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Posts Tagged ‘Global Warming’

Here is a site with some batshit statements and no foundation:

“Another Climate Alarmist Admits Real Motive Behind Warming Scare,” reads the headline in Investor’s Business Daily.

When it comes to man-made global warming, scientists, politicians and activists say “their concern is only about caring for our planet and its inhabitants,” says this editorial . “This is simply not true.”

If they were honest, the climate alarmists “would acknowledge that they are instead consumed with the goal of holding down capitalism and establishing a global welfare state.”

— Ice Age Now

Blaming the U.N. for a global redistribution conspiracy is definitely conspiracy theory stuff of the First Kind. I don’t have much love for the U.N. and if it were me, I’d cut off United States funding too, which would starve it out. But I don’t think it has the slightest thing to do with the global warming controversy. It’s too dysfunctional to make anything this consequential happen.

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In December of 2012, right after the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull erupted, I published a post here commenting about people posting nonsense about volcanos and anthropogenic global warming. At the time I said:

The amount of misinformation spewed on the American public, driven by purposeful and targeted campaigns to dumb us down, is alarming.

This seems to be a pattern on Facebook, as I came across this picture in my feed on January 2. I have redacted the name of the poster and recipient, since those are not relevant to my argument.

Mt. Etna on Facebook

This poster obviously argued that “one minor eruption on Dec 3, 2015, pumped 10,000 times as much CO2 into the air as all of mankind has ever produced. He then insulted 97% of all climate scientists in the world by telling them to “get over it” and calling them “panic merchants.”

When I didn’t know what volcano he was talking about, I asked for more details. When the poster never responded, I did a 15 second Google search and realized he must have talked about the Mt. Etna eruption on December 3rd. There is plenty of documentation about that eruption, and another 30 seconds later I had the facts I needed.

Gas studies at volcanoes worldwide have helped volcanologists tally up a global volcanic CO2 budget in the same way that nations around the globe have cooperated to determine how much CO2 is released by human activity through the burning of fossil fuels. Our studies show that globally, volcanoes on land and under the sea release a total of about 200 million tonnes of CO2 annually.

— The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory explained how much CO2 is generated by volcanoes in a 2007 article

200 million tons of CO2 seems like an extraordinary large amount. However, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) found that the estimated amount of CO2 generated annually by human activity is 135 times higher.

In addition, volcanos also spew out sulfur dioxide, which can lead to volcanic air pollution. Sulfur dioxide gas reacts chemically with sunlight, oxygen, dust particles, and water to form volcanic smog known as vog. This actually offsets some of the CO2 greenhouse effect by doing the opposite: Inducing cooling by injection of pollution into the atmosphere. So volcanos are often actually balanced out.

It is easy to post a picture like the above in a Facebook feed and let it trickle down to the uneducated and uncritical masses in order to advance an agenda. If that agenda is well-funded by powerful lobbies like the petroleum industry, it can make a significant difference in public opinion. It looks legit, doesn’t it?

Usually 30 seconds of googling provides the facts, though.

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mammoth

I just found out through this article that mammoth tusks are being dug out of the thawing permafrost in the arctic by the thousands. They are sold to the ivory carving industry in China at $1,900 per kilogram. The growing Chinese middle class has a voracious appetite for ivory jewelry. Paleontologists are suggesting that this perfectly legal practice should become illegal to protect the not yet extinct elephant.

There are several statements of fact in this article that I found alarming:

  1. I didn’t know there was such a thing as an “ivory carving industry.” Of course, now that I think about it, it makes sense, but it had never crossed my mind before.
  2. The elephant is doomed. The Chinese are just starting to get wealthy, and there are many of them. The ivory carving industry isn’t going to back off as long as a single tusk remains. The country where reportedly 4,000 people die every day because of air pollution isn’t going to care about regulating its consumption of a commodity that is harvested in another continent on the other side of the globe. As long as there are Chinese with money, elephants will be hunted – more than ever, as they become more rare and therefore more expensive.
  3. Global warming is thawing the permafrost. A few decades ago it was difficult to find any mammoths. Now, it seems, you can go out there with a shovel and dig for tusks and sell them for a fortune. There is a significant movement still in the United States and the rest of the world that is “denying” global warming. They say that just because glaciers are melting at unprecedented rates, and permafrost is melting in the arctic, it does not mean that the warming is man-made. It’s just a natural occurrence, like it has happened many times in history. The fact that it’s been 800,000 years since we had 400 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere, as we do now, is not enough evidence. Since it’s not man-made, why worry about it. Keep burning that oil!

