JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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What is evidence?

Science depends on observations, made by people at some time and place. Things you can see, hold, hear and record. The real world trumps theory every time. And real evidence must be falsifiable, not faith based.

Evidence is not just any observations, only the relevant ones matter. As far as the question of
carbon as a major cause of global warming, the following lists sum things up.

Evidence of carbons impact

  • If temperatures followed CO2 levels in the past. (They didn’t)
  • If the atmosphere showed the characteristic heating pattern of increased greenhouse warming. (It doesn’t).

Anything that heats the planet will melt ice, shift lemurs, and cause droughts. None of these things tell us WHY the planet got warmer.

Not evidence

  • Arctic Ice disappearing
  • Glaciers retreating
  • Coral reef bleaching
  • Mt Kilamanjaro losing snow
  • Madagascan lemurs doing anything
  • Four polar bears caught in a storm
  • Pick-a-bird/tree/moth facing extinction
  • A change in cyclones/hurricanes/typhoons
  • Droughts
  • Dry rivers
  • Computer models*
  • There is no ‘better’ explanation.
  • Some guy with a PhD is ‘sure’.
  • 2,500 scientists mostly agree.
  • A government committee wrote a long report.
  • Government spending on ‘Emissions Trading Plans’ tops $100m.
  • Geri Halliwell signed a sceptics petition.
  • A failed theologian, ex politician made a documentary.

*Computer models are NOT evidence

They’re sophisticated, put together by experts, and getting better all the time. But even if they could predict the climate correctly (they can’t), even if they were based on solid proven theories (they aren’t), they still wouldn’t count as evidence. Models of complex systems are based on scores of assumptions and estimates piled on dozens of theories. None of the current models forecast that temperatures would stop rising from 2001 – 2008. So there is at least one other factor that is more important than CO2 and the models don’t know what it is.

For a full discussion of evidence see “No Evidence”.

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40 comments to What is evidence?

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    I am a student taking a Sustainable Design Certification Class from the Boston Archeitectural College (US) online. One of my assignments is to run a CO2 simulation with three scenarios. Here is the link, you may find it amusing. http://www.seed.slb.com/en/scictr/watch/climate_change/anim/challenge/index.htm. Anyway the three choices are continue our current producton of CO2, level off emmissions and reduce emmissions by 58% of 2007 levels. The key to all this “play” is to keep CO2 under the 450 ppm level, the “tipping point”. So my question is who decided 450 ppm is the magic number? I did a search and have not found an answer. According to agronomists CO2 levels are low for most plant types. Then I happened upon a link that brought me to you. That’s the long story. My question to you seeks an optimal level of CO2 for life as we know it. My feeling is it may not matter. Finally I would like to quote your material and reference links to your website (work) as I respond to assignments from my instructor.

    Thanks
    Bruce Chyka Kansas (USA)


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  • #
    Tel

    The “computer models are not evidence” line is strictly true but also slightly dishonest at the same time.

    If ALL we had were computer models and no physical measurements whatsoever then we could do a huge amount of computation and be not one iota closer to knowing anything about anything. However, a computer model can shake a bit more mileage out of limited physical measurements in a number of ways.

    For example, suppose I have a reasonable set of equations for one small patch of land and some atmosphere. With a computer model I can take that set of equations and simulate many patches of land projected around a sphere with sunlight applied according to a reasonably well understood day/year cycle. Thus I can take a simple set of equations (possibly the result of lab measurement) and ask what happens when these equations are at work over the whole earth.

    Also, running enough simulations can fit a set of equations to a measurement by repeating the same program again and again, slowly adjusting the parameters until the model is reliably reflecting the available known values. This at least tests the capability of a given approach (if the computer simulation never exhibits an output feature that we know exists in the real world then we need to revise some fundamental aspect of our model).

