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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. 301
    climate skeptic? says:

    “Dr. A’s expertise is in SOLAR PHYSICS. It is not in CLIMATOLOGY. When he says the greenhouse effect doesn’t exist, he is advancing PSEUDOSCIENCE; CRACKPOT PHYSICS. Is that clear enough?”

    No, it’s not clear at all. And that’s only rational skepticism.

    “Man-made greenhouse warming has made a small contribution to the warming seen on Earth in recent years, but it cannot compete with the increase in solar irradiance” – Abdussamatov

    But what he has said about the GH qualities of the earth’s atmosphere is not the point is it, that’s a non-sequitor. By concentrating on that one off phrase you dodge the main point.

    Let’s look at this well known graph, which Timothy Chase linked:

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/7/7b/Temp-sunspot-co2.svg/600px-Temp-sunspot-co2.svg.png

    You may notice that upto 1970′s the correlation between solar activity and global temperature is much clearer than the correlation between CO2 emissions and global temperature. In fact the correlation is strikingly clear. Now you say that the graph’s stop correlating after late 1970′s, but that’s where Abdussamatov disagrees. He says that the complex 200 year cycle had not been adequately accounted for in such demonstrations. And that when the real impact and nature of the complex 200 year cycle (one which he has been studying exhaustively) is accounted for, the graphs keep correlating upto this day.

    That is how he is indirectly an author on climatology. Is that clear enough? :) Because in climatology you count a value for everything else, and what is left is the estimated AGW impact, that cannot be explained with natural causes. It’s countless times you hear AGW scientists say this “cannot be explained by other causes”.

    You don’t count the AGW impact directly. That would be impossible. Now obviously if you have to increase the value for 1970-2007 solar activity, the IPCC computer models will give a scaled down figure for the importance of AGW, and we don’t want that do we?

    [edit]

    [Response: I apologise for how frustrating this might seem, but there really is more to climate than sunspots. Direct measurements show that solar activity has not increased in 30 years. How can it then be responsible for recent warming? The amplitude of the solar cycle has been measured directly. It makes barely a blip on the graphs of climate forcings. So when someone pops up and says that he is sure that the sun is going to reduce its activity, that might well be valid, but when he says that this will dominate all future changes, he demonstrates that he does not know what he is talking about. This has nothing to do with computer models or catastrophes, it's simply a question of reading the literature. - gavin]

  2. 302
    Jim Eager says:

    Re 288 climate skeptic: “I said it was a report. It gives a perspective into what he is studying. What papers he has published in Russian, I do not know.”

    Precisely: you do not know. Yet you have already concluded that his assertions�and so far that is all they are�are valid.

    The fundamental difference between those who have concluded that there is a scientific case for AGW and those who contend that there is none is that the former have arrived at their conclusion by following where the science has led them, while the latter start from the point of conclusion and seek out (or even fabricate) ‘evidence’ to support it.

  3. 303
    Timothy Chase says:

    Abdussamatov also argues that the upper layers of the ocean have begun to cool in recent years. That contradicts the actual measurements. Crackpot. He argues that the warming on Mars is due to increased solar activity – when there has been no increased solar activity – and what has been warming Mars is diminished albedo. Crackpot. He argues that in the case of greenhouse gases, they immediately warm up and carry the heat up so that they will have an entirely negligible effect even if their levels are increasing. This strongly suggests a misunderstanding of how greenhouse gases work by absorbtion and re-emission. The level of greenhouse gases (i.e., water vapor) near the surface has been increasing along with the CO2. Doesn’t matter if they get carried up by convection as they would be immediately replace by the greenhouse gases which have cooled. Crackpot.

    Three strikes…

    Crackpot.

  4. 304
    ray ladbury says:

    Climate Skeptic,
    Solanki has done exactly what you suggest–attributed ALL warming up to 1970 to solar variability–and the conclusion was that even with that extreme assumption, solar irradiance could only account for a MAXIMUM of 30% of the changes seen since. That’s the upper bount to Abdussamatov’s “revolutionary insight”. While he was writing his book report (which near as I can tell has no new science, and mostly just mininterpretations of old science), others were DOING the climate science. You are working awfully hard to stay skeptical for somebody with a self-proclaimed open mind. So I will ask again. What evidence would convince you?

  5. 305
    climate skeptic? says:

    The 80- and 200-year solar cycles are not discussed in that paper. Perhaps the Russians and Ukrainians know better?

    Let’s consider the main thesis of that paper:

    “For the period 1950 to 2005, it is exceptionally unlikely that the combined natural RF (solar irradiance plus volcanic aerosol) has had a warming influence comparable to that of the combined anthropogenic RF.”

    IPCC say that exceptionally unlikely = less than 1% probability. This is not science anymore. There are so much we do not know about. The ice core studies come with probabilities (i.e. uncertainties) attached, the exact role of CO2 in the atmosphere comes with probabilities attached, the different feedback mechanisms come with probabilities attached, the CO2 lags warming by 800 years in the ice core studies, the initiating factor for warming is “unknown”, yet it is known it will stop at year 800 and CO2 will kick in to explain the rest of the warming, there were periods millions of years ago which were a lot cooler than it is today yet the atmospheric CO2 levels were multiple times higher and there were exceptionally warm periods in which the CO2 levels were not remarkably high (and high volcanic activity is used to explain BOTH exceptionally high and exceptionally low ancient temperature variations that are in direct and huge contradiction with the CO2-theory), there is sparse temperature data on localized temperature disparity to prove how the sulfate aerosol effect would have such a strong global cooling effect. CRU say that the years 1995,1997,1998 and 2000- are indistinguishable from each other, yet we have a steep hockey stick for recent temperature trend. There’s no author who would have the expertise to understand all the factors in play, the whole equation, the puzzle, imitating an infathomably complex phenomena, and then it is run through a computer model, a guess at the atmospheric complexity really, and in the end we have 99+% certainty. Read that again, 99+% certainty. Does that sound rational to you? Why should I believe it?

    “There really is more to climate than sunspots”

    Yes. Does anyone deny that? And there is more to 1979- climate than GHGs. If it can be proven that the solar factor has not been fully understood and not fully accounted for, then the IPCC computer models will give scaled down figures for the AGW factor, isn’t that correct?

    [Response: This might be the heart of your problem here. You appear to think that climate change attribution works due to some correlation with the observed record. It doesn't. The attribution of warming to GHGs is because of the physics - if you increase GHGs the planet will warm in any conceivable model. The strength of solar forcing just doesn't come into it. Climate sensitivity to greenhouse gases is completely independent of solar activity. Read some of the articles on climate sensitivity in our archive. - gavin]

    If instead of 1.1-6.4C we have 0.3-2.4C how will that effect the psychology (public recognition, feelings of purpose etc.) and politics (funding, political limelight and rising political power) of (C)AGW?

