THE CLIMATE AIN’T WARMING? April 30, 2012Posted by wmmbb in carbon emissions, Democracy, Natural Environment.
Watching the program, the two protagonists seemed to reach a consensus, suggested by Nick Minchin, that the public policy issue was moved from the climate science to energy policy. In other words you can believe what you want about climate change. Of course, however feelgood such a conclusion might be, and however balanced, such a conclusion is preposterous. The critical questions include: How serious is the problem? What is the time frame for effective at reasonable cost? Is the implied change in sourcing energy, an economic paradigm change, and if so might this be a good thing?
Opinions differ about the value of the program. The review by The Age was on balance complementary. Nick Minchin feigns anger when people bring up passive smoking, without acknowledging that the connection between cancer and smoking which was observed before the statistics were developed, and then denied by the Heartland Institute among others. Gemma Jones in The Daily Telegraph, in the tradition of the free press in a democracy, brings to our attention the fact that James Lovelock, has changed his mind, without making clear that he accepts global warming. Michael Ashley, in The Conversation, is not charitable to the former Federal Minister for Science:
In all, five of Minchin’s seven experts appeared in the documentary, but only three of Rose’s. While this might sound unfair to Rose, I think that Minchin’s experts did more harm to his cause than good.
That said, I was concerned to read Minchin being quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday as saying that the documentary was a “terrific opportunity to convey to an ABC audience that there remains a significant debate”. If Minchin had any insight he would realise that the documentary simply exposes his gullibility.
I got the sense it was not much of a program from reading Nick Minchin’s opinion piece in The Sydney Morning Herald, They tried to change my mind, but I’m still a climate sceptic. The sub heading is more revelatory of the mind set: “Scaremongering about global warming is backfiring on warmists”. Emotional terminology and dispassionate analysis are not consistent. He wrote:
I think the most useful appointment I arranged was with Bjorn Lomborg, head of the Copenhagen Consensus Centre. Lomborg, unlike me, thinks human emissions of carbon dioxide are causing global warming, but, like me, he thinks carbon taxes and emissions trading schemes are a stupid, costly and ineffective way of dealing with the issue.
Lomborg instead advocates significant global investment in green energy research and development in order to make green energy so cheap that everyone will want it.
Now, that I can support. If there is to be any common ground between sceptics and warmists, this surely must be it. Let’s work to make green energy a realistic, affordable alternative, instead of stupidly trying to make conventional energy so incredibly expensive that we will stop using it.
One other significant appointment I sought – the footage of which lies on the cutting room floor – was with Professor Jasper Kirkby in Geneva.
Kirkby is leading a team at the famous CERN research facility investigating the relationship between solar activity, cosmic rays and cloud formation, and the consequence for our climate. This is fascinating work that amply shows how much we don’t know about what drives our climate, and that to claim ”the science is settled” is simply a lie. If any of the visits I proposed had an impact on Rose and her convictions, this was it.
Conversely, neither Rose nor those whom she took me to meet could convince me that human emissions of carbon dioxide are driving dangerous global warming. Indeed, the absence of warming since 1998 despite rising carbon dioxide levels shakes the foundations of the alarmists’ cause, as green icon James Lovelock, father of the Gaia theory, recognised this week when he backtracked from his alarmism. He now says: “The great climate centres around the world are more than well aware how weak their science is.”
What I do know about science is that it is dynamic, that there are always unknowns and that there is much we don’t know about Earth’s climate. May the debate continue.
Nick Minchin seems to have learnt nothing nor is he convincing by making repeated statements that can be demonstrated as incorrect. Andrew Glikson takes James Lovelock to task for his statements, arguing that it is the active climate scientists who are the true sceptics. The rest of of Nick Minchin’s statements I have quoted are too boring to bother with.
In terms of changing minds the program appears to have been pointless, and perhaps was always going to be. Nick Minchin remains a climate change denier warrior. However he correctly identified the marked change in public opinion since 2007. Ben Cubby notes in The Sydney Morning Herald, “Nation now ‘indifferent’ to environment“. He writes:
”Australians are effectively indifferent to global and societal issues, rating these significantly lower,” said the report What Matters to Australians, produced by the University of Technology, Sydney and the Melbourne Business School, with the support of the Australian Research Council.
”What we see in these results is a picture of a relatively conservative society concerned with local issues that influence its members’ daily lives.”
People’s concerns about industrial pollution, climate change, renewable energy and depletion of energy resources plummeted when compared with an identical study in 2007, with only logging and habitat destruction remaining among the top 25 issues of concern to Australians.
In 2007, environmental sustainability was the only set of global issues that was ranked as highly important. When the same questions were repeated last year, no global issues appeared among the nation’s top concerns.
”Overall, this reveals a startling decline in the Australian population’s concerns about environmental sustainability,” the researchers wrote.
”It is possible that 2007 was nothing more than an aberration when the debate about environmental sustainability became a matter of ordinary, everyday concern. What we now see in Australia and across Western countries is likely closer to a long-term trend in the value of environmental matters to the general population.”
The study showed that Australian were “relatively” disengaged from party politics. A connection between the two issues and the role of the media, including the changed management policy focus of the ABC, were not considered.
