 year “estimations”.

    Did it predict that global temperatures would pretty much stabilize for over a decade, beginning in 1995?

    My other question is that, what is the explanation for this?

    Many credible sources give 1998 (9 years ago) as the hottest year on record. 1995 and 1997 make the list between places 3rd and 7th. The global temperature trend 1995-2007 shows no warming.

    In post #54 I pointed out that the temperatures have not been level in the period from June 1997 to May 2007. In fact the trend has been +0.20 C/10yr for the past decade.

    I know it is easy at least for some people to become fixed on a record high year (such as 1998) and then view any consequent drop as proof that the trend is negative or flat, but it just doesn’t work that way. A record high is generally followed by a fairly significant drop – but this isn’t grounds for dismissing the trend itself. You look at the endpoints – and the trend continues.

    Moreover, at least according to some comparisons, 2005 may have actually had a higher global average than 1998. But I won’t quibble at present.

    Looking at the HadCRUT2v Surface Temperature Record for 1979-2005, I see a trend of 0.17 +/- 0.04 C. As such, the trend from 1997-2007 for the RSS low-trop would seem to exceed the average trend from 1979-2005, but the difference isn’t statistically significant.

    This is still a bit apples to oranges, since the longer trend is surface temperature whereas the shorter trend is lower troposphere, so lets get some other figures. Unfortunately, if you want me to include 2007 (doing 1997-2007), I have to stick with the lower troposphere. For winter (December through February), I have 0.22 C.

    I am sure that we could look up some more figures, but the important thing is that the last decade has not been flat, nor has its trend actually been lower than that from 1979-2005. The shorter, more recent trend has exceeded the longer, but the difference is not statistically significant.

    Now regarding the reason why the rise in temperature has not been as dramatic as the rise in carbon dioxide, the temperature rises as the logarithm of the CO2 ppm. Doubling the CO2 results in an increase in temperature of roughly 2.8 C – in the long-run. Now of course 2.8 doesn’t sound like much, but it must be remember that this isn’t on a particular day or a particular year, but an indefinite rise with cummulative effects. Likewise, it isn’t for a particular region, but for the entire globe.

    And what are the cummulative effects?

    Just with the Himalayas alone, we are talking about the glaciers having all but disappeared by 2100, a billion people facing severe water shortages and greatly reduced agricultural output. And it should be remembered that when they speak of global average temperature, they are including:

    1. the ocean, where temperature will rise more slowly;
    2. the southern hemisphere, where temperatures are rising more slowly; and,
    3. the tropics where temperatures will rise more slowly.

    NASA projects that by the 2080s, the dryer, warmer July-August average temperatures for Chicago and Washington DC will be 100-110 F. We are projecting stronger trends in the US south west and south east. It looks like the agricultural output of the south east will be severely affected. And I am not even beginning to bring up the effects of rising sea levels upon the coasts of the United States. But if you are interested, check out the news we have been having on glaciers for the past week or two. There has been a fair amount of it.

  59. Timothy Chase:

    PS

    In my last post, I noted that temperature rises as the logarithm of the level of CO2 in the atmosphere. However, I also noted that we aren’t dealing with a rise in temperature for a particular day, but a rise in temperature for the long-term, centuries, in fact. Moreover, this is global, not regional.

    Given the changes we are seeing and given the climate record, in my view, as a good rule of thumb for estimating the effects, we should look at the CO2 level, not the temperature. Or alternatively, we can think of this long-term global average temperature and its effects on the the global climate system as being roughly equivalent to the Saffir-Simpson Scale for hurricanes or Richter Scale for earthquakes – except applied at a global level. It could extend from 0 – 6, with 0 being set at the pre-industrial average temperature for the past 10,000 yrs, in essence, all of recorded human history.

    Maybe that will help give people a handle on this.

  60. Robert A. Rohde:

    Re #47:

    the Paleoeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum was accompanied by CO2 concentration near 1000 ppm, and it resulted in the worst extinction event in the past 90 million years

    The PETM was a minor extinction event, and certainly not in the same league as the KT extinction that killed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. See this chart. The PETM, at 55 Ma, is not even resolved as a blip in the global oceans (please note that “End Eocene” is 10 Myr after the PETM and definitely distinct). The PETM did seem to cause some extinctions in the deep ocean, but that was probably driven by deep water anoxia which wasn’t a problem for most of the rest of the ocean. In fact, the most remarkable thing about biodiversity during that period was diversification, i.e. the emergence of many new taxa, rather than extinction.

  61. Jim Galasyn:

    The PETM was a minor extinction event, and certainly not in the same league as the KT extinction that killed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

    Thank you for the clarification. I got those numbers from following story, which is unfortunately no longer posted.
    “Climatic rerun, only faster this time,” by Robert S. Boyd, McClatchy News Service, August 25, 2006.

    Here’s the money quote:

    But the unusual warmth also caused the loss of many deep-sea species. “It was the most severe extinction in the last 90 million years,” said Gabriel Bowen, another Purdue geologist.

    For what it’s worth.

    Do you think it’s reasonable to claim that as CO2 approaches 1000 ppm, things go very wrong with the biosphere?

  62. Theo H:

    Re: 49

    I was interested to see bio-char (or let�s just call it charcoal) referred to here.

    This is purely anecdotal, but I own a small steep woodland in Devon, England, which I run for conservation and a bit of oak.

    Digging down the other day (for a sh*t pit) on a level patch, I came upon a 25mm layer of charcoal about 200mm down. This was almost certainly the remains of a charcoal burning operation, which would tie into the name of a bordering stream (Iron Mill Stream) so could have been used for smelting. Given the industrial revolution started about 150 years back and coal was bad news for charcoal burners, the stuff must have been sequestered in the ground at least that long.

    Seems quite interesting. Thanks.

    Theo H

  63. Zeke Hausfather:

    Re: Stefan’s comment on number two
    According to the AR4, achieving a mean expected warming of 2 degrees C relative to 1990 temperatures requires capping atmospheric concentrations of GHGs (in CO2e) at slightly over 500 ppm. Avoiding 2 degrees warming, defined as having an 83% probability not to exceed 2 degrees above 1990 levels, requires levels below 415 ppm CO2e, or roughly held at current levels. Achieving a mean expected warming of 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels requires capping emissions at 441 ppm, something that is extremely unlikely.

    Drawing on the mitigation scenarios developed in the Stern Review, the only way that a 50% cut by 2050 would put us on a trajectory to cap atmospheric GHG concentrations at 500 ppm CO2e (or roughly 2 degrees warming relative to 1990 temps) is if global emissions are capped by around 2010. Waiting till 2020 to cap global emissions requires roughly 60-70% global reductions by 2050 to avoid exceeding 500 ppm CO2e.

    It seems like your argument that halving global emissions by 2050 putting us on track for 2 degrees warming only holds if you define 2 degrees as relative to current (1990) temperatures and if you assume that the growth of global emissions is capped in the vary near future. Given the rapid growth rates of China and India, and the remaining political difficulty involved in crafting any binding constraints for non-Annex I countries, this seems an optimistic assumption indeed.

  64. Craig Allen:

    Re #37 by ‘climate skeptic :

    Many credible sources give 1998 (9 years ago) as the hottest year on record. 1995 and 1997 make the list between places 3rd and 7th. The global temperature trend 1995-2007 shows no warming.

    Have a look at these temperature data plots at the global warming art website. Your argument that the data fails to demonstrate a warming trend is not credible.

  65. Juola (Joe) A. Haga:

    In respect to BJC’s comment( (#26) on Pat N’s (#21) , who would cut off fireworks, I may be thought ill-educated and trollish to opine that because of our century-guaranteed snuggy blanket woven from carbon dioxide and from other emissions (still a-weaving exponentially), which traps infra-red radiation so marvellously, we ought to cease all swift chemical reactions, such as burning. Isn’t it the infra-red radiation which causes the atoms (or is that the molecules?–consider the hydrogeon atom) to dance?–that is,–heat? As natural processes the governments are doing what they,by nature, do, balance the largest groups threatening to disrupt the household rules (oiko-nomia, reified as THE ECONOMY,–no collective, by the way) off against each other, equilbriating so that as many proceesses as possible continue from here to there, from today into tomorrow. Throughout our two hundred thousand year history, when certain of our groupings failed, we have regrouped, sometimes from a diminished population base. So, since our gov’mints, nation-state , provincial, and corporate ain’t wukkin’ so cool it do becomes us tuh tek meesures inter oor ownliest hands. For, as the Han used to say, when a dynasty faltered and was not replaced for a century,–we have entered a time of troubles. Heat speeds up climate change,–no? What’s wrong with being cooler than thou?

  66. John Wegner:

    to #54 – The NCDC data doesn’t include the latest month May and their data is for whole record from 1979. I was quoting June 1997 to May 2007 (the last decade.)

    The May LT temp from RSS is just 0.089C above the 1979-2006 average, and is down 0.339C since January 2007.

    All the data from RSS is at this link.

    http://www.remss.com/pub/msu/monthly_time_series/RSS_Monthly_MSU_AMSU_Channel_TLT_Anomalies_Land_and_Ocean_v03_0.txt

  67. pete best:

    Re #36, They are interesting articles on coal and coal types and peaking through energy amounts rather than total tonnage of coal which is obviously a batter measurement indicator. However what is the implication for climate change, not that much unfortunately. Even if coal does peak the USA and CHINA etc can still produce enough year on year coal to beyond 2050, ok it will cost more but with current thinking on fuel it will be many decades yet before we see peak coal effect climate change even if it does happen sooner than exected.

    In his book HEAT George Monbiot goes through the UK’s energy balance sheet and with current available alternative technologies to fossil fuels plans a chart avert climate change beyond 2 degrees C. It was difficult to achieve was the conclusion of his book.

    0.2 C per decade warming and hence 0.8 c come 2010, 1.0 C come 2020 and then 50 more years to reach 2 C. half Co2 emissions by 2050 would stave off 2 C warming but will it be a poorer energy world with simply less of it.

  68. biffvernon:

    Re#46, I agree with the conclusion but the quoted figure for coal may be a gross overestimate. See http://europe.theoildrum.com/node/2559

  69. Ike Solem:

    RE#68, it seems to depend on the different definitions of coal ‘reserves’ and ‘resources’ – see the third IPCC report: http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg3/125.htm

    ‘Reserves’ are defined as ‘economically recoverable resources’ – which depends on what is meant by ‘economically recoverable’. Resources and the resource base are estimates of the total amounts. There is more on this here.

  70. Timothy Chase:

    A world of Ten Billion

    pete best (#67) wrote:

    0.2 C per decade warming and hence 0.8 c come 2010, 1.0 C come 2020 and then 50 more years to reach 2 C. half Co2 emissions by 2050 would stave off 2 C warming but will it be a poorer energy world with simply less of it.

    Population will level out only with affluence in which an economy is advanced and requires a skilled labor force. Poverty will only be a delay at best while the poorer countries continue to experience high population growth, whereas an affluent population tend towards zero or even negative population growth. If poor countries are held back, the will advance, but much more slowly and with greater population growth – passing through an extended period of higher carbon emissions as their economies develop – and having a much larger population with higher total carbon emissions even as we approach carbon neutral per capita.

    The big question in my view is: How do we support widespread affluence at a population level of roughly ten billion?

    Energy

    In my own view, which I know I share with many others, what we need is a multinational alternative energy “Manhattan Project.” Solar energy is one obvious choice, but there are others. One exists already for nuclear fusion, but it would have to be accelerated. Tapping into the flow of thermohaline, such as the gulf stream is another, and the same might be attempted with the jet stream. But in the case of the Manhattan Project itself, two different approaches to developing a nuclear bomb were employed simultaneously. I would suggest that the same should be attempted here. And other energy sources (such as tidal power and wind) could play auxiliary roles.

    Water, Agriculture and Manufacturing

    The next requirement will be fresh water followed by food. Australia has already begun a project of desalinization of water employing solar energy. This should be expanded. With regard to agricultural production and as part of both short-term and long-term solution to carbon dioxide levels, we may want to consider encouraging the widespread use of agrichar/biochar – particularly since it leads to the sequestration of carbon for centuries while transforming soil into a richer soil for use by agriculture. Manufacturing is largely a function of energy since recycling can provide the materials once energy becomes plentiful.

    *

    Despite the high requirements of supporting an affluent human population of ten billion indefinitely, there is no reason to think that it isn’t doable. But it will require considerable international cooperation.

  71. Rod B:

    Comment by pat n (56) — “The fact that the National Weather Service Mission Statement has enhancement of the national economy but not enhancement of the nation’s climate change preparedness suggests to me that NWS views the economy more seriously than they do climate change. NOAA’s NWS is in the Department of Commerce.”

    Sounds fair enough, except why, in a strict division of labor, should/would the National Weather Service, opposed to other branches of NOAA, be involved with climate change/global warming which is a long ways from the task of figuring out if it’s going to rain in New York tomorrow or warning the trawlers of an Atlantic storm? (maybe they do… you certainly know better than me….)

  72. Timothy Chase:

    David B. Benson (#49) wrote:

    Explore this link to understand why fossil fuels can be left in the ground, with many other advantages. Encourage production of biochar.

    http://www.shimbir.demon.co.uk/biocharrefs.htm

    Jeepers!

    That is a real resource on biochar/agrichar. Plenty of links – and well organized. Obviously what I am most interested in is the long-term carbon sequestration and boon to agriculture, but the other facets are interesting. For example, I didn’t know that the formation of biochar was oxygen-free.

    Likewise, I didn’t know that it encouraged the growth of mycorrhizal fungi. For those who are unfamiliar with this, it is a large number of species of fungi symbiotes which have co-evolved with trees (and I would presume other plants) such several such species may exist in a symbiotic relationship with a given species of plant. They increase the water and nutrient uptake considerably. In fact, water uptake in some species of trees is increased by as much as a factor of a thousand. The trees quite literally could not survive without it. The actual roots of the plants will often appear quite stubby and short – but the mycorrhizal fungi act as extensions of those roots – something that one can strip off if one wishes to examine the actual roots. I have also read that biochar encourages the growth of symbiotic bacterial ecologies which promote the growth of plants. Once again, something which plants would in all likelihood be unable to survive without.

    Combine this with a little genetic engineering of both bacteria and plants, and one will have plants which are far more hardy, being more resistant to heat stress and drought. Without something along these lines, we are likely to experience far more widespread and severe food shortages in the coming decades. We might have to expand investment in several branches of science, though. Oh well.

    Reason for hope.

    PS

    I suppose this post could be considered an extension of #70: A World of Ten Billion. Incidently, the international cooperation which I suggested would probably be something for the G8, UN and World Bank.

    Think big – why not? It looks like what we need at this point.

  73. pat n:

    Rod B,

    From the Mission Statement – NWS provides .. climate forecasts and warnings .. for the protection of life and property ..

    With their 5,000 scientists and 120 offices NWS could have helped in public education about climate change and could have been evaluated climate and hydrologic change to apply to their models which are used in flood and low water forecasting and probabilistic outlooks. NWS has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on its “Advanced Hydrologic Prediction System (AHPS) which is now misleading the public on flood potential and low water potentials because climate change was dismissed by the NWS.

    http://npat.newsvine.com/_news/2007/06/09/768338-climate-change-dismissed-by-the-national-weather-service-

  74. Gareth:

    Getting a bit off-topic here, but I know a bit about mycorrhizae… Something like 90% of all plants require a mycorrhizal relationship with one or more fungi in order to grow. As Timothy says, fungal hyphae dramatically improve the efficiency of the plant’s root systems. In forest ecosystems, mycorrhizal fungi may have associations with multiple trees and move nutrients from one tree to another. The world’s largest living thing is a honey fungus, Armillaria ostoyae, in the Malheur National Forest in Oregon. It covers 890 hectares (2200 acres) and is at least 2,000 years old.

  75. Ike Solem:

    The comments on biochar and rebuilding soils are very interesting. It’s also worth noting that industrial, fertilizer/water intensive agriculture does the opposite – soils are often fumigated with agents like methyl bromide, which essentially sterilize the soil, creating a low-carbon matrix. Plants can only grow in this matrix if external fertilizers are supplied – and 50% of agricultural fossil CO2 emissions come from natural gas-powered nitrogen fixation (the Haber process).

    http://biopact.com/2007/06/research-confirms-biochar-in-soils.html

    “We broadly categorise carbon in the soil as being labile (liable to change quickly) or stable – depending on how quickly they break down and convert into carbon dioxide,” he said. “Labile carbon like crop residue, mulch and compost is likely to last two or three years, while stable carbon like agrichar will last up to hundreds of years.”

    “When applied at 10t/ha, the biomass of wheat was tripled and of soybeans was more than doubled,” said Dr Van Zwieten. This percentage increase remained the same when applications of nitrogen fertiliser were added to both the agrichar and the control plots. For the wheat, agrichar alone was about as beneficial for yields as using nitrogen fertiliser only.”

  76. Jim Cripwell:

    A word of advice to the climate skeptic who made comment number 37. It is a waste of time to talk to warmers about the trend of average global temperatures. Warmers can NEVER admit that temperatures are falling; they will never even admit that temperatures are not rising as fast as the IPCC predicts. What will happen, is that by 2020, or shortly thereafter, when we are in solar cycle 25, it will be clear that world temperatures are declining. Sometime before that, maybe around 2015, it will be clear that temparatures are not rising as much as predicted. The media, politicians, and the warmers will cling to their position as long as they can, since they have “nailed their colours to the mast”. However, eventually the data will be overwhelming, and first the politicians and then the media will desert the warmers; who will then simply fade away. So my advice is, save your breath, and talk about falling temperatures in other forums. Another climate skeptic.

  77. Timothy Chase:

    Symbiosis

    Gareth (#74) wrote:

    Getting a bit off-topic here, but I know a bit about mycorrhizae… Something like 90% of all plants require a mycorrhizal relationship with one or more fungi in order to grow. As Timothy says, fungal hyphae dramatically improve the efficiency of the plant’s root systems. In forest ecosystems, mycorrhizal fungi may have associations with multiple trees and move nutrients from one tree to another. The world’s largest living thing is a honey fungus, Armillaria ostoyae, in the Malheur National Forest in Oregon. It covers 890 hectares (2200 acres) and is at least 2,000 years old.

    I honestly don’t think it is off-topic. Rather it is symbolic – of the direction we should be going.

    But now the question is: How can the international cooperation which I suggested in #70: A World of Ten Billion and #72 get started?

    Well, I would begin preferably with some well-recognized scientists, assuming they could be found. They would be able to get the attention of major multidisciplinary science organizations such as the National Academy of Sciences in the US and the Royal Society in Great Britain. Efforts at identifying the problems posed by climate change and how climate change may be minimized could become the focus of interdisciplinary studies. This could include the proposal and analysis, and critical evaluation of new technologies.

    Now one the science organizations have some sort of map of where we need to go and how to get there, getting the attention of governments will still pose quite a problem. Even getting the attention of newspapers may prove difficult. But fortunately there are already some big names who are interested in climate change. Celebrities, including Al Gore. Now unfortunately Gore’s popularity with the far right in the US is relatively low, but given the changes in the US political landscape this should prove to be less of an issue.

    Moreover, Gore appears to be committed and approachable – and he has already done the highly successful “An Inconvenient Truth.”

    Once those committed to the issue of climate change have the attention of the media and the public, the governments will follow. Then it is the UN, G8 and World Bank. Meanwhile, this works entirely within what we have in terms of the cultural/political landscape.

    *

    One point.

    I would follow the advice of Alan Greenspan regarding economic development. We need transparency, requiring it of the countries which require assistance and providing transparency in order to underscore the fact that this is in the interest of everyone, that it is not the intention of the more advanced countries to take advantage of those countries which are less developed. Transparency should insure international cooperation.

    Symbiosis.

  78. Ike Solem:

    Re#76, Wasn’t Sallie Baliunas predicting, in the late 90’s, that global temperatures would be cooling after 2000 due to the approaching sunspot minimum of 2006? Wasn’t 2005 also the hottest year on record? (2006 was the hottest year on record within the US).

    That’s why skeptics love the cyclical explanation – just wait another decade – then the ‘cooling cycle’ will kick in. No matter how thin you slice it…

  79. Timothy Chase:

    (“A World of Ten Billion” sequence, final)

    Anyway, I would largely regard the IPCC as a trial run.

    It dealt with many of the issues of climate change, but the governments had far too much control over what could be communicated to the public at large. In some ways it reminds me of the censorship that Hansen and colleagues have been experiencing at NASA.

    Now obviously there is only so much that the science community can do prior to “going public,” thatis, going to the high profile individuals who are sympathetic, then – with the help of figures like Gore – to the public, and then to the governments. However, the IPCC has undoubtedly resulted in informal networks which can be leveraged within the context of existing projects. The rest? Well, at least within the context of the scientific community itself, this would largely be comparable to peer review and informal interdisciplinary studies.

    It may be quite possible to do the the lion’s share before the politicians get involved. Once they get involved, the scientific community will have considerably less control over the direction which is taken. However, in large part this will be irrelevant if the appropriate framework exists before the politicians get involved. Moreover, having that framework and the core vision in place prior to going to the general public will help to preserve much of the control which the scientific community will have once the politicians are brought onboard.

    Previous Posts in sequence: #70, #72, #77

  80. Craig Allen:

    Re my # 64 Post :

    Re #37 by ‘climate skeptic :

    Many credible sources give 1998 (9 years ago) as the hottest year on record. 1995 and 1997 make the list between places 3rd and 7th. The global temperature trend 1995-2007 shows no warming.

    Have a look at these temperature data plots at the global warming art website. Your argument that the data fails to demonstrate a warming trend is not credible.

    The link didn’t work (sorry). It is http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki/Temperature_Gallery

    All the diagrams and plots on this site come with explanations and links to the original datasets.

    If anyone wants to donate images or data to the site, information for contributors is here.

  81. Timothy Chase:

    Deja Vu…

    Jim Cripwell (#76) wrote:

    A word of advice to the climate skeptic who made comment number 37. It is a waste of time to talk to warmers about the trend of average global temperatures. Warmers can NEVER admit that temperatures are falling; they will never even admit that temperatures are not rising as fast as the IPCC predicts. What will happen, is that by 2020, or shortly thereafter, when we are in solar cycle 25, it will be clear that world temperatures are declining. Sometime before that, maybe around 2015, it will be clear that temparatures are not rising as much as predicted.

    Why am I suddenly reminded of creationists talking about the imminent demise of “evolutionism” or good, old-fahsioned Marxists talking the imminent demise of capitalism, or Objectivists speaking of the imminent demise of anything which isn’t Objectivist?

    Could it be that…

    … all the evidence is on one side, and somebody else is on the other – and he’s saying, “Sure, but some day, some day…” ? Or, “It only looks like I am wrong, but you just wait another thousand years and you will see I was right all along!”

    I know, I know…

    “Laugh while you can, Monkey Boy!” – John Wharfin, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension

  82. Timothy Chase:

    Craig Allen #80 wrote:

    Have a look at these temperature data plots at the global warming art website. Your argument that the data fails to demonstrate a warming trend is not credible.

    http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki/Temperature_Gallery

    This is the big-ticket item: don’t look at what any one year is doing in isolation. It really isn’t any different from not automatically assuming that a particularly hot summer was due to global warming or that a particularly cold winter means there wasn’t any global warming in the first place.

    Look at the five-year averages.

    In fact, if you are looking for a long-term trend, you might want to look at the ten- or the twenty-year averages. But in this case the five-year average is pretty telling.

    Things are looking up, up, up, and that’s really, really bad. In fact, the rate of the five year is higher than that of the past twenty-five.

    Some will undoubtedly say, “What? A few fractions of a degree?”

    But they gotta remember, this isn’t just one place on a particular day. This is global and a fair number of centuries into the future.

    And the effects are cummulative.

    In fact, the effects of each additional degree in the long-term global average are far greater than the effects of any of the degrees before it. Six degrees would result in a world that is radically different from anything that we’ve seen in well over fifty million years – and could put us within reach of a quarter billion, particularly with the various forms of positive feedback from the climate system in terms of the cryosphere and carbon cycle. But probably not all at once. More like centuries.

    But we would be seeing some pretty dramatic stuff well before then. Heck, with what I am seeing in terms of the arctic cap and the accelerating glaciers in Greenland, Antarctica and the Himalayas (and nearly anywhere else there are glaciers), I think things are pretty dramatic right now – and there is every sign they will be getting more and more dramatic in each of the following decades – if one looks at the trends.

    It will make for some interesting news, but the droughts and famines will probably make up for that – after a while.

  83. pete best:

    RE response of #2:

    Dear RC

    Current warming rates are o.2 C per decade with the 20th Century having given us 0.6 C so far. so 2010/08, 2020/1.0, etc. hence come 2050 we would still have experienced some 1.4/5 or warming and with that added by the latent heat in the ocean, another 0.5 C I believe 2.0 c seems ineviatable.

    Would you not agree ? Come 2050 we will still have some another 60 ppmv of Co2 making 450 ppmv overall. Add in the other greenhouse gases and thats around 500 ppmv is it not ?

    I thought that 500 ppmv was heading for 3 C ?

    Could you ecplain your thinking on stopping short of 2 C ?

  84. Paul:

    Are we, and I mean the general public, being conned by talk of 50 or 60% reductions in CO2. My back of envelope calculations indicate that assuming a population of 9.4 billion by 2050 and a roughly equal share of CO2 emissions per person, citizens of the USA would need to reduced their CO2 output by 95% and those of the EU by almost 90% from current levels. This will need a drastic change in lifestyle. Is the truth being hidden deliberately or have I made a miscalculation.

  85. climate skeptic?:

    Yes, I’m looking at the graphs, and that’s why I’m asking.

    What interests me most is this one: http://www.globalwarmingart.com/images/f/f4/Instrumental_Temperature_Record.png

    it shows that the raise in global average temperature from 1910’s to 1940’s was approx. 0.5 Celsius. Then it shows a 0.2-0.3 Celsius decline in between mid 1940’s and mid 1960’s. 1940’s temperature averages were not reached again until 1980’s.

    Yet, Global CO2 emissions have increased ten fold from 1900 to 2000.

    Were the relatively small emissions of 1800’s and early 1900’s really the cause of the 0.5C raise in 1910-1940? (We have put more CO2 into the atmosphere in 1995-2007 than we did in 1800-1940). And if they were not, then there are certainly some other major factors in play (why is Mars experiencing global warming?). Also CO2 emissions in between 1940-1960 had more than doubled from early 1900’s, yet there was then a 2+ decade cooling trend. Could “aerosols” really cause such a drastic effect, or were there again other factors in play?

    And the industries were not clean in 1910-1940 were they? Why didn’t aerosols have much any effect in those years?

    If in 2017, 1998 remains the hottest year on record what will happen to the theories? Increasing amounts of unclean coal being burned in China and India setting the warming trend back? But the theory remains unquestionable, right?

  86. Jim Cripwell:

    In response to Timothy Chase in message 81, there is an enormous difference in the analogies he has chosen, and what I am considering. What I am talking about are hard, measured, experimental data; numbers that are reproducible and transparent, and that virtually all scientists agree are correct. For example, the average global temperatures put out monthly by Hadley/CRU (though there are some who query how good these are); and the arctic polar ice extent, also put out monthly, by NSIDC. As a matter of interest, despite 20 years of work, and an estimated 40 billion US dollars of expenditure, there is NO hard, measured experimental data that connects increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, and increased global temperatures. Another climate skeptic.

  87. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    Of course governments of the world’s wealthy nations should do all they can to reduce GHGs, and get their people to do so. And they are certainly NOT doing nearly enough. The U.S. heel-dragging, I imagine, has been very demoralizing for the rest of the world.

    But even if the wealthy governments were doing what they should, that doesn’t let individuals off the hook, or businesses.

    So, it may be that, say, China, is now catching up to rich nations in total GHG emissions. Not only do we have to consider their per capita emissions (which are still much lower) vs. those of, say, Americans (which are much higher), but also the fact that a lot of China’s emissions are related to products that Americans buy. I hope the rich countries and their citizens take these factors into consideration.

    Global warming and GHG reduction needs to be addressed at all levels, and by everyone.

  88. M. P.:

    #41; Almost certain that the notion at #41: “We can be so proud on what has been achieved in a mere 20 years time. Now lets define weather and climate so that the the next G8 meeting understands what we mean” would receive little response, it seems advisable to discuss the point in more depth, as the need for proper scientific terms will -presumably- come up sooner than later.

    Establishing reasonable scientific definitions should not be so difficult, when there are many ten thousand trained men and women working full time in meteorological and climate science. At least what we have now is very insufficient, as briefly explained:

    WEATHER
    (webdictionary.co.uk): the meteorological conditions: temperature and wind and clouds and precipitation;

    (Encarta. msn): the state of the atmosphere with regard to temperature, cloudiness, rainfall, wind, and other meteorological conditions.

    (dictionary.net): The state of the air or atmosphere with respect to heat or cold, wetness or dryness, calm or storm, clearness or cloudiness, or any other meteorological phenomena; meteorological condition of the atmosphere;

    CLIMATE
    (en.wikipeada.org): Climate is the average and variations of weather over long periods of time.

    (en.wikipeada.org), citing IPCC as follows: Climate in a narrow sense is usually defined as the â??average weatherâ??, or more rigorously, as the statistical description in terms of the mean and variability of relevant quantities over a period of time ranging from months to thousands or millions of years. The classical period is 30 years, as defined by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). These quantities are most often surface variables such as temperature, precipitation, and wind. Climate in a wider sense is the state, including a statistical description, of the climate system.

    UNITED NATIONS FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE (FCCC):
    __Has not any definition on â??CLIMATEâ??, but says that
    __â??CLIMATE CHANGE means the change of climate â?¦â??!!!!

    NOTE:
    (1) Both terms are laymen phrases.
    (2) For scientific work, the referred weather definitions are of little help, as the â??meteorological conditionsâ?? at a specific time is a â??compositionâ?? of many dozen, if not hundred parameters.
    (3) If weather is not properly defined it is hopeless to define climate as average weather.
    (4) Defining climate as weather statistis, is not very helpful anyhow, as weather-statistics remain weather-statistics.

    PS: Only recently this site discussed on : May 23rd, 2007 : Global Warming or Climate Change; which shows how important are correct and meaningful definitions:
    __â??global warmingâ?? makes sense, as rising temperatures on a global basis can be explained as â??global warmingâ??; while
    __â??climate changeâ?? as introduced by IPCC and FCCC is a hopeless term; because one question must be answered first in a meaningful way:
    __What is â??CLIMATEâ?????
    It is fantastic what James Hansen and his colleagues have achieved over the last 20 years without demonstrating that they are able to define in scientific terms what they are talking about.
    Indeed an unbelievable success! A unique miracle!! Lasting for ever?

  89. Leonard Evens:

    Re 85 by Climate Skeptic:

    Essentially all the points you make have already been dealt with in this forum, some of them several times. You can find answers But making naive estimates based on eyeballing graphs is not going to get you anywhere.to each of the questions you ask by searching the previous topics.

    No one claims that CO_2 and other greenhouse gases are the only factors. For example, it is generally agreed that changes in solar radiation played a signficant role early in the 20th century. There are also other factors such a natural variability. But there is one crucial conclusion in the IPCC reports that you should take seriously. There is no way to explain the warming in the least decades of the 20th century without including enhanced warming due to greenhouse gases.

    With respect to whether or not aerosols could really make that much difference, the answer is yes.

    If indeed, temperatures stabilize at 1998 levels or below, we will luck out, but there is really little reason to believe that. Those who harp on that issue should know it is a phony argument, and it’s only purpose is to mislead.

    Naive arguments based on isolated bits of information and eyeballing graphs won’t get you anywhere. Often facts which are obvious to those trained in the subject may seem strange or counter-intuitive to lay people. If you want a better understanding, a good place to start is the latest IPCC Report.

  90. Ray Ladbury:

    Jim, I’m just curious what you would consider “hard” evidence. I mean we have a correlation between increasing CO2 and rising temperature. We have a well understood physical mechanism that delivers a self-consistent picture. Causation is very hard to establish in terms of “hard” observational evidence. In that sense, Tim is quite correct. We know evolution is operational (even many creationists admit that for “microevolution). We know changes are taking place and that speciation occurs, and evolution offers a mechanism for understanding it. But fundies still want to catch a fish in the act of turning into a lizard. What is it YOU want?

  91. Timothy Chase:

    Jim Cripwell (#86) wrote:

    As a matter of interest, despite 20 years of work, and an estimated 40 billion US dollars of expenditure, there is NO hard, measured experimental data that connects increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, and increased global temperatures. Another climate skeptic.

    If an individual looks at just a few of the technical papers with the objective of comprehension, it becomes clear that quite the opposite is the case. There are a great many of these papers. Over six hundred peer-reviewed papers of high quality cited in just one chapter of the IPCC report. Each one is dealing with different facets of the process, and the growing totality brings together a vast amount of data. Moreover, the principles involved are principles of physics.

    When someone claims that there isn’t enough evidence, the issue isn’t a matter of the lack of evidence, but rather one of the will of the person who makes this claim, and then the claim itself is proof of the misuse of that will.

  92. Timothy Chase:

    Ray Ladbury (#90) wrote:

    We have a well understood physical mechanism that delivers a self-consistent picture. Causation is very hard to establish in terms of “hard” observational evidence. In that sense, Tim is quite correct. We know evolution is operational (even many creationists admit that for “microevolution). We know changes are taking place and that speciation occurs, and evolution offers a mechanism for understanding it. But fundies still want to catch a fish in the act of turning into a lizard. What is it YOU want?

    I don’t know about Jim, but I suspect that what a great many of the “skeptics” are looking for is a deductive proof which is so short that they can’t escape the force of its argument no matter how hard they try. Nothing in empirical science begins to approach this. However, its conclusions generally have a great deal of justification, something that they will acknowledge – when this does not come into conflict with what they want to believe.

  93. SecularAnimist:

    Jim Cripwell wrote: “As a matter of interest, despite 20 years of work, and an estimated 40 billion US dollars of expenditure, there is NO hard, measured experimental data that connects increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, and increased global temperatures.”

    That is just plain false. Wrong. Bogus. Rubbish.

  94. climate skeptic?:

    “There is no way to explain the warming in the least decades of the 20th century without including enhanced warming due to greenhouse gases.”

    This is exactly what I want to understand. How come the 0.5C raise in 1910-1940 can be explained (to large extent) by “natural variability”, but similar raise in 1975-2005 can not be explained by “natural variability”?

    And the cooling period ~1945-1970, how plentiful were “aerosols” in the atmosphere compared to 1930-1940? Or compared to today? Most of the major volcanic eruptions of the 20th century occurred between 1980 and 1995 shooting cubic miles of ash and aerosols into the atmosphere. Did they have a cooling or warming effect?

  95. Jim Galasyn:

    @ climate skeptic and Jim Cripwell:

    The mountain of “hard” scientific evidence accumulated since the first IPCC report puts the burden of proof squarely on the denialists: Why wouldn’t dumping hundred of gigatons of carbon into the atmosphere profoundly change the global climate and the chemistry of the oceans?

  96. Jim Cripwell:

    Timothy, You write “If an individual looks at just a few of the technical papers with the objective of comprehension, it becomes clear that quite the opposite is the case. There are a great many of these papers. Over six hundred peer-reviewed papers of high quality cited in just one chapter of the IPCC report. Each one is dealing with different facets of the process, and the growing totality brings together a vast amount of data. Moreover, the principles involved are principles of physics.

    When someone claims that there isn’t enough evidence, the issue isn’t a matter of the lack of evidence, but rather one of the will of the person who makes this claim, and then the claim itself is proof of the misuse of that will. ”

    I have read the AR4 to WG1 of the IPCC documents, in detail, and I have found no hard evidence connecting increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, and increased global temperatures. I have also read countless other documents on the subject of AGW, including “The Chilling Stars”, with the same result. It has always been impossible to prove a negative. I cannot prove that no evidence exists. But you can easily prove a positive. In science, things like this are very easy to solve. Give me the references, chapter and verse, or even, better still, the actual words. As someone remarked on Climate Skeptics, “put some meat on the grill”. Where are the specific references, and where are the specific words in any IPCC or other document, but particularly the Report of AR4 to WG1, that provide the hard, measured, experimental data which connects the undoubted rise in CO2 levels in the atmosphere, and the undoubted increased levels of global temperatures over the last few decades? Another climate skeptic.

  97. Rod B:

    Leonard says (89): “…Naive arguments based on isolated bits of information and eyeballing graphs won’t get you anywhere. Often facts which are obvious to those trained in the subject may seem strange or counter-intuitive to lay people. …”

    That logically might be true. On the other hand eyeballing graphs ought to have a reasonable correlation with what’s happening. When not, there maybe ought to be a simple even if obscure technical explanation. The difficulty this has passing the intuitive smell test is the there are many pieces (from isolated bits of information) of explanation, tied together in a very torturous thread, to explain away the otherwise seemingly straight-forward anamolies in the theory: why temp goes down when CO2 goes up, why temp goes up when CO2 goes down, why CO2 goes up after temp goes up, why the aerosols of 1900 to 1940 don’t count, why the upper latitudes get alot hotter (or show macro scale effects) when the global temp goes up a couple of tenths of a degree — but only in the last two decades, not in the early 1900s, why accurate global temps can be obtained with rough sparse measurements with a little mathematical wizardry, etc., etc. Any one of those things could be acceptable. And maybe all of them together are possible. But in the famous words of Dr. Henry Lee, “it just doesn’t look right.” It also comes across as a little too pat. And the argument that us neophytes are just not smart enough to follow the convolutions, contortions, and pat responses of the (admittedly) experts, while maybe accurate, is not true.

    ex – pert: a has-been under lots of pressure [;-}

  98. Robin Johnson:

    Re #88: You are being silly. All scientific definitions are contaminated by the ambiguities of language. Mathematics, where precision is required, acknowledges the problem and just moves on. A mathematical proof is acknowledged simply as an argument that convinces other mathematicians that something is likely true. And mathematics is supposed to be “precise”. The same lack of certainty and ambiguity goes for scientific evidence, “proofs” and arguments. Of course, the quality of proof required by scientists and mathematicians is FAR higher than that required to convict someone of murder.

    As an example, do something simple and define “number” for me. I can assure you I can dispute your definition ad infinitum claiming circular reasoning, incompleteness, etc. What would that prove? Nothing. NO ONE can provide an unassailable definition. And suddenly we learn that language is ambiguous.

    PS You are certainly free to submit YOUR definitions for scientific terms. A great deal of time is spent making sure definitions make reasonably sense given a context. Scientists tend to do that on a consensus basis – mathematicians refer to the consensus definition as the “standard definition or garden-variety definition” – and then promptly invent new definitions to play with since that often reveals the strength or weakness of the “standard”.

  99. Timothy Chase:

    Jim Cripwell (#96) wrote:

    I have read the AR4 to WG1 of the IPCC documents, in detail, and I have found no hard evidence connecting increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, and increased global temperatures. I have also read countless other documents on the subject of AGW, including “The Chilling Stars”, with the same result.

    Then I would assume that you are trying to “parse the evidence” into small pieces and the arguments as well so that you never have to confront their cummulative weight.

    It has always been impossible to prove a negative.

    You do not have to prove a negative in this case.

    What you have to do is demonstrate that their interpretations of the evidence are flawed and offer an alternative, unified explanation of the evidence which exists. Preferably one that is testable. But do not claim that there is no evidence. Virtually every paper offers a fair amount, and the arguments fit together like pieces in a puzzle such that the whole is much stronger than any of its parts.

    What I ask of you is difficult? No more than what evolutionary biologists require of the typical young earth creationist – for the same reason.

    I am not your opponent. Neither are the scientists who dedicate their lives to its study.

  100. Timothy Chase:

    Regarding the empirical science studying climate change, Rob B. (#97) wrote:

    The difficulty this has passing the intuitive smell test is the there are many pieces (from isolated bits of information) of explanation, tied together in a very torturous thread, to explain away the otherwise seemingly straight-forward anamolies in the theory:

    Smell? I would have my doctor look into that. It could be something serious.

    why temp goes down when CO2 goes up, why temp goes up when CO2 goes down, …

    An example might be nice, but I would presume that it might be for the same reason that it might take a short while to get a ship going in a different direction: the thing has momentum. It takes a little time for the level of carbon dioxide to raise the level of water vapour and for feedback between the water vapour and the temperature to occur. Plus there might be an El Nino one year but not the other. It pays to look at the long-term trends. Preferably five years. Sometimes a little longer.

    … why CO2 goes up after temp goes up,

    … because naturally-induced global warming (e.g., the orbit bringing us closer to the sun) raises the temperature of the oceans first, raising the level of carbon dioxide as it is emitted from the ocean (“warm soda just don’t hold that fizz as long”) – the effects of which are amplified by water evaporation resulting in water vapour?

    But what we are dealing with today is artificially induced global warming. In that case the carbon dioxide goes up first, but it is the same positive feedback.

    … why the aerosols of 1900 to 1940 don’t count, …

    But they do count – as they scatter light back into space before it can be absorbed by the oceans – when light is absorbed, it puts thermal energy into the system. Kind of like a sun lamp.

    … why the upper latitudes get alot hotter (or show macro scale effects) when the global temp goes up a couple of tenths of a degree –

    Most people have no difficulty understanding that heat stirs the pot.

    … but only in the last two decades, not in the early 1900s,

    More people, more carbon dioxide.

    … why accurate global temps can be obtained with rough sparse measurements with a little mathematical wizardry, etc., etc.

    Actually a great deal of measurements.

    You see?

    All of this is actually fairly easy to understand – if you try a little.

  101. Theo H:

    At 95 Jim Galasyn wrote:

    The mountain of “hard” scientific evidence accumulated since the first IPCC report puts the burden of proof squarely on the denialists: Why wouldn’t dumping hundred of gigatons of carbon into the atmosphere profoundly change the global climate and the chemistry of the oceans?

    I�m an artist. The science stuff is fascinating, and while I can sort of understand the descriptive science, I certainly can�t give weight to one piece of science against the others. Also I have problems in conceptualizing the figures scientists are easy with.

    But thinking about the visual notion of �dumping hundred of gigatons of carbon into the atmosphere�.

    How big a cube or cuboid or lump of carbon (say solid coal or charcoal carbon at, I guess, one tonne in a cubic metre) would be needed to show all the fossil fuel and forest clearance carbon released by human activity. Presumably a gigaton would be a mass 1km high x 1km long x 1km long? Am I right? And/so how big a cube for all the carbon ever released � Jim Galasyn�s �hundreds of gigatons�?

    And,if 1km high, how long would it take to walk round it? (Walk round, not drive round, what with my carbon footprint)

    Theo H

  102. Jim Cripwell:

    Timothy writes “I am not your opponent. Neither are the scientists who dedicate their lives to its study.” I am sorry, I thought I was talking to a scientist. In science, we rely on hard, measured experimental evidence. “To the solid ground of Nature trusts the mind that builds for aye”. I am asking for a reference to experimental data that I cannot find. Evidently you also cannot find it. Enough of this nonsense. I retire from the discussion. Another climate skeptic.

  103. Jim Galasyn:

    How big a cube or cuboid or lump of carbon (say solid coal or charcoal carbon at, I guess, one tonne in a cubic metre) would be needed to show all the fossil fuel and forest clearance carbon released by human activity?

    An excellent question, Theo. Does anybody have some visualizations handy?

  104. Timothy Chase:

    Jim Cripwell (#102) wrote:

    Timothy writes “I am not your opponent. Neither are the scientists who dedicate their lives to its study.” I am sorry, I thought I was talking to a scientist. In science, we rely on hard, measured experimental evidence.

    I would have thought that I was speaking with someone who had a passing familiarity with science. Preferably someone who knew how to look up references. Good luck in your golden years.

  105. Dan:

    “In science, we rely on hard, measured experimental evidence.”

    Obviously you do not know how science is conducted. Your statement is a gross oversimplification and seriously questions the validity of your use of “we”. In a nutshell, science is about making an hypothesis, collecting data and testing the hypothesis by analyzing data, drawing conclusions from the data, proposing new hypotheses for testing, publishing the results in peer-reviewed journals for further analysis (the testing/experiments should be repeatable by others), leading to further hypotheses. It is called the “scientific method” and it is the cornerstone of all science. Science is also about learning.

  106. Timothy Chase:

    To Jim and other “scientist” skeptics:

    If you wish to claim a science background and that something regarding the absorbtion and re-emission of light by greenhouse gases or the like just doesn’t make sense to you, feel free to do so. But don’t make vague claims to the effect that some un-named aspect of climatology just doesn’t make sense or that there is no evidence for it.

    Give the guys with a science background something to work with. If you truly are a scientist specializing in a particular field, imagine for the moment that someone came to you and said that your field just doesn’t add up – but refused to be specific.

    To anyone else, I suggest that you might want to think twice if someone claims a science background but refuses to be specific regarding what he sees as problematic in climatology.

  107. ray ladbury:

    OK, assuming a density of 2.235 g/cm^3 and 7 Gtonne carbon from human activities per year, I get a cube nearly 1.5 km on a side.

    Again, Jim, you have given only vague criticisms. What, specifically are you looking for? What is your science background? Perhaps we can find something suitable for your background. After all, there are papers in everything from biology go solar physics that support anthropogenic causation. The same cannot be said of the contrarians–they don’t seem inclined to publish their ideas if they have any.

  108. John Mashey:

    re: #104, #102
    It is easy to conflate:
    a) Rational skeptics who are just learning about an area and its players
    AND
    b) Clear denialists

    a) Have sometimes picked up denialist obfuscation and have honest questions about them, and so can sound like denialists. Not that many years ago, it was perfectly legitimate question to wonder why satellites and ground stations didn’t seem to agree.
    b) Can sound like a), but usually one can tell, eventually:

    An experienced rational skeptic would likely:
    – have a list of things they don’t understand enough.
    – have a list of unexplained discrepancies
    – work down the list
    – if they get a good answer to a question, stop bringing it up

    and one wants to be helpful to such, especially since some of us were them!
    It’s a lot easier now, with good sources like RC.

    On the other hand, if somebody claims to have looked hard, but can’t find answers, and keeps asking the same questions…

    F. James (sometimes Jim) Cripwell, a resident of Ottawa (for which some GW is not so bad), and labeled as a retired scientist:

    a) has sent email to be posted in Greenie Watch:
    Google james cripwell greenie watch

    b) is definitely keen on Svensmark, feeling that IPCC was thus totally wrong.

    c) “suffers from the fact that I can find no-one with whom to discuss the fundamental physics of climate change…” (Quoted several times, although I couldn’t find the original.

    d) “Whatever is causing warming, it is not an increase in levels of carbon dioxide. A more plausible theory is that it is water put into high altitudes by aircraft; this would hae roughly the same time line.”

    e) Expresses clear views in UK NERC’s online debates, in which Sir Alan Thorpe and other scientists offer to respond to climate skeptics:
    http://www.nerc.ac.uk/about/consult/debate/debate.aspx?did=1&pg=10
    http://www.nerc.ac.uk/about/consult/debate/debate.aspx?did=1&pg=20&f=&s=1

    I especially liked:
    “The scientific evidence presented, particularly post 89 from a real heavyweight, might turn Sir Alan into a skeptic, and he will come and join us on Yahoo’s Climate Skeptics newsgroup. Let us call this Outcome #2; one that I would give an extremely low probability of occurrence.
    However, if Sir Alan is a true scientist, and not a religious fanatic, he might at least agree that there is no scientific consensus, and that a proper debate, with referees, is required to decide whether increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are the cause of AGW.”

