Friday, February 02, 2007

The sky has 'very likely' already fallen

I find it fascinating that the IPCC's much-awaited epic tome on climate change released today was mainly held up due to having to reach a consensus about semantics.

All this science, yet the salient issue was whether to say that global warming is 'very likely' (90% probability) caused by man, or perhaps use the more frightening term 'virtually certain' (99%).

Yet they feel they "have this nailed", according to top U.S. climate scientist Jerry Mahlman, who originated the percentage system.

One of the study's many co-authors, Andrew Weaver of the University of Victoria said that the report was "based on science that is rock-solid, peer-reviewed and consensus."

"It's very conservative. Scientists by their nature are skeptics.''


What's that? You can be a "conservative skeptic" and still have environmental credibility? Someone should tell those jokers in Question Period.


In any case, to borrow scientific language, I agree that it is 'very likely' that human beings have something to do with climate change - The question is how much and what can we realistically do about it? Ban human beings from the planet? Apparently the damage is already done to the extent that all we can do is hope to slow down the inevitable (CTV):

"This is just not something you can stop. We're just going to have to live with it," co-author Kevin Trenberth, director of climate analysis for the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., told The Associated Press in an interview. "We're creating a different planet. If you were to come up back in 100 years time, we'll have a different climate."

Trenberth said scientists do worry that world leaders will take the message in the wrong way and throw up their hands. Instead, the scientists urged leaders to reduce emissions and also adapt to a warmer world with wilder weather.



Well, that much seems reasonable anyway.

Rex Murphy had an interesting commentary on the National last night (now available here), where he made some excellent points. One of the main ones was to question how much each individual is willing to give up in terms of living a less affluent lifestyle, rather than simply donning a green scarf.

What would you give up? Your job at your pollution-spewing factory? Your second or third car? Your vacations? Your high-tech toys that have environmentally-unfriendly components that can't be disposed of in landfills?

The other concern, as Rex Murphy pointed out in last Saturday's Globe, is do we trust politicians to handle the problem effectively?

If we believe global warming is as big a problem as the world's experts are telling us, we also have to believe the world's politicians are capable of fixing it. That's a leap of faith the record doesn't support.

Every tiny corner of this planet, big or small, is a record of some politician's failure. Check your street: How long have the potholes been there? How's traffic in your downtown? The VancouverEastside — how long has that been a blight? Darfur? Oil for Food? Now, we want to believe the politicians are going to fix the weather of the whole world.

The world wants its politicians to “do something” about global warming.

Most likely, alas, they will.



I suppose my biggest concern right now is that this report, along with current polls will cause some kind of bumbling, disingenuous knee-jerk reaction in Parliament as politicians fall all over themselves trying to be 'seen' to be be green.

But at the ballot box, that's all that counts.


* * * *

Update: There are some great posts coming up on Blogging Tories today.

Dark Blue Tory - "Very likely??"

SDA - Y2Kyoto - Dion Liberals would control oil sand development

PTBC - Liberal Hidden Agenda...

SDA
- Y2Kyoto - The Purity Test

The Politic - Suzukified!

Dr. Roy - Jeffrey Simpson and I are sharing a laugh

Halls of Macadamia
: A lot of hot air. Neo has linked to a very disturbing story about air pollution in China.

Officially Screwed
- How Many Times Is the Earth "Officially" Warming? Lots of good links here. H/T to Vicki.

43 comments:

Cherniak_WTF said...

I suppose my biggest concern right now is that this report, along with current polls will cause some kind of bumbling, disingenuous knee-jerk reaction in Parliament as politicians fall all over themselves trying to be 'seen' to be be green.
Harper and Baird are a pretty funny duo....

Anonymous said...

It's not about "climate change" it's about anthropogenic global warming.

I need a new car. I intend on purchasing a deisel which can run on biodeisel. Biodeisel produces fewer GHG emissions.

