NC Media Watch

A quest for reason and accuracy in letters to the editor, guest editorials and other issues of interest to the citizens of Western Nevada County.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

GM Update: Answer to readers statements

In a comment exchange with Steve, he brings up some points that need to be answered, thus I have started a new global warming thread that is not buried in the comments:
2) Global warming: You said "We need to anticipate the consequences of a warming ocean, the warming of the tundra, the loss of water resource stored in glaciers."

This would imply to me that you agree that data indicates the earth is warming. What I don't understand is how we can just accept the point, as you would suggest.
Yes, I agree over the past 100 years, the earth has warmed 0.66C or 0.523C, depending on the method you use to measure the change. Details here. Look at the charts, you can see the trend lines. You do not have to be a climate scientist to understand the data.
To the extent that global warming is human caused, and to the extent that global warming is going to destroy peoples economies and cultures, surely we have some responsibility to control it? And the data would show that, at current rates of warming, huge areas of the globe, including coastal cities worldwide and entire cultures in the Pacific islands and Asia, will be gone.
The disconnect here, which I have noticed in your argument for months about global warming, is the sense of responsibility. How can we admit that warming is happening and not take some responsibility?

If the warming is due to natural cycles caused by the earths relationship to the sun, or the sun’s position in our galaxy, or changes in the suns output, there is nothing we can do. How can we accept responsibility for something we cannot change?
The reason in your case, I believe, is that you do not believe that it is human caused.
Steve is right, I cannot accept human caused global warming theory until we have solid proof that climate change is human caused. Warming and cooling has happened many times in the earth's history. You can get a sense of my position by reading the Global Warming Update, or GW Update posts below.
But here your are in disagreement with the International Panel on Climate Change, the National Academy of Sciences, the US Environmental Protection Agency led by Bush appointee Mike Leavitt, the US Department of Defense, MIT, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and just about every climatologist in the world. It is a myth that there is real debate on this issue. the jury is in..climate change is real.
The jury is not in. The IPCC report is based on science done by Mann etal, that has not been verified. Mann and his team have refused to release the data, or the computer models they used to analyze the data. One of the key tenets of good science is repeatability. Since Mann and his team will not release the data or computer model, it is impossible to audit the results. Only 2000 scientists worked on the IPCC report which was edited by a much smaller group of nonscientist who removed the uncertainty expressed by the science team in the computer models used to forecast rapid climate change. You will find details here, here, here, on the use of computer models, and by a noted MIT Climate Scientist here. See IPCC controversy here.
It is vanity to believe that your education as a businessman and technology dude... make you more qualified to make this judgment than almost the entire body of modern climatologists and geologists.
I am a writer and researcher, and make no claims other than the results of my research into climate issues. Here is a list of 17,000 scientists who signed a petition circulated by Frederick Seitz, Past President, National Academy of Sciences, which called into question the IPCC Global Warming Report and the Kyoto protocol it is based on.
So lets assume for a minute that you are wrong and climate change is human caused...then don't we have a personal responsibility to do something about it?
Prove to me that climate change is human caused by CO2 emissions and not some other forcing factor, and I will reconsider my responsibility. My current responsibility is the prosperity and safety of my family, including children and grandchildren. Destroying the US economy by foolishly subscribing to the Kyoto Protocol is contrary to my family responsibilities.

UPDATE: Bob comments in an e-mail:
To try to employ measures to effect global warming without being able to prove that it was human caused would be more irresponsible than the hypothetically unintentional acts that promoters of Kyoto believe caused the warming in the first place. If you can not prove that the change was human caused than you can not prove the forecasted effect of the measures proposed. This tendency to impulsively react is another deficiency of the left as well as is the attitude that they are infallible.
Click here for a private e-mail comment. For public comment select comments below.

4 Comments:

Blogger Frederic Christie said...

"Yes, I agree over the past 100 years, the earth has warmed 0.66C or 0.523C, depending on the method you use to measure the change. Details here. Look at the charts, you can see the trend lines. You do not have to be a climate scientist to understand the data."

Fair enough. This, thank goodness, puts you better than most. But Thomas Karl says that the current temperature growth is "consistent with a rate of 5.4 to 6.3 degrees Fahrenheit per century."

"If the warming is due to natural cycles caused by the earths relationship to the sun, or the sun’s position in our galaxy, or changes in the suns output, there is nothing we can do. How can we accept responsibility for something we cannot change?"

This is a fair argument as well. However, recently the discovery has been that in fact we are in a very stable warming period. To quote http://www.ecobridge.org/content/g_evd.htm, "By comparison, the world has warmed by 5 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit since the depths of the last ice age, 18,000 to 20,000 years ago." If it has warmed .66c in the last CENTURY, some questions should be raised.

But, as I've pointed out elsewhere, assume the heating is due to sun cycles. Fair enough. One can still be an ecological steward by creating carbon sinks and doing the rest of the global warming initiatives, all of which have independent value aside from reducing greenhouse emissions.

"Steve is right, I cannot accept human caused global warming theory until we have solid proof that climate change is human caused. Warming and cooling has happened many times in the earth's history. You can get a sense of my position by reading the Global Warming Update, or GW Update posts below."

Of course warming and cooling occurs, Russ. Climatologists know this. But they began to wonder if something else might be occuring when the numbers consistently defied natural equilibria. Ice core data gives us information that shows clearly that this century's growth is unprecedented in all of history. The only change that we can see that could cause it is increased methane and CO2 and other gasses, all of which have been observed. Yes, you are right, correlation is not causation. There can always be lurking variables, sometimes lurking causes. But then it is YOUR responsibility, not climatologists, to show what those are and provide the better theory.

