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Posts Tagged ‘Global Warming’

Click on “environment” over on the category cloud and you will find my frustrations with the global warming consensus… and I’ve taken some heat for it.  But lo and behold when skepticism has some measure of evidence.  And we are seeing a rise of that, following on the heels of the IPCC’s leaked e-mail scandal.  Well now the leader of that IPCC group seems to be easing up a bit.  From a wonderful Wall Street Journal opinion piece:

Phil Jones, the University of East Anglia scientist at the center of the emails, last week acknowledged to the BBC that there hasn’t been statistically significant warming since 1995. He said there was more warming in the medieval period, before today’s allegedly man-made effects. He also said “the vast majority of climate scientists” do not believe the debate over climate change is settled. Mr. Jones continues to believe in global warming but acknowledges there’s no consensus.

How nice to hear this after we were all bludgeoned over the head that there WAS consensus, and all skeptics were anti-environmentalists intent on destroying the earth.

As the opinion piece’s author, L. Gordon Crovitz continues:

Skeptics don’t doubt science—they doubt unscientific claims cloaked in the authority of science. The scientific method is a foundation of our information age, with its approach of a clearly stated hypothesis tested through a transparent process with open data, subject to review.

The IPCC report was instead crafted by scientists hand-picked by governments when leading politicians were committed to global warming. Unsurprisingly, the report claimed enough certainty to justify massive new spending and regulations.

Some in the scientific community are now trying to restore integrity to climate science. “The truth, and this is frustrating for policymakers, is that scientists’ ignorance of the climate system is enormous,” Mr. Christy wrote in the current issue of Nature. “There is still much messy, contentious, snail-paced and now, hopefully, transparent, work to do.”

I don’t know much about science.  What I do know, is that I do not like being told “just trust us” when a decision is being made, and especially decisions of such monumental importance.  And the “just trust us” attitude is all I feel has been presented for a while.  I’m not saying that the debate is over and solved now… but rather that it seems a debate might actually be forced to take place finally.

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I have talked of a lack of debate on the global warming causation here (also check our global warming category), and now there is the hoopla about – forgive me – “climategate” (I really wish I didn’t use that term).  I don’t really have anything new to add to all the news about the UAE hacking that led to the discovery of the discussion of destroying evidence that didn’t fit the needs of certain climate scientists.  There are many who are hyperventilating about this being the end of the global warming agenda for Al Gore and others – I don’t agree.  And there are also plenty of people defending the scientists by saying that there are valid reasons, and explanations, and that there are plenty of checks and balances at the IPCC – again, I don’t agree.

All I can add is my continued dismay at the way this discussion and debate is handled, and that my skepticism grows, not shrinks, because of the “experts”.

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I have commented numerous times here that I am looking forward to an honest debate and constructive discussion about global warming.  Well it appears we are not going to get it from Greenpeace.  Big Hollywood has a post on a dramatic reveal by Gerd Leipold, the outgoing leader of the group, that derives from this clip from BBC’s HARDtalk:

The interesting reveal is when he says that despite Greenpeace’s public announcement that Arctic Ice will disappear by 2030 because of global warming, that he really doesn’t believe that, and that it is Greenpeace’s job to “emotionalize issues” lest people fail to catch on to what’s happening.  I’ll have to keep looking for that honest debate elsewhere I guess.

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Heard a great report on KCRW’s, Which Way, LA?, on Monday night about a nuclear meltdown that occurred 50 years ago right here in LA.  Maybe you are like me and had never heard of this, so you may find that alone an interesting component of the show.

However the program went on to have a discussion about nuclear power and whether it should start to be embraced by the United States.  Our country has not built a reactor in 30 years… and it is safe to say that a lot has changed since then.  The show has guest presenters who discuss the pros and cons of nuclear, and they all make very strong points in this nuanced discussion.

I am personally very intrigued by nuclear, and don’t usually place the safety concerns about it above the concerns for other forms of energy.  As John McCain stated in one of the presidential debates, we have been powering submarines with nuclear for 30 years and we are still sending them out filled with our citizens.  And if safety is the primary concern, then why does it make sense to keep running 40 year old reactors instead of building new ones with all the new safety features that have been developed over the last three decades?  It really is an interesting debate, especially as it crosses territory into environmentalism since nuclear produces no greenhouse gases that global warming is said to be based on, and yet it is still not favored by many environmentalists.

While I usually don’t look to France for anything innovative in politics, economics, business, science, etc., they are the world leaders in nuclear power and provide a current example we can look to of the pros and cons of this form of energy.  I encourage you to check out the KCRW show and let us know your opinion.

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A recurring topic that I have brought up on CAI before regards global warming (see here, and here) and the way that it is presented in the media and culture.  I most often feel that to even suggest a debate is looked upon as the same as holocaust denial.  It’s a frustrating and pointless response, that does nothing to validate the underlying concern.  And stories like this one from Powerline and also Newsbusters, do even more damage to the idea that this is in fact a phenomenon of human cause and that we need to take the drastic steps we are considering.  The Powerline article focuses on this doozy:

The Competitive Enterprise Institute has obtained an EPA study of the “endangerment” to human well-being ostensibly caused by carbon dioxide emissions, together with a set of EPA emails indicating that the study, which concludes that carbon dioxide is not a significant cause of climate change, was suppressed by the EPA for political reasons.

