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G8 summit declaration

Filed under: — stefan @ 8 June 2007

We assume that many of our readers will be interested in the declaration of the G8 summit in Heiligendamm (Germany), which was agreed yesterday by the leaders of the G8 countries. We therefore document the key passages on climate change below. As usual we refrain from a political analysis, but as scientists we note that it is rewarding to see that the results of climate science are fully acknowledged by the heads of state.

The declaration states:

CLIMATE CHANGE

48. We take note of and are concerned about the recent UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports. The most recent report concluded both, that global temperatures are rising, that this is caused largely by human activities and, in addition,that for increases in global average temperature, there are projected to be major changes in ecosystem structure and function with predominantly negative consequences for biodiversity and ecosystems, e.g. water and food supply.

Fighting Climate Change

49. 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. Taking into account the scientific knowledge as represented in the recent IPCC reports, global greenhouse gas emissions must stop rising, followed by substantial global emission reductions. 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. We commit to achieving these goals and invite the major emerging economies to join us in this endeavour.

50. As climate change is a global problem, the response to it needs to be international. We welcome the wide range of existing activities both in industrialised and developing countries. We share a long-term vision and agree on the need for frameworks that will accelerate action over the next decade. Complementary national, regional and global policy frameworks that co-ordinate rather than compete with each other will strengthen the effectiveness of the measures. Such frameworks must address not only climate change but also energy security, economic growth, and sustainable development objectives in an integrated approach. They will provide important orientation for the necessary future investment decisions.

51. We stress that further action should be based on the UNFCCC principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. We reaffirm, as G8 leaders, our responsibility to act. We acknowledge the continuing leadership role that developed economies have to play in any future climate change efforts to reduce global emissions, so that all countries undertake effective climate commitments tailored to their particular situations. We recognise however, that the efforts of developed economies will not be sufficient and that new approaches for contributions by other countries are needed. Against this background, we invite notably the emerging economies to address the increase in their emissions by reducing the carbon intensity of their economic development. Action of emerging economies could take several forms, such as sustainable development policies and measures, an improved and strengthened clean development mechanism, the setting up of plans for the sectors that generate most pollution so as to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions compared with a business as usual scenario.

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.


455 Responses to “G8 summit declaration”

  1. 51
    Nicolas L. says:

    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).”

  2. 52
    Timothy Chase says:

    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

  3. 53
    John Wegner says:

    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.)

  4. 54
    Timothy Chase says:

    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!

  5. 55
    Timothy Chase says:

    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.

  6. 56
    pat n says:

    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.

  7. 57
    climate skeptic? says:

    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.

  8. 58
    Timothy Chase says:

    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.

  9. 59
    Timothy Chase says:

    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.

  10. 60

    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.

  11. 61
    Jim Galasyn says:

    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?

  12. 62
    Theo H says:

    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

  13. 63
    Zeke Hausfather says:

    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.

  14. 64
    Craig Allen says:

    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.

  15. 65
    Juola (Joe) A. Haga says:

    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?

  16. 66
    John Wegner says:

    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

  17. 67
    pete best says:

    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.

  18. 68
    biffvernon says:

    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

  19. 69
    Ike Solem says:

    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.

  20. 70
    Timothy Chase says:

    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.

  21. 71
    Rod B says:

    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….)

  22. 72
    Timothy Chase says:

    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.

  23. 73
    pat n says:

    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-

  24. 74
    Gareth says:

    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.

  25. 75
    Ike Solem says:

    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.”

  26. 76
    Jim Cripwell says:

    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.

  27. 77
    Timothy Chase says:

    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.

  28. 78
    Ike Solem says:

    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…

  29. 79
    Timothy Chase says:

    (“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

  30. 80
    Craig Allen says:

    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.

  31. 81
    Timothy Chase says:

    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

  32. 82
    Timothy Chase says:

    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.

  33. 83
    pete best says:

    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 ?

  34. 84
    Paul says:

    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.

  35. 85
    climate skeptic? says:

    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?

  36. 86
    Jim Cripwell says:

    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.

  37. 87
    Lynn Vincentnathan says:

    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.

  38. 88
    M. P. says:

    #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?

  39. 89
    Leonard Evens says:

    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.

  40. 90
    Ray Ladbury says:

    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?

  41. 91
    Timothy Chase says:

    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.

  42. 92
    Timothy Chase says:

    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.

  43. 93
    SecularAnimist says:

    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.

  44. 94
    climate skeptic? says:

    “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?

  45. 95
    Jim Galasyn says:

    @ 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?

  46. 96
    Jim Cripwell says:

    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.

  47. 97
    Rod B says:

    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 [;-}

  48. 98
    Robin Johnson says:

    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”.

  49. 99
    Timothy Chase says:

    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.

  50. 100
    Timothy Chase says:

    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.


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