Wednesday, June 05, 2013

AGW theory has failed all tests, so alarmists return to the `consensus' hoax

National Academies of Science defines a scientific theory as:  "a well-substantiated explanation of the natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested hypotheses."

Dr Richard Feynman, Cornell Physicist in a lecture explained how theories that failed the test of data or experiment are falsified ("wrong") and must be discarded.


(1) Warming not `global'. It is shown in satellite data to be northern hemisphere only

(2) It is now not warming. Warming (global mean and northern hemisphere) stopped in the 1990s

(3) Models suggest atmosphere should warm 20% faster than surface but surface warming was 33% faster during the time satellites and surface observations used. This suggests GHG theory wrong, and surface temperature contaminated

(4) Temperatures longer term have been modified to enhance warming trend and minimize cyclical appearance. Station dropout, missing data, change of local siting, urbanization, instrumentation contaminate the record, producing exaggerating warming. The GAO scolded NOAA for poor compliance with siting standards.

(5) Those who create the temperature records have been shown in analysis and emails to take steps to eliminate inconvenient temperature trends like the Medieval Warm Period, the 1940s warm blip and cooling since 1998. Steps have included removal of the urban heat island adjustment and as Wigley suggested in a climategate email, introduce 0.15C of artificial cooling of global ocean temperatures near 1940.

(6) Forecast models have failed with temperature trends below even the assumed zero emission control scenarios

(7) Climate models all have a strong hot spot in the mid to high troposphere in the tropical regions. Weather balloons and satellite show no warming in this region the last 30 years.

(8) Ocean heat content was forecast to increase and was said to be the canary in the coal mine. It too has stalled according to NOAA PMEL. The warming was to be strongest in the tropics where the models were warming the atmosphere the most. No warming has been shown in the top 300 meters in the tropical Pacific back to the 1950s.

(9) Alarmists had predicted permanent El Nino but the last decade has featured 7 La Nina and just 3 El Nino years. This is related to the PDO and was predicted by those who look at natural factors.

(10) Alarmists had predicted much lower frequency of the negative modes of the AO and NAO due to warming. The trend has been the opposite with a record negative AO/NAO in 2009/10

(11) Alarmists predicted an increase in hurricane frequency and strength globally but the global activity had diminished after 2005 to a 30+ year low. The U.S. has gone seven consecutive years without a landfalling major hurricane, the longest stretch since the 1860s

(12) Alarmists have predicted a significant increase in heat records but despite heat last two summers, the 1930s to 1950s still greatly dominated the heat records. Even in Texas at the center of the 2011 heat wave, the long term (since 1895) trends in both temperature and precipitation are flat. And when stations with over 80 years of temperature data were considered, the number of heat records last July were not extraordinary relative to past hot summers.

(13) Extremes of rainfall and drought were predicted to increase but except during periods of strong El Nino and La Nina, no trends are seen

(14) Alarmists indicated winter would become warmer and short. The last 15 years has seen a decline in winter temperatures in all regions. In places winter have been the coldest and longest in decades and even centuries.

(15) Alarmists had indicated snow would become increasingly rare in middle latitudes especially in the big cities where warming would be greatest. All time snow records were set in virtually all the major cities and northern hemisphere snow coverage in winter has increased with 4 of the top 5 years since 2007/08. Also among the east coast high impact snowstorms tracked by NOAA (NESIS), 11 of the 46 have occurred since 2009.

(16) Alarmists had indicated a decline of Antarctic ice due to warming.  The upward trends since 1979 continues.

(17) Alarmists had indicated Greenland and arctic ice melt would accelerate. The arctic ice tracks with the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and the IARC shows the ice cover was similarly reduced in the 1950s when the Atlantic was last in a similar warm mode. In Greenland, the warmth of the 1930s and 1940s still dominates the records and longer term temperatures have declined.

(18) Sea level rise was to accelerate upward due to melting ice and warming. Sea levels actually slowed in the late 20th century and have declined or flattened the last few years. Manipulation of data (adjustment for land rises following the last glaciation) has been applied to hide this from the public.

