Sunday, August 22, 2010
What do Warmists actually believe? A list with many absurdities
An email below from John Droz, Jr., [email@example.com] physicist & environmental advocate. Droz welcomes comments
I have dialogued with many pro-AGW parties, and have tried to ferret out their underlying (often unstated) assumptions. Below is my current list. AGW proponents have the following stated or embedded beliefs:
1) We currently have the ability to measure and report on an average annual global temperature to .01 degree Celsius
2) We have the ability to empirically calculate the average annual global temperature, with this same degree of accuracy, over the last few thousand years
3) Based on the data from #1 & #2, the earth has recently (100± years) been warming
4) Based on historical records (#2), the earth is warming to an unusually high degree
5) This increase (in the last 100 years) has been .74± degrees Celsius
6) Assuming business as usual, this warming will continue (or increase) for the foreseeable future
7) This warming will soon have profound negative environmental and economic consequences to all of the earth’s inhabitants
8) The mechanics of the earth’s recent warming are essentially entirely explained by the Greenhouse Gas theory
9) CO2 increases is the primary greenhouse gas driver that explains earth’s recent warming
10) That 350 PPM of CO2 is a critical concentration that we should not exceed
11) Other greenhouse gasses (e.g. water vapor) are discounted as consequential causes of recent warming
12) Most CO2 increases are man-made
13) The fact that we don’t understand a significant amount about CO2 sinks has been deemed to be irrelevant.
14) The solution of restricting man-made CO2 has passed an objective cost-benefits analysis
15) That proprietary computer models produce results equivalent to empirical testing
BBC puffery about Pachauri punctured by ECU Ruling
The ECU is the BBC's internal complaints unit. I have yet to find out what the abbreviation ECU stands for. CU obviously stands for "complaints unit" but what does the E stand for? Surely not "external"!
In a report on calls for Dr Rajendra Pachauri to resign as Head of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the BBC's Environment Correspondent referred to him as "the UN's top climate scientist". A viewer complained that this was inaccurate and misleading, as Dr Pachauri's scientific qualifications and credentials were in a field unrelated to climate science.
Although the phrase was intended as journalistic shorthand for the occupant of the most prominent international post connected with climate science, the implication that he was himself a climate scientist was materially misleading in the context of this report.
The Editor of BBC News at 10 is reiterating to his team the importance of accuracy in the introduction of our contributors.
Is the burning of fossil fuel a significant planetary activity?
By Denis G. Rancourt (Rancourt is a bit of a loose cannon in some ways -- he calls himself an anarchist -- but he is an accomplished physicist and knows what he is talking about below)
After all, the Earth is a planet. Is even the presence of humans significant on the rough and diverse thin surface of this planet?
We certainly make every effort to see ourselves as significant on this spinning ball in space. We like to point out that the lights from our cities can be seen from our extra-atmospheric “spaceships” at night and that we have deforested continents and reduced the populations of large wild mammals and of fishes but is all this really significant in the planetary web known as the biosphere?
INSIGNIFICANCE OF FOSSIL FUEL BURNING ENERGY RELEASE
The present (2010) historic maximum of anthropogenic (caused by humans) fossil fuel burning is only 8% or so of global primary production (GPP) (both expressed as kilograms of carbon per year, kg-C/y). GPP is the rate at which new biomass (living matter) is produced on the whole planet. And of course all biomass can in principle be considered fuel that could be burned with oxygen (O2) to produce CO2 gas, H2O water, energy, and an ash residue.
This shows the extent to which anthropogenic energy production from fossil fuel burning is small in comparison to the sun’s energy delivery to Earth, since biomass primary production results from the sun’s energy via photosynthesis.
The sun’s rate of raw energy delivery to the planet is, in turn, much greater (more than one thousand times greater) than the energy captured by GPP because most of the sun’s light energy is not used for photosynthesis but instead is either sent directly back out into space or produces fluid convection, wind, rain, water currents, erosion, etc., and because photosynthesis itself, even for the light directly striking a plant’s photoactive surface, is highly inefficient (less than 2% of incident light energy is converted to biomass chemical bond energy).
So, on the global scale of things fossil fuel burning energy release is miniscule (8% of 0.07% = 0.006%).
