Sunday, June 28, 2015
Pope Francis versus the scientific facts
On May 24, 2015, Pope Francis issued his ENCYCLICAL LETTER LAUDATO SI (Praise Be To You) OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS ON CARE OF OUR COMMON HOME.
The 184-page letter consists of 246 paragraphs of which 7 (paragraphs 20-26) are devoted to POLLUTION AND CLIMATE CHANGE.
Paragraph 20 deals with pollution caused by all forms of human activity. The serious pollution due to energy use is uncontrolled pollution in homes and urban areas where environmental controls are unavailable on combustion products. Central power generation allows these controls such as electrostatic precipitators, scrubbers, etc. use on electric power generation. Thus modern society energy sources using fossil fuels are clean energy sources as demonstrated by vast improvements in the United States air quality the past forty years.
Paragraph 21 deals with pollution caused by waste—residues from home and industrial activities that produce garbage that is not properly disposed.
Paragraph 22 deals with waste due to our throwaway culture. This can be alleviated by stringent recycle programs.
The rest of the paragraphs are listed under the sub-heading “Climate as a common good”.
Climate as a common good
Paragraph 23 is written as follows:
The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all. At the global level, it is a complex system linked to many of the essential conditions for human life. A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system. In recent decades this warming has been accompanied by a constant rise in the sea level and, it would appear, by an increase of extreme weather events, even if a scientifically determinable cause cannot be assigned to each particular phenomenon. Humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it. It is true that there are other factors (such as volcanic activity, variations in the earth’s orbit and axis, the solar cycle), yet a number of scientific studies indicate that most global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxides and others) released mainly as a result of human activity. Concentrated in the atmosphere, these gases do not allow the warmth of the sun’s rays reflected by the earth to be dispersed in space. The problem is aggravated by a model of development based on the intensive use of fossil fuels, which is at the heart of the worldwide energy system. Another determining factor has been an increase in changed uses of the soil, principally deforestation for agricultural purposes.
Paragraph 23 is given in entirety due to many errors in statements. The constant rise in sea level has been constant across the planet for more than a century as shown by tidal gauge measurements posted on the Internet by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The rate of rise averages about 8 inches per century. For many weather events, rates of occurrences have declined in recent decades. The U. S. government provides data on various climate events Pope Francis claims are increasing—heat waves, record high temperatures, flooding, drought, wildfires, reduced snowfall, tornadoes,hurricanes, sea level rise, and Arctic ice melting. Paragraph 23 states recent warming is mostly due to increased atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide which “do not allow the warmth of the sun’s rays reflected by the earth to be dispersed in space”. Greenhouse gases don’t influence the sun’s rays because they are transparent to high wavelength energy from the sun. The scientific community acknowledges increased global warming due to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide from fossil fuel use has only been a factor since 1950 when carbon dioxide was 310 parts per million (ppm) and rising to 400 ppm by 2015. The alleged dangers from global warming cited by Pope Francis have not occurred.
Paragraph 23 demonstrates Pope Francis did not have expert advice in writing about climate change.
Paragraph 24 is written as follows:
Warming has effects on the carbon cycle. It creates a vicious circle which aggravates the situation even more, affecting the availability of essential resources like drinking water, energy and agricultural production in warmer regions, and leading to the extinction of part of the planet’s biodiversity. The melting in the polar ice caps and in high altitude plains can lead to the dangerous release of methane gas, while the decomposition of frozen organic material can further increase the emission of carbon dioxide. Things are made worse by the loss of tropical forests which would otherwise help to mitigate climate change. Carbon dioxide pollution increases the acidification of the oceans and compromises the marine food chain. If present trends continue, this century may well witness extraordinary climate change and an unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequences for all of us. A rise in the sea level, for example, can create extremely serious situations, if we consider that a quarter of the world’s population lives on the coast or nearby, and that the majority of our megacities are situated in coastal areas.
This paragraph complains about loss of tropical rain forests which may be caused by Pope Francis’ suggestion fossil fuels be replaced by solar and wind energy sources that require vast land areas for their implementation.
