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.

Friday, October 21, 2005

More global warming scaremongering

Syd M. Hall wants us to think the End might be near, October 21, 2005
There is little doubt that the most important news of this century has hardly made a ripple in our media (press, radio, TV, etc.) Two tiny mentions in The Union, and one in the Washington Spectator - to the effect that methane, in frightening volume ("billions of tons" - WS, with a potency of 20 times that of CO2) is rising from the melting Siberian permafrost. (A previous U.S. Geological survey reveals extremely large deposits of methane, trapped as frozen hydrate, but quite temperature sensitive at 300 meters depth, soon to be heat-released.
To believe Syd’s scenario you have to adopt the idea that the arctic is melting. Check out his graphic on the recorded arctic temperatures. Note that in the 1940s the temperatures were the highest recorded. Why are we still here? Check out this article on the increasing depth of the Greenland ice cap. It is not melting as global warming alarmists like Syd would like us to believe.

Syd is right in one respect, methane is a more a powerful greenhouse gas than CO2. Yet all the legislative focus is on controlling this single gas (CO2) in a highly complex atmosphere. Why? Well, humans contribute to CO2 and nature controls methane emissions are declining. See trend line in this graphic published in Geophysical Research Letters.

If arctic temperatures are with in the normal range of variability, Greenland is not melting and atmospheric methane is in decline, I think Syd is just another global warming scaremonger.

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Blogger Frederic Christie said...

Except all those claims are wrong and irrelevant, Russ.

For one thing, the methane concerns reach beyond global warming, as you'd know if you looked beyond the superficial in the literature. describes some dangers, including catastrophic waves. There's also the danger some have commented on about detonation of the methane.

This introductory on the comment indicates that methane is going up:

And I've shown you evidence after evidence indicating that arctic temperature is going up and that there is melting.

It's also blatantly false that the legislative effort is exclusively methane-oriented. Environmentalists propose bills to deal with other pollutants and greenhouse gasses... they're just stopped by business interests, the type you seem to be defending.

The impacts are so catastrophic here that we should be proceeding with caution.

Fri Oct 21, 05:18:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Russ Steele said...


One the data I send is the direct measurments, over a long period. Much of the junk is the press is ofer short periods. Yes we may see melting, but we did in the 40s and melting today is nothing new. It happens.

The press focus has been on CO2 ignoring methane and water vapor, aerosols, etc, Why?

Methane has always been an explosive problem, ask coal miners.

I cannot find any data on the referenced site about methane increasing. Show me the data!

Give me some details on the legislation to curb methane.


Fri Oct 21, 06:48:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Frederic Christie said...

"Much of the junk is the press is ofer short periods. Yes we may see melting, but we did in the 40s and melting today is nothing new. It happens."

But I'm not looking at the junk in the press, tbough there's plenty of garbage press coverage, liberal and conservative, that denies even the position you took about global warming. Of course the press plays sensationalist games to make things seem more drastic than they are. That has the simultaneous benefit of scaring the populace into submission as well as discrediting those with a more nuanced view.

There are many scientists who have evaluted evidence and made graphs, as I've shown you, that shows that this century is simply off the charts, and accelerates over the last 30 years. In fact, this is the scientific consensus.

Since your admission a few days ago, I would have hoped that you would begin to abandon "scaremongering" or "junk science" or all that, or at least make a sharp distinction between the soundbites we hear in the press and the real arguments in the literature.

I offered a good hypothesis for the focus on carbons:

A) Carbon is simply the most serious, simply because of the amount of it we produce.
B) Looking at environmental issues with nuance would give up the game too much.

But there are plenty of attempts to deal with methane... they're just blocked by, for example, the beef industry.

I made no claims that the elite political system is running legislation, simply that there are environmentalists out there who clearly discuss methane. In my high school debate days, one of the cases was methane hydrates.

But here we go:

"Last July, Bush announced an international agreement for global reduction in emissions of methane, the most potent of the common greenhouse gases. Discussion of action against global warming centers on carbon dioxide, which receives the bulk of attention for reasons we will get to in a moment. But molecule by molecule, methane has 23 times more atmospheric warming effect than carbon dioxide. The White House's July 2004 agreement requires the United States, United Kingdom, India, Ukraine, Mexico, and Italy to reduce global methane emissions by an amount equal to roughly one percent of all greenhouse gases released to the atmosphere by human activity. Surely you are thinking, One percent--that's not much. But the best-case outcome for the Kyoto treaty is roughly a one percent reduction in atmospheric levels of greenhouse gas... The press corps has relentlessly pretended the Bush anti-methane initiative does not exist. According to a scan of Nexis by New Republic super-intern T.A. Frank, no American newspaper put Bush's methane regulation initiative on the front page when the agreement was announced; most said nothing at all about it." Bear in mind, this doesn't disprove Bush's horrible record, but it shows that you're simply flatly wrong.

Want more cites? Have fun:

To quote: "Methane is increasing in the atmosphere at an annual rate of 1 percent, double the rate of increase for carbon dioxide. Activities that release methane are rice-paddy agriculture, waste treatment, biomass burning, livestock production, and venting during natural gas and coal exploration and production activities. Methane is also released during the transport of natural gas."

Fri Oct 21, 07:52:00 PM PDT  

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