(19) Alarmists claimed that drought western snowpack would diminish and forest fires would increase in summer. Snowpack and water equivalent were at or near record levels in recent winters from Alaska to the Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies. Glaciers are advancing.  Fires have declined.

(20) Alaska was said to be warming with retreating glaciers. But that warming is tied intimately to the PDO and thr North Pacific pattern NP and happens instantly with the flips from cold to warm and warm to cold. Two of the coldest and snowiest winters on records occurred since the PDO/NP flipped cold again (2007/08 and 2011/12). January 2012 was the coldest on record in many towns and cities and snowfall was running 160 inches above normal in parts of the south. Anchorage Alaska set an all time record for seasonal snow in 2011/12. In 2007/08, glaciers all advanced for the first time since the Little Ice Age. In 2011/12, the Bering Sea ice set a new high in the satellite era. Latest ever ice out date records were set in May 2013.

(21) Mt. Kilimanjaro glacier was to disappear due to global warming. Temperatures show no warming in recent decades. The reduction in glacial ice was due to deforestation near the base and the state of the AMO. The glaciers have advanced again in recent years

(22) Polar bears were claimed to be threatened. Polar bear populations instead have increased to record levels and threaten the populace.

(23) Australian drought was forecast to become permanent. Steps to protect against floods were defunded. Major flooding did major damage and rainfall has been abundant in recent years tied to the PDO and La Nina as predicted by honest scientists in Australia. All years with La Nina and cold PDO composited show this rainfall. Drought was associated with El Ninos and warm PDO fro 1977 to 1998

(24) The office of the Inspector General report found that the EPA cut corners and short-circuited the required peer review process for its December 2009 endangerment finding, which is the foundation for EPA's plan to regulate greenhouse gases. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) report confirmed that EPA's Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program-which EPA acknowledges is the "scientific foundation for decisions" - is flawed, echoing previous concerns from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) that the agency is basing its decisions on shoddy scientific work.

(25) Of 18,531 citations in the 2007 IPCC Assessment Report, 5,587 or 30% were non-peer-reviewed material, including activist tracts, press releases, and in one amazing case, "Version One" of a Draft. In important instances, IPCC lead authors chose non-peer-reviewed material, or papers of low credibility, favoring their argument, in the face of prolific peer-reviewed material to the contrary. Instances include alleged climate relevance to malaria, hurricanes, species extinction, and sea levels.

Given the failures of global warming science, just a few mentioned here, the most disreputable alarmists like Oreskes, Cook and Trenberth and the demagogue party have tried to convince the uniformed by using the consensus argument. See the latest failed attempt here.  It was also described on Forbes here.

    "Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had. Let's be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics." Michael Crichton 17 January 2003 speech at the California Institute of Technology


Environmentalists vs. Blue-Collar Workers

The trouble with some people, said the late Ronald Reagan, is not that they’re ignorant. It’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.

In 1990, Michael Moore released his documentary Roger and Me, in which he futilely pursued Roger Smith, the chairman of General Motors. Moore wanted to ask Smith why he closed the GM plant in Flint, Michigan, ushering in devastation and decline.

“It is a kind of David and Goliath revenge story, in which a modest, plain-speaking nobody triumphs morally over an evil corporate giant,” said The New York Times. Roger and Me was what journalists call “a story too good to check.” After all, it was the ‘80s, and GM was the greedy corporation everyone loved to hate.

But those days are long gone. After decades of attacks in the media, GM is on life support—in part because this supposedly evil entity is so generous to its retired employees. The corporate whipping boy du jour is BP.

BP is seeking approval to expand its refinery in Oregon, Ohio, just west of Toledo, which it jointly owns with Husky Energy. The Toledo Blade, the only major newspaper in town, has offered up one-sided coverage of the project.

“BP’s recent history of major health, safety, and environmental violations warrants review…BP incurred a record $4.5 billion federal fine stemming from criminal violations from the Gulf spill,” the Blade editorialized in December.

The editorial staff used the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to imply that BP is a bad corporate citizen, one that will take risks with workers’ health and safety at the Oregon refinery—and wreck the environment as well. The citizen activist group Occupy Toledo made vague accusations that the refinery is “dirty” and dangerous.