Examination of land requirements show it takes 6 acres per megawatt for solar energy and 60 acres per megawatt for wind energy. The typical megawatts of solar and wind energy to produce the same output of a 1000 megawatt nuclear power plant would be 5000 megawatts solar and 3000 megawatts wind, respectively. Thus land requirements for the solar plant are 47 square miles and 281 square miles for the wind farm.
The United States’ annual electricity production is a little greater than 4 billion megawatt-hours. It would take 500 1000-megawatt nuclear power plants to generate that amount of electricity. Dividing that electric power production equally with solar and wind energy would require 11,800 square miles of solar farms and 70,000 square miles of wind farms. No mention is made about energy storage problems.
[Rusty James above has been polite enough above not to spell out fully the land use requirements of "alternative" energy. Note that 70,000 sq miles for wind farms adds up to over 40 million acres. That's a lot of acres to pull out of other uses]
Problems with ocean rise were covered in the discussion of Paragraph 23. The expected rise of about 8 inches per century is a known quantity and takes place without regards to carbon dioxide increases.
In reality carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels is a positive benefit to society as explained by Princeton University Emeritus Professor William Happer in his October 15, 2014 lecture “The Myth of Carbon Pollution”. Increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is an airborne fertilizer that causes increased plant growth, larger plant root systems that decrease plant water demands, and decreases in plant water expiration which also decreases plant water demands. The slight increase in global warming by increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is a positive benefit producing longer growing seasons.
A report on social benefits of carbon dioxide for agriculture alone is estimated at $3.2 trillion from 1961 to 2011. Benefits from 2012 to 2050 are estimated $9.8 trillion. These economic benefits from increased atmospheric carbon dioxide make any suggested economic benefits from carbon dioxide curtailment by Pope Francis, President Obama, or others irrelevant.
Paragraph 25 contains the following statement:
Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day. Its worst impact will probably be felt by developing countries in coming decades. Many of the poor live in areas particularly affected by phenomena related to warming, and their means of subsistence are largely dependent on natural reserves and ecosystemic services such as agriculture, fishing and forestry. They have no other financial activities or resources which can enable them to adapt to climate change or to face natural disasters, and their access to social services and protection is very limited. For example, changes in climate, to which animals and plants cannot adapt, lead them to migrate; this in turn affects the livelihood of the poor, who are then forced to leave their homes, with great uncertainty for their future and that of their children. There has been a tragic rise in the number of migrants seeking to flee from the growing poverty caused by environmental degradation. They are not recognized by international conventions as refugees; they bear the loss of the lives they have left behind, without enjoying any legal protection whatsoever. Sadly, there is widespread indifference to such suffering, which is even now taking place throughout our world. Our lack of response to these tragedies involving our brothers and sisters points to the loss of that sense of responsibility for our fellow men and women upon which all civil society is founded.
Migrants fleeing to better lands isn’t because of “environmental degradation”; but wars that threaten their survival. Christians are being beheaded by Muslim terrorists, various Muslim sects won’t peacefully resolve differences, etc. Pope Francis has failed to observe the distinguishing feature between poor and rich countries is rich countries have successfully developed their fossil fuel energy resources to provide low cost and abundant transportation, heating, cooling, cooking, refrigeration, vast communication systems, entertainment, etc. that practically eliminates the burdens of daily living. By denying poor countries access to fossil fuels, Pope Francis condemns them to perpetual poverty.
Paragraph 26 contains the following statement:
Many of those who possess more resources and economic or political power seem mostly to be concerned with masking the problems or concealing their symptoms, simply making efforts to reduce some of the negative impacts of climate change. However, many of these symptoms indicate that such effects will continue to worsen if we continue with current models of production and consumption. There is an urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced, for example, substituting for fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy. Worldwide there is minimal access to clean and renewable energy. There is still a need to develop adequate storage technologies. Some countries have made considerable progress, although it is far from constituting a significant proportion. Investments have also been made in means of production and transportation which consume less energy and require fewer raw materials, as well as in methods of construction and renovating buildings which improve their energy efficiency. But these good practices are still far from widespread.