I am at a loss for suggestions on how to save the elephant, other than save some DNA so we can clone them later, along with the mammoth.

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Now that Ted Cruz announced he is a presidential candidate, his views are getting analyzed more carefully by the experts. This debate should be fun over the next few months.

Ted Cruz on Global Warming:

My view actually is simple. Debates on this should follow science and should follow data. And many of the alarmists on global warming, they’ve got a problem cause the science doesn’t back them up. And in particular, satellite data demonstrate for the last 17 years, there’s been zero warming. None whatsoever. It’s why — you remember how it used to be called ‘global warming’ and then magically the theory changed to ‘climate change’? The reason is it wasn’t warming, but the computer models still say it is, except the satellites show it’s not.

Summary by Chris Mooney in the Washington Post:

In claiming the globe hasn’t warmed in 17 years, Cruz selectively highlighted satellite temperature data, rather than other data (which NASA and NOAA recently used to call 2014 the hottest year on record). He also selectively focused on one year (1998), rather than examining the aggregate temperatures of many years or decades. And finally, a key scientist who studies this type of satellite data, and whose work was cited by Cruz’s spokesman (as backup), criticizes Cruz’s approach.

— Washington Post

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Below is the map of how people responded to the question: “Is global warming a threat to the environment?”

The deeper the red, the more the answer was Yes. The deeper the blue and purple, the more No.

What I take away from that is:

In the cities, in the large metropolitan areas and where most of the universities are, we are leaning to the red, to the Yes. In the coal and oil states we’re in the deep No. And then there is Texas and the South.

Global Warming by Congressional District

Global Warming by Congressional District [click to enlarge]

This link gets you to the actual map, where you can search for your own zip code, and scan for results by county, zip code, congressional district, senatorial district and other filters. You can zoom in and out, and pan the map around.

The most important point I took away from this poll is this: The question was not: “Do you think that global warming is man-made?” Whether it is man-made or not is not part of the question. It was: “Is global warming a threat to the environment?”

It’s pretty hard for me to come up with a scenario where an educated person will say “Well, no, cranking up the Earth’s temperature by 2 degrees Celsius is not a problem at all. Let’s go and melt to Antarctic ice sheet and flood Los Angeles, Miami and New York. Go right ahead.”

That would be the essence of saying No as an answer to this question.

 

 

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ScientistsA 2010 report published in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that an estimated 97 or more percent of all actively publishing climatologists in the world are convinced that the current global warming is man-made.

Before the industrial revolution, atmospheric CO2 levels were about 280 parts per million, which falls within the average range of an inter-Ice Age warm period, and this lasted for more than 20 million years, ten times the entire span of the rise of humanity from our ancestors in the savannahs of East Africa.

Since 1850, due to the burning of fossil fuels, atmospheric CO2 is over 390 ppm and rising rapidly. This is not a coincidence, as the vast majority of the experts in this field, notably climatologists, believe. But that’s not sufficient for the thinkers in our United States government.

Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) told in a hearing of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee in 2009:

The Earth will end only when God declares it’s time to be over. Man will not destroy this Earth. This Earth will not be destroyed by a Flood. I do believe that God’s word is infallible, unchanging, perfect.

That sentence, idiotic as it is in content, is at least grammatically correct. Here is Sarah Palin at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference on April 8, 2010:

…none of this snake oil science stuff that is based on this global warming, Gore-gate stuff came down where there was revelation that the scientists, some of these scientists were playing political games.

Palin apparently is saying, if I can decipher this, that there are a few bad apples in the blue pie slice above, and that therefore global warming must not be real?

Here is Sarah Palin, held up by John McCain as the nation’s foremost political expert on energy, answering a question while speaking off the cuff at a town hall meeting, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Sept. 17, 2008:

Oil and coal? Of course, it’s a fungible commodity and they don’t flag, you know, the molecules, where it’s going and where it’s not. But in the sense of the Congress today, they know that there are very, very hungry domestic markets that need that oil first. So, I believe that what Congress is going to do, also, is not to allow the export bans to such a degree that it’s Americans that get stuck to holding the bag without the energy source that is produced here, pumped here. It’s got to flow into our domestic markets first.

Sadly, Palin and Shimkus, and Imhofe, and some of their colleagues in congress are apparently successful in dumbing down the American public. A Pew Research Center survey in October 2010 stated that just 44 percent of Americans believe that scientists agree that the earth is getting warmer due to human activity. Somebody please show them the chart above! It won’t be Hannity or O’Reilly doing us the favor.

But then, there are many people who also believe that the earth was created 6,000 years ago.

