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Feb. 2nd, 2005 @ 03:42 am Review of last week: It's happening faster than we think
Climate change is happening faster than we think and the deadline before serious irreversible damage is only around the corner is the resounding message from last week's press. This is a big post, but do take the time to read it, it covers many different and important stories.

The major event was the release of a new report last Tuesday. "Meeting the Climate Challenge" is a high-level report published by the International Climate Change Taskforce - Centre for American Progress, the Institute for Public Policy Research in Britain, and The Australia Institute. It's different from many other reports in that it was put together by all sectors - senior politicians, academics and businessmen. This needs to be emphasised - the former transport secretary Stephen Byers (staunch Blairite, hardly a left-winger) co-chaired the task force that produced the report along with US Republican Senator Olympia Snowe (complemented by other Republicans and Democrats). "There is an ecological timebomb ticking away," said Stephen Byers.

The report indicates that in as as little as 10 years, the point of no return with global warming may have been reached. It breaks new ground by putting a figure on the point at which the world will be irreversibly exposed to disastrous climatic changes such as widespread agricultural failure, water shortages and major droughts, increased disease, and dangerous sea-level rise. It also assesses the possibility of abrupt catastrophic events such as "runaway" global warming, the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, or the switching-off of the Gulf Stream.

This is a class of document that normally is the precursor to a policy making stage. The has been covered conclusively in most of the press, but the Independent broke the story and was the first to get a look in their front page article entitled "Countdown to Catastrophe":

"The global warming danger threshold for the world is clearly marked for the first time in an international report to be published tomorrow - and the bad news is, the world has nearly reached it already. The countdown to climate-change catastrophe is spelt out by a task force of senior politicians, business leaders and academics from around the world - and it is remarkably brief. In as little as 10 years, or even less, their report indicates, the point of no return with global warming may have been reached."

"The report, Meeting The Climate Challenge, is aimed at policymakers in every country, from national leaders down. It has been timed to coincide with Tony Blair's promised efforts to advance climate change policy in 2005 as chairman of both the G8 group of rich countries and the European Union. "

The full report can be downloaded here.

climateprediction.net: First results state 2C-11C net for this century

The other major report was published in Nature and is from the climateprediction.net distributed model project - the largest ever climate change experiment, producing the first hard data that climate change is happening at a much faster rate than we thought was likely before. The project is a collaboration of experts at Oxford and Reading universities, The Open University, London School of Economics, Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, and Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

It widened the net considerably on the levels of possible temperature within this century, levelling it as between 2 and 11C. This is twice the maximum set by the IPCC in 2001 - and remember that the EU believe that 2C is the level that dangerous and catastrophic change will begin to occur.

"When we started out we didn't expect anything like this," said Oxford University's David Stainforth, chief scientist for climateprediction.net. "An 11C-warmed world would be a dramatically different world... There would be large areas at higher latitudes that could be up to 20C warmer than today. The UK would be at the high end of these changes. It is possible that even present levels of greenhouse gases maintained for long periods may lead to dangerous climate change... When you start to look at these temperatures, I get very worried indeed."

Professor Bob Spicer, of the Open University, said average global temperature rises of 11C are unprecedented in the long geological record of the Earth. "If we go back to the Cretaceous, which is 100 million years ago, the best estimates of the global mean temperature was about 6C higher than present," Professor Spicer said. "So 11C is quite substantial and if this is right we would be going into a realm that we really don't have much evidence for even in the rock [geological] record."

95,000 people from 150 countries currently donate their time to the climateprediction.net project - you can too by downloading the screen saver.

The amount of press coverage this received was tremendous, and a few outside the regular loop: [BBC] [Belfast Telegraph] [The Australian] as well as having a noticeable page filling "11 degrees" headline across the UK national free daily "Metro".

Scientists feeling agitated by future

The mood amongst scientists is becoming increasingly depressive in general - or "terrified" may be a better description. John Lawton, head of the Natural Environment Research Council stated in the Observer* last Sunday:
"My youngest grandson, Jonah, was born two years ago," he said the week before, "He is a real delight but his future, in a world heading towards massive climatic change, I have become extremely worried about. In fact, I am terrified."

Polar bears possibly extinct from 2026

..according to a new WWF report. It also ties the 2 degree point being hit anywhere between 2026 and 2060. As stated in December, the Hadley Centre (one of the most respected groups for climate prediction) states that by 2060 a 3.5C rise in temperature is the most likely scenario.


First day of UK-based International Conference on Climate Change

The British government today (Tuesday) opened a three-day international conference on climate change - "insisting that countries can cut carbon emissions without affecting economic growth." [Associated Press] [Guardian] More on this in forthcoming days.