Pope Francis wants to replace fossil fuel energy sources with solar, wind, biomass (wood), ethanol from corn, other biofuels, etc. as future energy sources. These energy sources are too expensive for developing nations. Solar and wind energy are available for small periods of time and require backup energy sources when unavailable. Present technology has not given us economical and practical energy storage systems. Environmental issues from vast wind and solar farms ruing nature’s beauty, incorporating hazardous materials, and having useful lifetimes of about 25 years are not addressed.
In addition, these energy sources require vast land areas in order to produce significant amounts of energy. This requires destroying millions of square miles of forest land that cleans our air and water, creates oxygen, helps cool the planet, and provides recreation. Forest land is a sink for carbon dioxide; thus renewable energy sources may add to global carbon dioxide.
Positive issues from Pope Francis’ encyclical are stop wasting food, recycle all that is practical, practice energy efficiency, and clean up our environment. These are attributes taught by good parents to their children. My parents never wasted food, made us turn off light bulbs upon leaving a chair after reading, make your beds and allow no cloths strewn on bedroom floors, recycled all paper and cans, etc. These issues can be resolved by global education and reducing carbon dioxide levels is of no importance.
Pope Francis is making a grievous mistake entering the debate on fossil fuels causing catastrophic global warming due to live-giving combustion gas carbon dioxide. His policies will leave the planet poorer, less healthy, drudgery for a lifestyle, and lacking creature comforts. History has not forgotten the Church’s 17th century involvement with science caused the Inquisition in 1633 to force Galileo Galilei to recant the Sun was the center of our universe instead of the Earth. Galileo was held in house arrest until his death in 1642. The consequences of the Church’s actions may have set astronomy back a few years; but did not lead to a calamitous future for the planet by denying our population life-giving energy sources of abundant, inexpensive, and geographically distributed fossil fuels of coal, oil, and natural gas. In 1992 the Vatican formally announced its mistake in condemning Galileo.
The attack on life-giving carbon dioxide may require new attitudes on its existence. We might paraphrase the famous song of the 1970s peace movement by John Lennon “Give Peace a Chance” with “All we are saying is give CO-2 a chance”.
NOAA Says It’s a Record: No Major Hurricane Has Struck U.S. Mainland in 10 Years
Hey Popey! Are you listening?
No “major” hurricane--defined as a Category 3 or above--has made landfall on the continental United States since 2005, according to records compiled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Hurricane Research Division.
That is the longest stretch of time the United States has gone without a Category 3 or above hurricane striking somewhere on the mainland of the country, according to NOAA hurricane records going back to 1851.
“It’s easily the record -- with all the necessary caveats,” the National Hurricane Center’s Eric Blake told CNSNews.com.
Blake, a specialist with the center, is the co-author of The Deadliest, Costliest, and Most Intense United States Tropical Cyclones from 1851 to 2010.
Blake said that the ability to measure hurricanes is better now than it was in the past.
Prior to the current pause in major hurricanes striking the U.S. mainland, the longest pause had been the eight years between 1860 and 1869—146 years ago. NOAA has published its calculation of the categories of all hurricanes striking the U.S. going back to 1851.
In the 164 years for which hurricane data has been collected, 72 have had at least one major hurricane. There have also been two periods of five-straight years (1915 throuhg 1919 and 1932 through 1936) where at least one major hurricane has struck they U.S. mainland each year. (See chart below.)
The U.S. Census Bureau noted the fact that it has now been ten years since the last major hurricane struck the U.S. mainland in information it published this month to mark the beginning of hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30.
The last major hurricane to strike the U.S. “was Hurricane Wilma in October 2005 over Southwest Florida,” the Census Bureau said.
In 2005, according to NOAA, a greater number of major hurricanes struck the U.S. mainland than any year on record. That year, four Category 3 storms hit the U.S.: Dennis, Katrina, Rita, and Wilma.
Sometimes major hurricanes--such as Ike in 2008--are Category 3 or higher before they strike the U.S. mainland, but then they diminish to a lower category of storm before they do strike.
The Saffir-Simpson Scale rates hurricanes according to their sustained wind speed and potential for damage. Category 1 storms produce wind speeds between 74-95 mph. Category 2 winds are between 96-110 mph.