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A new study shows that planet warming may be much worse than we thought.

Carbon-Final

Let this scare the pants off you.

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A few weeks ago I posted a movie review on Chasing Ice. A reader posted the following comment:

I’ve seen this documentary, they are beautiful and astonishing videos, everyone should see how glaciers calve in time-lapse. These videos document how glaciers calve but they are not evidence that CO2 is the cause. Suggesting that they are calving faster than ever before, or that they will never regrow, or that this has never happened before is pure bunk.

Still, everyone should see these videos, they are compelling.

The comment is complimentary enough, but it appears to discredit the content of my post entirely. Several things have happened here that warrant some contemplation:

  • The movie Chasing Ice simply documents facts, in this case receding of glaciers. The movie does not imply this is man-made, nor it is trying to be proof of such. The movie is a documentary showing the years of relentless, dangerous, painstaking work by a dedicated leader and an entire team of assistants.
  • In my post reviewing the movie I also didn’t offer it up as proof, but I did make insinuations appealing to the reader’s common sense. The commenter, I hope, was trying to discount me, not the creators of the movie.
  • I must have been provocative enough to elicit that response, and I take that as a positive outcome.

It occurred to me that it is very easy to discredit the hard, sometimes life-long work of dedicated people with very simple, general statements. This happens a lot when an “expert” gets on television and debunks some study, outcome, book, opinion or sometimes life-work.

In this particular case, the commenter is right. The movies showing glaciers receding at a rapid rate are not evidence that CO2 is the cause. Suggesting that they are calving faster than ever before, or that they will never regrow, or that this has never happened before, is not quite pure bunk in my opinion, but the commenter is right.

We know that only approximately 11,000 years ago there was so much ice bound over land in the northern hemisphere that glaciers reached down to Minnesota and Montana in the United States, and the Bering Straight was dry so people could walk from Asia to America. Yes, these glaciers are not here today, and the oceans are high again, so it certainly has happened before (we don’t know quite exactly how fast).

However, we do know that the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is now higher than it has been for 80,000 years, with the possible exception of very short spikes during major volcano eruptions.

The vast majority of climate scientists do agree that humans are the cause of the high CO2 levels in the atmosphere. I am too old now to go back to school for five more years for a Ph.D. in a climate science so I can personally contribute scientifically to this debate. I also don’t personally know anyone who actually has such an education. Therefore I must rely on what I can read about both sides of the argument, discuss the topic with as many people as possible, and come to a conclusion based on all this personal analysis.

Can a climate scientist then pick up my post that results from this study and burn a huge hole in it in just a few sentences? Yes, sure, and there is nothing I can do about it.

However, there are some interesting and telling voices out there:

Socialism collapsed because it did not allow the market to tell the economic truth. Capitalism may collapse because it does not allow the market to tell the ecological truth.

— Øystein Dahle, former Vice President of Exxon for Norway

Of course, we all know that half the Republican members of Congress do not believe that global warming is real, or that, if it is, it’s caused by human activity.

Fly over any part of the world today and look down. Or check out a YouTube made from the international space station using time-lapse photography:

Do you see the massive scars humans left on the planet? Do you think that humans could make those scars and not leave the equivalent scars in the atmosphere?

The burning of fossil fuels on this planet started in earnest about 100 years ago and is now happening on such a massive scale that we’re predicting that we’ll run out of oil and gas in 20 years, 50 years, 100 years, 200 years? Whatever. We’ll run out very soon, on a geological time scale.

  • Do I have personal experience as a climate scientist? No.
  • Do I have evidence that man is causing global warming? No.
  • Do I have proof that the high levels of CO2 in the atmosphere come from our burning of fossil fuels? No.
  • Do I have proof that there is no god? No.
  • Do I have proof that there is a god? No.

Let me just bring in the philosophical concept of Occam’s Razor, which speculates that if there is a problem, the simplest solution or answer is the most likely one to be right:

If it walks like a duck, if it looks like a duck, it if quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck.

I’ll go with that for a moment, and starting with January 1, 2013, let me turn the tables:

  • Prove to me that the high levels of CO2 in the atmosphere does not come from human activities.
  • Prove to me that human activities are not the major cause why our glaciers are melting at an unprecedented speed.
  • Prove to me that we could not stop this process and turn things around to get the balance back into the atmosphere that was there in 1800, by simple changes on how we live and travel.

Those on the high horse of “it’s immoral to leave this debt to our children” ought to join me in the conviction that it is more than immoral to leave a broken planet to our children, it’s criminal. Quite frankly, if we break the planet enough, the debt simply won’t matter.

Happy New Year!

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