Why don’t people accept scientific findings on this issue? Thom Hartmann interviews Chris Mooney:
Naomi Oreskes expresses her view of the denial phenomenon – Neoliberalism and the Denial of Global Warming.
- John Nielsen-Gammon, About the lack of warming. . . (Houston Chronicle). Despite the naysayers and its obvious importance to all of us, climate science is a compellingly interesting subject:
Fundamentally, any change in global temperature, even if it’s just from one year to another, must have a cause. Saying that we need to look at longer time scales denies the need to find the cause of the actual global temperature changes (or lack thereof) at shorter time scales.
Such causes have been sought, and a few papers have proposed various combinations of cloud cover, volcanic aerosols, the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO), deep ocean heat uptake, and so forth. A recent paper I like by Foster and Rahmsdorf (discussed here and here) takes a statistical approach to attempt to eliminate the effect of the other known forcing mechanisms, and what’s left over is a fairly steady warming. Others have noted, more casually, that 2011 was the warmest La Niña year on record.
- Justin Gillis, Clouds Effect on Climate Change is the Last Bastion for Dissenters (The New York Times).
Yet in recent years, the climate change skeptics have seized on one last argument that cannot be so readily dismissed. Their theory is that clouds will save us.
They acknowledge that the human release of greenhouse gases will cause the planet to warm. But they assert that clouds — which can either warm or cool the earth, depending on the type and location — will shift in such a way as to counter much of the expected temperature rise and preserve the equable climate on which civilization depends.
Their theory exploits the greatest remaining mystery in climate science, the difficulty that researchers have had in predicting how clouds will change. The scientific majority believes that clouds will most likely have a neutral effect or will even amplify the warming, perhaps strongly, but the lack of unambiguous proof has left room for dissent.
- Kevin Drum, Clouds are the last hope of the climate deniers (Mother Jones)
- John Quiggin, Republican Conservatism.
- Tistam Edis, Time to Give Up on Minchin and Palmer (Climate Speculator). [Requires log in to read article]
- Justin Gillis, Study Hints a Greater Threat of Extreme Weather (New York Times)
The paper is the latest installment in a long-running effort by scientists to solve one of the most vexing puzzles about global warming.
While basic physics suggests that warming must accelerate the cycle of evaporation and rainfall, it has been difficult to get a handle on how much acceleration has already occurred, and thus to project the changes that are likely to result from continued planetary warming.
The fundamental problem is that measurements of evaporation and precipitation over the ocean — which covers 71 percent of the earth’s surface, holds 97 percent of its water and is where most evaporation and precipitation occurs — are spotty at best. To overcome that, scientists are trying to use the changing saltiness of the ocean’s surface as a kind of rain gauge.
That works because, as rain falls on a patch of the ocean, it freshens the surface water. Conversely, in a region where evaporation exceeds rainfall, the surface becomes saltier.
The variations in salinity are large enough that they can be detected from space, and NASA recently sent up a new satellite, Aquarius, for that purpose. But it will take years to obtain results, and scientists like Dr. Durack are trying to get a jump on the problem by using older observations, including salinity measurements taken by ships as well as recent measurements from an army of robotic floats launched in an international program called Argo.
Dr. Schmitt cautioned that the work by Dr. Durack and his co-authors, the Australian researchers Susan E. Wijffels and Richard J. Matear, would need to be scrutinized and reproduced by other scientists.
- Neil Wagner: Hansen Had It Right in 1981 Climate Report (Huffington Post)
- Gerald McEachern, Suzuki and Tree Huggers: Prepare for War (Huffington Post)
- Why Not A Single Sceptical Scientist On The ABC? (papundits.wordpress.com)
- Hamilton: ABC’s latest climate change doco another PR victory for doubters (crikey.com.au)
- ABC: even worse than the BBC – Telegraph: Delingpole goes down under (blogs.telegraph.co.uk)
- Have you ever changed your mind on a significant issue? (thepunch.com.au)
- Carnival of Nuclear Energy 102 (nextbigfuture.com)
- Climate Change…Joke… (maddmedic.wordpress.com)
- Science denial is a diversion from the real problems (openparachute.wordpress.com)
- I can change your mind about climate: TV (motls.blogspot.com)
- No one likes to change their mind, not even on climate (theconversation.edu.au) – a good summary why none of us like to change our minds, and methods we use to avoid such a change.
- “I can change your mind”: if it’s experts you’re after, look elsewhere (theconversation.edu.au)
- I Can Change Your Mind On Climate (abc.net.au)
- Alarmists Now Trying To Disown Their High Priest (stevengoddard.wordpress.com)
- Lawrence Solomon: Censored science (sadeservesbetter.wordpress.com)
- Global Warming Scientist James Lovelock Admits To Being An Alarmist (inquisitr.com)
- James Lovelock: Another Climate Change Apostate? (reason.com)
- Climate Science – What You Are Not Being Told – With Videos (papundits.wordpress.com)
- Left Out In The Cold (theglobalmail.org)
- Scott Mandia on Lovelock Nothing-Burger (climatecrocks.com)
- Madlands launch at Gleebooks (shawjonathan.wordpress.com)