While Category 1 and 2 storms are still considered dangerous, Category 3, 4, and 5 hurricanes are considered “major” because their sustained wind speeds of 111-129 mph, 130-156 mph, and more than 157 mph respectively can produce catastrophic damage.
In describing Category 2 storms, with sustained winds of 96-110 miles per hour, NOAA says: “Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks.”
In describing Category 3 storms, with sustained winds of 111 to 129 miles per hour, NOAA says: “Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes.”
The National Hurricane Centers’ Eric Blake told CNSNews.com that the criteria for hurricane categorization has been altered over the years.
According to Blake's report, “category assignment is based on wind speed from 1851-1930 and 1990-2010 and on a combination of wind, pressure and storm surge from 1931-1989.” The Saffir-Simpson Scale was developed in 1969, and hurricanes prior to that were assigned categories retroactively, using the available data.
"Small differences today that we could detect, you couldn’t detect a long time ago,” Blake told CNSNews.com. “Given that we just see things a little better, we‘ve got more data and better satellite data, we can give a little better estimate than we could a generation ago.
“But nonetheless, it is a record,” Blake said of the 10-year pause in major hurricanes striking the U.S. mainland. “It’s easily the record--with all the necessary caveats.”
Atlantic Ocean's Circulation Yields Inevitable Surprises
The term “settled science” gets tossed around in the media a lot these days. Mostly by non-scientists, who know no better, and by some errant scientists, who should. In 2002, the U.S. National Research Council Committee on Abrupt Climate Change published its findings in a book entitled Abrupt Climate Change: Inevitable Surprises. A new report in Science recaps the surprising discoveries made since then, and they are big. So big that ocean circulation models, integral parts of all climate models, do not accurately predict reality. The observed change in AMOC strength was found to lie well outside the range of interannual variability predicted by coupled atmosphere-ocean climate models. Sounds like circulation in the Atlantic Ocean is not so settled.
I have reported on ocean circulation before, popularly known as the great ocean conveyor belt, and the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) in particular. While the simplistic conveyor belt model, origonally described by Wally Broecker, has fallen out of favor in recent years, study of ocean circulation patterns is more intensive than ever. This is because ocean currents are the major movers of heat energy around the globe, and as such are a primary influence on Earth's climate. A review article published in the journal Science, titled “Observing the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation yields a decade of inevitable surprises,” by oceanographers M. A. Srokosz and H. L. Bryden, reviews some surprising new findings from the past decade of observation. The importance of recent findings is revealed in the report's abstract:
The importance of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) heat transport for climate is well acknowledged. Climate models predict that the AMOC will slow down under global warming, with substantial impacts, but measurements of ocean circulation have been inadequate to evaluate these predictions. Observations over the past decade have changed that situation, providing a detailed picture of variations in the AMOC. These observations reveal a surprising degree of AMOC variability in terms of the interannual range, the amplitude and phase of the seasonal cycle, the interannual changes in strength affecting the ocean heat content, and the decline of the AMOC over the decade, both of the latter two exceeding the variations seen in climate models.
The major characteristics of the AMOC are a near-surface, northward flow of warm water and a colder southward return flow at depth. As the ocean loses heat to the atmosphere at high latitudes in the North Atlantic, the northward-flowing surface waters cool and become denser. These waters then sink and form the deep return flow of the overturning circulation. This is shown in the figure below, taken from the report.
Scientists are interested in the AMOC because changes in ocean circulation can have significant impact on global and regional climate. Unlike the Indian and Pacific Oceans, where the ocean transports heat away from the equator toward the poles, the AMOC transports heat northward across the equator. The maximum northward oceanic heat transport in the Atlantic is 1.3 petawatts (1 PW = 1015 watts) at 24° to 26°N, which is ~25 percent of the total heat transport toward the pole at these latitudes. Further north, at mid-latitudes, the temperate climate of northwest Europe is maintained by the strong transfer of heat from ocean to atmosphere. Even sea level changes are affected by the AMOC.
