Posts tagged climate change
The Phony ‘Debate’ Over Climate Change
For the past 21 years there’s been broad consensus among climate scientists that humans are significantly changing global temperatures.
June 11, 2013 John Cook
“This misperception has persisted for several decades and hasn’t happened by accident. There has been a deliberate, focused attempt to confuse the public about the level of agreement between scientists for over 20 years.
In 1991, Western Fuels Association spent half a million dollars on a campaign attacking the scientific consensus. Political pollster Frank Luntz advised Republicans to focus on casting doubt on consensus in a memo leaked in 2002. A 2012 analysis of conservative syndicated columns found that the number one climate myth promoted by conservative columnists was “there is no scientific consensus.”
Why such a focus on attacking the consensus? Studies in 2011 and2013 found that when the public correctly understands that scientists agree on climate change, it is more likely to support policy to do something about it.
Social scientists are coming to realize what opponents of climate action have known for decades. If you confuse the public about scientific consensus, you can delay meaningful climate action.”
Ignorance is a terrible thing but hiding the truth is even worse.
Methane leaks could negate climate benefits of US natural gas boom: report
Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 4 June 2013 16.38 BST
Reduction in carbon emissions triggered by America’s shift from coal to gas is being offset by a sharp rise in methane.
“Some 29% of America’s electricity came from natural gas last year – compared to just 14% a decade ago, the report said. But it comes at a high cost to the local environment, because of the risks to air and water quality posed by hydraulic fracturing.
There is also a growing body of evidence that the release of methane gas from well sites and pipelines is far higher than previously thought.
Methane is a far more powerful gas than carbon dioxide, even though it does not persist in the atmosphere for a shorter period.”
Sky: Most media articles emphasize that methane does not persist very long in the atmosphere. But what they don’t follow up with is the fact that methane breaks down in to components that contain CO2. Please note the references and quotes below. Although methane only persists in the troposphere around 8.5 years and in the atmosphere around 12 years, it is 20 to 25 times more effective as a greenhouse gas than CO2. CO2 persists between 100 and 500 years. As I have mentioned above, methane breaks down both in the troposphere and in the atmosphere into CO2 and water vapour; these are the two major greenhouse gases. Unfortunately, the hydroxyl radical that facilitates the breakdown is depleted gradually. As it depletes, then obviously, methane will gradually become more prominent as a greenhouse gas yet still breakdown into CO2 and water vapour. This is what may be seen as a “double whammy” in the greenhouse effect on global warming. To be more precise one must include that although water vapour is a positive factor for warming, if it increases cloud cover, then the greenhouse gas effect is diminished because clouds serve as a reflective component and thus consist of a negative factor.
“There is a bit of hope in all of this information. An equal amount of methane as compared to an equal amount of CO2 has an effect on global warming of 20 times greater than CO2. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) will stay in our atmosphere for around 100 years. With a half life of 7 years Methane last around 10 years in our atmosphere. It is estimated that 60% of global methane emissions are related to human activities. Some scientists believe that these green house gases are as significant as or greater than CO2 emissions from cars.” http://www.dulabab.com/climate-change/methane/
The atmospheric concentration of methane is thought to have increased by a factor of 2.5 since
pre-industrial times, reaching 1745 ppb in 1998.1 This rate of increase far exceeds that of carbon
dioxide, concentrations of which are only 30% higher than in pre-industrial times. In fact,
information is sufficient for the IPCC to assert that the current methane concentration has not
been exceeded in the last 420,000 years.1 http://www.eci.ox.ac.uk/research/energy/downloads/methaneuk/chapter02.pdf
“The most effective sink of atmospheric methane is the hydroxyl radical in the troposphere, or the lowest portion of Earth’s atmosphere. As methane rises into the air, it reacts with the hydroxyl radical to create water vapor and carbon dioxide. The lifespan of methane in the atmosphere was estimated at 9.6 years as of 2001; however, increasing emissions of methane over time reduce the concentration of the hydroxyl radical in the atmosphere. With less OH˚ to react with, the lifespan of methane could also increase, resulting in greater concentrations of atmospheric methane.
Even if it is not destroyed in the troposphere, methane can usually only last 12 years before it is eventually destroyed in Earth’s next atmospheric layer: the stratosphere. Destruction in the stratosphere occurs the same way that it does in the troposphere: methane is oxidized to produce carbon dioxide and water vapor.”
“The duration period for carbon dioxide molecules in the atmosphere is somewhere between 100 and 500 years. Obviously, not all carbon dioxide molecules will stay in the atmosphere that long, but on average the duration may be around 200-300 years. Some scientists believe that it could be longer than that, others believe that the duration is shorter. Presently, there is some uncertainty in those figures.” http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/wea00/wea00296.htm
Uncertainty no excuse for procrastinating on climate change
Posted on 27 May 2013 by dkaroly
By Roger Bodman, Victoria University and David Karoly, University of Melbourne
“Today we released research which reduces the range of uncertainty in future global warming. It does not alter the fact we will never be certain about how, exactly, the climate will change.