    The “heavyweight” (post 89) is signed: Monckton of Brenchley, Rannoch.
    I suspect Lord Monckton’s scientific evidence was insufficient. Given the number of climate-science references in Google Scholar to AJ Thorpe, I would agree that outcome #2 is unlikely.

    Enough?

  109. Jim Galasyn:

    OK, assuming a density of 2.235 g/cm^3 and 7 Gtonne carbon from human activities per year, I get a cube nearly 1.5 km on a side.

    Thank you Ray, that’s very helpful. I’m guessing that’s over 150 years or so of human emissions?

    I saw Tim Flannery at Microsoft Research last year, and he gave a figure for the whole atmosphere if it were compressed into a liquid, of something like 500 cubic miles, iirc. That might make for an interesting illustration in comparison with our carbon cube.

  110. ray ladbury:

    Jim–no, that’s 1 year. Actually, we’d need to subtract of the O2, so that’s actually a cube 1 km on a side of pure carbon.

  111. Rod B:

    “…The mountain of “hard” scientific evidence accumulated since the first IPCC report puts the burden of proof squarely on the denialists: ”

    That’s very curious. What was it then that justified the 1st IPCC report and its conclusions???

  112. Craig Allen:

    Re: 108

    Jim, Comparing the volume carbon dioxide to the total volume of the atmosphere when compressed in some way is interesting to a degree, but is not at all informative when considering the physics involved in the climate. As an analogy, consider a cubic millimeter of dioxin placed next to a cubic meter of water. The volume of dioxin would appear to be minuscule in caparison to that of the water. But would that make it safe to mix the dioxin into the water and then drink a glass of it? Clearly not. Some chemicals have very big effects in very small concentrations. Carbon dioxide and various of the other greenhouse gases are like this.

  113. Rod B:

    Timothy (100), you almost make my case: torturous, convoluted, weird combos of indivudual bits of information combined to explain the elephant. Now this might all be valid. After all climatology is likely the most complex and difficult of sciences and it has to be (though, as an aside, that does bring the models under scrutiny…) But it still doesn’t pass the sniff test (who said “smell”???) no matter how often the disparate pieces are repeated.

  114. Ike Solem:

    For a potential glimpse into Jim Cripwell’s “methodology”, there is the very interesting site desmogblog –

    http://www.desmogblog.com/monbiot-tassc-and-the-tobacco-climate-change-cover-up

    The product being sold by the fossil fuel PR lobby is “doubt”, as in, “I doubt that the science behind global warming is accurate enough to justify taking any action that might also have devastating effects on our economy.”

    Attempting to hold a rational discussion with a person who only wishes to create the appearance of doubt is something of a waste of time. Every child learns the trick of asking ‘why is such-and-such’, getting an answer, and prefacing the answer with another ‘why’?

    To parse out Mr. Cripwell’s approach, just look for the word phrases: “no hard evidence”, “chapter and verse”, “hard, measured, experimental data”, and so on. Translation: global warming is the religious belief of those who don’t understand what sound science is all about.

    Parsing isn’t a sin, by the way – it’s better described as the reductionist approach – you just have to put it all back together when you’re done. A thorough review of desmogblog will teach you all you ever wanted to know about PR strategies.

    Actually attempting to answer a child who persists in asking why, why, why is always a waste of time. Instead of arguing, just give them a toy to play with. Unless, of course, you are just playing the opposing role in a contrived argument intended to create ‘doubt’ – otherwise known as a ‘puppet show’… I do believe I’ve seen a few of those on realclimate threads.

  115. Jim Galasyn:

    Jim, Comparing the volume carbon dioxide to the total volume of the atmosphere when compressed in some way is interesting to a degree, but is not at all informative when considering the physics involved in the climate. As an analogy, consider a cubic millimeter of dioxin placed next to a cubic meter of water. The volume of dioxin would appear to be minuscule in caparison to that of the water. But would that make it safe to mix the dioxin into the water and then drink a glass of it? Clearly not. Some chemicals have very big effects in very small concentrations. Carbon dioxide and various of the other greenhouse gases are like this.

    Hmm, true enough. I often emphasize to people that even at 1000 ppm, CO2 is still a trace gas — we’re not in danger of asphyxiation.

    Still, I like Theo’s idea of visualizing the sheer quantity of carbon humans have dumped, and continue to dump, into the atmosphere. I sometimes try to imagine a mountain of graphite. Assuming we manage to scrub the anthropogenic carbon from the atmosphere, the question often comes up: where do we put these gigatons of carbon we sequester?

    I like the Klaus Lackner approach of making limestone, but it seems to me the amount of calcium required would be prohibitive. In a discussion with a friend, the idea came up of using Biorock to fix the carbon in the ocean, instead of the atmospheric carbon. This approach has the advantage of using dissolved atmospheric carbon, which is already in solution and therefore easier to work with. But a chemist friend tells me there’s not enough calcium in the ocean to fix the quantities of carbon we need to fix.

  116. M.P.:

    # 98: time will tell who is what!

  117. Leddie:

    Just curious.
    Broad consensus appear to support:
    Oceans will rise for millennia, due to heat expansion, even if all the ice to melt is gone. But suppose, by some yet unspecified MIRACLE we stop earlier. At what level ocean rise can be stabilised AFTER the expected Biblical time-period is over.
    Has anybody EVER taken into effect the best scenario would mean in terms of increased pressure on fault and rift lines under the sea? What kinds of super-vulcanoes are we brewing?
    And if we haven’t got ANY idea, isn’t that mortally dangerous to even LET it contemplate to allow to happen.
    Yet gigantic underwater chambers are sucked dry form oil and gas so the pressure rifts around them can sustain is decreased dramatically. Meanwhile we are piling gigantic heaps of hydraulic pressure upon them from increased columns of oceanic water.
    Earth down there has the habit to break without sending SMS to you and me as to the exact time it intends to schedule such a momentous event.

    Atmospheric system change is no less unpredictable. Does that make that less mortally dangerous? Do we as scientists have the luxury of time to learn and educate AT THE SAME TIME about yet new signs of stresses in any complex systems. Unfortunately not.

    Some trees are already overstressed, they are net CO2 emitters. The stratosphere has begun retaining water vapour. Methane from under permafrost gone is beginning to equal industrial outputs. We may have foreseen these events by now, which I doubt. But who knows what their coupled effects are.

    Stop arguing that the temperature is not rising. Look for UNEXPECTED anomalies. And there are plenty. If YOU SEE the temperature not rising for decades DESPITE the mega-tonnes of output, ask yourself. Isn’t that an anomaly? Isn’t that the proverbial horse that has 4 white legs?

    And finally, I have a major problem with how we frame the debate. If we found a name for the sum of events that is already apparent, we would be much closer to communicating apparent dangers.

    What is not familiar, doesn’t ring the bell. None of us actually know from experience what is climate change or global warming. Though warming is a familiar notion, we just cannot contemplate PERPETUAL warming on a planetary scale. In a room closed, it would be burning alive. Suddenly, the spine shivers, because that is a familiar scale. Mention perpetual drastic and unexpected anomalies in the climate system, which PERPETUAL climate change really is, and most stock analysts turn a death ear. But mention the same on the stock market and they will be busy piling up gold the very next day.

    We haven’t yet found a comprehensible word for either Perpetual Warming or Perpetual Change let alone the combination of BOTH. Yet gut feeling tells that most of us are experiencing the sum effect of both.

  118. M. P.:

    # 98, Is the following more explanatory? :
    F. Kenneth Hare, The Vaulting of Intellectual Barriers: The Madison Thrust in Climatology; Bulletin American Meteorological Society; Vol. 60, No.10, October 1979, Pages 1171 â?? 1174.
    â??This is obviously the decade in which climate is coming into its own. You hardly heard the word professionally in the 1940s. It was a layman’s word. Climatologists were the halt and the lame. And as for the climatologists in public service, in the British service you actually, had to be medically disabled in order to get into the climatological division! Climatology was a menial occupation that came on the pecking scale somewhat below the advertising profession. It was clearly not the age of climateâ??.

  119. pat n:

    Change in NOAA National Weather Service leadership

    Mary Glackin has been chosen for acting director of NOAA’s National Weather Service (links follow).

    Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson (Ret.), the current NWS director, will join his deputy director in leaving the NWS later this month.

    Brig. Gen. Jack Kelly (Ret.) preceded Gen. Kelly as the NWS director (1998-Jan., 2004). Gen. Kelly is current NOAA deputy director under Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, (ret.).

    Vice Admiral Lautenbacher, the current NOAA director, has served as NOAA director since his appointment by Bush on Dec. 19, 2001.

    Links:

    http://www.noaa.gov/lautenbacher.html

    http://www.noaa.gov/kelly.html

    http://www.nws.noaa.gov/com/presentations/glackin.htm

    Related:

    Apr, 2005: Dennis McCarthy, … has been appointed director of the Office of Climate, Water and Weather Services in NOAA’s NWS.

    http://www.publicaffairs.noaa.gov/releases2005/apr05/noaa05-046.html

  120. pete best:

    My personal opinion is that no one quite knows what is going to happen with regard to:

    1/ Transfering the energy infrastructure from fossil fuels now to a combination of fuels and energy sources capable of providing the energy we have now and what additional energy is needed in the future. We require more energy at present, not less for the future. As yet there is no definite concrete well laid ou roadmap on how to do this. Many avenuses are being persue at a small scale from ethenol in Brazil to Wind power in Denmark and solar in germany and new nuclear installations being planned but the jury is out on a AGW energy plan, it is just that oil, coal and gas are here and getting more expensive and hence alternatives get a look in but unfortunately we await the fre market to tell us there will be enough investment and if it is all worth while.

    2/ Does anyone know for sure that a 50% reduction in carbon emissions is possible by 2050 ? Can enough money be found and will enough cars be purchased that do another 10 or 20 mpg to the gallon. An aweful lot of this is being left to fortitude it seems to me.

    3/ How much fossil fuels are left and when does it really start to hurt us in the pocket ? These economic facts will probably eliminate AGW from their minds fossil fuels peak.

  121. Nagraj Adve:

    I’m a little surprised at your rather positive responsive to the G8 summit declaration.
    It does not include the biggest emitters, US and China, It’s not binding but merely a statement of intent. These countries have not been able to meet their paltry targets under the Kyoto Protocol.
    As a lay person, my understanding is that because carbon emissions stay in the atmosphere for decades, the more acute our cuts in the near future the better. There’s no such specific agenda in the declaration. George Monbiot in recent writings has been arguing that the UK and some other European countries seem to have effectively accepted dangerous warming at 2 degrees.
    I’d really like to know how your website looks at this issue of dangerous climate change, of two degrees rise above pre-Industrial levels and how fast are cuts required to avoid reaching dangerous levels.
    And thanks for your wonderful website.
    Nagraj Adve
    New Delhi

  122. pat n:

    Re: Change in NOAA National Weather Service leadership

    NOAA announced the appointment of Jack Hayes as assistant administrator for weather services and director of the NOAA National Weather Service. Hayes will assume his duties on Sept. 2, 2007, and take responsibility for the day-to-day management of NOAAâ��s weather, hydrologic and climate forecast and warning operations …

    http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2007/s2871.htm

    [Mary Glackin is acting director of NWS until Hayes becomes director on Sept. 2, 2007.]

    Neither have shown any interest in climate change.

  123. Florifulgurator:

    Re: “hard evidence”
    Here’s a mandatory exercise for any serious sceptic: Ponder the evidence we have that Earth circles the Sun.

  124. climate skeptic?:

    Been reading a bit on this, and I can’t seem to find the answers. The presumed cooling effect of the sulfate aerosols should mostly affect the industrialised areas of the world. Was such a disparity observed in 1945-1970? Did the cooling effect mostly affect the industrialised countries? Is such a disparity observed today in China? Is China relatively cooler than the rest of the planet? It should be according to the sulfate aerosol theory.

    Most of the major volcanic eruptions of the 20th century occurred in between 1980 and 1995, shooting cubic miles of ash and aerosols into the atmosphere. Should this have had a cooling effect?

    Lot of volcanic activity also preceeded the 1910-1940 warming trend, most importantly the eruption of Novarupta, in Alaska 1912, which erupted 10x more aerosols and ash into the atmosphere than Mount St. Helens did in the 6 years between 1980 and 1986. How do the 1910-1945 atmospheric sulfate aerosol levels compare to 1945-1970, and how is this counted/estimated by 21st century scientists?

    How strong is the scientific basis of the sulfate aerosol theory in the first place? Should it be called a hypothesis instead?

  125. Dan:

    re: 124. Quick comment on volcanic eruption influence on climate. The latitude (and obviously the quantity) of the eruption is a critical factor in whether it influences global climate. Emissions resulting from eruptions in the mid-latitudes and higher generally do not get distributed as broadly globally compared to emissions from a volcano located in a location such as Pinatubo, due to the differences in global circulation patterns.

  126. Chuck Booth:

    Rod B:

    Re # 111 [What was it then that justified the 1st IPCC report and its conclusions???]

    Why don’t you read that report and see for yourself?

    Re # 113 Your response to Timothy Chase:

    Instead of picking apart the posts on these threads, the vast majority of which are not written by climatologists, why not go to the peer-reviewed literature and learn from the experts? Or at least read the RC moderators’ analyses posted at this site. Then you can come back and relate what you have found – I suspect most of your questions and concerns will have been answered (though, perhaps not to your full satisfaction).

  127. pat n:

    Re: 1930s-1940s, my comments (11, 6) included:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/05/el-nino-global-warming/

    and

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/10/taking-cosmic-rays-for-a-spin/

  128. Geo:

    Dear RC, do you plan to update your Kilimanjaro article
    given the “new” Mote-Kaser article in the American Scientist
    (the mag of SigmaXi) ?

  129. Jim Cripwell:

    In message 107, Ray Ladbury writes “Again, Jim, you have given only vague criticisms. What, specifically are you looking for? What is your science background? Perhaps we can find something suitable for your background.” Let me try again. There is an undoubted rise in CO2 levels in the atmosphere over the last few decades. There is an undoubted rise in average global temperaures over the same time period. There is a hypothesis, or theory, or whatever, that claims that not only is there a correlation between these two facts, but there is also a causation. AGW proponents have enunciated what this causation is, theoretically. However, what I have failed to find is any hard, measured experimental data which shows that there is causation between the observed rise in CO2 levels, and the observed rise in average global temperatures. So we have a hypothesis, or theory, but, so far as I have been able to ascertain, no experimental data to support that theory. I would have thought that if any such experimental existed it would have been front and center in the IPCC AR4 report to WG1. Does such experimental data exist, and if so where is it? As background, I graduated from Cavendish Laboratories Cambridge during WWII, with an honours degree in physics and spent the bulk of my scientific career doing Operations Research with the Canadian Defence Research Board. I had the privilege of having the great Dr. Gordon Sutherland as my mentor in college, and worked with Harold Larnder in Canada.

  130. Jim Galasyn:

    RodB in 111:

    “…The mountain of “hard” scientific evidence accumulated since the first IPCC report puts the burden of proof squarely on the denialists: ”

    That’s very curious. What was it then that justified the 1st IPCC report and its conclusions???

    I don’t know — maybe the significant volume of peer-reviewed science?

    But you didn’t answer the most important part of my post:

    Why wouldn’t dumping hundred of gigatons of carbon into the atmosphere profoundly change the global climate and the chemistry of the oceans?

  131. Jim Galasyn:

    From Ray in 110:

    Jim–no, that’s 1 year. Actually, we’d need to subtract of the O2, so that’s actually a cube 1 km on a side of pure carbon.

    Ah, so 7GT of solid carbon occupies about 1 cubic km.

    So for illustrative purposes, if we need to remove 100 GT of carbon (say) to bring the atmospheric CO2 concentration down to the pre-industrial level, we’d have to find somewhere to put 14 cubic km of solid carbon, correct?

  132. Ike Solem:

    Malfeasance at NOAA?

    After numerous emails to the NOAA Communications Office, I have yet to get a response to the question of why NOAA decided to switch from a 1961-1990 baseline climatology for temperature anomaly calculations to a 1971-2000 baseline.

    While some may argue that a different baseline has no effect on the absolute temperature reported, the fact is that anomalies are often reported as data, without clear reference to the baseline used to calculate those anomalies. Worse, NOAA typically uses ‘cool anomaly’ and ‘warm anomaly’ in their scientific reports.

    A discussion of baselines is available at this IPPC TAR section

    One apparent reason that NOAA did this is to produce a lower risk for the weather insurance industry.

    This is a little complicated – here’s a quote: “In the temperature market, the most common structures are floor and cap options. In exchange for a premium, these contracts provide payment in the event that the number of degree days is either above (a cap) or below (a floor) the strike point”

    Thus, by using the 1971-2000 climatology, NOAA artificially reduces the chances of hitting a payout point, during a heat wave for example. While I’m not capable of doing an analysis of how much money this has saved the weather risk insurance industry relative to the use of the 1961-1990 baseline climatology, I imagine it’s a significant amount. If anyone knows any economists with some spare time on their hands, this might be an interesting little project.

    That is not the only problem, however. NOAA’s State of the Arctic (2006) report also relies on this altered baseline.

    What NOAA implicitly assumes by using the 1971-2000 instead of the generally used 1961-1990 period as a ‘baseline’ is that there was no warming trend between 1990 and 2000 – and that is clearly a false assumption.

    Nowhere does the paper use actual temperature trends; instead they rely on these anomalies. This is obviously an attempt to manipulate the data analysis steps to produce lower anomalies; not only that, but it prevents comparison of anomalies with researchers around the world who are using the 1961-1990 period as a baseline. Any honest scientist would want standardized baselines for ease of comparison.

    What all this means is that NOAA has been deliberately tampering with data for economic and political reasons – and they also refuse to reply to my queries on this matter. They should be forced to explain who was responsible for this.

  133. Richard Ordway:

    re #102 Jim Cripwell

    Well Jim, you can retire from the issue all you want…but hard scientific proof says that GW is going to hunt you down and force you and your children to live differently…whether you want it to or not.

    Don’t listen to anyone on this website, or the media…just read peer-reviewed scientific journals such as Science, Nature, Geophysical Letters and others recommended by your librarian at your local library…the article summaries are usually understandable.

    A lot can be done, however at a personal and societal level to keep GW a young puppy and not let it grow into a rabid Pit Bull.

  134. Ray Ladbury:

    Re 131. That’s 7 GT of CO2, so we have to take the carbon (12 g/mole) out of the CO2 (44 g/mole), so it’s the carbon in 7 GT of CO2 that occupies ~1 cubic km. If you want to make it diamond, you’d have a crystal .88 km on a side! That would satisfy most fiances, I’d wager.

  135. Timothy Chase:

    Jim Cripwell (#129) wrote:

    In message 107, Ray Ladbury writes “Again, Jim, you have given only vague criticisms. What, specifically are you looking for? What is your science background? Perhaps we can find something suitable for your background.” Let me try again. There is an undoubted rise in CO2 levels in the atmosphere over the last few decades. There is an undoubted rise in average global temperaures over the same time period. There is a hypothesis, or theory, or whatever, that claims that not only is there a correlation between these two facts, but there is also a causation.

    As a matter of your scientific background, would you suggest that raising the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will have no effect on the earth’s radiation budget?

    What kind of data are you looking for?

    Spectral analysis of the absorbtion and re-emission of radiation by various greenhouse gases, analysis of the upwelling and downwelling radiation, the effects of air pressure and temperature on absorbtion and re-emission, the deficit of outgoing radiation from the ocean-water-atmosphere system, the energy budget of the ground or of the atmosphere at various altitudes? Or would you prefer something more like an historical analysis of the trends between carbon dioxide and temperature over geologic time, or why solar variability may have been the major contributor to climate change in the first half of the twentieth century but could have only played a minor role in the latter half? This list could go on for quite a while.

    I would have thought that if any such experimental existed it would have been front and center in the IPCC AR4 report to WG1. Does such experimental data exist, and if so where is it?

    Are you sure that you have looked at the literature?

    The report has quite a few references, as I have said, over six hundred for just one chapter. Each article that is cited generally has a great deal of data to it. Is all of this data what you would expect to be front-and-center in the IPCC AR4 report? And what exactly do you mean by front-and-center? Would you want all of that data included in the report itself – before any conclusions are drawn from the data?

    Anyway, don’t mean to push, but as a philosophy major who is now doing computer programming, I am experiencing some difficulty reconciling your views with your background.

  136. Timothy Chase:

    My apologies, Mr. Cripwell. You are who you say you are, which I can see from the following:

    The culprit most widely considered to be responsible is carbon dioxide, trapping the energy which is input into the earth by the sun, but preventing its re-radiation into space as infra red. However, Jim Cripwell writes, “Assuming the earth is at 290 deg Kelvin, Wien’s law shows that the maximum radiation is emitted at 10 microns. Water has a massive infrared absorption band centered on 8.5 microns, and in sufficient quantities that can exist in the atmosphere, absorbs all the radiation in a band from about 7 to 11 microns, accounting for about 70 per cent of the radiation. By contrast, carbon dioxide and methane have a very few intense, narrow absorption bands in this part of the spectrum. Those for carbon dioxide are at about 4 and 14 microns. However, the carbon dioxide absorptions are so intense that all the radiation that it is ever going to absorb is done by about 15 per cent of the atmosphere. So adding more carbon dioxide cannot increase its greenhouse effectiveness. The same is true of methane, except that the concentrations of methane in the atmosphere may be too low for it to have reached its maximum.” (According to the US EPA, methane is considered to have a 100 year global warming potential about 21 times as great as that of carbon dioxide, but that is mainly because once it gets into the atmosphere, it tends to stay there). Jim Cripwell continues, “Whatever is causing warming, it is not an increase in levels of carbon dioxide. A more plausible theory is that it is water put into high altitudes by aircraft; this would have roughly the same time line.”

    Global Warming: is CO2 the real culprit?
    http://www.shelleys.demon.co.uk/global.htm

    You just prefer to ignore how increased levels of carbon dioxide initiates positive feedback raising the level of water vapor in the atmosphere, and I would presume the residence times of the various gases.

    My mistake.

  137. John Mashey:

    re: #124, #125

    Read:
    Hansen, J., R. Ruedy, Mki. Sato, and R. Reynolds, 1996: Global surface air temperature in 1995: Return to pre-Pinatubo level.
    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/1996/1996_Hansen_etal_1.pdf
    For a good short piece: see especially Figure 2, which has volcanoes & El Ninos

    The volcano history is especially compelling evidence, because we have a long history of large eruptions being followed by short, steep temperature dips, including the “Year without a Summer”:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_Without_a_Summer

    As Dan notes, it matters where an eruption is (latitude).
    The nature of the eruption also matters: for example, Mt. St Helens went sideway, not so much up into the stratosphere, so its effects were much more localized.

    The Greenland ice-core records show:
    a) Through 1900, a narrow natural range of sulfates
    b) Followed by a buildup to successively higher peaks
    1910-1920 (~WWI)
    ~1929 (before Crash)
    ~1945 (WWII)
    ~1973 (and then Clean Air Acts bring it down).
    c) And these are overlaid with narrow spikes from major eruptions.

    Anyway, very compelling evidence, particularly, ENSOs and eruptions:
    a) Have very fast up or down spikes that happen quickly, and whose signals are really easy to see.
    b) You know when they happen.

    A good chart is the one on p. 157 of “Plows, Plagues & Petroleum”.

    So, that’s what ice-cores show.

    People have done their best to analyze emissions over time. See Fig 3, which shows emissions by region, and one can see the growth in Asia, so far more than canceled by the dips in Europe and N. America:

    Historical Sulfur Dioxide Emissions. 1850-2000: Methods and Results.
    http://www.pnl.gov/main/publications/external/technical_reports/PNNL-14537.pdf

    Since industrial sulfates are *not* blasted into the stratosphere, they tend to have more localized effects, i.e., acid rain plumes, and all of this is pretty well studied. I’ve lost track of the reference, but I did see a study that thought ASia might be able to stave off some waming (locally) for a decade or two, but only with truly horrendous acid rain…

    Anyway, all-in-all, there is solid and pervasive evidence that:
    – big volcanic eruptions in low latitudes, that eject into the stratopshere, have global cooling effects that peak at a year or two, and then disappear.
    – anthropogenic sulfates have more localized cooling effects because they stay at lower altitudes and rop out fairly quickly.
    =====
    So, as a climate skeptic, maybe you can shed some light:

    a) What is the probability you assign to the existence of AGW?
    b) How confident are you of that probability?
    c) Can you share with us a priority list (say ~5) issues/discrepancies/not-proveds that stop you from thinking AGW is at least very likely? [Any rational skeptic should always have such a list, i.e., at one point “Satellites don’t seem to agree with ground stations” was a legitimate item.]

  138. voidmatters:

    I like the idea that ‘climate change’ will increase human awareness of being responsible for ones action and the idea that, earthbound as we are, the freedoms that we all enjoy quite selfishly on a daily basis just always have a diminishing impact on someone elses freedom, now or in the future.

    However, I see lots of fearful exclamations about how fast and how bad things eventually will turn out and I wonder quite frankly if that is a meaningful attitude when adressing the issue or facing the upcoming efforts in developing meaningful strategies to deal with or ‘prevent’ change, most of which are neither in public debate, nor ‘decided on’ or simply unknown as of yet.

    I am the kind of person who tries to support only thoroughly ‘proven’, meaningful ideas. I am against any mindless prevention measures that, with the idea to protect mankind from all possible dangers, are enforced on a global scale, but have as many negative impacts as they could possibly have positive ones, like the stuff people call ‘crime prevention’ as in ‘cctv’ or ‘fighting terror’ for example.

    If there truly were a global ‘fire’ fueled by human activity and we were not able to put it out, will people at least be able to watch it burn out or will they freak out even more seeing things turn into ashes, changing this and that to cope, not understanding that it is every single ‘human’ activity that produces ‘climate’ change.

    As to me, of course there is a human contribution to the earth’ climate, but we should be even more careful to develop ‘solutions’ as we are careful to assess the impact of all factors involved in our understanding of global climate or in predicting possible outcomes of changes.

    With all due respect to the IPCC, human activity is by far not the only, and with some undeniably large probability not even the deciding, factor with respect to our planets climate changing.

    Could anyone please tell me, whether or not the electromagnetic field of or around our planet is almost a completely unknown in terms of scientific understanding and measurement and if the influence of changes in the radiation level of the sun or the universe at large or shifting magnetic poles are part of our ‘global’ climate models?

    I do not support the call for ever more drastic horror scenarios to rise ‘awareness’.

    Facing industrialisation based on the maxime of “economic growth” meeting an ever increasing human population, please explain what reasoning will you put forward to change the mindset of egocentric, hedonistic, trying to survive ‘consumption’ habits that usually drive the global-fossil-fuel-engine?

    If indeed there were anything we can do to constrain change, being it climate or any other kind, we actually have to step back and halt, rid ourself from every obsessive burden to unveil the essense of a truly fulfilled existence.

    As long as the rewarding moments in life are to arise by gaining access to and using unsustainable and fashionable fancy things, I don’t see things change.

    To me it is as easy as this: Why do people go to supermarkets to buy their daily 5’s? It could be as simple as planting trees, fruits and veggies along the way, reaping the fruits when it is season, without any economic model involved in the process at all!

    My guess: Maybe more than 95% of all products bought or waiting in warehouses is stuff that people don’t need or shouldn’t consume for just not knowing better.

    Yet we buy stuff to keep “the heart” of our societies – “the economy” – alive. Because nothing is worse than not making money, err… ‘being working’ (to achieve what exactly?).

    Do you really need to change your mobile every other year or “be available” to talk to people all the time?

    80 inch monitor, yeah… that is big.
    It can drive 150mph… that is impressive.

    TV proudly sponsored by your next every-two-year-new-model-of-a-vehicle and Ringtones of all kinds?

    Ever fancied on playing an instrument yourself rather than buying someone else’s new CD or daily soap magazine?

    Newspapers every day, imagine all the wood that goes into that.

    To what level do you heat in winter or worse: cool in summer?

    What do you think all the energy is used for that is gained from ‘bad’ fossil fuel?

    Why do people try to gain the most benefit from so called resources?

    It could be as easy as to drop the financial incentives and replace them with a desire (to act less) for a fulfilled and sustainable lifestyle, for all living beings, animals and plants included.

    People take too much pleasure in being stupid or even take pride in doing so.

    We are lazy and ever more specialised creeps that need more and bigger muscles, make-ups, refrigerators, cars, planes and, by the way, loads of scrap producing, energy consuming ‘factories’ and ‘supply chains’ to sustain our unsustainable and perfectionist lifestyles.

    Why is it that you have to squeeze your “holiday” in a short period of time to take high speed transportation to actually speed-dial some tourist or wellness locations to then quickly return to a financially driven society, where welfare is expressed by the amount of money in the bank and you just don’t take the time to enjoy yourself, your life or ‘creation’ / ‘reality’ as a whole in every moment you are allowed to exist?

    Men are selfish by nature and as long as there is no sustainable intention to human action, we just won’t stop at spending about 160 Dollars per person of this planet each day to fund our military or do other bloody stupid things.

    It is incredible how people can believe in the ‘effort’ of less-than-a-dozen of ‘democratically’ elected leaders of the world to make any meaningful progress.

    How can you even assume, they know what they are talking about?

    As long as democracy doesn’t mean to put the right people on the right job throughout a whole democratic hierachy of decision making processes rather than to elect the ideological values of ‘political parties’ to then constitute all too often feudalistic, almost monarchistic (as in France or Russia) ‘governments’, leaders will always pretend to be coping with competences they, in fact, just can’t provide.

  139. Ike Solem:

    On addiction to fossil fuels, and the inescapable side effects of global warming:

    The first step in treating addiction is to get the individual to admit that their addiction is indeed a problem.

    Only then will they accept the need to change their behavior and their habits.

    Often, the addict will refuse to accept that their behavior is causing any problems, and will resort to all manner of convoluted arguments to justify their behavior. This is called ‘the denial phase’. (It really has nothing to do with the Holocaust.)

    Research has shown that long-term drug use results in significant changes in brain function that persist long after the individual stops using drugs. These drug-induced changes in brain function may have many behavioral consequences, including the compulsion to use drugs despite adverse consequences -the defining characteristic of addiction.

    With respect to fossil fuels and global warming, there are various justifications for living in denial – “it isn’t really happening”, “it may be happening but not because of me”, and “well, it is happening, but it’s actually a good thing…”

    The G8 summit does represent a step forward in the treatment of fossil fuel addiction – but our physician must be thinking, “I’m not sure if this patient has much time left before major and irreversible organ failure sets in”.

  140. Ray Ladbury:

    Jim, Think for a minute: How would you establish that gravity is what makes an apple fall from a tree? We know gravity exists. We can measure the force between two objects in the lab. We know the apple falls–but how do we establish causation? Well, we observe correlation. We postulate a mechanism and see if the phenomena are consistent with that mechanism. We exclude other posibilities experimentally or by analysis. How do we know the geodynamo causes Earth’s magnetic field?
    Causation rarely comes via “hard” evidence, especially for complicated, large systems that don’t fit on a lab bench.

  141. Theo H:

    From Jim Galasyn at #131.

    Visualising gigatons.

    So we are trying to find some visual way to illustrate what a gigaton of carbon looks like. We now seem to have 1km x 1km x 1km cubes. Now if this carbon was very smoky barbeque charcoal, or diesel fumes coming out of someone�s exhaust, I�m starting to get some sort of image going here. At the very least there would be a lot (millions, in truth) of people coughing and choking.

    Theo H

  142. Leonard Evens:

    Re 131:

    As far as I know, there is no feasible way to bring CO_2 concentrations down to preindustrial levels except by waiting for natural processes to remove it from the atmosphere. This will take centuries, if not longer.

    The objective is to bring down CO_2 emissions from burning of fossil fuels and other such activities down to some achievable target. If we do that, then the CO_2 levels in the atmosphere will begin to level off.

    Estimates of what must be done to achieve various targets is discussed in quite a lot of detail in the IPCC Reports. Of course there are considerable uncertainties involved in making such estimates, but they are good enough at present to decide on what to do. One thing is sure. If we don’t do anything and keep on emitting more and more greenhouse gases, the consequences will be unacceptable to those who have to try to live through them.

  143. Jim Galasyn:

    From Theo in 141:

    Visualising gigatons.

    So we are trying to find some visual way to illustrate what a gigaton of carbon looks like. We now seem to have 1km x 1km x 1km cubes. Now if this carbon was very smoky barbeque charcoal, or diesel fumes coming out of someone’s exhaust, I’m starting to get some sort of image going here. At the very least there would be a lot (millions, in truth) of people coughing and choking.

    That could be a compelling illustration: Showing various combustion sources, with the “smoke” (i.e., CO2 emissions) congealing into the large cube.

    It would be cool to find the total carbon emitted by humans in the last 150 years and make a cube that size. Or, find how much carbon we would have to sequester to reduce CO2 concentration to pre-industrial levels and show that cube. Say we have to remove 100 GT, then we would have about 14 cubic km (100 / 7) of carbon.

    Sometimes I imagine a mountain range. If all the carbon were fixed into limestone, how big a mountain of limestone would that be? (For example, show the “tailings” from Klaus Lackner’s synthetic trees.)

  144. Jim Cripwell:

    Thank you, Ray, for your message 140. I assume what you are actually saying is that you also dont know of any hard measured data, that connects rising CO2 levels with rising temperatures. What we conclude from this lack of data is another issue. I remember Michaelson/Morley. IMHO, hard data is the rock on which causation always rests.

  145. Robert A. Rohde:

    Regarding visualization: At standard temperature and pressure, 7 gigatonnes of carbon is enough to create a layer of pure CO2 gas that is 2.5 cm thick and coats the entire planet.

  146. Jim Cripwell:

    Timothy, Re 136. Guilty as charged!! You dont note, however, I wrote that at least 3 years ago, and now know much of it is just plain wrong. But it did get people’s attention, and I have learned a lot in the last 3 years or more. The problem with positive feedback is that more water in the atmosphere means more clouds, higher albedo and thus lower temperatures. I have not seen the detailed calculations as to whether the increase in temperature caused by more water in the atmosphere outweighs the decrease in temperature caused by a higher albedo.

  147. Dan:

    re: 132. Ike, there is no malfeasance at NOAA regarding the change in the baseline 30-year period at all. That has been the standard definition of a “climate normal” period for many decades (defined I believe by the WMO). As such, it always “moves up” 10 years at a time. This is standard climatology. Meteorologists and climatologists have been using the 30-year normals as baselines for many, many years. I do. It has nothing to do with global warming.

  148. Jim Galasyn:

    From Jim Cripwell in 144:

    Thank you, Ray, for your message 140. I assume what you are actually saying is that you also dont know of any hard measured data, that connects rising CO2 levels with rising temperatures. What we conclude from this lack of data is another issue. I remember Michaelson/Morley. IMHO, hard data is the rock on which causation always rests.

    Bill Nye did a nice demo on one of his shows, in which he had two columns of air under a heat lamp. Both had thermometers inside and showed the same temperature. In one, he injected some CO2. The temperature rose visibly in that column.

    This was “hard, measured data” demonstrating causation. In the lab at least, we can say with confidence that higher CO2 concentrations cause higher temperatures.

    Would you agree that this tabletop experiment is at least within spitting distance of Michaelson/Morley?

  149. Timothy Chase:

    Jim,

    Looking around, I was able to find more of your scientific views.

    As I understand it, your critique of the science of climatology consists of:

    1. omitting the role of carbon dioxide in initiating the positive feedback which results in higher levels of water vapor;

    Whatever is causing warming, it is not an increase in levels of carbon dioxide. A more plausible theory is that it is water put into high altitudes by aircraft; this would have roughly the same time line.

    http://www.shelleys.demon.co.uk/global.htm

    2. ignoring the briefness of water vapour’s residence time in the atmosphere (roughly 10 days) compared to that of carbon dioxide (decades or centuries – depending upon how it is calculated);

    (ibid.)

    3. distorting the scientific views of climatologists by pretending that they hold that absorbtion of infrared by carbon dioxide takes place in the troposphere, where levels of water vapor are high, rather than in the stratosphere – which is especially dry;

    I did some work on surface-to-air guided missiles, and the concept of ‘red spike blue spike’ shows conclusively that the 4.2 micron absorption band of CO2 is completely saturated. For anyone unfamiliar with this concept, it relates to the complete absorption of the CO2 radiation at 4.2 microns, emitted by jet aircraft flying in combat, before it reaches the ground. Other absorption bands of CO2 must be nearly saturated, so there is not enough radiation absorbed by increased levels of CO2 to act as a way of increasing the warming of the earth.

    http://www.staff.livjm.ac.uk/spsbpeis/CCNet-07-04-06.htm

    4. pretending that climatologists treat carbon dioxide as an independent variable and temperature as a dependent variable – when anyone in the field would recognize that they are interdependent as the result of feedback – that historically temperature may lead and carbon dioxide may follow in earlier, naturally caused instances of global warming, but in the scenario that we find ourselves in now, it is carbon dioxide which leads and temperature which follows – but it is still the same positive feedback;

    To recap, what I asked for, were any graphs showing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere as the independent variable, and some quantitative measure of greenhouse effectiveness as the dependent variable. I suggested that two candidates for the latter could be the percentage of the earthâ??s radiation absorbed by CO2, and radiative forcing.

    http://www.staff.livjm.ac.uk/spsbpeis/CCNet-07-04-06.htm

    5. slandering an entire field of scientific endeavor by claims that there is no evidence and that it is equivilent to astrology.

    If there is no scientific basis for the claim that doubling the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere increases the radiative forcing linearly, then any claim to put a numerical value on this increase has no basis in science. I am reminded of a discussion I had many years ago on the differences between astronomy and astrology. Both use the same data of the relative positions and motions of the earth, sun, moon, planets and stars; both have long complex calculations; both result in numerical answers. In the case of astronomy, the numbers have a scientific meaning; in the case of astrology, they do not. It seems to me that this claim of doubling the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere resulting in a linear addition to the radiative forcing, is more akin to astrology than it is to astronomy.

    http://www.staff.livjm.ac.uk/spsbpeis/CCNet-07-04-06.htm

    Have I left anything out?

    I am sure I have – since you are clearly much more of an expert in this area than I am.

    In any case, I am looking forward to learning from you whatever I can.

  150. Timothy Chase:

    Jim,

    I have a little bit of difficulty believing that people change all that quickly, but then again, I am a sucker for stories of redemption. From what I have seen so far, it looks to me like you are playing the same game. However, I will pull back so that others can join in the discussion – and give you some space.

  151. Richard Ordway:

    re. 128 [Dear RC, do you plan to update your Kilimanjaro article
    given the “new” Mote-Kaser article in the American Scientist
    (the mag of SigmaXi)]

    What is different now? This is one more study out of many consisting of a body of work that is still being investigated on a single point of a world-wide database:

    RC stated that info is still being accumulated on Kilimanjaro:

    “according to limited recent observations [Moelg and Hardy,2004

    “KILIMANJARO: ICON OR RED HERRING?”

    “the persistence of these conditions throughout the 20th century still might be an indirect effect of global warming, via the remote effect of sea surface temperature on atmospheric circulation.”

    Whether Kilimanjaro is disapearing due to GW or not, doesn’t mean much to the whole. You need hundreds to thousands of points around the world and examine all of them to build an average data base. Natural variability will make some places different than others.

    You need the average over 30+ years, to start seeing a trend out of noise.

  152. Hank Roberts:

    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2007/05/the_significance_of_5_year_tre.php

    “… you can see (I hope) that the series is definitely going up; that 15 year trends are pretty well all sig and all about the same; that about 1/2 the 10 year trends are sig; and that very few of the 5 year trends are sig.

    “From which the motto is: 5 year trends are not useful with this level of natural variability. They tell you nothing about the long-term change.”

  153. Richard Ordway:

    re 128 [Dear RC, do you plan to update your Kilimanjaro article
    given the “new” Mote-Kaser article in the American Scientist
    (the mag of SigmaXi)]

    Also …This magazine does not sound peer-reviewed to me…ie. the authors can state anything they want be it true or false or have fatal errors in it or not…ie. the work is unchecked for accuracy like peer-reviewed journals.

    From their website:

    “American Scientist is a general-interest, nonrefereed science magazine distributed to the approximately 65,000 members of Sigma Xi”

    ..Errr doesn’t sound peer-reviewed to me.

    http://www.americanscientist.org/Guidelines

  154. pat n:

    Re: Kilimanjaro, although they said, …

    There are dozens, if not hundreds, of photos of midlatitude glaciers you could show where there is absolutely no question that they are declining in response to the warming atmosphere,” said climatologist Philip Mote, a University of Washington research scientist. But in the tropics – particularly on Kilimanjaro – processes are at work that are far different from those that have diminished glacial ice in temperate regions closer to the poles, he said.

    A problem is that they used shrinking area of snow/ice to indicate change without regard to thickness of ice or decreasing humidity and temperature change with altitude.

    Mote and Georg Kaser, a glaciologist at the University of Innsbruck in Austria, write in American Scientist that the decline in Kilimanjaro’s ice has been going on for more than a century and that most of it occurred before 1953, while evidence of atmospheric warming there before 1970 is inconclusive.

    A rough survey in 1889 suggested that Kibo’s icecap occupied about 12.5 square miles. By 1912, more than two decades before Ernest Hemingway wrote his masterpiece short story “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” it had dwindled to about 7.5 square miles. By 1953 it had shrunk to about 4.3 square miles and by 2003 it was at a little more than 1.5 square miles.

    http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Global_Warming_Not_To_Blame_For_The_Woes_Of_Kilimanjaro_999.html

  155. Barton Paul Levenson:

    [[Were the relatively small emissions of 1800’s and early 1900’s really the cause of the 0.5C raise in 1910-1940? ]]

    No, that was mostly due to increased solar luminosity in the first half of the 20th century.

    [[why is Mars experiencing global warming?]]

    Because its albedo changes periodically due to planet-wide dust storms.

    [[. Also CO2 emissions in between 1940-1960 had more than doubled from early 1900’s, yet there was then a 2+ decade cooling trend. Could “aerosols” really cause such a drastic effect]]

    Yes.

    [[And the industries were not clean in 1910-1940 were they? Why didn’t aerosols have much any effect in those years?]]

    Compare the industrial output then to the industrial output in World War II and later.

    [[If in 2017, 1998 remains the hottest year on record what will happen to the theories?]]

    2005 was already hotter.

  156. Barton Paul Levenson:

    [[despite 20 years of work, and an estimated 40 billion US dollars of expenditure, there is NO hard, measured experimental data that connects increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, and increased global temperatures.]]

    You must be completely unfamiliar with the professional literature on the subject if you believe that. For a start, look up John Tyndall’s papers from 1859 to 1863 (that was the first lab work on the subject, to my knowledge). Then Svante Arrhenius’s paper from 1896. Then you might try Gilbert Plass’s paper in 1956, Walter Elsasser’s in 1960, Manabe and Strickler 1964, Manabe and Wetherald 1967, 1975, and the literature just explodes with relevant papers from then on. I believe over a thousand papers on global warming have been published in just the last couple of decades, and each paper represents plenty of hard work on the part of climatologists, geochemists, and physicists. The evidence that more atmospheric CO2 makes the ground hotter is overwhelming. If it didn’t, something would have to be seriously wrong with quantum physics — which means your computer probably wouldn’t work.

    Most of the papers I mention above are available on the web. Try Google Scholar.

  157. Barton Paul Levenson:

    [[This is exactly what I want to understand. How come the 0.5C raise in 1910-1940 can be explained (to large extent) by “natural variability”, but similar raise in 1975-2005 can not be explained by “natural variability”?]]

    Because “natural variability” is just a catch-all term for factors other than human-caused. We know what the major causes of natural variability are — variations in the sun’s luminosity and volcanic explosions. They are enough to account for the first rise. They are not enough to account for the second rise. We have good time series data for those factors. Sunlight increased a bit from 1900 to 1950, and since then it has been flat. Volcanoes have been irregular, but the effect of individual big explosions is usually short-lived (a few years at most).

    [[And the cooling period ~1945-1970, how plentiful were “aerosols” in the atmosphere compared to 1930-1940?]]

    Greater. If you want a rough proxy, follow the GNP (or GDP) of the United States over that period.

    [[Most of the major volcanic eruptions of the 20th century occurred between 1980 and 1995 shooting cubic miles of ash and aerosols into the atmosphere. Did they have a cooling or warming effect?]]

    Cooling. But they weren’t just in that period. Mt. Agung was in 1963, as I recall.

  158. Barton Paul Levenson:

    [[I have read the AR4 to WG1 of the IPCC documents, in detail, and I have found no hard evidence connecting increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, and increased global temperatures. I have also read countless other documents on the subject of AGW, including “The Chilling Stars”, with the same result. It has always been impossible to prove a negative. I cannot prove that no evidence exists. But you can easily prove a positive. In science, things like this are very easy to solve. Give me the references, chapter and verse, or even, better still, the actual words.]]

    Try John Houghton’s “The Physics of Atmospheres” (3rd edition 2002), especially chapters 2 and 4. Grant W. Petty’s “A First Course in Atmospheric Radiation” (2006) is another good one. For more detail, try:

    Goody, R. M. and Yung, Y. L. 1989. Atmospheric Radiation: Theoretical Basis, 2nd Ed. NY: Oxford Univ. Press.

    For original research, start with John Tyndall’s “Further Researches on the Absorption and Radiation of Heat by Gaseous Matter” (1862), pp. 117ff in Contributions to Molecular Physics in the Domain of Radiant Heat, Ed. J. Tyndall, NY: Appleton, 1873.

    Then look at Svante Arrhenius’s “On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air Upon the Temperature of the Ground” (1896), Phil. Mag. J. Sci. (fifth series) 41, 237â??275. This is available on the web at:

    http://www.globalwarmingart.com/images/1/18/Arrhenius.pdf

    Arrhenius’s table data, along with comparisons to modern data, is available at:

    http://members.lycos.nl/ErrenWijlens/co2/arrhenius.html

    Some more resources are:

    Callendar, G.S. “The Artificial Production of Carbon Dioxide and its Influence on Climate” (1938). Quart. J. Roy. Meteorol. Soc. 64, 223-240.