Scientists discovered that the flow of water in the Atlantic was much more complex than the old conveyor belt model when they started deploying an observing system across the Atlantic at 26.5°N in 2004. Last year that system marked a decade of measurements, the highlights of which are the subject of the M. A. Srokosz and H. L. Bryden report. The 26.5°N AMOC observations have produced a number of surprises on time scales of less than a year to several years. Here are the four major observation made by the author's (note that the standard unit for measuring ocean circulation is the Sverdrup (Sv), a million cubic meters per second):
The range of AMOC variability found in the first year, 4 to 35 Sv, was larger than the 15 to 23 Sv found previously from five ship-based observations over 50 years. A similarly large range to that at 26.5°N has subsequently been observed at 34.5°S.
The amplitude of the seasonal cycle, with a minimum in the spring and a maximum in the autumn, was much larger (~6.7 Sv) than anticipated, and the driving mechanism of wind stress in the eastern Atlantic was unexpected as well. The conventional wisdom was that seasonality in the AMOC would be dominated by wind-driven northward Ekman transport, but this was found to be small.
The 30% decline in the AMOC during 2009–2010 was totally unexpected and exceeded the range of interannual variability found in climate models used for the IPCC assessments. This event was also captured by Argo and altimetry observations of the upper limb of the AMOC at 41°N. This dip was accompanied by significant changes in the heat content of the ocean, with potential impacts on weather that are the subject of active research.
Finally, over the period of the 26.5°N observations, the AMOC has been declining at a rate of about 0.5 Sv per year, 10 times as fast as predicted by climate models.
AMOC flow reduction during 2009–2010 had a considerable impact on the heat transport into the North Atlantic. The heat transported north by the AMOC at 26.5°N in previous years was ~1.3 PW, but this transport was reduced by 0.4 PW. This resulted in cooler waters in the north Atlantic and warmer waters to the south. Observations showed that there was an abrupt and sustained cooling of the subtropical North Atlantic in the upper 2000 m between 2010 and 2012. Because the AMOC carries ~90% of the ocean heat transport at this latitude, the cooling seems primarily due to the reduction of the AMOC. This cooling has affected weather in the eastern US and the formation and paths of Atlantic hurricanes.
Indeed, the more observations reveal about the AMOC the more questions arise. Scientists worry if the AMOC will continue to decline or even stop all together. Such events are thought to have happened in the past, for example at the very start of the current interglacial period. Another possible effect of the AMOC slowdown may be the “hiatus” in global warming. In “Varying planetary heat sink led to global-warming slowdown and acceleration,” Xianyao Chen and Ka-Kit Tung conclude that the deep Atlantic and Southern Oceans, but not the Pacific, have absorbed the excess heat that would otherwise have contributed to global temperature rise. But the role of the AMOC in the hiatus remains uncertain and others have denied that there is any “missing heat” at all.
Srokosz and Bryden speculate on the implications of the past decade of observation—real science, the actual study of nature—and the impact the resulting data may have on climate models. Some of their comments focus on the possible bistability of the AMOC. They cast doubt on the predictive ability of today's crop of climate models.
On a more speculative note, one possibility for future AMOC surprises is the issue of the bistability of the AMOC noted earlier. This is related to the transport of freshwater in and out of the South Atlantic. Observations suggest that the AMOC transports freshwater southward in the South Atlantic, implying that the AMOC could be bistable with on and off modes. Most climate models exhibit northward freshwater transport, seemingly at odds with the observations, implying that the AMOC is stable. Some recent climate model results show that their freshwater transports can match the southward freshwater transport in the observations, but in such climate models the AMOC does not shut down under greenhouse gas forcing. In point of fact, most climate models do not include a dynamically interactive Greenland ice sheet, so they are unlikely to correctly account for freshwater input into the Atlantic from Greenland melting. In addition, the Arctic Ocean supplies freshwater to the North Atlantic, which would affect the stability of the AMOC. If the rate of freshwater input were to be greater than currently anticipated, that could lead to unexpected changes in the AMOC. Thus, there is a possibility that the ocean might respond in a way that most climate models cannot. This point has been made previously from a paleoclimate perspective, because paleoclimatic evidence suggests that the AMOC can undergo rapid changes that are difficult to reproduce with climate models.