I don't trust politicians with anything. They're good at one thing and that's taking our money. Dion, that notable environmentalist, has been preaching Kyoto, he's been the minister of the environment and yet he still doesn't know the difference between climate change and human induced global warming. And I haven't seen any evidence that any of the other MPs do either.

Dion continues to harangue Harper about being a "climate change denier" which is like telling someone he doesn't believe in the weather. Harper should set him straight, but hasn't which suggests he and his advisors are just as clued out as Dion.

Without China on board the global warming debate is futile anyway. No matter what we do GHGs will continue to rise.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

It's not about "climate change" it's about anthropogenic global warming.

Anthro who?

In any case, you can count me as one of the misinformed, because I was under the impression that global warming was a subset of climate change.

Cherniak_WTF said...

Without China on board the global warming debate is futile anyway. No matter what we do GHGs will continue to rise.
I'd start with the US... but hey like Gandhi said : Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it....

Anonymous said...

IMHO, naturally occurring global warming is a subset of climate change. Human induced global warming isn't because it's not a naturally occurring phenomenon.

Manuel said...

I still don't get have the Left can preach kyoto as if it was some kind of religous document, buying carbon credits from third world ( sorry, devolping nation ) doesn't do anything to aid in lowering an industrial countries emissions, it only serves to cause greater levels and thats not assuming the "leaders" of said country use the carbon cash to increase their own power resources with things such as coal plants which would be oh so helpful don't you think?

I'm simply saying you don't have to be a kyotophile in order to care about the environment.

Cherniak_WTF said...

I'm simply saying you don't have to be a kyotophile in order to care about the environment.
Very true.

But it's no excuse to spew false garbage about Kyoto...

Alberta Girl said...

This whole climate change, global warming, or whatever is the latest "buzz" word, is destined to be a case of NIMBY(not in my back yard). Notice how the big focus is on the OIL companies in Alberta - Alberta has only 28 seats, it really doesn't determine who leads the country so turn the whole country's focus towards Alberta and everyone in the rest of the country gets on boards because it means they will not be affected.

Little do they know that IF Alberta is affected - they are affected.

It is very funny to watch people jump up and down demanding politicians DO SOMETHING, but when a decision is made they jump up and down and scream about how it will affect them.

Give me a FRICKIN BREAK!!

Swift said...

Hi Joanne. Isee you have been busy while I've been moving. Let's not keep spreading lies about Kyoto. The very same climate simulations that predict the global warming, also can predict the effects of Kyoto. The global warming that will occur in the next one hundred years if we do nothing will occur in 106 years if Kyoto is rigorously followed (good luck on that.) For Canadians the cost of Kyoto will be abut three thousand dollars for every man, woman and child each year. A lot of money for something that will make no real difference even after a hundred years.
However if we use the money to persue an effective stategy to lower global temperature, the same amount of money would be able to lower the temperature so much you could skate to the Bahamas for a vacation in one hundred years. Kyoto is a typical left wing program: spend a lot of money, but don't solve the problem.

biff said...

Contributing,

that's the key word.

Not causing, but contributing.

Given that the earth has had warming and cooling cycles since its inception, what the hell does "contributing" mean in context?

If I pour a glass of water in the ocean I'm contributing to its volume.

"Contributing" also implies it was going to happen any way.

Guaranteed, you will not see the discussion as to how much we're "contributing" to an historcally inevitable process.

You simple will not see it debated.

It's much more easy to recharacterize it and say we're "causing" it, outright.

wayward son said...

"Guaranteed, you will not see the discussion as to how much we're "contributing" to an historcally inevitable process.

You simple will not see it debated."

Are you kidding Biff? This has been discussed and debated and continues to be discussed and debated by every scientific panel, including the IPCC and Bush's panel and every scientific website that discusses climate change.

Joe Calgary said...

I smell a surtax... whats the simplest way to pay for this shit, a surtax.

Lucky us.

biff said...

I'm talking in public, the press.

Care to show me one story which doesn't imply we're "causing it"?