    Plass, G.N. “Carbon Dioxide and the Climate” (1956). Am. Scientist 44, 302-316.

    Revell, R. and Suess, H.E. “Carbon Dioxide Exchange between Atmosphere and Ocean and the Question of an Increase of Atmospheric CO2 During the Past Decades.” Tellus 9, 18-27.

    Manabe, S. and Strickler, R. F. 1964. “Thermal Equilibrium of the Atmosphere with a Convective Adjustment.” Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences 21(4), 361-385.

    Manabe, S. and Wetherald, R. T. 1967. “Thermal Equilibrium of the Atmosphere with a Given Distribution of Relative Humidity.” Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences 24, 241-259.

    For a quick summary of how the greenhouse effect works, try

    http://members.aol.com/bpl1960/Greenhouse101.html

  159. Barton Paul Levenson:

    [[why temp goes down when CO2 goes up, why temp goes up when CO2 goes down,]]

    because CO2 isn’t the only factor that affects temperature, it’s just one of the factors.

    [[[ why CO2 goes up after temp goes up,]]

    That’s what happens during a normal warming. The present warming is not that type. Let me know if you want the details.

    [[ why the aerosols of 1900 to 1940 don’t count,]]

    They do count. They just were not present in as great quantities as later. You do know that industrial production has gone up fairly steadily since the start of the Industrial Revolution, don’t you? I mean, aside from variation due to recessions and depressions and so on.

    [[ why the upper latitudes get alot hotter (or show macro scale effects) when the global temp goes up a couple of tenths of a degree — but only in the last two decades, not in the early 1900s,]]

    Because there wasn’t a huge global warming going on in the early 1900s, but there is now.

    [[ why accurate global temps can be obtained with rough sparse measurements with a little mathematical wizardry, etc., etc. ]]

    This is a completely false picture, and whoever you got it from was either lying to you or just didn’t know what he/she was talking about. Global temperatures are obtained from tens of thousands of measurements around the world, plus data from radiosondes in balloons (about 1,400 of which are launched every day of every year), and from Earth-orbital satellites, and, interestingly, from Earthshine effects on the Moon. We have very good primary data on global temperatures from about 1850 forward (and regional temperatures back to the 1600s in Europe), and for earlier periods there are many temperature proxies, such as the ratio of oxygen-18 to oxygen-16 in seashells. For a review of how historical and prehistoric temperatures are obtained, this is a good introductory site:

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/paleo.html

  160. Barton Paul Levenson:

    [[Enough of this nonsense. I retire from the discussion. Another climate skeptic. ]]

    Oh great, and just before I listed a dozen good references for you. You know, someone reading your dialogue in this blog might just conclude that you quit so fast because you knew the evidence that might change your mind might be forthcoming.

  161. Barton Paul Levenson:

    [[OK, assuming a density of 2.235 g/cm^3 and 7 Gtonne carbon from human activities per year, I get a cube nearly 1.5 km on a side. ]]

    Your units must be off. The density you cite is twice that of water, incredibly high for a gas at Earth’s surface. Did you mean 2.235 g/li or 2.235 kg/m3?

  162. Steve Reynolds:

    Since we are discussing government policy, could most honest parties agree on something like this approach to mitigating AGW?

    http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/comment/story.html?id=d84e4100-44e4-4b96-940a-c7861a7e19ad&p=1

    Why not tie carbon taxes to actual levels of warming? Both skeptics and alarmists should expect their wishes to be answered.

  163. Barton Paul Levenson:

    [[what I have failed to find is any hard, measured experimental data which shows that there is causation between the observed rise in CO2 levels, and the observed rise in average global temperatures]]

    Why don’t you take the time series data available for temperature, CO2, solar activity, and volcanic eruptions, and do the statistical analysis yourself? Don’t forget to test for integration and cointegration so as to avoid the spurious regression problem, and don’t forget Sargent’s partial-F test for Granger causality. I can give you 127 or so years of annual time series data if you’re interested. I have it in ASCII flat files at the moment, but if you’d like I can copy them into an Excel spreadsheet.

  164. Barton Paul Levenson:

    [[So adding more carbon dioxide cannot increase its greenhouse effectiveness. ]]

    Crap. This has been dealt with in many places, including repeatedly on RealClimate. Mr. Cripwell may have a physics degree (hell, so do I), but he clearly has never taken an introductory course in atmospheric radiation. And he apparently has an aversion to reading the relevant literature in a discipline. The objection he makes above was made in the 1910s and refuted in the 1940s, for Christ’s sake. Hit the books, Cripwell! Start with the list above!

  165. Barton Paul Levenson:

    [[Could anyone please tell me, whether or not the electromagnetic field of or around our planet is almost a completely unknown in terms of scientific understanding and measurement ]]

    Well, no, it isn’t. The basic principles governing electromagnetic energy were enumerated by James Clerk Maxwell in the 19th century, and we had a good enough understanding of nuclear physics and ionizing radiation in 1945 to build nuclear weapons with it. Satellites have been flying through the ionosphere since 1957, and the database of observations is pretty huge by now.

    [[and if the influence of changes in the radiation level of the sun or the universe at large or shifting magnetic poles are part of our ‘global’ climate models?]]

    Solar influence is, the rest hasn’t yet been shown to be relevant.

  166. Barton Paul Levenson:

    [[Thank you, Ray, for your message 140. I assume what you are actually saying is that you also dont know of any hard measured data, that connects rising CO2 levels with rising temperatures. ]]

    Start with John Tyndall’s lab work with carbon dioxide in 1859. Follow the subject through the literature, through the release of the USAF HITRAN database in 1973 and the later HIGHTEMP database to cope with the Venus atmosphere. Read Houghton or Petty for the theoretical basis. Then do the statistical analysis yourself. Either way, you’re dealing with “hard, measured data,” so stop repeating that there isn’t any. It’s a lie.

  167. Barton Paul Levenson:

    [[The problem with positive feedback is that more water in the atmosphere means more clouds, higher albedo and thus lower temperatures. I have not seen the detailed calculations as to whether the increase in temperature caused by more water in the atmosphere outweighs the decrease in temperature caused by a higher albedo. ]]

    And the reason you haven’t seen them is that you haven’t been reading the relevant peer-reviewed literature. Otherwise you’d know that Richard Lindzen proposed just such a negative feedback many years ago, calling it “the iris effect,” and that it was shot down by satellite data and subsequent research. Here’s an overview:

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Study/Iris/

  168. Jim Eager:

    Re: 134 Ray Ladbury: “That’s 7 GT of CO2, so we have to take the carbon (12 g/mole) out of the CO2…”

    It’s my understanding that per year emissions are around 7Gt of carbon, or around 25.7 Gt of CO2, no?

  169. Aaron Lewis:

    RE 132, 147
    When I worked for a Big Agency, we were designing stuff to last thousands of years. In 1980 the baseline climate changed, so the projected engineering requirements changed. The same thing happend in 1990 and 2000. A couple of years of good weather or bad weather could dramatically change the engineering requirments for a structure that was supposed to last many 10s of thousands of years. It is stupid! But it goes back into the dawn of engineering – long before they knew about climate change. Oh, yes, and we were on a flood plain that had seen cataclysmic floods (Missoula Floods) in the past. But, since it had not flooded in the 3 decades that were used for our climate baseline, there were no flood issues in our engineering requirements.

    The guy in charge of our climate requirements was an engineering geologist. The moderaters of this forum may consider that the ultimate slur, and censor this comment, but it is nothing more than the truth.

  170. climate skeptic?:

    Thanks for your answers. I’m not a hardline skeptic, and definitely not a skeptic for the sake of being contrarian. I’m just undecided. Involved a bit in politics and so on, so I am wondering what I should think of this question. So I am asking myself whether to be a skeptic or not, and why.

    One thing I still wonder about is this aerosol theory. China in the past 10 years have been putting more sulphate into the atmosphere than anyone ever before in the history of mankind. And atmosphere doesn’t care it’s not per capita. As a result we should be witnessing a significant local cooling trend in Asia (at least a relative trend compared to the rest of the world). Have scientists been able to prove this statistically? If not, then it does pose some serious questions I’d think. Tried to seek data, but couldn’t find anything conclusive. Another question was about the 1945-1970 cooling cycle. Does the data prove significant global disparity, i.e. USA, Japan and Europe were relatively cooler than the rest of the world? Couldn’t find an answer to that either.

    In western scientific discourse on the skeptic side the name of Lindzen is ever present, and sometimes you wonder if it is a one man show. But presumably there are waves of scientists in Russia and China who question the IPCC. Who are they? What is their pedigree? Should we take them seriously?

    These include among many: Zhen-Shan, L. and Xian, S. 2007 who do not disagree with the human CO2 effect, but are convinced it has been hugely exaggerated. They have done a lot of statistical research on temperature cycles.

    And the Russian Academy of Sciences’s Astronomical Observatory 2006; Khabibullo Abdusamatov and his colleagues (these are all serious scientists) believe that the current warming trend is reaching it’s maximum, and estimate that a global cooling trend will begin in 2012-2015. They insist that solar activity is the over ruling factor and that human CO2 emissions, while a factor, is relatively insignificant and does not deserve serious attention.

    How do I, or any layperson for that matter, know who to believe? What’s the secret?

    And if 1998 is still the hottest year on record (90+% of the sources give 1998 as the hottest on record including CRU so I’m going by that) in 2015 or 2020, I think that the Kyoto path will start losing political momentum and IPCC will lose it’s hegemony.

    10 more years and this debate is likely to be decide one way or another.

  171. Chuck Booth:

    Re #144, 148 Sorry to quibble, but it was Michelson (and Morley) – not Michaelson.

    Regarding Jim Cripwell’s demand for a controlled experiment to establish the cause and effect relationship between CO2 and temperature, I would refer Jim back to Florifulgurator’s question (#123): What is the evidence we have that Earth circles the Sun? Was this established by a controlled laboratory or field experiment, or by strong inference based on observations and the application of deductive and inductive reasoning?

  172. Chuck Booth:

    Re 170
    climate skeptic: If the scientists you mention are publishing in the peer-reviewed literature, why don’t you scrutinize their papers for poorly designed experiments, logical fallacies,oversights, outright mistakes, etc? And, see how often their papers are cited in the literature and how their views are treated by other scientists? Or, rather than give undue weight to a small handfull of scientists, look to the IPCC reports which incorporate the input of hundreds of scientists from around the world and which review data from many thousands of peer-reviewed papers. If Khabibullo Abdusamatov and his colleagues, and Zhen-Shan, L. and Xian, S., are doing credible science, their arguments will be given careful consideration in the literature. That is in large part how scientists decide who and what to believe (they also factor in their own original ideas based on their research, and other personal biases, some of which are valid, some of which are not).

  173. John Mashey:

    re: #170
    re: China: did you read #137, specifically the reference to Figure 3 on Sulfur emissions, on page 12? Eyeballing that it looks like China was doing 20-25 Mt/year.
    Google: sulfur emissions china tons 2006 quickly turned up:
    China leads world in sulfur dioxide emissions
    http://www.radio86.co.uk/china-insight/news-today/392/china-leads-world-in-sulfur-dioxide-emissions
    Which quotes 25.5 Mt for 2005 … which roughly a third of the peak 75Mt shown for ~1975 in Figure 3.

    Hence:
    “China in the past 10 years have been putting more sulphate into the atmosphere than anyone ever before in the history of mankind.” is wrong.

    Does it concern you that something you are sure of is not only wrong, but easily findable in 5 minutes without complex statistics or physics?

    Do you know the old saw: “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence?”
    Today, that means:
    a) One has to know where to look, and be able to get there, and of course, a lot of relevant papers are sitting in Science or nature, etc.
    b) One has to formulate queries well.
    c) One has to be able to understand the results.

    There’s a paper by Menon, Hansen, Nazarenko, Luo in Science, in 2002 called:
    “Climate Effects of Black Carbon Aerosols in China and India”, which mentions moderate cooling from sulfates, offset somewhat by the large amount of soot in the air there.

    Really, this is well-studied, but if you want to see specific examples:

    1) GISS has a great website and well worth exploring:

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/
    then see:
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.A3.lrg.gif
    notice the difference between N. and S. Hemispheres.

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.E_lrg.gif has the chart that shows volcanoes and ENSOs versus temperatures.
    Print that and keep it while looking at the next:

    Go to:
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/animations/
    download one of the 5-year animations, run it through, and then click to do year-by-year comparisons:
    a) look at US: a good focus point could be Pittsburgh, PA.
    b) focus on Moscow.
    c) focus on India/South China

    Note of course that the best dataset is in the US, there are two World Wars in the middle of this, and remember that soot cancels some of the sulfate effects.
    Looking at animations isn’t proof, but playing with these might give you some insight.

    2) I don’t know any of the scientists you mention from China & Russia, so perhaps you can reveal which websites you’re getting this from?
    I ask because:

    a) When somebody says they are a layman (that’s OK), and says they’ve looked for evidence but can’t find it (when there are many easy sources), that’s OK too, people can learn.

    b) But it is then inconsistent to pop out specific names of Chinese and Russian scientists, paraphrase what they say (or quote detailed technical comments). When this happens, my usual reaction is that someone is reading websites designed to fool the unwary….

    Without knowing them, they may or may not be serious, and if serious, they may or may not be right.

    From the description of the Chinese paper, I can’t tell, but:

    – They claim a novel analysis method [Could be brilliant breakthrough, could be bogus.]

    – People have forever been extracting cyclic patterns from data that turned out to disappear when the next few years of data appear. It is all too easy to find patterns that aren’t really there, if you look at enough data and analyze it enough different ways.

    The Russian can be found in Wikipedia (and also, in Google Scholar under KI Abdusamatov):
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khabibullo_Ismailovich_Abdusamatov
    Please read that entry, knowing of course that one must always be careful with Wikipedia.

    He is said to claims that the basic Greenhouse effect doesn’t exist… UH-OH, if true, that instantly destroys all credibility.

    Real climate scientists scarcely ignore solar effects, and as a solar physicist, maybe he can predict a new Maunder Minimum better than anyone else (in which case the existing warming would get offset).

    But there is also a history of solar physicists claiming that CO2 doesn’t matter, it’s all due to the Sun…. note that his (English) publications are in solar physics, not in climate science. In general, it is usually (not always) a red flag when a senior scientist starts generating highly-unusual theories outside their usual field. Even Nobel prize winners go off like that sometimes.

    So, do you have some reason to assert these are all serious scientists?
    The Chinese might be, but the Russian is simply not credible if he thinks there is no such thing as the basic Greenhouse Effect.

    You label the IPCC is a hegemony, and doubt the massed observations of serious researchers, many of whom work at highly-respected institutions like GISS, and who publish in English … but you’re ready to give instant believability to Chinese who are not very checkable, and to a Russian who is easily findable (and not credible). Beware of Chinese or Russians selling bridges…

    I don’t know any magic… but here’s a start:
    Google: skeptical thinking

  174. Dan:

    re: 170. The “debate” has long been settled when it comes to the science of global warming. See the IPCC report links. And 1998 was a strong El Nino year, which just added to the already warming temperature trend. This has been discussed many times here.

  175. Barton Paul Levenson:

    [[And if 1998 is still the hottest year on record ]]

    For the second time in this very list of comments, 2005 was already hotter. And 1998 was an El Nino year. If you’ve ever had a statistics course, you know that you can’t extrapolate anything from one data point.

  176. climate skeptic?:

    Re: 173

    No need to be condescending. With “more than anyone before” I of course ment that China’s Sulfate emissions are higher than those of any one country ever before in the history of mankind. I did look at the graphs. 75mt was a world total peak. China alone today have close to 30mt Sulfate emissions, and we are already reaching the global peak amounts (and will surpass them soon, if we haven’t already). India are not innocent either. What I wanted to find were the temperature statistics to prove “moderate cooling” in 21st century China. Concrete numbers and calculations. And in similar fashion temperature data to prove that USA, Europe and Japan were relatively cooler than the rest of the world in 1945-1970. In the case someone familiar with this question could provide a link to the answers.

    And Russian academy of sciences is not crackpot science. Abdusamatov is a celebrated senior scientist in Russia who has been studying solar cycles for four decades. That is not a serious scientist? Russia have long and strong traditions in astronomy. He has many prominent names from Russia and Ukraine in his team. I wouldn’t give much attention to one off quotes that are translated in Canadian National Post, and without larger context. In another source his team are quoted saying that human CO2 effect is insignificant in comparison, not denying it, which makes a lot more sense.

    And many of the names in the IPCC report do not agree with the whole total of it, but have only contributed in one small area. Lindzen has had his name in the report. We have had people who have threatened legal action to have their names removed.

    Many people are pondering the question who to believe and why. Very strong impetus should exist if we are to cripple the world economy.

  177. Vernon:

    re 174. If the “debate” has long been settled when it comes to the science of global warming, then how does the study by UC Irving that shows dirty show accounts for almost all artic warming fit in?

    http://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=38417

    “Dirty snow has had a significant impact on climate warming since the Industrial Revolution. In the past 200 years, the Earth has warmed about .8 degree Celsius. Zender, graduate student Mark Flanner, and their colleagues calculated that dirty snow caused the Earth’s temperature to rise .1 to .15 degree, or up to 19 percent of the total warming.

    In the past two centuries, the Arctic has warmed about 1.6 degrees. Dirty snow caused .5 to 1.5 degrees of warming, or up to 94 percent of the observed change, the scientists determined.”

    Well, since Antarctica is not showing much warming outside the peninsula, and most if not all of Artic warming can be shown to be due to something other than CO2. Then where does this leave the CO2 based climate models? They all predict that most the warming would be higher at the poles.

  178. Jim Cripwell:

    Another issue has come up recently, and I thought I would solicit reaction on this forum. In order to combat global warming caused by the emission of CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels, it has been suggested that nations should impose a carbon tax, the value of which is in some way proportional to some measure of global temperature. The higher the temperature, the greater the tax. Maybe the relationship should be exponential; say 2 dollars per tonne now, rising to 1000 dollars per tonne if global temperatures rise by 5 C. Climate skeptics in general welcome the idea. Please note that this is a VERY brief description of what is, obviously, a very complex issue. Any comments?

  179. pete best:

    In the Book Six Degrees it states that due to climate scientivity issues ppmv is ascribed a range of temp ranges. He states that 0.1 to 1.0 C rise is 350 ppmv (low end probability) and hence unavoidable to within a fair degree of accuracy. 1.1 to 2.0 C is 400 ppmv (low end probability) and this is why everyone is screaming about as it could be unavoidable by 2015 but that a probability, it may still be unavoidable.

    Cutting global emission by 1/2 come 2050 seems more likely to stop 3 degrees C. Is that a fair assessment ?

    George Monbiot writes here that 2 C is unlikely now given the current greenouse gases concentrations which he currently details at 459 ppmv and goes on to propose that politicians are being economical with the truth when they want to limie carbon emissions only.

    I believe that both James Hansen and Gavin Schmidt have commented on the issue of cleaning up other greenhouse gases first and then CO2 after that as it gives more time to avoid higher temperature rises.

  180. climate skeptic?:

    “For the second time in this very list of comments, 2005 was already hotter.”

    Why should I take your word for it?

    I would consider CRU an some sort of an authority on this question. They say this about the years 1995,1997,1998 and 2000->:

    “All the temperature values have uncertainties, which arise mainly from gaps in data coverage. The sizes of
    the uncertainties are such that, although it is most likely to be the second warmest year, the global average
    temperature for 2005 is statistically indistinguishable from, and could be anywhere between, the first and
    the eighth warmest year in the record. Similar analyses in the United States rank the year as first (GISS)
    and second (NCDC), but NCDC note that uncertainties arising from sparse observations or measurement
    biases make 2005 statistically indistinguishable from 1998 as well as from other recent years such as 2002
    and 2003.”

    So if the years 2015- are indistinguishable from the years 1995, 1997, 1998… 2000-2005 (and the same point and question follows)

  181. Ray Ladbury:

    Re 176: First, because someone is an expert in one field does not make them an authority in another. In fact, it may do just the opposite. A solar scientist MAY be inclined to look at everything in terms of solar physics, because that is what he understands. William Shockley was a brilliant condensed matter physicist. His views on eugenics were idiotic. The threshold for having a say in climate science is a track record of significant, peer-reviewed, pulished research IN CLIMATE SCIENCE. That is the threshold. To have real influence, the community of climate scientists has to know you. If you have an agenda, they’ll know that, and your reputation will diminish. If you show poor judgement, your reputation will diminish. If you are too docile and go with the crowd, you won’t be taken seriously. If you are contrarian, you risk being dismissed as a crank. Once you are in a field, you very quickly learn who the influential researchers are, and once you get to know the influential researchers, you understand why they are influential. Yes, the process is political, but the incentives in the system are all on the side going with the theories that are supported by evidence.
    Scientists look at the world differently from laymen. They look at a complicated phenomenon and ask, “OK, what are the important factors?” Then they measure, experiment and model until they understand the important factors. Next they turn to the secondary factors and ask, “OK, these are the factors I don’t understand. How likely is it that one of these factors may be important to alter the conclusions I’ve come to based on the primary factors?” And they further investigate and incorporate the important secondary factors, then the tertiary factors and so on, until the likelihoos that the conclusions of the theory will be altered are vanishingly small. When the overwhelming majority of the real experts in climate science say there’s a 90% probability that humans are responsible for climate change, you can pretty much take it to the bank.

  182. Chuck Booth:

    Re #178 Jim Cripwell – carbon tax
    Just out of curiosity, why would climate warming skeptics (presumably including you) find a carbon tax appealing if you dispute the realilty of anthropogenic global warming? There would almost certainly be a baseline tax imposed on current CO2 emissions, which skeptics seem to be arguing has had no effect on temperature. So, you would seem to be endorsing a new tax for no good reason.

  183. Timothy Chase:

    I believe that both James Hansen and Gavin Schmidt have commented on the issue of cleaning up other greenhouse gases first and then CO2 after that as it gives more time to avoid higher temperature rises.

    Hansen also places a fair amount of emphasis upon carbon aerosols. Air pollution. These are presumably responsible for much of the increased rate at which we are losing the arctic ice cap – since they result in increased absorbtion of sunlight. I presume the same would responsible for how quickly we are losing our glaciers, too. But basically, it would appear that once the ice cap is gone through both summer and fall (where summer itself is unavoidable at this point), the complete loss of Greenland’s glaciers becomes a given in the long-term. The process is likely to result in positive feedback between Greenland and the western Antarctic Peninsula as both raise the sea level tens of meters. He also places emphasis on shallow water methane hydrates. Of course part of what worries me is the thawing of the permafrost in the subarctic regions, particularly the thaw lakes in Siberia.

  184. climate skeptic?:

    And a third so called skeptic I could mention is Zbigniew Jaworowski of Poland. I have been googling and googling but I have been unable to find a rebuttal of what he says in this essay about CO2 measurements in the ice core data, and why he thinks the science is corrupted: http://www.warwickhughes.com/icecore/zjmar07.pdf

    To the contrary more and more names keep popping up that seem to agree with him. Many of these are credible researchers, why are they being ignored by the IPCC?

    What does “90% of scientists” mean? As a final word I repeat the question: As a politically involved layperson who should I trust and why?

    Thanks for your time.

    [Response: Hmmm…. I challenge you to find anyone in the ice core community that agrees with Jaworowski – on the contrary, the fact that different ice cores in different locations with vastly different accumulation regimes all support the ice core greenhouse gas history makes his complaints moot. For a more clear debunking of his claims go to: http://www.someareboojums.org/blog/?p=7

    [As to who you should trust for the best advice, that’s easy. Don’t trust individual scientists (even me), because we may all have biases, blind spots and agendas. Instead, ask the National Academies, or Royal Societies or professional organisations or international assessment bodies. They have mechanisms that ensure that their claims are the ones that can stand up to peer review over a large segment of the community. -gavin]

  185. Dan:

    re: 177. Yes, the scientific debate is over. We are talking about global warming due primarily to the influence of anthropogenic CO2 emissions, particularly in the past 30 years or so. Not 200 years. Certainly 200 years ago, natural influences would have been relatively greater than anthropogenic influences. But we are talking about relatively recent data and trends.

  186. John Mashey:

    re: #176
    OK, after this I give up :-)

    1) Precision of expression is good, as are references.
    Please quote where you got the 30Mt, and your source on the totals. You keep asking everybody else for detailed data, but you make assertions of specific numbers without giving references.

    2) I thought I’d given enough references for you to be able to track this down, but:
    I didn’t even look at the Canadian National Post.

    NOVOSTI, the Russian News and Information Agency presumably is better at translating Russian to English, and I think this report is one of the places others got it from: Google: abdusamatov greenhouse novosti
    http://en.rian.ru/russia/20070115/59078992.html

    Having been misquoted more than once in the press myself, I always have reservations, but this all seems consistent.
    Do you have some evidence that NOVOSTI mistranslated?

    They say:
    “But Abdusamatov insisted: “Ascribing â��greenhouse’ effect properties to the Earth’s atmosphere is not scientifically substantiated. Heated greenhouse gases, which become lighter as a result of expansion, ascend to the atmosphere only to give the absorbed heat away.

    Abdusamatov claimed that the upper layers of the world’s oceans are – much to climatologists’ surprise – becoming cooler, which is a clear indication that the Earth has hit its temperature ceiling already, and that solar radiation levels are falling and will eventually lead to a worldwide cold spell.”

    Sorry, crackpot, and NOVOSTI itself is skeptical of what he says.

    The Russian Academy of Sciences in general is quite serious, but that doesn’t stop a senior member from occasionally going off in some weird direction. The SanFrancisco Bay Area has an awesome collection of technical people, and that doesn’t stop us from having crackpots as well.

    Frederick Seitz once was the President of NAS.
    Fred Singer did some good satellite work.
    Since then…

    Syun-Ichi Akasofu has a long distinguished track record for aurora research, and then recently started writing embarrassingly-poor pieces (not per-reviewed) about climatology.
    The great Nobel winner Linus Pauling went off into Vitamin-C.

    I know some NAS members and one Nobel winner, and they’re all still sensible, as are most … but it’s no guarantee.

    One more time: what webpages are you reading for your (misinformation)?
    What sources do you credit? Who are “many people?”
    How well do you understand PR/lobbying organizations like CEI, George C. Marshall Institute, SEPP, etc?

  187. pat n:

    Re: #177:

    Dirty snow

    http://www.spacedaily.com/news/climate-04m.html

    Arctic sea ice

    http://nsidc.org/news/press/20070430_StroeveGRL.html

    Antarctic
    http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Antarctic_Glaciers_Flowing_Faster_999.html

  188. tidal:

    Re: #178 “it has been suggested that nations should impose a carbon tax, the value of which is in some way proportional to some measure of global temperature. The higher the temperature, the greater the tax. Maybe the relationship should be exponential; say 2 dollars per tonne now, rising to 1000 dollars per tonne if global temperatures rise by 5 C. Climate skeptics in general welcome the idea. Please note that this is a VERY brief description of what is, obviously, a very complex issue. Any comments? Comment by Jim Cripwell”

    I take it you are referring to the call for a carbon tax from – are you all sitting down? – Ross McKitrick, of Steve McIntyre/Climate Fraudit fame… http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/comment/…61a7e19ad&p=1

    I am rather confused myself as to why he is stalking this particular horse, but there it is. Either he wants to stay relevant, or he is trying to “scare” the carbon tax advocates or carbon tax fence sitters… or???

  189. Vernon:

    re: 177. So the fact that studies show little to no cooling in Antartica and very little cooling due non-dirty snow in the Artic, when the climate models all show that if there is CO2 greenhouse warming that the poles would see more would indicate that not only is the debate not over but not all the facts are known to debate about.

  190. Dan:

    re: 189. Again, read the IPCC reports. The science is peer-reviewed. It is not that difficult to click on the links provided on this page and learn something. Yes (again!), the science debate is over regarding the influence of anthropogenic CO2 on global warming over the past 30 years. The data are there, the peer-reviewed studies are there, and the physics are there. The science is quite strong.

  191. tidal:

    re: # 188

    Sorry.
    The url for the McKitrick article should be:
    http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/comment/story.html?id=d84e4100-44e4-4b96-940a-c7861a7e19ad&p=1

    Regards,

  192. Ken Rushton:

    Arctic Ice cap about to shrink to a new record?
    Excuse the slightly OT alert. My hobby is watching the earth from space – I think the thinning Arctic ice cap just got hit with an unusually warm vortex of air and is about to melt back to a new record.
    see: the following three links.
    http://polar.ncep.noaa.gov/seaice/hires/nh.xml
    http://pm-esip.msfc.nasa.gov/amsu/index.phtml?2
    Run back three days to see what happened:
    http://virga.sfsu.edu/scripts/nhemjetstream_model.html

  193. Vernon:

    re: 190. So the fact that some thing has been agreed to in the past means new information never forces reevaluations? I fail to follow your line of reasoning. Basically I am understanding it to be that since the IPCC said it was settled, then any new information is to be ignored, since it is settled.

    The UC Irvine study which was peer reviewed and published showed that 20 percent of all all global warming can be attributed to dirty snow in the artic. Between 35 and 94% of all specific artic warming. Your saying that since the IPCC report says it is settled, then we are to ignore new peer reviewed studies.

    It is not that difficult to read the new “peer reviewed” studies as they are published. As was pointed out in RE: 187 by pat n, the models do not reflect what is really happening. If the models are not reflecting what is happening now, then how do we use them to predict the future? That is why I do not understand how you can say the science is settled, the IPCC said so.

  194. Burkart:

    Re 180. There is no neat annual increase in temperature with rising CO2 levels – nobody has ever claimed that CO2 was the only influence on climate. Therefore, it is not at all relevant whether 1998 or 2005 or maybe 2007 is the hottest year on record – it is the longer term trend that matters. I suggest you have a look at Rybski et al. 2006. In this paper you can see several climate reconstructions which all show a sharp unprecedented increase in temperatures during the last decades. The paper also contains the statistical evaluation of these climate reconstructions, which shows that the recent trend can indeed not be explained by natural (e.g., solar) variation.

  195. Timothy Chase:

    Vernon (#193 in response to #190) wrote:

    It is not that difficult to read the new “peer reviewed” studies as they are published. As was pointed out in RE: 187 by pat n, the models do not reflect what is really happening. If the models are not reflecting what is happening now, then how do we use them to predict the future? That is why I do not understand how you can say the science is settled, the IPCC said so.

    The fundamentals – that anthropogenic greenhouse emissions are responsible for the majority of the climate change – is settled. But there will be other factors – including carbon aerosols and various forms of feedback which the IPCC did not take into account – such as the positive feedback due to:

    a. the increased rate at which polar ice and glaciers are being lost;
    b. the reduction in the amount of carbon dioxide being absorbed by the Antarctic Ocean;
    c. the reduction in the amount of carbon dioxide which plants are able to absorb due drought and heat stress; and,
    d. the release of methane by thawing permafrost.

    To one extent or another, all of these positive feedbacks appear to be kicking in. Not good news. Reading what he wrote, it is clear that he was speaking of the fundamentals. And at present Hansen is doing his best to bring to the attention of all concerned the role of carbon aerosols. He has been – at least since 2000.

  196. Jim Cripwell:

    Chuck Booth writes “Just out of curiosity, why would climate warming skeptics (presumably including you) find a carbon tax appealing if you dispute the realilty of anthropogenic global warming? There would almost certainly be a baseline tax imposed on current CO2 emissions, which skeptics seem to be arguing has had no effect on temperature. So, you would seem to be endorsing a new tax for no good reason. ”
    The reason is simple. Our voters, in Canada and in many other countries, are demanding that politicians take some sort of action to curb global warming and climate change; curbing the emissions of greenhouse gases. There is a very real danger that our politicians will do something really stupid, like putting in a cap-and-trade policy, or a blanket carbon tax; which could ruin the economy. If they put in a small carbon tax that increases with increasing global temperature, and global temperatures do not rise, very little damage will be done, but the voters will get the impression the politicians have actually done something. Smoke and mirrors, maybe, but that is what politics is all about. And I can assure you that global temperatures are not going to rise; by 2020 they will be seen to be falling; by 2015 they will be seen to be not rising as fast as the IPCC predicts. “Ponder the Maunder”. However, if the proponents of AGW are right and global temeratures actually rise due to increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, then the punative carbon tax will do some real good. Heads we all win; tails nobody loses.

  197. SomeBeans:

    #193 Vernon

    If you look at page 56 of 106 of the IPCC report here:
    http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/Report/AR4WG1_Pub_Ch02.pdf
    you’ll see they discuss “dirty snow”. CO2 forcing is 1.66Wm^-2 (see table 2.1 on p13 of 106), forcing of black soot on snow is quoted as 0.15Wm^-2 (Section 2.5.4 p56 of 184), the chart of forcings (Figure 2, p8 of 106) suggests an uncertainty on this figure of +/-0.15Wm^-2.

    I believe forcing and temperature rise are proportional so the UC Irving study and the IPCC report are consistent:

    UC Irving is saying 0.1/0.8 to 0.15/0.8C of global warming is due to dirty snow (12.5%-18.75%)

    IPCC says 0/1.66 to 0.3/1.66Wm^-2 of global warming is due to dirty snow (0 to 18.1%)

    It looks like the UC Irving study has narrowed the error bars a little bit.

    There’s an awful lot of interesting things to read in the IPCC report…

  198. SomeBeans:

    You can read the UC Irving paper here:
    http://dust.ess.uci.edu/ppr/ppr_FZR07_jgr.pdf

  199. SomeBeans:

    I seem to have gone non-sequential there… I did post that the UC Irving dirty snow paper and IPCC report AR4 chapter 2 agreed on the magnitude of the dirty snow effect on global warming (it had page references and everything).

  200. J.C.H:

    Does anybody know where I can find the report on the impact of yellow snow? I can’t believe there might be yet one more thing I’ve done to warm the globe.

  201. Runar Johannsson:

    Well I will start by saying that I’m not a scientist and cant provide any physical data to show anything about the climate change, but I’m very concern soon to be father of 3 and try to read and watch as much as I can about it.
    But I thought it would be a good idea to post this link to a video I saw about the risk involved.
    I for 1 choose column A because Ive read a lot about climate change and from what I can read is that the planet is heating and climate is changing

    Simple math about what to do about climate change

    and because every1 is talking about how much money it will cost to act I thought this is a good stats to ” (I mean steel, because no matter what I try I just cant remember where from)

    USA spends >= $ on military as European Union + Russia + China

  202. Hank Roberts:

    >200
    Doesn’t anybody screen these troll calls?

  203. Rod B:

    Chuck (172): same ole, same ole (like admittedly is my retort). I wish you guys would quit boiling down the science to the idolatry of peer review and a great majority of a vote.

  204. Ike Solem:

    RE# 192 and the shrinking arctic sea ice
    http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/environment/arcticice_decline.html

    Click on the image to see a movie of the trend in sea ice from 1979 to 2005. The trend towards less and less sea ice is very evident – look at the large open channel between the ice and Siberia in 2005.

    The models have been underestimating the rate at which sea ice is vanishing:
    http://nsidc.org/news/press/20070430_StroeveGRL.html

    What’s even more remarkable is the rate at which perennial ice is being lost – part of this is due to wind piling up the ice on the Greenland side of the Arctic – but if the ice cap as a whole is thinning, it should be easier for the wind to do that:
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/09/060914-arctic-ice.html

    See also
    http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/oct2006/2006-10-04-02.asp
    The researchers said one of the most notable features of the 2006 season was the development of a large polynya – an area of persistent open water surrounded by sea ice – that is visible north of Alaska. Calculations show that in early September, the polynya was the size of the state of Indiana, a huge feature never seen in the Arctic before. Unusual wind patterns and an influx of warmer ocean waters may have caused the polynya to form, the researchers said.

    Predicitons of the effects of global warming made decades ago are all arriving, often before predicted. Vanishing mountain glaciers and melting polar caps? Check. Increased water vapor feedback? Check. (see the RC article Busy Week For Water Vapor – which has a very interesting comment section, with participation by various authors.

  205. Rod B:

    following up on my latest post/quibble: John (173), now that’s what I’m talking about! Don’t know if you’re fully convincing, but I do appreciate your learned and patient answer to “climate skeptic?”

  206. Timothy Chase:

    Arctic Ice Cap as Early as September 2020?

    Ken Rushton (#192) wrote:

    Arctic Ice cap about to shrink to a new record?
    Excuse the slightly OT alert. My hobby is watching the earth from space – I think the thinning Arctic ice cap just got hit with an unusually warm vortex of air and is about to melt back to a new record.
    see: the following three links.
    http://polar.ncep.noaa.gov/seaice/hires/nh.xml
    http://pm-esip.msfc.nasa.gov/amsu/index.phtml?2
    Run back three days to see what happened:
    http://virga.sfsu.edu/scripts/nhemjetstream_model.html

    No comment necessary…

    Arctic sea ice is melting much more quickly than projected by even the most advanced computer models, a new government funded study has found. Comparing actual ice observations with climate models, the scientists conclude that the Arctic could be seasonally free of sea ice as early as 2020….

    The study, “Arctic Sea Ice Decline: Faster Than Forecast?” will appear Tuesday in the online edition of “Geophysical Research Letters.” It was led by Julienne Stroeve of the National Snow and Ice Data Center and funded by the National Science Foundation and by NASA.

    Arctic Ice Retreating 30 Years Ahead of Projections
    http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/apr2007/2007-04-30-04.asp

  207. Ike Solem:

    RE#147 Dan, I think there is good evidence for malfeasance at NOAA, and your explanation that ‘the climate normals are always updated’ doesn’t fit.

    The climate normal periods, defined by the WMO, would be: 1901-1930, 1931-1960, 1961-1990 and the next one would be 1991-2020. The use of such ‘normals’ was also defined before anyone knew about global warming.

    The fact that NOAA decided to jump to a 1971-2000 baseline remains unexplained, and is highly suspicious. It has the effect of reducing the reported temperature anomalies in NOAA anomaly datasets, thereby giving the appearance of reduced temperature anomalies, relative to the 1961-1990 baseline.

    The fact that they’ve pulbished a document titled U.S. Climate Normals, 1971-2000: An Updated Baseline for Risk Management seems to indicate that they were manipulating data to provide economic protection for the weather risk insurance sector, doesn’t it?

    Furthermore, this was done in a fairly secretive manner – I only noticed it because the temperature anomalies reported by the Australian BOM (available here) didn’t match the ones produced by NOAA.

    This issue needs more explanation, since the next official normal period is 1991-2020. The fact of the matter is that the climate is changing, and so it’s understandable why weather forecasters might want more recent normal datasets. However, for the climate issue, climate change is relative to the historical baseline which streches back centuries.

    The fact of the matter is that NOAA has been using these updated anomalies in their climate reports, which certainly looks like tampering with data for political purposes.

    If you keep changing what the definition of ‘normal’ is, and then claim that ‘anomalies haven’t changed much in thirty years’ – well – I hope it’s clear that that’s a nonsensical argument. You can’t claim that since deviation from the mean hasn’t changed, nothing is happening – when at the same time you keep changing your definition of ‘mean’!

  208. John Mashey:

    re: Carbon tax

    The idea of a carbon tax is dandy … but one needs to read the fine print:

    1) NUMBERS MATTER:
    According to Wikipedia,
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_tax says:

    $100 tax/ton of CO2 = ~$1 per gallon of gasoline.
    A tax of $2/ton (of CO2, assuming that was as suggested in #178), yields the powerful incentive of $.02/gallon tax …

    an outcome that would cause jubilation in oil companies, including those in Canada:
    “Canada is the single largest foreign supplier of energy to the United States–providing 17% of U.S. oil imports and 18% of U.S. natural gas demand.”
    http://ottawa.usembassy.gov/content/textonly.asp?section=can_usa&document=canusarelations
    Recall that Canada (and Russia) are rarities amongst developed countries:
    a) Have big oil&gas reserves, make $$$$ from exports.
    b) Have cool-cold climates, and land Northward.
    c) Have relatively small fraction of population living on seacoasts.

    Hence, there are quite plausible motivations for many Canadians to have different viewpoints on GW than those of us who live on coastlines further South.

    2) FORMULA MATTERS
    Anyway, any carbon tax would have to be carefully designed, both in the specific numbers and the formula. Exponential growth rates always need care, as humans don’t don’t intuit them very well, ie.., why people usually over-estimate near-term technology and underestimate long-term.

    If I were an oil company executive, which of the following would I want:
    a) a linear formula, that starts high to affect behavior, and then goes higher and
    b) an exponential formula that starts low, and later goes very high, and hence defers the costs as long as possible, i.e., it is really back-loaded.

    Oil exec: a) might hurt me next quarter, affecting my bonus, but I can be retired before b) really bothers me.

    3) LAG TIME MATTERS

    Given the lag time between adding extra CO2 and seeing the resultant temperature rise, I’d suggest that if effective carbon taxes can be held off until we’ve already gone up 3-5C … I’m glad I won’t be around to see it.

    Now, can anybody see why certain people might suggest this?

  209. Jim Eager:

    Re: 196 Jim Cripwell: “I can assure you that global temperatures are not going to rise; by 2020 they will be seen to be falling; by 2015 they will be seen to be not rising as fast as the IPCC predicts.”

    You will forgive me if I in no way feel reassured.
    Perhaps if you could present anywhere near the amount of data in support of your assertions as the IPCC has, but not before then.

  210. pat n:

    Re: 179, 183

    An interview with renowned climate scientist James Hansen
    By Kate Sheppard
    15 May 2007

    A molecule of CO2 from coal, in a certain sense, is different from one from oil or gas, because in the case of oil and gas, it doesn’t matter too much when you burn it, because a good fraction of it’s going to stay there 500 years anyway. If we wait to use the coal until after we have the sequestration technology, then we could prevent that contribution. I don’t think that has sunk in yet to policy makers, because there are many countries going right ahead and making plans to build more coal-fired power plants.

    Grist: Main Dish
    Clarion Caller

    http://www.grist.org/news/maindish/2007/05/15/hansen/index.html?source=daily

  211. Dan:

    re: 203. Until you learn and understand the fundamentals (such as the fact that rigorous peer-review is the foundation for all good science; always has been and always will be) and stop making up and repeating nonsense like science is some kind of “vote”, you really have no grounds to stand upon regarding the science of global warming. There is no excuse for the failure to try to learn.

  212. James:

    Re #196: [There is a very real danger that our politicians will do something really stupid, like putting in a cap-and-trade policy, or a blanket carbon tax; which could ruin the economy.]

    Now why on earth would doing something like that ruin the economy? Especially if it’s done sensibly, by replacing something like sales taxes or VAT (I forget which you have in Canada)? The first-order net economic effects would be the same, since government would be removing the same amount of money from the economy. In the long term there would be net economic benefits, as it would encourage efficiency.

  213. Ken Rushton:

    re: 192. My impression is that the ice extent has remained roughly constant because it’s been sloshing around in a “large bowl” (except where around Iceland of course), and that since thickness is hard to see observers took the null assumption that it did not change. This has also kept the albedo up. But…thinner ice melts quickly, so I’ve been watching for a surprise heat wave to nudge things along, and think we’ve now hit it. The average albedo has just taken a big drop, and will drop much more next week.

    The other impression I have is that the Gulf Stream seems to have increased in strength, and is travelling much farther northeast before downwelling. See Sea Surface temp. anomaly
    The coastal waters off of Eastern North America have been colder than average for 5+ years, and the ocean north of Europe is getting progressively warmer. (Note-the downwelling points significantly cool because they are a ice/seawater mix).

    Can anyone offer independent evidence to the two above observations?

    Further, add to the alert that southern Greenland is warmer than I’ve ever seen it in June. (see: AMU Realtime)

  214. pat n:

    Re: 211

    Peer-review work on climate and hydrologic change was a non-starter at NOAA’s NWS. NWS said it was beyond the time frame of the NWS mission. That didn’t make sense to me because I felt that climate change should be considered in hydrologic research, development, calibration, spring flood outlooks and even operational river forecasting. It still makes no sense to me.

  215. Rod B:

    Dan (re 211), you evidently didn’t read Chuck’s post (173) or a jillion others like it. It’s not my nonsense that (some) of you guys claim a large majority opinion determines the science. Then you refute my criticism of making peer review a sacrosanct idol by simply asserting it is: “…peer-review is the foundation for all good science…” — Wow! that sounds pretty high on the list to me.

  216. Timothy Chase:

    John Mashey (#208) wrote:

    $100 tax/ton of CO2 = ~$1 per gallon of gasoline.
    A tax of $2/ton (of CO2, assuming that was as suggested in #178), yields the powerful incentive of $.02/gallon tax …

    an outcome that would cause jubilation in oil companies, including those in Canada:
    “Canada is the single largest foreign supplier of energy to the United States–providing 17% of U.S. oil imports and 18% of U.S. natural gas demand.”
    http://ottawa.usembassy.gov/content/textonly.asp?section=can_usa&document=canusarelations
    Recall that Canada (and Russia) are rarities amongst developed countries:
    a) Have big oil&gas reserves, make $$$$ from exports

    If I were an oil company executive, which of the following would I want:
    a) a linear formula, that starts high to affect behavior, and then goes higher and
    b) an exponential formula that starts low, and later goes very high, and hence defers the costs as long as possible, i.e., it is really back-loaded.

    Such would appear to be the case. The oil sands industry has been successful in lobbying Ottawa to have “intensity-based targets” rather than caps, cutting emissions per barrel by 20% on what for the nation thought to be the world’s second largest supply of oil. (Saudi Arabia I believe comes first.)

    … separating the tar-like bitumen from the sand and converting it into refinery-ready synthetic crude oil is energy intensive. The Canadian government and the oil industry admit emissions of carbon dioxide will increase as new plants are brought on stream.

    To accommodate the industry’s growth, Ottawa said in April it would use intensity-based targets to govern allowable emissions. Those targets, which mandate cuts on a per-barrel-produced basis rather than fixed goals, will cut emissions by 20 percent per barrel from 2006 levels by 2020, the government said.

    Lax CO2 Targets a Boon for Canada Oil Patch – Study
    CANADA: June 7, 2007
    http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/42452/story.htm

    You are from Ottawa, aren’t you Jim?

  217. John Mashey:

    re: #205 Rod B thanks … although it was just simple Googling, not very learned.

    re: #203 I don’t think there’s any idolatry of peer review, especially those of us who actually participate in it! (more below*)

    ======
    Voting: science issues rarely(*) get settled by voting, but in any case, when people say there’s a consensus around something, you should take that as a *data point* not as a vote. If 99 doctors tell you “If you don’t stop smoking, it will go badly for you”, and one says “Don’t worry about it”, you can say “there’e controversy.” If it turns out the one also does astrology on the side or gets paid by RJ Reynolds, this is worth knowing (and is not ad hominem, but rational evaluation of credibility).