    Is there, or is there not a non-scientific impetus to automatically dismiss all research and opinions that would suggest a considerably scaled down figure for AGW (if proven to be true)?

    How should I, looking at this from outside and as a politically involved person, approach the difficulties that I have, and it’s rational to have, in visualising the borders between science, politics and psychology of the (C)AGW.

    I think it’s a fair question. Many people are asking it. It’s in the core of widespread public skepticism.

  6. 306
    climate skeptic? says:

    ” when there has been no increased solar activity”

    Are you a solar physicist? Abdussamatov and his team of Russian and Ukrainian scientists, and another Russian team at Irkuts seem to think differently. How can you assert that there has been no increased activity, if it is not in your field of expertise? Perhaps the concept of “solar activity” may be a bit more complex than what we assume currently? Are you implying that you have the authority to make such an assertion by imitating those who you trust to have authority on the subject?

    Where have I said that I believe Abdussamatov on his theory by the way. I don’t. Personally, contrary to the repeated strawman, I don’t trust Abdussamatov any more than I trust the IPCC consensus.

  7. 307
    climate skeptic? says:

    Evidence? We don’t have solid verifiable evidence as of yet. We have probabilities, projections and uncertainty. It’s not about the pieces in the puzzle, but the fact that we do know know all the pieces in the puzzle, and yet we have a “consensus” that claims that we know for 99+% certainty what kind of an exact picture the puzzle will form. That of Catastrophic Global Warming.

    “solar irradiance could only account for a MAXIMUM of 30% of the changes seen since”

    Is that a fact set in stone? Or is there so much that we do not know, that the estimation of “max. 30%” might be re-assessed one day?

  8. 308
    climate skeptic? says:

    “if you increase GHGs the planet will warm in any conceivable model.”

    Let us assume this is true, despite the ancient contradictions to this.

    The next question is how much will the planet warm? How significant is the CO2 factor? And that’s where the uncertainty and resulting disagreement arises.

    You say there is no correlation, but there is a warming of 0.17C per decade for the last 30 years. If a strong, substantiated theory arises that much of that 0.17 is attributable to solar activity (more than the so called 30% maximum), then the computer models will give scaled down figures for GHGs, which is only logical. AGW scientists themselves use this logic, “not attributable to natural causes” = AGW. The more of warming we can attribute to natural causes, the lesser the signifigance of the AGW, which is not counted directly, but “measured”. The same applies to sulfate aerosols. The smaller the negative value we give for sulfate aerosol effect, the lesser the human driven warming of the climate.

    “Climate sensitivity to greenhouse gases is completely independent of solar activity.”

    Is anyone questioning that? But the measured signifigance of the CO2 factor is not independent of the values we attribute to solar activity, cosmic rays or sulfate aerosols. Alter these values a bit, and (C)AGW easily loses the (C). Which would be good news.

  9. 309
    Jim Galasyn says:

    I’d like a little help formalizing my challenge to the skeptic community: Tell us why dumping 100 gigatons or more of carbon into the atmosphere would have no significant effect.

    Would it be correct to make this the null hypothesis? “Dumping 100 gigatons of carbon into the atmosphere will not significantly change the dynamics and chemistry of the atmosphere and oceans.” Then we experiment.

    The questions to the skeptic community become: “Have we accumulated enough evidence to reject the null hypothesis?” and “If not, what standard of evidence would need to apply?”

  10. 310
    Hank Roberts says:

    Skep, try looking this stuff up for yourself, instead of believing whoever it is you’ve been trusting.
    They tell you the climate scientists don’t know about this? They’re misinformed or lying to you.
    Look for yourself —- take a few words from what you’re told, put them into Google Scholar, read a few abstracts, check CiteBase and follow the connections. You know how science is done? Apply the methods, read a bit.

    A couple examples, then I’m going offline for a couple of weeks of serious botanizing:

    Septics love the _title_ of this article but hate the _content_. Here’s the title:
    “Unusual activity of the Sun during recent decades compared to the previous 11,000 years”

    Oooh. Aaaah.

    Then if they read the abstract even if not the text, they see:
    “solar variability is unlikely to have been the dominant cause of the strong warming during the past three decades”
    —That is the last line of this abstract. Solanki et al.: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v431/n7012/abs/nature02995.html

    Look up the phenomena claimed to be important, like the diameter of the Sun. How much variation?

    “The available data limit variations of the solar radius between 1850 and 1937 to about 0.25 arc second; modeling of the sun indicates that the solar constant did not vary by more than 0.3 percent during that time.”
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/204/4399/1306

  11. 311
    ray ladbury says:

    Climate “skeptic”, you are rapidly reducing yourself to the level of clown. Think a minute what you are doing: 1)You are venerating a 2 page paper written by a solar physicist (a field only tangentially related to climate studies, while 2)presenting the consensus position as a straw man entriely of your own construction.
    I am not a solar physicist, but I monitor solar activity on a nearly daily basis since it affects the satellites I work on. The sun ain’t changing. In fact it hasn’t changed going back at least 30 years, and all the solar cycles in the space age have been remarkably consistent. We KNOW this. We can MEASURE this. We HAVE MEASURED this. We know that CO2 has increased 40% over the industrial era. We can measure CO2 acting as a greenhouse gas. We can show that the effect is not saturated above 10 km. We know solar radiation isn’t changing–even under the most extreme assumptions, it accounts for no more than 30% of the warming since 1970. These are all KNOWN. So again, I will ask. What evidence are you looking for that you have not seen? If you cannot say what you are looking for, how can you claim to be a true skeptic and not a denialist?

  12. 312
    James says:

    Re 306: [How can you assert that there has been no increased activity, if it is not in your field of expertise?]

    Since I am not an expert in the field, I consult the works of those who are. For instance, those kindly folks at NASA and elsewhere who have put satellites in orbit around the Earth (yes, it is round) in order to measure solar activity without the noise due to atmospheric effects like clouds & dust. If you search for “satellite measurement solar activity”, the first thing that pops up is this wikipedia article, with a graph including those observations:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_variation

    See? No increase – if anything, a slight decrease, though if you look at the Y-axis scale you’ll see that the variation over the solar cycle is itself quite small.

    Now if Abdussamatov has data (from secret Russian satellites perhaps?) conflicting with these measurements, why doesn’t he publish it so that it can be checked? Maybe all NASA’s detectors are giving bad readings, maybe his (if they exist) are, but unless the information’s out there where it can be checked, his theories amount to nothing more than his saying “I’m an expert, trust me.”

