Politics and Climate Change  

Posted by Big Gav in

John Lebkowsky has apost on the strange state of climate politics - Politics and Climate Change.

I like to think climate change is settled - we have scientific consensus, we know it’s happening, we generally understand the human actions that have accelerated climate change since the dawn of the industrial era. Many of us are feeling energy about reducing our carbon footprint and our overall planetary impact and concern that it’s too late for mitigation, time for adaptation. I personally have been involved with projects like Austin350, Worldchanging, and Powersmack, and I’ve blogged about global warming at Change.org. I’ve been thinking and writing about global warming since Bruce Sterling made me aware of it in the late 1990s. I worked with him on the Viridian Design Movement and wrote an article on climate change for the issue of Whole Earth Magazine he edited. In researching the article, “Being Green in 2001,” I learned that scientists were concerned that their commitment to scientific method - to hypotheses rather than certainties - was misinterpreted as uncertainty about the anthropogenic drivers of climate change. Since then broad scientific consensus has developed, especially via the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC.

I was surprised, then, to have a conversation recently with an intelligent, articulate local businessman who told me that this scientific consensus doesn’t exist, and while he could acknowledge that the climate is changing, it’s a natural cycle associated with solar activity. He’s sent me various charts and links. He’s just forwarded an email that mentions Ian Plimer and his book Heaven and Earth, Bjorn Lomborg, and Kimberley Strassel’s Wall Street Journal op ed piece, “The Climate Change Climate Change,” which says that “the number of skeptics is swelling everywhere.” Among other things, she mentions a list that Senator Jim Inhofe has assembled of scientists who supposedly deny that human action is associated with global warming, and says that the earth’s temperature “has flatlined since 2001.” (Has it?) If you read the comments on the op-ed piece, you see that the question of human action and climate change has been politicized - challenged by the right as a left-wing scam. This is really unfortunate - the science is lost in a fog of political wrangling.

10 comments

Politics is about the distribution of power. Fogging, disinformation and the like are communication strategies in the exercise of power. It must be quite frightening for those in power to conceive of the possibility of the world populace learning and acting upon the knowledge of planetary ecosystem disruption furthered by their profit seeking, a.k.a., Business As Usual And Above All Else

Important relevant science is not in the curriculum to become a Climate Scientist. Thus they do not recognize the significance of accepted paleo temperature data. With understanding of the missing science and knowledge of the data, it is trivial to conclude that NET feedback from average global temperature is not significantly positive. Being unaware of this constraint Climate Scientists have not calculated feedback correctly and/or all feedbacks have not been accounted for. Without NET positive feedback the Global Climate models predict that Global Warming from doubling atmospheric carbon dioxide will NOT be significant. Without significant Global Warming from increased carbon dioxide, human use of fossil fuels has no significant influence on climate change. See the pdfs linked from http://climaterealists.com/index.php?tid=145&linkbox=true for the evidence, to identify the missing science and to see the cause of the temperature run-up in the late 20th century.

Important relevant science is not in the curriculum to become a Climate Scientist.

Dan, that just sounds wingnutty.

If you have any experience in higher education you must realize that there is no "curriculum to become a Climate Scientist".

Each university around the world sets its own curriculum. Generally each department establishes its own curriculum so you might well have multiple degree paths to becoming a climate science within a single university.

Now, is there over looked data?

Possibly, but highly unlikely.

If you knew much about the practice of science you would know that there is nothing more that most scientists would like to discover than a way to disprove what is widely held. That's what careers and unending streams of research funding are made of.

The names of people who turn "current understanding" on its ear go down in history.

Think Newton, Darwin, Einstein,....

Additionally, science does not operate like religion. Science seeks out the new idea and willingly encompasses new ideas when supported with adequate data.

Religion, on the other hand, tends to suppress ideas and facts that don't support it beliefs.

I'm afraid that you might have made a mistake in thinking that science in some way operates like religions.

Robert, You can learn what the missing science is from the link.

Since 2000, atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased 18.4% of the increase from 1800 to 2000. According to the average of the five reporting agencies, the trend of average global temperatures since 1998 shows no increase and from 2002 through 2008 the trend shows a DECREASE of 1.8°C/century. This SEPARATION (there have been many others) corroborates the lack of connection between atmospheric carbon dioxide increase and average global temperature. With no connection between CO2 and temperature there is no connection between CO2 and climate change. As the atmospheric carbon dioxide level continues to increase and the average global temperature doesn’t it is becoming more and more apparent that many Climate Scientists have made an egregious mistake and a whole lot of people have been misled.