    =====
    *Peer review:

    a) is a royal pain.
    It’s a whole lot easier just to whip up something and stick it on a web page.

    b) is a lot of work.
    If you are an Editor (or run a conference Program Committee), you have to recruit knowledgable reviewers with no obvious conflicts (authors and reviewers are humans), within a reasonable timeframe, and chase them to get the reviews.

    If you are a reviewer, you may have to spend substantial time reading and doing at least some checkout, and you do not necessarily get a lot of credit, compared to generating your own publications or doing your day job. You do it because it contributes to the profession, not for glory.

    If you are an author, sometimes you submit a paper, it takes a long time for the reviews to come back, and then they all zap you, which is not fun.

    Sometimes reviews are wildly mixed (and this is one place where a semblance of voting may be going on, as it often does in selection of papers for conferences.)
    A colleague and I once wrote a paper for a conference, and got back 4 reviews:
    2: terrific! accept.
    1: boring: reject
    1: topic irrelevant to this conference: reject
    Which yielded: reject.
    It turned out the topic *was* extensively debated at the conference, and later the paper was twice solicited by editors and published in several forms in different magazines.

    c) and doesn’t even get everything right!
    See:
    http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn7915
    but also:
    http://www.math.princeton.edu/~wwong/blog/blog200509050634.shtml

    Depending too much on any one paper is not a good idea. The first URL above is mostly about statistics & experimental design problems. Some people claim that every paper involving statistics should be reviewed by statisticians … sounds great, and if one can afford it, do it (or even better, have a PhD Statistics on the team)…. BUT …

    there is this statistical problem with professional statisticians: there aren’t enough of them them around, and they don’t really have the time to review everything, as they have their own work to do.

    The AAAS claims to represent 10M people, and the ASA about 20,000, i.e., about 500:1. At Bell Labs, at one point we had about 20,000 technical people, of which about 40 worked in the statistics research department and one other mostly-statistics department, also about 500:1. Stanford has ~1800 tenure-line faculty, of which I think ~20 are in Statistics, so that’s 90:1.

    Of course, in all these cases, there are plenty of people who are not statisticians but have reasonable backgrounds in it, so it’s not as bad as it sounds, and I claim no strong validity for these numbers.
    Besides statistics, if there is new computer code involved, it should probably be reviewed by good numerical analysts and software engineers. I’d guess a lot of the papers published should be reviewed by 5-10 people to cover everything … but this just isn’t going to happen … and to be honest, it’s better to get plausible checking of papers reasonably quickly, and get results out there, as errors will get caught sooner or later, and results will either get confirmed or disconfirmed over time.

    The best way to slow research to a halt is to raise the bar to the point where publication is glacially slow… and I suspect some people would like that to happen to climate science :-)

    SO: why do we do peer review, given all this?

    Because we haven’t yet found a better way, not because we worship it…

  218. Dan:

    re: 215. Yes, agreed, it is your nonsense. Again, science is not based on a “vote” or tally. Your use of words such as “idolatry” and “sacrosanct” clearly reflects a direct insult at the scientific method and that pursuit of knowledge in general. Or a troll. Simply astounding. And again, there is not excuse whatsoever for failure to try to learn.

  219. pete best:

    Re #210, Yes, I have read all of his articles posted at grist and the oil drum and it makes sense to me what he proposes but the technology is not here yet and people need the energy now it would seem. Hansen is getting politically involved because he knows what is involved in getting CO2 levels down avoid AGW above 2 degrees C. The argument with the skeptics is seemingly over now and governments are taking note of the problem but are they really willing to do something about ?

    Where is the energy efficiency drive on automobiles, no legislation means market forces which means educate the masses on climate change, bring out smaller more efficient cars and well as normal ones (choice remember) and hope that people buy them whilst trying to maintain the prices of petrol/gas for them to run on. Not really a recipe for mitigating AGW is it ?

    The same can be said of coal and gas and renewables will come in only when they are economically viable or subsidized and even then I doubt it will fill the gap buecause humanity requires 70% more energy come 2050 to keep the globes materialist aims going.

  220. Jim Cripwell:

    James writes “Now why on earth would doing something like that ruin the economy? Especially if it’s done sensibly, by replacing something like sales taxes or VAT (I forget which you have in Canada)? The first-order net economic effects would be the same, since government would be removing the same amount of money from the economy. In the long term there would be net economic benefits, as it would encourage efficiency. ”

    The main, but not the only, problem is the generation of electricity. Here in Canada we enjoy cheap electricity, by world standards. Pretty well all of Nova Scotia’s electricity is produced by coal fired plants. Industry cannot run without copious amounts of electricity. Here in Ontario, our coal fired plants were scheduled to close well before now. The date is postponed until at least 2014, with rumours this will be after 2020. No-one has come up with a viable alternative way of generating the huge amount of cheap electricity we need. Surely the whole point of a carbon tax is to reduce the CO2 emissions. If you force the Canadian electric generating inductry to reduce the emission of CO2, you ruin the economy.

  221. pat n:

    Re: #219

    Pete,

    I don’t believe that governments are willing to do something about getting CO2 levels down in trying to avoid AGW above 2 degrees C and catastrophic global warming.

  222. Lynn Vincentnathan:

    Re Jim Cripwell and hard evidence re anthropogenic GW. I think we’re looking at this backwards (which is how science works — trying to reject the null hypothesis…which I have a really hard time getting across to my students in methodology and stat classes). The questions should be is there any hard evidence that our GHG emissions are NOT causing GW…and at .01 significance. This is because the problems of failing to reject a false null hypothesis are so terrible, compared to rejecting a true null hypothesis (which would even be good for us — inspiring greater enery/resource conservation/efficiency, solving a host of other problems and improving our economy). As a scientist, I’m sure you understand what I’m saying.

    Of course, the actual working scientists doing climate science have already long ago rejected the null hypothesis (acc to peer-reviewed jnl articles), and reports keep coming in about how “it’s worse than we thought,” so we need to address this issue and mitigate GW in every possible way we can conceive. But even if the null hypothesis had not yet been rejected, we really still do need to do the same. The stakes are just too high.

    So, supposing the scientists are wrong (there is a small chance they are wrong — like less than 5%), and we mitigate a non-problem, we’ll be the better off for it. If we fail to mitigate a real human-caused problem, then we may consign the world to terrible harms.

  223. Burkart:

    Re 220. How about trying conserving energy? Energy that is conserved does not have to be produced, quite simple. If energy is cheap, people waste it, and only when it becomes more expensive they start to think how they can use energy more efficiently. Canada will have to adapt, that’s for sure, but the economy won’t be ruined. By the way, climate change is not the only reason why economies (and individuals) have to become much more efficient in their use of energy.

  224. Victoria Wright:

    its a bit long dont you think

  225. pete best:

    Re #221

    I would be careful on the catastrophic AGW, a 2 C rise would not necessarily mean that. As realclimate always tell us, even 3 C is not necessarily catastrophic, it could be serious but what do you mean by catastrophic ?

    To me it means nothing less than an great extinction event. If humans still exist on Earth at 3 C then it is hardly catastrophic is it ?

  226. Ray Ladbury:

    Rod B. You seem to have a misunderstanding of both peer review and scientific consensus. I would amend what Chuck said and say the peer review is the threshold of good science–and not just peer review prior to publication, but peer review in terms of discussing your research with colleagues and outsiders as well. This is not idolatry, but the result of about 200 years of experience in science.
    And scientific consensus is nothing like a vote, but rather a discussion of questions like “Do the data support hypothesis A or hypothesis B?”, “If the data support hypothesis A, then how strongly can we state hypothesis A without outrunning the support of the data?” Science works–and this is how it works.

  227. joe:

    Cripwell said

    “No-one has come up with a viable alternative way of generating the huge amount of cheap electricity we need.”

    What about nuclear power plants? I find it revealing that that same people predicting near term doom with a main culprit being coal burning power plants seem to be the same people who cringe at the idea building new nuclear plants. How am I suppose to keep my three children warm when its 20 below zero…blankets. Do you scientists think we should start replacing coal plants with nuclear plants?

  228. Rod B:

    re 217: Voting: what you say is true. My point is that the 99 to 1 vote or consensus does not per se prove the science. 99 saying tobacco causes cancer is, as you say, a strong data point, indicative and interesting, but it is not a scientific proof. My problem is the use by some to prove the science with consensus: a skeptic says “I don’t believe this” gets answered with “But there’s a consensus, so there!”

    Peer Review: what you say is true again, and has been similarly discussed here by some. My problem is the same as above: some claim peer review per se is sufficient proof by itself and is absolute in its determination which makes it an idol — a paper not peer reviewed has zero value; a peer reviewed paper has ultimate authority, (“the foundation of science” no less!

    I have, boringly I’m sure, made these points on RC before, with an intent (in great part) to help my ‘opposition’, the AGW proponents, on the basis that hyperbole, exaggerations, and non sequiturs 1) do not make their case and 2) detract from their credibility.

  229. Timothy Chase:

    Ken Rushton (#213) wrote:

    The other impression I have is that the Gulf Stream seems to have increased in strength, and is travelling much farther northeast before downwelling. See Sea Surface temp. anomaly.

    The coastal waters off of Eastern North America have been colder than average for 5+ years, and the ocean north of Europe is getting progressively warmer. (Note-the downwelling points significantly cool because they are a ice/seawater mix).

    Can anyone offer independent evidence to the two above observations?

    The closest I could find something suggesting that the gulf stream has increased in intensity and/or move northerly is the following (unless one counts OilDrum):

    Atmospheric variability in the post-positive NAM era has also favored ice loss [Maslanik et al., 2007] as have changes in Atlantic heat inflow [Polyakov et al., 2005] and the transport of Pacific-derived waters [Shimada et al., 2006].

    Arctic sea ice decline: Faster than forecast
    Julienne Stroeve, Marika M. Holland, Walt Meier, Ted Scambos, and Mark Serreze
    GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 34 (2007)

    However, it makes sense that it would move northerly – it now has to go farther north simply in order to cool enough to begin its descent. As for stronger, this may be related to the increased intensity of hurricanes – where (at least according to one recent paper) hurricanes significantly increase ocean circulation between the tropics and the higher latitudes.

    One of the factors which all models appear to have difficulty modeling is the increased variability of the NAM:

    Modes of atmospheric variability like the NAM are represented with questionable fidelity. While some studies suggest anthropogenic forcing may favor a positive NAM mode [e.g., Gillett et al., 2003], there is evidence that climate models underestimate NAM-like variability [e.g., Gillett, 2005; Stenchikov et al., 2006].

    Most models are missing the level of detail needed to capture the various positive feedback which are causing much of the accelating rate of decline:

    Most models do not parameterize a sub-grid scale ice thickness distribution, which is important for sea ice-related feedbacks [Holland et al., 2006a]. Ocean circulation and vertical structure are often poorly represented [e.g., Tremblay et al., 2007]. Ice-albedo feedback and oceanic heat flux are implicated as critical factors that may cause abrupt reductions in the future Arctic summer ice cover [Holland et al., 2006b]. Notably, the two models that best match observations over the satellite record incorporate relatively sophisticated sea ice models (e.g., with a sub-grid scale ice thickness distribution) [McLaren et al., 2006; Meehl et al., 2006].

    Presumably the “surprising” projection of 2020 is the results from a projected constant absolute loss of ice. However, this isn’t specifically mentioned in the article – unless I missed it.

  230. Ray Ladbury:

    joe, #227: Speak for yourself. There is a very lively debate about nuclear power on this very board (much to the chagrin of the moderators). Some advocate nuclear power. Some view it as a necessary evil. Some oppose it and are convinced that we can reduce dependence on fossil fuels through a combination of conservation and renewable energy sources, perhaps with carbon capture thrown in.
    Rod B.–you are constructing a straw man. Nobody suggested peer review has ultimate authority. However, a paper that can’t pass peer review ain’t worth a bucket of warm spit.
    Dissent from the scientific consensus does not automatically detract from a scientist’s authority. However, he or she had better have a good reason for that dissent, since, in effect, it is claiming that the dissenter’s judgement and interpretation of the evidence is superior to that of ALL their peers. I have yet to see a good scientific rationale presented by the dissenters in support of their dissent–and saying, I don’t like the theory, or some myterious equilibrative mechanism will save us, do not constitue scientific defenses.

  231. Barton Paul Levenson:

    [[ 174. If the “debate” has long been settled when it comes to the science of global warming, then how does the study by UC Irving that shows dirty show accounts for almost all artic warming fit in?
    http://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=38417
    “Dirty snow has had a significant impact on climate warming since the Industrial Revolution. In the past 200 years, the Earth has warmed about .8 degree Celsius. Zender, graduate student Mark Flanner, and their colleagues calculated that dirty snow caused the Earth’s temperature to rise .1 to .15 degree, or up to 19 percent of the total warming.
    ]]

    Changing the albedo of the Arctic has some effect on world temperature, I’m sure. I’m very doubtful it can have the effect this guy says it does. You do know, don’t you, that a band of latitude occupies less and less space the closer it gets to the poles? Area on a hemisphere is proportionate to 1 – the sine of the latitude. Even if the snow-capped part of the Arctic extended all the way to the 66 degree line (and it doesn’t), it would only account for 9% of the area of one hemisphere. Global warming is an average for the whole world. Do the math.

    And when he says that dirty snow accounts for up to 0.15 K of warming and that this is 19% “of the total warming,” then either he is conflating Arctic warming with world warming, or, more likely, whoever quoted him is. The poles have warmed more than the global average. I don’t think 0.15 K is 19% even of Arctic warming, but I’d have to see the paper to judge.

  232. Barton Paul Levenson:

    [[There is a very real danger that our politicians will do something really stupid, like putting in a cap-and-trade policy, or a blanket carbon tax; which could ruin the economy.]]

    How would that ruin the economy, precisely? It might ruin the fossil fuel industry, but it would give a heck of a boost to the nuclear, solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, electric car, hybrid, and home energy conservation industries. It’s very difficult to hurt one commodity in a large, diversified economy and ruin that economy. I could believe it if you were talking about ruining the sugar industry in Haiti, but I think the US could survive cap-and-trade on carbon.

    [[And I can assure you that global temperatures are not going to rise; by 2020 they will be seen to be falling; by 2015 they will be seen to be not rising as fast as the IPCC predicts.]]

    And I can assure you that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

  233. Barton Paul Levenson:

    [[You can read the UC Irving paper here:]]

    Somebeans, it’s UC “Irvine.” That’s an E at the end, not a G.

  234. Jim Cripwell:

    In 209 Jim Eagar writes “You will forgive me if I in no way feel reassured.Perhaps if you could present anywhere near the amount of data in support of your assertions as the IPCC has, but not before then. ”

    I am so glad someone took the bait, and raised the issue of predictions. The advocates of AGW when running their GCMs, always seem to choose a time frame such that no-one can check up on what has been predicted in any reasonable manner. They claim to know, with considerable precision, what is going to happen by 2050, or 2100, when I will be dead anyway; but ask about what will happen in the next five years, and all you get is silence. It does not take a genius to realized that the recent El Nino has gone, and, with the SOI showing every sign of going positive, to make a prediction that a La Nina is upon us. But ask how severe the La Nina will be, or when it will end, silence. Ask when the next El Nino will start, how severe will it be and when will it end; again silence.
    If I were accused of using little more than tea leaves to make my predictions, I would have difficulty defending myself; they are merely based on the belief that the solar physicists have got right their ideas on how quiet the sun is going to be during solar cycles 24 and 25. However, recent trends in average global temperatures show that in the southern hemisphere (SH), there is every sign that temperatures have peaked, and are now declining. The only thing that has kept average world temperatures at or above maximum figures are temperatures on the land mass of the northern hemisphere (NH). I kept this post back until I had the data from NCDC/NOAA for May 2007 http://lwf.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/2007/may/global.html#Temp. What this shows is that the land temperature in the northern hemisphere is still keeping average world temperatures at or just above record levels. The anomaly for May 2007 for the NH land is 0.95 C, warmest on record, c.f. May 2005 with a figure of 0.94. For the SH the land anomaly is 0.34 C, the 24th warmest. Overall, for January to May the anomaly is 0.65 C warmest on record, cf next warmest 2005 of 0.64 C. The question is, of course, will the land temperatures in the SH rise in the future to match those in the NH, or will NH temperatures fall to match those in the SH. Or whatever. Only time will tell. Certainly, there is no sign that 2007 will produce a dramatic increase in average global temperatures. The data from Hadley/CRU for May will not be available for a couple of weeks.

  235. Barton Paul Levenson:

    [[Chuck (172): same ole, same ole (like admittedly is my retort). I wish you guys would quit boiling down the science to the idolatry of peer review and a great majority of a vote. ]]

    Like it or not, peer review is part of modern science, and there’s a good reason for that — it weeds out the crackpots.

  236. Chuck Booth:

    Re 228 [a skeptic says “I don’t believe this” gets answered with “But there’s a consensus, so there!”]

    No, the skeptic’s “I don’t believe this” gets answered with, “Show me your data!” When scientists reach a consensus conclusion, it means there have been numerous and very convincing studies supporting that position. To change people’s minds, you need to come up with some pretty strong data and arguments that counter the prevailing views. As Carl Sagen said, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”
    Scientists make their reputation by finding something novel – they have every incentive to doubt the consensus view; but, when they do go along with the consensus it means they are now ready to move on, and find something that isn’t known, or hasn’t been widely accepted.

  237. Barton Paul Levenson:

    [[If you force the Canadian electric generating inductry to reduce the emission of CO2, you ruin the economy. ]]

    Why are we to believe coal is the only way to generate electricity? I thought it could be generated from burning oil (which Canada produces in excess), natural gas, wood, or biomass fuels such as ethanol. Or from nuclear fission. Or from solar thermal plants or solar photovoltaics. Or from windmills. Or from geothermal resources. Or from animals on treadmills.

  238. Barton Paul Levenson:

    [[My point is that the 99 to 1 vote or consensus does not per se prove the science. 99 saying tobacco causes cancer is, as you say, a strong data point, indicative and interesting, but it is not a scientific proof. My problem is the use by some to prove the science with consensus: a skeptic says “I don’t believe this” gets answered with “But there’s a consensus, so there!”]]

    Listen, try to understand this. The scientific consensus is not the same thing as taking a vote. Peer review means scientists have taken a paper and tried to duplicate at least the reasoning, if not the observations or the experiments, and have looked for flaws — any flaws. If the scientific consensus is that some physical effect is true, it’s not just a summary of opinions. It’s a summary of the results. There is a consensus that the world is round because the hypothesis that the world is flat has been falsified. There is a consensus that the Earth orbits the Sun, rather than vice versa, because everyone who has bothered to make the observations necessary has seen that that hypothesis works and the other one doesn’t. Scientific consensus is not “I think this is true.” It’s “300 people made the same type of observation and wrote it up and they all got through peer review.”

    In short, your arguments against the scientific consensus and peer review are straw man arguments. You haven’t shown that you understand what you’re arguing against at all.

  239. Chuck Booth:

    Re 228, again [a paper not peer reviewed has zero value; a peer reviewed paper has ultimate authority, (“the foundation of science” no less!]

    I’m trying to figure out if you truly don’t understand how science works, or if you just like to make disingenuous statements to yank people’s chains.

    A paper that has not yet been peer-reviewed has some credibility, depending on who is reading it. But, publishing a paper without peer review means everyone reading it has to make his/her own decision on the value of the contents, and most scientists aren’t willing to waste their time doing that. Rather, they prefer to read papers in peer-reviewed journal because they feel they can put more trust in the data and conclusions. But, no one believes that any single peer-reviewed paper is the ultimate authority, unless perhaps that paper puts the nail in the coffin of a conclusion supported by numerous papers that preceded it. One only has to following the letters-to-the-editor in Science, or Nature, to see how peer-reviewed papers in prestigious journals can be ripped apart by knowledgable (or skeptical) readers of that journal; sometimes the papers can withstand the assult, sometimes they cannot. That is why scientists must often follow the literature in a particular field for years, or even decades, to see how well published findings stand up to careful scrutiny.

  240. Barton Paul Levenson:

    [[The advocates of AGW when running their GCMs, always seem to choose a time frame such that no-one can check up on what has been predicted in any reasonable manner. They claim to know, with considerable precision, what is going to happen by 2050, or 2100, when I will be dead anyway; but ask about what will happen in the next five years, and all you get is silence. It does not take a genius to realized that the recent El Nino has gone, and, with the SOI showing every sign of going positive, to make a prediction that a La Nina is upon us. But ask how severe the La Nina will be, or when it will end, silence. Ask when the next El Nino will start, how severe will it be and when will it end; again silence.
    ]]

    You are missing something fundamental about climatology — it’s about averages, not individual data points. The vast majority of your posts so far have made this mistake. Have you ever had an introductory statistics course?

    A cas.ino doesn’t know where the ball will fall in a rou.lette wheel, or which hand will win in a game of black.jack. Nonetheless, cas.inos manage to continually make a profit. Once you understand why that is, you will understand why your objection to GCMs above has no strength.

  241. James:

    Re #225: [To me it means nothing less than an great extinction event. If humans still exist on Earth at 3 C then it is hardly catastrophic is it?]

    Seems a rather narrow-minded way to look at it. If humans still exist, but a large percentage of other species go extinct, that looks like a catastrophe to me – and not just for the extinct species, but for the human survivors who will be living in a vastly impoverished world.

    Or if you insist on being anthropocentric, suppose the human species still survives, but in greatly reduced numbers: isn’t that a catastrophe, at least for those who didn’t survive?

  242. Chuck Booth:

    Re 237

    Don’t forget hydroelectric power – Ontario Power Generation claims to be generating 15,535 MW for the Province of Ontario (http://www.opg.com/index.asp). When I moved to Ontario in the early 80s, it took me a while to understand that when someone mentioned their “hydro bill,” they were referring to their electric bill which they paid to a hydro-electric company generating power at Niagra Falls (which generates some 4.5 GW: http://www.iaw.com/~falls/power.html; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niagara_Falls ).

  243. James:

    Re 237: Or, since Nova Scotia was mentioned, tidal power? I quote from http://thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1SEC829122

    “The most cost-effective project was found to be a site in MINAS BASIN, at the mouth of Cobequid Bay in the upper reaches of the Bay of Fundy. This development would have a capacity in excess of 5300 MW, an amount equal to the entire 1980 installed generating capacity of the Maritime power systems.”

    Of course this has a problem with the generation being intermittent (locked to the tidal cycle), but if it was integrated into the same system as all the hydro plants in Quebec, it should be possible to smooth out the variation.

  244. Timothy Chase:

    Rod B. (#228) wrote:

    Peer Review: what you say is true again, and has been similarly discussed here by some. My problem is the same as above: some claim peer review per se is sufficient proof by itself and is absolute in its determination which makes it an idol — a paper not peer reviewed has zero value; a peer reviewed paper has ultimate authority, (“the foundation of science” no less!

    I have run into a number of papers which certainly were well worth reading and cutting-edge despite the fact that they had not been peer reviewed. I remember one in particular in evolutionary biology regarding tandem repeats and their hypermutability – which could be reduced by point mutations which broke up the tandem repeats into smaller segments. The author (David King?) was arguing that in essence, they made the rate of mutation itself mutable which natural selection could select for – and this appears to have been born out by later papers. You will find such papers – on occasion.

    Likewise, peer review lets lower quality papers get through – a little too often. I doubt there are very many specialists within any discipline who believe that all peer-reviewed articles which are published are actually of high quality. Nearly anyone you might ask will acknowledge that a fair number of the articles which get published didn’t deserve to be published.

    At the same time, to those who would argue that peer review is unfair (and I realize you are not), I would make one observation, then pose one question:

    The number of papers which are available for publication well-exceeds the number of papers which can be published – simply as a matter of economics, but some will be of higher quality while others will be of lower quality. If peer review is to be replaced, what should it be replaced with – to insure that papers of higher quality stand a better chance of being published?

  245. Philippe Chantreau:

    RE 234: I’ll take the bait too. I’m by no means a specialist but I see several points in your argumentation that, for a layman, do not appear convincing at all.

    You were asked for data, I don’t see it. What are your predictions based on?

    The ENSO is known for what I would call (for lack of a better knowledge of it) a semi-chaotic behavior. There is ample discussion of it on this site that addresses the “they can’t even predict El-Nino, so what do they know” argument, which summarizes your critic.

    Climate is defined over a 30 years period, climate change has to be observed over long periods too. A 5 years period seem to me a prime candidate for finding chaotic variations. The shorter the term, the least accurate a model prediction can be. From the very little I know about climate models, I would expect that at the 1 to 5 years horizon, you can’t really get much more than natural variability. That does not constitute a weakness of the models, it’s how nature is.

    The SH contains a lot more ocean than the NH. It is bound to behave differently and be cooler. What does the data show about the only somewhat temperate southern landmass (Australia), compared to NH landmasses?

  246. Jim Galasyn:

    Jim Cripwell wrote in 234:

    The advocates of AGW when running their GCMs, always seem to choose a time frame such that no-one can check up on what has been predicted in any reasonable manner.

    Here’s a recent example of models that match empirical data over a long time scale:

    Greenhouse Gas Effect Consistent Over 420 Million Years
    http://www.yale.edu/opa/newsr/07-03-28-02.all.html

    To better predict future trends in global warming, these researchers compared estimates from long-term modeling of Earth’s carbon cycle with the recent proxy measurements of CO2.

    This study used 500 data points in the geological records as “proxy data” and evaluated them in the context of the CO2 cycling models of co-author Robert Berner, professor emeritus of geology and geophysics at Yale who pioneered models of the balance of CO2 in the Earth and Earth’s atmosphere.

    “Proxy data are indirect measurements of CO2 – they are a measure of the effects of CO2,” explained co-author Jeffrey Park, professor of geology and geophysics at Yale who created the computer simulations for the project. “While we cannot actually measure the CO2 that was in the atmosphere millions of years ago, we can measure the geologic record of its presence. For example, measurement of carbon isotopes in ancient ocean-plankton material reflects atmospheric CO2 concentrations.”

    “Our results are consistent with estimates from shorter-term records, and indicate that climate sensitivity was almost certainly greater than 1.5, but less than 5.5 degrees Celsius over this period,” said Park. “At those extremes of CO2 sensitivity, [1.5°C or 5.5°C] the carbon-cycle would have been in a ‘perfect storm’ condition.”

  247. pat n:

    re 225

    I think a sea level increase measured in meters on the century time scale would be appropriately called catastrophic.

  248. Timothy Chase:

    I had written (#229):

    However, it makes sense that [gulf stream] would move northerly – it now has to go farther north simply in order to cool enough to begin its descent. As for stronger, this may be related to the increased intensity of hurricanes – where (at least according to one recent paper) hurricanes significantly increase ocean circulation between the tropics and the higher latitudes.

    Actually it was a letter in Nature:

    Observational evidence for an ocean heat pump induced by tropical cyclones
    Ryan L. Sriver & Matthew Huber
    Nature 447, 577-580 (31 May 2007)
    http://intl.emboj.org/nature/journal/v447/n7144/full/nature05785.html

    I guess this means that in 2006 we should have seen more poleward flow from the Pacific – which experienced the most active hurricane season on record, but I haven’t seen data to verify this.

  249. Jim Cripwell:

    In 245 Phillipe wrote “You were asked for data, I don’t see it. What are your predictions based on?” I thought I answered that question. I believe the forecast of the solar physicists as the how quiet the sun will be in solar cycles 24 and 25. Not much better, I agree, than reading tea leaves.
    Phillipe also wrote “The SH contains a lot more ocean than the NH. It is bound to behave differently and be cooler. What does the data show about the only somewhat temperate southern landmass (Australia), compared to NH landmasses?”
    I am not an expert in answering this sort of question. I gave you the URL I used; all the data I know about is there, and at the Hadley/CRU site. The land masses in the SH also include South America. I understand Argentina is suffering from a brutally cold weather at this time. I have not examined the data comparing the SH and NH, but as I understand the way the anomalies are calculated, they refer the difference between current temperatures and some long term average. So why the SH is expected to be different from it’s long term average, compared with the NH, I don’t follow.

  250. Theo H:

    HELP!

    H-E-L-P !!

    H-E-E-E-L-L-P-P !!!

    How do I assign “weight” to conflicting science?

    Once upon a time, a long time ago… well, about twenty years ago – as a simple greenie, my greenie friends told me about global warming. At first, this would seem like a good idea, to anyone who has to suffer (what was) our English summers. Then my Scandinavian greenie friends told me about oxidising boreal (i.e. snow-forest) soils, so I stated to get worried … feed back and all that stuff.

    Anyway, from then on, I happily believed in AGW, because scientists, who know about these things, … well … they know about these. Don’t they?

    Then, about two years ago I became aware of “climate sceptics” who said things were not so. And I became very confused.

    So I started to read (things like) RealClimate.

    But I am still confused.

    And the reason I am confused, is while I am happy to follow the science of RealClimate (all peer reviewed stuff) there is also other stuff (sometimes peer reviewed) that contradicts RC, which I can also more or less follow as well.

    My problem is I am quite unable to assign “weight” to the conflicting science. I am becoming personally aware of my inability to assign weight; I think, however, there are a lot of ordinary folk out there who do not yet know they don’t know how to assign weight. Thus the considerable effect that the Great Global Warming Swindle has had on a not unimportant number of the UK population. And here the last “fact” presented often carried most weight and TGGWS was the last fact most UK people saw. (Thus in legal trials, the defence is always allowed the last say.)

    In the “is happening / is not happening” debate I suspect there are a lot of people who are as confused as I am. And RC needs to take this on board.

    Theo H

    (I did, however, quite independently, come across your esteemed senator Mr Inhofe at The Heritage Foundation. And had a laugh.)

  251. John Mashey:

    re: #228:
    re 217: Voting: what you say is true. My point is that the 99 to 1 vote or consensus does not per se prove the science. 99 saying tobacco causes cancer is, as you say, a strong data point, indicative and interesting, but it is not a scientific proof. My problem is the use by some to prove the science with consensus: a skeptic says “I don’t believe this” gets answered with “But there’s a consensus, so there!”

    1) If there’s anyone who posts in this newsgroup, and who actually is involved in real peer review, who thinks that one peer reviewed paper is gospel … then it’s not obvious. One more time: this is a 3-sided argument: if you get irritated by unreasoning faith on one side, but are driven into unreasoning skepticism on the other side, you are missing what is being said by people who actually know.

    2) I picked the smoking example because it’s the best single analogy with AGW that I know, with corresponding dates:
    1964: “The Surgeon general has determined…”
    2001-2007: IPCC TAR & AR4

    Let’s say: roughly 40-years’ difference, although the historians will argue about when, exactly the proof for AGW was as clear as the proof for smoking-disease was in 1964.

    For people who actually care about the processes of science and tactics used to subvert it, I once again recommend:
    Allan Brandt, “The Cigarette Century”

    AGW has analogs of most of the key smoking issues:

    3) Your view about 99:1 not being proof is right out of the cigarette-company playbook:

    a) It’s hard to do simple high-school lab experiments that prove everything; rather the conclusion is based on evidence that accumulates over years, and involves a lot of statistics, rather than simple lab tests. In the 1950s, researchers argued a lot about the nature of “proof”.

    b) Even if there were a simple experiment, it would be unethical; “Here: try this, we want to see if you develop lung cancer.”

    c) Some people smoke and never get lung cancer or heart disease, and even when they do, as in all diseases, there are jiggles, and the more serious problems are time-lagged by decades.

    d)Eschewing cigarettes when you’ve smoked heavily for 30 years may help … but not much, i.e., the problem is not instantly fixable.

    Brandt (p. 307) says of 1992: (CAPS mine)

    ‘C.C. Little’s dogmatic assertions of “not proven” would no longer suffice: the industry realized that it could avoid new regulatory intervention ONLY BY REDEFINING THE SCIENCE OF RISK. Following years of fighting epidemiologists, Philip Morris now initiated a campaign for “Good Epidemiological Practices,” organized to “fix” epidemiology to serve the industry’s interests by changing standards of proof. One objective of the program, an internal memo explained, was to “impede adverse regulation.”‘

    i.e., the objective wasn’t to get better science, although that’s what they always claimed.

    Epidemiology studies are well-known to have flaws and statistical errors, and when scientists find them, that’s business as usual. For people with a clear axe to grind, who do not *want* scientific results, a good tactic is to claim to that they only want to improve science, and then do everything possible to set such a high bar that no research gets done, and waste time in irrelevant arguments.

    Another good tactic is to move an argument from a scientific domain into a political one: in the US, ideally in the US Congress, where voting actually does count, lobbyist $$$ matter, and a K-Street address is good, and maybe Congressman can be maneuvered into slowing science down [sound familiar?].

    Few effective tobacco regulations ever came from Congress, but from local and state groups, which are harder to lobby effectively. {Belmont, CA just banned smoking almost everywhere except single-family homes…]

    To calibrate all this, observe that smoking is rising fast in developing countries (60% of Chinese men), will likely kill 50% more people in 2030 (WHO, 2006), and ~10M deaths/year. But, to bring this to a concrete level:
    RJR used to sell a candy-flavored version of Camels called “Twista Lime” (Along with others like Kauai Kolada, Warm Winter Toffee, Mandarin Mint etc, clearly aimed at kids. In late 2006, they signed an agreement that they wouldn’t do this any more (great!)… i.e., they can still *sell* them, they just can’t use the luscious names…

    Anyway, the tactics are similar and often involve some of the same people and organizations, and while there are plenty of people who believe something for reasons other than economics, in both cases there are *serious* economic interests that pay others to churn out masses of disinformation.

    If you accept purposeful disinformation as normal scientific discourse, and if you frequently prefer to believe people who can’t get silly theories published in peer-reviewed journals …I can get you a great deal on a bridge in Nigeria, with lots of oil underneath, that you can sell for a lot of money, but I need a few thousand $ to get the deal started…

  252. Timothy Chase:

    Jim Cripwell (#249) wrote:

    In 245 Phillipe wrote “You were asked for data, I don’t see it. What are your predictions based on?” I thought I answered that question. I believe the forecast of the solar physicists as the how quiet the sun will be in solar cycles 24 and 25. Not much better, I agree, than reading tea leaves.

    Might be nice to know who the “solar physicists,” assuming we are to regard them as experts.

    In any case, it doesn’t seem to work, Frank.

    For each of these potential sources it is possible to compute the influence on the Earth’s climate [e.g., Wilson, 2000; Cubasch and Voss, 2000; Haigh, 1996; Shindell et al., 2001]. Given the complexity of the climate system, however, such modeling perforce is based on simplifying assumptions, which implies a significant uncertainty in the results. Here we take a complementary approach. We assume that the Sun has been responsible for climate change prior to 1970. Specifically, we consider the period 1856-1970. Then, using reconstructions and measured records of relevant solar quantities as well as of the cosmic-ray flux, we estimate which fraction of the dramatic temperature rise after that date could be due to the influence of the Sun. Since our original assumption cannot underestimate the solar contribution to global warming prior to 1970, through the present analysis we should obtain an upper limit on the fraction of the warming due to the Sun also after 1970. The two other simplifying assumptions that enter our analysis are (1) the connection between the relevant solar and terrestrial quantities is linear, and (2) this connection remains unchanged with time (and in particular it is the same prior to and post 1970).

    Solanki, S. K. & Krivova, N.
    Can solar variability explain global warming since 1970?
    J. Geophys. Res. 108, doi: 10.1029/2002JA009753 (2003).

  253. Timothy Chase:

    Jim Cripwell (#249) wrote:

    In 245 Phillipe wrote “You were asked for data, I don’t see it. What are your predictions based on?” I thought I answered that question. I believe the forecast of the solar physicists as the how quiet the sun will be in solar cycles 24 and 25. Not much better, I agree, than reading tea leaves.

    Might be nice to know who the “solar physicists,” assuming we are to regard them as experts.

    In any case, it doesn’t seem to work, Frank.

    For each of these potential sources it is possible to compute the influence on the Earth’s climate [e.g., Wilson, 2000; Cubasch and Voss, 2000; Haigh, 1996; Shindell et al., 2001]. Given the complexity of the climate system, however, such modeling perforce is based on simplifying assumptions, which implies a significant uncertainty in the results. Here we take a complementary approach. We assume that the Sun has been responsible for climate change prior to 1970. Specifically, we consider the period 1856-1970. Then, using reconstructions and measured records of relevant solar quantities as well as of the cosmic-ray flux, we estimate which fraction of the dramatic temperature rise after that date could be due to the influence of the Sun. Since our original assumption cannot underestimate the solar contribution to global warming prior to 1970, through the present analysis we should obtain an upper limit on the fraction of the warming due to the Sun also after 1970. The two other simplifying assumptions that enter our analysis are (1) the connection between the relevant solar and terrestrial quantities is linear, and (2) this connection remains unchanged with time (and in particular it is the same prior to and post 1970).

    Solanki, S. K. & Krivova, N.
    Can solar variability explain global warming since 1970?
    J. Geophys. Res. 108, doi: 10.1029/2002JA009753 (2003).

    Given their methodology, they conclude:

    This comparison shows without requiring any recourse to modeling that since roughly 1970 the solar influence on climate (through the channels considered here) cannot have been dominant. In particular, the Sun cannot have contributed more than 30% to the steep temperature increase that has taken place since then, irrespective of which of the three considered channels is the dominant one determining Sun-climate interactions: tropospheric heating caused by changes in total solar irradiance, stratospheric chemistry influenced by changes in the solar UV spectrum, or cloud coverage affected by the cosmic ray flux.

    (emphasis added)

  254. Philippe Chantreau:

    Re 249. I am somewhat surprised at you desinvolte answer: “not much better than tea leaves” and “I am not an expert in answering this sort of question.” Then what kind of value can I give to any/all of your assertions? As a matter of fact, why would anyone (including yourself) put trust in any of your conclusions or predictions when some are readily available that carry the weight of the best specialists and the best/most complete data?
    Think of it this way: if someone was presenting AGW the way you present your point of view, how serious would it look?

    As for the SH, NH differences, one is mostly covered by ocean and has a massive ice-covered continent at the bottom, I would not expect them to be treated the same.

  255. Jim Cripwell:

    Re 253. Phillipe you are absolutely right. My predictions are not worth very much. However, I am not so much concerned with predictions, but with the hard data about what is actually happening to the climate. Data which, hopefully, everyone believes is correct. When this data becomes available in 5, 10, or 15 years we will see who is right. I am, of course, convinced it will be me, together with all the other climate skeptics. The current data shows that it is unlikely that 2007 will show any appreciable rise in global temperatures, and so the trend which seems to have been happening for the last decade of temperatures showing no increase, looks like it is continuing. The question then arises, when will global temperatures start showing the sort of increase that the IPCC predicts? After all, CO2 emissions are still increasing at what the IPCC describes as an unprecedented rate, and with no political agreement as to how to curb these CO2 emissions, this trend looks like it is going to continue into the indefinite future. Unless global temperatures start rising again soon, the AGW proponents will not have too much to cheer about, and the GCMs don’t provide much data on what is likely to happen in a 15 year time frame, according to other entries on this blog.

  256. Timothy Chase:

    Sorry – #252 on solar variability was the complete version and I thought that #251 had failed to get through…

  257. Jim Galasyn:

    G8 agreement on climate change a “disgrace”: Al Gore

    MILAN (Reuters) – Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore denounced a deal by world leaders on curbing greenhouse gases as “a disgrace disguised as an achievement,” saying on Thursday the agreement struck last week was insufficient.

    The dedicated climate crusader, whose 2006 global warming documentary won an Oscar, said leaders at last week’s G8 summit in Germany had not risen to the challenge to respond to what he calls a “planetary emergency.”

    (more)

  258. Timothy Chase:

    Jim Cripwell #255 wrote:

    Re 253. Phillipe you are absolutely right. My predictions are not worth very much. However, I am not so much concerned with predictions, but with the hard data about what is actually happening to the climate. Data which, hopefully, everyone believes is correct.

    What? You expecting the laws of physics to get suspended? CO2 or H20 to suddenly become transparent to infrared? Oh, and if you will note, in #253 I cited an analysis which shows that even if one assumes that solar variability was responsible for all climate change prior to 1979, only 30% of the unprecedented change since 1979 could be attributed to it. Basically this is all she wrote for the view that what is currently the main factor driving climate change is solar variability.

    Jim Cripwell #255 wrote:

    When this data becomes available in 5, 10, or 15 years we will see who is right.

    Fabulous – the fifteen year figures will come in just after the Arctic ice cap goes.

    Please see:

    Arctic sea ice is melting much more quickly than projected by even the most advanced computer models, a new government funded study has found. Comparing actual ice observations with climate models, the scientists conclude that the Arctic could be seasonally free of sea ice as early as 2020….

    The study, “Arctic Sea Ice Decline: Faster Than Forecast?” will appear Tuesday in the online edition of “Geophysical Research Letters.” It was led by Julienne Stroeve of the National Snow and Ice Data Center and funded by the National Science Foundation and by NASA.

    Arctic Ice Retreating 30 Years Ahead of Projections
    http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/apr2007/2007-04-30-04.asp

    Jim Cripwell #255 wrote:

    I am, of course, convinced it will be me, together with all the other climate skeptics. The current data shows that it is unlikely that 2007 will show any appreciable rise in global temperatures, and so the trend which seems to have been happening for the last decade of temperatures showing no increase, looks like it is continuing. The question then arises, when will global temperatures start showing the sort of increase that the IPCC predicts?

    Looks like the 10-year average has been going up, and at least as far as I can tell it has picked up some speed.

    Please see:

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/2007/images/pr20070104.gif

    From:

    News release
    4 January 2007
    2007 – forecast to be the warmest year yet
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/2007/pr20070104.html

    5-year average is at 0.20 C per decade – higher than 1979-1997, although the statistical significance isn’t quite high enough to say whether the “acceleration” is real.

    Jim Cripwell #255 wrote:

    After all, CO2 emissions are still increasing at what the IPCC describes as an unprecedented rate, …

    Remember – the temperature rises as the logarithm of the ppm – except when you get close to the origin (i.e., 0 ppm), where it rises linearly. We have a kind of asymptotic going. And there is the lag time. Hansen calculates that if we were to hold the level of CO2 constant today, the temperature would still be increasing for approximately fifty years. Water vapour feeback doesn’t kick in all at once. It is a gradual process.

    Jim Cripwell #255 wrote:

    … and with no political agreement as to how to curb these CO2 emissions, this trend looks like it is going to continue into the indefinite future.

    Quite possibly, and if so, things really don’t look good. Himalayas gone by the end of this century, presumably, but like the Arctic ice cap, I believe the estimate of its rate of decline is on the conservative side. Water shortages for over a billion right there. And in the US the south east is likely to give birth to a dustbowel. Things will probably go downhill from there.

  259. Robin Johnson:

    RE #227: Unfortunately, we have based our heating/cooling on remote sources of energy when the cheapest long term solution is to drill a 50 meter deep hole – run some non-potable water lines and use a small pump and fan. Voila! You have a high-efficiency heat pump. The pump and fan consume electricity sure – but in the summer the cooling requires no additional energy and in the winter you just need to take the 57F underground temp to 70F (if you have a well insulated house a low amount of energy required). Its costs $10-15K to install (so its more expensive initially – a major disincentive). But over the life of the system/house – it saves many times that. It OUGHT to be mandatory where reasonably done (which is most everywhere). And would damn sure reduce the need for power plants, oil or natural gas.

  260. Burkart:

    Re 255. May I ask why you expect temperatures to go down with ever increasing amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere? CO2 acts as a greenhouse gas, this is well-established and not doubtful at all. What strange climate cycle supports your expectation? As for the rest of your argument, see my comment 194 (incl. the reference).
    Now you can say “I still don’t believe it”. This is what some climate “skeptics” told me after a heated discussion. They had no argument left, and their last sentence in the discussion was “I still don’t believe it”. I was quite speechless, but the obvious answer is: Of course not, as you seem to think this is a matter of belief rather than of science.

  261. Barton Paul Levenson:

    [[The current data shows that it is unlikely that 2007 will show any appreciable rise in global temperatures, and so the trend which seems to have been happening for the last decade of temperatures showing no increase, looks like it is continuing. ]]

    Try looking at the trend for the last 150 years, instead of the last 10.

  262. Ray Ladbury:

    Re 250: Theo H. I’m a little surprised that you are having trouble. First, one can look at sheer numbers of peer-reviewed papers. Naomi Oreskes study
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/306/5702/1686
    puts the count at >900 favoring the consensus vs. 0 dissenting. Subsequent analyses found maybe 6 papers opposing the consensus in any serious way, so at 900:6, I’ll take those odds. What is more, the 6 papers in the opposing camp all predate about 2000. Now in the time since, there have been a few dissenting papers–e.g. Svensmark et al., but there have been a lot more supporting it. Hell Jim Hansen may have produced more peer-reviewed papers than the entire skeptic community in that interim. Even if you accept the positions of some skeptics that there are, say, 60 or so papers in the opposing camp (and having looked at the list, there’s room to dispute how seriously they challenge the consensus), that’s less than 1%. I’ll take those odds.
    Next, there is the criterion of the expertise of the researcher. Wikipedia has a pretty exhaustive list of those still in denial:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientists_opposing_the_mainstream_scientific_assessment_of_global_warming
    Note that very few of those listed are actively publishing in peer-reviewed journals. Most are not even in relevant related fields. Many, have a vested interest (e.g. petroleum geologists) in not altering the status quo wrt fossil fuel use. Here’s a hint: when in doubt, go with the folks who are actively publishing in the field.

    There is no controversy in the scientific community. The only professional society to adopt a position statement that opposes the consensus view is the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (hmm, wonder why). They adopted this position in 1999, and are considering abandoning it this year. Every other professional organization of scientists that has looked at the problem has come down squarely on the side of consensus. Case closed.

  263. Timothy Chase:

    John Mashey (#251) wrote:

    If you accept purposeful disinformation as normal scientific discourse, and if you frequently prefer to believe people who can’t get silly theories published in peer-reviewed journals …I can get you a great deal on a bridge in Nigeria, with lots of oil underneath, that you can sell for a lot of money, but I need a few thousand $ to get the deal started…

    Thing of it is, with some people, they are likely to think that the phenomena being studied is too complex for scientists to really get a handle on – when they first encounter the subject. Then they are likely to assume that the scientists are simply playing with the data in order to rationalize their political beliefs. And at that point, they are likely to think in terms of “us vs. them” and adopt the belief that they are justified in a similar politicization of science, and they are likely to become personally invested in their conclusions.

    From then on, it is likely to be a very slippery slope – even if at a purely intellectual level they begin to realize that there is more to the science than they first thought. But given the interconnectedness of science, they will find it necessary to deny more and more scientific conclusions, even as the justification for those conclusions mounts.

    Not a pretty picture.

  264. Rod B:

    re 172, 173, 174, 190, 203, 205, 211, 215, 217, 218, 226, 228, 230, 235, 236, 238, 239, 244, 251, et al — WOW! It’s deja vu all over again!

