By John McLean for SPPI
It is widely alleged that the science of global warming is “settled”. This implies that all the major scientific aspects of climate change are well understood and uncontroversial, and that scientists are now just mopping up unimportant details. The allegation is profoundly untrue: for example the US alone is said to be spending more than $4 billion annually on climate research, which is a lot to pay for detailing; and great uncertainty and argument surround many of the principles of climate change, and especially the magnitude of any human causation for warming. Worse still, not only is the science not “settled”, but its discussion in the public domain is contaminated by many fallacies, which leads directly to the great public confusion that is observed.
This paper explains the eight most common fallacies that underpin public discussion of the hypothesis that dangerous global warming is caused by human greenhouse gas emissions. At its most basic, if scientists cannot be sure that temperatures are today rising, nor establish that the gentle late 20th century warming was caused by CO2 emissions, then it is nonsense to propose that expensive controls are needed on human carbon dioxide emissions. Even more alarming still is the self-sustaining nature of the IPCC and its alarmist claims. The IPCC reports determine the direction of climate research and its funding, which ultimately leads to the number of scientific papers which take a particular line, and the dominance of that line of thinking is expressed in the subsequent IPCC report. The process is one of strong positive feedback for alarmist science advice. Advice which now permeates bureaucracies and governments throughout the world, and which is driving swingeingly expensive, unnecessary and ineffective national and international carbon policies.
By The Center for Science & Public Policy
The Center for Biological Diversity contends that staghorn coral and elkhorn coral are “the first, and to date only, species listed under the Endangered Species Act due to threats from global warming.” Kieran Suckling, the policy director of the Center, “We think this victory on coral critical habitat actually moves the entire Endangered Species Act onto a firm legal foundation for challenging global-warming pollution.”
The Center for Science & Public Policy has published a report taking a closer look at the scientific evidence, which reveals that the impact of global warming on the overall health of coral species is likely to be positive--towards increased species diversity and richness and habitat expansion--and there is evidence that these changes are already underway.
The hope that this endangered species designation will somehow become a tool for global warming legislation is grossly misplaced. Global warming will likely be a benefit to elkhorn and staghorn corals, especially along the Florida coast where increasing ocean temperatures should encourage coral reef development further and further northward. For more go here.
Luxuriant thickets of staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) recently found off Ft Lauderdale, FL. This is approximately 50 km north of the previous known extant range of Caribbean acroporids. (from Precht and Aronson, 2004)
By Noel Sheppard, Newsbusters
The political battle over climate change has clearly taken a dramatic turn for the worse this month, for it now seems media are actually competing to see which outlet can present the most hysterical report concerning imminent planetary doom at the hands of manmade global warming.
After ABC News published a disgraceful photo essay featuring computer generated pictures of drowned American cities at its website last Friday, followed by NBC News reporting Monday that Greenland’s ice sheets are melting so quickly that it “could ignite worldwide disaster,” the Associated Press on Saturday cautioned that “In about a century, some of the places that make America what it is may be slowly erased.” Seems almost like they’re playing a game of “Can You Top This” doesn’t it?
Richard S. Courtney e-mailed me the following concerning this abomination with permission to reprint: “Rarely have I read such a collection of unsubstantiated and scare-mongering twaddle. Global sea level has been rising for the 10,000 years since the last ice age, and no significant change to the rate of sea level rise has been observed recently. Real studies and model studies of sea level change deny the untrue assertions in the article.” (Icecap note: he goes on to provide 5 such studies). Simply, there is no reason to suppose that sea level rise will be more of a problem in this century than it was in the last century or each of the previous ten centuries.
It appears that Borenstein may have misquoted one of his sources for this piece, or, at the very least, quoted him out of context. Toward the end of the article, Borenstein wrote: “Even John Christy at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, a scientist often quoted by global warming skeptics, said he figures the seas will rise at least 16 inches by the end of the century. But he tells people to prepare for a rise of about three feet just in case.” According to Christy, he was speaking to Borenstein about sea level rises during hurricanes. But that’s NOT what Borenstein reported. Read more here.
By Joshua Rozenberg, Legal Editor, UK Telegraph
lorry driver is taking the Government to court over a film that he believes is biased and shouldn’t be shown to children in schools
‘The debate over the science of climate change is well and truly over.” So said David Miliband in February. Mr. Miliband, who was then environment secretary, was responding to a report from the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This left the minister so confident that there was nothing more to say on the matter that he and Alan Johnson, the then education secretary, announced that they would be sending a film about climate change to all 3,385 secondary schools in England.
Since ministers regarded the debate as well and truly over, they were “delighted” to send school children a polemic that took as its central thesis the argument that climate change - the increase in global temperatures over the past 50 years - was mainly the result of man-made carbon dioxide emissions.
This is indeed the view of the IPCC, and most of the world’s climate scientists. But other people disagree. One of them is Stewart Dimmock, 45, a lorry driver and school governor from Kent. His sons, aged 11 and 14, attend a secondary school in Dover which has presumably received a copy of Mr Gore’s film. “I care about the environment as much as the next man,” says Mr Dimmock. “However, I am determined to prevent my children from being subjected to political spin in the classroom.”
Read more here.