What about the most significant fact out there:

Mars' tempurature is also rising. Mars is the perfect control group. There are no humans there, so its cause is likely to be Solar variations (there are much studies out there on that, but the public won't hear about it).

How could Mars' tempurature be rising due to solar variation, but that same Sun not be causing an increase in the Earth's tempurature? Of course, the answer has to be the Sun's variations ARE causing an increase to the Earth (BTW this was studied and shown before the Mars phenomenah was revealed).

Try and logically get around the above. It can't be avoided, and so it is ignored.

An inconvenient truth.

wayward son said...

"Care to show me one story which doesn't imply we're "causing it"?"

We are causing 70 - 90% of it.


"What about the most significant fact out there:
Mars' tempurature is also rising."

No it is not.

"Mars is the perfect control group."

No it is not.

"There are no humans there,"

True

"so its cause is likely to be Solar variations"

No, if it were warming, then the most likely cause would be dust storms which have caused the temperature of mars to increase or decrease significantly over long periods of time. But the truth is that Mars IS NOT warming. It has actually become colder since we started temperature measurements in the 70s. Now I know someone will bring up a link talking about how there has been melting at the southern pole observed over the past 2 mars years. Localized warming over a very short period of time. The scientific temperature reading show overall cooling.

"(there are much studies out there on that, but the public won't hear about it)."

Those studies have received plenty of publicity. The problem is that even the scientists promoting solar flaring as being a contributing factor have stated that solar flares are NOT responsible for current warming and that humans are the cause.

"How could Mars' tempurature be rising due to solar variation, but that same Sun not be causing an increase in the Earth's tempurature?"

That would be a good question if it were true.

"Of course, the answer has to be the Sun's variations ARE causing an increase to the Earth (BTW this was studied and shown before the Mars phenomenah was revealed)."

There are variations - we are currently less than year past a solar MINIMUM.

"Try and logically get around the above. It can't be avoided, and so it is ignored."

I don't think that I avoided or ignored your points.

An inconvenient truth.

biff said...

Wayward,

recent studies on solar flares causing rise in earth's temperature here:

http://www.aip.org/pnu/2003/split/642-2.html

Sorry, but short dismissives won't be enought to close off debate.

Those studies linked to are serious, and reputable.

But, you won't hear about them in the press, that too is guaranteed.

Soccermom said...

Mark Holland will be attempting to extract his size 10's from his mouth momentarily on Rutherford, CHQR AM770. Go get him, Dave!

biff said...

Also:

"Two New Books Confirm Global Warming is Natural; Not Caused By Human Activity
Tue Jan 30 2007 10:02:32 ET

Two powerful new books say today’s global warming is due not to human activity but primarily to a long, moderate solar-linked cycle. Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Years, by physicist Fred Singer and economist Dennis Avery was released just before Christmas. The Chilling Stars: A New Theory of Climate Change, by Danish physicist Henrik Svensmark and former BBC science writer Nigel Calder (Icon Books), is due out in March.

Singer and Avery note that most of the earth’s recent warming occurred before 1940, and thus before much human-emitted CO2. Moreover, physical evidence shows 600 moderate warmings in the earth’s last million years. The evidence ranges from ancient Nile flood records, Chinese court documents and Roman wine grapes to modern spectral analysis of polar ice cores, deep seabed sediments, and layered cave stalagmites."

from:
http://www.drudgereport.com/flash2.htm


Ever hear about paradigm shifts?

It occurs when a widly held accepted school of thought, get overturned.

It happens all the time. This one's politically motivated, so you'll get an unusual amount of wagon circling,

but the paradigm will shift.

biff said...

Does everyone here know what a control variable is? It assists in establishing (or negating) causation.

If A and B happen at the same time (like say pollution and the rise of the earth's temperature) there's a correlation.

But the correlation is not necessarily causitive. It could be spurious or unrelated.

The major aspect of global warming has been the deduction between the rise in temperature occurring along with pollution. But there is no control variable, just the correlation.