  13. 313
    Timothy Chase says:

    climate skeptic (#301) wrote:

    He says that the complex 200 year cycle had not been adequately accounted for in such demonstrations. And that when the real impact and nature of the complex 200 year cycle (one which he has been studying exhaustively) is accounted for, the graphs keep correlating upto this day.

    Where’s the beef evidence?

    If you have a tech article that provides it – at least some sort numbers and some sort of suggestion as to where they came from, provide it — please!

    What you have provided so far consists of little more than pure assertion – the assertion of someone who clearly hasn’t grasped how greenhouse gases work – and who claims that the upper layers of ocean are beginning to cool when they are in fact getting warmer – and as such demonstrates further disdain for evidence by providing no evidence for his wildest claims.

    climate skeptic (#301) wrote:

    IPCC say that exceptionally unlikely = less than 1% probability. This is not science anymore. There are so much we do not know about.

    Science is capable of justification which approaches certainty.

    Remember the mantra of that towering yet humble intellectual (at least in my own mind):

    A conclusion which receives justification from multiple independent lines of investigation is capable of a far greater degree of justification than what it receives from one line of investigation in isolation.

    … or something to that effect.

    Not trying to insult you, but your methodology reminds me of…

    … those who place radical doubt in the the service of religious dogmatism.

    In fact, the handle which you have chosen suggests as much…

    climate skeptic #305 wrote:

    The ice core studies come with probabilities (i.e. uncertainties) attached, the exact role of CO2 in the atmosphere comes with probabilities attached, the different feedback mechanisms come with probabilities attached, the CO2 lags warming by 800 years in the ice core studies, the initiating factor for warming is “unknown”,…

    And that’s why you look at multiple independent lines of justification. On the otherhand, your methodology appears to consist of dismissing anything and everything where the justification from any one line of evidence does not achieve certainty – then dismissing all lines of evidence – so that you can hold onto the conclusion which you prefer even when there is virtually no evidence for it. As you said, “He says that the complex 200 year cycle had not been adequately accounted for in such demonstrations,” but where is his evidence?

    climate skeptic #305 wrote:

    There’s no author who would have the expertise to understand all the factors in play, the whole equation, the puzzle, imitating an infathomably complex phenomena, and then it is run through a computer model, a guess at the atmospheric complexity really, and in the end we have 99+% certainty. Read that again, 99+% certainty. Does that sound rational to you? Why should I believe it?

    At one time there was an individual who knew virtually everything that was known in his age. He was probably the last.

    He wrote that man is a political animal.

    The more I return to that thought the deeper it seems.

    As humans we form communities. Without that we are not truly human. We form cognitive communities – where the communities are capable of knowing far more than any one individual by himself. This is the power behind the cognitive division of labor which exists within a modern economy. This is the power of dialogue – something that even that thinker leaned heavily upon. This is the power of science. And this is the power achieved by peer review.

    Science is a dialogue between the individual, his peers and reality itself. As individuals we ask questions of reality in the form of experiments. As individuals we ask questions of one another: what justification do you have for the conclusions you would have me accept?, where is your evidence?, and how do I replicate it?

    But from his perspective and your perspective the questions which we ask of reality and of one-another are entirely beside the point. To the extent that you do this, it is as if you are standing at the bottom of a well, yelling to everyone so loudly that you cannot hear their voices but only your own. You separate yourself from the ancient and enduring dialogue of humanity and the world in which we live.

  14. 314
    Rod Brick, real person (nice to meet you) says:

    re 290 (John M.) — you say “…”Rod B” has strong opinions, but seems to lack data, and of course, being an alias, not a real person, “Rod B” can post anything without concern for reputation.”

    Are you refutting my statement that the Surgeon General report of 1964 had no (where near) consensus? If so, you either weren’t there or are reading fairy tales. Are you refutting my statement that the tobacco story is all backwards? Well, you’re wrong, but I will grant you that it’s open for debate — though probably not here.

    you also say, “…”In an age in which powerful interests threaten to overwhelm to integrity of science, procedural science offers a powerful counterweight.” which I think is applicable elsewhere.”

    I’m not sure what you mean, but I would agree that science (Mother Nature) will win over politics in the long run. But politics can hold the reins for decades if not centuries by dictating and getting populous support for junk science.

  15. 315
    Rod B says:

    re 293 — “…Rod, boy, I was there. You’re wrong.”

    I was there too, and I’m not wrong. You cite a gov’t plaintiff lawsuit (looks like the federal RICO suit, but I dunno), which by definition has to have every hyperbole, exaggeration, and occasionally made up stuff, as a proof?? (I bet it wasn’t even (independent) peer reviewed.)

  16. 316
    Hank Roberts says:

    > Rod, tobacco

    “… The scientific and medical community’s knowledge of the relationship of smoking and
    disease evolved through the 1950s and achieved consensus in 1964. However, even after 1964,
    Defendants continued to deny both the existence of such consensus and the overwhelming evidence
    on which it was based.”

    http://www.library.ucsf.edu/tobacco/litigation/usvpm/section_4.pdf
    The papers from the tobacco industry were turned over to public health archives after the industry lost in court.

    Google tobacco consensus 1964

    You’re being led by liars away from facts you can discover for yourself. Lose your chain. Search freely.

  17. 317
    ray ladbury says:

    Rod Brick, the pleasure is mine. Just to get your position clear, are you saying that there is no causative link between smoking and lung cancer, emphysema, throat cancer, etc.? You are presumably aware that there are known mutagens and carcinogens in cigarette smoke, are you not? And that smoking cigarettes ingests into the lungs alpha emitters that represent a significant radiation dose? Does the same mechanism stop these from causing cancer that causes the known greenhouse gas, CO2 from acting like a greenhouse gas in the atmosphere?
    And as to your contention about politics holding sway over science for decades to centuries, since modern science has only been around about 250 years, that would seem to be difficult to test. However, I can think of no incorrect doctrine that persisted for long in the sciences. Lysenkoism fell despite supression of dissident theories in the Soviet Union. The “German Physics” of Nazi Germany failed. Ultimately, politics tends to be a local phenomenon. Science is global. If a nation adopts backward science policies (or economic ones for that matter), it regresses, and ultimately abandons the policies or fails. Science progresses on without the failed nation. Climate change is not only a consensus across disciplines, but across national boundaries. To allege some vague “political” motive doesn’t hold water, because the politics of those who support the consensus view are divergent. Conspiracy theories don’t work in science.

