Global Warming Update

by Rocket Finance

I must be a masochist for continuing to post on this subject, but even though my subscriber count decreases on global warming posts, the controversy fascinates me. In some ways I think we are watching the propagation of another great “scientific” myth. Human history is littered with ideas that at one point were considered conventional wisdom and the next they were utterly disproved. Conventional wisdom once told us that a heavier weight would fall faster than a lighter weight, that rotten meat “spontaneously generated” flies, that certain racial groups are mentally superior, that bloodletting helps cure disease and that the earth moves around the sun.

As for global warming, I do not oppose a vigorous discussion of the hypothesis and a serious consideration of the idea that mankind is causing large-scale warming of the planet. I shared in an earlier post that I once believed that man was causing the warming. The thing that frustrates me is that our media is not even-handed with the data. They are quick to trumpet the latest evidence that supports global warming, but never really report credible opposition to the theory.

As a result, our governments are being pressured by a constituency that does not have all of the facts. Pressured to make decisions that could cripple economies. Pressured to make decisions that line the pockets of an elite few.

For those of you who are interested in the other side, here are three recent articles that call for your consideration:

An article by Dr. David Evans who was a consultant to the Australian Greenhouse Office from 1999 to 2005. Here is one particularly important statement:

The world has spent $50 billion on global warming since 1990, and we have not found any actual evidence that carbon emissions cause global warming. Evidence consists of observations made by someone at some time that supports the idea that carbon emissions cause global warming. Computer models and theoretical calculations are not evidence, they are just theory.

I strongly encourage you to read the entire article. Dr. Evans was a believer in global warming and occupied a place of prominence in researching the phenomenon, but changed his mind after viewing the evidence first-hand.

A statement by the American Physical Society, that at least some of it’s 50,000 members do not believe in the theory. Furthermore, the APS has opened a debate on the issue. This debate should be highlighted by our news media. Here is one interesting quote from the Daily Tech blog post on the subject:

In an email to DailyTech, Monckton says, “I was dismayed to discover that the IPCC’s 2001 and 2007 reports did not devote chapters to the central ‘climate sensitivity’ question, and did not explain in proper, systematic detail the methods by which they evaluated it. When I began to investigate, it seemed that the IPCC was deliberately concealing and obscuring its method.”

Seems that I am not the only one who questions the IPCC conclusions.

The final article for today is actually a bit whimsical, but the photos that are highlighted illustrate how some global warming proponents have misrepresented educated guesses as fact. And now they are getting sued for it. For those of you who struggle with metric to English conversions, 30 cm is a little over 11 inches – this is how much the ocean is going to rise over the next 100 years – according to the global warming advocates.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more on personal finance.

  1. 10 Responses to “Global Warming Update”

  2. By Deamiter on Jul 28, 2008 | Reply

    The biggest problem I have with this sort of article is that they don’t link to the ‘alarmist’ claims they cite. If everything David Evans says is an accurate summary of the position of ‘alarmist’ climate scientists I might find his position quite convincing, but his quick dismissal of opponents by saying “they ignore…”

    It’s pretty bad science, for example, to look at ice core data showing that temperature increased 800 years before atmospheric carbon increased and then conclude that atmospheric carbon cannot contribute to global warming. That higher temperatures cause carbon emissions is well known. Just because a temperature rise (from ice-age lows) caused the initial increase in carbon doesn’t suggest that the increase in carbon had no effect!

  3. By rocketc on Jul 28, 2008 | Reply

    Deamiter, you’re a great guy, but if you are having trouble finding alarmist claims about global warming in our popular culture, from the UN and in current public school textbooks. . . you need to get out of the laboratory. The third story in my article here shows one such claim – Greenpeace’s claim that certain coastal areas in Spain would be underwater. Check out the pictures.

    You need to read your second paragraph very closely. Your reasoning seems to be very circular and even specious.

    GW advocates have used ice-core data extensively to show global warming.

    If temperatures increased well before carbon increased, how could they possibly be related?

    Higher temps cause carbon emissions? But I thought that carbon emissions caused higher temps. Which is it?

    You said:
    Just because a temperature rise (from ice-age lows) caused the initial increase in carbon doesn’t suggest that the increase in carbon had no effect!