    I do see examples where people are saying that a computer model demonstrated some result, thus the result must be true without examining the presumptions behind that model. I appreciate that this shows a frustrating lack of logic that this displays, but just because one person picks up a hammer and hurts themselves is no good reason to outlaw all hammers.


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  • #
    bugs

    I don’t get it. We can record a long term trend in the decline of Arctic Ice area, as predicted by models.

    The models are not perfect, however, and do make errors. The decline is much more rapid than expected.


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  • #

    Current computer models are extrapolating from a lab test with feedback loops that are so speculative that we don’t know if they are positive or negative. Sure, if climate models were based on simple well proven laws, they could be useful. But right now the task they have set themselves is so incredibly difficult – we don’t know enough about the climate to pretend that this round of climate models are anything other than back of the envelope guesstimates multiplied by generalizations and raised to the power of simplifications. When you multiply an unknown by an unknown the error margins get bigger not smaller.

    And no “computer models are not evidence” is not even slightly dishonest. It’s a simple statement of fact. Climate models are speculative conjecture. They represent opinions (someone has to make the ‘guesstimates’).

    IF they reliably predicted the climate today, even then, that doesn’t mean they can do it tomorrow. Since they are not predicting the climate today, it’s a no brainer to ask why should we believe their future predictions.


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  • #
    bugs

    I was referring to the Arctic ice as evidence of climate change. For some reason it is not acceptable.


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  • #
    bugs

    “Current computer models are extrapolating from a lab test with feedback loops that are so speculative that we don’t know if they are positive or negative. Sure, if climate models were based on simple well proven laws, they could be useful.”

    Once again, you have no idea. Go out there, and talk to a real scientist. I am sure you could find one with your contacts.


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  • #
    bugs

    “Science depends on observations, made by people at some time and place. Things you can see, hold, hear and record. ”

    I think you live in some mythological golden age. The mars explorers are performing real science experiments. No one is up there seeing, holding or hearing anything.


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  • #

    Bugs – The arctic sea ice? So, models got one parameter right in one time frame? Given how many events they are trying to forecast, they’re bound to get a few right just by accident.

    As it happens, global sea ice – which is more important than just the arctic, has, oo, stayed remarkably close to flat in the last few decades, this despite all the CO2 and all the warming. Think about it! Surely if the oceans warmed even a bit, this would impact on sea ice.

    “I think you live in some mythological golden age. The mars explorers are performing real science experiments. No one is up there seeing, holding or hearing anything.”

    No, but someone is on the ground, looking at the data that is radioed back, holding a set of observations in their hand.

    Models are not ‘observations’, they are theoretical calculations. Lets say a model predicted your house was 34m long, but you measured it as 33.8m. Which do you trust? The tape, or the model?
    Which is closer to reality?


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  • #
    bugs

    “As it happens, global sea ice – which is more important than just the arctic, has, oo, stayed remarkably close to flat in the last few decades, this despite all the CO2 and all the warming. Think about it! Surely if the oceans warmed even a bit, this would impact on sea ice.”

    As predicted.


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  • #
    Les Johnson

    Computer models?

    Lets use the IPCC definition of “probable”. This is a result that occurs in one or more simulations, and does not violate physical laws.

    Using this definition, and having spent most of the weekend running my “models”, I can say that it is “probable” that by 2100, we will witness a large ape chasing an Italian plumber, and throwing barrels at said plumber.


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  • #
    Les Johnson

    Bugs: your

    As predicted.

    It was predicted by the IPCC, that Antarctic ice would also be reduced. In the satellite record though, the Antarctic ice areal coverage has increased since 1979.

    Globally, total ice areal coverage is at near normal levels.

    Prediction falsified.


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  • #
    Paul Penrose

    Let’s just get over this fascination with the models. I’m a software engineer and I have spent years of my career writing models of various types. I have examined some of the GCM source code and found it is generally an unverified mess. A tangle of different modules written in different languages by different authors over a long period of time. It is all unverified and unverifiable. In short, it is typical of the type of code written at all University research departments. These models were originally designed as pure research aids to help understand some of the many parameters that affect weather and climate, but were never intended to predict future climate states. They were pressed into this service, I presume, to support the AGW theory.