Last week the climate change-deniers held a counter-conference, because of course climate change is "an anti-capitalist agenda, a Machiavellian political plot and a convenient rumour started by bungling Japanese pineapple farmers" apparently. It took place at the Royal Institution in London, and was organised by a British group, the Scientific Alliance, which has links to US oil company ExxonMobil through a collaboration with a US institute. It was probably attended by lots of...

Oil firms fund climate change deniers

...these people.

Bob May, president of the Royal Society, says that "a lobby of professional sceptics who opposed action to tackle climate change" is turning its attention to Britain because of its high profile in the debate.

Last month the Scientific Alliance published a joint report with the George C Marshall Institute in Washington that claimed to "undermine" climate change claims. The Marshall institute received £51,000 from ExxonMobil for its "global climate change programme" in 2003 and an undisclosed sum this month.



Prescott builds poor housing and risks wrecking climate change targets

The mid-century CO2 targets may well be unreachable due to inefficient poor housing developments being actioned by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott. Which is in addition to...

Developers to build on flood plains in UK

We know, the Environmental Protection Agency knows, the insurance companies know (and are saying it's likely they'll refuse to insure them), but they just won't be told...


UK to tax 4x4s (SUVs) and use the money to provide grants to cleaner cars

From the Independent...

"The plan is being floated at a senior level in the Government as part of discussions over introducing tougher measures to cut carbon dioxide emissions and pollution from the UK's growing number of cars, vans and lorries.

It would involve setting a dividing line for the payment of duties and rebates, perhaps at about 185 grams per kilometre. Cars with emissions above 185g per km would be charged a levy based on a sliding scale. The higher the CO2 emissions, the higher the charge.

Cars under 185g per km would attract grants, again based on a sliding scale, which would give higher subsidies for the lowest emissions."


A shame the US isn't making a similar move where's SUVs are an epidemic, however...

Ford u-turn on recall of electric pick-up truck in US

But is still however the worst polluter of "US big six" car companies.

"Ford Motors has announced this week it is to make a dramatic u-turn on its widely unpopular decision to repossess and destroy all the last of its zero emissions Ranger electric vehicles (EVs)." [more]


US: Head of NASA's Goddard Institute speaks out

James E. Hansen who heads NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York has hit out in the Washington Post at the control the current Bush administration has over science which has been used to silence climatologists who try to speak out about the threats posed by climate change.

"In my more than three decades in government, I have never seen anything approaching the degree to which information flow from scientists to the public has been screened and controlled as it has now," Hansen said.

"As the evidence gathers, you would hope they would be flexible," Hansen said in the slow, measured tones he has retained from his years growing up on an Iowa farm. "We have to deal with this. You can't ignore it."


The reporter adds: "After the barrage of criticism, John H. Marburger III, Bush's top science adviser, told Science magazine that if the researchers continue their protests, they might alienate influential lawmakers who set federal science budgets."


RealClimate, by Real Scientists

A blog-like web site has been set up by several climatologists who were rather miffed by the mis-understandings in the media around several issues. It has received acclaim from Nature amongst other sources, and from reading is an absolutely a must-read for anybody who likes to get into the real nitty gritty of the science. It adopts the traditional science mantra of ignoring the politics around climate change (which is, for example, what I focus upon) and concentrates on simply providing the facts and clearing the myths.

www.realclimate.org


===============

* (note that the Observer article has a mistake, when it states that a 3-4C rise by 2010 is more likely, it obviously means by 2060, by 2010 is impossible)
About this Entry
climatechange:
From:therussianenemy
Date:February 16th, 2005 11:04 am (UTC)
(Permanent Link)
I searched and found this journal. Here is why.

Quite recently the Kyoto Treaty has been signed, and I have a new-found interest in Global Warming. I wrote an entry about it in my journal, I would be interested in hearing your response. I don't pretend to know a lot about it, but from what I do know, I created a stand-point. Hopefully, you won't find it too pathetic.

Thank you,

Lydia.
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From:moral_america
Date:March 9th, 2005 06:29 pm (UTC)

Global warming

(Permanent Link)
98% of total global greenhouse gas emissions are natural (mostly water vapor); only 2% are from man-made sources.


Larger quantities of CO2 in the atmosphere and warmer climates would likely lead to an increase in vegetation. During warm periods in history vegetation flourished, at one point allowing the Vikings to farm in now frozen Greenland.