  18. 318
    J.C.H says:

    After WW2, my uncle, a physicist who had been a scientist at Navy Research Labs, went to work for a large chemical and fiber company. He spearheaded a research project aimed at creating synthetic tobacco – because, in his opinion, there was no doubt among scientists that tobacco caused lung cancer.

  19. 319
    Ed Sears says:

    Hi, I have an information request which is not directly related to this thread. Can people point me to science on the impact of aviation on the climate: the stuff about how emissions at altitude have a different effect to those at ground level. This is because I am going to Glastonbury Festival to talk about aviation and climate – the last time I was there was 17 years ago!

  20. 320
    Hank Roberts says:

    Rod, we cross-posted that last time.

    Please read the tobacco archive — those are the industry files disclosed after the industry lost its lawsuit — you can read the industry’s own scientists and lawyers and PR people’s consensus, long before the Surgeon General’s consensus. Decades before. A huge amount of work was done, and kept secret, by the industry — and didn’t come out until that archive was made public.

    You owe it to yourself to read the industry’s files, to check what you believe now against what the industry knew all along.

    Researchers study it not only for the history of tobacco, but for the history of tactics for manipulating the market.

    Want free markets? Consider free information. David Brin is quite good on this whole area of political thought.

  21. 321
    climate skeptic? says:

    “Those who place radical doubt in the the service of religious dogmatism”

    Thanks for that, and thanks to the person who called me a clown.

    I am not trying to be dogmatic. Quite to the contrary. I used to be dogmatic on this topic for years and years, as a fervent CAGW activist.

    That’s when no one had told me about things like…

    From the early-mid Cretaceous period to the early Tertiary period the global average temperature remained upto 10 degrees Celsius warmer than it is today. What is curious is that a steady decline in atmospheric CO2 and the start of this warm period correlate in geological data. While atmospheric CO2 (during a time span of millions of years) was going down (from around 3000pm to 2000pm), temperature was going up (from around 17C to 22C). This is attributed to high Volcanic activity, fair enough. But the warm period lasted for tens and tens of millions of years. And during that awfully long period the temperature does not seem to care that the Atmospheric CO2 is going down from around 2000pm to around 500pm. It takes nearly hundred million years before atmospheric CO2 and global temperature start showing a recognizable correlation again.

    (This could also be in reply to gavin’s comment that: “if you increase GHGs the planet will warm in any conceivable model.” Does anyone know for sure what factors kept the temperature high during those tens of millions of years when Atmospheric CO2 declined in a deep curve? But it gives you a feeling that CO2 was like a kid, who for a long time remained a bystander at the sidelines, while the big boys were playing.)

    What does this suggest about climate sensitivity to greenhouse gasses, specifically CO2? Geologists have the largest quantity of skeptics inside the scientific community.

    Does this remain a mystery to the CAGW theory, or has it been explained?

  22. 322
    John Mashey says:

    re: #314 Rod B(rick): thanks for a real name, a big improvement.

    (Sorry this has gotten so far into tobacco, but the parallels are *really* strong):

    But, I refute your statement, although my original post didn’t contain the word consensus. What I said was:

    “2) I picked the smoking example because it’s the best single analogy with AGW that I know, with corresponding dates:
    1964: “The Surgeon general has determined…”
    2001-2007: IPCC TAR & AR4″

    However, there certainly was a consensus, but the post was already long enough without the details:

    a) There *was* a powerful consensus amongst almost all relevant scientists, with a minuscule number of holdouts, who were of course endlessly publicized by tobacco companies to show there was controversy,

    b) A carefully-chosen (tobacco industry actually was given a *veto*) group of scientists (half smokers … at least at the start of the work, although not at the end) did extensive analysis of the accumulated data, with help from a very large number of (named) scientists. They wrote a carefully-researched, 386-page report, with very clear conclusions. Various reports, including 1964′s are here:
    http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/sgr/previous_sgr.htm

    I have not read this entire report, but I’ve read enough to think it *excellent science*, and Brandt’s fine book gives extra insight into the trickiness of making this happen.

    c) Of course, given that there were ~70M smokers in the US at the time, there was *not* unanimous consensus amongst *everyone* that smoking was bad [and I rather carefully did not assert unanimity]. The consensus was among (almost all) relevant scientists.

    d) The tobacco companies of course fought this, somewhat successfully, as they are still quite profitable. Some scientists, directly funded by the tobacco industry (the C.C. Little I mentioned fits this) fought it.

    e) Some scientists who were *not* as directly tied to the tobacco industry fought it also, for a variety of reasons. This has often occurred in the history of science. After a long period of argument, a hypothesis accumulates overpowering evidence, but at least a few scientists (even extremely distinguished ones) keep fighting it, for a variety of reasons having little to do with science or economics. Science is done by *humans*, but the whole point of real science is to nullify that effect over time.

    Here, the most famous holdouts were Joseph Berkson and Sir Ronald Fisher, the former a well-known statistician, and the latter a truly great one. They did not dispute that studies had shown an association between smoking and lung cancer, but tried to point out different ways in which this association might not be causation. [AGW: No, it's the Sun! No, it's cosmic rays! No, it's 1500-year cycles!...]

    Fisher died in 1962, but had argued to the end against the body of knowledge on which the 1964 report was based. Fisher and Berkson were of course frequently cited by the tobacco companies.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronald_Fisher is a reasonable summary, well in accord with more extensive sources like: “David Salsburg’s “The Lady Tasting Tea: How Statistics Revolutionized Science in the Twentieth Century”. Weird title, really fine book.

    Your note about the persistence of junk science: yes, the tobacco companies did their best to keep manufacturing that.

    I don’t read fairy tales about smoking, and while Wikipedia is not authoritative, the first Google hit for “John Mashey” might hint that I’m easily old enough to have been around [senior in high school, actually] when the SG’s report came out.

    My mother said at the time “I’d love to cut down, but it’s really hard, and you’ve never smoked, but if you ever get tempted, listen to the Surgeon General first.” She died of lung cancer, and so did Dad, who never smoked.

    As for legal/political maneuvers by others: given the scientific evidence, and a reasonable Congress, there should have been action taken in the 1960s to phase out an industry that depends on getting teenagers/pre-teens addicted while their brains are developing, so they can be properly “wired” for addiction, since it doesn’t take so well later. But since Congress wouldn’t do it [and Brandt's book discusses that], other entities had to use whatever means they had, sometimes akin to getting Al Capone on tax evasion.

    Wagner, Stenzor (ed) “Rescuing Science from Politics” is a useful source as well.