    It also does not prove or even suggest that carbon and warming are cause and effect. You have to have a lot of faith to believe that CO2 causes global warming.

  4. By Deamiter on Jul 28, 2008 | Reply

    I am a great guy, aren’t I?

    First off, I was referring primarily to the article by David Evans. I did a quick search, but I suspect it would take me an hour or more to find the sources for his citations. I know lots of different scientists make many different predictions (which get twisted and mangled by media and in articles like this) but my point was that I personally would be much more convinced if he SHOWED who ignored what variable in what model rather than grouping all climate scientists as “alarmists” who universally ignore X Y and Z vital variables.

    All the climate scientists I’ve talked to have said that higher temperatures can cause CO2 emissions and can be caused by CO2 emissions. No climate scientist I’m aware of has claimed that CO2 emissions initiated the end of any ice age! That CO2 traps heat on the planet is a fact established by physics, not by ice-core data.
    http://environment.newscientist.com/channel/earth/climate-change/dn11659

    In short, it’s not either/or. Higher temperatures CAN cause higher CO2 emissions AND higher levels of CO2 can trap more heat on the planet (Venus isn’t just hot because it’s closer to the sun!) Saying it has to be one or the other is silly — feedback loops like this have been discussed in climate science for decades.

    As for Greenpeace, I’m not a fan of their methods and I’m not aware of them doing any of their own scientific research — they’re certainly a good example of an alarmist group, but probably not a representative sample of climate scientists. In other words, refuting a specific Greenpeace claim doesn’t reflect badly (or positively) on any specific climate scientists or models in my opinion.

  5. By plonkee on Jul 31, 2008 | Reply

    30cm is a lot of water. Especially if you live in a country that’s prone to flooding, where the likely effect of the changing Earth temperature is a lot more rain.

    Perhaps I should invest in rubber dinghies.

  6. By rocketc on Jul 31, 2008 | Reply

    30 cm is not a humanitarian crisis when it accumlates over the course of 100 years – even if you accept that prediction as fact. Sea levels rise and fall all the time.

  7. By Deamiter on Jul 31, 2008 | Reply

    rocketc — no scientist accepts that prediction as fact. The IPCC estimate is based on a number of models including the expansion of water as it is heated and mass loss of glaciers and ice-caps calculated from data going back to the 60s. The IPCC a range of models and only one projection assuming that ice loss in the antarctic and greenland stay constant.

    A key point is that because ice flow is so extremely variable, it was not included in the number you cite (the six models considered actually range from between 18cm to 59cm though a simple average isn’t really appropriate there).

    Anyway, you’re right, 33cm over a century is not catastrophic. However, that’s not what scientists are worried about as anywhere near a worst case, it’s simply a best estimate based on the information now considered reliable. As a quick datum, if the buildup of water flowing under Greenland causes most of the Greenland ice to flow into the ocean, the sealevel rise would be 6 meters. That wouldn’t be spread out neatly over a century and would be rather catastrophic, though you don’t see it predicted widely in scientific circles except as a possibility because the models regarding ice flow aren’t yet reliable.

  8. By Deamiter on Jul 31, 2008 | Reply

    Oh, I should be very clear that Greenland is not going to lose all its ice any time soon for any known reason. All current outlet glaciers would have to move way faster than is possible to contribute even a meter rise by 2100. Still, this ice flow is one unknown that probably won’t decrease and was deemed too uncertain for the IPCC scientists to include in their final report.

  9. By rocketc on Jul 31, 2008 | Reply

    Okay, where do I start? I can use your own words to poke all kinds of holes in the theory.

    Your first paragraph includes several estimates and assumptions based on models that also assume and estimate.

    Ice flow is variable.

    Models are not reliable.

    A meter rise by 2100 is impossible.

    ice flow. .. probably won’t . . .too uncertain

    Yet, we are supposed to irreparably damage the world’s greatest economies on the basis of this information? (oh, Except for China and India, who are the world’s greatest polluters)

    A couple of questions for you: Doesn’t water have a smaller volume than ice? Furthermore, most icebergs are under water. . . if they all melt wouldn’t the sea level decrease?

    As for glaciers, I have read two recent reports that glaciers are growing in several places including Mt. Shasta and the Himalaya’s. Are all glaciers in the world receding? If they aren’t, does this disprove the theory?