Given all the fuss that is made about the present rate of fossil fuel burning (2010; 0.8 x 10^13 kg-C/y where 10^13 = 10,000,000,000,000 with thirteen zeros), it is important to keep in mind that this represents an amount of CO2 release comparable to or somewhat less than the CO2 released by simple breathing from humankind and its domestic animals. The combined biomass of humankind and its domestic animals (cattle, sheep, goats, chickens, pigs, pets, etc.) is in turn estimated to be only 0.04% of Earth’s living biomass (all expressed as kilograms of carbon, kg-C), which is a lot more CO2-producing breathing. (Ants, for example, are estimated to represent ten to one hundred times the biomass of humankind and ants can be argued to have “transformed” the planet and its ecology far more than humans.)
The corporate-finance-military-empire interest in fossil fuel is that it is concentrated, extractable and compositionally homogeneous enough to be amenable to industrial processing, that its demand can be created and its supply controlled, and that new and existing alternative transportation technologies or strategies can be sabotaged and are not presently competitive on the geopolitical military battlefront (although hydrogen-based fuels are presently used for rocket propulsion).
INSIGNIFICANCE OF FOSSIL FUEL AS A CARBON POOL
The total pool of fossil fuel carbon itself, which has been burned to date (2010), is not large compared to organic and non-mineral carbon on the planet. It is 3.7 x 10^14 kg-C.
By comparison, the present total mass of CO2 as carbon in the atmosphere is 8.6 x 10^14 kg-C where CO2 is a trace gas with present concentration 390 ppmv (parts per million by volume) and where the atmosphere is the smallest global reservoir of carbon on the planet.
Even as Earth’s atmosphere goes the present concentration of CO2 is historically low compared to biomass highly productive periods during which CO2 concentrations where as high as 20 times the present level. Past bio-productive periods are part of the reason we have fossil fuels today.
The present low concentration of CO2 is growth limiting for plants under conditions where other essential nutrients do not first limit growth. Indeed, experiments have shown that today’s plants grow up to 50% faster than under present conditions when the CO2 concentration of the ambient atmosphere is 1000 ppmv, all other factors remaining the same and non-growth limiting.
Beyond the atmospheric carbon reservoir, the present planetary biomass alone (1 x 10^15 kg-C) is approximately three times the amount of total post-industrialization fossil fuel burned to date where even this biomass carbon is only carbon in living organisms.
In addition there is at least 10 times more carbon contained in non-living organic matter than in biomass – in organic detritus, soils, bogs, natural waters, lake sediments, marine sediments, and so on. For example, from my own research, the boreal forest (the largest ecosystem on Earth) contains millions of lakes that have not even been counted. These virtually unstudied lakes have accumulated organic-rich bottom sediments (preserved by anoxia) that have not yet been included in global carbon accounting studies.
Furthermore, there is approximately fifty times more dissolved carbon in ocean water than contained as CO2 in the atmosphere.
These bio-available carbon pools (biomass, organic matter, atmosphere, ocean water) do not include geological stores and sources from volcanoes and active geothermal sites. Volcanic activity, in particular, is unpredictable and has been highly variable in intensity since life burst onto the planet (billions of year ago), with often dramatic impacts on global ecology.
In summary, the total amount of post-industrial fossil fuel burned to date (and expressed as kilograms of carbon) represents less than 1% of the global bio-available carbon pools.
More importantly, bio-available carbon is a minor constituent of the Earth’s surface environment and one that is readily buffered and exchanged between compartments without significant consequences to the diversity and quantity of life on the planet. The known history of life on Earth (over the last billions of years) is unambiguous on this point.
Left progressive First-World elitist and disconnected policy consumers and service intellectuals need to recalibrate their sense of self-importance and correct the blindness that this sense produces.
Australian reef island RISING, not sinking!
Discussing: Dawson, J.L. and Smithers, S.G. 2010. Shoreline and beach volume change between 1967 and 2007 at Raine island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Global and Planetary Change 72: 141-154.
The authors note that low-lying reef islands are widely perceived to be particularly sensitive to ongoing and projected sea level increases; but they add that "a number of geomorphologists have argued that rising sea levels do not always cause reef islands to erode." For example, they state that "a rise in sea level may promote reef island growth by: i) increasing accommodation space for new sediment; ii) reinvigorating carbonate production on reef flats where further reef growth has been inhibited by a stable sea level; and iii) increasing the efficiency of waves to transport new and stored sediment to an island depocentre (Hopley, 1993; Hopley et al., 2007; Smithers et al., 2007; Woodroffe, 2007)."
What was done
Working on Raine Island (11°35'28"S, 144°02'17"E) at the northwest end of a planar reef on the outer edge of Australia's Great Barrier Reef -- which is one of the world's most important nesting sites for marine turtles -- Dawson and Smithers employed three historic survey maps and five topographic survey datasets of earlier researchers, supplementing them with digital elevation data collected in 1998, 2006 and 2007, to reconstruct a 40-year (1967-2007) shoreline history of the island.
