By Jim Giles, New Scientist
Climate change models, no matter how powerful, can never give a precise prediction of how greenhouse gases will warm the Earth, according to a new study. The result will provide ammunition to those who argue not enough is known about global warming to warrant taking action.
It now appears that the estimates will never get much better. The reason lies with feedbacks in the climate system. These positive feedbacks accelerate global warming and also introduce uncertainty into estimates of climate sensitivity, say Gerard Roe and Marcia Baker of the University of Washington in Seattle.
What is more, they found that better computer models or observational data will not do much to reduce that uncertainty. A better estimate of sensitivity is the holy grail of climate research, but it is time to “call off the quest”, according to a commentary published alongside the paper.
That is likely to fuel attacks by critics in the oil industry and elsewhere who argue against investing in measures like clean energy until more is known about climate change. Others say that we need to act even if climate sensitivity lies at the low end of the scale, since coastal areas would still be threatened by rising seas, for example.
Ultimately, the papers also illustrate the limits to which models, even those produced by powerful supercomputers, can help politicians make decisions. “This finding reinforces not only that climate policies will necessarily be made in the face of deep, irreducible uncertainties,” says Roger Pielke, a climate policy expert at the University of Colorado at Boulder, US. “But also the uncomfortable reality – for climate modellers – that finite research dollars invested in ever more sophisticated climate models offer very little marginal benefit to decision makers.” Read more here.
By Sylvia Masuda, Daily Titan
Controversy erupted in the Cal State Fullerton science community over Tuesday’s global warming lecture in the Titan Theatre. Research professor and climatologist Patrick Michaels presented “Reducing the Effects of Global Warming in Southern California,” a presentation which explained why global warming is not an imminent problem. The Economics Association organized the event.
Over the years, science organizations have criticized Michaels for exaggerating his credentials and for pushing what they feel is a political agenda. CSUF science professors said his articles published in science journals “Science” and “Nature” are actually letters to the editor. Michaels’ lecture featured graphs and data to support his belief that although global warming is a real concept, its negative effects are not as urgent as many claim. In particular, he backed his information by challenging several ideas Al Gore discussed in the former vice president’s book. For example, Michaels said he considers the Kyoto Protocol counterproductive. The protocol calls for participating nations to limit its greenhouse gas emissions. “It takes away the capital to invest in a more efficient society,” Michaels said. “For all their good intentions, they haven’t realized that they’ve delayed the efficient future.” Read more here.
By By Bill Steigerwald, Pittsburgh Tribune Review
In the great, never-cooling debate over the causes and consequences of global warming, it’s always clear whose side Fred Singer is on: not Al Gore’s. Singer, who was born in Vienna in 1924, was a pioneer in the development of rocket and satellite technology and holds a Ph.D. in physics from Princeton. Now president of the Science & Environmental Policy Project research group (sepp.org), his latest book (with Dennis Avery) is “Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1,500 Years.” I talked with Singer by phone from his offices in Arlington, Va.
Q: A lot of people have seen the movie but they don’t really keep up on this global-warming debate, which is very complex and very nasty sometimes about which science is true and which isn’t.
A: It is nasty, but it shouldn’t be complex. The issue is very simple. The only really important issue is, is the warming we are experiencing now natural or is it man-made? That’s really the only issue. Everything else is commentary.
Q: As you’ve watched this global-warming debate evolve, are you optimistic that good science, honest science, will trump politics?
A: Yes, I’m optimistic because eventually it must do that. The problem is the word “eventually.” In the meantime, a great deal of damage can be done to our economy as various schemes are being put forward to control CO2 emissions—essentially to control the use of energy.
Read more of the interview here.
By Tom Harris, NSRP in Canada Free Press
Listening to the Speech from the Throne Tuesday, one could be forgiven for thinking that the Conservatives were copying Stephane Dion’s leadership campaign tactics of 13 months ago. In Dion’s case, he took his climate change phraseology essentially verbatim from a David Suzuki report. In the case of the Harper government, they appear to have lifted most of their assertions from a wider selection of environmental groups, but the messages are equally unfounded nonethe-less.
Tom Harris, NSRP
First, the government tells us that “Threats to our environment are a clear and present danger that now confronts governments around the world.” The most significant “clear and present danger” is widespread public ignorance of basic climate science, a problem that provides fertile ground for the unfounded eco-salvationism of opportunistic politicians and activists driving today’s agenda.
With this week’s official rejection of Kyoto, now’s the time for the government to finally listen to real experts instead of the untrained environmentalists who have dominated the debate so far. Convening open, honest science hearings would be a start towards rectifying the mess left by the Liberals and initiated by Brian Mulroney at the Rio conference in 1992. Indeed, this may very well be Harper’s last chance to get Canada off the costly and useless fixation on ‘stopping climate change’, one which he used to vehemently oppose, but now appears to have acquiesced to as inevitable. It is not. Read more here.
By John McLean
In February 2007 the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (4AR) claimed that there was a 90% to 95% probability that man-made emissions of carbon dioxide were having a significant influence on climate. This claim was widely accepted by the public and many governments made both political and financial commitments on the basis of its statements.