    Ray says, “You seem to have a misunderstanding of both peer review and scientific consensus…”, and Dan says “…Your…words…. “idolatry” and “sacrosanct”…reflect a direct insult at the scientific method…” To the contrary, my criticism was not of the peer review process or of consensus. My criticism was of the people that assert either or both as conclusive proof per se i(by itself) of the AGW theory. And despite denials in some of the above posts one can find numerous instances in RC of what I criticize. (Before you go ballistic, it’s not everyone, by a long shot.) Secondly, the fact that a minor criticism causes so much vehement rebuttal, bordering on wrath, the same reaction one gets from offended fundamentalists, proves my contention that some raise peer review to the religious idol level. On the other hand some (including I) recognize peer review for its clear benefits, its deficiencies, and its necessity. John’s post #217 is a good critique, and there have been numerous ones like it just recently in RC.

    Bottom line, simply “the consensus says so, and the vast majority of peer reviewed papers say so. CASE CLOSED.” just doesn’t cut it.

    Some individual responses: Chuck says (239) “…A paper that has not yet been peer-reviewed has some credibility…”, while Ray says (230) it’s “not worth a bucket of warm spit.”

    Barton says (238), “There is a consensus that the Earth orbits the Sun…” There was also an earlier consensus that the Sun revolved around the Earth. And in fact much earlier (and admittedly not long-lived) that the earth was flat. I could go on ad nauseam with scientific consensus’ that turned out to be flat out wrong.

    Using the tobacco story John (251) compares its consensus to AGW with “1964: “The Surgeon general has determined…” That’s poor — the SG was far from having any consensus in 1964. And, on that subject, quickly, you have the tobacco story all backward. (I’ve already locked the bunker and battened the hatches, so, everyone, save your grenades.) Aligning AGW forces with the anti-tobacco crowd is a big insult to the AGW folks. Details are not appropriate for this post, but my simple contention is that the Anti-Tobacco people, including virtually all States and the Federal gov’t, are the ones who made up and twisted the science, often in a conscious, devious, audacious and fraudulent manner — the EPA study(ies) being a case in point.

  265. climate skeptic?:

    OK, I’m posting this here too, if there’s someone who would like to comment on it. I think it’s something that should be of high interest to AGW proponents.

    An AGW critic, who can not be dismissed as a crackpot, and should be taken seriously. Doctor Habibullo Abdussamatov. Dr. Abdussamatov is the Chief of the Space Exploration Department of the Central Astronomical Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the supervisor of the Astrometria project of the Russian part of the International Space Station.

    Habibullo Abdussamatov was born in Uzbekistan in 1940, graduated from Samarkand University in 1962 as a physicist and a mathematician. He earned his doctorate at Pulkovo Observatory and the University of Leningrad.

    For the last 45 years he has worked at the Saint Petersburg’s Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory, which is (and has always been during his time there) one of the best equipped and most respected observatories in the world, at the pinnacle of research in solar physics. He has put his life into research on solar cycles.

    I think we can safely conclude he is not a crackpot in his own field of study.

    He says there are three cycles that he has observed and analysed in detail: a 11 year one, a ~80 year one and a ~200 year one, and that the impact of the longer cycles (especially the 200 year one) are not (fully) accounted for in the AGW theories.

    Dr. Abdussamatov is pretty serious about his research and there are lot of prominent scientists in Russia and Ukraine who seem to agree with him, and they are very serious about their science, or what do you say of this:

    “Because of the scientific significance of this period of global cooling that we’re about to enter, the Russian and Ukrainian space agencies, under Dr. Abdussamatov’s leadership, have launched a joint project to determine the time and extent of the global cooling at mid-century. The project, dubbed Astrometry and given priority space-experiment status on the Russian portion of the International Space Station, will marshal the resources of spacecraft manufacturer Energia, several Russian research and production centers, and the main observatory of Ukraine’s Academy of Sciences. By late next year, scientific equipment will have been installed in a space-station module and by early 2009, Dr. Abdussamatov’s space team will be conducting a regular survey of the sun.

    “With the data, the project will help mankind cope with a century of falling temperatures, during which we will enter a mini ice age, Abdussamatov says.

    Don’t you think this is something that should be of interest to realclimate?

    It’s so contrary to everything the AGW’s hold true and proven, and this guy and his colleagues have put some serious hours (decades in fact) into this research and the fact that Abdussamatov’s team get a prime and permanent place on the space-station for their research says everything that needs to be said of his standing in the Russian scientific hierarchy. For this research into global cooling, Abdussamatov will get several Russian research and production centers, resources from the spacecraft manufacturer Energia, and the main observatory of the Ukrainian academy of sciences (in addition to the famous Pulkovo observatory) under his leadership. We are talking some serious resources here, and a seriously established scientist, an esteemed and celebrated senior scientist, who has studied the subject for over four decades.

    A Crackpot like John Mashey said?

    His expertise in solar physics makes him indirectly credible on AGW, because solar activity is in direct relation to the importance of the AGW factor. If he believes that with exhaustive study he has shown the current warming to have been caused by solar activity, and there are other groups of scientists in China and Russia who have, independently, got similar results, then you can’t just dismiss it as “it’s not their field of expertise”. Because if they are right, that solar activity is the main cause of the 1970- warming cycle, then they are also in all probability right about the relative lesser importance of the AGW factor, and that the IPCC approach has exaggerated it. If they are right.

    And please notice that Mr. Abdussamatov was already “prophetizing” these warming and cooling cycles long before GW became mainstream science in the early 1990’s. A curious coincidence, or credit to Mr. Abdussamatov’s research?

    And before someone resorts to it, like John Mashey above, you can’t dismiss Mr. Abdussamatov and the direct relation his studies have to AGW, by quoting (out of context) one translated sentence from him, that has NOTHING to do with his studies, and could have been a deliberate provocation, or a joke in bad taste, or anything. It doesn’t matter at all really.

    To disprove his theory that solar activity has been the main driving factor in the 1970- warming cycle, you need to show how his methods or conclusions were wrong.

    Abdussamatov published his conclusions over a year ago. During the past year, it seems that not one AGW scientist has attempted to falsify Dr. Abdussamatov’s basic data or his theory. This is something a lot more credible than Mr. Beck, and something you should look at I’d think. Just look at the outstanding resources the Russians and Ukrainians are giving him and his standing in the Russian (former Soviet Union) scientific community. When Russian politicians debate their stance on AGW, Dr. Abdussamatov is likely to be one of their main advisors. So there is also an important political dimension to this. This is a man of influence and authority.

    Will we see a column on Dr. Abdussamatov on realclimate.org in the near future? I’d hope so.

    [Response: Extremely unlikely – for the following reasons: 1) He is completely out of his field of expertise when talking about climate. 2) solar forcing has not changed substantially in at least 30 years (direct observations) and likely ~50 years (from sunspots, cosmic rays, F10.7 radio flux). 3) the idea that climate can be explained by a single variable is nonsense. 4) I have looked but I have not found any peer reviewed paper by Dr. Abdussamatov explaining his climate theories – news releases on Moscow radio do not count. 5) predictions of solar activity are highly uncertain – much more so than impacts of GHGs. 6) the changes in forcing from any conceivable decrease in solar activity are dwarfed by the forcing from GHGs. 7) Dr. Abdussamatov’s high status is irrelevant to the strength of his (non-peer reviewed) arguments. … – gavin]

  266. Rod B:

    Timothy (258) — a clarification: doesn’t the forcing go up by the ln of the concentration ratio raised to about the 5th power ?

  267. Ray Ladbury:

    Re 265. Climate Skeptic,
    You claim that Dr. Abdussamatov published his findings a year ago. Where? Do you have a link to a paper in a peer-reviewed journal? If not, then how are we to give his ideas the scrutiny you say they deserve. Are you familiar with the phrase “doing science by press”. It refers to the practice of going to the press with a claim of a breakthrough with an idea that you fear might not pass peer review. The idea is to generate a lot of buzz about an idea using reporters who are not science literate in the hopes that it will ease the process of getting published. Benny Peiser did it with his critique of Naomi Oreskes and it backfired. It usually does.
    Your claim the Dr. Abdussamatov is a climate expert because he is a solar physicist and the Sun is an important forcer in climate reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of scientific expertise. Experts in a subject are those who do research in that subject and who publish that research in peer-reviewed journals. The degree of expertise has to do with both the number of publications and reception that they get from the wider community (for example, the number of citations by other papers). Now look at the Wikipedia list here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientists_opposing_the_mainstream_scientific_assessment_of_global_warming

    Most of these guys are not experts by the above defintion, and that includes Dr. Abdussamatov. Peer reviewed publication is the price of admission to the debate. Otherwise, enjoy the show.

  268. Chuck Booth:

    Re 264 Rod B.,
    You didn’t include the rest of that sentence. Regardless, what I should have said, is, a non-peer-reviewed paper could have some merit, depending on what the paper says and who is reading it. If a journal editor sends me a paper to review, that paper is, at the time I receive it, not yet peer-reivewed. If I then read it and decide it is a the best study every conducted on that subject, the paper has merit in my mind. But, I wouldn’t expect anyone else to appreciate that value until the peer-review process is completed, and the paper is prepared for publication. (And, I might add, I am ethically bound to reveal nothing about that paper to anyone other than the journal editor, and I cannot use the information therein) I don’t think Ray would disagree with me on this point. I’m quite sure he was referring to a paper that appears in print (or on the web) without having gone through peer review.

    I still don’t understand why you show so much disdain for peer-reviewed research. Do you honestly think that any allegedly scientific report printed on paper, or posted on the web, is automatically valid as a research paper? Is that how you get your information on which to form judgments on scientific issues? I sure hope not. I thought you claimed on one of these threads to have a science degree? If so, you should consider suing your alma mater, as you seem to have been cheated out of a crucial component of a science education.

    Having written this, I will now drop this topic (I hope) – it has finally dawned on me that responding to silly statements about the peer review process only encourages more silly statements.

  269. Jim Cripwell:

    In 260 Burkhart wrties “May I ask why you expect temperatures to go down with ever increasing amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere? CO2 acts as a greenhouse gas, this is well-established and not doubtful at all.”

    It sounds easy, does it not. CO2 absorbs radiation, and so it keeps the earth warm. Unfortunately, this violates one of the fundamental laws of physics; any substance that absorbs radiation, also emits that same radiation. The simple picture that the advocates of AGW paint of the sun warming the ground, and then the radiation being emitted from the ground getting absorbed by the greenhouse gases is a complete oversimplification, that it is really not true at all. Have you ever considered what happens in the Antarctic in the winter? The sun does not shine, and in fact the so called greenhouse gases actually act as refrigerants; they radiate more energy into space than they absorb. The physics of how the world’s atmosphere works is far and away more complicated that the simple idea that greenhouse gases only absorb radiation. Greenhouse gases also radiate energy at the same wavelengths. When you understand this, you may begin to understand why climate skeptics believe the sun is the major driver of the world’s climate, not the greenhouse gases.

    [Response: But this physics is explicitly embedded in all models of the climate – why do you think that only ‘skeptics’ think this? -gavin]

  270. Timothy Chase:

    Rod B (#266) wrote:

    Timothy (258) — a clarification: doesn’t the forcing go up by the ln of the concentration ratio raised to about the 5th power ?

    Actually it is going to be a little more complicated – if one wants to be precise.

    Once the center of the of a given line is saturated, the spread due to temperature results in the wings – which spread out from the center. This is what results in the logarithmic nature of the response – but prior to saturation one gets a response which is more or less linear. (An any curve is over a short enough distance will be linear – so stating as much is kosher.) Then you would take into account the temperature as being to the fourth and perform the integration.

    But that is just for a single band, and given other, smaller effects, a precise solution which one could verify within a lab would still be somewhat of an approximation out in the climate system itself. But setting that all aside, the log is a very good approximation over the range that we are dealing with here.

    Of course, this is all pretty much of the top of my head, and if a radiation physicist would like to step in and correct me, by all means…

    In any case, I was responding to a problem that Jim had raised elsewhere – when he claimed essentially that the log was ad hoc with no theoretical support and couldn’t possibly be right due to a reductio ad absurdum which stumped any climatologists he had ever posed it to – as if they had never considered it. (~”Those dumb climatologists…”) Strictly speaking, it isn’t right. But it is more than sufficient for dealing with climate systems – much like Newton can be counted on for virtually any practical purpose on earth.

  271. John L. McCormick:

    RE # 264

    RodB: [I could go on ad nauseam with scientific consensus’ that turned out to be flat out wrong.]

    And, you do.

    But, maybe your are right and the rest of us are wrong. At which point, I wonder why you bother to waste your time at RC.

  272. Jim Galasyn:

    In 269, Jim Cripwell writes:

    It sounds easy, does it not. CO2 absorbs radiation, and so it keeps the earth warm. Unfortunately, this violates one of the fundamental laws of physics; any substance that absorbs radiation, also emits that same radiation.

    If I understand you correctly, you’re claiming that the entire climate science community has misunderstood the basic thermodynamics of blackbody radiation?

    That’s quite a discovery. You should write it up and publish in a peer-reviewed journal.

  273. Timothy Chase:

    Jim Cripwell (#269) wrote:

    The physics of how the world’s atmosphere works is far and away more complicated that the simple idea that greenhouse gases only absorb radiation. Greenhouse gases also radiate energy at the same wavelengths. When you understand this, you may begin to understand why climate skeptics believe the sun is the major driver of the world’s climate, not the greenhouse gases.

    What greenhouse gases do is slow down the energy so that the energy remains within the climate system for a longer period of time.

    This boosts the temperature until more energy is radiated by the system – as much as what is entering it at any given time. But the amount of energy within the system – and thus the temperature – remains higher than it was before. For the amount of energy in the system to drop, more would have to leave the system over a given period of time as what is entering the system. But by the time the amount which is leaving the system has risen to the level that it equals the amount coming in, the system has achieved a new equilibrium – at a higher temperature.

    This is how the conservation of energy applies within a climate system. Not something which a philosophy major should necessarily know, but it is something somebody with a background in physics should be able to pick up rather quickly.

  274. climate skeptic?:

    To achieve such a prominent position, he must have convinced his peers in Russia and Ukraine, wouldn’t you think?

    He delivered a report/synopsis of his theory to the international Astronomical Union in June 2004. He published specifications in September and October of 2005, so that’s actually over a year ago. He says that so far he has recieved no serious objections.

    Feeling neglected by the international science community, he contacted Ria Novosti (i.e. media) to popularize his theory.

    The link to the synopsis of his theory (june 2004):

    http://www.journals.cambridge.org/action/displayIssue?jid=IAU&volumeId=2004&issueId=IAUS223 and search for Abdussamatov

    Multi-Wavelength Investigations of Solar Activity
    Proceedings IAU Symposium No. 223, 2004
    A.V. Stepanov, E.E. Benevolenskaya & A.G. Kosovichev, eds.
    _c 2004 International Astronomical Union
    DOI: 10.1017/S1743921304006775

    About the long-term coordinated variations of the activity, radius, total irradiance of the Sun and the Earth’s climate

    Habibullo I. Abdussamatov

    Pulkovo Observatory, Saint Petersburg, Russia

    The 11-year cycle represents a simultaneous parallel change in both the activity level and the total irradiance of the Sun. So, in case of variations of the amplitude of the activity level – a power of a cycle – the amplitude of solar irradiance variations is expected to change correspondingly.

    The identical correlated course of the long-term variations of activity and luminosity of the Sun on the secular timescale has been observed earlier by Eddy (1976), and Borisenkov (1988). Moreover, according to the data of Borisenkov (1988), in each of 18 deep Maunder-type minima of solar activity, revealed over the span of the last 7500 years, the cooling of climate had been observed, while warming occurred during the periods of high maxima. Thus, the integral radiation has always been essentially higher at the maximum, and it had noticeably decreased at the minima. Therefore, quasi-periodic variations of the solar activity during both the 11-year cycle and 80- and 200-year cycles are accompanied by proportional variations of the integral flux of solar radiation, which result in geophysical effects.

    The main cause of climate change during the last millennia is the corresponding cyclic variation of the 80- and 200-year component of irradiance correlated with activity. That is why, the contemporary is not anomalous but is ordinary secular global warming (Aguilar 2003; Reid 2000), as well as previous similar cases of warming during the periods of secular activity growth is still mainly connected with an increase of the secular component of solar irradiance variation.

    Recent observations Ulrich (1995) and Noel (1997, 2001, 2002), show that the solar radius variations within an 11-year cycle has the correlated identically with the activity level variations, although a contrary result with smaller amplitude was obtained by Laclare (1996). Furthermore, revealed that the larger radius is connected with high activity level, and a smaller one with low activity level (Basu 1998). The results of Sveshnikov (2002) have ultimately confirmed the reality of close connection between the change of activity level during cycle and the course of radius variations in both phase and amplitude. In particular, during 11-year cycles with an increased activity level, larger amplitude of radius variations is generally observed, while during the cycles with a decreased activity level – the lower amplitude, i.e. the courses of 11-year variations of both the radius and the activity level are mutually correlated and parallel to each other.

    A presence of 80-year cycle in the radius variations (Sveshnikov 2002, Parkinson 1980, Gilliland 1981) together with secular climate variations is an additional argument in favor of presence of secular component in the solar irradiance variations. In the phase of maxima of 11-, 80- and 200-year cycles has correspondingly larger radius and higher luminosity, while in the phase of minima of these cycles an opposite picture is observed. Observed correlated long-term identical variations of radius, irradiance and activity, which require enormous energy resources for a rather long time, are, in our opinion, the consequence of the same processes, taking place in the innermost solar interior, and are coordinated by a global variation of the whole inner structure of the Sun, caused by changes in the state of energy-releasing core, its temperature, and, probably, its rotation rate in the course of cyclic activity of the star (Abdussamatov 2003). Variation of energy release from the core and corresponding temperature change lead to disturbance of the solar equilibrium, determined by the balance of forces of the inner pressure and gravity. An increase of energy release in the core is accompanied by the growth of temperature, which result in unavoidable global heating of the Sun, and corresponding increase of its radius and total irradiance with the effective temperature remaining practically constant.

    Therefore, cyclic variations of the “solar constant” result from corresponding change of the emitting area, i.e.

    W_ = (�R_/R_)/(�S_/S_) = 0.5.

    Hence, the amplitude of the 11-year radius variation should be limited to Î�R < 0, 5â��. Thus, possible long-term smooth quasi-periodic oscillations of the core’s energy release, accompanied by the corresponding temperature changes, can lead to cyclic global reconstructions of the whole Sun, induced radial pulsations around mean value of the radius, and, therefore, to variations of the “solar constant”, proportional to the relative change of the radius squared. Such long-term global variations of the whole Sun, caused by the corresponding changes in the temperature of the core, can catalyze generation of an activity cycle. Increase of the core’s temperature and corresponding expansion of the whole Sun can catalyze the raise of activity, while decrease of the core’s temperature will catalyze a drop in activity, with the amplitude of the central temperature variations determining the power of a cycle.

    If amplitude of the core’s temperature fluctuations is small, weak cycles with a low-amplitude activity level will be developed, while higher amplitudes result in more powerful cycles. An absence or a rather low amplitude of the temperature fluctuations can lead to a deep minimum of both activity and luminosity of a Maunder-type. Hence, solar activity can acquire additional energy released in the core. Summarizing, observed cyclicities in solar variations are determined by corresponding quasi-periodic changes in both activity and size (and, therefore, total irradiance). That is why, one can expect that in the nearest future (in accordance with expected decay of the activity and irradiance secular cycle) regular secular decrease of the Earth temperature should replace the contemporary not anomalous but regular secular global warming.

    References

    Abdussamatov H.I. 2003, Petersburg fragments of the scientific picture of the Universe, N2.
    SPbSC RAS. Saint-Petersburg, p.8
    Aguilar D. 2003, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Press Release, No.: 03-10
    Basu D. 1998, Solar Phys., 183, 291
    Borisenkov E.P. (ed.) 1988, Climate changes during the last millennium. Leningrad, Gidrometeoizdat
    Eddy J.A. 1976, Science, 192, 1189
    Gilliland R.L. 1981, Astrophys. J., 248, 1144
    Laclare F., Delmas C., Coin J.P., Irban A. 1996, Solar Phys., 166, 211
    Noel F. 1997, Astron. Astrophys., 325, 825
    Noel F. 2001, Astron. Astrophys., 374, 697
    Noel F. 2002, Astron. Astrophys., 396, 667
    Parkinson J.H., Morrison L.V., Stephenson F.R. 1980, Nature, 288, 548
    Reid G.C. 2000, Space Science Reviews, 94, 1
    Sveshnikov M.L., 2002, Sov. Astron. Letters, 28, 133
    Ulrich R.K., Bertello L. 1995, Nature, 377, 214

    [Response: This is an abstract about solar physics, and I would not presume to know more about solar physics than the Dr. Abdussamatov. However, nowhere does he show that solar forcing is larger than GHGs – and if you want to make a projection for climate changes in the future you must do that comparison. All comparisons done by anyone else show that variations over the even the solar cycle are small compared to the GHG forcing. I am very happy that he plans to observe the sun from a new satellite – the more the merrier, but translating solar changes to climate response requires integration of all the factors affecting climate – not just one. – gavin]

  275. Jim Eager:

    Re: 269, Jim Cripwell: “It sounds easy, does it not. CO2 absorbs radiation, and so it keeps the earth warm. Unfortunately, this violates one of the fundamental laws of physics; any substance that absorbs radiation, also emits that same radiation.”

    And you think this is a revelation?

    Obviously you haven’t read much of what is written on this site, either in the topic posts or in the comments.
    I think we now have a good handle on just how stupid you think climatologists are.

  276. Rod B:

    re 268: “I still don’t understand why you show so much disdain for peer-reviewed research. Do you honestly think that any allegedly scientific report printed on paper, or posted on the web, is automatically valid as a research paper?”

    Just shows you didn’t read my comments (or, if they were too mushy, I apologize). I do not disdain peer review. It plays a very impotrtant role in the dessimination of credible scientific resaearch. It just has some warts and blemishes and is far from perfect. So it should not be viewed with perfect authority (kinda like idols…).

    I agree research stuff, not peer reviewed, printed or posted is not necessarily/automatically credible. But it is not necessarily not credible either. There are tons on non peer reviewed stuff printed, I suspect most of the college texts, e.g. There is probably a higher incidence of junk than that found in peer reviewed papers, but there’s a lot of good stuff, too, and probably less of the herd mentality.

  277. Rod B:

    re 271: “But, maybe your are right and the rest of us are wrong. At which point, I wonder why you bother to waste your time at RC.”

    I find the majority of the stuff on RC very informative (even if I disagree — part of the learning process). Especially the vast majority of stuff from the moderators. Then there’s the other entertainment value! Not really — I enjoy the repartee of some of the discourse on the processes od science, and like to think I’m being productive, not just pulling chains. …though some of you guys really have easily pulled chains [:-}

  278. Timothy Chase:

    climate skeptic (#276) wrote:

    To achieve such a prominent position, he must have convinced his peers in Russia and Ukraine, wouldn’t you think?

    He delivered a report/synopsis of his theory to the international Astronomical Union in June 2004. He published specifications in September and October of 2005, so that’s actually over a year ago. He says that so far he has recieved no serious objections.

    Nope. He achieved prominence, they started wandering off into Never-Never…

    [More solar variation explains all climate change nonsense…]

    Sure… and 2005 got as high 1998 without an El Nino during a cool solar year because…

    Feel free to check out a technical paper that actually deals with this issue.

    See my response to Jim:

    G8 summit declaration – Comment #253

    Solar variation explains perhaps the majority of what happened prior to 1979, just before the temperatures really started to rise, but it does a poor job after that. And according to solar variation, we are supposed to be experiencing a cooling trend right now – but the 5-year average has been going up instead.

    Anyway, that was a pretty copy-and-paste. But at least at DebunkCreation, Lenny doesn’t look that favorably on that sort of thing when some YEC does it.

    Next time, give us a link, OK?

  279. Timothy Chase:

    Rod B (#277) wrote:

    I find the majority of the stuff on RC very informative (even if I disagree — part of the learning process). Especially the vast majority of stuff from the moderators. Then there’s the other entertainment value! Not really — I enjoy the repartee of some of the discourse on the processes od science, …

    I do too!

    … and like to think I’m being productive, not just pulling chains. …though some of you guys really have easily pulled chains [:-}

    Things might get a little tense at times, and lets face it: sometimes you are a stubborn pain in the… but… You definitely add something of value – and you are obviously bright.

    I am glad you are here.

  280. David Price:

    About emissions if we have enough fossil fuels to produce half our emissions by 2050 we will be lucky. Oil is about to peak and gas soon after. It now seems there is much less recoverable coal than was once believed. Even meeting the IPCC’s low emissions scenario might be impossible.
    Society’s main challenge in the coming years will be how to keep things going until renewables are sufficiantly developed to take the slack. it will be touch and go.

  281. Timothy Chase:

    In the inline to #274, Gavin wrote:

    Response: This is an abstract about solar physics,…

    Gavin,

    That wasn’t the abstract – that was the paper…

    Oy gevalt!

  282. ray ladbury:

    #269. Yeah, Jim, tell me about fundamental physics. Yes, radiation is both absorbed and re-emitted, but the light that is absorbed is what? Outgoing. And the light that is re-emitted is re-emitted how? Isotropically. So that means that 50% of what was outgoing is now what? Incoming. And the density of photons in the lower atmosphere–does it increase or decrease. Increase. And when the photon density increases, what happens to the temperature? That’s right. It has to go up, because 1)the photons ultimately get re-absorbed by the ground as heat and 2)the gases and photon field have to be in an equilibrium. What’s that, you say, this can’t go on forever. No it doesn’t. Eventually the temperature of the Earth rises, it emits more photons, and we return to a quasi steady state.
    Oh, and Jim, the reason you have more photons outbound over Antartica than inbound in the Winter is because in the Winter, Antartica’s heat is supplied by movement of airmasses where the sun IS actually shining. Believe it or not, Jim, there really is a greenhouse effect.

  283. ray ladbury:

    Re 274. Climate skeptic, isn’t it interesting that just yesterday you were claiming to have an “open mind” on the subject, and now you keep insisting that a third hand account of a synopsis of an unpublished manuscript by a researcher in a field only tangentially related to climate science has all the answers. And this despite the limitations of the author and his theory having been pointed out to you repeatedly. Now, compare this unpublished manuscript–unvetted by the larger climate community–to the >1000 peer-reviewed scientific papers that support the hypothesis of anthropogenic causation. Now I ask you, looking at the balance of evidence, does that look open-minded to you?

  284. climate skeptic?:

    “Solar variation explains perhaps the majority of what happened prior to 1979, just before the temperatures really started to rise, but it does a poor job after that. And according to solar variation, we are supposed to be experiencing a cooling trend right now – but the 5-year average has been going up instead.”

    Are you an established scientist in solar physics? Are you now doing what gavin and others have been accusing Dr. Abdussamatov of doing?
    According to Mr. Abdussamatov’s (I love his surname) research, we are still in the warming trend. He predicts the solar cooling trend will start in between 2012 and 2015.

    “at DebunkCreation”

    This is EXACTLY why I am a skeptic?. The sole reason why I don’t know who to trust anymore. I can’t see the borders between science and politics. If you compare a celebrated senior scientist to creationists, just because he disagrees with your convictions, you are winning no friends. In fact, to put it bluntly, you look a fool.

    I don’t doubt GHGs, or AGW. I am skeptical of CAGW. Like someone noted without greenhouse gasses Earth would be an ice cube, so it’s logical to assume that variations in the atmospheric GHG levels will have an effect on the climate. Well, without the sun it would be close to 0 Kelvin. So it is similarly logical to assume that variations in the sun’s activity will affect the average temperatures on Earth.

    We don’t possess 100% certainty about the impact of the solar cycles, and we don’t have 100% certainty about the impact of the Anthropogenic CO2 emissions. The ice core studies come with uncertainties attached, the sulfate aerosol effect comes with uncertainties attached, the cosmic rays come with uncertainties attached, the exact feedback mechanisms come with uncertainties attached (there have been periods that were cooler than today, when CO2 levels were at the same time multiple times higher), and naturally the exact role of CO2 comes with uncertainties attached. Let’s not pretend that the debate is over, eh? That’s nothing but politics at the end of the day. It smacks of the thirst for personal fulfillment that comes with recognition. “Finally they are all listening to us”. It’s the “flow” of CAGW activism (if you are familiar with Csikszentmihalyi). The psychology of this debate is interesting. You can say that Abdussamatov and others in solar physics are talking outside the boundaries of their expertise, when commenting on AGW, but that’s not true. There’s a direct relation between the different causes that have been driving warming in the past 30 years. If it can be proven, as Mr. Abdussamatov believes it will be, that the solar cycles have a more significant role than accounted for in IPCC computer modelling, then the models, when re-run with the corrected values, will give scaled down figures for AG warming. Scaled down estimates for AG warming would be a catastrophe politically. Without alarmism AGW wouldn’t have made the mainstream. So for those who have intermixed science with politics, all theories that are contrary to the CAGW theory, are seen as a personal, psychological threat. Especially if you are investing a lot of emotion into the subject. The doubts have to be dismissed. The psychology of CAGW demands 100% certainty, but science cannot offer it. In Europe around 20 years ago disillusioned young socialists jumped on the CAGW wagon when the research was still in it’s baby steps. Now capitalism was literally killing the planet, and not just exploiting the poor. I find it curious how little evolution the CAGW rhetoric has gone through in all these years. Not much has changed, although you might expect research to alter the early hypothesis’s.

    When this debate is over one day, one way or the other, we will have numbers of textbooks on the psychology of this debate.
    If heretics like Abdussamatov are proven to have been in the wrong, not much will happen. It’s business as usual. But if the CAGW theory is proven to be NOT true, it could revolutionaze the way we see the science of enormously complex questions.

  285. ray ladbury:

    Re 274, 281. Oh my God! That’s it! That’s not a paper, thats a freaking book report! They published that. What, did they have 2 extra pages that would have been blank otherwise! Really, Climate Skeptic, have you ever read a real scientific paper that wasn’t published by a denialist/contrarian?

  286. Timothy Chase:

    Re #284

    Climate Skeptic,

    I wasn’t comparing him to a creationist – I was thinking of him as someone who make have gone around the bend since his best work. That is the most charitable spin I can give it. Your copy and paste of the entire ‘technical’ article? I was comparing that to things which I have seen creationists do.

    Not name-calling. Not comparing you to a creationist. But if you paste some textual support for a position you are taking, it helps if you understand what it is that you are pasting and can demonstrate that with what you have to say regarding the text. And it really shouldn’t be the whole article. No matter how small it might be.

  287. Rod B:

    Timothy (279):
    Thanks. [SLAP! SLAP!] I needed that.

  288. climate skeptic?:

    “ow you keep insisting that a third hand account of a synopsis of an unpublished manuscript by a researcher in a field only tangentially related to climate science has all the answers”

    That’s a strawman. I don’t imply such a thing. I have talked about uncertainty, a thing some people try to deny.

    “Oh my God! That’s it! That’s not a paper, thats a freaking book report! ”

    No kidding? I said it was a report. It gives a perspective into what he is studying. What papers he has published in Russian, I do not know. And I don’t think anyone’s too bothered either. But the Soviets were no amateurs in solar physics, and Mr. Abdussamatov, with a 45 year career history, and in his role as the supervisor of the Astrometria project of the Russian section of the International Space Station is not the crackpot you try to make him out to be. He will have under his leadership the famous solar physics laboratory at the St. Petersburg Pulkovo Observatory and the main observatory of the Ukrainian academy of sciences, and several research and production centers in Russia. The spacecraft manufacturer Energia is providing the resources for his study into solar cycles (and, in Abdussamatov’s own words, global cooling) which will be conducted, with priority space-experiment status, on the Russian portion of the International Space Station.

    There is an obvious double standard at play now, and I hope you would notice it. Presumably Dr. Abdussamatov is not qualified to comment on AGW, although his argument is effectively that because solar cycles explain most of the 1970- warming, the AGW factor cannot be very significant but you are entitled not only to dismiss out of hand his research in solar physics, in which you have no expertise, but also to ridicule him.

  289. ray ladbury:

    Uh, climate “skeptic”, did you ever consider that maybe the reason why the outlines of our understanding of climate have not changed dramatically are because it is in fact a mature field? There have been significant incremental advances in our understanding of aerosols, clouds, etc. and more remains to do, but the probability of a revolutionary overturn. You seem to fetishize uncertainties. Yet science is not about avoiding uncertainties, but rather about understanding them. And when you understand the uncertainties in our climate models, you would find that for them to be fundamentally wrong, ALL of the uncertainties would have to line up just at their worst-case levels, AND we’d probably have to have evidence of some unanticipated effect not in the models. The likelihood of this at this point is vanishingly small. I’m just curious if you are truly open minded, then why are ALL your efforts directed at looking far and wide, in obscure journals only tangentially related to climate and the few obscure authors whose only common characteristic is opposition to the consensus view. Here’s a hint: Denial is not a river in Africa.

  290. John Mashey:

    re: #264 Rod B
    “Using the tobacco story John (251) compares its consensus to AGW with “1964: “The Surgeon general has determined…” That’s poor — the SG was far from having any consensus in 1964. And, on that subject, quickly, you have the tobacco story all backward.”

    “Rod B” has strong opinions, but seems to lack data, and of course, being an alias, not a real person, “Rod B” can post anything without concern for reputation.
    To actually gain data, one can read Brandt’s book, Chapter 7, including the comment:

    “In an age in which powerful interests threaten to overwhelm to integrity of science, procedural science offers a powerful counterweight.” which I think is applicable elsewhere.

  291. Philippe Chantreau:

    Could Abdussamatov be the new Lysenko? Unlikely. Would make more sense that the (oh so) persuasive Poutin has “hired” him to give 1st class excuse to Russia for lack of action or resistance to all sensible climate policies. After all, Russia is counting heavily on its large stores of fossil fuels to regain its place in the world and extract favorable attitudes from its European neighbors.

  292. Chuck Booth:

    Re # 276 [tons on non peer reviewed stuff printed, I suspect most of the college texts, e.g. .. higher incidence of junk than…in peer reviewed papers, but there’s a lot of good stuff, too, and probably less of the herd mentality.]

    College textbooks are peer-reviewed, though not necessarily by experts – rather, the reviewers are mostly professors who teach in that field and want to pick up some spare pocket change (typically $50-75 per chapter reviewed, which, in my experience, might work out to the minimum wage). But, the science in most textbooks is several years out of date when the book is printed, and there are rarely any original data or conclusions in a college-level textbook – in fact, most textbooks won’t have a market if they don’t cover the consensus view in a given field (I would go so far as to say they help create the herd mentality, if such exists).
    So, can you provide some specific examples of your “lots of good stuff” in the non-peer-reviewed literature dealing with climate change? And please tell us why you feel the papers, books, or whatever, are so good, and possibly even more informative than the peer-reviewed literature. I really am curious to know where you get your information and why you trust it.

  293. Hank Roberts:

    >264, RodB, claiming there was no consensus about tobacco by 1964

    Rod, boy, I was there. You’re wrong.

    You can look this stuff up for yourself, and better you do that than trust whoever’s feeding you these lying lines.

    V. DEFENDANTS DEVISED AND EXECUTED A SCHEME TO DEFRAUD CONSUMERS AND
    POTENTIAL CONSUMERS OF CIGARETTES IN MOST, BUT NOT ALL, OF THE AREAS
    ALLEGED BY THE GOVERNMENT
    A. Defendants Have Falsely Denied, Distorted and Minimized the Significant
    Adverse Health Consequences of Smoking for Decades
    509. Cigarette smoking causes disease, suffering, and death. Despite internal recognition
    of this fact, Defendants have publicly denied, distorted, and minimized the hazards of smoking for
    decades. The scientific and medical community’s knowledge of the relationship of smoking and
    disease evolved through the 1950s and achieved consensus in 1964. However, even after 1964,
    Defendants continued to deny both the existence of such consensus and the overwhelming evidence
    on which it was based.

    http://www.library.ucsf.edu/tobacco/litigation/usvpm/section_4.pdf

    It’s the first hit Google gives you if you type in: tobacco consensus 1964
    It’s from the papers turned over to the public health archives after the tobacco companies admitted lying for decades.

    Who’s lying to you, Rod? Why do you trust your source for what you believe, instead of looking up history for yourself?

  294. dhogaza:

    No kidding? I said it was a report. It gives a perspective into what he is studying. What papers he has published in Russian, I do not know. And I don’t think anyone’s too bothered either.

    So, in other words, the dude hasn’t done shit in climate science, yet you give more weight to his thoughts than you do to the collective thoughts of a thousand or more hard-working scientists.

    Why?

    We all know why. Don’t bother answering.

  295. James:

    Re #269: [ CO2 absorbs radiation, and so it keeps the earth warm. Unfortunately, this violates one of the fundamental laws of physics; any substance that absorbs radiation, also emits that same radiation.]

    OK. So that line of reasoning applies equally to any substance, say for instance the glass in your car windows, right? So here’s a simple experiment: park your car in the sun on a summer day, with the windows closed. Come back a few hours later, and see if it’s warmer inside than out. If it is (and mine sure was today), your theory is disproved.

  296. Timothy Chase:

    Climate skeptic quoted a paper a little earlier at #276, a paper written by a prominent solar physicist in Russia.

    Anyway, lets take a quick look at what the physicist wrote.

    Most of it seems fairly elementary – like something that a student might write if taking an astronomy course for non-physics majors. How accurate is it? I suspect the fair majority is accurate – but I can’t say for sure as I am not a solar physicist.

    But now look at the bolded part below:

    The main cause of climate change during the last millennia is the corresponding cyclic variation of the 80- and 200-year component of irradiance correlated with activity. That is why, the contemporary is not anomalous but is ordinary secular global warming (Aguilar 2003; Reid 2000), as well as previous similar cases of warming during the periods of secular activity growth is still mainly connected with an increase of the secular component of solar irradiance variation.

    He goes from describing what is presumably the main cause of climate change for the last millennia to the conclusion that it is the cause of the current trend in climate change. Nonsequitur. No one in their right mind would deny the premise, but there is a great deal of distance between the premise and the conclusion. Of course, maybe something which either Aguilar or Reed says might be relevant. Something worth checking. But at the same time, if what they had to say was relevant, presumably he would have said a little more than he did – which really amounts to no more than hand-waving of the sort that, “Most people I have known have brown eyes, therefore everyone I will run into today will have brown eyes.”

    Now how about this part?:

    Recent observations Ulrich (1995) and Noel (1997, 2001, 2002), show that the solar radius variations within an 11-year cycle has the correlated identically with the activity level variations, although a contrary result with smaller amplitude was obtained by Laclare (1996).

    When someone says “identically,” that makes me suspicious – at least when it comes to correlations between physical phenomena. Generally things will be a little more messy – because there will be other factors. Physical systems are generally rather complicated. Obviously he wants to go with Ulrich and Noel – but at least he mentions Laclare. But in any case, this is still a solar cycle and an activity level variation. Not that relevant to the earth’s climate, at least as of yet. And as a matter of fact, he is dealing with the behavior of the sun throughout the rest of the paper – up until this point:

    Summarizing, observed cyclicities in solar variations are determined by corresponding quasi-periodic changes in both activity and size (and, therefore, total irradiance). That is why, one can expect that in the nearest future (in accordance with expected decay of the activity and irradiance secular cycle) regular secular decrease of the Earth temperature should replace the contemporary not anomalous but regular secular global warming.

    This amounts to handwaving.

    There is the allusion to climatology where he mentions the “solar constant,” but this is simply an allusion – with no actual analysis of what has been happening to the earth’s climate in recent times. The quotes marks around the phrase are obviously scare marks – intended to suggest that those who do not agree with his conclusion that solar activity is wholy responsible for the current climate trend are naive enough to believe that solar behavior really is constant. However, it is only within the context of a simple theory which exists for the sake of illustrating the basics of climatology that anyone would ever make that assumption.

    In essence, this looks like a paper which was written by someone for an audience which wouldn’t understand it so as to convince them of the conclusion he wants them to believe without really offering anything substantial to support the conclusion he wants them to believe – in the hope that they will take conclusion as a given because, afterall, he is an authority.

    However, this is my opinion of it.

    I wouldn’t expect you or anyone else to put a great deal of weight on my opinion. I am not a solar physicist. But most solar physicists wouldn’t expect you to just take their say-so either – any more than Gavin would expect you to take his with regard to climatology. But I would not say that you shouldn’t be able to form some of your own opinions given what you can understand. And if you step through the paper as I have suggested, I believe you will see pretty much the same as what I saw. There isn’t anything particularly revolutionary about it – except in terms of the non sequiturs the author wishes you to accept. And to the extent that you have difficulty understanding it, like Gavin, I would suggest that going with the scientific consensus is probably the safest bet.

    *

    But now we might also have to ask whether he can speak as an “authority” of any sort.

    Well, yes, when it comes to solar physics. This is where the paper doesn’t seem to offer anything beyond what is simply a summary of what is probably an extremely conventional view, albeit expressed in a vague and relatively superficial manner. However, when he asks you to draw conclusions regarding what is currently driving the earth’s climate, he is stepping outside of the domain of his area of expertise. It is precisely at this point that he should endeavor to make his argument as strong as possible – but this is where he has nothing to offer other than his conclusions. Bad move.

    However, there are two other tests we could perform.

    First, check to see whether the papers it cites have anything more to say with regard to the climate – particularly with respect to the current trends in the earth’s climate. I suspect they are roughly as weak with regard to the current trends as this paper is – or else they don’t deal with it at all, and in any case, they won’t offer any more justification for his conclusion than that which he himself is offering.

    Second, check to see what papers cite his paper. You might also perform the same test with respect to the papers which he cites – and with respect to the papers which cite his. If there aren’t very many citations, then it was probably not regarded as an especially significant paper. Of course, it could still be a rehash of an accepted conclusion – but then you would probably want to go with the original paper. Additionally, you should probably check to see why they cite his paper. If they are all especially critical, this is probably not a good sign.

    I did the second test, and things turned out poorly. It was cited – but as far as I could see only by political hacks. However, ideally you should perform both of these tests – and in the process chances are you will learn a little more about solar physics.

    *

    But now lets look at a little more…

    The following image would seem to show a fairly good correlation between solar activity and earth temperature:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Temp-sunspot-co2.svg

    This is more or less what we would expect. No external forcing from human CO2 emissions, fair correlation – but at some points one thing goes up and the other goes down, so maybe not that strong a correlation. There are probably other factors. About what you would expect. However, I would still prefer some mathematical analysis by someone who is an expert.

    Now what about temperature, CO2 and solar activity?

    Well, why don’t we look at something fairly recent?

    Here it is:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Temp-sunspot-co2.svg

    Now after looking at that image, what do you think is main driver of current climate change prior to 1979? What about after 1979 when temperatures really begin to take off?

    That graphic does a pretty good job of getting across the same point that the article I refered you to does and which I quoted from in my response to Jim.

    Here is a link to the post where I responded to Jim.

    Now don’t expect that article to have a great many of articles citing it. But expect several technical articles to cite it. Why not a lot? Well, it is shooting down a hypothesis which hasn’t been taken seriously in recent years.

    In shooting down a hypothesis rather than trying to support a hypothesis, it is essentially negative in its purpose. Not really a great deal to build on there – even though the article may have a fair amount of value to offer to the extent that it achieves its purpose. And insofar as it is shooting down something which isn’t being taken that seriously, it is essentially a mop-up action. So once again it won’t get that many citations. But the articles which cite it may. And I bet that even though it is a mop-up, it will be cited by substantially more articles that the one by the solar physicist.

  297. ray ladbury:

    Rod B., The problem with non-peer-reviewed material is that the few reasonable bits come surrounded by crap–it’s like my favorite statement of the 2nd law of thermo: if you add a teaspoon of wine to a gallon of sewage, you get sewage; if you add a teaspoon of sewage to a gallon of wine, you get sewage. And, if you have something that is worthwhile, then why not submit it to peer review. Of course, there are lots of presentations, class notes, etc. that are available on line that are not peer reviewed in any formal sense. Even there, though, if you have any status in the community, your peers will be more than happy to tell you if they think what you’ve done is crap. And even if I am just making a pitch with a powerpoint presentation, I’ll likely run it by my peers or my wife (also a scientist AND engineer). Humans make mistakes–be they in procedure, in point of fact or in judgement. Peer review is an acknowledgement of that fallibility.

  298. Barton Paul Levenson:

    [[Secondly, the fact that a minor criticism causes so much vehement rebuttal, bordering on wrath, the same reaction one gets from offended fundamentalists, proves my contention that some raise peer review to the religious idol level.]]

    No, it just proves that people get pissed off when you throw unjustified accusations at them. “Look how much indignation my clever post raised!” You can raise just as much indignation by going into a heavily black area and calling people n—–s. But that doesn’t prove how clever you are, it just shows that you want to make trouble.

    [[Barton says (238), “There is a consensus that the Earth orbits the Sun…” There was also an earlier consensus that the Sun revolved around the Earth. And in fact much earlier (and admittedly not long-lived) that the earth was flat. I could go on ad nauseam with scientific consensus’ that turned out to be flat out wrong.]]

    Barton was talking about consensus in the era of scientific consensus and peer review, so the examples you cite, while traditional mainstays of pseudoscience arguments against science, are irrelevant to the point.

  299. Barton Paul Levenson:

    [[It sounds easy, does it not. CO2 absorbs radiation, and so it keeps the earth warm. Unfortunately, this violates one of the fundamental laws of physics; any substance that absorbs radiation, also emits that same radiation. The simple picture that the advocates of AGW paint of the sun warming the ground, and then the radiation being emitted from the ground getting absorbed by the greenhouse gases is a complete oversimplification, that it is really not true at all.]]

    So you’re saying the greenhouse effect doesn’t exist?

    The Solar constant averages 1367.6 watts per square meter and the Earth has a bolometric Bond albedo of about 0.3. That means the Earth’s equilibrium temperature is 255 K. Water freezes at 273 K. Why isn’t the Earth frozen over? Why is the Earth’s surface temperature 288 K? What causes the 33 K difference between Te and Ts, if not the greenhouse effect?

  300. Barton Paul Levenson:

    [[To achieve such a prominent position, he must have convinced his peers in Russia and Ukraine, wouldn’t you think? ]]

    After several clear replies, you still don’t get it, do you?

    Dr. A’s expertise is in SOLAR PHYSICS. It is not in CLIMATOLOGY. When he says the greenhouse effect doesn’t exist, he is advancing PSEUDOSCIENCE; CRACKPOT PHYSICS. Is that clear enough?

  301. climate skeptic?:

    “Dr. A’s expertise is in SOLAR PHYSICS. It is not in CLIMATOLOGY. When he says the greenhouse effect doesn’t exist, he is advancing PSEUDOSCIENCE; CRACKPOT PHYSICS. Is that clear enough?”