This is more unsettling science than settled science. What does the future hold in store? Science in general, and climate science in particular, has a poor record when it comes to predicting the future. As much as we think we know about Earth's climate system there is much more that we do not know. Here are Srokosz and Bryden's list of immediate unknowns:
Despite the observational efforts over the past decade, many questions remain unanswered. First, the AMOC is changing, but will these changes persist or will the AMOC “bounce back” to its earlier strength? Second, are the changes being observed at 26.5°N coherent latitudinally in the Atlantic? Third, was the 2009–2010 decrease in the AMOC unusual or not? Fourth, is the AMOC bistable? Could it “flip” from one state to another? Finally, and perhaps most important, what are the effects of changes in the AMOC?
So there we have it, in the words of scientists involved with actually studying nature, not a bunch of armchair climatologists playing with computer models—models that have been based on false assumptions and data for years. There are questions galore that need to be answered before we even begin to understand the AMOC, one of the most important factors regulation our planet's climate. The lie that climate science is settled science can not be exposed more plainly than this.
SOURCE. (See the original for links and graphics)
The sun raises the seas
For many years we have been told that global warming is unprecedented over the past 100 years, that human industrial activity is by far the dominant driver of 20th century climate change, and that nothing else is important.
Years ago, I too accepted this idea. After all, it came from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was supposed to summarize the leading consensus on the subject. Having grown up in a solar house, it also naturally fit my environment-friendly background.
However, a casual question back in 2000, from a colleague while I was doing post-doctoral work at the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of Toronto, led to surprising revelations on climate change. My colleague, an astrophysicist, asked me how cosmic rays from supernovae could affect life on earth, which led me to explore this area of study. I found that the sun’s variability as well as unrelated cosmic ray variations, explain a surprisingly large amount of the observed climate variations, from the 11-year solar cycle to geological time scales. In fact, models including the real effect of the sun also do a much better job in explaining 20th century global warming than those limited to the influence of human carbon dioxide emissions alone.
Most importantly, empirical evidence shows that the sun’s influence on climate is very large, much larger than expected from variations in the Total Solar Irradiance — the only solar forcing that is considered by the IPCC. The full forcing, which is large, can be quantified by studying the sea level as it is linked to heat going into the oceans and therefore the radiative forcings through thermal expansion.
This can be seen in the figure, where the tide-gauges-based sea level change rate is seen to vary in sync with the solar cycle, averaging close to 2 mm a year. The amount of heat inferred from this large correlation corresponds to at least six times the forcing of the irradiance alone. However, this empirical evidence and its implications are ignored in models considered by the IPCC.
As an astrophysicist, I see that the scope of solar effects considered by the IPCC is very limited; thus it arrives at wrong conclusions about what causes climate change.
For instance, the increase in solar activity over the 20th century implies that more than half of the warming should be attributed to the sun, not to emissions from human activity.
I have reviewed the IPCC climate models and the evidence shows that their “climate sensitivity,” such as to CO2 variations, is far too high. Models which exclude the real effect of the sun require an artificially high climate sensitivity to explain 20th century warming. This high sensitivity then predicts a high temperature rise for any given scenario over the 21st century.
But models are computer simulations of which the predictive power is limited by large uncertainties in the input physics, such as feedbacks through cloud cover variations. Cloud modelling remains a major challenge and an uncertainty factor in climate modelling.
Instead of the model simulations, if we look at the evidence we see a different story.
A range of empirical evidence points to a low climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide (CO2), meaning that CO2 has limited effect on warming. In particular, large CO2 variations over geological time scales give rise to no apparent temperature variations and large volcanic eruptions cool the planet by only 0.1°C on average (compared with 0.3-0.5 predicted by models employed by the IPCC).
And of course there is the “hiatus.” The IPCC concluded in Chapter 9 of its September 2013 Working Group I report that there had been a 15-year hiatus in Global Surface Meant Temperatures (GSMT) that had not been predicted by a single computer model.
Currently, satellite data show that the hiatus has continued over 18 years, even though carbon dioxide has risen significantly. This implies that Earth’s temperature increases less (from the influence of CO2) than IPCC predictions, because those were based on a high climate sensitivity ascribed to CO2.
In my research, when the sun’s role is considered, 20th-century warming is much better explained and has a better fit to the observed data while requiring a low climate sensitivity.