    Rod: once gain, you have really strong opinions, unsupported by data. This is the wrong place to argue the tobacco thing in detail. I only used it because there are so many instructive similarities with the AGW situation, just ~40 years earlier.

    But you should get more practice in matching strength of opinion to evidence.

    Science isn’t done by voting … but a strong consensus amongst relevant scientists is an importnat datapoint.

    Evidence counts, not just opinion, even when an opinion comes from one of the world’s great statisticians.

  23. 323
    Timothy Chase says:

    climate skeptic (#321 wrote:

    From the early-mid Cretaceous period to the early Tertiary period the global average temperature remained upto 10 degrees Celsius warmer than it is today. What is curious is that a steady decline in atmospheric CO2 and the start of this warm period correlate in geological data. While atmospheric CO2 (during a time span of millions of years) was going down (from around 3000pm to 2000pm), temperature was going up (from around 17C to 22C). This is attributed to high Volcanic activity, fair enough. But the warm period lasted for tens and tens of millions of years. And during that awfully long period the temperature does not seem to care that the Atmospheric CO2 is going down from around 2000pm to around 500pm. It takes nearly hundred million years before atmospheric CO2 and global temperature start showing a recognizable correlation again.

    Oddly enough, I believe that contributors Gavin Schmidt, Stefan Rahmstorf and David Archer will be familiar with this argument.

    You might want to look up:

    Cosmic Rays, Carbon Dioxide and Climate

    Stefan Rahmstorf, David Archer, Denton S. Ebel, Otto Eugster, Jean Jouzel, Douglas Maraun, Urs Neu, Gavin A. Schmidt, Jeff Severinghaus, Andrew J. Weaver and Jim Zachos

    27 January 2004
    Eos, Transactions of the American Geophysical Union

    It addresses the arguments of:

    Celestial driver of Phanerozoic climate?
    Nir Shaviv and Jan Veizer
    GSA Today,13(7), 4â??10. (2003)

  24. 324
    Philippe Chantreau says:

    Climate skeptic?, if you haven’t learned a thing yet on this thread, it should be this one: a strong assertion should have a source(s). What is your source for this paleontological temperature event, what proxy data does it rely on, what is the publication, etc? Nobody can discuss it if it can’t be examined.

    Another point: Gavin’s comment is still true. If you increase GHG in our current conditions (or conditions 30 years ago), global temp will rise in any conceivable model. If we’re talking about the atmosphere tens of millions years ago, with a different (not fully known) composition and poorly known/understood geological events, then there is no telling. If we knew as much about THAT atmosphere as we know about ours now, we would be able to build a satisfactory model too. Whatever happened then does not invalidate what is known now for our conditions.

    To go back to Abdussamatov, a few thoughts. Mentioning a 200 year cycle is fine but if no effect corresponding to it can be measured (increased irradiance) when its alleged consequences are happening (increasing temperatures), people are going to be skeptical. Although so subtle that no variation could ever be measured from Earth, solar irradiance is now well monitored and has shown no significant change when the temperatures were heading up sharply (past 30 years). That does not speak in favor of Abdussamatov’s theory.

    As for Sulanki’s conclusion, it is unequivocal. What’s more, it does not even need a lot of Maths, because they simplified it so much. Look at temp changes until date d, look at solar irradiance variation until same date, assume all temp changes to be due to solar irradiance (gross oversimplification that Sulanki calls an “extreme assumption”). Now look at temp change after date d and solar irradiance change after date d and it is obvious that you’re short. Abdu’s theory does not provide for that. Sulanki works at Max Planck Institute and I expect you should be able to see the data there. Links have been provided for you to look up Sulanki’s paper yourself, he is no less an authority on the Sun than Abdussamamtov.

  25. 325
    Timothy Chase says:

    Stefan Rahmstorf has a copy of the article:

    Rahmstorf, S. et al., Cosmic rays, carbon dioxide, and climate, Eos, Trans. AGU, 85(4), 38, 41, 2004

    - on the web at:

    http://www.pik-potsdam.de/~stefan/Publications/Journals/rahmstorf_etal_eos_2004.html

  26. 326
    Timothy Chase says:

    Re Shaviv and Veizer, and the Cretaceous and Tertiary periods

    In any case, I won’t go into detail on either of the two main papers (Shaviv and Veizer (2003) and Rahmstorf et al (2004)) at the moment or the subsequent papers. I will, however, mention that the mainstream view is that over especially deep geologic time, geology, and in particular plate tectonics are thought to play an important role in determining climate sensitivity to CO2. I will also note that this particular passage from one of this site’s web pages has something which may be of some relevance…

    Shaviv and Veizer (2003) published a paper in the journal GSA Today, where the authors claimed to establish a correlation between cosmic ray flux (CRF) and temperature evolution over hundreds of millions of years, concluding that climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide was much smaller than currently accepted. The paper was accompanied by a press release entitled “Global Warming not a Man-made Phenomenon”, in which Shaviv was quoted as stating, “The operative significance of our research is that a significant reduction of the release of greenhouse gases will not significantly lower the global temperature, since only about a third of the warming over the past century should be attributed to man”. However, in the paper the authors actually stated that “our conclusion about the dominance of the CRF over climate variability is valid only on multimillion-year time scales”. Unsurprisingly, there was a public relations offensive using the seriously flawed conclusions expressed in the press release to once again try to cast doubt on the scientific consensus that humans are influencing climate.

    20 Jan 2005
    Peer Review: A Necessary But Not Sufficient Condition
    by Michael Mann and Gavin Schmidt
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/01/peer-review-a-necessary-but-not-sufficient-condition

  27. 327
    ray ladbury says:

    Climate Skeptic, can you even write a single, English declarative sentence without giving it an anti-scientific spin? First CO2 levels in the cretaceous were 2-5 times what they are now. Think that might have warmed things up just a wee tad? Why was temperature going up, because the high CO2 levels were holding in more of the IR–slowly adding energy to the climate over time. Why were CO2 levels going down, because an impulsive volcanic event had raised them far, far above their equilibrium levels. It’s not the sign of the derivative on CO2 concentrations that is important–it’s the amount of CO2. That determines the IR absorbed and the heat held in. Rather than arguing against CO2, this is strong evidence for it as the culprit.

  28. 328
    dhogaza says:

    That’s when no one had told me about things like…

    From the early-mid Cretaceous period to the early Tertiary period the global average temperature remained upto 10 degrees Celsius warmer than it is today. What is curious is that a steady decline in atmospheric CO2 and the start of this warm period correlate in geological data.

    No climatologist claims that CO2 is the only ingredient in the cake.

    You seem to be missing an essential point here, that at different times in our planet’s history, different things might be driving global climate change.

