When it comes to climate
change, there is so much bull floating around the media and Internet, that it is impossible to form an unbiased opinion without doing an inordinate amount of research. Few people have the time or inclination for that.
Most will form opinions from the first article or headline they see and only modify that opinion
when something more sensational, or reassuring, comes along. The public, in spite of being normally intelligent, can also be immensely gullible. Increasing experience with
age does not seem to lessen the tendency, perhaps because many become increasingly pessimistic as they age.
Most of us tend to take the printed word at face value if the publication has any semblance of credibility.
Schoolbooks are seldom questioned. The Bible or Koran are often quoted as the final authority. Some will even believe some of the stories in British tabloids. Urban legends
Radio and television
achieve a similar undeserved credibility, even when some stories are obviously run for their sensational value. Their goal is not the truth but rather to attract an audience and advertising dollars.
The above is my personal opinion, formed through
observation, and is not backed by any scientific studies or experiment. Take it as you will. Now try to find that qualification to any other opinion published.
The following is also largely my opinion, but it is backed
by extensive research on the web. Throughout my research, I have tried to identify doubtful assumptions that are presented as fact. Much of what is published is riddled with
obviously unsupported assumption. Often, I have not finished reading an article because of too many unsupported statements presented
as fact, and undermining its credibility.
This quote “trying to solve the world’s biggest problem”, a reference to global warming, was
taken from a piece by Michael Specter
and published in the New York Times. Try telling a family fleeing war or genocide, a badly malnourished third-world infant, or a Beijing resident wearing a face mask against particulate pollution that there are bigger or more immediate problems in the world
I am going to start with the accused arch villain, carbon dioxide. The assumption, CO2 is
the cause of global warming. I am sure heads are nodding, after all it is science.
Well, physics and chemistry experimentally and otherwise indicate that CO2 can have a greenhouse effect and cause warming. There is also evidence, through correlation from proxy data, that it has been a factor in past warming events.
Notice the inconsistency. There is evidence that CO2 can cause warming but only speculation that it does. There is a correlation of CO2 rise with past warming, but no certainty of cause and effect. In fact, there is considerable to indicate that CO2
rise followed warming rather than preceded it.
Then there are the uncertainties of climate sensitivity to CO2 and of possible limits to the effect.
Most of the blame seems to fall on CO2 because no one can identify or quantify, any other single cause, or combination thereof. Not
very scientific conclusions.
A thinking person, however, would say that, since it is possible that our villain could do it, and there is some current correlation,
it is likely to be at least partly responsible for current warming. Hardly enough evidence to recommend the death penalty, though.
Then there is the matter of carbon dioxide increases being caused by mankind. Well, of course, since mankind is inherently sinful, it follows that any potentially harmful consequences must be our fault. (Hopefully, my readers recognize sarcasm.)
Seriously, I think there is enough evidence (correlation to industrialism, carbon signatures) to conclude that much of the CO2 increase
is due to human activity, but there are other possible culprits, such as a warming climate in itself, or volcanic activity.
Volcanism is often used, by the anti-anthropogenic side, as an alternative explanation for increasing atmospheric CO2
concentrations. I don’t think their arguments hold water. I am not aware of any spikes in the CO2 record coinciding with volcanic eruptions, although a spike was noticeable during El Nino warming. I also cannot find any evidence of any long-term increase in volcanic activity. The opposite may be true. At the same time, I find that the many
scientists, (while discounting the possibility today) often use volcanic action as a probable source of CO2 rise in the past.
My research seems to indicate that most assumptions of a volcanic contribution
of 200 million tons annually, may be just that, outdated assumptions and wildly underestimated. That, nevertheless, is irrelevant, except
in calculations of the planets ability to absorb increased CO2 .
to the questions, is the CO2 rise, or the warming, significant.
The CO2 rise in the 20th century was about 100 parts per million or about .01% (1/10,000) of the earth's atmosphere. Faster increases seem apparent in recent years. The temperature rise in the same
period was between .6 and .8 degrees Celsius. It is questionable if there has been any further rise in the last 15 to 20 years. There
may be a breakdown of the CO2 to temperature correlation.
I am not sure the instruments used to collect data
for that 100 years were reliably able to record differences to that small a degree, or if
they could be adjusted accurately for local environment changes. Errors could, of course, be either way.
Since about 1980 we have had satellite measurements which are likely more dependable. They do indicate a warming climate but at slower rates than generally published. They correlate
well with radiosonde (balloon) measurements.