“BP has shown utter disregard for safety with its poor record of safety equipment that resulted in loss of life in Texas City, Texas, and the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf, resulting in the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history,” activist Keith Sadler told Toledo News Now. “They have continued the same pattern here.”

Have they? To find out, I met with the Toledo Boilermakers at their union headquarters—and they offered a very different picture of BP-Husky than Occupy Toledo.

“The anti-BP groups sound like Chicken Little,” said boilermaker Paul McGrew. He said opposition to the refinery expansion is rooted in anti-corporate bias. “It’s a transgression that they’re making money.” On the other hand, “[BP] also offers a very good living wage.”

Isn’t that what Occupy Toledo, an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street, says it wants for workers?

All of the Boilermakers I spoke with preferred working at the BP-Husky refinery over other refineries, in part because their safety standards are so high.

“With BP, safety is always at the forefront,” said Jaramie Hilliard. “It’s almost in-your-face. If something gets spilled, they’re all over that. Occupy Toledo isn’t even knowledgeable about what goes on at the refinery. They rely on a lack of knowledge.”

Is BP perfect? No, of course not. The oil spill in the Gulf was a disaster of epic proportions. (To date, they’ve also spent more than $14 billion cleaning it up.) But the Oregon refinery’s safety record is impeccable: employees are approaching 10 million hours worked without a lost-time injury. Safety at the refinery broke records in 2011 and reached its best ever in 2012.

What about environmental concerns? Since 2000, overall criteria air emissions from the refinery have decreased by over 45 percent. Since 2002, overall permitted water emissions have decreased by 20 percent.

I contacted Occupy Toledo—a group that has loudly opposed BP—to get their perspective on the refinery expansion. What are their main objections?

Besides claiming that the expansion would provide a “minimal” number of jobs and create pollution, an Occupy Toledo activist told me, “BP is a corporation and as a corporation it exists to maximize profits for its shareholders in order to do this all questions of ethics and morals are pushed to the side…we do not believe that they have ethics or morals.”

Groups like Occupy Toledo may sincerely believe such things, but believing doesn’t make it so. This is a conflict of knee-jerk, anti-corporate emotionalism versus the interests of blue-collar workers.

When environmentalists and left-wing activists win, workers lose.


Bakken or Green River: Two irreconcilable visions

By Rick Manning

It is the story that just keeps getting better and better for free marketers.  The state of North Dakota has now passed Alaska to become the second largest oil producing state in the nation.

The Bakken Oil Field, which covers the northwest portion of the state along with northeastern Montana and areas in Canada north of the border, is proving itself to be more productive than anyone’s wildest dreams.  Years of individual risk taking and human ingenuity are paying off with the end of North America’s dependency upon oil from around the world becoming closer to reality than any political sloganeer might have imagined even five years ago.

In May, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) doubled its estimate of undiscovered and technically recoverable oil in Bakken and the adjacent Three Forks Formation to 7.38 billion barrels of oil.

Even with the upgraded forecast many political and oil and gas industry leaders still believe the USGS is being conservative in its estimate of recoverable reserves.

North Dakota’s Congressman Kevin Cramer flatly states in the Williston Herald News, “What we see in the data from the Three Forks Formation is a direct result of new technologies becoming developed in the energy industry during the last five years.”

Cramer is optimistic that continued advancements in technology will drive estimates released earlier this year northward predicting, “Looking forward, the future holds even greater potential for new discovery thanks to the ingenuity of our developers.”

Note that Cramer does not thank government bureaucrats, lawyers, environmentalists, Energy Department venture socialists or even Al Gore, Jr., but instead lays credit for the new bounty of a world changing energy source to the “ingenuity of our developers.”

Men and women driven by profit motive, not dependent upon the largesse of the federal government’s Department of Energy saved the day.  Very smart people, scientists and engineers challenged to use their intellect, without the backstop of a government bailout should they fail, to create technologies that are changing the world’s energy balance of power.

In mid-May, the International Energy Agency Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said, “North America has set off a supply shock that is sending ripples throughout the world.”  She continued by adding, “The good news is that this is helping to ease a market that was relatively tight for several years.”