    No, it’s not clear at all. And that’s only rational skepticism.

    “Man-made greenhouse warming has made a small contribution to the warming seen on Earth in recent years, but it cannot compete with the increase in solar irradiance” – Abdussamatov

    But what he has said about the GH qualities of the earth’s atmosphere is not the point is it, that’s a non-sequitor. By concentrating on that one off phrase you dodge the main point.

    Let’s look at this well known graph, which Timothy Chase linked:

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/7/7b/Temp-sunspot-co2.svg/600px-Temp-sunspot-co2.svg.png

    You may notice that upto 1970’s the correlation between solar activity and global temperature is much clearer than the correlation between CO2 emissions and global temperature. In fact the correlation is strikingly clear. Now you say that the graph’s stop correlating after late 1970’s, but that’s where Abdussamatov disagrees. He says that the complex 200 year cycle had not been adequately accounted for in such demonstrations. And that when the real impact and nature of the complex 200 year cycle (one which he has been studying exhaustively) is accounted for, the graphs keep correlating upto this day.

    That is how he is indirectly an author on climatology. Is that clear enough? :) Because in climatology you count a value for everything else, and what is left is the estimated AGW impact, that cannot be explained with natural causes. It’s countless times you hear AGW scientists say this “cannot be explained by other causes”.

    You don’t count the AGW impact directly. That would be impossible. Now obviously if you have to increase the value for 1970-2007 solar activity, the IPCC computer models will give a scaled down figure for the importance of AGW, and we don’t want that do we?

    [edit]

    [Response: I apologise for how frustrating this might seem, but there really is more to climate than sunspots. Direct measurements show that solar activity has not increased in 30 years. How can it then be responsible for recent warming? The amplitude of the solar cycle has been measured directly. It makes barely a blip on the graphs of climate forcings. So when someone pops up and says that he is sure that the sun is going to reduce its activity, that might well be valid, but when he says that this will dominate all future changes, he demonstrates that he does not know what he is talking about. This has nothing to do with computer models or catastrophes, it’s simply a question of reading the literature. – gavin]

  302. Jim Eager:

    Re 288 climate skeptic: “I said it was a report. It gives a perspective into what he is studying. What papers he has published in Russian, I do not know.”

    Precisely: you do not know. Yet you have already concluded that his assertions�and so far that is all they are�are valid.

    The fundamental difference between those who have concluded that there is a scientific case for AGW and those who contend that there is none is that the former have arrived at their conclusion by following where the science has led them, while the latter start from the point of conclusion and seek out (or even fabricate) ‘evidence’ to support it.

  303. Timothy Chase:

    Abdussamatov also argues that the upper layers of the ocean have begun to cool in recent years. That contradicts the actual measurements. Crackpot. He argues that the warming on Mars is due to increased solar activity – when there has been no increased solar activity – and what has been warming Mars is diminished albedo. Crackpot. He argues that in the case of greenhouse gases, they immediately warm up and carry the heat up so that they will have an entirely negligible effect even if their levels are increasing. This strongly suggests a misunderstanding of how greenhouse gases work by absorbtion and re-emission. The level of greenhouse gases (i.e., water vapor) near the surface has been increasing along with the CO2. Doesn’t matter if they get carried up by convection as they would be immediately replace by the greenhouse gases which have cooled. Crackpot.

    Three strikes…

    Crackpot.

  304. ray ladbury:

    Climate Skeptic,
    Solanki has done exactly what you suggest–attributed ALL warming up to 1970 to solar variability–and the conclusion was that even with that extreme assumption, solar irradiance could only account for a MAXIMUM of 30% of the changes seen since. That’s the upper bount to Abdussamatov’s “revolutionary insight”. While he was writing his book report (which near as I can tell has no new science, and mostly just mininterpretations of old science), others were DOING the climate science. You are working awfully hard to stay skeptical for somebody with a self-proclaimed open mind. So I will ask again. What evidence would convince you?

  305. climate skeptic?:

    The 80- and 200-year solar cycles are not discussed in that paper. Perhaps the Russians and Ukrainians know better?

    Let’s consider the main thesis of that paper:

    “For the period 1950 to 2005, it is exceptionally unlikely that the combined natural RF (solar irradiance plus volcanic aerosol) has had a warming influence comparable to that of the combined anthropogenic RF.”

    IPCC say that exceptionally unlikely = less than 1% probability. This is not science anymore. There are so much we do not know about. The ice core studies come with probabilities (i.e. uncertainties) attached, the exact role of CO2 in the atmosphere comes with probabilities attached, the different feedback mechanisms come with probabilities attached, the CO2 lags warming by 800 years in the ice core studies, the initiating factor for warming is “unknown”, yet it is known it will stop at year 800 and CO2 will kick in to explain the rest of the warming, there were periods millions of years ago which were a lot cooler than it is today yet the atmospheric CO2 levels were multiple times higher and there were exceptionally warm periods in which the CO2 levels were not remarkably high (and high volcanic activity is used to explain BOTH exceptionally high and exceptionally low ancient temperature variations that are in direct and huge contradiction with the CO2-theory), there is sparse temperature data on localized temperature disparity to prove how the sulfate aerosol effect would have such a strong global cooling effect. CRU say that the years 1995,1997,1998 and 2000- are indistinguishable from each other, yet we have a steep hockey stick for recent temperature trend. There’s no author who would have the expertise to understand all the factors in play, the whole equation, the puzzle, imitating an infathomably complex phenomena, and then it is run through a computer model, a guess at the atmospheric complexity really, and in the end we have 99+% certainty. Read that again, 99+% certainty. Does that sound rational to you? Why should I believe it?

    “There really is more to climate than sunspots”

    Yes. Does anyone deny that? And there is more to 1979- climate than GHGs. If it can be proven that the solar factor has not been fully understood and not fully accounted for, then the IPCC computer models will give scaled down figures for the AGW factor, isn’t that correct?

    [Response: This might be the heart of your problem here. You appear to think that climate change attribution works due to some correlation with the observed record. It doesn’t. The attribution of warming to GHGs is because of the physics – if you increase GHGs the planet will warm in any conceivable model. The strength of solar forcing just doesn’t come into it. Climate sensitivity to greenhouse gases is completely independent of solar activity. Read some of the articles on climate sensitivity in our archive. – gavin]

    If instead of 1.1-6.4C we have 0.3-2.4C how will that effect the psychology (public recognition, feelings of purpose etc.) and politics (funding, political limelight and rising political power) of (C)AGW?

    Is there, or is there not a non-scientific impetus to automatically dismiss all research and opinions that would suggest a considerably scaled down figure for AGW (if proven to be true)?

    How should I, looking at this from outside and as a politically involved person, approach the difficulties that I have, and it’s rational to have, in visualising the borders between science, politics and psychology of the (C)AGW.

    I think it’s a fair question. Many people are asking it. It’s in the core of widespread public skepticism.

  306. climate skeptic?:

    ” when there has been no increased solar activity”

    Are you a solar physicist? Abdussamatov and his team of Russian and Ukrainian scientists, and another Russian team at Irkuts seem to think differently. How can you assert that there has been no increased activity, if it is not in your field of expertise? Perhaps the concept of “solar activity” may be a bit more complex than what we assume currently? Are you implying that you have the authority to make such an assertion by imitating those who you trust to have authority on the subject?

    Where have I said that I believe Abdussamatov on his theory by the way. I don’t. Personally, contrary to the repeated strawman, I don’t trust Abdussamatov any more than I trust the IPCC consensus.

  307. climate skeptic?:

    Evidence? We don’t have solid verifiable evidence as of yet. We have probabilities, projections and uncertainty. It’s not about the pieces in the puzzle, but the fact that we do know know all the pieces in the puzzle, and yet we have a “consensus” that claims that we know for 99+% certainty what kind of an exact picture the puzzle will form. That of Catastrophic Global Warming.

    “solar irradiance could only account for a MAXIMUM of 30% of the changes seen since”

    Is that a fact set in stone? Or is there so much that we do not know, that the estimation of “max. 30%” might be re-assessed one day?

  308. climate skeptic?:

    “if you increase GHGs the planet will warm in any conceivable model.”

    Let us assume this is true, despite the ancient contradictions to this.

    The next question is how much will the planet warm? How significant is the CO2 factor? And that’s where the uncertainty and resulting disagreement arises.

    You say there is no correlation, but there is a warming of 0.17C per decade for the last 30 years. If a strong, substantiated theory arises that much of that 0.17 is attributable to solar activity (more than the so called 30% maximum), then the computer models will give scaled down figures for GHGs, which is only logical. AGW scientists themselves use this logic, “not attributable to natural causes” = AGW. The more of warming we can attribute to natural causes, the lesser the signifigance of the AGW, which is not counted directly, but “measured”. The same applies to sulfate aerosols. The smaller the negative value we give for sulfate aerosol effect, the lesser the human driven warming of the climate.

    “Climate sensitivity to greenhouse gases is completely independent of solar activity.”

    Is anyone questioning that? But the measured signifigance of the CO2 factor is not independent of the values we attribute to solar activity, cosmic rays or sulfate aerosols. Alter these values a bit, and (C)AGW easily loses the (C). Which would be good news.

  309. Jim Galasyn:

    I’d like a little help formalizing my challenge to the skeptic community: Tell us why dumping 100 gigatons or more of carbon into the atmosphere would have no significant effect.

    Would it be correct to make this the null hypothesis? “Dumping 100 gigatons of carbon into the atmosphere will not significantly change the dynamics and chemistry of the atmosphere and oceans.” Then we experiment.

    The questions to the skeptic community become: “Have we accumulated enough evidence to reject the null hypothesis?” and “If not, what standard of evidence would need to apply?”

  310. Hank Roberts:

    Skep, try looking this stuff up for yourself, instead of believing whoever it is you’ve been trusting.
    They tell you the climate scientists don’t know about this? They’re misinformed or lying to you.
    Look for yourself —- take a few words from what you’re told, put them into Google Scholar, read a few abstracts, check CiteBase and follow the connections. You know how science is done? Apply the methods, read a bit.

    A couple examples, then I’m going offline for a couple of weeks of serious botanizing:

    Septics love the _title_ of this article but hate the _content_. Here’s the title:
    “Unusual activity of the Sun during recent decades compared to the previous 11,000 years”

    Oooh. Aaaah.

    Then if they read the abstract even if not the text, they see:
    “solar variability is unlikely to have been the dominant cause of the strong warming during the past three decades”
    —That is the last line of this abstract. Solanki et al.: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v431/n7012/abs/nature02995.html

    Look up the phenomena claimed to be important, like the diameter of the Sun. How much variation?

    “The available data limit variations of the solar radius between 1850 and 1937 to about 0.25 arc second; modeling of the sun indicates that the solar constant did not vary by more than 0.3 percent during that time.”
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/204/4399/1306

  311. ray ladbury:

    Climate “skeptic”, you are rapidly reducing yourself to the level of clown. Think a minute what you are doing: 1)You are venerating a 2 page paper written by a solar physicist (a field only tangentially related to climate studies, while 2)presenting the consensus position as a straw man entriely of your own construction.
    I am not a solar physicist, but I monitor solar activity on a nearly daily basis since it affects the satellites I work on. The sun ain’t changing. In fact it hasn’t changed going back at least 30 years, and all the solar cycles in the space age have been remarkably consistent. We KNOW this. We can MEASURE this. We HAVE MEASURED this. We know that CO2 has increased 40% over the industrial era. We can measure CO2 acting as a greenhouse gas. We can show that the effect is not saturated above 10 km. We know solar radiation isn’t changing–even under the most extreme assumptions, it accounts for no more than 30% of the warming since 1970. These are all KNOWN. So again, I will ask. What evidence are you looking for that you have not seen? If you cannot say what you are looking for, how can you claim to be a true skeptic and not a denialist?

  312. James:

    Re 306: [How can you assert that there has been no increased activity, if it is not in your field of expertise?]

    Since I am not an expert in the field, I consult the works of those who are. For instance, those kindly folks at NASA and elsewhere who have put satellites in orbit around the Earth (yes, it is round) in order to measure solar activity without the noise due to atmospheric effects like clouds & dust. If you search for “satellite measurement solar activity”, the first thing that pops up is this wikipedia article, with a graph including those observations:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_variation

    See? No increase – if anything, a slight decrease, though if you look at the Y-axis scale you’ll see that the variation over the solar cycle is itself quite small.

    Now if Abdussamatov has data (from secret Russian satellites perhaps?) conflicting with these measurements, why doesn’t he publish it so that it can be checked? Maybe all NASA’s detectors are giving bad readings, maybe his (if they exist) are, but unless the information’s out there where it can be checked, his theories amount to nothing more than his saying “I’m an expert, trust me.”

  313. Timothy Chase:

    climate skeptic (#301) wrote:

    He says that the complex 200 year cycle had not been adequately accounted for in such demonstrations. And that when the real impact and nature of the complex 200 year cycle (one which he has been studying exhaustively) is accounted for, the graphs keep correlating upto this day.

    Where’s the beef evidence?

    If you have a tech article that provides it – at least some sort numbers and some sort of suggestion as to where they came from, provide it — please!

    What you have provided so far consists of little more than pure assertion – the assertion of someone who clearly hasn’t grasped how greenhouse gases work – and who claims that the upper layers of ocean are beginning to cool when they are in fact getting warmer – and as such demonstrates further disdain for evidence by providing no evidence for his wildest claims.

    climate skeptic (#301) wrote:

    IPCC say that exceptionally unlikely = less than 1% probability. This is not science anymore. There are so much we do not know about.

    Science is capable of justification which approaches certainty.

    Remember the mantra of that towering yet humble intellectual (at least in my own mind):

    A conclusion which receives justification from multiple independent lines of investigation is capable of a far greater degree of justification than what it receives from one line of investigation in isolation.

    … or something to that effect.

    Not trying to insult you, but your methodology reminds me of…

    … those who place radical doubt in the the service of religious dogmatism.

    In fact, the handle which you have chosen suggests as much…

    climate skeptic #305 wrote:

    The ice core studies come with probabilities (i.e. uncertainties) attached, the exact role of CO2 in the atmosphere comes with probabilities attached, the different feedback mechanisms come with probabilities attached, the CO2 lags warming by 800 years in the ice core studies, the initiating factor for warming is “unknown”,…

    And that’s why you look at multiple independent lines of justification. On the otherhand, your methodology appears to consist of dismissing anything and everything where the justification from any one line of evidence does not achieve certainty – then dismissing all lines of evidence – so that you can hold onto the conclusion which you prefer even when there is virtually no evidence for it. As you said, “He says that the complex 200 year cycle had not been adequately accounted for in such demonstrations,” but where is his evidence?

    climate skeptic #305 wrote:

    There’s no author who would have the expertise to understand all the factors in play, the whole equation, the puzzle, imitating an infathomably complex phenomena, and then it is run through a computer model, a guess at the atmospheric complexity really, and in the end we have 99+% certainty. Read that again, 99+% certainty. Does that sound rational to you? Why should I believe it?

    At one time there was an individual who knew virtually everything that was known in his age. He was probably the last.

    He wrote that man is a political animal.

    The more I return to that thought the deeper it seems.

    As humans we form communities. Without that we are not truly human. We form cognitive communities – where the communities are capable of knowing far more than any one individual by himself. This is the power behind the cognitive division of labor which exists within a modern economy. This is the power of dialogue – something that even that thinker leaned heavily upon. This is the power of science. And this is the power achieved by peer review.

    Science is a dialogue between the individual, his peers and reality itself. As individuals we ask questions of reality in the form of experiments. As individuals we ask questions of one another: what justification do you have for the conclusions you would have me accept?, where is your evidence?, and how do I replicate it?

    But from his perspective and your perspective the questions which we ask of reality and of one-another are entirely beside the point. To the extent that you do this, it is as if you are standing at the bottom of a well, yelling to everyone so loudly that you cannot hear their voices but only your own. You separate yourself from the ancient and enduring dialogue of humanity and the world in which we live.

  314. Rod Brick, real person (nice to meet you):

    re 290 (John M.) — you say “…”Rod B” has strong opinions, but seems to lack data, and of course, being an alias, not a real person, “Rod B” can post anything without concern for reputation.”

    Are you refutting my statement that the Surgeon General report of 1964 had no (where near) consensus? If so, you either weren’t there or are reading fairy tales. Are you refutting my statement that the tobacco story is all backwards? Well, you’re wrong, but I will grant you that it’s open for debate — though probably not here.

    you also say, “…”In an age in which powerful interests threaten to overwhelm to integrity of science, procedural science offers a powerful counterweight.” which I think is applicable elsewhere.”

    I’m not sure what you mean, but I would agree that science (Mother Nature) will win over politics in the long run. But politics can hold the reins for decades if not centuries by dictating and getting populous support for junk science.

  315. Rod B:

    re 293 — “…Rod, boy, I was there. You’re wrong.”

    I was there too, and I’m not wrong. You cite a gov’t plaintiff lawsuit (looks like the federal RICO suit, but I dunno), which by definition has to have every hyperbole, exaggeration, and occasionally made up stuff, as a proof?? (I bet it wasn’t even (independent) peer reviewed.)

  316. Hank Roberts:

    > Rod, tobacco

    “… The scientific and medical community’s knowledge of the relationship of smoking and
    disease evolved through the 1950s and achieved consensus in 1964. However, even after 1964,
    Defendants continued to deny both the existence of such consensus and the overwhelming evidence
    on which it was based.”

    http://www.library.ucsf.edu/tobacco/litigation/usvpm/section_4.pdf
    The papers from the tobacco industry were turned over to public health archives after the industry lost in court.

    Google tobacco consensus 1964

    You’re being led by liars away from facts you can discover for yourself. Lose your chain. Search freely.

  317. ray ladbury:

    Rod Brick, the pleasure is mine. Just to get your position clear, are you saying that there is no causative link between smoking and lung cancer, emphysema, throat cancer, etc.? You are presumably aware that there are known mutagens and carcinogens in cigarette smoke, are you not? And that smoking cigarettes ingests into the lungs alpha emitters that represent a significant radiation dose? Does the same mechanism stop these from causing cancer that causes the known greenhouse gas, CO2 from acting like a greenhouse gas in the atmosphere?
    And as to your contention about politics holding sway over science for decades to centuries, since modern science has only been around about 250 years, that would seem to be difficult to test. However, I can think of no incorrect doctrine that persisted for long in the sciences. Lysenkoism fell despite supression of dissident theories in the Soviet Union. The “German Physics” of Nazi Germany failed. Ultimately, politics tends to be a local phenomenon. Science is global. If a nation adopts backward science policies (or economic ones for that matter), it regresses, and ultimately abandons the policies or fails. Science progresses on without the failed nation. Climate change is not only a consensus across disciplines, but across national boundaries. To allege some vague “political” motive doesn’t hold water, because the politics of those who support the consensus view are divergent. Conspiracy theories don’t work in science.

  318. J.C.H:

    After WW2, my uncle, a physicist who had been a scientist at Navy Research Labs, went to work for a large chemical and fiber company. He spearheaded a research project aimed at creating synthetic tobacco – because, in his opinion, there was no doubt among scientists that tobacco caused lung cancer.

  319. Ed Sears:

    Hi, I have an information request which is not directly related to this thread. Can people point me to science on the impact of aviation on the climate: the stuff about how emissions at altitude have a different effect to those at ground level. This is because I am going to Glastonbury Festival to talk about aviation and climate – the last time I was there was 17 years ago!

  320. Hank Roberts:

    Rod, we cross-posted that last time.

    Please read the tobacco archive — those are the industry files disclosed after the industry lost its lawsuit — you can read the industry’s own scientists and lawyers and PR people’s consensus, long before the Surgeon General’s consensus. Decades before. A huge amount of work was done, and kept secret, by the industry — and didn’t come out until that archive was made public.

    You owe it to yourself to read the industry’s files, to check what you believe now against what the industry knew all along.

    Researchers study it not only for the history of tobacco, but for the history of tactics for manipulating the market.

    Want free markets? Consider free information. David Brin is quite good on this whole area of political thought.

  321. climate skeptic?:

    “Those who place radical doubt in the the service of religious dogmatism”

    Thanks for that, and thanks to the person who called me a clown.

    I am not trying to be dogmatic. Quite to the contrary. I used to be dogmatic on this topic for years and years, as a fervent CAGW activist.

    That’s when no one had told me about things like…

    From the early-mid Cretaceous period to the early Tertiary period the global average temperature remained upto 10 degrees Celsius warmer than it is today. What is curious is that a steady decline in atmospheric CO2 and the start of this warm period correlate in geological data. While atmospheric CO2 (during a time span of millions of years) was going down (from around 3000pm to 2000pm), temperature was going up (from around 17C to 22C). This is attributed to high Volcanic activity, fair enough. But the warm period lasted for tens and tens of millions of years. And during that awfully long period the temperature does not seem to care that the Atmospheric CO2 is going down from around 2000pm to around 500pm. It takes nearly hundred million years before atmospheric CO2 and global temperature start showing a recognizable correlation again.

    (This could also be in reply to gavin’s comment that: “if you increase GHGs the planet will warm in any conceivable model.” Does anyone know for sure what factors kept the temperature high during those tens of millions of years when Atmospheric CO2 declined in a deep curve? But it gives you a feeling that CO2 was like a kid, who for a long time remained a bystander at the sidelines, while the big boys were playing.)

    What does this suggest about climate sensitivity to greenhouse gasses, specifically CO2? Geologists have the largest quantity of skeptics inside the scientific community.

    Does this remain a mystery to the CAGW theory, or has it been explained?

  322. John Mashey:

    re: #314 Rod B(rick): thanks for a real name, a big improvement.

    (Sorry this has gotten so far into tobacco, but the parallels are *really* strong):

    But, I refute your statement, although my original post didn’t contain the word consensus. What I said was:

    “2) I picked the smoking example because it’s the best single analogy with AGW that I know, with corresponding dates:
    1964: “The Surgeon general has determined…”
    2001-2007: IPCC TAR & AR4″

    However, there certainly was a consensus, but the post was already long enough without the details:

    a) There *was* a powerful consensus amongst almost all relevant scientists, with a minuscule number of holdouts, who were of course endlessly publicized by tobacco companies to show there was controversy,

    b) A carefully-chosen (tobacco industry actually was given a *veto*) group of scientists (half smokers … at least at the start of the work, although not at the end) did extensive analysis of the accumulated data, with help from a very large number of (named) scientists. They wrote a carefully-researched, 386-page report, with very clear conclusions. Various reports, including 1964’s are here:
    http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/sgr/previous_sgr.htm

    I have not read this entire report, but I’ve read enough to think it *excellent science*, and Brandt’s fine book gives extra insight into the trickiness of making this happen.

    c) Of course, given that there were ~70M smokers in the US at the time, there was *not* unanimous consensus amongst *everyone* that smoking was bad [and I rather carefully did not assert unanimity]. The consensus was among (almost all) relevant scientists.

    d) The tobacco companies of course fought this, somewhat successfully, as they are still quite profitable. Some scientists, directly funded by the tobacco industry (the C.C. Little I mentioned fits this) fought it.

    e) Some scientists who were *not* as directly tied to the tobacco industry fought it also, for a variety of reasons. This has often occurred in the history of science. After a long period of argument, a hypothesis accumulates overpowering evidence, but at least a few scientists (even extremely distinguished ones) keep fighting it, for a variety of reasons having little to do with science or economics. Science is done by *humans*, but the whole point of real science is to nullify that effect over time.

    Here, the most famous holdouts were Joseph Berkson and Sir Ronald Fisher, the former a well-known statistician, and the latter a truly great one. They did not dispute that studies had shown an association between smoking and lung cancer, but tried to point out different ways in which this association might not be causation. [AGW: No, it’s the Sun! No, it’s cosmic rays! No, it’s 1500-year cycles!…]

    Fisher died in 1962, but had argued to the end against the body of knowledge on which the 1964 report was based. Fisher and Berkson were of course frequently cited by the tobacco companies.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronald_Fisher is a reasonable summary, well in accord with more extensive sources like: “David Salsburg’s “The Lady Tasting Tea: How Statistics Revolutionized Science in the Twentieth Century”. Weird title, really fine book.

    Your note about the persistence of junk science: yes, the tobacco companies did their best to keep manufacturing that.

    I don’t read fairy tales about smoking, and while Wikipedia is not authoritative, the first Google hit for “John Mashey” might hint that I’m easily old enough to have been around [senior in high school, actually] when the SG’s report came out.

    My mother said at the time “I’d love to cut down, but it’s really hard, and you’ve never smoked, but if you ever get tempted, listen to the Surgeon General first.” She died of lung cancer, and so did Dad, who never smoked.

    As for legal/political maneuvers by others: given the scientific evidence, and a reasonable Congress, there should have been action taken in the 1960s to phase out an industry that depends on getting teenagers/pre-teens addicted while their brains are developing, so they can be properly “wired” for addiction, since it doesn’t take so well later. But since Congress wouldn’t do it [and Brandt’s book discusses that], other entities had to use whatever means they had, sometimes akin to getting Al Capone on tax evasion.

    Wagner, Stenzor (ed) “Rescuing Science from Politics” is a useful source as well.

    Rod: once gain, you have really strong opinions, unsupported by data. This is the wrong place to argue the tobacco thing in detail. I only used it because there are so many instructive similarities with the AGW situation, just ~40 years earlier.

    But you should get more practice in matching strength of opinion to evidence.

    Science isn’t done by voting … but a strong consensus amongst relevant scientists is an importnat datapoint.

    Evidence counts, not just opinion, even when an opinion comes from one of the world’s great statisticians.

  323. Timothy Chase:

    climate skeptic (#321 wrote:

    From the early-mid Cretaceous period to the early Tertiary period the global average temperature remained upto 10 degrees Celsius warmer than it is today. What is curious is that a steady decline in atmospheric CO2 and the start of this warm period correlate in geological data. While atmospheric CO2 (during a time span of millions of years) was going down (from around 3000pm to 2000pm), temperature was going up (from around 17C to 22C). This is attributed to high Volcanic activity, fair enough. But the warm period lasted for tens and tens of millions of years. And during that awfully long period the temperature does not seem to care that the Atmospheric CO2 is going down from around 2000pm to around 500pm. It takes nearly hundred million years before atmospheric CO2 and global temperature start showing a recognizable correlation again.

    Oddly enough, I believe that contributors Gavin Schmidt, Stefan Rahmstorf and David Archer will be familiar with this argument.

    You might want to look up:

    Cosmic Rays, Carbon Dioxide and Climate

    Stefan Rahmstorf, David Archer, Denton S. Ebel, Otto Eugster, Jean Jouzel, Douglas Maraun, Urs Neu, Gavin A. Schmidt, Jeff Severinghaus, Andrew J. Weaver and Jim Zachos

    27 January 2004
    Eos, Transactions of the American Geophysical Union

    It addresses the arguments of:

    Celestial driver of Phanerozoic climate?
    Nir Shaviv and Jan Veizer
    GSA Today,13(7), 4â??10. (2003)

  324. Philippe Chantreau:

    Climate skeptic?, if you haven’t learned a thing yet on this thread, it should be this one: a strong assertion should have a source(s). What is your source for this paleontological temperature event, what proxy data does it rely on, what is the publication, etc? Nobody can discuss it if it can’t be examined.

    Another point: Gavin’s comment is still true. If you increase GHG in our current conditions (or conditions 30 years ago), global temp will rise in any conceivable model. If we’re talking about the atmosphere tens of millions years ago, with a different (not fully known) composition and poorly known/understood geological events, then there is no telling. If we knew as much about THAT atmosphere as we know about ours now, we would be able to build a satisfactory model too. Whatever happened then does not invalidate what is known now for our conditions.

    To go back to Abdussamatov, a few thoughts. Mentioning a 200 year cycle is fine but if no effect corresponding to it can be measured (increased irradiance) when its alleged consequences are happening (increasing temperatures), people are going to be skeptical. Although so subtle that no variation could ever be measured from Earth, solar irradiance is now well monitored and has shown no significant change when the temperatures were heading up sharply (past 30 years). That does not speak in favor of Abdussamatov’s theory.

    As for Sulanki’s conclusion, it is unequivocal. What’s more, it does not even need a lot of Maths, because they simplified it so much. Look at temp changes until date d, look at solar irradiance variation until same date, assume all temp changes to be due to solar irradiance (gross oversimplification that Sulanki calls an “extreme assumption”). Now look at temp change after date d and solar irradiance change after date d and it is obvious that you’re short. Abdu’s theory does not provide for that. Sulanki works at Max Planck Institute and I expect you should be able to see the data there. Links have been provided for you to look up Sulanki’s paper yourself, he is no less an authority on the Sun than Abdussamamtov.

  325. Timothy Chase:

    Stefan Rahmstorf has a copy of the article:

    Rahmstorf, S. et al., Cosmic rays, carbon dioxide, and climate, Eos, Trans. AGU, 85(4), 38, 41, 2004

    – on the web at:

    http://www.pik-potsdam.de/~stefan/Publications/Journals/rahmstorf_etal_eos_2004.html

  326. Timothy Chase:

    Re Shaviv and Veizer, and the Cretaceous and Tertiary periods

    In any case, I won’t go into detail on either of the two main papers (Shaviv and Veizer (2003) and Rahmstorf et al (2004)) at the moment or the subsequent papers. I will, however, mention that the mainstream view is that over especially deep geologic time, geology, and in particular plate tectonics are thought to play an important role in determining climate sensitivity to CO2. I will also note that this particular passage from one of this site’s web pages has something which may be of some relevance…

    Shaviv and Veizer (2003) published a paper in the journal GSA Today, where the authors claimed to establish a correlation between cosmic ray flux (CRF) and temperature evolution over hundreds of millions of years, concluding that climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide was much smaller than currently accepted. The paper was accompanied by a press release entitled “Global Warming not a Man-made Phenomenon”, in which Shaviv was quoted as stating, “The operative significance of our research is that a significant reduction of the release of greenhouse gases will not significantly lower the global temperature, since only about a third of the warming over the past century should be attributed to man”. However, in the paper the authors actually stated that “our conclusion about the dominance of the CRF over climate variability is valid only on multimillion-year time scales”. Unsurprisingly, there was a public relations offensive using the seriously flawed conclusions expressed in the press release to once again try to cast doubt on the scientific consensus that humans are influencing climate.

    20 Jan 2005
    Peer Review: A Necessary But Not Sufficient Condition
    by Michael Mann and Gavin Schmidt
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/01/peer-review-a-necessary-but-not-sufficient-condition

  327. ray ladbury:

    Climate Skeptic, can you even write a single, English declarative sentence without giving it an anti-scientific spin? First CO2 levels in the cretaceous were 2-5 times what they are now. Think that might have warmed things up just a wee tad? Why was temperature going up, because the high CO2 levels were holding in more of the IR–slowly adding energy to the climate over time. Why were CO2 levels going down, because an impulsive volcanic event had raised them far, far above their equilibrium levels. It’s not the sign of the derivative on CO2 concentrations that is important–it’s the amount of CO2. That determines the IR absorbed and the heat held in. Rather than arguing against CO2, this is strong evidence for it as the culprit.

  328. dhogaza:

    That’s when no one had told me about things like…

    From the early-mid Cretaceous period to the early Tertiary period the global average temperature remained upto 10 degrees Celsius warmer than it is today. What is curious is that a steady decline in atmospheric CO2 and the start of this warm period correlate in geological data.

    No climatologist claims that CO2 is the only ingredient in the cake.

    You seem to be missing an essential point here, that at different times in our planet’s history, different things might be driving global climate change.

    Look, perhaps when you were a child, you had a fever caused by measles. In middle age, perhaps you have a fever and doctors suggest that you have influenza.

    Your argument is equivalent to saying “hey, I had measles as a kid, and it gave me a fever, therefore my current fever is due to measles, not the flu! After all, I have personal proof that measles cause fever, but since I’ve never had the flu before, I don’t believe flu can cause fever!”

    And, based on that, saying “all doctors suck, except those who say ‘measles are the only disease that can cause fever!'”

  329. Steve Bloom:

    Re #321: I’m not sure where that quoted(?) passage about the paleo correlation between CO2 and temperatures came from, but generally it’s my understanding that early research showed some pretty wild uncorrelated swings that have subsequently turned out to less problematic for AGW theory; see e.g. this important recent paper. I especially like the last sentence of the first paragraph:

    “As our climate system departs from the well-studied Pleistocene glacial-interglacial cycles, a deep-time perspective of pCO2-climate-glaciation linkages is essential for a fuller understanding of what may be the Earthâ??s most epic deglaciation.”

    Let’s not forget to wave goodbye!

  330. Rod B:

    re 317 (Ray) — “….your contention about politics holding sway over science……..”
    I’m not sure what you thought I said, but you seem to be debating things I didn’t say. Or put another way I think I agree with you entirely on the science v. politics stuff (though you flipped in “modern” with science which I didn’t.) I’m saying politics can hold sway over science (if it wants to) every time for short periods and a few times for very long periods. It does this by altering the ground rules and parameters, not by head-on confrontation. But, as you say, science will win out every time in the long run.

    What I believe, for what it’s worth, as long as you asked, is that there is strong indications and a reasonable hypothesis that tobacco can cause lung cancer. There is slight epidemiological support for the other maladies you mention and little cause shown (maybe except emphysema), especially your “etc” since the anti-tobacco lobby has thrown most heart and circulatory maladies into their stew the past 2-3 decades. A large part of my belief comes from the fact that, for the most part when you get way to the bottom of it, we really do not know what causes cancer — though there are a lot of solid suspicions and scientific theories. And, no, I’m not interested in all of the “facts” presented by the tobacco witch hunters. Apropos the relevant science v. politics discussion, a classic example of politics skewing the science is the major redefinition of “addiction” from its classic clinical long-lived definition. They had to in order to win their case and meet their objectives which is to get more money. How could have 50-60 million people stop their habit over the past 30 years or so, 99.99% or so entirely on their own, without DTs, stomach cramps, methadone-like clinics, padded cells, etc. given it’s “the most addictive substance known” as some of the witch-hunting consultants have testified to.

    I trust you’re not trying to justify the AGW consensus with a “similar” anti-tobacco consensus. I fuss about the AGW consensus from time to time, but it is at least clean, honest, well-intentioned, and scientific. Don’t let it near that other tar baby

  331. climate skeptic?:

    During a 100 million year period Atmospheric CO2 steadily declines from 3000pm to 500pm. During these same 100 million years temperature first goes up around 5C, and then stays up for tens and tens of millions of years, paying little attention to the Atmospheric CO2.

    How did Gavin Schmidt et all reply to this?

    “It is based on a simple and incomplete regression analysis which implicitly assumes that climate variations on time scales of millions of years, for different configurations of continents and ocean currents, for much higher CO2 levels than at present, and with unaccounted causes and contributing factors, can give direct quantitative information about the effect of rapid CO2 doubling from pre-industrial climate. The complexity and non-linearity of the climate system does not allow such a simple statistical derivation of climate sensitivity without a physical understanding of the key processes and feedbacks. We thus conclude that [Shaviv and Veizer, 2003] provide no cause for revising current estimates of climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide.”

    No cause? I would think it’s a pretty strong cause for doubt, that in the geological data the correlation between atmospheric CO2 and temperature is weak at best and can break down for a 100 million year period. How do you explain the Atmospheric CO2 going down from around 3000pm to 500pm and during those millions and millions of years (compare the 100 year time span of the CAGW horizon) temperature first going up and then staying up?

    If climate sensitivity to CO2 is as strong as assumed, even in a vastly different climate and different alignment of continents, the approx. 80% decline in atmospheric CO2 should have had a clear effect. But for tens of millions of years it didn’t.

    What other words are you left with than “I don’t know”?

    [Response: I have to admit those aren’t the clearest sentences ever written, but you have completely missed the point. First off, we don’t actually have very good estimates of CO2 changes prior to the ice core record, and the estimates say from Berner’s model prior to that are only for the tectonic/weathering controlled part of the carbon budget. But even assuming that we had a perfect CO2 and temperature records for these periods, you can’t simply correlate one with another and derive climate sensitivity (which is what SV03 had attempted). Try that during the ice ages and you end up with sensitivities that are much too large. The reason being is that lots of things vary with climate (CH4, N2O, dust, aerosols, ice cover, vegetation etc.) and so the forcings are incorrectly estimated. All other things being equal, increasing GHGs will lead to warmer climates, but all other things are not generally equal, and in the case of the many of the deep time events, we have no good idea of what those other things were. There are lots of puzzles in paleo-climate (the equator to pole temperature gradient changes for instance), but we will never know more about climate 100 million years ago than we know about today’s, and the notion that uncertainties then have relevance to uncertainties now (and for the next few decades) just doesn’t make sense. -gavin]

  332. Barton Paul Levenson:

    [[” when there has been no increased solar activity”
    Are you a solar physicist? Abdussamatov and his team of Russian and Ukrainian scientists, and another Russian team at Irkuts seem to think differently. How can you assert that there has been no increased activity, if it is not in your field of expertise?
    ]]

    Well, take a look here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_variation

    Especially the graph near the top. Does that look like an increase to you? I can’t see one.

  333. Barton Paul Levenson:

    [[If a strong, substantiated theory arises that much of that 0.17 is attributable to solar activity (more than the so called 30% maximum), then the computer models will give scaled down figures for GHGs, which is only logical.]]

    Actually, not only is it not logical, but it’s a classic logical fallacy, the non sequitur. You’re still seeing forcings as components of a total of 100%. Greenhouse gas forcing is independent of solar forcing. The total for one won’t go down because the total for the other goes up.

  334. climate skeptic?:

    “Actually, not only is it not logical, but it’s a classic logical fallacy, the non sequitur. You’re still seeing forcings as components of a total of 100%. Greenhouse gas forcing is independent of solar forcing. The total for one won’t go down because the total for the other goes up.”

    No, you read it wrong. Greenhouse gas forcing is independent of solar forcing. Climatologists themselves produce charts which read like this 19xx-19xx GHGs +0.xx, Solar +0.xx, Aerosols -0.xx, [other factors] = total warming. The argument “cannot be explained by natural causes” is repeated ad infinitum. You can google for different versions of that phrase and how many climatologists throw it around. Greenhouse gas forcing of course is not affected, if it is proven that solar forcing plays a stronger role than previously anticipated, but the ESTIMATION for the strenght of GHG forcing will go down in such abductive reasoning, practised by the climatologists themselves.

    GHG forcing is independent of solar forcing, but the measured signifigance of the AGW factor is not independent of the values we attribute to solar activity, cosmic rays or sulfate aerosols. Alter these values a bit and you get a vastly different figure for the signifigance of the AGW factor in the IPCC computer models. GHG forcing is independent but the measurements for it’s signifigance are not.

    The measured signifigance of AGW going down would be bad AGW politics, and that’s what troubles me in all this. The psychology of this question.

    But enough of this for now. I will try to keep an open mind. Thanks everyone.

  335. Philippe Chantreau:

    Rod Brick, I’m starting to become very skeptical of your sincerity about any subject. There is no doubt whatsoever that COPD is linked to smoking. I work in health care, I dare say that the vast majority of COPD exacerbation cases I see in people who do not have asthma are current/former smokers. There are massive amounts of data to show the links to these and other disorders too.
    The methods and vocabulary used in court rooms may displease you, I can understand that. It was rendered necessary to outfox the fox (something that perhaps should be done about AGW too). However the data are solid.
    The tobacco industry made lots of money selling their stuff to people using deception, while they knew the risks. It was a gamble on their part, just like Merck gambled with Vioxx. They lost, now they’re paying out the nose, good for them, they deserve to lose every little penny they made on that gamble. I don’t care that underhanded court room maneuvers were used. They started with the underhanded stuff first and it so happened that people lives were at stake. Am I going to have sympathy because the industry ran into lawyers that were even worse sharks than their own? Don’t count on it.

  336. Rod B:

    re 331 — this is an atypical example of the stuff that keeps me skeptical. To the uninitiated this explanation of the reverse correlation of temp and CO2 for millions of years sounds like pure gobbledygook and looks like a lot of tap dancing and farting. Coming from anyone else I would have to conclude that my skepticism is validated — but Gavin is about as straight as they come, so, alas, I have to give it some credence.

  337. Ike Solem:

    If you increase the ability of the atmosphere to absorb infrared radiation, you warm the planet. If you wrap yourself up in a blanket, you’re going to warm up. Is it is a thin blanket, or a thick blanket? Does it have a lot of holes in it, or is it tightly woven?

    If we boost up the levels of CH4, CO2 and N2O, while continuing to cut down forests, we warm the planet. The only question is how fast we will warm the planet and how sensitive is the climate to warming? Considering that the models developed for weather and climate over the past century have underestimated the response of ice sheets and sea ice, and that the planet is absorbing less and less of the CO2 that we put up every year, it seems that the climate response is going to be on the more sensitive end of the estimates, not on the less sensitive end.

    While politicians all around the globe are now agreeing that human beings are causing global warming (something that was well understood ten years ago), they have yet to take any meaningful action to reverse the trend.

  338. Timothy Chase:

    Shaviv and Veizer and the Role of Carbon Dioxide

    There are in essence two different contexts which are important in discussing Shaviv and Veizer and current climate change: very deep time and the more recent, whereby more recent, I will arbitrarily include anything within the past 500,000 years – although I could undoubtedly go back much further. Then one might also consider their relevance to the present.

    Very Deep Time

    In the first context, there is the question of the causal mechanisms involved in climate change over very deep time. They argue that due to the orbit of the sun through the Milky Way, we occasionally get hit with cosmic rays on a scale of tens of millions of years – and that this somehow affects the climate. One could undoubtedly critique this view in even more depth than it is treated in Rahmstorf et al., but no reason to go into this as of yet. In contrast, there is the mainstream view that over deep time, climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide may be subject to some variation. After all, once all the ice has melted, you aren’t going to get much of that albedo feedback with dark ocean and dark land absorbing more light as ice melts – because there won’t be any ice to melt. Likewise, as the continents move around, they are going to determine where the oceans are, and thus the extent to which they will get hit with sunlight.

    However, regardless of which of the two mechanisms are employed to explain the behavior of the climate over very deep time, it will be one that acts very slowly.

    More Recent Times

    Now in the more recent time period of the last 500,000 years, climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide has been quite stable. In fact, it looks like it is at about 2.9 C, which even assuming one takes Shaviv and Veizer’s calculations for granted is still quite credible – even for very deep time – when for the period that they were studying one would have expected it to be lower. But more importantly, since one cannot employ their mechanism to explain climate behavior at the current time (no increased cosmic flux, etc.) or for any time over the past 500,000 years, it would appear that it in no way affects calculations based upon this more recent period. Additionally, the evidence which we have for this more recent time period is a great deal less sparse, and therefore the conclusions that we make with respect to this time period are a great deal more justified. Even more recently, the natural variability of the sun has been the dominant factor in the earlier half of the twentieth century, but as the human population has grown, become more industrialized and generated more carbon emissions, the effects of those emissions have come to be the dominant factor in climate change – just as one would expect, given the context of the past 500,000 years.

    Relevance to the Present

    Like it or not, Shaviv and Veizer is not a denial of the greenhouse effect, and it would in no way exclude the climate sensitivity of 2.9 C per doubling either in very deep time or for the past 500,000 years – even assuming their paper was correct. It does not offer some sort of alternative explanation for current climate change as the causal mechanism they describe is something that would work only over very large parts of geologic time, much like the alternative in terms of plate tectonics. Even if one were to grant that the conclusions of their paper were valid (and there is good reason not to), it would simply be irrelevant to understanding the past 500,000 years or the next 500 years – unless of course political hacks wish to use it for propaganda purposes to make it appear that we understand things far less than we actually do. Given the fact that one of the authors chose to do precisely this should give one pause for thought, specifically with respect to that author and more broadly with respect to contrarians who find that the only way that they are able to argue against the consensus view is by resorting to such dishonest tactics.

  339. David B. Benson:

    Poster climate skeptic? — The locations of land masses probably makes a big difference to the climate in each geologic era. For example, look at the Wikipedia page for Snowball Earth.

  340. ray ladbury:

    Re 336: Rod, what is it that is hard to understand about this. You have a state of some semblance of quasi-equilibrium, perturbed by an huge impulse source of CO2. The world heats up–as expected when greenhouse gases are high. CO2 concentrations fall–as you’d exprect when a system responds to an impulse. So, even though CO2 concentrations are falling, they are still high enough that temperatures rise. Temperature will not rise instantaneously, and 5x current levels is well outside the range I’d be confident with extrapolating current models.

  341. Barton Paul Levenson:

    [[A large part of my belief comes from the fact that, for the most part when you get way to the bottom of it, we really do not know what causes cancer ]]

    Huh? Cancer is caused when something causes enough mutations in somatic cells that they grow uncontrollably and without correctly following body-plan instructions in DNA. At least that’s the way I heard it.

  342. CoalPorter:

    to ¤36

    Reassessments by the Energy Watch Group put the peak for coal already at about 2025

    http://www.energywatchgroup.org/files/Coalreport.pdf

    it is astonishing how little attention the peak fossil fuels and its cosequence get in this forum.

  343. Ray Ladbury:

    CoalPorter–Looking at the second page, I already see problems. First, all of the contributors seem to be either from centers studying renewable energy or otherwise associated with such movements. I applaud such efforts, but note that the authors might have a bias. There is considerable controversy on when Peak coal or for that matter Peak Oil may occur. This is hardly given short shrift in the comments section, and I would hardly expect it to be addressed by the climate scientists.
    Given the controversy, it is not unreasonable to assume as at least one scenario that energy demand continues to rise according to historical trends and that it continues to be met by fossil fuels. Even if we’re done with fossil fuels, energy demand will not go away. Rather than freeze, people will burn the trees, and then, like people in India burning cow dung, they will burn what they can to keep warm. There’s more than enough carbon available to cook our goose.

  344. Rod B:

    re 335 (Philippe): Only impassioned zealotry proves sincerity???

  345. Rod B:

    re 340 (Ray), re 331 (Gavin’s comment): My reaction to Gavin’s comment was not based (maybe superficially unfairly, if not explained) on the content. I implied I have to give Gavin his due and go back and dig out what was said. My criticism was on the wording and syntax. Anyone scanning it for the first time has to respond, “what on earth is he talking about?” And admittedly this is not an original thought as Gavin pretty much said the same thing. I was simply pointing out a serious but not terribly significant observation. I trust I didn’t incorrectly taint Gavin in the least.

  346. James:

    Re #342: […it is astonishing how little attention the peak fossil fuels and its cosequence get in this forum.]

    Perhaps that’s because those who bring up the subject usually do so as part of a sort of backwards contrarian argument that it makes CO2 emissions self-limiting, thus there is no need to actually do anything to limit those emissions.