We always have to make decisions when there are uncertainties about the future: whether to take an umbrella when we go outside, how much to spend on insurance. International action on climate change is just one more decision that has to be made in an environment of uncertainty.”
Just look at human medical science, medical treatment, diagnosis etc. There is no certainty. Chemo works for some and not for others. Radiation works for some and not for others. The major reason is that we are living beings composed of many layers of functionality – all composed of living beings. Our innards are not small machines and thus unpredictable. Although not emotionally, logically we accept that often our medical practitioners give us medicine and tell us to come back in two weeks if the medicine doesn’t work. We do so if we don’t die in the meantime. The likelihood of catching a life threatening infection whilst in a hospital is frightening – those who are not frightened are in denial or just don’t read or watch the media. Sure, most hospitals work hard to keep their environment safe, but they are dealing with living systems and their behaviour contains a large dose of uncertainty. So what?
Earth is a complex living system. Slowly, establishment science is awakening to the need to have another serious look at the definition of aliveness. Aliveness doesn’t spring from deadness. Some of the substance of what has been labeled Emergence makes sense. However, I strongly suggest that life doesn’t emerge from non-life – doesn’t and never did. Gaia, Earth, is alive; is a living system and until we deal with this aspect of being alive IN a living system, just as our cells are alive within our organs, we will never be able to progress in our understanding of how the Earth “works.” We desperately need to understand more about Earthly behaviour.
We cannot do so whilst we see her as deaf and dumb and dead.
This article is fully supported with links to the supporting data. Hopefully, John Cook has helped us all to utterly dismiss the misconstrued and sometimes utterly false claims of those anthropogenic climate change deniers. I for one am sick of hearing the drivel. I felt it necessary to read it in association with genetically modified food only to find that there were a few “scientists” who were paid to falsify and construe what they could find as detractions. I am aware that some of those same people are now employed to do the same shameless job with climate change. Much of the blame for the false impressions on this subject has to be placed with some of the “media” who give equal time to detractors as if there was an equal chance that they may be right. Most of us have learned that “the media” by and large are only interested in sales and care less about fairness, truth and the art of conveying news.
Unfortunately, so many people make up their minds based on false information and then proceed forever with a closed mind on the issue. That’s why character assassination is accomplished with a lie that gets published and then an apology printed on page 16 in small print. People tend to remember the lie and either never see the retraction or apology or will not read further. They “know” because they read it in the newspaper or some magazine. A good friend of mine taught me that whenever reading something controversial, stop and look into just who is doing the assertions. Find out who finances them – whom do they serve. Find out who tends to gain from their point of view. People with set opinions look for someone to agree with them and then crystalize on their false knowledge like a nut that must never be cracked to see if the kernel is edible.
Their lives are crammed with precious nuts that cannot feed them when the kernels are needed. By then it is too late and they have invested their vital energy in that which does not serve them. Surely it is normal that we change as we age, as we experience the new and different, as we suffer and recover from tragedy and disappointments. We learn to regularly examine our truth nuts, crack open a few to see if they are still serviceable.
The most difficult student is one who already knows. When you give people the impression that you are not completely sure about something then you get their take which, surprisingly, often reveals something you overlooked or misunderstood. Actually, most people feel positively stroked when they get an opportunity to explain their opinions. It is a win-win because they feel good about informing you and you might just learn something.
Hopefully, anthropogenic climate change deniers now lack an audience.
THU MAY 16, 2013
Skeptical Science flattens deniers: 97% of peer-reviewed papers say humans causing climate change
By Meteor Blades
Nowadays, television news shows and newspaper and magazine articles that mention global warming rarely resort to outright lies like this grotesque piece of propaganda from Forbes.
“In fact, not all scientists do agree that humans are causing global warming. As researchers under the guidance of John Cook at Skeptical Science discovered in a “citizen science” survey of 11,944 peer-reviewed articles, 1.6 percent of the authors expressing an opinion on the subject rejected or were uncertain about the consensus that the earth is undergoing anthropogenic (human-generated) global warming (AGW). And 97.1 percent of the nearly 4,000 articles in which the author(s) took a position endorsed the AGW consensus. (The survey was published May 15 in Environmental Research Letters as an open access article)”
“One of the most common misunderstandings amongst climate change “skeptics” is the difference between short-term noise and long-term signal. This animation shows how the same temperature data (green) that is used to determine the long-term global surface air warming trend of 0.16°C per decade (red) can be used inappropriately to “cherrypick” short time periods that show a cooling trend simply because the endpoints are carefully chosen and the trend is dominated by short-term noise in the data (blue steps). Isn’t it strange how five periods of cooling can add up to a clear warming trend over the last 4 decades? Several factors can have a large impact on short-term temperatures, such as oceanic cycles like the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) or the 11-year solar cycle. These short-term cycles don’t have long-term effects on the Earth’s temperature, unlike the continuing upward trend caused by global warming from human greenhouse gas emissions.