The low climate sensitivity implies that typical emission scenarios will result in about a 1°C increase between the present temperature and that which is likely in 2100.
Some aspects of solar activity that affect global climate change are too complex to explain in a short newspaper op-ed. I have a blog called “ScienceBits” where I explain my work in lay terms, including links to the scientific papers supporting those conclusions.
In short, the research work that my colleagues and I carry out shows that the leading mechanism to link solar activity with climate is that of cosmic ray modulation. This is supported by a range of empirical evidence including paleo-climate variations associated with variations in the cosmic ray flux density around the solar system (from spiral arm passages and the motion of the solar system perpendicular to the galactic plane).
There are many good reasons why we should reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, but carbon dioxide emissions is not one of them.
I am optimistic that humanity will switch to alternative energy sources within a few decades once they become cheaper than fossil fuels, which they will. Based on the significant costs and market disruptions caused by extreme carbon reduction policies, it would be best if this transition happen due to innovation and technological advances, without the current large subsidies, most of which are driven by fear of a climate catastrophe. Such irrational behaviour has already led to many negative, unintended consequences for the environment and national economies. Thus, the precautionary principle could have detrimental repercussions.
Based on my “galactic view” of climate change, the good news is we’re not doomed. The “carbon risk” of catastrophic global warming or climate change is low. The sun has a far greater, natural influence on climate than many are willing to admit.
Hey Liberals: Your "Economically Friendly" Cars Are Actually Causing More Pollution
So often the left entices their party with "Eco-friendly," science savvy, earth loving phenomenons. However, the National Bureau of Economic Research just found that on a per-mile basis electric cars are on average worse for the environment when compared to their gas-powered friends.
This new study proves that subsidizing these environmental "friendly" cars should be put to a halt.
In monetary terms, electric cars are about half-a-cent worse per mile for the environment than gas-powered cars, on average. This means that if a government wants to tax a car based on how much it pollutes, electric cars should be taxed half of one cent more per mile driven than gasoline cars.
While much is dependent on where exactly the cars are driven, this finding that electric cars are on average half-a-cent worse per mile than gas-powered cars blows out the common assumption that electric cars are the "clean" thing to do.
This past Tuesday the Obama administration gathered to rally support on climate change mainly stressing the impacts of on public health and the shortening of life:
casting "climate change as a moral issue, saying its health effects target society's most vulnerable, including children, the elderly and the poor.
Contrary to Obama's measures is the ever true reality that in purchasing an electric car it actually "makes society as a whole worse off because electric vehicles tend to export air pollution to other states more than gasoline vehicles."
Ironically, in 2008 Obama promoted electric cars by administering "an ambitious goal of putting 1 million advanced technology vehicles on the road by 2015."
With these efforts Obama was trying to reduce oil consumption, however this new study proves that the power for electric cars has a new source of energy that needs tackling: coal.
Although the typical assumption is that electric cars are cleaner than gasoline-fueled cars, the power for electric cars has to come from somewhere, and it's often from coal-fired power plants. "Rather than simply accepting the assertion of environmental benefits from electric vehicle use, this paper conducts a rigorous comparison of the environmental consequences of gasoline and electric powered vehicles, specifically by quantifying the externalities (both greenhouse gases and local air pollution) generated by driving these vehicles," the authors write.
House challenges Obama on climate change
The House passed legislation Wednesday that would delay emission rules that are the centerpiece of President Obama's plan to combat global warming.
The Ratepayer Protection Act was approved 247-180. It would allow states to opt out of complying with rules to cut carbon dioxide from existing power plants. Many scientists say the emissions are causing manmade climate change. The bill now goes to the Senate.
Sponsors of the bill say the Environmental Protection Agency's emission rules, known as the Clean Power Plan, would harm consumers by driving up energy costs and creating the potential for rolling blackouts.
Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., the author of the bill, said the Clean Power Plan is an example of regulatory overreach that his colleagues, states and many others believe is illegal. The bill also would allow states to delay compliance until judicial review has concluded.
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Preserving the graphics: Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere. But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases. After that they no longer come up. 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 or here
Posted by JR at 12:38 AM