More proof that the gas/temperature correlation is a crock -- not that the blinkered ideologues below can see it
THE amount of two key greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere rose sharply in 2007, and carbon dioxide levels this year are literally off the chart, the US government reported today. In its annual index of greenhouse gas emissions, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found atmospheric carbon dioxide, the primary driver of global climate change, rose by 0.6 per cent, or 19 billion tonnes last year.
The amount of methane increased by 0.5 per cent, or 27 million tonnes, after nearly a decade of little or no change, according preliminary figures to scientists at the government's Earth System Research Laboratory in Colorado. Methane's greenhouse effect is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide's, but there is far less of it in the atmosphere. Overall, methane has about half the climate impact of carbon dioxide.
The primary source of carbon dioxide is the burning of fossil fuels, which is increasing, said Pieter Tans, who studies greenhouse gases at the laboratory. China was now the world's biggest emitter, followed by the United States.
The greenhouse gas index, based on data from 60 sites around the world, showed that that last year's carbon dioxide increase added 2.4 molecules to every million molecules of air, a measurement known as parts per million, or ppm. Carbon dioxide levels were about 270 ppm in the mid-18th century, before the wide use of fossil fuels that began with the Industrial Revolution. Last year's levels were near 390 ppm, and they have been rising more steeply in the past three decades, Mr Tans said.
"The average (annual rise) over the last five or six years has been 2 ppm and that is actually steeper than it has been in previous decades," he said. "This whole decade the rate of increase has accelerated, and we have a very clear candidate (for the cause) and that's emissions from burning fossil fuels." The rise continued in 2008, according to a chart of global carbon dioxide emissions online at http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/, which showed world emissions of this gas heading off the chart at over 386 ppm.
"It's gloomy," Mr Tans said. "With carbon dioxide emissions, we're on the wrong track, it's obvious. And I'm also fully convinced that we're in actually quite a dangerous situation for climate." The increase in methane emissions after years of little change may indicate that methane locked for thousands of years in frozen Arctic soil known as permafrost is being emitted into the atmosphere as the soil melts. It is also possible that the 2007 rise in methane emissions is due to some other cause. Methane emissions rose sharply between 1978 and 1998 and then levelled off.
IPCC Challenged to Recant Global Warming Position
A group of scientists have challenged the IPCC to admit that there is no evidence that human activity drives climate change. Specifically, they sent a letter this month to the Chairman of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change asking those associated with the panel to:
retract support from the current IPCC position and admit that there is no observational evidence in measured data going back 22,000 years or even millions of years that CO2 levels (whether from man or nature) have driven or are driving world temperatures or climate change.
And they issue this challenge: "If you believe there is evidence of the CO2 driver theory in the available data please present a graph of it." The letter is signed by Hans Schreuder (Analytical Chemist), Piers Corbyn (Astrophysicist ), and Dr Don Parkes Svend Hendriksen (1988 Nobel Laureate), and a copy is available at a website operated by the International Climate Science Association. (here)
Evidence presented in the letter goes well beyond putting the "hockey stick" graph, made famous in Al Gore's movie, in doubt. The hockey stick presented exponentially increasing global temperature in the near future due to uncontrolled increases in CO2 - and got its name from the shape of the graph - an apparently long stable period with an upward increase in CO2 and temperature during the industrial age. The UN panel claimed that human activity was driving what Mr. Gore explained as a certain end to civilization as we know it, if extreme political and economic measures are not taken.
The scientists assembled a graph based on actual measurements and did not find evidence that CO2 was the main driving force behind temperature. In fact, temperature increases and decreases, showing little interest in CO2 level.
Graph below shows CO2 (green line) continues upwards while temperature (the other two lines) fluctuates, dropping recently; offering compelling evidence against the belief that CO2 drives global temperature.
The letter goes on to provide an urgent reason for renouncing the UN panel report.
IPCC policy is already leading to economic and unintended environmental damage. Specifically the policy of burning food - maize as biofuel - has contributed to sharp rises in food prices which are causing great hardship in many countries and is also now leading to increased deforestation in Brazil, Malaysia, Indonesia, Togo, Cambodia, Nigeria, Burundi, Sri Lanka, Benin and Uganda for cultivation of crops.
Given the economic devastation that is already happening and which is now widely recognised will continue to flow from this policy, what possible justification can there be for its retention?
The position taken by the scientists is not out of the ordinary from the steady stream of data, analysis and commentary from the scientific community. So too have economists and others challenged the global warming political agenda, which calls for unprecedented levels of taxation and government control based on the scariest projections of bad science. Nonetheless, the IPCC report provides a basis for international agreements such as the "Kyoto Protocol" agreement, which is an international start on the agenda. Both Democratic Party presidential candidates, as well as John McCain have spoken in favor of global warming related reform.