That doesn’t seem honest, especially since it was the EPA that requested the report to validate their proposal.  Another example of this seeming more political then scientific can be found with writers such as Paul Krugman (admittedly not a scientist).  As he says in his latest New York Times op-ed:

To fully appreciate the irresponsibility and immorality of climate-change denial, you need to know about the grim turn taken by the latest climate research.

And what is the research?

The fact is that the planet is changing faster than even pessimists expected: ice caps are shrinking, arid zones spreading, at a terrifying rate. And according to a number of recent studies, catastrophe — a rise in temperature so large as to be almost unthinkable — can no longer be considered a mere possibility. It is, instead, the most likely outcome if we continue along our present course.

Wait, that’s the research you point to… same old descriptors?  Where is the data, where is the title of the new peer-reviewed paper we should be reading? To his credit he does finally mention some statistics:

Thus researchers at M.I.T., who were previously predicting a temperature rise of a little more than 4 degrees by the end of this century, are now predicting a rise of more than 9 degrees. Why? Global greenhouse gas emissions are rising faster than expected; some mitigating factors, like absorption of carbon dioxide by the oceans, are turning out to be weaker than hoped; and there’s growing evidence that climate change is self-reinforcing — that, for example, rising temperatures will cause some arctic tundra to defrost, releasing even more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

But who are these researchers?  What about this M.I.T. scientist who disagrees?

Granted, most of us are not scientists and so we need other to try and distill their research into understandable bits for us, but I would be much more open to this possibility if it didn’t seem to come across so much as propaganda.  So I continue to remain skeptical, and will for the foreseeable future until it appears there is more quality answers to the questions that are brought up concerning mans part in our planets changes.

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UPDATE: According to the latest Rasmussen Poll, just 34% of voters believe that global warming is man-made, while 48% figure it to be planetary cycle.  This is the exact opposite of a year ago where 47% said man-made and 33% said cyclical.  Not sure what this is reflective of, since I think the mainstream news still predominately supposes man-made causation (as do our politicians according to the same poll), but it is interesting to track.  Maybe it’s the cold weather in much of the country.

(HT: Powerline)

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There has been some good discussion going on in the comments on my original post (mostly by us authors), and so I wanted to direct attention to that.  Though the original post dealt with my frustrations with “alarmists”, there was some added bits about Lomborg’s views on whether it is appropriate to try and “fix” global warming.  This has led some of the comments and further discussion to drift towards global warming causation (CO₂ or Solar), and whether we should still try and fix something that’s cause is debated.  In one of the comments Elijah said:

But if we have lessons to learn from Mars I don’t think that they are “don’t bother trying to deal with climate change.” ….. If there is anything we can do to off-set one day becoming like Mars (I’m not saying this is immanent), we ought to push for that for the sake of stewardship and the abilities that God has given us.

And this brought up something I find compelling about this whole issue of man-made versus nature.  If indeed this is man-made and is caused by carbon dioxide, then I certainly think it is valid to pursue behavior that would try and slow things down or turn them around (though not gobs of money, as per the original post), but if this is a solar or natural change should we, or better yet can we, do anything?  In all the graphs and models that Al Gore showed us we saw that we went from ice ages to warmer to colder and such over the millenia.  No humans were around to cause or correct any of those changes, so I find it interesting, especially in a culture so predisposed to evolution, that we would be so bold as to say we should stop the warming (if in fact it is not man-made).  I think this is one reason why people are very determined to find a human cause for this, because the alternative is out of our control and we have come to like our control.

And I think this is an interesting discussion because I do believe that more and more info is pointing to non man-made causes.  I think we can squarely say that the term consensus is officially overused, and untrue.  The debate is certainly not over, and I won’t make any grand statements, but interesting to discuss certainly…at least for people willing to discuss.

MARK ADDS: Pete’s link he added in previous comments is also here.

MARK ALSO ADDS (for Greg):

Damn you Greg - you know I can't stand her!

Damn you Greg!

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In my continuing tirade against government and my love affair with libertarianism – wink wink Sgt. Grumbles – I present to you this article from Fox News (gasp) about the coal-fueled power plant that powers Capitol Hill:

On Friday the House announced that it was abandoning its goal to be carbon neutral and would no longer buy offsets to make sure it was removing as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as it releases. Those offsets were key to zeroing out the remaining emissions at the power plant that could not be reduced by other means.

They have been trying to reduce the carbon dioxide release at this facility for a long time, potentially using carbon sequestering, but the costs ($112 million) were deemed too high.  And further, as the article goes on to say about the offsets:

…the House said it would no longer purchase offsets because there is no way to verify whether the investment actually results in carbon neutrality.

So, this relatively small plant that powers Capitol Hill alone is too expensive to be converted to the ideals of government and global warming alarmists… and the very cap & trade system that is touted by them is abandoned as unverifiable?  But every other power plant that actually powers entire cities should be able to make this happen no problem?

As you may know from other posts, I am very much in favor of changes and advances that help reduce pollution and waste in our country and the world.  This is an area that I am not fond of though, because of my skepticism of CO2 being a culprit of climate change (see this post).  But my main contention with this post is just to point out that I find it revealing whenever our government asks of the nation to do things that it won’t or can’t do itself.  The amount of money being lobbed around as needed for stopping CO2 is insane, and will be unforgivable if a time ever comes where consensus is shown against CO2 causation.

UPDATE: Powerline has a timely post about Obama’s CO2 cap & trade.  The stats on CO2 and evolution are very interesting.

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