Over 17,000 scientists have signed a petition saying, in part, "there is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate."
The petition is being circulated by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, an independent research organization that receives no funding from industry. Among the signers of the petition are over 2,100 physicists, geophysicists, climatologists, meteorologists, and environmental scientists who are especially well-qualified to evaluate the effects of carbon dioxide on the Earth's atmosphere. Another 4,400 signers are scientists qualified to comment on carbon dioxide's effects on plant and animal life. Nearly all of the signers have some sort of advanced technical training.
The qualifications of the signers of the Oregon Institute Petition are dramatically better than the 2,600 "scientists" who have signed a competing petition calling for immediate action to counter global warming. More than 90 percent of that petition's signers lacked credentials to speak with authority on the issue. The entire list included just one climatologist.

Satellite data indicate a slight cooling in the climate in the last 18 years. These satellites use advanced technology and are not subject to the "heat island" effect around major cities that alters ground-based thermometers.

Global warming alarmists point to surface-based temperature measurements showing 1997 was the warmest year on record. But U.S. government satellites and weather balloons rank 1997 as the seventh coolest year since satellite measurements began in 1978. Which record is more reliable?

Surface-based temperature records are too few in number and too unevenly spaced to generate accurate global temperature maps. Only 30 percent of the world's surface is land, so land-based temperature stations measure less than one-third of the Earth's climate. Urban stations, which are influenced by city heat anomalies, are over-represented; deserts, mountains, and forests are under-represented.

The global temperature record produced from satellite data has none of the problems faced by surface-based thermometers. Orbiting satellites cover 99 percent of the Earth's surface, not less than a third, and measure a layer of the troposphere that is above the effects of urban heat islands.

Satellite measurements are accurate to within 0.001 C. Because new satellites are launched into orbit by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) before old ones are retired, overlapping data sets are created, ensuring that the new satellites are calibrated correctly.

According to Dr. Roy Spencer, meteorologist and team leader of the NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center, "The temperatures we measure from space are actually on a very slight downward trend since 1979 . . . the trend is about 0.05 C per decade cooling."

The latest research suggests that sea levels would decline, not rise, if temperatures rise, due to increased evaporation from the oceans and subsequent precipitation over land. Increasing polar temperatures by a few degrees would not cause ice or snow to melt because the original temperatures are so low that an increase of a few degrees would leave them well below freezing.



The hoax of global warming needs to stop. If we allow the liberals to do things like sign the Kyoto Treaty, we will definitely have a crisis. The crisis would be that the U.S. would be forced into submission to other countries that have and will continue to betray us.

http://www.heartland.org/archives/studies/ieguide.htm

http://www.globalwarming.org/resources.htm
From:robhu
Date:March 9th, 2005 08:35 pm (UTC)

Re: Global warming

(Permanent Link)
Are you trolling, or are you really that stupid?
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From:climatechange
Date:March 10th, 2005 12:11 am (UTC)

Re: Global warming

(Permanent Link)
Hello,

This article is factually misleading, but it allows for mistakes to be addressed. Let me explain why this article is garbage.

> 98% of total global greenhouse gas emissions are natural (mostly water
>vapor); only 2% are from man-made sources.


The latest figure I could find is actually 4.5%, but that's not the issue. The issue is the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. The Earth's natural cycle of carbon exchange kept the amount fluctuating between 180 and 280 parts per million, for 420,000 years. Since the industrial revolution in 1750 this has increased dramatically, and this year it stands at 379ppm - that's a major increase in a very short period of time. We're the ones responsible for it.

Greenhouse gases act as a blanket, trapping heat close to the Earth rather than being emitted into space. Such a drastic rise in CO2 is causing the world to warm.

> Larger quantities of CO2 in the atmosphere and warmer climates would
> likely lead to an increase in vegetation.


It already is doing, much of the extra carbon we produce is being absorbed by plant-life. This is not a good thing in the big picture - there will be a point when no further capacity can be reached, which means we are not seeing the full effects of the amount of CO2 released into the air. In other words, vegetation has kept the level rising more than the 379ppm it is today. More importantly, it's building up even larger stores of "carbon
sinks" - trees and plantlife release the carbon they absorbed during their
lifetime when they decay or are burned. It means that much of the absorbed
carbon could be released in a very short space of time if we get a change
in rain patterns resulting in forest die-back.

> During warm periods in history vegetation flourished, at one point
> allowing the Vikings to farm in now frozen Greenland.


The citizens of Greenland can still farm in Greenland today. More information is available from their tourist board here. It does look very pretty.

> Over 17,000 scientists have signed a petition saying, in part, "there > is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon
> dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the
> foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere
> and disruption of the Earth's climate." The petition is being circulated
> by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, an independent
> research organization that receives no funding from industry.