What was learned
The two Australian researchers report that their "detailed quantitative surveys and analyses demonstrate that Raine Island increased in area (~6%) and volume (~4%) between 1967 and 2007," and that "in the 40 years between 1967 and 2007 Raine Island underwent a net accretion of 68,400 ± 6,700 m3."
What it means
In summing up their findings, Dawson and Smithers write that "contrary to perceptions, Raine Island did not erode but instead modestly accreted during the 40-year study period," and they therefore conclude that "future management strategies of Raine Island and other islands of the Great Barrier Reef should recognize that perceptions of reef island erosion can arise from large short-term seasonal and storm-derived sediment redistribution from one part of the island to another or to a temporary storage on the adjacent reef flat," but that these phenomena do not necessarily lead to "a net permanent loss from the island sediment budget."
And considering the similar positive findings of Webb and Kench (2010), it can be concluded that the most likely effect of a rising sea level is to actually add to the area and volume of low-lying reef islands.
Media Use Crazy Weather to Hype Global Warming, Despite Admissions Weather Isn't Climate
From Associated Press to national newspapers, coverage of floods, fires, droughts, sinkholes make 'case' for global warming alarmism
Last winter, as blizzard snowfalls piled up into several feet in the nation’s capital, conservatives mocked global warming alarmists for trying to link weather incidents to global warming. But as summer heat waves, volcanoes and sinkholes have appeared recently, climate alarmists proved they missed the point.
A top Obama administration scientist attacked global warming skeptics during the winter by pointing out that “weather is not the same thing as climate.” ABC’s Bill Blakemore argued the same thing in order to defend the existence of manmade global warming on Jan. 8, 2010.
But Associated Press, USA Today, The New York Times and The Washington Post have all promoted a connection between the extreme heat and weather around the world this summer and global warming. One CNN host asked if the events were the “apocalypse” or global warming. The Huffington Post proposed naming hurricanes and other disasters after climate change “deniers.”
“Floods, fires, melting ice and feverish heat: From smoke-choked Moscow to water-soaked Iowa and the High Arctic, the planet seems to be having a midsummer breakdown. It's not just a portent of things to come, scientists say, but a sign of troubling climate change already under way,” the AP wrote, sounding more like Al Gore than an objective news agency.
AP cited the World Meteorological Organization, NASA and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) saying that “extremes” were expected in a warming scenario. But its report didn’t include any other viewpoints or propose other possible reasons for the weather events. And it failed to point out the scandals connected to IPCC, NASA and the warming movement as a whole.
The 2009 ClimateGate scandal and subsequent scandals undermined the very credibility of the climate alarmist movement, but were underreported by the network news media.
AP left out meteorologists who explained some of those events based on jet stream activity. According to New Scientist magazine, the jet stream is being blocked right now and has consequently slowed down. Meteorologists say that the jet stream’s slower movements are responsible for the deadly fires in Russia, the floods in Pakistan and other rare weather events. “The unusual weather in the US and Canada last month also has a similar case,” New Scientist wrote.
Discover Magazine expounded on the New Scientist article saying “this happens from time to time, and it sets the stage for extreme conditions when weather systems hover over the same area.”
Despite other explanations and viewpoints, The New York Times also linked weather to climate saying, “the collective answer of the scientific community [whether global warming is causing more weather extremes]” is “probably.”
Like the Times, many news outlets promoted the connection between warming and weather, but were careful to briefly note that individual weather events cannot be proven to have been caused by global warming. Out of the Times’ 1,302 word article, only 113 words were used to offer a caveat saying it is difficult to link “specific weather events” to climate change and to quote a NASA scientist who admitted he hasn’t “proved it” yet.
Semantics aside, those mainstream stories were nearly as biased in their coverage as blatantly left-wing websites like the Huffington Post.
Huffington Post argued that “global weirding” incidents such as landslides, sinkholes and volcanoes are “consistent” with global warming.
The site interviewed David Orr, a professor of environmental studies and politics at Oberlin College, who said, “you ask is this evidence of climate destabilization, the only scientific answer you can give is: It is consistent with what we can expect." The complete list of “weird” stuff was heat waves, floods, landslides, wildfires, ice islands, sinkholes, volcanoes, dead fish and oyster herpes.
Dead fish and oyster herpes? Huffington Post said, “These are certainly stories to be filed under weird: Although climate change can't necessarily be held responsible, some scientists are suggesting it as the instigator of strange ocean occurrences.”