    Keep in mind that even if a model is written under a quality process, inspected by peers, and verified by independent testing, it would still be subject to the old saw “All models are wrong; some are useful.” I would add to that that even the useful models are only so within a narrow domain. I should point out that none of the GCMs meet these conditions. Even more damning they were designed with the assumption that the AGW theory is correct, complete with enhanced water vapor feedbacks, so it’s not surprising that they produce the expected warming. Even then they have confidence intervals so wide that you could drive a truck through them.


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  • #
    Anne-Kit Littler

    Les, I have been looking for a (scientific) reference to the increased Antarctic ice mass but ended up confused on the “net”!

    (I had an interesting telephone conversation with my dear, media-indoctrinated uncle in Denmark on Christmas Eve. He swears that Antarctica is melting and I couldn’t convince him otherwise. He also didn’t know that there has been no warming in the Southern Hemisphere … man, in Europe they are bombarded with even more propaganda than we are here!)

    Do you have a link, please?


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  • #
    Anne-Kit Littler

    Oops! I just read Joanne’s post further back … Got it!


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  • #
    Helge

    Antarctic Ice:

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/

    Southern hemisphere Sea Ice Area:

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.area.south.jpg

    The (ant)arctic images are located at the botom of the page.


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  • #
    Les Johnson

    Anne-Kit:

    One of the tenets of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW) is that polar pack ice will melt back. For this to happen, the melt season needs to increase.

    Below are some good charts, using Cryosphere Today data, of the NH and SH melt seasons. If the poles were indeed melting, then the melt seasons should be getting longer.

    They aren’t.

    Click here for northern hemisphere.

    Click here for southern hemisphere.

    Melt season is defined as the period between ice maximum and ice minimum.

    While the arctic is starting to melt a little earlier (an insignificant negative slope on the chart), the freeze up is coming a little earlier as well, as that slope is also slightly negative.

    The SH shows flat line.


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  • #
    MattB

    But Les Ignoring why and greenhouse and all that, Arctic Ice IS diminishing, without an extended melt season (I’m trusting you on that last bit)… you can’t argue with that fact.


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  • #
    Les Johnson

    Matt: your

    But Les Ignoring why and greenhouse and all that, Arctic Ice IS diminishing, without an extended melt season (I’m trusting you on that last bit)… you can’t argue with that fact.

    No, I can’t argue that arctic ice is diminishing, at least during the summer, and for the last few years. More on that later.

    I highly respect Pielke, but like Reagan, you should “trust, but verify”. The min/max data is available at the Cryosphere today, and the plot is easy. I use IJIS data, but it should give similar results.

    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm

    Click on “data download”, to get an Excel compatible file.

    As for the arctic ice reductions? NASA says that shifting winds and currents are responsible.

    “Our study confirms many changes seen in upper Arctic Ocean circulation in the 1990s were mostly decadal in nature, rather than trends caused by global warming,” said Morison.

    http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2007-131

    Some research suggests that we have cause and effect reversed. This suggests the warming in the arctic is caused by the loss of the ice, and NOT that warming is removing the ice. (Note that these authors also suggest that the ice loss is part of a natural cycle; the Arctic Oscillation, or the AO.)

    “ice pack is thickening in some places, thinning in others, due to AO. …”
    “that is, that the thinning ice has warmed SAT by increasing the heat flux from the ocean.” (Rigor)

    Shifting winds are responsible for ice thickness change. (Holloway)

    Holloway, G. and T. Sou, 2002. Has Arctic sea Ice rapidly thinned? Journal of Climate, 15: 1691-1701.