The data (green) are the average of the NASA GISS, NOAA NCDC, and HadCRUT4 monthly global surface temperature anomaly datasets from January 1970 through November 2012, with linear trends for the short time periods Jan 1970 to Oct 1977, Apr 1977 to Dec 1986, Sep 1987 to Nov 1996, Jun 1997 to Dec 2002, and Nov 2002 to Nov 2012 (blue), and also showing the far more reliable linear trend for the full time period (red)”
The Newsmaker Memo: An Interview With Pioneering Climate Scientist James Hansen
April 22nd, 2013 12:00 am
“He stands with the environmentalists in strong opposition to the Keystone XL project, however. ‘If you make that pipeline, that sort of guarantees that over time, you’re eventually going to exploit a lot of that [tar sands] resource. And it doesn’t make any sense economically if you look at it – the only reason they go ahead with it is that it’s partly subsidized and it’s not made to pay for its cost to society. If we could stop it and get any sort of a price on carbon that even partially reflects the cost of CO2 to society, then tar sands would simply not be exploited.’”
To get right down to the simple and easily understood point: It takes more energy to produce oil from shale and fracking than it is worth. It is feasible only because the public bears so much of the cost of production through subsidies.
Undone by the Data
It’s getting hotter – despite cooling from cosmic rays
Posted on 16 April 2013 by Uma Jha
“Current research has shown that cosmic rays cannot be the cause of recent global warming. So why do some people claim that they are? Old data has proven to be deceptive in this area.”
“Under the Climate Change Act, the UK is committed to cutting all its climate-changing emissions by 80%, based on 1990 levels, by 2050.
However, international flights and shipping are not included in the targets.”
Sky: Maybe this is what is known as “greenwash?” Is there to be no end to the subterfuge?
“In the European Union, greenhouse gas emissions from aviation increased by 87% between 1990 and 2006.” ^ “Climate change: Commission proposes bringing air transport into EU Emissions Trading Scheme” (Press release). EU press release. 2006-12-20. Retrieved 2008-01-02.
“Much of the uncertainty about calculating the environmental impact of aviation emissions derives from the fact that emissions at altitude can instigate a host of chemical reactions in the atmosphere, which each have global warming and cooling effects over a variety of timescales, varying from less than 1 day to several hundred years.3 The overall effect is certainly one of an increased warming effect compared to emissions at ground level, but the extent of this remains open to debate, both in terms of how to calculate the magnitude of this effect, and what the value should be. Historically the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) quoted a value of 2.7 for this multiplier, with a range of 2-4.4”
3 Jardine, C.N., “Calculating the Environmental Impact of Aviation Emissions – 2nd Edition”,
ECI, University of Oxford, 2008.
4 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “Aviation and the global atmosphere”, IPCC,
Climate change will lead to bumpier flights, say scientists
The shifting of the jet stream over Europe caused by global warming will lead to clear-air turbulence
“There is evidence that clear-air turbulence has already risen by 40-90% over Europe and North America since 1958, but that is set to increase further due to global warming. The jet streams, which meander for thousands of miles, are driven by the temperature difference between the poles and the tropics, Williams explained. Climate change is heating the Arctic faster than lower latitudes, because of the rapid loss of reflective sea ice, so the temperature difference is shrinking. That leads to stronger jet streams and greater turbulence. The modelling done by Williams and Joshi assumed that carbon dioxide levels will double from pre-industrial levels by 2050, which is in the mid-range of current projections for future emissions.”
Another climate change warning, written in the shells of crabs
Posted by Stephen Stromberg on April 8, 2013 at 1:22 pm
“Some claim that the effects of carbon emissions might be good for the United States — longer growing seasons? — or that humans can simply adapt to higher temperatures and more acidic seas. Certainly, we’ll adapt better than those oysters will. But when I hear these arguments, I wonder whether those who make them have really thought about the oysters, the pine beetles, the dry docks and all other other ways, big and small, in which their ecology is changing. Combine those with all of the unpredictability that comes with messing with complex natural systems on such a large scale. Taking these considerations together, the argument for complacency looks very weak, and the case for spending some money now to hedge against the possibility of many negative results later looks really good.”