Of course, a natural warming probably should be expected over the long periods of interglacials, but is CO2 rise causing a significant increase in the rate of warming?
This is a quote from Naomi Oreskes “but the answer that you get from college-level physics -- more CO2 means a hotter planet -- has turned out to be correct.” (Notice that she is careful not to use the word caused.)
is difficult to argue with, but change the wording just slightly “but the answer that you get from college-level physics
-- a hotter planet means more CO2 -- has turned out to be correct” and you have an equally valid statement, with a totally different inference. (Highlighted area altered by me.)
The use of the word "hotter" is likely used to infer
danger. Every child has been told "don't touch -- HOT." The world has actually gone from a temperature of about 286 degrees Kelvin to about 286.85 K in recent history. A rather insignificant change, when described in a different way. Of course,
the words, a slightly warmer planet, would not have the same impact.
The above is just one example of a totally correct statement not necessarily conveying the truth.
I will leave it up to you to decide where the truth lies, or at least to decide what you want
to believe for now.
current and expected future increases, in the frequency and severity of extreme weather
incidents, is constantly parroted by the media, If you actually look at records available, some seem to indicate a decrease in extreme weather incidents. Some studies show nothing unusual at all. ( With the possible exception of precipitation events.) That would seem to be consistent with some of the physics of a warmer climate. Many scientists seem to feel
that we can expect less extreme events but they may be of greater severity. Sorting out just what that means, is liable to cause a headache.
Most of the evidence seems to be anecdotal. People always seem to find the weather unusual. The inference is, if I have never seen this weather before, then it must never have occurred before. It is easy to convince people that they are seeing weird
Media and alarmists
like to point out new record occurrences as proof of climate change.
Let’s consider records for a bit. An athlete sets a new Olympic record for high jump. That is a real record that is easily verified
against existing records and is relative to a specific venue and time period.
A man lives to be 150 years old. That may be a record, but we cannot be sure
since we do not know the age at which every man, who has ever lived, died. We could not even know if that was a record for New York City since we cannot know if every man who ever died in that city was recorded. It could be a record for the hospital he died in if you could verify his birth date.
If I want a record rainfall, all I would likely have to do is choose my location, since almost any rain will create a record at
some place over some time period. If that doesn’t work, I could just adjust the data through some pretense or other. Finally, I could just say it was a record, because it seemed like an awful lot, and nobody
has proof to the contrary. It is easy to classify almost anything as unusual when no normal has been established.
It is just as ridiculous to state that an extended cool period of a decade or two is proof that climate change, or more specifically global warming, is not occurring.
Now let’s consider the 97%, consensus. That is easy to get. Just pick the right question.
What does this mean, “With 95% certainty” or “with medium confidence?”
When did we decide there were degrees of uncertainty. That can only apply to
prediction or a poker game. A fact is either a fact or not, an unsupported assumption does not qualify. Can I be 95% dead?
Since you can only be right, wrong or uncertain, then you must mean you are uncertain. You are not absolved, of the necessity of proving or disproving
your premise, or at least examining further evidence, for or against, as it becomes available.
Medium confidence can only mean, no confidence at all. You cannot
blame me for discounting completely, any statement thus described.
It seems obvious to me that some individuals and groups from, both sides of this argument,
are trying to baffle us with bullshit. Trying to sort it all out is like trying to canoe
up the proverbial crick without a paddle.
The worst statement of all is, “the science is settled.” That is almost the same as saying “you
can’t prove I am not right.” That puts us in the realm of religion and about as unscientific and unreasonable as you can get.
Of course, almost none of this
has any real relevance at all. Our only real concern is with the present, the near future and perhaps the next few hundred years. That calls for a degree of prediction, unscientific, filled with the unforeseen, and rarely accurate.
The real questions.
it get warmer and for how long?
Will it warm rapidly enough to be dangerous, and to who and what?
Could a warmer climate be an advantage, and to who and what?
Will it be possible to stop or delay warming?
In attempting to prevent climate change, is it possible we could do more harm?
Will the cost of attempting climate remediation be more than we can afford in wealth and lives?
Will the remediation of climate even prove possible?
Is there a concerted attempt to frighten us into accepting policies put in place to fulfill some other agenda?
Is this simply a way to distract us from the recent obvious failures of the worlds governments and their supported organizations?
really possible to even know what is going on?
How much of the concern is generated simply by our inherent fear of the unknown?
Please get back to me with your answers or with
more relevant questions. Perhaps we will consider some possible answers in future posts.