Sunday, February 15, 2009

Decisive action needed as greenhouse gas levels rise, says one-eyed man

Through one eye he sees that over the last 50 years CO2 levels have risen. But if he opened his other eye he would see that the temperature has been flat for 10 years and is now FALLING -- and it is temperature that is the supposed problem. But if he opened his other eye his whole theory would fall apart.

Actually, both the guy's eyes are shut. It is not historic CO2 levels that he is discussing but things that are happening now: "are rising" in his words -- and can you see any rise in CO2 levels in these statistics? See the "average" column for the year 2008. It looks like temperature AND CO2 have BOTH stopped rising

In the end, the man is simply a liar. But lies come easily to the Green/Left. After all, "There's no such thing as right and wrong" for them

Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are rising more rapidly than expected, increasing the danger that without aggressive action to reduce emissions the climate system could cross a critical threshold by the end of the century, warns a leading member of the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Studies indicate that greenhouse warming could trigger a vicious cycle of feedback, in which carbon dioxide released from thawing tundra and increasingly fire-prone forests drives global temperatures even higher.

Chris Field, director of the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology and co-chair of the IPCC Working Group 2, will address these issues at a symposium titled "What Is New and Surprising since the IPCC Fourth Assessment?" at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Chicago. The IPCC Fourth Assessment, for which Field was a coordinating author, was published in 2007. As co-chair, Field will oversee the Working Group 2 Report on the predicted impacts of climate change for the IPCC Fifth assessment, scheduled to be published in 2014. The Fifth Assessment will incorporate the results of new studies that predict more severe changes than did previous assessments.

"The data now show that greenhouse gas emissions are accelerating much faster than we thought," says Field. "Over the last decade developing countries such as China and India have increased their electric power generation by burning more coal. Economies in the developing world are becoming more, not less carbon-intensive. We are definitely in unexplored terrain with the trajectory of climate change, in the region with forcing, and very likely impacts, much worse than predicted in the fourth assessment."

New studies are also revealing potentially dangerous feedbacks in the climate system that could convert current carbon sinks into carbon sources. Field points to tropical forests as a prime example. Vast amounts of carbon are stored in the vegetation of moist tropical forests, which are resistant to wildfires because of their wetness. But warming temperatures and shifting rainfall patterns threaten to dry the forests, making them less fireproof. Researchers estimate that loss of forests through wildfires and other causes during the next century could boost atmospheric concentration of CO2 by up to 100 parts per million over the current 386 ppm, with possibly devastating consequences for global climate.

Warming in the Arctic is expected to speed up the decay of plant matter that has been in cold storage in permafrost for thousands of years. "There is about 1,000 billion tons of carbon in these soils," says Field. "When you consider that the total amount of carbon released from fossil fuels since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution is around 350 billion tons, the implications for global climate are staggering."

"The IPCC fourth assessment didn't consider either the tundra-thawing or tropical forest feedbacks in detail because they weren't yet well understood," he says. "But new studies are now available, so we should be able to assess a wider range of factors and possible climate outcomes. One thing that seems to be certain, however, is that as a society we are facing a climate crisis that is larger and harder to deal with than any of us thought. The sooner we take decisive action, the better our chances are of leaving a sustainable world to future generations."


Major backdown by Al Gore?

At AAAS, Al Gore urges scientists to get involved in the climate change debate. But I thought the debate was over??

Fresh from adding a Grammy to his mantle Sunday, former vice president Al Gore told scientists gathered here for the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to push administration officials and the general public for solutions to climate change. "Scientists can no longer in good conscience accept this division between the work you do and the civilization in which you live," Gore said. "Keep your day jobs, but get involved in the debate," he added.

In about a 45-minute speech, Gore reviewed the evidence for global warming, showing a set a slides that has evolved since An Inconvenient Truth. (A few of our Twitter followers--yes, we live-Twittered Gore's talk, so you can see the blow-by-blow here--pointed out that he had presented a lot of the slides at the recent TED conference.) He began by noting a parallel between the mortgage crisis and global warming, saying the world has $7 trillion in subprime carbon assets that it can't get rid of.....

As he talked of millions of "climate refugees" in low-lying areas of the world, Gore pointed out that the Maldives now has a budget line "to buy a new country." He drew a link between global warming and extreme weather, from hurricanes to droughts to wildfires, showing photos of the recent blazes in Australia (and the now-famous rescued koala.)