That's why Mars increasing temp is so important. It actually can be a control

It's also why the study of solar flares is so important. The introduction of another viable theory that also correlates with the rise, casts immense doubt on the first theory, particularily when supported by a control.

It also goes to the notion that if you look at one theory only (particularily where causation cannot be proved through use of controls) that's the one that you'll prove.

Toss in heavy political influence driving one theory and you've got yourself the perfect recipe for a paradigm shift.

Joe Calgary said...

Bah... I'll be dead before the crap hits the fan anyway...

Gabby in QC said...

"Mark Holland will be attempting to extract his size 10's from his mouth momentarily on Rutherford ..."

Great image, Alberta Girl.
I hope Mark Holland receives many more invitations to shout out his invective on local radio stations, so maybe I won't have to listen to him as often during QP.

On a different note: can anyone provide a link to the complete text of the 2002 letter the Liberals have been "quoting" from to prove that the PM is a "climate change denier," as the Liberals have delicately (sarcasm) labelled him? I'd like to read the whole thing for myself, without the benefit of Liberal interpretation - or should that be invention.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

IMHO, naturally occurring global warming is a subset of climate change. Human induced global warming isn't because it's not a naturally occurring phenomenon.

Yeah, well I doubt that I'll take a comment from someone who logs in as 'anonymous' as some kind of authority.

wayward son said...

Biff,

I haven't read the study in question. But Scafetta and West never seem to have their studies peer reviewed by people in the proper field. For instance Statistical research should be peer reviewed by a statistitian not a physicist etc. I am pretty sure that realclimate.org reviewed their study and IIRC they found it very shoddy. I don't have time to look for it at the moment, but I will post a link later.

This 2006 peer reviewed article by Foukal (et al) is generally how proper scientists do it.

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v443/n7108/abs/nature05072.html

The scientist who is getting the most attention lately in regards to solar effects is Dr Sami Solanki who is director of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research. His research received a ton of media attention in the last couple months. But then again, unlike West and Scafetta, Solanki's research has stood up to rigorous scientific review.

I had figured that you would use Solanki as so many skeptics have been using his research as "proof" that humans are not causing global warming, even though Solanki himself has repeatedly said that while solar flares/sun spots etc have probably been responsible for large parts of past warming, his studies have found that it is not influencing current warming and that human activity must be responsible for almost all of the warming over the last 50 years.
http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/aug2004/2004-08-03-03.asp

Both Solanki and Foukal's research teams have shown that solar effects have not been the cause of global warming. Scafetta think that solar is a prime effect. Take your pick.

torian said...

So this is what happens when the liberals are in power for 13 years and have comprised the majority of the governments in the past:

We end up with a society that whines, "What is the government going to do about it???" as they drive their SUV's, don't recycle, use energy to the extreme, etc.

I'd like to ask the left what they actually DO to HELP the environment. How many cars do you have? Do you car pool? Do you use public transit? Walk? Bike ride? Or do you jump in the car to the corner store? Drive your kids to school because it is convienient?

Do you have the AC runninng on at full blast in the summer? Is your thermostat set at too warm temperatures? Do you run the dishwasher and washing machine at peak periods? Do you have 5 minute showers instead of full tub baths? Do you have the tv and radio on when no one is watching or listening?
Do you compost? Do you recycle? Do you re-use?

Why are we too willing to say that we are causing global warming, yet refuse to take responsibility for our actions? Instead we are ok with waiting for the government (be it liberal or conservative) to come up with a solution????

I agree with Murphy; we can't even trust them to fix a pot hole or come up with a program that is efficient. How can we trust them to do something that is this big??

It's about freakin' time we take responsibility for our actions and OWN our behaviour. Dont wait for the government to do it for you.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Great to hear from you, Swift! All settled in now?

I was following along with your comment until I hit this part, and then you lost me:

However if we use the money to persue an effective stategy to lower global temperature, the same amount of money would be able to lower the temperature so much you could skate to the Bahamas for a vacation in one hundred years.