Regarding sea ice in the southern hemisphere
Post below recycled from Tiger Hawk . See the original for links
Trolling through the National Climate Data Center's global climate report for March 2008 (issued four days ago), I noticed this interesting bit of news (bold emphasis added):
According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, the March 2008 Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent, which is measured from passive microwave instruments onboard NOAA satellites, was below the 1979-2000 mean, but greater than the previous four years. This was the sixth least March sea ice extent on record. The past four years had the least March sea ice extent since records began in 1979. Sea ice extent for March has decreased at a rate of 2.8%/decade (since satellite records began in 1979) as temperatures in the high latitude Northern Hemisphere have risen at a rate of approximately 0.37øC/decade over the same period.
Meanwhile, the March 2008 Southern Hemisphere sea ice extent was much above the 1979-2000 mean. This was the largest sea ice extent in March (28.6% above the 1979-2000 mean) over the 30-year historical period, surpassing the previous record set in 1994 by 10.9%. Sea ice extent for March has increased at a rate of 4.2%/decade.
There have only been a few wire service stories written about the March report, and none of them mention the rising sea ice in the southern hemisphere. Probably too inconvenient.
Green Advocates Failing in Climate Debate
A Greenie reports an interesting experience below:
From highly respected fellow blogger, Mark Seal, here is a thought provoking post on why we greenies may need to sharpen our debating skills . . .
When I launched the TalkClimateChange forums last year, I was initially worried as to where I would find people who didn't believe in global warming. I had planned to create a furious debate, but in my experience global warming was such a universally accepted issue that I expected to have to dredge the slums of the internet in order to find a couple of deniers who could keep the argument thriving.
The first few days were slow going, but following a brief write-up of my site by Junk Science I was swamped by climate skeptics who did a good job of frightening off the few brave Greens who slogged out the debate with. Whilst there was a lot of rubbish written, the truth was that they didn't so much frighten the Greens away - they comprehensively demolished them with a more in depth understanding of the science, cleverly thought out arguments, and some very smart answers. If you want to learn about the physics of convection currents, gas chromatography, or any number of climate science topics then read some of the early debates on TalkClimateChange. I didn't believe a word of it, but I had to admit that these guys were good.
In the following months the situation hardly changed. As the forum continued to grow, as the blog began to catch traffic, and as I continued to try and recruit green members I continued to be disappointed with the debate. In short, and I am sorry to say it, anti-greens (Reds, as we call them) appear to be more willing to comment, more structured, more able to quote peer reviewed research, more apparently rational and apparently wider read and better informed.
And it's not just TalkClimateChange. Since we re-launched the forums on Green Options and promoted the "Live Debate" on Nuclear Power, the pro-nuclear crowd have outclassed the few brave souls that have attempted to take them on (with the exception of our own Matt from TalkClimateChange). So how can this be? Where are all these bright Green champions, and why have I failed to recruit them into the debate? Either it's down to poor online marketing skills, or there is something else missing. I've considered a range of theories as to the problem, none of which seem to fit - such as:
Greens are less educated? Nope.
Greens have less time? Nope.
Greens are a little reticent? Nope.
Greens are less intelligent? Definitely nope.
Greens are less passionate? Absolutely nope.]
Greens have less at stake? Clearly not.
The only feasible explanation that I can come up with so far is that perhaps Greens are less invested in the status quo, and therefore less motivated to protect it? The other possibility is that we are all completely wrong and we're deluded - please tell me this isn't so. So I am hoping that La Marguerite, with its insightful host and enlightened readership may be able to help shed some light on this peculiar phenomenon?
Why I Left Greenpeace
By PATRICK MOORE, Noting particularly the scientifically nonsensical attacks on chlorine and Phthalates
In 1971 an environmental and antiwar ethic was taking root in Canada, and I chose to participate. As I completed a Ph.D. in ecology, I combined my science background with the strong media skills of my colleagues. In keeping with our pacifist views, we started Greenpeace. But I later learned that the environmental movement is not always guided by science. As we celebrate Earth Day today, this is a good lesson to keep in mind.
At first, many of the causes we championed, such as opposition to nuclear testing and protection of whales, stemmed from our scientific knowledge of nuclear physics and marine biology. But after six years as one of five directors of Greenpeace International, I observed that none of my fellow directors had any formal science education. They were either political activists or environmental entrepreneurs. Ultimately, a trend toward abandoning scientific objectivity in favor of political agendas forced me to leave Greenpeace in 1986.
The breaking point was a Greenpeace decision to support a world-wide ban on chlorine. Science shows that adding chlorine to drinking water was the biggest advance in the history of public health, virtually eradicating water-borne diseases such as cholera. And the majority of our pharmaceuticals are based on chlorine chemistry. Simply put, chlorine is essential for our health. My former colleagues ignored science and supported the ban, forcing my departure. Despite science concluding no known health risks - and ample benefits - from chlorine in drinking water, Greenpeace and other environmental groups have opposed its use for more than 20 years.
Opposition to the use of chemicals such as chlorine is part of a broader hostility to the use of industrial chemicals. Rachel Carson's 1962 book, "Silent Spring," had a significant impact on many pioneers of the green movement. The book raised concerns, many rooted in science, about the risks and negative environmental impact associated with the overuse of chemicals. But the initial healthy skepticism hardened into a mindset that treats virtually all industrial use of chemicals with suspicion.