Gore used a dramatic video of scientist Katey Walter lighting a plume of methane gas bubbling up from a frozen Alaskan lake to introduce the idea of methane as a potent greenhouse gas. Methane emissions from such lakes is thought by many scientists to be increasing as the permafrost thaws, allowing organic material trapped in the ice to be converted by the lake's bacteria into the gas.

Gore--who didn't take questions after the talk, citing his schedule--seemed optimistic about the Obama administration's appointments to the Cabinet and other senior posts. "This is a moment in our history as a nation and in the history of the world's population that is without precedent," he said. A few minutes later, he said, "We as a species need to make a decision."

More here

James Hansen unhinged!! 'Coal-fired power plants are factories of death'?

As their theory falls apart all around them, the Warmists keep trying to find new heights of rhetoric in a flailing attempt to keep their cause alive. The latest attempt from Hansen below. Note that he gives zero evidence of harm from human CO2 emissions -- because there is no such evidence, merely fevered speculation:

A year ago, I wrote to Gordon Brown asking him to place a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants in Britain. I have asked the same of Angela Merkel, Barack Obama, Kevin Rudd and other leaders. The reason is this - coal is the single greatest threat to civilisation and all life on our planet.

The climate is nearing tipping points. Changes are beginning to appear and there is a potential for explosive changes, effects that would be irreversible, if we do not rapidly slow fossil-fuel emissions over the next few decades. As Arctic sea ice melts, the darker ocean absorbs more sunlight and speeds melting. As the tundra melts, methane, a strong greenhouse gas, is released, causing more warming. As species are exterminated by shifting climate zones, ecosystems can collapse, destroying more species.

The public, buffeted by weather fluctuations and economic turmoil, has little time to analyse decadal changes. How can people be expected to evaluate and filter out advice emanating from those pushing special interests? How can people distinguish between top-notch science and pseudo-science?

Those who lead us have no excuse - they are elected to guide, to protect the public and its best interests. They have at their disposal the best scientific organisations in the world, such as the Royal Society and the US National Academy of Sciences. Only in the past few years did the science crystallise, revealing the urgency. Our planet is in peril. If we do not change course, we'll hand our children a situation that is out of their control. One ecological collapse will lead to another, in amplifying feedbacks.

The amount of carbon dioxide in the air has already risen to a dangerous level. The pre-industrial carbon dioxide amount was 280 parts per million (ppm). Humans, by burning coal, oil and gas, have increased this to 385 ppm; it continues to grow by about 2 ppm per year.

The most threatening change, from my perspective, is extermination of species [How unsurprising. Greenies don't care about people]. Several times in Earth's history, rapid global warming occurred, apparently spurred by amplifying feedbacks. In each case, more than half of plant and animal species became extinct. New species came into being over tens and hundreds of thousands of years. But these are time scales and generations that we cannot imagine. If we drive our fellow species to extinction, we will leave a far more desolate planet for our descendants than the world we inherited from our elders.

The trains carrying coal to power plants are death trains. Coal-fired power plants are factories of death. When I testified against the proposed Kingsnorth power plant, I estimated that in its lifetime it would be responsible for the extermination of about 400 species - its proportionate contribution to the number that would be committed to extinction if carbon dioxide rose another 100 ppm.

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Edinburgh shivers during one of the coldest-ever Februarys

It's official - Edinburgh is in the midst of one of the coldest Februarys on record, and the icy conditions are set to stay with us for up to a month. Weather experts say that with temperatures as low as -7C, and daily averages fluctuating between 2C and -3C, the city is in line to record its first sub-zero average February in more than a decade.

Yet while forecasters predict the mercury will struggle to climb above freezing for weeks to come, it is nowhere near Edinburgh's worst winter. Records show that back in 1947, the average temperature for the area over February was a frosty -3C. The closest the Capital has come to a February that severe since then was back in 1986, when the temperatures dropped to an average -1.9C for the month. In recent years the trend has been for milder winters, making the current cold snap all the more unexpected. Edinburgh was again covered with a blanket of snow yesterday, with forecasters predicting the wintry weather and snow showers would continue for the rest of the month.... There is no sign of the cold weather front moving on anywhere for at least a few weeks, so it looks like the low temperatures could continue, which means the average temperature could be even lower."

As the UK is gripped by one of the coldest months in recent memory, on the other side of the world Australia is recording temperatures of up to 46C, something which has not been seen there in almost a century. In addition, the more tropical parts of the continent are suffering major floods as a result of relentless downpours. This kind of extreme weather, with colder winters and hotter summers seen around the world, is, the Met Office says, in line with some climate change predictions. [Predictions that can explain anything are no predictions at all]

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