So what are you saying there? That you know of a more effective alternative to Kyoto? I'm just trying to understand your comment. Thanks.

wayward son said...

Biff, I just knew that the books by Singer and Svensmark would come up

Fred Singer is great. He has changed his mind on climate change a couple times (There is absolutely no proof that climate change is occuring - to of course it is happening, but we are not the cause)and sold millions of books in the process. He went from being on the payroll of cigarette companies denying that cigarettes have any detrimental effects, to doing the same thing for big oil. He is a professional denialist, but when you can the kind of money he has without doing scientific work why not?

As for Svensmark, he did manage to simulate the proper results, but he didn't use real life conditions, using SO levels 5000 times more SO2 than places where clouds form will do that for you. Then having a press conference and saying that your work is being published in the Royal Society and will disprove human caused climate change when your actual study being published says nothing of the sort is a little bit dishonest, but I am sure that it increased awareness of his new book.

They talk about it here:

http://rabett.blogspot.com/2006/10/svensmark-stumbles-into-smog-chamber.html

and

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/10/taking-cosmic-rays-for-a-spin/

biff said...

Wayward,

coincidentally,

the Post actually has an article out on one of the authors today:

"Dr. Svensmark has never disputed the existence of greenhouse gases and the greenhouse effect. To the contrary, he believes that an understanding of the sun's role is needed to learn the full story, and thus determine man's role. Not only does no climate model today consider the effect of cosmic particles, but even clouds are too poorly understood to be incorporated into any serious climate model.

Because of the work of Dr. Svensmark, other agencies are now building on the Danish findings. CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Geneva, has just started a multi-phase project that begins with a rerun of the Danish experiment, only CERN will use an accelerator rather than relying on natural cosmic rays. This multinational project will provide scientists with a permanent facility for studying effects of cosmic rays and charged particles in the Earth's atmosphere."

A whole European program starting up on it.

the rest is here:

http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/story.html?id=fee9a01f-3627-4b01-9222-bf60aa332f1f&k=0

biff said...

Joan,

as for the costs to Candians,

how much would we be willing to pay if Candians were aware of this math:

20% reduction in emission (catastrophic result to economy)

multiplied by our percentage share of emissions 2%

equals less than half of one percent change.

Add in China's growth and our effect is nil.

Huge costs to Canadians for no effect whatsoever. The stark math makes the debate almost silly, doesn't it.

wayward son said...

"the Post actually has an article out on one of the authors today:"

Yes I read that article when it orignally appeared. In fact I read all of the articles on climate in the Post. Certainly, with the post anyways, you can say that skepticism gets at least as many columns as the scientific consensus.

Of course it could be worse. Canada Free Press seems to exclusively print skepitcal stories.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Gabby - I'd like to read the whole thing for myself, without the benefit of Liberal interpretation - or should that be invention. I second that.

Biff, thanks for the analysis. I agree. I think Kyoto is some kind of feel-good plan to relieve our collective angst.

PGP said...

Jo...your getting to be sooooo good!
Cheers!
I'm going out right now to empty my bank accounts and send all the money to the socialists!

Uhhuh! ;)

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Jo...your getting to be sooooo good!

Aaaah, thanks! I'm blushing.

I'm going out right now to empty my bank accounts and send all the money to the socialists!

Not me. I'm going to drink beer in recycled bottles. Lots of beer. Carpe diem!

Swift said...