    That’s doubly wrong. Not only do they have their facts wrong regarding the size of proven oil & coal reserves, and the amount of CO2 they’d generate, there’s a hole in their logic. If fossil fuels do reach a peak any time soon, those who are already using non-fossil energy efficiently will be way ahead of the pack, and are likely to profit thereby. In other words, the strategy for dealing with an imminent fossil fuel peak also addresses AGW, and vice versa.

  347. Rod B:

    re 341: “Huh? Cancer is caused when something causes enough mutations in somatic cells that they grow uncontrollably and without correctly following body-plan instructions in DNA. At least that’s the way I heard it.”

    Actually I agree with that. What I said was that at the very core and under all of the well-understood onion layers, we do not know how or why “…something causes enough mutations…” actually works.

  348. Timothy Chase:

    Rod B (#347) wrote regarding cancer:

    Actually I agree with that. What I said was that at the very core and under all of the well-understood onion layers, we do not know how or why “…something causes enough mutations…” actually works.

    Sometimes it will be a mutation in some of the code responsible for various error-correction mechanisms, including programmed cell death – which is highly efficient. Once these mutations take place, the cells no longer behave as cells operating in accordance with the interests of the body, but as cells which are operating in accordance with their own interests subject to natural selection in much the same way as bacteria, evolving around the defenses of the body as well as anything that medicine might throw at them, and given the higher rate at which mutations occur and are preserved, such evolution can take place rather rapidly.

    One interesting example involves a wolf from perhaps 30,000 years ago. The cancer assumed the life-style of bacteria, specifically that of a venereal disease. It has spread through much of the dog population, is genetically distinct from the dogs which it infects, results in a temporary illness, and still remains genetically similar enough that we are able to construct a phylogenetic tree, determining how far back the common ancestor lived. Carl Zimmer wrote about this a while back.

  349. Chuck Booth:

    Re # 347 under all of the well-understood onion layers, we do not know how or why “…something causes enough mutations…” actually works.

    Sure, and one can argue that at some fundamental level we don’t know how anything works. But, looking at what we do and do not know about how the natural world operates, the etiology of many forms of cancer is pretty well understood in terms of mutations, tumor promotors, oncogenes, proto-oncogenes, DNA repair, etc – most up-to-date molecular biology textbooks will explain this.

    It’s all well and good (if not a bit tiresome) to keep scientists on their toes by trying to poke holes in their explanations and theories. But, as many regular posters on this site have pointed out time and time again, simply questioning the credibility of any particular piece of evidence for AGW is very unlikely to undermine the theory- not when the theory ties together results of many hundreds ( or thousands) of published (peer-reviewed, of course) papers. If you want to make a useful contribution as a skeptic, you really need to provide an alternative explanation that fits the existing data. For starters, it would help to explain how rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere would NOT cause global warming.

  350. Philippe Chantreau:

    Rod, I don’t know where the most impassioned zealotry would be. Are we talking about the impassioned zealotry of those willing to push/exaggerate/twist scientific findings to get back at big industries? Are we talking about impassioned zealotry of individuals ready to use any marketing methods to sell more products to more people when they fully know what the risks of these prodcts are? Are we talking about the zealotry of the conductors of large scale mind-manipulating campaigns aimed at confusing people so they continue to buy, or influencing legislators so they vote against their constituents interests?

    Industries have a history of deceiving and twisting scientific information if it benefits their bottom line (or just perceive it does!). Should we review the lead industry effort at trying to prove that kids could lick lead based paint all day long without neurological effects?

    It may be shocking to you that those who start a bullshit war sometimes receive their comeuppance with a taste of their of own medicine. Although I agree that, in absolute, it would be better that underhanded attacks not be used in retaliation against those who decided to use them first, sometimes humans are simply not that noble.

    If I had to choose a camp, I would rather go to that, with methods I disapprove but purpose I do, rather than this, with both highly objectionable methods and purpose. I agree it would far from ideal, but life often does that to us.

  351. Philippe Chantreau:

    I realized I might not have fully addressed your comment. The evidence on the harmful effects of tobacco is abundant and clear. At some point that industry somehow rationalized a choice of putting profits before life. Regardless of the discussions on addiction, IF you suggest that the response to that choice was out of proportion because the EVIDENCE is lacking (which you seem to do), then I doubt your sincerity.

  352. Rod B.:

    re 349 We pretty much do understand the “cause” as you describe; we just don’t understand the trigger, or the most basic cause, and I’m not down to the esoteric particle physics level. (We do know how bunches of other stuff works.) We do not know why a particular cell all of a sudden chooses to mutate cancerous-like and why at the same time the physiological defenses all of a sudden choose not to fight this cell like they have millions of times before. Above that I agree that we know tons of how cancer works and grows and can die.

    It’s all well and good (if not a bit tiresome) to keep scientists on their toes by trying to poke holes in their explanations and theories.

    Yeah, it would sure be nice if everyone just rolled over and quit asking pesky questions. What a life!

    “…simply questioning the credibility of any particular piece of evidence for AGW is very unlikely to undermine the theory….”

    Certainly not undermine the entire theory in one fell swoop. But how should one question an entire system theory other than by pointing out little holes that might not add up and trying to resolve them (forgetting the contention that we are not to question at all, per the above.)

    If you want to make a useful contribution as a skeptic, you really need to provide an alternative explanation that fits the existing data. For starters, it would help to explain how rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere would NOT cause global warming.

    Shirley you jest. First off, the question is not simply CO2 caused global warming. It’s the degree, the prognosis, the degree of problems (or benefits), and the degree of action required, if any. And as long as us skeptics are serious (even if later proved wrong) we’re not required to disprove your contentions by proving a negative. You’re making the charge. You prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt (or something akin to that.)

  353. Rod B.:

    re 350: “If I had to choose a camp, I would rather go to that, with methods I disapprove but purpose I do, rather than this, with both highly objectionable methods and purpose. I agree it would far from ideal, but life often does that to us.”

    Actually I do not have a problem with an impassioned person trying to accomplish their goals any way reasonable, even stretching the facts. As a matter of fact it is very difficult to get any political action accomplished without hyperbole and taking things to near-ridiculous extremes, and being ultra loose with the facts. That’s how marijuana got banned (bad) and how automotive emission controls came to be (turned out good) e.g. For instance, that’s what the AGW protagonists might have to do — become alarmists, exaggerate things, fudge the science, etc. to accomplish their sincere well-intentioned aims (though for many of them it goes against their grain.). BUT IT AIN’T SCIENCE and IT AIN’T TRUE. That’s all I’m saying.

  354. Chuck Booth:

    Re 352 [We do not know why a particular cell all of a sudden chooses to mutate cancerous-like and why at the same time the physiological defenses all of a sudden choose not to fight this cell like they have millions of times before.]

    When you say “we,” I presume you are referring to yourself? Because you certainly don’t appear to know much about the molecular biology and physiology of cancer.

    As for poking holes in the scientific underpinnings of AGW theory, as far as I can tell you haven’t been able to change any minds among the regular posters here. And I seriously doubt that you have planted any seeds of doubts in the minds of the RC moderators, or other climatologists who drop in from time to time. I’m still waiting to see your list of favorite non-peer-reviewed sources of information about atmospheric CO2, global warming, etc.

  355. James:

    Re #352: [Yeah, it would sure be nice if everyone just rolled over and quit asking pesky questions.]

    It would be even nicer if someone would come up with some new pesky questions, instead of just recycling the old ones over and over again. Original & thought-provoking is good, but same old same old gets tiresome, you know?

  356. Timothy Chase:

    Rod B (#353) wrote:

    Actually I do not have a problem with an impassioned person trying to accomplish their goals any way reasonable, even stretching the facts.

    I would – if it involved stretching the facts.

    The problem is that once you start stretching the facts you begin to lose the ability to rationally assess whether it is in your best interest – or anyone’s interest – to do so. Particularly if you are passionate about it. That is the problem with letting politics or ideology override science. I know that Gavin would be against stretching the facts as well – for much the same reason.

    I also know that climatologists have been overly conservative in their projections and, given the nature of the phenomena they are studying tending to understimate things rather than overestimate things. They keep discovering forms of positive feedback they weren’t aware of, such as the fact that hurricanes increase the poleward flow of warm water, resulting in the arctic ice cap melting at an higher rate, or positive feedbacks which they were aware of at a theoretical level but didn’t expect to see for decades. Such as the reduced ability of the Antarctic ocean to absorb carbon dioxide.

    In any case, the best way to determine whether claims are being exaggerated or not is to learn more about the science. Without understanding the science, it would prove rather difficult to assess the relationship between the evidence and the claims presumably being made on the basis of such evidence.

    But it might also help to keep mind the fact that every scientist is a defendant standing before his peers when he presents a paper defending a conclusion, and likewise, every scientist is a jurist when he examines the works of other scientists in his or other fields. Being in the field, he is better able to assess the evidence which is presented, the arguments which are made, and the conclusions arrived at by others in his field.

  357. Marion Delgado:

    Rod B: Actually, the gobbledygook is “the reverse correlation of temp and CO2 for millions of years.” Fix that before you try to understand the data – you don’t even know what the data is, right now. Also, accurate and true ARE synonyms, actually.

  358. Gareth:

    And as long as us skeptics are serious (even if later proved wrong) we’re not required to disprove your contentions by proving a negative. You’re making the charge. You prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt (or something akin to that.)

    Ah, but if you’re pretending to be “scientific” then the onus is on you to produce an alternative hypothesis that can (credibly) explain the observations. I presume that’s why so many “sceptics” are keen to promote the solar theory du jour. They mostly fail the credibility test, of course, but that’s science…

    On the other hand, if your scepticism is not rooted in the science, but in a curmudgeon’s dislike for the zeitgeist, there’s nothing to be done. But, as James suggests, it would be nice if you could up with something new from time to time.

  359. Ray Ladbury:

    Rod B., You say that the onus is not on you to disprove the hypothesis of anthropogenic causation, but given that the science we are dealing with is inductive, that is in fact one of the only two ways to overturn the hypothesis. The other, of course, is to show some result that incontrovertibly conflicts with the hypothesis.
    Many people seem to have a hard time with inductive science, because there is no crucial piece of evidence on which the theory depends. Rather there are countless, small pieces, and they either support the theory or they do not (note that I don’t include evidence that is incontrovertibly incompatible with the theory, as it then ceases to be a valid theory). If you have multiple theories, the question becomes which theory best explains the evidence–where “best” may be measured by probability, parsimony, etc.
    The situation is rather like putting together the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle with no idea of what picture it will make. At some point, though enough of the puzzle is in place that someone will be able to identify the picture even though there may still be pieces missing. And at some point, enough pieces will be in place that for the hypothesis to be wrong, it would have to be completely wrong–a mere tweak here and there would not suffice to fix it. That is where we are with anthropogenic causation of climate change. The parameters are all pretty tightly constrained and coupled. Change any parameter or all the parameters slightly, and it doesn’t change the main conclusions. Change any parameter significantly, and others start to violate their own constraints. The people who really understand the situation are the researchers doing climate studies. However, even the skeptics are at a loss for alternative explanations–to the point where Svensmark and Shaviv are trying to explain changes in terms of things that are not changing (e.g cosmic ray flux). So, of course, we continue to look at new possibilities as they arise, but not many are arising. And in the mean time, we have a theory that is adequate to explain the evidence, is based on known, reasonble physical mechanisms known to be occuring, and that has no credible opposition. And still you contend that we should wait to act–on a system with known positive feedbacks and an exponentially rising perturbation acting on it. Does that seem prudent to you?

  360. John L. McCormick:

    RE: # 353

    RodB, you remind me of a character in a western movie (cannot recall the title but Kevin Costner might have played a role).

    The character was a — unique — Indian scout who rode his pony sitting backwards; in fact, whatever he did was opposite the norn. He was a contrary and his tribal bretheren gave him some lattitude because he was recognized as such. I suppose every tribe, culture, community has its contraries…riding backwards.

    Trouble with contraries is they only see where they have been and not where they are going.

    You say:

    [For instance, that’s what the AGW protagonists might have to do — become alarmists, exaggerate things, fudge the science, etc. to accomplish their sincere well-intentioned aims (though for many of them it goes against their grain.). BUT IT AIN’T SCIENCE and IT AIN’T TRUE. That’s all I’m saying.]

    Assuming you are saying non-scientists who are AGW protagonists are not doing the science — they [[fudge the science]] — we can dismiss that rant.

    But, when you say:

    [the question is not simply CO2 caused global warming. It’s the degree, the prognosis, the degree of problems (or benefits), and the degree of action required, if any. And as long as us skeptics are serious (even if later proved wrong) we’re not required to disprove your contentions by proving a negative]

    YOU ARE REQUIRED TO DISPROVE SCIENTISTS CONTENTIONS AND ACCEPTED FACT.

    Start with increasing acidification of oceans and talk us through that.

    Or, just be content being a contrary. The world will make room for you, too.

  361. Philippe Chantreau:

    Rod, I assumed our conversation was not on scientific evidence and data but rather on the endless courtroom battles. IF that is the case, then the “ain’t science” “ain’t true” “stretching the fact” are understandable. After all, a courtroom is the place where the perception of a few is more important than any facts, hence the facts are used only to influence that perception, and therefore are usually abused.

    However, if you were talking about the very well established evidence linking smoking to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, then we obviously disagree. The science there is unequivocal and the investigation owes nothing to stretched facts.

  362. Rod B.:

    re 355: [It would be even nicer if someone would come up with some new pesky questions,…]

    a fair criticism…..

  363. Rod B.:

    re 356, Timothy: [The problem is that once you start stretching the facts you begin to lose the ability to rationally assess whether it is in your best interest – or anyone’s interest – to do so. Particularly if you are passionate about it. That is the problem with letting politics or ideology override science. I know that Gavin would be against stretching the facts as well – for much the same reason.]

    Yes, it’s a very fine line (a high tightrope really) and, to the ethically inclined, causes deep reflection and creates angst. I’m just saying it often is required in politics, but even there one has to carry it to some unclear limit, but not one inch more, lest you fall into an abyss. But, I agree that this is NOT helpful in scientific discourse. It destroys one’s credibility real fast, and it is considered really bad form by most (but unfortunately not all) scientists.

    I should add that the current AGW issue seems to be making political headway without resorting to excessive hyperbole and distortions. That’s good for the protagonists and I think a better debate. We’ll see if that continues to hold….

  364. Rod B.:

    re 357 [accurate and true ARE synonyms]

    Not according to Sally Field in “Absence of Malice”…..

  365. Rod B.:

    re 361, Philippe: You’re correct. I was very explicitly talking ONLY of the political arena (a little broader than the courtroom) and definitely NOT talking of the scientific arena. Some of the tactics I describe are sometimes/often required for political accomplishment. These same tactics are usually suicidal in scientific circles, not to mention very distasteful to most scientists.

    The science of tobacco vs. cancer might or not be convincing on its own. None-the-less, whether they needed to or not, the anti-tobacco lobby used extensive distortions and hyperbole, changed the science, and flat out made up stuff (from Gov’t agencies, no less) to advance their case. So far the AGW protagonists have not had to resort to those tactics and have been pretty successful. (‘Course the AGW camp has a higher incidence of true scientists than the anti-tobacco lobby.) I appreciate and respect the AGW process so far(even though I’m a skeptic).

  366. Barton Paul Levenson:

    [[The character was a — unique — Indian scout who rode his pony sitting backwards; in fact, whatever he did was opposite the norn. He was a contrary and his tribal bretheren gave him some lattitude because he was recognized as such. I suppose every tribe, culture, community has its contraries…riding backwards.]]

    Little Big Man. Dustin Hoffman, 1971, I think. Hoffman didn’t play that guy, who had a bit part.

  367. Chuck Booth:

    Re Rod B.’s comments:

    113 torturous, convoluted, weird combos of indivudual bits of information combined to explain the elephant. Now this might all be valid…But it still doesn’t pass the sniff test … no matter how often the disparate pieces are repeated. I appreciate and respect the AGW process so far (even though I’m a skeptic)

    203 I wish you guys would quit boiling down the science to the idolatry of peer review and a great majority of a vote.

    352 Certainly not undermine the entire theory in one fell swoop. But how should one question an entire system theory other than by pointing out little holes that might not add up and trying to resolve them

    352 First off, the question is not simply CO2 caused global warming. It’s the degree, the prognosis, the degree of problems (or benefits), and the degree of action required, if any.

    So, Rod, what exactly is your goal here? If you were interested in the truth, you would look at the evidence and see where it take you (or at least understand how climatologists arrived at their conclusions about AGW). Instead, you seem quite willing to ignore vast quantities of data in a quest to find a weakness, however small, in the scientific framework on which AGW theory is based, apparently because you don’t like the economic implications of AGW being true.
    If I am misreading your comments, and you really are just seeking the truth, whatever that truth might be, I would ask you:
    What currently-missing data would be needed to convince you that AGW is real? If you really are looking for the scientific truth regarding climate change (to the extent that scientific truth can be revealed), you should be able to offer some scientific criteria that would cause you to change your view from skepticism to acceptance – that is, what holes in AGW theory need to be plugged and what would it take to make those plugs?

    And then there is this comment:
    336 Coming from anyone else I would have to conclude that my skepticism is validated — but Gavin is about as straight as they come, so, alas, I have to give it some credence

    Let me get this straight: If you have a positive, first-hand encounter with a scientist you are willing to, at least tentatively, give some credence to his/her views. But, in the absence of that personal experience, you are unable or unwilling to accept the conclusions of an anonymous scientist if those conclusions don’t fit your world-view? Have I interpreted your statement accurately here?

    Please help me out here – I am trying to get inside the mind of a skeptic…I want to know what makes you tick.

  368. John Mashey:

    re: #367 (and many others in this thread, and even more frequently in unmoderated blogs elsewhere)

    Really, much of this discussion has nothing to do with climate science, but is about psychology: personality or social psych, which are different expertise-sets than normally found in RC. I have some psych background, but not much in those topics, so I started asking friends who are psychology professors, trying to understand belief systems and the ways in which they evolve.

    They didn’t know offhand of specific studies on the psychology of AGW belief/disbelief, but of course, there is substantive literature on similar topics in other domains. If I’m lucky, maybe I’ll get somebody qualified to study the AGW case stirred up to do so. Some of this is well-modeled by enumerations of logical fallacies.

    I of course ignore the cases of tobacco or oil/coal companies, who have obvious economic reasons for their professed beliefs, i.e. this is about *sincere* beliefs by others without such direct incentives:

    Personality
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anchoring
    First opinions tend to be sticky.
    This affects almost everybody.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambiguity_intolerance
    Many people have low tolerance for ambiguity, i.e., prefer 0 or 1, gravitate to 100% certainty in one direction or another, and occasionally, if one 100% belief is broken, flip all the way to 100% certainty in the other direction. Such people are not likely to like inductive science (as in Ray’s #359), statistical proofs in general. They like means, but aren’t really happy with standard deviations, skews, kurtosis, confidence intervals, error bars. They are much happier hearing certainties than well-caveated scientific-style discussions.

    I conjecture that when somebody asks for a simple lab experience that proves AGW or that smoking causes cancer, it’s related to this.

    This is a *lot* of people!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authoritarian_personality
    Some reservations on this one, but following ideas may be relevant: conventionialism, authoritarian submission, ready acceptance of pseudoscience. Also, it is pretty clear that many of the topics can apply to both extreme left and right politically.

    Social psychology
    I haven’t dug in here much yet, although there is a clear pattern of people getting irritated by extreme believers on one side, or even people who they simply dislike for other reasons, and then taking a 100%-hard position the other way. For some people, it is sufficient that Al Gore says AGW exists to be forever 100% sure it does not.

    I always liked Robert Frost’s comment:
    “I never dared be radical when young for fear it would make me conservative when old.”

    Logical fallacies
    http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/

    A lot of these show up, including:
    1. Ad Hominem (and 32. Personal Attack)
    Anti-tobacco lobby says X, extreme-environmentalists say Y, therefore X and Y are wrong, and even X’ and Y’ (somewhat similar positions backed by serious science) are wrong too.

    3. Appeal to authority
    Abdusamatov says so.

    4. Biased Sample
    5. Burden of Proof
    22. Confusing cause and effect
    41. Straw man

    and a big one:
    6. Appeal to consequences of a belief
    I.e., It can’t be happening because it would be really bad if it did.

    Finally, I recommend the following research paper, although it has some dense psych-speak:

    Robert J. MacCoun, “Biases in the Interpretation and Use of Research Results”,
    http://ist-socrates.berkeley.edu/~maccoun/MacCoun_AnnualReview98.pdf

    p.272 is useful:
    “At one end of a continuum, one has a need for cognitive closure; at the other end, a need to avoid closure. The closure that is desired or avoided is *specific* when one seeks or shuns a specific answer, or *nonspecific* if one seeks or avoids closure irrespective of its content…. advantages of this framework over earlier concepts such as intolerance of ambiguity, authoritarianism, and dogmatism.”

    Clearly, if somebody needs to be certain, and has gotten anchored on one side or the other, no amount of scientific discussion is likely to move them, which is why some arguments go on forever.

    Note: this is very different from a rational skeptic who says: “I know there is a mass of data, and I think AGW is plausible, but I have these 5 specific concerns” and as such get crossed off, their probability estimate rises to likely, then very likely, etc.

    p.273, etc on “Bayesian Priors and Asymmetric Standards” is helpful.

    p.275-281 “Corrective Practices” is well worth reading.

    Finally, although I couldn’t find it freely accessible on-line:
    Michael J. Mahoney, “Psychology of the Scientist: An Evaluative Review,”
    Social Studies of Science, v. 9, no. 3 (Aug 1979), pp 349-375.
    is also useful.

    NOTE: observe that that journal is now nearly 40 years old….

    SUMMARY:
    Psychology is more relevant than climate science in some of these discussions.

  369. Philippe Chantreau:

    Re 365: See, this what you get for using deception, distortions, hyperboles, skewed science ands so forth. I’m surprised that you find it shocking. When the tobacco industry became a lobby group and started using those tactics, they should obviously have expected the emergence of a contrary lobby using the same tactics. It’ a rule of war. The moment you use a weapon, you make its use morally justified to your opponent. That’s what has prevented nuclear weapons from being used more than twice so far.

    And, as you pointed, that’s why the climate contrarian view is still so popular so far. Although Katrina was used beyond its actual significance, climate scientists and even environmental groups have been reluctant to resort to the extreme tactics used by the Swindle, Beck, and many others. It’s a very honorable choice, but unfortunately the public’s perception of reality suffers from it.

    However, I maintain that the science linking tobacco to lung disease, cardiovascular disease AND lung cancer is unequivocal. The pathophysiological changes in endothelial and platelet function are well known and have been shown to be identical for second hand smoke. The emphysematic changes are documented ad infinitum, the list of chemicals contained in tobacco smoke that have been proven to cause cancer is too long to summarize here.

  370. Marion Delgado:

    By the way I think the emphasis on definition and clearing up misdefinitions and incomprehension I am seeing in this set of comments is very good.

    To expand on it, a “reverse correlation” is normally averaging potential stimuli/signals to weed out a likely match for a response. It’s fairly obvious that in the sentences

    this is an atypical example of the stuff that keeps me skeptical. To the uninitiated this explanation of the reverse correlation of temp and CO2 for millions of years sounds like pure gobbledygook and looks like a lot of tap dancing and farting.

    reverse correlation is not meant, but rather, either “inverse” or “negative” correlation.

    But that crude level of error masks a very profound underlying misunderstanding. If variable x is changing in an appreciable way and variable y is “ignoring” the change in x, there is neither a positive nor a negative correlation – neither a (direct) correlation nor an inverse correlation. There is in fact no correlation at all. Coupled with the odd distinction between a statement being accurate and a statement being true, it’s a very distressing, and too typical, picture.

    If I might, some of the denialists here are probably gun enthusiasts. If so, you might consider how you’d respond to someone saying “because of the pellets they dug out of him (Browning 20 ought six 9mm), we knew it was his rifle because of the firing of the ballistics and we tested the paraffin in the wounds.” You’d be happier if he said “I have no idea about this stuff, but I have a gut feeling he’s guilty.”

    Clearly, if the cards were on the table, it’s more pleasing to denialists to see a section of a graph of what is believed to be the C02 and temperature history at a sufficiently large scale that it doesn’t resemble the graph in “An Inconvenient Truth,” and you can have a discussion about all that – why pick scale X, what about the temp leading C02 at the end of glaciations, why is a shorter time scale better now or not, and so on. Indeed, that’s what I find on this site – it’s ubiquitous.

    Speaking of which, no, you don’t need to be a solar physicist to know what solar activity is in a given period. If a theorist makes their criterion for solar activity sufficiently clear, you can just look up the data for the relevant period and either agree or disagree. It’s not as simple as tides, but it’s not a deep mystery, either. the cycle of solar activity is around 11 years, with a maximum and other peaks, and there’s been an increase in baseline activity of about 1/20th of a percent every decade as far as we can tell, for about 30 years (and maybe more, but we don’t have good estimates on that now). That’s accounted for, and a plethora of researchers have modeled what that amount of increase would do to temperature minus things like anthropogenic greenhouse gas increases – http://web.dmi.dk/fsweb/solarterrestrial/sunclimate/welcome.shtml In other words, instead of being ignored, it’s part of the model. I am not a “solar physicist” but I can look this stuff up.

  371. Rod B.:

    Chuck (367), this is a big bunch! I doubt I’m worth it. I’ve been over this before, but maybe not too clearly. I’ll try again and trust I’m not too redundant or verbose.

    I am primarily trying to understand the science (and its conclusions) of global climate change, especially that caused by us as it affects the current and future environment/society/culture/way-of-like/economy…… I also react to logic in a discussion that sounds fallacious. This in part is just being my loveable curmudgeon self (and at my age and history, I have a right [;-} ), part connected with my first statement.

    Most of the examples you cite fall into the logic side, not the reams of data and science side. When I ask a scientist for the info and the reply is 1) we all say so, or 2) it’s all been peer-reviewed, or 3) we’re smarter scientists, so roll over, shut up and enjoy it, there is nothing in those that adds to an understanding of the science. (Though, admittedly, it might be a clue that when the science is explained it might not be an individual guess and have some credence.) Now when I challenge ala 1, 2, 3 above, most of you guys go ballistic, for what rational I can’t totally fathom (though John might viz-a-viz his interesting post #368 here). I’m not disagreeing with any data or the science, because neither is contained in the three examples.

    Another example of logic vs. data that I reject is reacting to my “gray” question with a black and white premise (a “1” or “0” as john would say). As your post cites, in response to some detailed question I asked about IR absorption, one heatedly shot back, ‘why don’t I believe CO2 caused global warming?!?’ — not what I asked (can’t recall the specifics now) at all. I do believe that greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere increase the surface temperature of the earth. This is a no brainer. But I have some uncertainties and unknowns in the area of “how much?”, “to what degree?”, etc. e.g. This sounds small, but it could be indicative again of the logic and rational process which in turn taints the credibility. Like the gross overaction (my opinion) to my statements that might at best put a teeny-tiny insignificant mar in the armor. I pointed out once that the average global temperature was lower in the late 50s than it was in 1940. So I said we had COOLING from 1940 to the late 50s. Seemed pretty simple to me, but a bunch went absolutely berserk, said I was really stupid, wrong, and implied my kids are ugly (just kidding!!). That told me that they (and I’m talking of a few in all of this, not pigeon-holing) are defensive and insecure with their science (or at least appear overtly to be) which again taints the science. An acceptable answer might have been 1) maybe unique aerosols caused some cooling, or 2) it’s in the noise; who cares?, or 3) (the best) you can’t analyze annual variations in a statistically averaged global warming over many decades.

    A couple of examples of where I have unsatisfied concerns is 1) the mathematics of forcing and temp changes by increasing CO2, and 2) the accuracy of the measurements of global temp and CO2 concentration and their correlation. Now I’ve asked straight questions along these lines often before, recently a bunch in The Weirdest Millennium thread, and gotten some answers and aids but which didn’t fully satisfy me. Now before you take a stab, in this area the ball is in my court to get further educated one level down so I can either better understand or more credibly refute the answers.

    Finally, re my #336, I simply have formed a respect for Gavin, had criticized a badly written paragraph of his (not 100% seriously), and simply tempered my criticism by giving him some benefit of the doubt. No deeper than that.

  372. Rod B.:

    re 369 I find those political tactics neither shocking nor surprising. I see them as unfortunately required, with some reservations, to get some things through because it’s often what it takes to get the populace behind you, which what it takes (other than cash) to get the politicos on board and active.

    I don’t see the AGW contrarian view as popular as you do. I think it has a decent popular support (which still might be a minority by the numbers but a majority in interest), which is why the political activities have so far remained above the fray of “dirty tricks”.

    I would say the anti-tobacco lobby outdid the industry in their shenanigans, but that’s just my opinion. I’m surprised (a little) that you cite second hand smoke as a credible issue. In that, the government nearly outdid the blatant falsehoods of the anti-marijuana/hemp camp back in the 30s. The EPA got perilously close to being charged with flagrant fraud and maybe contempt by a Federal judge over their first second-hand smoke study a few years ago (which they recently basically re-issued as the “2nd” study.)

  373. John Mashey:

    re: #369
    Philippe: you would appreciate the Brandt history, which would describe the entire process a bit differently. In particular, note that the tobacco industry was once the Tobacco Trust (i.e., monopoly), split up in 1911 via antitrust, but in such a way that the resulting pieces were quite used to collusive behavior … they didn’t really need to “become a lobby group”.
    =====
    Of course, one of the more eloquent & thoughtful expressions of the tension between science and communication is by Stephen Schneider:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Schneider

    See the section starting:
    “Schneider once spoke of the difficulties scientists face communicating their work to the public:”

    Certain people sometimes quote this, omitting the last 1-3 sentences, which rather changes the meaning.

  374. Barton Paul Levenson:

    [[I do believe that greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere increase the surface temperature of the earth. This is a no brainer. But I have some uncertainties and unknowns in the area of “how much?”, “to what degree?”, etc.]]

    By itself, doubling of CO2 would cause an increase in surface temperature of about 1.2 degrees K. (Houghton 2004). With feedbacks, the increase would be 1.5-4.5 K, with the most probably value around 3.0 K. A recent survey of long-term paleoclimatology implies that the best value is about 2.8 K. But, as you point out, there are still uncertainties. As the world warms, we’ll be able to refine this figure more and more.

  375. Jim Galasyn:

    RodB wrote in 352:

    Shirley you jest. First off, the question is not simply CO2 caused global warming. It’s the degree, the prognosis, the degree of problems (or benefits), and the degree of action required, if any. And as long as us skeptics are serious (even if later proved wrong) we’re not required to disprove your contentions by proving a negative. You’re making the charge. You prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt (or something akin to that.)

    You’re not in the position of proving a negative. I’ll repeat my call to the “skeptics” community (always using the loosest possible definition of the term):

    Null hypothesis: “Dumping 100 gigatons of carbon into the atmosphere will not significantly change the dynamics and chemistry of the atmosphere and oceans.”

    The questions to the “skeptic” community: “Have we accumulated enough evidence to reject the null hypothesis?” and “If not, what standard of evidence would need to apply?”

    Let’s hear your thoughts, JimC and RodB.

    “And stop calling me Shirley!”

  376. John Mashey:

    re: #372
    http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/sgr/index.htm
    http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/sgri/
    http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/sgri/SearchResults.aspx?r=quick&keywords=lung%2
    0cancer&whole_words=False&flag_words=
    http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/sgri/disease.aspx?DiseaseKey=1246
    http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/sgri/result.aspx?ResultID=6776
    The newer SG reports have dandy databases of scientific studies in which one can search for papers, and see their key results plotted in a consistent form. This sequence includes 900 articles on secondhand smoke exposure alone. Note that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is NOT the EPA, and the woman who runs it is pretty serious:
    http://www.cdc.gov/about/leadership/bio.htm,
    although of course, the fact that she’s also an associate professor at UC San Francisco (a very strong medical-research place) would probably be a strike against her for some [see below under “vermin”.]

    That’s science [and it’s also nice presentation that allows the user to rummage around, not just read the reports].

    At the other extreme, Googling around for EPA fraud, scam, etc revealed many websites (which Rod B must prefer to those that have actual science), of which the most amusing was entitled:
    “California is Ruled by Psychotic Vermin”
    and its main page included:
    “Why we should exterminate these vermin, genocide their children, and smash their putrid culture to rubble.”

  377. Philippe Chantreau:

    Re 372: My comment about second hand smoke was about cardiovascular risk. The changes in endothelial and platelet functions conducive to cardiovascular disease have been shown to be identical for first hand and second hand smoke, although the prevalence is lower for the second. I have no idea what happened in court and don’t really care. As we have discussed, BS flies thick in the courtroom and the final decision may have little to do with objective reality.

    As for the climate contrarian view, my point was that its popularity is out of proportion with the actual evidence supporting the null hypothesis. Furthermore, totally nonsensical ideas, long debunked for readers of this thread, still enjoy widespread support. How many are out there in the general public who still think that a single volcano emits more CO2 per eruption than all human activities in a year? How many think that the historical CO2 lag in the proxy record disprove its role in current warming? How many have even heard of Milankovitch cycles?

  378. Philippe Chantreau:

    And Rod, about your post # 352, it sounds to me very much like lawyer’s mindset. “You’re making the charge,” or the burden of proof idea are concepts from the law. In science, things work somewhat differently. If you contest the initial “charge”, by default you’re making an opposite or alternate charge. Your burden of proof for that is as heavy as the one for whatever you contest.

    Jim is right. What physical processes and observational evidence exist for the null hypothesis?

  379. Rod B:

    re 375 (Jim): [Null hypothesis: “Dumping 100 gigatons of carbon into the atmosphere will not significantly change the dynamics and chemistry of the atmosphere and oceans.”]

    Actually that is not a totally unreasonable suggestion. I agree, for skeptics to gain a point we ought to confront the AGW science with scientific alternatives. But we might not have figured it out rigorously enough yet — and we shouldn’t have to accede while we try to figure it out.

  380. Rod B:

    re 377: [BS flies thick in the courtroom and the final decision may have little to do with objective reality.]

    Well, one man’s BS is another’s science.

    re popularity: I think the vast majority of the public would not even know what your talking about with those questions.. I just feel that AGW has significant public support; but you might be right — I never actually counted.

  381. Chuck Booth:

    Re 379 [ …But we might not have figured it out rigorously enough yet — and we shouldn’t have to accede while we try to figure it out. ]

    In science, the usual modus operandi is to ask a question, come up with the data, then explain those data in the context of the question and draw a conclusion. You seem to be going about this backwards – you already have your conclusion, but no data to support it. That is OK, of course, but you shouldn’t be surprised that people question your motives, esp. when most of your questions have been (as far as I can tell) addressed in the peer-reviewed literature and IPCC reports.

  382. Dan:

    Re: 381. When the questions have been addressed by scientific research, published in the literature, and yet then are still questioned by laymen, it really becomes a question of whether such laymen want to make the effort to learn about the subject at all. Or are they simply stuck in their unscientific beliefs. The later is quite sad in the 21st century.

  383. Philippe Chantreau:

    Re 380: “one man’s BS is another’s science.” Disagreed. BS is BS, period. There are objective criteria to establish that.

  384. Timothy Chase:

    Chuck Booth (#381) wrote:

    In science, the usual modus operandi is to ask a question, come up with the data, then explain those data in the context of the question and draw a conclusion. You seem to be going about this backwards – you already have your conclusion, but no data to support it. That is OK, of course, but you shouldn’t be surprised that people question your motives, esp. when most of your questions have been (as far as I can tell) addressed in the peer-reviewed literature and IPCC reports.

    I supect that a large part of the problem has to do with why certain forms of fallacious reasoning will often work.

    I am thinking specifically of appeal to emotion and ad hominem attacks – as well as the reason why it is so easy for people to fall into the habit of thinking in terms of us versus them. At a certain level they have never learned how to think methodically, and this even extends to the inability to distinguish between identification and evaluation, or for that matter cognition and emotion, at least not in a rigorously methodical way. Thus it becomes all to easy for them to skip the process of identification or cognition to the process of evaluation or let the emotions which they feel override the process of thought itself.

    Likewise, when they see someone advocating a given view or making a specific assertion, it becomes all to easy for them to think in terms of that individual’s motives, to think that they are advocating those views in order to achieve a particular objective, especially once we get into the realm of politics or science. This is why they have difficulty distinguishing between politics and science, why they find it all too easy to ascribe ulterior motives to someone who is proposing a scientific theory which (as far as they can tell) comes into conflict with their religious or political beliefs.

    At the concrete level of everyday life, they tend not to fall into such fallacious reasoning, and they find it easier to distinguish between identification and evaluation. But once the subject becomes more abstract or more emotionally charged for them, it becomes all too easy for various forms of fallacious reasoning.

    It becomes all too easy for them to believe something simply because they want it to be true. Likewise, when they fall into this, it is all too easy to let emotions such as anxiety to interfere with their ability understand. So at a certain level, I would say that this isn’t really a question of people being unwilling to make the effort to understand or learn (as Dan suggests in #382) so much as their not knowing how to. At a certain level, I believe that modern man isn’t really that far removed from the “primitives” who had difficulty distinguishing between natural causation and conscious motives, who anthopomorphized various aspects of the natural world. And at a certain level, I believe that our supposedly civilized has failed its citizens by failing to teach them the rudements of informal logic and rationality.

  385. Timothy Chase:

    PS

    Anyway, I don’t think that what I have just said regarding the trouble that many sometimes have thinking in accordance with the most basic principles of informal logic is especially profound. In fact I think it is something everyone has sensed at certain moments when dealing with people who are “simply being unreasonable.” But it helps to put it into words.

  386. Rod B:

    re 378: [“You’re making the charge,” or the burden of proof idea are concepts from the law. In science, things work somewhat differently. If you contest the initial “charge”, by default you’re making an opposite or alternate charge. Your burden of proof for that is as heavy as the one for whatever you contest.]

    I think it’s far simpler than that. If person A says, “I’ve determined something here, so we have to upset the global apple cart”, he ought to have to explain it a bit. It’s not our onus to prove him wrong.

  387. Rod B:

    re 381: [In science, the usual modus operandi is to ask a question, come up with the data, then explain those data in the context of the question and draw a conclusion…]

    That was how the early skeptics of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, for example, did it???? I don’t think so; and we’re talking of (some of) the pillars of physics.

  388. Chuck Booth:

    Re 387
    Skepticism by experts in the field is quite common (as described by Thomas Kuhn in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions; http://www.des.emory.edu/mfp/Kuhn.html). I would suggest that skepticism of AGW by people with no particular expertise in the field of climatology or related sciences (atmospheric chemistry, oceanography, etc) is a very different situation – they are not pillars of the scientific community drawing on their years of research and publication in the field.

  389. Jim Galasyn:

    In 379, RodB says:

    Actually that is not a totally unreasonable suggestion. I agree, for skeptics to gain a point we ought to confront the AGW science with scientific alternatives. But we might not have figured it out rigorously enough yet — and we shouldn’t have to accede while we try to figure it out.

    Thank you for the nod. Now to the second part of the question: What standard of evidence would convince you to reject the null hypothesis? Is there some critical threshold of peer-reviewed papers? Or do you need to see some replicated smoking-gun evidence, like, say, the observation of the Tau neutrino? Not sure what that would be for anthropogenic climate change…maybe the collapse of the Greenland ice cap?

  390. Timothy Chase:

    Rob B (#386) wrote:

    I think it’s far simpler than that. If person A says, “I’ve determined something here, so we have to upset the global apple cart”, he ought to have to explain it a bit. It’s not our onus to prove him wrong.

    An onus is an obligation, but there are numerous obligations which exist in various contexts within a civilized society. I would argue that one such obligation is to educate oneself as needed where one’s education is deficient if one is to have one’s views regarded as reasonable, particularly as reasonable alternatives to the views of those who are more educated than oneself within a given subject. Those who are more educated in that subject will oftentimes be willing to help, but when such help is extended and accepted, this may also entail an obligation of sorts.

    The subjects which you have taken an interest in have some difficulty associated with them. I myself am still learning even at a fairly basic level. The people here are more informed than myself and have shown a willingness to teach me and correct my mistakes to the extent that they have the time to do so. I am grateful when they do this.

    At the same time, I realize that their time is limited and that much of the learning that I must do will have to be on my own. I can’t afford much in the way of books, but given the internet, much of the information that I need is out there as the result of the magnanimous efforts of those know more than me. It is dispersed, with different but related subjects being treated by different websites, but if I look for it, I will usually find it.

    You might consider this as well – in addition to learning here.

  391. Ray Ladbury:

    Re 386. Rod B said: “I think it’s far simpler than that. If person A says, “I’ve determined something here, so we have to upset the global apple cart”, he ought to have to explain it a bit. It’s not our onus to prove him wrong.”

    By all means, the result must be explained–but to whom? Should it require explanation to the satisfaction of the experts who actually understand the science (the usual case in science) or to every drooling, SUV-driving moron and greedhead who might be affected–an innovation that should it be applied to science in general would end civilization as we know it? Rod, a lot of these guys think the stunts on Jackass are cool. I think it is probably a superhuman task to explain even the concept of climate, let alone its subtleties, to them.
    By the usual standards of scientific debate, the debate is over. The argument at this point ought to be with how to deal with the issue.

  392. Rod B:

    re 388 (Chuck): What you say makes good sense. Problem is that it is not practical. You’re saying if one has expertise in the field he can just challenge outright; but if one does not have the requisite expertise he can only challenge by using the expertise that he does not have. Can’t win for losin’ — though admittedly, from a purists vantage, it is logical.

  393. Timothy Chase:

    RE #391

    I knew a girl at one time who had flunked several tests in calculus in a row. I do not know what her native intelligence was, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she was somewhat above average. However, she had been stuck in the class without the appropriate preparation. She didn’t even know how to simplify fractions.

    She asked me for help – six hours before her next test on integral calculus. She ace’d the test. Then again, I knew a guy who asked me for help with calculus. All he wanted to know were the answers. When it finally came time to take the test, it was in a large auditorium. He asked me to take the test for him – and I reluctantly did so – feeling guilty over the fact that I had done a poor job of helping him learn calculus. But I shouldn’t have done that. Whatever responsibility I had paled in comparison to his own. He had no desire to learn, and I was under no obligation to teach him.

    If someone has no desire to learn there is very little you can do with them. If all they choose to do is contradict those who know more than them within a given subject, then the views that they espouse do not deserve to be taken seriously or treated on an equal footing with the views of those who know far more than they do.

  394. Rod B:

    re 389 (Jim): Well, I guess a smoking gun like the entire Arctic melting would do it — but by then it’s too late and whether I’m finally convinced will not matter a twit to anybody. More peer reviewed papers or an even larger consensus definitely will not do it (if it would it would have already). I do question the accuracy and veracity of certain pieces of the science. I’ve mentioned a couple of examples as requested before, but it’s not helpful to go over them again. A number of folks have tried to alleviate my doubts, to no avail so far, and I view the ball is in my court to get my doubts more precise and specific.

  395. Rod B:

    Timothy (390): I agree fully.

  396. Rod B:

    re 391 (Ray): [the result must be explained–but to whom? Should it require explanation to the satisfaction of the experts who actually understand the science (the usual case in science) or to every drooling, SUV-driving moron and greedhead who might be affected]

    Sorry, but DAMN RIGHT, or at least explained satisfactorily to their chosen representatives. Only dictators and self-proclaimed (even if they actually are) elites don’t have to explain anything they do.

  397. Chuck Booth:

    Re 392 Can’t win for losin’

    Rod,
    I guess it depends on what you are trying to win.

    I certainly don’t question your right to want to understand more about the subject. Nor would I question your right to be skeptical…about anything. It just seems to me you are aiming many of your questions and comments at the wrong audience – a bunch of blog addicts (I’m sure the blogosphere jargon has a name for people like us, though I don’t know what it is) who possess collective knowledge about a diverse array of subjects, but are not themselves climatologists- in fact, most of us are trying to learn as much as we can, just like you. However, many of your skeptical comments seem to make mountains out of molehills, as if an incorrect or misleading comment by me (or another climatologist) somehow has relevance to the science of AGW (I can assure you my comments have no impact whatsoever on the field of climate science; I doubt they have much impact on anyone’s thinking on these threads, either).

    Since the RC moderators are not likely to provide personalized tutoring services to novices, I think (to echo Timothy Chase’s comment on this) it is beneficial for us all to read what has been written by the climatologists both on this blog and in the published literature before we attempt to poke holes in their arguments and conclusions, as more informed comments and questions tend to lead to far more productive and stimulating discussions (I can imagine the RC moderators rolling their eyes and chuckling over some of the debates carried out here). I say that because it appears to me that at least 50% of the comments posted on the RC threads are attempts to rebut comments from skeptics (some admitted, some not) that are based on misinformation, logical fallacies, and misrepresentation (I’m not saying your comments fall into those categories) But, that is just my humble opinion – I’m merely a visitor here…and I do enjoy a bit of intellectual sparring.

  398. Timothy Chase:

    Rob,

    I have a lot of work to do myself in this area, but I will see if I can share it with others if I am able to do enough.

    Anyway, thank you.

  399. Timothy Chase:

    PS to Rob

    Do stick around. I would miss you if you didn’t.

  400. James:

    Re #379: [I agree, for skeptics to gain a point we ought to confront the AGW science with scientific alternatives. But we might not have figured it out rigorously enough yet — and we shouldn’t have to accede while we try to figure it out.]

    I think the problem isn’t that you (by which I mean the whole skeptic/denialist community) haven’t had time to figure tthings out. It’s that you’ve made up your mind in advance what you want the answer to be – that you can go on burning oil & coal with no adverse effects – and you simply refuse to recognize that the real world isn’t cooperating with your desires. Your position is roughly analogous to a Flat Earther trying to come up with a scientific explanation for satellites :-)

  401. ray ladbury:

    Rod, Imagine if we applied your standard to quantum mechanics, or relativity, or the theory of evolution. We cannot accept a theory until we explain it to every moron who thinks light flatulence with a match is about as exciting as life gets. Now, keep in mind. I am not talking about the standard for taking political and economic action, but the standard of scientific proof. You are asking for unanimity of even the uninformed and uninterested. Unanimity is not possible even among experts. Einstein rejected quantum mechanics to his dying day. Should we quit studying quantum computing because of that? And if you feel that such unanimity is not required to accept quantum mechanics or evolution, why is it necessary for anthropogenic causation of climate change? Rather, would it not be more reasonable that the public becomes involved at the policy stage–the stage where it actually affects their interests? I have faith in people’s ability to understand their interests most of the time. I do not have faith in their ability to concentrate long enough to understand every detail of Earth’s climate.