Temperature fluctuations didn't increase linearly with CO2 over the past century, so why do you expect them to do so over the past decade ?

You are just cherry picking data to try and make your case...

Dan, the 2000s are on track to be nearly 0.2°C warmer than the 1990s.

The 1990s were 0.14°C warmer than the 1980s. The 2000s are not only looking to be hotter than the 1990s, they've even increased the increase.

The last decade has been the hottest since the Industrial Revolution began.

Picking a single year such as 1998 and judging against that one data point is very bad science, even if it was the hottest recorded in the last couple hundred years.

You have to look at overall trends and not pick single data points that catch your eye.

Individual years can get pushed up or down from the trend based on an additional variable coming into play.

A big volcanic eruption near the equator, for example, can really cool off a year or two. We've seen that a few times in the last century or so.

1998 was the year of an extrodinarily strong El Nino. That's almost certainly why 1998 was so hot. (And 1997 pretty hot as well.)

If there was no global warming the Earth's temperature line would run more or less horizontal but 1998 would stick way up above the others simply due to the strong El Nino.

2008 was a hot year and a La Nina year. La Ninas cool things off.

Take away the La Nina cooling effect and 2008 most likely would have set a record.

2009, we've got an El Nino setting in. It doesn't look to be as strong as the 1998 one so we might not set a new single year high. But watch out for 2010 if El stays around.

Oh, and perhaps you missed this...

2005 was hotter than 1998.

Top Ten Warm Years (Jan-Dec)
Anomaly Anomaly
°C °F
2005 0.61 1.10
1998 0.58 1.04
2002 0.56 1.01
2003 0.56 1.01
2006 0.55 0.99
2007 0.55 0.99
2004 0.53 0.95
2001 0.49 0.88
2008 0.49 0.88
1997 0.46 0.83

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/2008/ann/global.html

Notice that 8 of the hottest ten are in this century?

Notice that every single year past 2000 is in the top ten?

Dan probably is cherry picking but it seems to me that people are quick to get personal on someone who challenges the current mantra of climate change. "If you knew much about the practice of science" is condescending Robert, whereas no one has bothered to refute the data put forward by Dan or challenge Dan's point (other than the cherry picking comment). I find John Lebkowsky's original belief that everyone is convinced of global warming and is powering (pardon the pun) their efforts to reducing their carbon footprint shows the naive nature of people trying to create awareness of global warming. I'm glad he has awoken to the political nature of life in the U.S and other democracies. The holier than thou attitude of people who promote awareness of climate change is definitely detrimental to the cause and makes the cause sound a little religious. More political savvy commentary will be necessary to create the required mass change in behaviour.

Gav,
Cherry picking is looking at the temperature run up from 1976 to 1998 and declaring that the CO2 increase caused it. If you had looked at the link in my previous post maybe you would know better. I wonder how large the separation will need to get for the IPCC and a lot of others to begin to realize that maybe they missed something.

Dan - I did look at your link - please don't make unwarranted accusations - I found it not-at-all convincing.

And you didn't address the crux of my point - why should we expect a linear relationship between temperature and carbon dioxide concentration ?

Robert 4:05 PM,
If NOAA was the only source of data that might need to be the conclusion. I track all five of the reporting agencies by month (Strangely, Hadley has not yet reported for June). The different agencies report anomalies from different baseline temperatures so offsets are applied as appropriate to normalize the numbers. They all track closely through 2007. NOAA was noticeably higher in 2008 and continues higher in 2009. The average anomalies of all reporting agencies have not been rising for over a decade while the CO2 has increased by over 18% of the increase from 1800 to 2000.

The planet has been warming up from the Little Ice Age. Obviously the warmest years should be at the end of the warm up. However, the Grand Solar Maximum appears to have ended. The sun has not been this quiet this long since 1913. The PDO has started its 30 year downtrend. Carbon dioxide has no significant relevance on average global temperature. All of this says that the planet is in for a continuation of the cooling trend with oscillations about the trend from El Nino, La Nina, etc. as in the past.

Gav,

Those who understand the relevant science readily recognize the significance of the trend direction changes that are archived in the paleo temperature data.

I am not sure who you are including in ‘we’. I have never stated or implied that there is a ‘linear relationship’ between temperature and carbon dioxide. What I do say is “With understanding of the missing science and knowledge of the data, it is trivial to conclude that NET feedback from average global temperature is not significantly positive.” Based on this and the statement for no feedback from p631 of ch8 of UN IPCC AR4 I further conclude “Without NET positive feedback the Global Climate models predict that Global Warming from doubling atmospheric carbon dioxide will NOT be significant.”

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