The result of this easing market is that oil is now hovering around $100 a barrel, well below its 2008 peak of $147, which is good news for consumers not only of gasoline but of all goods produced and transported using oil.

And the acceleration of shale oil recovery efforts using hydraulic fracturing technology has only just begun, with 2000 new wells being projected for the next year, the larger issue is the continued development of pipeline and other infrastructure to deliver the oil from North Dakota to refineries on the east, west and Gulf coasts.

After all, getting it out of the ground doesn’t do any good, if it cannot get to where it is needed.

North Dakota’s junior Senator Heidi Heitkamp understands this issue saying, “Pipeline infrastructure is crucial to the safe and efficient transport of oil and natural gas and I will continue to work in the Senate to push for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline and other crucial energy infrastructure projects. I will also continue to fight against overregulation and work to fix impediments that hurt efficient and effective oil and gas development in the Bakken.”

Beyond Administration and environmentalist attempts to engage in regulatory sabotage of the development of infrastructure necessary to get our nation off the OPEC oil needle, other possible federal actions could be equally injurious.

The North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources identifies congressional Cap and Trade proposals as one of these impediments estimating that they could reduce production by as much as 40 percent.  They also estimate some proposed changes to the federal tax law could drive production down by as much as 50 percent.

With as vast as the Bakken Field promises to be, it could be dwarfed in size by shale oil prospects in Utah, Wyoming and Colorado where initial estimates show that as much as 1.8 trillion barrels of oil potential at play in the Green River Formation.

Unlike Bakken, development of this oil resource is largely dependent upon federal government approvals as much of the land has been claimed by the federal government over the years.  As the people of Alaska have found out, getting federal government approvals for extracting resources is near impossible, and the development of the Green River Formation stands as a stark contrast to the Bakken man-made miracle.

The Deseret News reports in an article titled, “Feds put clamps on land for oil shale projects,” that the U.S. Department of Interior has effectively taken the development of much of this resource off the table by “sharply reducing the amount of acreage available” for production and potential development.

Utahns decried the federal government decision with Uintah County Commission Chairman saying, “It is a tragedy for our state.”  McKee wondered, “Why would the federal government want to put such a stranglehold on this when information shows it is energy-rich communities that are doing the best in this country?”

While the Interior Department used language promising additional approvals when “technology is proven on the ground,” the reality is that if this “research first” approach had been applied to Bakken, the private investment would never have come to develop the technological leaps that made it a major oil field in the first place.

The contrast between the world impacting Bakken development and the federal government foot dragging whenever they get a regulatory voice in the matter exposes the overall poison that is threatening to kill our nation’s standing as the world’s leading economy.

Those who produce goods and services, create jobs, lower energy costs and make our nation thrive can and will succeed when the laws are knowable and reasonable.  But that takes the power away from Washington, D.C. and puts it in the hands of those who produce and the markets they serve.

The nature of government is to constantly seek an expansion of its power all in the guise of the public good.  This very nature demands that producers pay tribute through hiring the right lobbyists and contributing to the right campaigns and committees in the hopes of tilting the scales in the byzantine world of D.C. politics to allow them to produce and create wealth.

Opposing producers are organizations which have grown powerful simply because they know how to pull the levers of power without the need to show a profit at the end of the day.

Environmentalists worry that their war on extracted energy sources oil, natural gas and coal will be lost due to technologies that allow the profitable extraction of oil not only from shale, but also from tar sands.  So, they attack these technologies using scare tactics designed to justify the federal government’s insatiable desire to control all production in the name of the common good.

They attack the pipeline delivery systems with emotional and baseless cries against projects like the Keystone Pipeline.  Of course, veterans of these oil wars have seen and heard it before as the same arguments used against Keystone were spouted in opposition to the Alaskan Pipeline more than thirty years earlier.

Politicians and government funded analysts and economists worry about the impact that North American energy independence will have on the balance of world power as the status quo gets uprooted urging more study of these global impacts through grants to their favored institutions.

