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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. 101
    Theo H says:

    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

  2. 102
    Jim Cripwell says:

    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.

  3. 103
    Jim Galasyn says:

    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?

  4. 104
    Timothy Chase says:

    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.

  5. 105
    Dan says:

    “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.

  6. 106
    Timothy Chase says:

    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.

  7. 107
    ray ladbury says:

    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.

  8. 108
    John Mashey says:

    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?

  9. 109
    Jim Galasyn says:

    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.

  10. 110
    ray ladbury says:

    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.

  11. 111
    Rod B says:

    “…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???

  12. 112
    Craig Allen says:

    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.

  13. 113
    Rod B says:

    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.

  14. 114
    Ike Solem says:

    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.

  15. 115
    Jim Galasyn says:

    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.

  16. 116
    M.P. says:

    # 98: time will tell who is what!

  17. 117
    Leddie says:

    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.

  18. 118
    M. P. says:

    # 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??.

  19. 119
    pat n says:

    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

  20. 120
    pete best says:

    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.

  21. 121
    Nagraj Adve says:

    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

  22. 122
    pat n says:

    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.

  23. 123
    Florifulgurator says:

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

  24. 124
    climate skeptic? says:

    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?

  25. 125
    Dan says:

    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.

  26. 126
    Chuck Booth says:

    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).

  27. 127
  28. 128
    Geo says:

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

  29. 129
    Jim Cripwell says:

    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.

  30. 130
    Jim Galasyn says:

    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?

  31. 131
    Jim Galasyn says:

    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?

  32. 132
    Ike Solem says:

    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.

  33. 133
    Richard Ordway says:

    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.

  34. 134
    Ray Ladbury says:

    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.

  35. 135
    Timothy Chase says:

    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.

  36. 136
    Timothy Chase says:

    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.

  37. 137
    John Mashey says:

    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.]

  38. 138
    voidmatters says:

    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.

  39. 139
    Ike Solem says:

    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”.

  40. 140
    Ray Ladbury says:

    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.

  41. 141
    Theo H says:

    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

  42. 142
    Leonard Evens says:

    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.

  43. 143
    Jim Galasyn says:

    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.)

  44. 144
    Jim Cripwell says:

    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.

  45. 145

    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.

  46. 146
    Jim Cripwell says:

    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.

  47. 147
    Dan says:

    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.

  48. 148
    Jim Galasyn says:

    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?

  49. 149
    Timothy Chase says:

    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.

  50. 150
    Timothy Chase says:

    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.


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