    Deamiter, Do you see any data to suggest that the hypothesis of catastrophic global warming is false? If you have not, what kinds of data would we have to see in order for you to change your mind?

    To sum up, is the theory falsifiable?

  10. By Deamiter on Jul 31, 2008 | Reply

    How does a discussion of uncertainties in future ocean levels affect models of global warming? Are you claiming that an expansion of water due to 1-2 degrees of warming would somehow negate the warming effect?

    To answer your implied questions regarding my words, yes ice flow is variable, that’s why it wasn’t considered in final IPCC estimates though it was mentioned in the report.

    Most of the models related to sea levels in the IPCC report are not questionable — as I said before they include things like “water expands when it is heated.” Again, only ONE of the six models were based on a projection of current rates that were clearly defined and used primarily as a comparison (it fell in the same range as the others incidentally).

    A meter rise by 2100 is not impossible, a meter rise due to the contribution of melting Greenland ice is highly improbable. There are many other sources of potential sea rise, I was just giving an example of the variable ice flow.

    I don’t quite understand why you question current models based on the fact that they exclude a currently unpredictable variable. These models clearly spelled out what rise they predicted based on which variables and the report discussed the variables that were not included. Would you RATHER scientists start adding blind guesses to models? Ice flow should become much more predictable in the coming decades, there was just some strange behavior regarding speeds in the last decade that hasn’t been fully agreed upon yet as to cause and effect.

    How we decide to deal with global warming isn’t a scientific problem, so now you’re just getting into politics. Politics is fun (I might point out that the US has by far the largest pollution per capita) but doesn’t really affect models. I personally suspect that adapting our foods and habits to 1-2 degrees of warming would cost far more than simply curbing emissions but that’s as much speculation as claiming that curbing emissions will destroy economies.

    Icebergs do not hold a significant portion of the world’s water and are not considered in these models. Glaciers and Icecaps are on land and their melting would indeed add to the ocean’s volume.

    Glaciers have indeed been advancing in a few of the last years in some places. The overall mass of the glaciers is still decreasing though we’d have to talk about specific cases to get more specific. As I said before, most of the IPCC’s numbers are NOT derived from projected rates including glacier movement.

    I really don’t know what you mean by ‘catastrophic global warming.’ I personally am quite convinced that 1 degree of warming on average will disrupt food crops enough to be catastrophic to some, but not to humanity in general. We will simply (if not easily) adapt to even a meter or two of sea level rise, though it’ll be expensive if not human-threatening.

    As for what would convince me that the Earth is not warming, certainly a decade of falling temperatures would help (a couple examples of graphs with cherry-picked averaging periods don’t count, I’m talking statistically here). As I noted before, I found the article by David Evans quite convincing… except that as he included no sources, I was unable to verify that climate scientists in general (called ‘alarmists’ is the paper so he might not be referencing the majority of scientists) ignored this or that variable or even check to see where he got his damning evidence from and whether it’d been peer-reviewed and scrutinized by other climate scientists.

    Of course the theories are falsifiable. For example, if the surface temperature stays the same, but the ocean levels do not rise, the model predicting that water expands with additional heat will be falsified. That’s because the surface temperatures take decades to affect some of the deeper areas of the ocean far from strong currents. Of course, this is basic physics and does not require further warming, but it’s certainly falsifiable!

  11. By Frugal Babe on Aug 8, 2008 | Reply

    Instead of debating the possible future outcomes of our current actions, why don’t we look at what’s currently going on, and what we know for sure is as a result of human actions. There’s a giant garbage dump floating in the Pacific. It sucks to breath polluted air. Wilderness lands are quickly disappearing, along with the creatures that live there. The list goes on and on. It’s hard to imagine anyone who thinks that miles of plastic crud floating in the ocean is a good thing, or to find any other blame for it than human activity. So perhaps instead of worrying about global warming, we should just clean up our acts across the board, in order to fix the current problems we have. IMO, the end result would be that we would alleviate global warming as well (I do think that human activity is causing it). But focusing on current problems would remove the potential for debate that ultimately politicizes and distracts from one of the most important issues of our time. Remember, we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors – we’re simply borrowing it from our children.

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