Sadly, Greenpeace has evolved into an organization of extremism and politically motivated agendas. Its antichlorination campaign failed, only to be followed by a campaign against polyvinyl chloride.
Greenpeace now has a new target called phthalates (pronounced thal-ates). These are chemical compounds that make plastics flexible. They are found in everything from hospital equipment such as IV bags and tubes, to children's toys and shower curtains. They are among the most practical chemical compounds in existence. Phthalates are the new bogeyman. These chemicals make easy targets since they are hard to understand and difficult to pronounce. Commonly used phthalates, such as diisononyl phthalate (DINP), have been used in everyday products for decades with no evidence of human harm. DINP is the primary plasticizer used in toys. It has been tested by multiple government and independent evaluators, and found to be safe.
Despite this, a political campaign that rejects science is pressuring companies and the public to reject the use of DINP. Retailers such as Wal-Mart and Toys "R" Us are switching to phthalate-free products to avoid public pressure. It may be tempting to take this path of least resistance, but at what cost? None of the potential replacement chemicals have been tested and found safe to the degree that DINP has. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recently cautioned, "If DINP is to be replaced in children's products . . . the potential risks of substitutes must be considered. Weaker or more brittle plastics might break and result in a choking hazard. Other plasticizers might not be as well studied as DINP."
The hysteria over DINP began in Europe and Israel, both of which instituted bans. Yet earlier this year, Israel realized the error of putting politics before science, and reinstated DINP. The European Union banned the use of phthalates in toys prior to completion of a comprehensive risk assessment on DINP. That assessment ultimately concluded that the use of DINP in infant toys poses no measurable risk.
The antiphthalate activists are running a campaign of fear to implement their political agenda. They have seen success in California, with a state ban on the use of phthalates in infant products, and are pushing for a national ban. This fear campaign merely distracts the public from real environmental threats. We all have a responsibility to be environmental stewards. But that stewardship requires that science, not political agendas, drive our public policy.
Irrational Green Exuberance
The last few years have witnessed an Internet-stock bubble and a real-estate bubble. Could we be approaching the bursting point of the climate-change bubble?
The intensity of the current climate crusade, Al Gore's $300 million ad campaign, and Time's fifth panicky global-warming cover in three years ("Be Worried, Be Very Worried" read the 2006 cover) are all good contrary indicators suggesting that the hysteria is reaching its terminal stage. Like mortgage-backed securities dealers, the climate campaigners are in a panic because the public isn't buying what they're selling. The latest annual Gallup survey on the environment shows that only 37 percent of Americans say they worry "a great deal" about global warming, down from 41 percent last year, about the same level as a decade ago. Americans put global warming way down on their list of major environmental concerns, behind air and water pollution, toxic waste, and the loss of open space
The League of Conservation Voters is apoplectic that the TV anchors aren't asking more climate-change questions in the presidential primary debates - and, if global warming is indeed the gravest threat in the history of mankind, they do have a point. Perhaps the blas‚ performance of the media on this matter is telling us something.
Thirty-five years ago, political scientist Anthony Downs discerned what he called the "issue-attention cycle," a five-stage process during which the public and the media grow alarmed over an issue, agitate for action, generate reams of scary headlines, and then begin to draw back as they gradually recognize that the problem has been exaggerated and they get a good look at the price tag for sweeping action.
While Downs thought that the issue-attention cycle for the environment would last longer than for most issues, global warming is starting to follow the same familiar pattern as the "population bomb" and the "we're-running-out-of-everything" scares of the 1970s. The planet's coldest winter in 30 years has cooled the fever of climate panic. And while one cool year does not a trend make, a few more cool years and there will be a crisis in climate alarmism. Meanwhile, the gung-ho Europeans are looking for a way to retreat gracefully from their fulsome rhetoric as the real price of cutting emissions becomes apparent. U.N. officials now concede that prospects look grim for a successor treaty to Kyoto.
It may be about to burst, but the climate bubble is still sufficiently robust that the U.S. appears determined to enact the climate policy equivalent of Sarbanes-Oxley - an emissions-trading scheme that will deliver high costs while achieving only modest reductions. Meanwhile, concerns about soaring food prices and groundwater depletion are making people think twice about ethanol, though Washington marches on with its array of subsidies and mandates.
One of these days, the editors of Time and other publications are going to grow bored of producing yet another "green" issue and tired of writing editorials demanding "action now," just as the media grew exhausted by the population explosion, AIDS, urban sprawl, homelessness, and other former front-burner stories. No doubt another terrifying novelty will be discovered (the threat of Earth's magnetic field weakening perhaps?) because it is the nature of the media and activist groups to find some new panic to ride. But the current green mania may be reaching a weary, used-up phase that signals a turning point.
Once the climate bubble finally deflates, we can stop tilting at windmills and get back to solving environmental problems through economic growth and market-driven innovation rather than dirigiste dictates from Washington and the U.N.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.