The OISM has a total of one paid staff member, and much of his funds come from writing conspiracy theory books and home schooling kits for "parents concerned about socialism in the public schools". You can find a full profile of this "institution" from the PR Watch website.

Not to mention their attempts at sending out "unpublished" papers in the format of Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences in an attempt to give the impression they had been peer reviewed, which is in itself outright fraud.

The petition was bogus. Indeed, your article itself qualifies this:

> More than 90 percent of that petition's signers lacked credentials
> to speak with authority on the issue. The entire list included just
> one climatologist.


> Satellite data indicate a slight cooling in the climate in the
> last 18 years. These satellites use advanced technology and are not
> subject to the "heat island" effect around major cities that alters
> ground-based thermometers.


The "heat island" effect has been ruled out long ago by climatologists. If it was an issue, then the temperature readings would change with the direction of the wind. They do not. Modern models are fully able to compensate for any possible issue.

(see part 2)
[User Picture Icon]
From:moral_america
Date:March 11th, 2005 08:56 am (UTC)

Re: Global warming

(Permanent Link)
The change in green house gasses is so small and insignificant that it can't cause global warming. The thing that the enviro nuts don't tell you is that green house gasses reflect heat. The gasses end up reflecting as much heat as they hold in.

Carbon is not bad, all life forms are made of carbon. If forests were to die back as a result of changing rain patterns they would simply leave more carbon in the ground and it wouldn't hurt anyone.

Environmentalist groups have often twisted facts to scare people into supporting them. They often mislead people into believing that the world is coming to an end when it is actually getting better. From The Skeptical Environmentalist, by Bjorn Lomborg, "…The Worldwatch Institute has claimed that the world's forests have 'declined significantly' in recent decades. In fact, the longest data series, gathered by a United Nations agency, shows that global forest cover grew between 1950 and 1994. In particular, the institute noted, Canada is loosing 200,000 hectares of forest a year." On checking the quoted source, Mr. Lomborg finds that Canada's forests grew by 174,000 hectares a year.

"In ten years all important animal life in the sea will be extinct. Large areas of coastline will have to be evacuated because of the stench of dead fish." Paul Ehrlich, Earth Day 1970

"In a decade, America's mighty rivers will have reached the boiling point." Edwin Newman, Earth Day 1970

“Greenpeace Advert Condemned by the RCC”(1998) – The Dutch RCC, the committee for advertising ethics, passed a judgment condemning and criticizing Greenpeace for “too categorical and therefore misleading” advertising aimed at soft rubber toys.

Advertising Campaign by Environmentalist Group is Blocked in the Netherlands (1997) - The Netherlands affiliate of the World Wildlife Fund undertook a fund raising campaign on Dutch television, broadcasting a commercial intended to scare people about species demise (below). Acting on a complaint by the Heidelberg Appeal Foundation-Netherlands (HAN), the Netherlands Commercial Code Commission recently ruled that the WWF advertisement is misleading and can no longer be broadcast in its present form. HAN complained that WWF's fund raising commercials are not a charity under Dutch law but a commercial operation subject to the commercial advertising code.

"Every twenty minutes a species disappears–forever. Only man can prevent this. WWF Become a donor."

Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth caught being “Charitable with the Truth” (1995) - Greenpeace was condemned by the Advertising Standards Authority of the U.K. after running an advertisement that declared chemicals being dumped off of the Brent Spar oil platform were directly responsible for the shrinking of male sex organs in the area. Greenpeace later admitted that the statement was exaggerated as it was based upon false facts.

Extremist groups like greenpeace are continuing to lie to people around the world because they cannot produce any real scientific facts to proe that anything is wrong with the environment.

As for you comments about ground based thermometers: Only 30% of the earth is land, which means that those thermometers are only measuring 30% of the temperature of the earth. The satellites are measuring all of the earth as a whole and are finding that the earth is getting cooler.
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From:moral_america
Date:March 11th, 2005 09:34 am (UTC)

Re: Global warming

(Permanent Link)
A Gallup survey indicated that only 17% of the members of the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Society thought the warming of the 20th century was the result of an increase in greenhouse gas emissions.
[User Picture Icon]
From:climatechange
Date:March 10th, 2005 12:16 am (UTC)

Re: Global warming

(Permanent Link)
(part two)

> Global warming alarmists point to surface-based temperature
> measurements showing 1997 was the warmest year on record. But U.S.
> government satellites and weather balloons rank 1997 as the seventh
> coolest year since satellite measurements began in 1978. Which record is
> more reliable?