Joanne, we know that the amount of radiaation from the sun reaching the earth's surface has a strong effect on the temperature of the earth. The current theory of the cause of the interglacial periods is the different amount of sunlight that the earth receives because of the way it revolves around the sun. The warmest times are when the northern hemisphere gets the most sunlight in the summer and the southern hemisphere the most sunlight in the winter.
The total amount of sunlight the earth receives also varies with time. Surpisingly the total amount of sunlight has a lesser effect than how the extra light is distributed. In fact there are four different periodic warming trends of varying strengths, each with different time periods between their maximums.
We also know that cutting off some of the sunlight high in the atmosphere lowers temperature. Mother nature has demonstated this for us when there is a large enough volcanic eruption to send a lot of dust high into the atmosphere. This dust takes many months to come bak to earth and during that time, the average global temperature drops significantly.
So all we have to do is prevent some sunlight reaching the earth, and the temperature will drop. There are two general ways of doing this. One is blocking the sunlight high in the atmosphere with man made dust or by some other means. The second is by blocking the sunlight in space. Both are possible, both will cost MUCH LESS than some super kyoto that reduces CO2 emmissions enough to make a real difference. In fact both may cost less than kyoto itself.
If you reduce the sunlight, the effect on the earth's climate is just the same as moving the earth further from the sun. Move the earth far enough from the sun and the temperature will drop enough to freeze the oceans solid, no matter what the CO2 levels are. The problem with doing something that really works is that you better be damned sure that we do have a problem with global warming before we go ahead and do it!
You will notice that all the climate models are tested by their accuracy in simulating the climate change in the last century. Nobody tests them against other times when the ratio of the CO2 levels to temperature were different, sometimes radically different. No real scientist would claim that his model was an accurate model of climate until he had tested it against all known observations. It would be like predicting the behaviour of water solely from how it behaves between 10 and 20 degrees celsius. You would get a couple of big surprises when you raised the temperature below zero or above one hundred. Water behaves very differently in those temperature ranges.
Even if the CO2 is causing global warming theory is correct, the predictions of the models cannot be trusted at all until they are tested against all known temperature CO2 ratios. Only then can we start to do something that will really be effective about climate change. By the way, for Canada and most of the rest of the world, a new ice age will be far more devastating than the melting of the ice caps. Stopping the next ice age is the real challenge that the human race faces. And yes it can be done.

Swift said...

I'm settled in if you mean that everything is in the house. If you mean is everything unpacked and put away, the answer is a definate NO! But there is a fire in the fireplace, the fish have been fed and Iv'e managed to scrounge something for my own stomach. You have not let me know if you solved the little puzzle I sent you by email.

Anonymous said...

Joanne..I've skimmed the comments.I don't think anyone answered your question:
Anthropogenic
anthro..human(think anthropolgy)
genic...causes
So no one is disputing climate change. What is obviously difficult to conclude: Are humans totally to blame for climate change?

anon#31

Anonymous said...

Climate change is a great opportunity for politicians to exert more control over people.

Cherniak_WTF said...

I see Biff is spewing the same garbage here than at Red Tory's place...
with different results...

Biff, this is preaching to the Cons here - did you need some audience that would swallow your load here and not rightly refute you?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

This is Biff's refuge.

Neo Conservative said...

*
"Save us... oh wise and wonderful CTV"

Apparently polling is a lot like herding sheep.

The question here isn't, "Do you believe in Global Warming", because, of course... only an idiot doesn't get it... but, "When did you become convinced global warming is caused by human activity?"

*

biff said...

biff doesn't need refuge,

if got razor sharp wits,

stunning good looks,

and the pipes, well, better watch out for the pipes cuz they'll getcha.

And Cherniak's assessment on the other sites, is, well, very Cherniakesque.

biff said...

but the spelling.....not so much....

biff said...

I think Cherniak may be reeling from this report,

which just trashed the recent UN global warming report.

Read it, oh yes read it all, in all its splendor and might (cue the imperial theme music)
ht SDA

http://tinyurl.com/3aq2cr

vicki said...

"Officially Screwed" has some great Saturday reading also Joanne...you might want to add him to your links.
CWTF already spewed out the usual(at DBT) after reading SDA...at least he checked it out.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Sorry, Biff. I wasn't trying to demasculate you.. I'm sure you're quite capable of defending yourself.

;)

Vicki, thanks for the tip!