Those with a stake in alternative energy sources whose profitability is dependent upon extremely expensive oil and natural gas demand that the government take action to prevent these relatively cheap and available new energy sources be taxed, regulated and delayed.  All while they cash taxpayer checks to create a new energy future.

Bakken proves that when oil and gas producers are left with reasonable, defined rules for extracting resources, they can create miracles, and that is what scares those whose livelihoods depend upon the false notion that wealth creation requires federal government approval, oversight and planning.

The battle lines are cast between these two divergent visions for our nation’s future.  One vision is vibrant, freewheeling, somewhat scary but exciting.  The other a moribund future of failed five year plans conceived of and managed by lawyers, regulators and politicians leading to a continued decline of America’s economic might as we descend into a national acceptance that this is as good as it gets.

Bakken and Green River represent two irreconcilable visions for our nation’s future.  And like on American Idol, there can only be one winner.


How Cook ‘n’ Lew do science

Two Australian Climate Clowns

Here’s a summary of the Scientific Method, according to John Cook & Stephan Lewandowsky:

Step 1: Develop a quasi-religious belief in a particular point of view (e.g. that human-caused emissions are causing dangerous climate change);

Step 2: Convince yourself that you are morally and intellectually superior to those who hold a different view, since your view is naturally “right” and “good”, and the other is “evil” and “bad”;

Step 3: Look for ways to caricature, demean, ostracise and ridicule your ideological opponents whilst at all times avoiding any rational discussion of the subject matter in dispute;

Step 4: Find some suitably catchy phrases, like “deniers are all conspiracy theory fruitcakes who think the Moon landing was faked” or “97% of scientific papers support the ‘consensus’ on global warming“, with which to frame the “research” and portray your opponents as fools;

Step 5: Beat, batter and torture whatever data you get until it fits said phrase;

Step 6: Use said phrase in the title of your paper so that MSM journalists, who never read anything beyond the title anyway, will do all the hard work for you (especially when one of your mates writes part of the story…!);

Step 7: Continue to pretend that the research is “impartial” and of the highest standard, despite the fact that the entire world and his dog is aware of the researchers’ firmly held beliefs and biases. How?  Mainly because they publish them every day on web sites.

Step 8: Sit back and wait for moonbat universities, governments and supposedly learned societies to award you great honours for doing such valuable ”research“, and for the grants to flood in.

By the way, that whirring noise in the background is Karl Popper spinning in his grave.


Global Warming Charlatans are Meeting in Bonn

By Alan Caruba

The city of Bonn, Germany is currently the location of more climate chicanery courtesy of the United Nations and an organization called the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI). Two climate change conferences are being held there this week.

At noon, June 5, in Bonn, Craig Rucker, Executive Director of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) will hold a press conference, but the likelihood that you will read about it in any U.S. newspaper ranges from slim to none. CFACT is a free market think tank for which I am an advisor and Rucker has been keeping me and its supporters informed about the conferences.

If you think ICLEI or the UN International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has little to do with your life, think again. ICLEI is just one organization among many whose purpose is to deprive you of your property rights and your ability to influence decisions being made about the city or town in which you live.

“The ICLEI was formed in 1990 for the purpose of promoting the UN’s vision of ‘sustainable development’ as embodied in a document called Agenda 21,” notes Rucker. “It now counts more than 1,200 cities (worldwide) in its membership, the vast majority of whom use taxpayer money to pay membership dues to participate.” There are an estimated 450 member communities in the U.S. and in practical terms it means that any development efforts in those communities must meet stringent environmental and other standards even if they represent new jobs or new public facilities.

Tom DeWeese, the founder of the American Policy Center, has been an opponent of Agenda 21 for as long as it has existed and a visit to the Center’s website provides information about the UN's “sustainable development” agenda. In brief, this is how DeWeese explains that, “According to its authors, the objective of sustainable development is to integrate economic, social and environmental policies in order to achieve reduced consumption, social equity, and the preservation and restoration of biodiversity.”

Those advocating Agenda 21 “insist that every societal decision be based on environmental impact, focusing on three components; global land use, global education, and global population control and reduction.”

Its other component is “social justice” and DeWeese explains that “Social justice is described as the right and opportunity of all people “to benefit equally from the resources afforded us by society and the environment.”