    Look, perhaps when you were a child, you had a fever caused by measles. In middle age, perhaps you have a fever and doctors suggest that you have influenza.

    Your argument is equivalent to saying “hey, I had measles as a kid, and it gave me a fever, therefore my current fever is due to measles, not the flu! After all, I have personal proof that measles cause fever, but since I’ve never had the flu before, I don’t believe flu can cause fever!”

    And, based on that, saying “all doctors suck, except those who say ‘measles are the only disease that can cause fever!’”

  29. 329
    Steve Bloom says:

    Re #321: I’m not sure where that quoted(?) passage about the paleo correlation between CO2 and temperatures came from, but generally it’s my understanding that early research showed some pretty wild uncorrelated swings that have subsequently turned out to less problematic for AGW theory; see e.g. this important recent paper. I especially like the last sentence of the first paragraph:

    “As our climate system departs from the well-studied Pleistocene glacial-interglacial cycles, a deep-time perspective of pCO2-climate-glaciation linkages is essential for a fuller understanding of what may be the Earthâ??s most epic deglaciation.”

    Let’s not forget to wave goodbye!

  30. 330
    Rod B says:

    re 317 (Ray) — “….your contention about politics holding sway over science……..”
    I’m not sure what you thought I said, but you seem to be debating things I didn’t say. Or put another way I think I agree with you entirely on the science v. politics stuff (though you flipped in “modern” with science which I didn’t.) I’m saying politics can hold sway over science (if it wants to) every time for short periods and a few times for very long periods. It does this by altering the ground rules and parameters, not by head-on confrontation. But, as you say, science will win out every time in the long run.

    What I believe, for what it’s worth, as long as you asked, is that there is strong indications and a reasonable hypothesis that tobacco can cause lung cancer. There is slight epidemiological support for the other maladies you mention and little cause shown (maybe except emphysema), especially your “etc” since the anti-tobacco lobby has thrown most heart and circulatory maladies into their stew the past 2-3 decades. A large part of my belief comes from the fact that, for the most part when you get way to the bottom of it, we really do not know what causes cancer — though there are a lot of solid suspicions and scientific theories. And, no, I’m not interested in all of the “facts” presented by the tobacco witch hunters. Apropos the relevant science v. politics discussion, a classic example of politics skewing the science is the major redefinition of “addiction” from its classic clinical long-lived definition. They had to in order to win their case and meet their objectives which is to get more money. How could have 50-60 million people stop their habit over the past 30 years or so, 99.99% or so entirely on their own, without DTs, stomach cramps, methadone-like clinics, padded cells, etc. given it’s “the most addictive substance known” as some of the witch-hunting consultants have testified to.

    I trust you’re not trying to justify the AGW consensus with a “similar” anti-tobacco consensus. I fuss about the AGW consensus from time to time, but it is at least clean, honest, well-intentioned, and scientific. Don’t let it near that other tar baby

  31. 331
    climate skeptic? says:

    During a 100 million year period Atmospheric CO2 steadily declines from 3000pm to 500pm. During these same 100 million years temperature first goes up around 5C, and then stays up for tens and tens of millions of years, paying little attention to the Atmospheric CO2.

    How did Gavin Schmidt et all reply to this?

    “It is based on a simple and incomplete regression analysis which implicitly assumes that climate variations on time scales of millions of years, for different configurations of continents and ocean currents, for much higher CO2 levels than at present, and with unaccounted causes and contributing factors, can give direct quantitative information about the effect of rapid CO2 doubling from pre-industrial climate. The complexity and non-linearity of the climate system does not allow such a simple statistical derivation of climate sensitivity without a physical understanding of the key processes and feedbacks. We thus conclude that [Shaviv and Veizer, 2003] provide no cause for revising current estimates of climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide.”

    No cause? I would think it’s a pretty strong cause for doubt, that in the geological data the correlation between atmospheric CO2 and temperature is weak at best and can break down for a 100 million year period. How do you explain the Atmospheric CO2 going down from around 3000pm to 500pm and during those millions and millions of years (compare the 100 year time span of the CAGW horizon) temperature first going up and then staying up?

    If climate sensitivity to CO2 is as strong as assumed, even in a vastly different climate and different alignment of continents, the approx. 80% decline in atmospheric CO2 should have had a clear effect. But for tens of millions of years it didn’t.

    What other words are you left with than “I don’t know”?

    [Response: I have to admit those aren't the clearest sentences ever written, but you have completely missed the point. First off, we don't actually have very good estimates of CO2 changes prior to the ice core record, and the estimates say from Berner's model prior to that are only for the tectonic/weathering controlled part of the carbon budget. But even assuming that we had a perfect CO2 and temperature records for these periods, you can't simply correlate one with another and derive climate sensitivity (which is what SV03 had attempted). Try that during the ice ages and you end up with sensitivities that are much too large. The reason being is that lots of things vary with climate (CH4, N2O, dust, aerosols, ice cover, vegetation etc.) and so the forcings are incorrectly estimated. All other things being equal, increasing GHGs will lead to warmer climates, but all other things are not generally equal, and in the case of the many of the deep time events, we have no good idea of what those other things were. There are lots of puzzles in paleo-climate (the equator to pole temperature gradient changes for instance), but we will never know more about climate 100 million years ago than we know about today's, and the notion that uncertainties then have relevance to uncertainties now (and for the next few decades) just doesn't make sense. -gavin]

  32. 332

    [[" when there has been no increased solar activity"
    Are you a solar physicist? Abdussamatov and his team of Russian and Ukrainian scientists, and another Russian team at Irkuts seem to think differently. How can you assert that there has been no increased activity, if it is not in your field of expertise?
    ]]

    Well, take a look here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_variation

    Especially the graph near the top. Does that look like an increase to you? I can’t see one.

  33. 333

    [[If a strong, substantiated theory arises that much of that 0.17 is attributable to solar activity (more than the so called 30% maximum), then the computer models will give scaled down figures for GHGs, which is only logical.]]

    Actually, not only is it not logical, but it’s a classic logical fallacy, the non sequitur. You’re still seeing forcings as components of a total of 100%. Greenhouse gas forcing is independent of solar forcing. The total for one won’t go down because the total for the other goes up.

  34. 334
    climate skeptic? says:

    “Actually, not only is it not logical, but it’s a classic logical fallacy, the non sequitur. You’re still seeing forcings as components of a total of 100%. Greenhouse gas forcing is independent of solar forcing. The total for one won’t go down because the total for the other goes up.”