    Rigor, I.G., J.M. Wallace, and R.L. Colony, 2002. Response of Sea Ice to the Arctic Oscillation. Journal of Climate, 15: 2648-2663.

    “These results make connecting “global warming” to Arctic ice thinning very difficult for two reasons. First, large decadal and longer-term variability masks any trend. Restricted time series…produce trends that are more or less arbitrary….Second, the wind stress strongly effects the long-term development of ice volume. A long-term change in wind stress over the Arctic, possibly by an increase in the number of atmospheric circulation states that favor ice export, would effect the ice volume in a similar manner as a temperature increase.”

    Köberle, C., and R. Gerdes, 2003. Mechanisms determining the variability of Arctic sea ice conditions and export. Journal of Climate, 16, 2843-2858.


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  • #
    Les Johnson

    Some interesting negative evidence over at The Reference Frame.

    Apparently weather can be an indicator of global warming, or evidence for the lack of warming.

    http://motls.blogspot.com/2009/01/record-cold-temperatures-in-2009.html

    According to Lubos, global warming should see a great reduction in the number of record cold events.

    From his site:

    A frequent question is whether the repeated record low temperatures imply that global warming either doesn’t exist or it is not serious. Of course that they do. Assume that the temperature in your city is a linearly increasing function of time, “Temp + Slope x Time”, plus fluctuations that are randomly distributed with the standard deviation “SD”.

    If you get the opportunity to prove that the linear trend in your city exists at the five-sigma confidence level, i.e. that the net warming since 1900 or so has exceeded five times the natural oscillation “SD”, then it also means that the probability that you get a cold extreme for a certain day will be dropping faster than exponentially: like the Gaussian.

    Assuming that the “systematic” global warming accumulated by the linear trend exceeds five times the noise “SD”, which is really necessary for proving that the linear trend in your city is more than noise according to the physics standards, the probability that you measure a new cold weather record should drop roughly one million times (!): check basic articles about the normal distribution and how large fraction of a Gaussian lies below minus five sigma. It is less than 1 part per million.

    Such a dramatic decrease of the frequency of record cold temperatures is clearly not happening because the record cold temperatures seem to be as frequent as they were in the past. More precisely, their frequency should be naturally decreasing with the growing temperature records (with time).


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  • #
    MattB

    Well is that a peer reviewed one million times, or a hunch 1 million times? It seems to be the latter to me but that website is nasty to follow.


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  • #
    Les Johnson

    Matt: your

    Well is that a peer reviewed one million times, or a hunch 1 million times? It seems to be the latter to me but that website is nasty to follow.

    Gaussian distribution is an accepted statistical tool. As Lubos states, the distribution falls to one part in a million, after the 5th sigma.

    Note that he has neither proved nor disproved warming using this.

    What he has given, is a tool for calculating the effect. I would think that what is needed, is to look at record cold events through out the record, globally, and see if there is a decline or increase or no change.

    We would then need to see where the events falls into the distribution on a Gaussian scale.

    I disagree somewhat with his statement the frequency of cold events is NOT decreasing. While I feel this is probably correct, until its actually calculated, we cannot make a definitive statement.


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  • #
    Paul Penrose

    MattB,
    Has Gaussian distribution been peer reviewed? That’s like asking if calculus has been peer reviewed. Sheesh. Your question makes it obvious you don’t understand statistics very well. Since the study of climate is the statistical analysis of long-term weather patterns it is most important that anybody who wishes to discuss climate in any detail must be well grounded in statistics. This would certainly explain all of your appeals to authority.


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  • #
    MattB

    I actually meant that the website came up very strangely on my computer, and didn;t scroll up and down, and was quite unreadable… so I didn’t actually get to see the contents. I wasn’t actually questioning the maths, as I could not see it. I must admit that I should have read post 19 a bit better after the link did not work so well for me.

    Following that I’d need to see evidence that genuine cold records were being set, not just “coldest since”… I just read a media article that the Dutch ice skating competition was able to run as it is the coldest winter since 1996. Whoop de do 12 years… I doubt that is a one in a million shot.