The fact is that the alarmists and the news media will find someone to support claims that just about everything is correlated to man-made global warming. MSNBC host Dylan Ratigan even claimed that Snowpocalypse (the nickname for the blizzard activity on parts of the East Coast) was consistent with global warming.
Perhaps under the strain of working at CNN, meteorologist Chad Myers actually switched views since 2008, when he said “to think that we could affect weather all that much is pretty arrogant.”
But on Aug. 10, Myers said “Yes,” when asked if the weather phenomena were manmade. Myers, however, offered this qualification: “Is it 100 percent caused by man? No. There are other things involved. We are now in the sunspot cycle. We are now in a very hot sun cycle. We are, we are – many other things going on …”
CNN host Fareed Zakaria also used the crazy weather to promote legislative action on emissions – pushing Cato Institute’s senior fellow Pat Michaels to accept the idea of a carbon tax.
After another guest warned of devastation if we fail to act on the issue of global warming, Zakaria turned to Michaels and said: “You hear all this. Doesn’t it worry you? I mean, I understand your position, which is, you know, we don’t have a substitute for fossil fuels right now. But surely that isn’t an argument for stand pattism?”
MICHAELS: What I worry about more is the concept of opportunity cost. We had legislation, again, that went through the House last summer which would have cost a lot and been futile. And when you, when you take that away, or when the government favors certain technologies and politicizes technologies, you're doing worse than nothing. You're actually impairing your ability to respond in the long run, and that's my major concern along this issue.
Rep. Steve King Unloads On Climate Change Scientists during Iowa town halls
Indignant report from a Leftiust site below
King began by contending that the 97% of scientists who support the evidence behind manmade climate change are “frauds.” He then proceeded to call the notion of manmade climate change “not rational” but “a religion” like “the modern version of the rain dance”:
KING: Every civilization, according to this Professor Brown, has not only always paid attention to the weather. Every civilization has tried to affect and change the weather. So whether it’s the Chinese seeding clouds, whether it’s some of the industrialized nations in the world trying to get together for cap-and-trade to try to reduce the CO2 emissions. You know, this might be the modern version of the rain dance.[...] It’s not rational, it’s a religion that we’re up against. I mean that from the broadest sense of the word. It’s something you can’t necessarily prove.
King later admitted that he doesn’t just disagree with taking steps to combat climate change, but he fundamentally opposes climate change science. King recoils at the fact that most GOP leaders agree with the science, arguing instead that “you don’t ever give up a premise unless you happen to believe that they’re right. And we should not concede the science of this.” He proceeded to put his minimal scientific understanding on full display, agreeing with a constituent who was “amazed” that people faulted carbon dioxide when it’s the main ingredient plants use to produce oxygen:
KING: They have not made that scientific case. I have always argued against the science. Some of our leadership have said “don’t argue the science.” They get pollsters in and coach us. I’m not very coachable…(laughing)…But I’ve said “you don’t ever give up a premise unless you happen to believe that they’re right.” And we should not concede the science of this. And they say, “you should just argue the economics, not the science.” Well, no. They were wrong on the science[...]
CONSTITUENT: Do you realize that carbon dioxide is the main ingredient plants use with sunshine to make oxygen and sugars for us to eat and for animals. What’s the matter with carbon dioxide? It’s amazing to me the way some of these people think.
KING: I agree with you. There have been many times in the history of the planet that we’ve had higher concentrations of CO2 than we have here today. There are a couple of German engineers that took that theory apart and proved it wrong in a lab. I’ve read through that, but I’d have to go back to school for a half a year or a year to tell you I followed every bit of their rationale. But the presumption of the Greenhouse Effect is at least, from what I saw, was pretty convincingly rebutted.
However, instead of using science to predict and fight climate change, King advised instead that we turn instead to the Bible. Given that rising sea levels are threatening to swallow up entire nations, that may not be such bad advice:
CONSTITUENT: It’s got nothing to do with carbon dioxide. It’s got to do with socialization [sic]. Just like their tax on energy. That’s got nothing to do with our benefit. Where’s this tax go to that they’re wanting to spend for their supposedly bad things we got ahold of? Where does it go to? And who’s blamed?
KING: I think you make an important point. I know that there is a good number of them that believe that the science says that the earth is getting warmer and we can control it. Some of them really believe it. Control is a big part of it. I finally found a book that I’d been looking for – one to help me figure out what’s going on – and the answers are in the Bible.
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Posted by JR at 3:29 PM