  402. Chuck Booth:

    Re 397 erratum

    I meant to write: “…as if an incorrect or misleading comment by me (or another NON-climatologist)…”

  403. Tim McDermott:

    RodB: I think it’s far simpler than that. If person A says, “I’ve determined something here, so we have to upset the global apple cart”, he ought to have to explain it a bit. It’s not our onus to prove him wrong.
    My first reaction to this was that the folks upsetting things on a global scale are the folks dumping a poision into the global atmosphere. Just because throwing your wastes into the sky hasn’t killed the ekosystem yet doesn’t mean it is safe. In fact, the Permian Extinction tells us just the opposite, that it is damned dangerous (>95% of sea vertibrate species and ~75% of land species went extinct, iirc. It was triggered by CO2 from siberian volcanic activity.) Compared to that, one point of GDP growth for a century is small potatoes in my book. It seems to me that if you want to continue to release fossil carbon, you have an obligation to demonstrate that it is safe. And the physics isn’t on your side.

    My second thought is, who gets to vote? Are you inclined to include the 500 million people who rely on the Ganges for food and agriculture? Recall that there are estimates, based on observed retreat, that the glaciers that feed the Ganges will be gone in 20-30 years. Will you give a vote to the folks in Bangaladesh, who are almost certainly going to get flooded out in the next two centuries, if not a lot sooner? How about the Brazilians, who are starting to see the failure of the rains that sustain the amazon?
    I suspect that if everybody got a vote, the SUV drivers, and the carbon industry, would lose. From my point of view, yours is the elitist position.

  404. Philippe Chantreau:

    Rod, you sure have made this thread go on, I salute you for that. “ought to explain it a bit.” That is a reasonable statement, can’t really disagree with it. Keep in mind, however, that the explaining part is where the itch is. Faced with an explanation of difficult concepts, many simple minded people will be lost and retreat to what is well known and clear to them. RC does the best job I’ve seen so far on climate science, although a good science writer would serve the site well to make the difficult topics more accessible for the like of me (stratospheric cooling or IR absorbtion/radiation come to mind).

    John, thanks for your input and the links, very interesting stuff there.

  405. Luke:

    If the people at the G8 summit had agreed to implement emissions laws to avoid dangerous climate change and limit global warming to below 2degC and if everyone worked with these laws could the warming still be kept below 2degC?

    Is it actually possible to stabilise at 2degC?

  406. nicolas L.:

    re 405 Luke

    Well, you could find at least a partial answer to your question in the 2007 report of the IPCC 3rd working group (the Summary for Policy Makers sums it up nicely): http://www.ipcc.ch/SPM040507.pdf
    To stabilize the CO2 concentrations around 450 ppm (which would be the equivalent of a 2 degree rise in temperature compared to the pre industrial global mean temp.), we should cut our use of GHG by at least 50% by 2050(the range given is 50 to 85%).
    I think 50% by 2050 is what the Germany has pushed for during the G8 summit.
    Now, is it doable? I like to be optimistic, but I got a bit of a choc when I read in the same report than human GHG emissions had raised by 70% between 1970 and 2004 (going from 29 gigatonnes equ. CO2 / year to 49 gigatonnes equ. CO2 / year).
    Ok, I let you read the report who’ll give you much more accurate clues than me to answer your questionsâ?¦

  407. Barton Paul Levenson:

    [[I believe that our supposedly civilized has failed its citizens by failing to teach them the rudements of informal logic and rationality. ]]

    Hear, hear! I wish kids had to take at least one class in logic in elementary school or high school. If most of the populace could recognize an ad hominem argument, a fallacy of composition or division, or a non sequitur, perhaps fewer people would believe stupid things.

  408. Timothy Chase:

    I (#384) had written:

    I believe that our supposedly civilized [society] has failed its citizens by failing to teach them the rudements of informal logic and rationality.

    Barton Paul Levenson (#407) wrote:

    Hear, hear! I wish kids had to take at least one class in logic in elementary school or high school. If most of the populace could recognize an ad hominem argument, a fallacy of composition or division, or a non sequitur, perhaps fewer people would believe stupid things.

    I can’t believe I forgot the work society!

    But yes, I believe that informal logic is something that needs to be taught as part of a high school education. (If it were taught much earlier, it might all too easily be forgotten.) I have thought as much for a fair number of years now. Over a decade at least.

    It might also help to slip in a little self-referential argumentation to show why radical skepticism is self-defeating and suplement the critique of circular reasoning, explain what “prove a negative” actually means – and give instances of where you can prove a negative while explaining why the initial burden of proof lies with the individual who asserts the positive. Then I would include a little elementary induction, black swans example might be nice, and could be tied together with the “initial burden of proof.” Then perhaps throw in a little regarding the scientific method.

    But I probably wouldn’t want anything more – beyond what is traditionally regarded as informal logic. Some might consider this little adendum to the traditional a bit much, but one can dream…

  409. Jim Galasyn:

    In 394 Rod wrote:

    Well, I guess a smoking gun like the entire Arctic melting would do it — but by then it’s too late and whether I’m finally convinced will not matter a twit to anybody. More peer reviewed papers or an even larger consensus definitely will not do it (if it would it would have already). I do question the accuracy and veracity of certain pieces of the science. I’ve mentioned a couple of examples as requested before, but it’s not helpful to go over them again. A number of folks have tried to alleviate my doubts, to no avail so far, and I view the ball is in my court to get my doubts more precise and specific.

    So the collapse of the Greenland ice sheet wouldn’t be adequate for you — it would have to be the whole Arctic, to convince you, eh? You’re a tough audience!

    I echo Ray’s post in 401: Do you hold other scientific disciplines to a similar standard of evidence? For example, the case for the Big Bang is similarly inferential and not falsifiable by direct experiment. Is your level of doubt about the Big Bang comparable to your doubt about AGW?

    Much of geology and astronomy is also inferential — maybe you doubt the theory of plate tectonics, or the modern interpretation of the H-R diagram?

    If your doubts apply equally across these disciplines, then I suppose you have a consistent position. If not, why are you particularly doubtful about climate science?

  410. Rod B:

    re 401 (Ray): [Now, keep in mind. I am not talking about the standard for taking political and economic action, but the standard of scientific proof.]

    Point well taken. I was referring to the political and cultural actions demanded, which does require the “approval” of even dummies, not just the science, which does not. Whether the populace agreed or not with relativity, QEM, or evolution had zero affect on their lives and it mattered not (much) to the scientists. I think my point is still (somewhat) valid, however. While RC is a scientific and not a political blog/forum, none-the-less the scientific posts are awash with telling us what we all must do, now!

  411. Rod B:

    re 404: [Faced with an explanation of difficult concepts, many simple minded people will be lost]

    True; I didn’t say it is easy for y’all. One mitigating factor is that you really don’t have to convince the populace, “just” their political/cultural representatives. (If it would have required populace approval we never would have fought the Revolutionary War, WWI, WWII, maybe the Korean War, or, likely, Viet Nam. The Spanish-American War would have been a cinch, though.) This is ethical provided the politicos are truly looking out for the people, which might cause a problem in many countries.

  412. Rod B:

    re 409 (Jim): Yeah, I was being hyperbolic — the greenland ice sheet would probably do it!

    I answered in another post that the difference is the effect on lives, societies, and cultures, of which AGW is potentially tremendous, the Big Bang theory is not. Actually, while not as great as my concerns with AGW, I do have serious doubts (or at least unanswered — and maybe unanswerable — questions) with the Big Bang. I buy plate tectonics, relativity, QEM (though it drives me crazy); “H-R diagrams” doesn’t ring a bell; I have minor questions with the holes in evolution (as an extension of the Big Bang). NB! But all this is just for the record; not trying to stir the pot here…….

  413. Jim Galasyn:

    Re 412:

    Sorry “H-R diagram” is the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, from which astronomers first inferred stellar development from birth to death.

    Political and social considerations aside, is there something about climate science in particular which makes you doubt the AGW result? Maybe some systematic errors or procedural flaws unique to climate science?

  414. ray ladbury:

    Rod, Hertzsprung-Russell diagrams (or H-R diagrams) relate a star’s state of evolution to its color brightness and color–pretty cool, really:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H-R_diagram

    Really, my contention with the denialists is that they seem to start from a position of opposition to what they assume will be the required remedies (a not unreasonable qualm given some discussions) and jump right into opposing the science. The thing is that their opinions on economic and/or political measures are valid (at least if they are informed), but the generally don’t have a clue about the science or even science in general. The premise behind scientific consensus is that the people who are gathering and interpreting the evidence are most likely what it means, what its limitations are and what positions/hypotheses/theories would be supported by it. When you venture outside of that group, understanding decreases exponentially with distance from the data. It is not a reasonable position to reject science because it cannot be explained to a person who cannot follow a logical argument based on induction and who considers Rush Limbaugh or James Inhofe a scientific authority.
    On the other hand, I would not arrogate to myself to decide what is in their best interests, so they must have a voice in policy. The irony is that by rejecting the science, they abdicate their position in the debate over what to do about climate change–where their true interests and expertise could be useful.

  415. John Mashey:

    Like I said in #368, much of this discussion has almost *nothing* to do with climate science, but rather psychology (especially fallacy #6 from that list, Appeal to consequences of a belief).

    Rod B is at least being honest: he has set the bar very high for believing AGW because if he believed it, he would have to think about changing lifestyle. Possibly his strong disbelief in the effects of smoking/secondhand smoke is similar.

    In politics, money counts, and fossil fuels companies (and tobacco companies) have a lot to spend to protect their interests, hence it is often easier to buy votes in legislatures than convince voters. Greenland & Antarctica could melt, but it’s unlikely that that evidence would change Joe Barton’s position on AGW.

    re: #407
    yes: logic & especially critical thinking should be taught (and thank goodness, in some places it is, or at least was, when I was in in high school). Learning early to evaluate conflicting sources, weigh evidence and detect BS is priceless.

    A little game theory & decision theory is helpful.

    Finally, basic probability & statistics are likely more useful for many people than trigonometry or calculus.

    Hence, I think some simulation games are especially helpful for education.
    SimCity or Civilization would be good examples:
    – probababilistic, unlike chess/go, which are deterministic
    – incomplete information, unlike chess/go
    – short-term decisions have long-term delayed consequences
    – continual trade-offs are required in doing resource allocation

    In some versions of Civilization, global warming effects were sometimes relevant.

    Apparently Microsoft is looking for games that incorporate global warming.

  416. Timothy Chase:

    John Mashley (#415) wrote:

    In some versions of Civilization, global warming effects were sometimes relevant.

    Apparently Microsoft is looking for games that incorporate global warming.

    Civilization might not be that bad as it tends to be more cerebral. But games that incorporate themes like climate change have always made me twitchy. At a certain level, games could descend just a little too far in the direction of that “Left Behind” game, bypassing the critical faculty which is an individual’s center of independence and going for indoctrination.

    One positive development though – Google Earth. It is a sign of what is possible by means of the internet, showing people what is actually happening in various parts of the globe, tied into various educational sites. Another thing I would like to see is a wiki which explains everything from the basic physics that is required in order to understand climate change, the greenhouse effect, the carbon cycle and so on. Bring it all together in one organized resource available to anyone with a connection to the web.

    I remember seeing some comments not too long ago from people looking at northern Canada through Google Earth. They saw these lakes, quite circular, but they didn’t know what they were. I saw them and I knew immediately what they were: thermokarst lakes, forming in the permafrost, releasing methane into the atmosphere.

    A couple of weeks ago, I had to reach my wife but I didn’t know the telephone number of the bookstore she worked at or even the name of the store itself. But I had been there. I had a general idea of where it was located. With Google Maps I was able to bring up the bookstores in that neighborhood, find one that looked like it was in the right place, then look at the pictures of the front of the store and even read reviews of the store by people who had visited there. I recognized the store immediately from the pictures, including one showing the chest-high folding heavy wood sign out front.

    Imagine what you could do with that in illustrating the various forms of feedback which exist in the melting of glaciers, the drainage channels, the dark snow absorbing sunlight. There is that video of the Arctic cap from 1958 to I believe 2003 where it looks like it is being sucked down a drain and there is the video of the scientists scrambling to save their instruments when observing a glacier. Then there are the before and after pictures of glaciers and the charts showing global glacier decline. A great deal can and will be done by means of the web.

  417. John Mashey:

    re: Google Earth: yes, a Good Thing. We used it when it was Keyhole, and before that, ran the demo “From Outer Space to in your Face” at SGI.

    GE is a (good) mechanism for accessing data, but not a mechanism for giving young people practice in making decisions, especially complicated ones with long-deferred results.

    Global warming wasn’t a major point (in Civ), it was just something that tended to hit if there were several large civilizations fighting wars and industrializing heavily and early with coal. I just remember once what a shock it was the first time warming started turning good farmlands into dustbowls, although it was less deleterious than nuclear wars.

  418. Rod B:

    re 413,414: I am familiar with Hertzsprung-Russell diagrams, just didn’t click on “H-R” at first. It is pretty cool; I’m quite taken with the whole stellar evolution thing and once wrote a (really bad layman summary) paper on it.

    There are subtleties in the “denialist problem” that need to be understood. I agree with what Ray says: one should not blindly deny AGW just because he fears the difficulties of its remedies. With a subtle but significant difference, before I jump into and support the remedies, which might be horrendous even if necessary, I want to strongly challenge the science, with some basis and not just willy-nilly, and prove their case almost until they are sick — but hopefully sometime before we all die from AGW!

  419. climate skeptic?:

    Hello again, back for just one question:

    I have been reading literally hundreds and hundreds of pages of Roger Pielke Senior http://climatesci.colorado.edu/ , and he seems to be coming down like a ton of bricks on the IPCC. He seems to be a respected colleague and in friendly terms with many RC folk. Or this is the impression you get with googling. My question is about his recent criticism. Roger Pielke is very articulate and his rhetoric is psychologically impressive. He comes across as principled, logical and very intelligent. But behind the carefully expressed words, his criticism is very serious in nature. He only stops short of accusing the IPCC of scientific Fraud and corruption. But he isn’t saving his words when describing (in detail and with numerous references) how the science has been politicized. In short his position is that, scientific consensus does not exist and to hide the reality, that AGW research is full of uncertainties, the select few IPCC authors (purely for political reasons) have deliberately and arbitrarily decided to ignore or minimize the findings of contradicting PEER REVIEWED climate assessments, so not to damage the image that is sold to the public, media and the politicians.

    He seemingly proves(?) this with a comprehensive statistical analysis of the conclusions and implications of the accepted and ignored peer reviewed(so not to forget!) papers. Accepted = in line with the IPCC consensus. Ignored = challenging the IPCC consensus. If Mr Pielke is even 30% correct in his direct accusations, then this is nothing short of a scandal.

    And he goes even further by indicating that the very reason the IPCC discussion process is not publically available, is to hide that fact.

    I also read hundreds of comments. Even the best attempts at rebutting his claims (some of them familiar names on RC) seemed weak, incoherent and lacking in substance. Why isn’t the discussion process open? I can’t find anything with googling either. I am gobsmacked. There were also other scientists, mathematicians and computer experts on his webblog (climatescience), agreeing with him, shattering the precious image of consensus. And he seems to be saying that this deliberate distortion of scientific process has been going on for some two decades. That the complex and uncertain process of scientific study has been turned into “scientific fact” to sell it to the public for political gain.

    You have had time to reply to this mostly pointless fraud Beck in 3 or 4 different editorial pieces. The accusations leveled by Mr. Pielke on IPCC are far more far reaching and serious in nature, and supported with concrete hard evidence, or so it seems. It’s not just about who is right or wrong anymore, but now we are discussing the integrity of AGW research, a subject that is directly linked to world wide political structures and literally trillions of dollars.

    Mr. Pielke’s accusations are far too detailed, analytically supported and comprehensive to be ignored, and above all – far too serious.

    Can anyone explain to me, why not to take what he is saying seriously?

  420. Chuck Booth:

    Re 410-412 rod b (and other skeptics):

    There is certainly less consensus among economists about the potential costs of dealing with AGW than there is among climatologists that AGW is real (they don’t call economics the “dismal science” for nothing). How do you decide which economists to believe?

  421. Rick Brown:

    I almost feel I should apologize for taking this discussion back to its nominal topic, but folks might find this article in Rolling Stone of interest. It ends up with the G8 Summit, but lays out some interesting history prior to that.

  422. dhogaza:

    It’s not just about who is right or wrong anymore, but now we are discussing the integrity of AGW research, a subject that is directly linked to world wide political structures and literally trillions of dollars.

    Yeah, climate science is a big ‘ole commie conspiracy dedicated to driving humanity back to the stone age.

    Oh, by the way, in those hundreds of pages, did Pielke explain why and when the laws of physics changed so CO2 doesn’t trap IR?

  423. Philippe Chantreau:

    I started looking at Pielke’s stuff on the U of Colorado site. I saw a lot (really a lot) of editorial pieces, critics of other non peer-reviewed works (books, etc…) and I had to go back to work before I could actually find something peer-reviewed or of consequence. I don’t doubt that the guy has a lot of publications but I have not seen much meaty stuff yet (couldn’t look in depth, though). He is an environmental scientist, apparently with a focus on climate and he seems to write a lot about policy. I gathered that he thinks we should do more on adapting to climate change because it is inevitable and not so much to influence it because it might be useless to try. Any of the contributors or regular bloggers here care to comment on his work?

  424. Timothy Chase:

    Rick Brown (#421) wrote:

    I almost feel I should apologize for taking this discussion back to its nominal topic, but folks might find this article in Rolling Stone of interest. It ends up with the G8 Summit, but lays out some interesting history prior to that.

    It seemed a little over the top in the first couple paragraphs (although not by that much, I suppose), but the rest of the article was rather insightful. As usual, starting with the conclusions they want to reach, then working their way back to a denial of the reality.

    Nice to know the details – and I personally wasn’t aware of the extent to which the G8 had been derailed by US politics, or for that matter, the extent of Exxon’s influence in this administration. And yes, I like the comparison to the origins of a certain conflict. I expected as much but it is nice to know some of the details.

    One of the things which has me worried is that when we pull out of that civil war, Iran already has clear intent of moving in, Saudi Arabia has suggested the same, and Turkey may do the same – and the Kurds claim lands in Turkey. The whole thing could become just the sort of conflagration with the Middle East spinning out of control that would distract the world when we most need to act on limiting climate change.

    It could be this administration’s greatest legacy.

    Incidently, my apologies for dragging US politics into this, but at this point it seemed appropriate.

  425. Philippe Chantreau:

    Well, it appears I was looking at Pielke Jr., who is actually a political scientist. From what I gathered so far, Pielke Sr (a meteorologist) has based his argument on CO2 playing a minor role and land use being more significant. He also seems to promote adaptation to climate change by focusing on specific local vulnerability. The skeptic community latched on some of his commments about ocean heat content that were based on the flawed data that readers of this thread are familiar with. He is critical of the IPCC because of a process in which according to him, scientists review their own work. He also rejects the qualificative of climate skeptic and is clear on his opinion that humans are changing the climate. That’s where I got so far.

  426. climate skeptic?:

    “Yeah, climate science is a big ‘ole commie conspiracy dedicated to driving humanity back to the stone age.”

    Mr. Pielke is a climate scientist.

    “Oh, by the way, in those hundreds of pages, did Pielke explain why and when the laws of physics changed so CO2 doesn’t trap IR?”

    No. But he did explain several strong reasons why we the signifigance of anthropogenic CO2 forcing should be re-assessed. I especially liked the articles, and links on the computer models. How inexcact and speculative the science of CAGW is behind the facade. How the anthropogenic CO2 forcing is modelled as that which cannot be explained by other causes. Then when someone suggests other causes in peer reviewed articles, such as: regional heterogenuous climate forcings, landscape change climate forcing, black carbon deposition on snow and sea ice climate forcing, cosmic ray climate forcing, expanded solar (see Abdussamatov and 80 and 200 year cycles, discussed above) climate forcing.. all these are automatically dismissed as insignificant. The reasons for such dismissions are more political than they are scientific. An open study process does not exist re: IPCC, and the discussion process happens behind closed doors for this very reason.

    Mr Pielke’s detailed analysis of such distortion of scientific integrity is very convincing. I find it curious that e.g. the superiority/inferiority of different models is not seriously debated in the IPCC process, but the scale of vastly varying results is expressed in a simple 1.5C-4.5C form. It’s not like these models would be perfect, yet presumably “the debate is over”. For an example, very recently NASA compared satellite data on ocean rainfall to AOGCM modelled results (which are quoted in the IPCC reports, to be likely correct) and found out that “The increase in global rainfall associated with global warming may be three times greater than currently predicted,”. In other words the models were way off the mark on rain, droughts and floods. Yet they were supposed to be “likely correct. And are still thought to be so by policy makers reading the latest IPCC report.

    I am becoming more convinced in the belief, that to understand AGW research a politically involved layperson (such as myself) needs to look at the psychology of AGW research, and then apply common sense.

    Let me quote Jim Clarke on Mr. Pielke’s page:

    “While the scientific method dictates that we adhere to logical analysis and the incorporation of all legitimate data into the development of our hypothesis, our human nature compels us to adopt a paradigm and defend it beyond any reasonable measure.

    Evidence that this is occurring in the AGW debate is found in the type of arguments used to defend the paradigm. The most obvious is the ad hominem attack, like blatantly calling someone a shill. Often the attacks are more subtle, like making unsubstantiated references to possible motives or guilt through (unproven) association. The truth is not important. It is only the allegation and how often it is repeated that matters.

    The consensus argument is another sign that the paradigm is being supported by less than scientific reasoning.

    Perhaps the most widely used technique by those who claim scientific understanding of AGW is the selective use of a logical argument. In this case the defenders use sound reasoning to question alternative ideas, but they refuse to apply the same logic to their own ideas. We see this again and again in the AGW debate.”

    For an example Barton Paul Levenson here noted recently that he believes the most exact estimation for the warming effect of doubling the atmospheric CO2 would be 2.8 degrees Celsius. That would be the result of global CO2 negligence and/or indifference. But this 2.8 C is derived from an abductive analysis. In the computer models that gave this answer “2.8C” the numerical values given to the various climate forcing parameters like listed above (regional heterogenuous climate forcings, landscape change climate forcing, black carbon deposition on snow and sea ice climate forcing, cosmic ray climate forcing, expanded solar climate forcing and n. UNKNOWN climate forcings) may not reflect the true signifigance of these non C02 climate forcings. Some of them anthropogenic some of them natural. Increase these numerical values a bit and the answer the model will give will be significantly less than 2.8C.

    So I reason from all this, that it is only logical to assume, that the answer will be towards the lower end of the scale. For an example 1.7C anthropogenic warming and -0.4C solar cooling along the 21st century wouldn’t necessarily result in a negative outcome for the planet.

    As a result, and I like Mr. Pielke’s environmentalist philosophy on this, CO2 obsession can present a danger to the environment.

    Our resources to tackle environmental problems are limited. Excessive concentration on CO2 is likely to diminish the resources to fight: deforestation, ocean resource depletetion, biodiversity loss and global clean water shortage.. among many others.

    Clean water shortage is today affecting a billion people. By 2025 it could affect 3 billion people. An estimated 100 billion dollars minimum (and growing, that’s an old figure from couple of years ago) is needed annually to prevent a global humanitarian crisis from occurring. And that is only clean water shortage.

    Clean water shortage is a problem we can confirm with 99%+ certainty. As are deforestation, and biodiversity loss and ocean resource depletetion.

    The probability of CAGW is much much less than that. Even the worst case scenario of “probably 2.8C plus/minus other factors” isn’t necessarily as devastating as are clean water shortage and deforestation.
    And the case for the worst case scenario seems very questionable. Even the metrics to count these values used in the modelling are not exact by any means, as Mr. Pielke explains on his weblog. (See for an example: Important New Paper On The Urban Effect On Temperature And Other Climate Metrics, http://tinyurl.com/2o59dl

    Yet, trillions may be invested into curbing CO2 emissions in the next 50 years. Some of that money could be put into good use on clean water and forestation just to name a few, PROVEN, extremely serious environmental concerns.

    So it’s not only about the cost of CAGW, but also how Green and environmental friendly CAGW truly is?

    I will have to ponder on these questions a lot more, but that’s where I will stop for a moment unless given strong reasons to think otherwise.

  427. Jim Galasyn:

    In 416, Timothy wrote:

    Imagine what you could do with that in illustrating the various forms of feedback which exist in the melting of glaciers, the drainage channels, the dark snow absorbing sunlight. There is that video of the Arctic cap from 1958 to I believe 2003 where it looks like it is being sucked down a drain and there is the video of the scientists scrambling to save their instruments when observing a glacier. Then there are the before and after pictures of glaciers and the charts showing global glacier decline. A great deal can and will be done by means of the web.

    Imagine, for example, The Climate Hot Map done with Google Earth.

  428. Jim Galasyn:

    In #426, climate skeptic? wrote:

    Clean water shortage is a problem we can confirm with 99%+ certainty. As are deforestation, and biodiversity loss and ocean resource depletetion.

    While not disagreeing with these details, I’ll suggest that if you’re concerned about the health of the oceans, you need to be concerned about anthropogenic CO2 emissions. The oceans are clearly becoming more acidic, and they may become more anoxic, because atmospheric CO2 concentration is increasing.

  429. John Mashey:

    re: #426 Climate Skeptic

    Over in Some Are Boojums, I offered CS to negotiate a Long Bet due no later than 2020, i.e., a testable proposition based on Abdusamatov’s claim that we’d start seeing a temperature downturn around 2012-2015, which I deem unlikely (modulo big volcanoes and El Nino gyrations, so bet has to be crafted carefully.)

    http://www.someareboojums.org/blog/?p=7
    Start with Site Admin, June 15th, 2007 at 3:36pm to see the relevant discussion.

    Since CS is *still* mentioning Abdusamatov, I again make the same offer, except I’ll go further, and offer that we check out and choose a mutually acceptable “third-world water” NGO to receive the winnings, i.e., somebody like Global Water. With each of us betting $1000, this would *guarantee* some water-NGO $2,000 no later than 2020.

    Of course, this is one of those strange bets where I’d really prefer to lose than win: it would be wonderful if solar irradiance suddenly dropped enough around 2012 to cool the planet.

    (If this is deemed too off-topic for RC, we can go back to Some Are Boojums to negotiate).

  430. climate skeptic?:

    Re: health of the oceans;

    There were fish in the oceans, when atmospheric CO2 levels were 10x times higher than today.

    In other words, there are more pressing concerns. Above all anthropogenic nutrient loading (from agriculture, industrial activity, sewages, chemicals etc.) and overfishing.

    The concern is extremely valid, that if we concentrate our environmental worries, fears, media attention, resources, efforts, money, research and so forth excessively on CO2, which may or may not be a serious problem, then we risk neglecting other, more proven environmental issues, and the planet isn’t necessarily better off for it.

    I hadn’t realised this myself earlier, when I supported radical CO2 emission reductions on the precautionary principle. But this is way more complex than that. It’s not an utopia and the green resources are limited (see it as x.xx% of GDP with the rest going to personal life, security, health care, education and so on), while the world population is growing and the strain on natural resources becoming ever more demanding. What if anthropogenic CO2 isn’t a serious problem and we continue on the IPCC trail? Then we could spend trillions for the chance to film Don Quijote on any given square mile of coastal line on the planet? OK we get cleaner air, earplug collections and other side benefits, but seriously that money could have been spent n. times more effectively for the good of the environment. In other words the cost/benefit analysis of CAGW politics comes with potentially huge losses attached. If we prevent catastrophic warming fair enough, then the IPCC route was the lesser evil and the resources were well spent. But if CAGW loses the C, the end result will be misused resources and the neglection of more serious environmental concerns.

    We need an analysis of how likely do scientists consider the C in CAGW. If Pielke is right that in computer modelling the “C”, first order climate forcings were totally neglected and that even the metric system isn’t reliable then I firmly believe that we should put (radical) CO2 reductions on hold and wait till 2020 when more research into the subject, and above all temperature trends are likely to answer the question. In the meanwhile Merkel should be more concerned about the dying Baltic sea than CO2.

  431. Dan:

    re: 426. “The consensus argument is another sign that the paradigm is being supported by less than scientific reasoning.”

    This is patently false. Consensus is brought about by scientific reasoning. And if you really want to get a feel for Pieke’s slanted “science”, read his testimony before Congress last year and the comments here on RC.

    [Response: Wrong Pielke… – gavin]

  432. Barton Paul Levenson:

    [[ expanded solar (see Abdussamatov and 80 and 200 year cycles, discussed above) climate forcing.. all these are automatically dismissed as insignificant. The reasons for such dismissions are more political than they are scientific. ]]

    No, that’s a completely bogus picture. First of all, solar forcing is considered in all the models. Second, it can’t be causing the present warming. There are three reasons, all of them scientific and not political, as to why.

    1. The Solar constant hasn’t increased noticeably for 50 years. We’ve been measuring it from satellites like Nimbus-7 and the Solar Maximum Mission.

    2. Increased sunlight would heat the stratosphere first. But the stratosphere is cooling, something predicted by the climate modelers on the basis of increased greenhouse gases. Ozone depletion accounts for some of this, but not enough.

    3. Increased sunlight would heat the equator more than the poles (Lambert’s cosine law). Instead, the poles are heating faster, another feature of the warming predicted by the climate modelers on the basis of increased greenhouse gases.

  433. nicolas L.:

    re 426

    “Our resources to tackle environmental problems are limited. Excessive concentration on CO2 is likely to diminish the resources to fight: deforestation, ocean resource depletetion, biodiversity loss and global clean water shortage.. among many others. ”

    Limited by what and by how much?
    All those environmental problems you cite will be strongly worsened under a warming climate. Basically, when you try to protect a resource, like water, you have to protect it from every sources of danger. If you spend several billions of dollars to provide clean water to regions that don’t have, meaning introducing water treatment processes, and that a few years later you have a general drought due to consequences of global warming, what will be the point of having water treatment processes without any water to treat anymore? You will have lost your investment because you didn’t take account of all the parameters that could have limited your resource.
    What you apparently fail to understand is that you don’t tackle environmental problems and their sources separately. To be efficient, you have to deal with all the parameters at the same time.

    “Some of that money could be put into good use on clean water and forestation just to name a few, PROVEN, extremely serious environmental concerns.”
    Some of the money already isâ?¦ Have you heard about the Millennium Development Goals?
    http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/
    Or about Official Development Assistance?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Official_development_assistance

  434. Jim Galasyn:

    In 430, climate skeptic? wrote:

    There were fish in the oceans, when atmospheric CO2 levels were 10x times higher than today.

    Were there? It seems a consensus is developing that above 1000 ppm, the oceans essentially die. You’re claiming that at 3850 ppm, the oceans will be fine? Color me skeptical.

  435. Nick Gotts:

    Re #430 [There were fish in the oceans, when atmospheric CO2 levels were 10x times higher than today.]
    As with many aspects of GHG-related problems, the key is not absolute values but the speed of change. There are processes stabilising the pH of the oceans, but these operate over thousands of years – too slow to buffer the current CO2 increase. See the topic on this site (under “Oceans”):
    “The Acid Ocean â�� the Other Problem with CO2 Emission”. It will be corals and some important kinds of phytoplankton – organisms that secrete CaCO3 to form their skeletons – that are directly affected.

    [In other words, there are more pressing concerns. Above all anthropogenic nutrient loading (from agriculture, industrial activity, sewages, chemicals etc.) and overfishing.]
    These are certainly serious problems – but are likely to interact synergistically with changes in temperature, acidity and salinity caused by GHG emissions. Incidentally, one major source of excess nutrient loading – agricultural nitrates – are also a major source of N2O, a significant greenhouse gas.

    With respect to water availability, one of the major concerns about AGW is the melting of glaciers in the Himalayas and Andes, upon which hundreds of millions of people depend for water. This is already happening.

  436. Jim Eager:

    Re 426 climate skeptic: “(see Abdussamatov and 80 and 200 year cycles, discussed above)”

    We’d love to see them, but so far you have not even seen them yourself let alone shown them to us, yet you cling to them as if they were proven fact while dismissing hard data that is publicly available.

    I’m sorry, but I don’t believe that you are a skeptic.
    Your willingness to grasp at things that only hint at supporting some other causation suggests that you are little more than a denialist posing as a skeptic. Perhaps that is what the question mark in your signature indicates?

  437. climate skeptic?:

    “Some of the money already is”

    That’s not the point, is it? Much more could and should be spent.

    “No, that’s a completely bogus picture.”

    I can’t believe you mean that seriously. You picked one out of many parameters. Let’s look at the others: regional heterogenuous climate forcings, landscape change climate forcing, black carbon deposition on snow and sea ice climate forcing, cosmic ray climate forcing, and n. unknown climate forcings. So even if Abdussamatov and his colleagues are wrong about their theories, this does not validate “the C”. The C is derived from abductive analysis, in which these other climate forcing parameters in the computer models are usually given insignificant numeric values (it’s possible that some of them are neglected totally). They are so called secondary forcings (if I got the terms right), and when you have a warming of x=Celsius to explain, and you count out, dismiss, neglect other parameters (whether it is justified, is upto debate and not bogus argument at all) then of course you will derive a catastrophic numeric value for the anthropogenic CO2 climate forcing. And it bothers me that this data (the modelled parameters) is not made available. These parameters are in the very core of this discussion and these are kept secret from the public. Could anyone give a sensible answer why this is so?

    “All those environmental problems you cite will be strongly worsened under a warming climate.”

    Under a catastrophically warming climate, yes. Whether the climate is warming catastrophically that is the question. If it isn’t and we spend trillions on it, don’t you agree that that money could have been put into much better use for the environment and humanity in general? On clean water, forestation, population planning and so on.

    “Were there? It seems a consensus is developing that above 1000 ppm, the oceans essentially die.”

    Consensus? Ocean acidification was brought to the spotlight by the Royal Society two years ago. If you read through their paper, you will notice they admit their conclusions are hugely speculative. If I understood correctly, we are just starting the first direct measurements in Alaska. Also about this problem, a lot more will be known by 2020. It’s again hypothesis versus much more proven concerns. The disastrous effects of anthropogenic nutrition loading and overfishing on the oceans are proven with very high certainty. And no, the oceans will not die from 0.3-0.5 degree surface water acidification.

    “With respect to water availability, one of the major concerns about AGW is the melting of glaciers in the Himalayas and Andes, upon which hundreds of millions of people depend for water. This is already happening.”

    That depends on the C in CAGW. The planet has got warmer in the past three decades, that will naturally have an effect. Whether that trend will continue catastrophically is another question. AGW isn’t a grave concern in itself. The planet warming by 1 degree Celsius wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. There would be plusses and minuses evening out.

    Let’s imagine an alternative scenario:

    Radical CO2 reduction is put on hold until 2020 and in the meanwhile we can improve energy efficiency among other things and concentrate on research. Now if by 2020 global temperatures have not risen noticeably from 1995, 1997, 1998 etc. and in addition studies into non CO2 climate forcings have revealed concrete doubts about the strenght of anthropogenic CO2 forcing, and studies into ocean acidification have allayed initial fears, would you still support spending trillions of dollars on curbing CO2 emissions as first order environmental and humanitarian priority? And if still so, why exactly?

    So to conclude my position: Let us put radical changes on hold until around ~2020 or so. It won’t be too late by then to have a global Marshall plan, if the worst case IPCC scenarios are starting to look probable. And if they aren’t looking probable at all, then we have just saved ourselves trillions of dollars to be spent on more pressing concerns.

    Is there a fault in this logic?

  438. Nick Gotts:

    RE #437 [So to conclude my position: Let us put radical changes on hold until around ~2020 or so. It won’t be too late by then to have a global Marshall plan, if the worst case IPCC scenarios are starting to look probable.] It probably would be too late, because of the time-lags involved. That’s one major flaw in your logic.

  439. Jim Eager:

    Re 437 climate skeptic: “Is there a fault in this logic?”

    Yes, a huge fault: waiting until 2020 means that CO2 will for certain not only continue to rise, but accelerate (China just surpassed the United States in annual CO2 emissions), requiring much more draconian future cuts to reduce it to a less damaging level.

    And that continued CO2 rise will mean an even higher rise in temperature and an acceleration in feedbacks.

    Your logic also excludes a third path: IF some other factor or factors were to emerge between now and 2020 the course of action can be changed.

    Again, you are perfectly willing to do nothing on the strength of unproven “what ifs,” yet unwilling to take action based on real, concrete data suggesting a world-wide threat.

    You’re clearly posting to the wrong forum.

  440. llewelly:

    Jim Galasyn wrote:

    In 430, climate skeptic? wrote:

    There were fish in the oceans, when atmospheric CO2 levels were 10x times higher than today.

    Were there? It seems a consensus is developing that above 1000 ppm, the oceans essentially die. You’re claiming that at 3850 ppm, the oceans will be fine? Color me skeptical.

    Different fish. It’s been a long time, and the fish that had evolved to live at 3850 ppm are all extinct. Their modern descendants have evolved to survive under present conditions, and have most likely long lost the ability to survive early high-CO2 conditions. The GEOCARB III estimates (by proxy) )show CO2 levels of about 4000 ppm in the late Devonian (an age known for its numerous fossils of bony fish), about 375 million years ago. (See this graph .) There are a number of different estimates for CO2 levels throughout the Phanerozoic, and some disagreement amongst them, but all agree that it has been over 100 million of years since CO2 levels approached 3850 ppm. “Climate skeptic’s” claim is true, but irrelevant; our concern is with fish alive today, not with fish extinct for over 100 million years. See also Nick Gotts’ comment above.

  441. Nicolas L.:

    re 437

    “Under a catastrophically warming climate, yes. Whether the climate is warming catastrophically that is the question. If it isn’t and we spend trillions on it, don’t you agree that that money could have been put into much better use for the environment and humanity in general? On clean water, forestation, population planning and so on.”

    Numbers please.

    As far as I’m concerned, the economic studies I have read about the cost of GW are pretty clear : the cost of not doing anything to mitigate GW is way superior to the cost of actually doing something (5 to 20% of the annual world GDP by 2050 in the first case, around 1% in the second). And this is not for the worst case scenarios.

    So by mitigating GW you actually save money (that means more will be available to resolve the other problems), and you also tackle one of the main causes of future (I should also say present) environmental and social catastrophes.

    You’re apparently reluctant to spend money to mitigate GW because it’s not 100% sure it’s gonna get worse. You’re right, it’s not 100%, but itâ��s around 95%. Sorry, but I’m not playing on a 1 on 20 bet (specially when my kids are the ones who’ll have to pay if I lose). Putting money on mitigation of GW is not loosing money, itâ��s a long term return investment.

  442. Rod B:

    re 434: [It seems a consensus is developing that above 1000 ppm, the oceans essentially die.]

    (Sigh!) As hard as it is to swallow, consensus is neither a good argument nor a proof of any scientific hypothesis. And that is the best that the 1000ppm deal is. (I’m tired and have to take a nap…..)

  443. John Mashey:

    re: #439

    In the discussion over in Some Are Boojums, http://www.someareboojums.org/blog/?p=7,
    search for “fervent green activist”, which CS describes as being one for 10 years, noting that CAGW started as a political movement of ex-marxists, ex-trotskyists, etc.

    CS says: “Having also ridden myself of the baggage of idealism, I started to look at the CAGW in a new light. All these green movements preaching the mantra,…”

    This endless discussion with CS has little to do with climate science, and a lot to do with psychology. People vary widely in their tolerance for uncertainty. If someone is comfortable only with YES/NO answers, has 100% faith in YES, and that faith gets punctured, they may well flip over into 100% faith in NO, rather than into MAYBE (WEIGH EVIDENCE). Without any pejorative connotations, this seems akin to someone who replaces a strong religious faith with equally ardent atheism.

    Meanwhile, unless posts cross, CS, you still hasn’t even commented on my proffered Long Bet from #429, even though it guarantees extra money to something you claim is important [and actually, which I think is important as well.] You keep talking about waiting until 2020, and I offer to negotiate a bet that ends about then, so that sounds like a good match to me. Maybe RC denizens can help us craft a well-specified, testable bet in place of neverending discussions.

  444. Rod B:

    re “You’re clearly posting to the wrong forum.”

    Jim, did you just declare RC an exclusive mutual admiration society? Darn, and I was getting so much out of RC, too.

  445. Jim Galasyn:

    In 440, llewelly wrote:

    Different fish. It’s been a long time, and the fish that had evolved to live at 3850 ppm are all extinct.

    Thank you for the clarification. It was an entirely different biosphere back then. During the Carboniferous, there were cockroaches a meter long. Clearly, some life can survive rapid climate change. But it’s just as clearly in our interest to maintain the biosphere in which we evolved.

    Climate Skeptic, I entirely agree with your concerns about land use and overexploitation of the oceans. Perhaps you’ll agree that rapid climate changes have occurred in the geological past, and at least some of these were coupled to atmospheric CO2 and were accompanied by mass extinctions. I argue that all these converging pressures, including AGW, are creating a biological crisis that is unprecedented in Earth’s evolutionary history.

    Is mitigating climate change really an either/or proposition? Either we adopt CO2 reduction strategies or we concentrate on the other stressors? It seems to me that the necessary mitigations can be multifaceted and complementary; reducing carbon emissions and fixing atmospheric CO2 can be accompanied by, e.g., improved public transportation and increased organic argriculture.

  446. Jim Eager:

    Re 444 Rod B: “Jim, did you just declare RC an exclusive mutual admiration society?”

    Nope, just observing that CS is clearly not very happy here and is not at all likely to get the satisfaction he is seeking.

  447. Ron Taylor:

    A question for climate skeptic? You seem unwilling to assign any value to scientific consensus.

    Supposing you have terrible chest pain and enter a hospital where you are checked by 100 doctors. Ninety-seven of them, of whom seventy are cardiologists, tell you that you have serious blockage of a coronary artery that requires immediate intervention. The remaining three, two of whom turn out to be dermatologists, tell you that, no, you may have a pulled muscle and, if that is the case, cardiac surgery would waste money and place you needlessly at risk. They suggest you wait and see if the pain goes away.

    So I guess you would check out of the hospital and go play golf?

    [edit – please keep personal statements out of it]

  448. Ray Ladbury:

    Isn’t it amazing how climate change turns climate skeptics into Albert Schweitzer. Whenever anyone brings up remediation of climate change, they discover a very new, but abiding passion for ridding the world of poverty or waterborn deseases, etc. However, even if we give them the benefit of the doubt here, the fallacy is to view the problems of climate change, water quality, poverty and even human rights as decoupled. Climate change will exacerbate all of these problems, and if anyone thinks they’ll be able to convince the developing world to put their dreams of a better life on hold in the name of climate remediation, I would like to be present (with first-aid kit in hand) when they present their modest proposals. The future of Earth’s climate depends critically on the energy decisions that will be made where demand is increasing most rapidly. It is GLOBAL climate change–the solutions will require action on a global effort to translate global commitments down to community and even individual levels.

  449. Jim Galasyn:

    In 448, Ray wrote:

    Climate change will exacerbate all of these problems, and if anyone thinks they’ll be able to convince the developing world to put their dreams of a better life on hold in the name of climate remediation, I would like to be present (with first-aid kit in hand) when they present their modest proposals.

    I retain some hope that developing nations can “skip ahead” to renewables, much as they have with wireless telecommunications. Native Energy provides an interesting model.

  450. Nigel Williams:

    I donâ??t know Jim. Mind you, continued AGW emissions require people to emit them. If we push on with current trends in both the east and the west (and in spite of Hansens hopes it looks likely we will) we will see such climate change that population (and hence emissions) will decline. Along with that decline is a decline in the function of the emitting technology.

    What happens to Asian populations and industry when the Himalayan glaciers are wrung out to a drip? The sea rises a mere metre or two? The drying Amazon dumps its carbon load? Reduced algae growth substrate (pack ice) causes the global fishery to collapse? Central Africa desiccates? Most great American and European coastal cities are blowing bubbles? The wheat belts of the world are dust bowls?

    But that population decline will not occur before CO2 is so far above temperature equilibrium that for many generations the reduction in emissions wont make a useful difference to our predicament anyway.

    There is absolutely no sign of a global consensus at the requisite level to see action on a global-war-type footing that could lead out of this mire in one piece. None.

  451. John Mashey:

    re: #415 and simulation games

    Today’s issue of Science, p 1.702 mentioned a computer game, “FloodRanger”, akin to SimCity but including management of flood defenses, loosely based on East Coast of England, described at:
    http://www.discoverysoftware.co.uk/

    Looks like a worthy idea, and combined with http://flood.firetree.net/,
    one can see why this would especially be of interest to that area.

  452. Ray Ladbury:

    Jim and Nigel,
    Leapfrogging in the developing world is distinctly possible. Indeed, it might well facilitate more rapid growth by insulating fragile developing economies from the shocks of an increasingly volatile energy market. Moreover, such “offsets” might be more economical for countries dependent on “legacy” technologies than making the switch themselves. For such a strategy to work, though, the zero-sum mentality currently prevalent toward “aid” would have to change. If not, it is likely that developing countries will adopt the “cheapest” alternative–whether that is coal or nuclear or cow dung–and the long-term consequences be damned. And that is not selfishness, but survival.

  453. Barton Paul Levenson:

    [[So to conclude my position: Let us put radical changes on hold until around ~2020 or so. It won’t be too late by then to have a global Marshall plan, if the worst case IPCC scenarios are starting to look probable. And if they aren’t looking probable at all, then we have just saved ourselves trillions of dollars to be spent on more pressing concerns.
    Is there a fault in this logic?
    ]]

    Yes, a big one. Tremendous damage will be done by 2020 if we don’t act now. It is already happening. It will get worse as time goes on. And if we’ve done nothing by 2020, it may be that we kick off geophysical feedbacks that make the problem so much worse human civilization will be endangered.

  454. James:

    Re waiting to 2020: As any retirement planner will tell you, the sooner you start saving & investing, the more they pay off in the long run. Suppose you want to buy a new vehicle this year, and have a choice between a Cadillac Escalade (MSRP $54,760) and a Toyota Prius (MSRP $22,175). So right there you’ve saved yourself over $32K. Invest that at a good rate until 2020, and how much more more money will you have?

    Now suppose you take that money, and invest it in some CFL light bulbs, better insulation for your house, maybe even solar heat & hot water. All of a sudden your monthly utility bill is slashed by half or more, and you have an extra $100 or so every month. So you (and a million other people who did the same thing) invest in some solar, wind, & nuclear plants, and pretty soon those start paying dividends.

    Meanwhile you decide to bike to work several days a week, and after a while you notice that the spare tire around your middle is starting to shrink. You find yourself eating less, but enjoying it more (which would have saved you money too, except that you got into gourmet cookery). And after a few years, you find that exercise & healthy eating have saved you the expense of a coronary bypass. You live a long & healthy life spending the dividends you got from cutting your CO2 footprint, and disappointing your heirs.

    Cutting CO2 is going to cost trillions? Right…

    S

  455. Mike Donald:

    #407

    And spotting “false dichotomy”, “strawman argument”, sophistry, “cherry picking”…