John Thompson, Nunatsiaq News,
Fears that two-thirds of the world’s polar bears will die off in the next 50 years are overblown, says Mitchell Taylor, the Government of Nunavut’s director of wildlife research. “I think it’s naïve and presumptuous,” Taylor said of the report, released by U.S. Geological Survey on Friday, which warns that many of the world’s polar bears will die as sea ice vanishes due to a warming climate.
“As the sea ice goes, so go the polar bears,” said Steve Amstrup, who led the study. In fact, the USGS predicts the only polar bears to survive by the end of the century will be those found in Canada’s Arctic archipelago, and on the west coast of Greenland. Those in Alaska and Russia, and in much of Nunavut and all of Nunavik, will have perished. But Taylor says the report is needlessly pessimistic.
He points to Davis Strait, one of the southern-most roaming grounds of polar bears. According to the USGS, Davis Strait ought to be among the first places where polar bears will starve due to shrinking seasonal sea ice, which scientists say will deprive the bears of a vital platform to hunt seals. Yet “Davis Strait is crawling with polar bears,” Taylor said. “It’s not safe to camp there. They’re fat. The mothers have cubs. The cubs are in good shape.”
Other than Davis Strait, which is hunted by Inuit from Pangnirtung, Iqaluit and Kimmirut, the USGS also predicts polar bears will perish in Baffin Bay, Foxe Basin, and South and West Baffin. The Government of Nunavut is conducting a study of the Davis Strait bear population. Results of the study won’t be released until 2008, but Taylor says it appears there are some 3,000 bears in an area - a big jump from the current estimate of about 850 bears. “That’s not theory. That’s not based on a model. That’s observation of reality,” he says. And despite the fact that some of the most dramatic changes to sea ice is seen in seasonal ice areas such as Davis Strait, seven or eight of the bears measured and weighed for the study this summer are among the biggest on record, Taylor said. See more here.
By Geoffrey Dickens
Environmental activist and An Inconvenient Truth producer Laurie David received a very warm welcome, from the green-friendly anchors on the Wednesday “Today” show, when she came on to promote her children’s book, A Down-To-Earth Guide to Global Warming. During David’s interview NBC’s Natalie Morales noted that the book’s publisher, Scholastic, was trying to place the book into schools everywhere and proclaimed: “We hope to see it there.” Morales even bragged that her own son was already being indoctrinated: “They’re already talking and learning about this in school. I mean, my own son already knows, ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.’ You know the three ‘R’s.” No slouch herself, when it comes to preaching about global warming, Morales’ colleague Ann Curry also proudly showed off her own son’s concern about climate change in the following tease for the segment:
Natalie Morales: “And then explaining global warming to your kids and why it’s so important. We have Laurie David, who helped produce An Inconvenient Truth. She’s gonna be here to talk about that.”
Ann Curry: “We were watching Nightly News last night, my son and I watched Anne Thompson’s piece about global warming and he’s just, was just riveted, I mean, by this picture of the, of the melting Greenland. So I think we should be talking to our kids about that.”
Read more about this interview here.
By Samuel Aldrich and Jay Lehr in Environment News
Broadly speaking, there are two classes of academic scientists involved in environmental and safety issues. Group A are those who publish their research results and concepts mainly in scientific journals, but are seldom reported in the national news media. Before being published in a scientific journal, every article must be reviewed by fellow scientists (a process called peer review). Many articles are rejected. If accepted and published, they are still subjected to criticism by thousands of fellow scientists.
Among scientists, a person is judged objectively on the quality of research and the soundness of ideas and interpretations. But professional environmentalists are often judged by the media and some of their peers by whether their results and concepts support activist agendas.
Most professional environmentalists find themselves in Group B--those “scientists” who are often seen on TV, whose books are on bestseller lists, and whose opinions are widely found in popular magazines and newspapers. There are thousands of scientists in Group A, but a small number in Group B--people such as Lester Brown, Barry Commoner, Paul Ehrlich, Carl Sagan, Stephen Schneider, Irving Selikoff, and Samuel Epstein, to name a few. This group avoids peer review.
They write books on controversial subjects and use the news media as a forum for their views, the more sensational the better, whether to sell books or to generate invitations for speeches and interviews. They are alarmists, and it pays very well to be an alarmist. Most are distinguished scientists within their fields of expertise. They then move into the eco-environmental or health arenas, where their expertise no longer holds water, but their reputations cloud that fact from public view. Read more here.
By Alex Thompson, Nature Geoscience
Bacteria growing in the low-salinity Amazon River plume waters, which stretch 3,000 km into the tropical Atlantic Ocean, are found to absorb significant amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere1. Because tropical oceans are warm, they hold less dissolved carbon than oceans elsewhere and so typically emit CO2 to the atmosphere. But research now shows that communities of nitrogen-fixing bacteria, reliant on the nutrients contained in the Amazon river run-off, can shift the air–ocean balance so that instead of emitting CO2 the ocean absorbs it.
Sarah Cooley from the University of Georgia and colleagues measured levels of dissolved carbon in the Amazon River plume during April and May of 2003. Combining their observations of ocean and river composition with those from previous studies and with satellite observations of the plume, they calculated the total annual CO2 uptake by the plume waters.
They found the CO2 uptake, driven by bacterial consumption of carbon, to be about 15 million tonnes per year — emissions equivalent to about 20,000 return flights from London to Los Angeles. Carbon sequestration comes as a surprise in a region thought to emit CO2 to the atmosphere.
See story and reference here.