I could answer this, but I prefer to use one that has been better phrased by others:

"Recent studies (most notably a study by the National Academy of Sciences
published in 2000) found, however, that satellite data needed to be
adjusted for some measurement and calibration problems. These adjustments
bring surface and satellite records into better agreement, both showing
a warming trend. It is important to note that many surface temperature
records date back to 1860, while satellite records only date back to
1979. With such a short data record, observed trends can be strongly
affected by extreme conditions -- such as the 1991 eruption of
Mt. Pinatubo which decreased atmospheric temperatures for several years.
In addition, satellite and surface data differ in what they record:
surface thermometers measure the air temperature at the Earth's surface,
while satellite data take temperatures of different slices of the
atmosphere. Including records for the upper atmosphere -- where the
depletion of the ozone layer has had a cooling effect -- will lower
the overall temperature trends observed from satellites"
(Union of Concerned Scientists USA)

> According to Dr. Roy Spencer, meteorologist and team leader of
> the NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center, "The temperatures we measure
> from space are actually on a very slight downward trend since 1979 . . .
> the trend is about 0.05 C per decade cooling."


Spencer is in a continually shrinking minority of scientists that believes warming will will be at the lesser end of the scale and doesn't like Kyoto, but even he would say you're taking it out of context: "The Earth has indeed warmed in the past 100 years by about 1 degree Fahrenheit" he wrote last month for USA Today.

> The latest research suggests that sea levels would decline, not rise,
> if temperatures rise, due to increased evaporation from the oceans


The City of London is planning to invest in a new flood defence as they predict that if they don't, there's a good change that 1.2million homes could be flooding in the next century, from rising sea levels. This would be completely irrational on the part of one of the world's largest cities if it believed the above statement to be true.
(The Times, part of the Rupert Murdoch "Fox" empire)

And if the Greenland ice sheet did melt completely, that would be a seven meter rise (a href="http://www.metoffice.com/research/hadleycentre/pubs/brochures/">Hadley Centre</a> - one of the world's most respected independent climate institutes).

(see part three)
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From:moral_america
Date:March 11th, 2005 09:21 am (UTC)

Re: Global warming

(Permanent Link)
The article you referred to when addressing temperature data is obviously an attempt to mislead people. They said, "...Including records for the upper atmosphere -- where the depletion of the ozone layer has had a cooling effect -- will lower the overall temperature trends observed from satellites" The ozone layer is not being depleted. The ozone hole has been over the arctic circle for thousands of years. The cold temperatures are causing that whole and as for the rest of the earth, nothing is wrong with the ozone. The satellite readings are taking note of the overall temperatures and not just 30% of them(land based thermometers are indeed limited data).

You said, "but even he would say you're taking it out of context." That is a rhetorical fallacy and I suggest you stop.

The City of London is planning to invest in a new flood defense as they predict that if they don't, there's a good change that 1.2million homes could be flooding in the next century, from rising sea levels. This is proof that environmentalists need to be set straight before they bring financial ruin on the world simply because they can't get their facts right.

The reason most other countries have accepted kyoto is because they don't have anything to lose. The United States would be financially ruined if they signed the kyoto treaty and that is why we have invested in researching the facts before we go on a bandwagon appeal.
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From:climatechange
Date:March 10th, 2005 12:16 am (UTC)

Re: Global warming

(Permanent Link)
(part three)

> The hoax of global warming needs to stop. If we allow the liberals to
> do things like sign the Kyoto Treaty, we will definitely have a crisis.
> The crisis would be that the U.S. would be forced into submission to
> other countries that have and will continue to betray us.


Climate change is not a hoax. The US stands as the only nation where it's conservative party does not accept the science. In the United Kingdom, all parties accept it as fact. That Israel and Saudi Arabia governments have in common that they both accept the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's findings as fact is testament to the solidity of the science. Even the single other major country which has stayed out of Kyoto, Australia, believes climate change to be a serious issue and is looking to potentially be a part in the "Kyoto Mk II" post-2012 process.

This is an issue so serious that it transcends political boundaries.

> http://www.globalwarming.org/resources.htm

Oh, this site is run by the "Cooler Heads Coalition", who received $45,000 from ExxonMobil (Esso) since 1998, which is the world's strongest lobbier against taking action against climate change. It's about as worthwhile for sound independent scientific evidence as Walmart is for K-mart baked beans.

From looking at your own blog I realise that you may have firmly set opinions on many things, but I do hope you can approach the issue of climate change with an open mind, as a subject to learn more about.