But did anybody actually read the report in detail and check the evidence on which the claim was made? At the time this would have been extremely difficult because the Summary for Policy Makers was released well in advance of the detailed document on which it was based, but prudence would have dictated waiting for that evidence before accepting that pivotal claim.
When the Working Group I report was finally released in May 2007 anyone who reviewed the principal finding, that mankind was responsible for the increase in temperature, should have been appalled by the absence of concrete evidence. The so-called evidence is a nothing more than pastiche of dubious assertions and false assumptions, and if these are the best arguments that the IPCC could advance then its future should be reconsidered.
Given the doubts over the quality of the temperature record I am not sure that the IPCC has even proven any recent increase in temperatures let alone produced any credible evidence that humans are having a substantial impact on temperature. Read more here.
By H. Svensmark and E. Friis-Christensen
The new study from the Danish National Space Center was conducted by Physicist Henrik Svensmark and Eigil Friis-Christensen. Svensmark previously published his finding on the influence that cosmic rays have on cloud production in the Proceedings of the Royal Society Journal in late 2006 and he has a new 2007 book entitled “The Chilling Stars: A New Theory of Climate Change.” This new study was released within the past week or so and it is a rebuttal to a July 2007 media hyped UK study alleging there has not been a solar-climate link in the past 20 years.
The solar cycle and the negative correlation of global mean tropospheric temperatures with galactic cosmic rays are apparent in this ESA-ISAC analysis. The upper panel shows observations of temperatures (blue) and cosmic rays (red). The lower panel shows the match achieved by removing El Nino, the North Atlantic Oscillation, volcanic aerosols, and also a linear trend (0.14 § 0.4 K/Decade).
By Dr. Tim Ball in the Canada Free Press
The world is cooling. Global temperatures have declined since 1998 and a growing number of climate experts expect this trend to continue until at least 2030. This, happening while carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions continue to rise, is in complete contradiction to the theory of human-induced (anthropogenic) global warming (AGW). The CBC and other die-hard AGW proponents respond by publicizing selected glacial melts and the impact of dramatic but improbable sea level rises, the only warming issues that seem to grab public attention.
Canadian politicians simply follow along, parroting scientifically unjustified AGW rhetoric while lamenting that “climate change is real!” They either don’t know, or hope the public don’t know, that climate changes all the time no matter what we do.
For most of the world’s plants and animals, humanity included, cooling is a far greater threat than warming. This is especially true for Canada where energy usage, and consequently pollution levels, will rise as temperatures drop. More importantly, if we prepare for warming and it cools, Canada’s food supply is seriously at risk since we are already at the northern limit to agriculture. Even a small amount of cooling would necessitate increased genetic engineering of crops and animals to sustain ourselves and further cooling still would end much of today’s farming in Canada.
Yet, if we prepare for cooling and it warms, we simply adopt farming practices used to the south of us. It is the case in most parts of the world that adaptation to warming is far easier than adapting to cooling. Canada’s situation is just that much worse due to our latitude.
“Climate change campaigners are frightened that, if the lid is lifted off the Pandora’s Box of modern day climate science, the vast uncertainties and contradictions in the field will become apparent and public support for multi-billion dollar climate change schemes will quickly die.”
By Robinson, Robinson and Soon
There are no experimental data to support the hypothesis that increases in human hydrocarbon use or in at mospheric carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are causing or can be expected to cause unfavorable changes in global temperatures, weather, or landscape. There is no reason to limit human production of CO2, CH4, and other minor greenhouse gases as has been proposed. We also need not worry about environmental ca lamities even if the current nat ural warming trend continues. The Earth has been much warmer during the past 3,000 years without catastrophic effects. Warmer weather extends growing seasons and generally improves the habitability of colder regions.
As coal, oil, and natural gas are used to feed and lift from poverty vast numbers of people across the globe, more CO2 will be released into the atmosphere. This will help to maintain and improve the health, longevity, prosperity, and productivity of all people. The United States and other countries need to produce more energy, not less. The most practical, economical, and environmentally sound methods available are hydrocarbon and nuclear technologies. Human use of coal, oil, and natural gas has not harmfully warmed the Earth, and the extrapolation of current trends shows that it will not do so in the foreseeable future. The CO2 produced does, however, accelerate the growth rates of plants and also permits plants to grow in drier regions. Animal life, which depends upon plants, also flourishes, and the diversity of plant and animal life is increased.
Human activities are producing part of the rise in CO2 in the atmosphere. Mankind is moving the carbon in coal, oil, and natural gas from be low ground to the atmosphere, where it is available for conversion into living things. We are living in an increasingly lush environment of plants and animals as a result of this CO2 increase. Our children will therefore enjoy an Earth with far more plant and animal life than that with which we now are blessed.
Read this paper here.
Glacier shortening and sea level rise. Gray area designates estimated range of error in the sea level record. These measurements lag air temperature increases by about 20 years. So, the trends began more than a century before increases in hydrocarbon use.