Like all fundamentally communist programs, so-called social justice includes the “redistribution of wealth” and regards “private property as a social injustice since not everyone can build wealth from it.” It is communism.

National sovereignty is regarded as social injustice and that is where the UN comes in because it has never ceased to move toward its goal of being a global government.

Rucker reports that the delegates to the ICLEI are in a sweat about local pushback here in the U.S. precisely because of the work of CFACT, comparable think tanks, and grassroots activists loosely identified as the Tea Party movement.

From June 3 through June 14, Bonn is also hosting UN climate talks aimed at creating a binding climate treaty by 2015. As Rucker points out, “This treaty will be a disaster for the economies of the free world.”

There is a reason we keep hearing about “climate change”, the replacement code words for “global warming.” As Rucker points out about the fear-mongers, “They pay no heed to real world observational data or the expense, ineffectiveness, waste, fraud, and abuse surrounding the policies being proposed. A UN climate conference is an unrealistic wonderland.”

All this would be comic if it did not affect the lives of those throughout Europe and here in the U.S. A senior advisor to CFACT, Paul Dreissen, notes that “European climate policies have been disastrous for affordable energy, economic growth, entire industries, people’s jobs and welfare, wildlife habitats, and human lives.” That same can, of course, be said for America.

The notion that the United Nations or the entirely of the world’s population could have any effect on the climate is so absurd that it should be dismissed out of hand, but the UN climate program and forthcoming treaty it is fashioning has nothing to do with the climate.  It is about the fascist utopia being fashioned by those telling huge lies about the climate.

This is why we keeping hearing President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry issue warnings about the climate. On election night Obama said “we want our children to live in an America…that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.”

But the planet is not warming. It has been cooling for sixteen years at this point despite Kerry’s lies that “the science is screaming at all of us and demands action.”

“Obama and Kerry have stepped up the climate rhetoric,” says CFACT’s Rucker. “They must feel great pressure to deliver some tangible result to the Green pressure groups that supported them last fall.” And Kerry will set the agenda for the U.S. delegates to the UN climate talks.

What happens in Bonn unfortunately will not stay in Bonn.


De-hoaxing kids

The book ‘Facts, Not Fear’ covers many eco-alarms, and shows in each case how the sting may be removed from them by the simple expedient of noting contrary evidence and the informed views of subject-matter experts who are not alarmed.

Chapter 13, entitled ‘A Hotter Planet?’ addresses the global warming scare, using the same structure deployed for the other alarms.  I will try to convey that structure here, using extracts from Chapter 13.

The authors lead-in with quotes illustrative of the alarm.  This sets the scene, and starts from where most readers are likely to be, given the extent to which such views have been promoted in recent decades.  Here is an example they use from the magazine Maclean’s in 1995:

“Imagine a world of relentlessly rising temperatures, where farmlands are scorched into desert and inland waters like the Great Lakes shrink in the heat.  As global warming intensifies, the polar ice caps dissolve and ocean levels rise by more than 100 feet, swamping low-lying islands and coastal areas. Vancouver, Halifax, New York City, Amsterdam, Shanghai and other port cities are inundated.  As the global floodwaters rise, more than a quarter of the world’s population is displaced.”

They take a closer look at some of the claims

‘It is true that over the past 100 years, the Earth has become slightly warmer, but only by about half a degree Celsius or 1 degree Fahrenheit. ‘

‘… most of the warming occurred before most of the greenhouse gases were put in the atmosphere’

‘As for the future, scientists do not know if the Earth will continue to get warmer.  If it does, the increase may be so slight as to be hardly noticeable.’

‘Recent studies have predicted a possible rise in sea level of six to forty inches, not feet.’

‘Temperature predictions, too, have moderated.’ ‘..measurements of temperature taken by satellites (rather than measurements close to the ground) showed no warming between 1979 and mid-1996 …In fact there was a slight cooling trend..’