"The jury is not in. The IPCC report is based on science done by Mann etal, that has not been verified. Mann and his team have refused to release the data, or the computer models they used to analyze the data. One of the key tenets of good science is repeatability. Since Mann and his team will not release the data or computer model, it is impossible to audit the results. Only 2000 scientists worked on the IPCC report which was edited by a much smaller group of nonscientist who removed the uncertainty expressed by the science team in the computer models used to forecast rapid climate change. You will find details here, here, here, on the use of computer models, and by a noted MIT Climate Scientist here. See IPCC controversy here."

Yes, but notice the list he provided. And that list can be comfortably expanded. This isn't a good survey, but my sense of the scientific opinion at UC Davis is that global warming is happening. The Pentagon concurs with pro-warming experts. Further, the trend over time has not been less and less belief in global warming, but more and more. I again refer you to the fantastic Z article I linked you by Paul Street.

"I am a writer and researcher, and make no claims other than the results of my research into climate issues. Here is a list of 17,000 scientists who signed a petition circulated by Frederick Seitz, Past President, National Academy of Sciences, which called into question the IPCC Global Warming Report and the Kyoto protocol it is based on."

Fair enough. Out of hundreds of thousands of scientists with opinions on the matter, the vast majority of whom believe warming is occuring. Further, Russ, there is a tenor to your commentary, a polemicism, that (while nothing compared to most of the right) belies you as a layman immediately. It is the way you take comments like the comment about malaria to mean that global warming isn't real, or even to mean that global warming isn't affecting malaria incidences. In fact, you almost seem to make contradictory arguments: If natural climate change has occured, yet your position quoting the malaria expert was that there was no climate-based change in the tropical disease rate, what the hell happened?

"Prove to me that climate change is human caused by CO2 emissions and not some other forcing factor, and I will reconsider my responsibility. My current responsibility is the prosperity and safety of my family, including children and grandchildren. Destroying the US economy by foolishly subscribing to the Kyoto Protocol is contrary to my family responsibilities."

Ah, but here's where your argument truly gets pathetic, Russ. For the emissions caused by anthropogenic activity do not just create this phenomenon of warming and nothing else. Low-atmosphere ozone, animal waste, asthma and other respiratory diseases, Gulf military expenditures and war, inefficiency, etc. are all byproducts of our current energy and animal policy. I listed pretty much every proposed solution to global warming (I didn't mention iron seeding of algae because that can create algal blooms if not done right and is mostly a carbon sink, but even there there is some logic to repatriate algae that we've killed). They all have independent value that generates positive externalities. http://arekexcelsior2.blogspot.com/2005/07/regulation-and-corporate-capitalism.html

"To try to employ measures to effect global warming without being able to prove that it was human caused would be more irresponsible than the hypothetically unintentional acts that promoters of Kyoto believe caused the warming in the first place. If you can not prove that the change was human caused than you can not prove the forecasted effect of the measures proposed. This tendency to impulsively react is another deficiency of the left as well as is the attitude that they are infallible."

You can't "prove" anything, Russ. But to say that, umm, replanting trees when we've destroyed most of them, or that increasing engine efficiency recoups costs for business, is pretty grade A "No duhs". If we cut gas use, which we need to do independently, we cut emissions. Bob's argument is an ad hom at best.

Tue Sep 06, 09:32:00 PM PDT  
Blogger steve frisch said...

I am stuck on your agreement that it global warming is happening...and that we should just wait to see who did it....and thinking about the consequences of diddling over that, while the effects of global warming take hold.

The consequences are too great to just wait and see.

Think about the consequences on a global secuirty level. Think of the consequences for agriculture, human health, global water supplies, environmental degradation.

Think of the hundreds of millions of people and culutres displaced. (See link below)

http://www.osce.org/documents/eea/2005/05/14488_en.pdf

It seems to me that the sole purpose of your blog is to deny clear scientific evidence by obfuscating information for people that are too lazy to go out and do research for themselves and thus perpetuate the myth that global warming is not a problem.

Evidence of that; instead of going after the Department of Defense contention that global warming is happening you go after the IPCC. Denying or casting doubt on one source does not diminish the arguement from the hundreds of other sources coming to the same conclusion.

It does not take a rocket scientist to understand that if we severely alter the environment,if we burn the equivilent of hundreds of millions of barrels of carbon based fuels a year there are going to be consequences.

The theme of your blog seems to be that the search for short term profit should trump long term consequences.

Thu Sep 08, 08:46:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Russ Steele said...

Steve:

The Pentagon report does not acknowledge that global warming is a reality, but simply seeks to understand the threats rapid climate change may pose. The Pentagon is always assessing different scenarios and the possible impacts.

Fri Sep 09, 08:15:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Frederic Christie said...

"The Pentagon report does not acknowledge that global warming is a reality, but simply seeks to understand the threats rapid climate change may pose. The Pentagon is always assessing different scenarios and the possible impacts."

Yes, but the question is, what credibility do they put upon each scenario? They undoubtedly have contingency plans if Canada or Mexico invaded us, but they don't leak major reports about such plans because no one seriously believes that will ever happen. You're right, the report did not engage in a massive debate over global warming evidence. It took the broad scientific consensus as plausible and looked at the scenarios, noting that they were catastrophic. Now, if the Pentagon thinks that global warming is a major threat to international security, as does Robert Kaplan and numerous other security experts (not even counting the more green among commentators), doesn't the precautionary principle seem to suggest to you that we might assume for the worst?

Fri Sep 09, 09:24:00 AM PDT  

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