    No, you read it wrong. Greenhouse gas forcing is independent of solar forcing. Climatologists themselves produce charts which read like this 19xx-19xx GHGs +0.xx, Solar +0.xx, Aerosols -0.xx, [other factors] = total warming. The argument “cannot be explained by natural causes” is repeated ad infinitum. You can google for different versions of that phrase and how many climatologists throw it around. Greenhouse gas forcing of course is not affected, if it is proven that solar forcing plays a stronger role than previously anticipated, but the ESTIMATION for the strenght of GHG forcing will go down in such abductive reasoning, practised by the climatologists themselves.

    GHG forcing is independent of solar forcing, but the measured signifigance of the AGW factor is not independent of the values we attribute to solar activity, cosmic rays or sulfate aerosols. Alter these values a bit and you get a vastly different figure for the signifigance of the AGW factor in the IPCC computer models. GHG forcing is independent but the measurements for it’s signifigance are not.

    The measured signifigance of AGW going down would be bad AGW politics, and that’s what troubles me in all this. The psychology of this question.

    But enough of this for now. I will try to keep an open mind. Thanks everyone.

  35. 335
    Philippe Chantreau says:

    Rod Brick, I’m starting to become very skeptical of your sincerity about any subject. There is no doubt whatsoever that COPD is linked to smoking. I work in health care, I dare say that the vast majority of COPD exacerbation cases I see in people who do not have asthma are current/former smokers. There are massive amounts of data to show the links to these and other disorders too.
    The methods and vocabulary used in court rooms may displease you, I can understand that. It was rendered necessary to outfox the fox (something that perhaps should be done about AGW too). However the data are solid.
    The tobacco industry made lots of money selling their stuff to people using deception, while they knew the risks. It was a gamble on their part, just like Merck gambled with Vioxx. They lost, now they’re paying out the nose, good for them, they deserve to lose every little penny they made on that gamble. I don’t care that underhanded court room maneuvers were used. They started with the underhanded stuff first and it so happened that people lives were at stake. Am I going to have sympathy because the industry ran into lawyers that were even worse sharks than their own? Don’t count on it.

  36. 336
    Rod B says:

    re 331 — this is an atypical example of the stuff that keeps me skeptical. To the uninitiated this explanation of the reverse correlation of temp and CO2 for millions of years sounds like pure gobbledygook and looks like a lot of tap dancing and farting. Coming from anyone else I would have to conclude that my skepticism is validated — but Gavin is about as straight as they come, so, alas, I have to give it some credence.

  37. 337
    Ike Solem says:

    If you increase the ability of the atmosphere to absorb infrared radiation, you warm the planet. If you wrap yourself up in a blanket, you’re going to warm up. Is it is a thin blanket, or a thick blanket? Does it have a lot of holes in it, or is it tightly woven?

    If we boost up the levels of CH4, CO2 and N2O, while continuing to cut down forests, we warm the planet. The only question is how fast we will warm the planet and how sensitive is the climate to warming? Considering that the models developed for weather and climate over the past century have underestimated the response of ice sheets and sea ice, and that the planet is absorbing less and less of the CO2 that we put up every year, it seems that the climate response is going to be on the more sensitive end of the estimates, not on the less sensitive end.

    While politicians all around the globe are now agreeing that human beings are causing global warming (something that was well understood ten years ago), they have yet to take any meaningful action to reverse the trend.

  38. 338
    Timothy Chase says:

    Shaviv and Veizer and the Role of Carbon Dioxide

    There are in essence two different contexts which are important in discussing Shaviv and Veizer and current climate change: very deep time and the more recent, whereby more recent, I will arbitrarily include anything within the past 500,000 years – although I could undoubtedly go back much further. Then one might also consider their relevance to the present.

    Very Deep Time

    In the first context, there is the question of the causal mechanisms involved in climate change over very deep time. They argue that due to the orbit of the sun through the Milky Way, we occasionally get hit with cosmic rays on a scale of tens of millions of years – and that this somehow affects the climate. One could undoubtedly critique this view in even more depth than it is treated in Rahmstorf et al., but no reason to go into this as of yet. In contrast, there is the mainstream view that over deep time, climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide may be subject to some variation. After all, once all the ice has melted, you aren’t going to get much of that albedo feedback with dark ocean and dark land absorbing more light as ice melts – because there won’t be any ice to melt. Likewise, as the continents move around, they are going to determine where the oceans are, and thus the extent to which they will get hit with sunlight.

    However, regardless of which of the two mechanisms are employed to explain the behavior of the climate over very deep time, it will be one that acts very slowly.

    More Recent Times

    Now in the more recent time period of the last 500,000 years, climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide has been quite stable. In fact, it looks like it is at about 2.9 C, which even assuming one takes Shaviv and Veizer’s calculations for granted is still quite credible – even for very deep time – when for the period that they were studying one would have expected it to be lower. But more importantly, since one cannot employ their mechanism to explain climate behavior at the current time (no increased cosmic flux, etc.) or for any time over the past 500,000 years, it would appear that it in no way affects calculations based upon this more recent period. Additionally, the evidence which we have for this more recent time period is a great deal less sparse, and therefore the conclusions that we make with respect to this time period are a great deal more justified. Even more recently, the natural variability of the sun has been the dominant factor in the earlier half of the twentieth century, but as the human population has grown, become more industrialized and generated more carbon emissions, the effects of those emissions have come to be the dominant factor in climate change – just as one would expect, given the context of the past 500,000 years.

    Relevance to the Present

    Like it or not, Shaviv and Veizer is not a denial of the greenhouse effect, and it would in no way exclude the climate sensitivity of 2.9 C per doubling either in very deep time or for the past 500,000 years – even assuming their paper was correct. It does not offer some sort of alternative explanation for current climate change as the causal mechanism they describe is something that would work only over very large parts of geologic time, much like the alternative in terms of plate tectonics. Even if one were to grant that the conclusions of their paper were valid (and there is good reason not to), it would simply be irrelevant to understanding the past 500,000 years or the next 500 years – unless of course political hacks wish to use it for propaganda purposes to make it appear that we understand things far less than we actually do. Given the fact that one of the authors chose to do precisely this should give one pause for thought, specifically with respect to that author and more broadly with respect to contrarians who find that the only way that they are able to argue against the consensus view is by resorting to such dishonest tactics.

  39. 339
    David B. Benson says:

    Poster climate skeptic? — The locations of land masses probably makes a big difference to the climate in each geologic era. For example, look at the Wikipedia page for Snowball Earth.