They take a closer look at some of the science

‘Some years ago, scientists decided to see what would happen if they assumed CO2 had doubled, as they thought it would by the end of the twenty-first century.  The result: significantly higher temperatures, higher by between 2 and 5 degrees Celsius.  The projections looked scientific. But scientists know that these computer models of the world’s climate have strengths and weaknesses … they miss entirely the effects of mountains such as the Rockies, the Sierra Nevadas and the Cascades.  According to these models, the climate of heavily forested Oregon and the climate of the Nevada desert would be about the same…. Another problem is that scientists are really guessing about how different aspects of the climate affect one another.  For example:

# Water vapour is far more important than carbon dioxide in trapping heat.  Carbon dioxide will increase temperatures significantly only if water vapour increases significantly.  But will it?

# Clouds (composed of water vapour that has condensed into droplets) may increase if carbon dioxide goes up.  Some clouds increase the warming effect and others decrease it by reflecting sunlight back into space

# Oceans and vegetation absorb CO2, but how much, how fast, and for how long?  No one knows.

..Another problem is that the pattern of warming does not follow the rise in CO2 …’

They articulate a calmer perspective

‘Children’s textbooks, reflecting the popular view, discuss only the negative impacts of warming.  But some scientists note that if the world gets warmer, that would not be all bad.

# “In fact,” says Andrew Solow, a scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, “there is some irony in the description of global warming as problematic, since it is not unreasonable to view human history as a struggle to stay warm.”

# Thomas Gale Moore, a prominent economist at the Hoover Institution, has even concluded that warmer weather would reduce deaths from heart disease and respiratory illness.  Cold temperatures lead to death more often than hot ones.

# More carbon dioxide in the air will benefit many plants.  It causes more luxuriant plant growth, larger flowers, and great crop yield.  Some scientists think that rising levels of CO2 in the air have already contributed to the Green Revolution, that is, to the remarkable increases in food production of the past few decades.”

The chapter finishes with two headings that are used in each of the specific-topic chapters: ‘Talking to Your Children’ and ‘Activities for Parents and Children’.  Here are extracts from these:

‘Talking to Your Children’

‘It is little wonder that our children are frightened.  We would be, too, if we read the textbooks our children do.  But now you can give your children a more balanced picture.

# Is the world going to get hotter?

   No one really knows.  Carbon dioxide keeps heat from being emitted into space and, because carbon dioxide is increasing in the atmosphere, temperatures may get warmer.  However, the warming may be so small as not be noticeable by the average person.

# Are human activities causing global warming?

  Perhaps.  By burning fossil fuel, humans add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, and more carbon dioxide should keep more heat in the Earth’s atmosphere.  But the increase in warmth may be very small since many, many factors affect climate. Until recently, some scientists were more worried about a coming Ice Age than too much warming.

# Has the world been getting hotter?

  Yes, a little.  Scientists think that the Earth’s average temperatures have increased by between three- and six-tenths of a degree Celsius or between one-half and one degrees Fahrenheit over the past one hundred years.  But the increases have been irregular, not steady, and it may simply reflect natural variation in temperatures over time.

# Is carbon dioxide harmful?

  No.  In fact, it is a beneficial part of the atmosphere.  It provides food for plants.  More carbon dioxide in the atmosphere should increase plant growth.  This will increase the amount of oxygen from plants through photosynthesis.’

 ‘Activities for Parents and Children’

The authors give three suggestions for helping ‘reassure your children that the world is not “out of control”’:

i) Visit a library and study books about dinosaurs, and note that int that era:

 ‘the Earth has an atmosphere that contained carbon dioxide levels that were five to ten times greater than now …The Earth was warmer and wetter, not burning up or drying out. (At other times, however, high carbon dioxide levels coexisted with cold temperatures).  The point is that the image of global warming that many people hold may be unnecessarily grim.’

ii) Visit a commercial greenhouse.  You can explain that the way they work is nothing like the so-called greenhouse effect.
‘Ask the greenhouse manager to explain how conditions in the greenhouse are controlled to help plants grow.  Does this greenhouse add carbon dioxide?  Why or why not?’

iii) Another trip to the library.  ‘Doomsday predictions of climate change are nothing new.  Your children may not be aware that in the mid-1970s many people worried about the coming Ice Age’.  Suggestions are then given for articles and books to look up.




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


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