  40. 340
    ray ladbury says:

    Re 336: Rod, what is it that is hard to understand about this. You have a state of some semblance of quasi-equilibrium, perturbed by an huge impulse source of CO2. The world heats up–as expected when greenhouse gases are high. CO2 concentrations fall–as you’d exprect when a system responds to an impulse. So, even though CO2 concentrations are falling, they are still high enough that temperatures rise. Temperature will not rise instantaneously, and 5x current levels is well outside the range I’d be confident with extrapolating current models.

  41. 341

    [[A large part of my belief comes from the fact that, for the most part when you get way to the bottom of it, we really do not know what causes cancer ]]

    Huh? Cancer is caused when something causes enough mutations in somatic cells that they grow uncontrollably and without correctly following body-plan instructions in DNA. At least that’s the way I heard it.

  42. 342
    CoalPorter says:

    to ¤36

    Reassessments by the Energy Watch Group put the peak for coal already at about 2025

    http://www.energywatchgroup.org/files/Coalreport.pdf

    it is astonishing how little attention the peak fossil fuels and its cosequence get in this forum.

  43. 343
    Ray Ladbury says:

    CoalPorter–Looking at the second page, I already see problems. First, all of the contributors seem to be either from centers studying renewable energy or otherwise associated with such movements. I applaud such efforts, but note that the authors might have a bias. There is considerable controversy on when Peak coal or for that matter Peak Oil may occur. This is hardly given short shrift in the comments section, and I would hardly expect it to be addressed by the climate scientists.
    Given the controversy, it is not unreasonable to assume as at least one scenario that energy demand continues to rise according to historical trends and that it continues to be met by fossil fuels. Even if we’re done with fossil fuels, energy demand will not go away. Rather than freeze, people will burn the trees, and then, like people in India burning cow dung, they will burn what they can to keep warm. There’s more than enough carbon available to cook our goose.

  44. 344
    Rod B says:

    re 335 (Philippe): Only impassioned zealotry proves sincerity???

  45. 345
    Rod B says:

    re 340 (Ray), re 331 (Gavin’s comment): My reaction to Gavin’s comment was not based (maybe superficially unfairly, if not explained) on the content. I implied I have to give Gavin his due and go back and dig out what was said. My criticism was on the wording and syntax. Anyone scanning it for the first time has to respond, “what on earth is he talking about?” And admittedly this is not an original thought as Gavin pretty much said the same thing. I was simply pointing out a serious but not terribly significant observation. I trust I didn’t incorrectly taint Gavin in the least.

  46. 346
    James says:

    Re #342: [...it is astonishing how little attention the peak fossil fuels and its cosequence get in this forum.]

    Perhaps that’s because those who bring up the subject usually do so as part of a sort of backwards contrarian argument that it makes CO2 emissions self-limiting, thus there is no need to actually do anything to limit those emissions.

    That’s doubly wrong. Not only do they have their facts wrong regarding the size of proven oil & coal reserves, and the amount of CO2 they’d generate, there’s a hole in their logic. If fossil fuels do reach a peak any time soon, those who are already using non-fossil energy efficiently will be way ahead of the pack, and are likely to profit thereby. In other words, the strategy for dealing with an imminent fossil fuel peak also addresses AGW, and vice versa.

  47. 347
    Rod B says:

    re 341: “Huh? Cancer is caused when something causes enough mutations in somatic cells that they grow uncontrollably and without correctly following body-plan instructions in DNA. At least that’s the way I heard it.”

    Actually I agree with that. What I said was that at the very core and under all of the well-understood onion layers, we do not know how or why “…something causes enough mutations…” actually works.

  48. 348
    Timothy Chase says:

    Rod B (#347) wrote regarding cancer:

    Actually I agree with that. What I said was that at the very core and under all of the well-understood onion layers, we do not know how or why “…something causes enough mutations…” actually works.

    Sometimes it will be a mutation in some of the code responsible for various error-correction mechanisms, including programmed cell death – which is highly efficient. Once these mutations take place, the cells no longer behave as cells operating in accordance with the interests of the body, but as cells which are operating in accordance with their own interests subject to natural selection in much the same way as bacteria, evolving around the defenses of the body as well as anything that medicine might throw at them, and given the higher rate at which mutations occur and are preserved, such evolution can take place rather rapidly.

    One interesting example involves a wolf from perhaps 30,000 years ago. The cancer assumed the life-style of bacteria, specifically that of a venereal disease. It has spread through much of the dog population, is genetically distinct from the dogs which it infects, results in a temporary illness, and still remains genetically similar enough that we are able to construct a phylogenetic tree, determining how far back the common ancestor lived. Carl Zimmer wrote about this a while back.

  49. 349
    Chuck Booth says:

    Re # 347 under all of the well-understood onion layers, we do not know how or why “…something causes enough mutations…” actually works.

    Sure, and one can argue that at some fundamental level we don’t know how anything works. But, looking at what we do and do not know about how the natural world operates, the etiology of many forms of cancer is pretty well understood in terms of mutations, tumor promotors, oncogenes, proto-oncogenes, DNA repair, etc – most up-to-date molecular biology textbooks will explain this.

    It’s all well and good (if not a bit tiresome) to keep scientists on their toes by trying to poke holes in their explanations and theories. But, as many regular posters on this site have pointed out time and time again, simply questioning the credibility of any particular piece of evidence for AGW is very unlikely to undermine the theory- not when the theory ties together results of many hundreds ( or thousands) of published (peer-reviewed, of course) papers. If you want to make a useful contribution as a skeptic, you really need to provide an alternative explanation that fits the existing data. For starters, it would help to explain how rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere would NOT cause global warming.

  50. 350
    Philippe Chantreau says:

    Rod, I don’t know where the most impassioned zealotry would be. Are we talking about the impassioned zealotry of those willing to push/exaggerate/twist scientific findings to get back at big industries? Are we talking about impassioned zealotry of individuals ready to use any marketing methods to sell more products to more people when they fully know what the risks of these prodcts are? Are we talking about the zealotry of the conductors of large scale mind-manipulating campaigns aimed at confusing people so they continue to buy, or influencing legislators so they vote against their constituents interests?

    Industries have a history of deceiving and twisting scientific information if it benefits their bottom line (or just perceive it does!). Should we review the lead industry effort at trying to prove that kids could lick lead based paint all day long without neurological effects?

    It may be shocking to you that those who start a bullshit war sometimes receive their comeuppance with a taste of their of own medicine. Although I agree that, in absolute, it would be better that underhanded attacks not be used in retaliation against those who decided to use them first, sometimes humans are simply not that noble.

    If I had to choose a camp, I would rather go to that, with methods I disapprove but purpose I do, rather than this, with both highly objectionable methods and purpose. I agree it would far from ideal, but life often does that to us.


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