    So the argument rests on “because the record cold temperatures seem to be as frequent as they were in the past.” wll do they? lets see a full paper on that rather than just take it as a faith based statement.

    Trouble is even if you manage it I can still just laugh and say that historical temperature readings are unreliable… as is a favourite of the non-warming theorists.


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  • #
    MattB

    Also there is no doubt in my mind that future climate change may indeed mean that extreme cold events in the middle of large continents may well get colder. SO I’d also need in fact to see science that analysed the climate models and predictions to see if an increrase in cold events in some part of the world would actually be contradictory. It really does seem like a strawman argument from Lubos.

    Didn’t they invent Pilsner beer in Plzen?


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  • #
    Les Johnson

    matt: your

    I must admit that I should have read post 19 a bit better after the link did not work so well for me.

    Following that I’d need to see evidence that genuine cold records were being set, not just “coldest since”… I just read a media article that the Dutch ice skating competition was able to run as it is the coldest winter since 1996. Whoop de do 12 years… I doubt that is a one in a million shot.

    So the argument rests on “because the record cold temperatures seem to be as frequent as they were in the past.” wll do they? lets see a full paper on that rather than just take it as a faith based statement.

    You should read all the posts a little closer.

    1. Both Lubos and I stated RECORD cold events, not “coldest since…”. Such as the longest streak of -25 degrees or colder in Saskatoon.

    2. I also called for full research on the number of events. I also said I disagreed with Lubos, because while it seems like the cold events have not decreased, it needs to be documented first.

    Your

    Also there is no doubt in my mind that future climate change may indeed mean that extreme cold events in the middle of large continents may well get colder.

    Then you have no idea how CO2 warming works. CO2 absorbs and re-emits IR at specific frequencies. The frequencies most efficiently absorbed are longer wavelengths; i.e. colder. IR emitted at about -30 F is the wavelength best absorbed.

    This is why CO2 warming should show up as an increase in minimum temperatures, more than an increase in maximum temperatures. The diurnal temperature range should reduce, and the minimum temperatures should increase.

    In other words, globally, there will fewer and reduced cold events. As stated by the IPCC. Is that sufficient science for you?

    your

    Trouble is even if you manage it I can still just laugh and say that historical temperature readings are unreliable… as is a favourite of the non-warming theorists.

    Are you confusing temperature proxies with temperature records? Or adjusted temperature records with raw data?


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  • #
    Les Johnson

    Now, lets use Joanne’s scorecard on Matt’s postings:

    Well is that a peer reviewed one million times, or a hunch 1 million times? It seems to be the latter to me but that website is nasty to follow.

    - Argument from authority, and a false one at that.
    - Knowledge gap. Gaussian distribution is an acknowledged statistical tool.

    Following that I’d need to see evidence that genuine cold records were being set, not just “coldest since”… I just read a media article that the Dutch ice skating competition was able to run as it is the coldest winter since 1996. Whoop de do 12 years… I doubt that is a one in a million shot.

    - Strawman. Neither Lubos nor I mentioned any “coldest since…”.

    So the argument rests on “because the record cold temperatures seem to be as frequent as they were in the past.” wll do they? lets see a full paper on that rather than just take it as a faith based statement.

    - Strawman. Lubos encouraged people to do this for their own city. I encouraged a global look. I said that we needed to actually do the research.

    Trouble is even if you manage it I can still just laugh and say that historical temperature readings are unreliable… as is a favourite of the non-warming theorists.

    - Strawman. No serious person on either side of the debate, doubts that warming has (or had) occurred. No serious person doubts the trends of the instrumental record.
    - Cognitive dissonance. You accept the instrumental record now, because it apparently supports your belief in warming. But you state you will reject it, if the record invalidates that belief.

    Also there is no doubt in my mind that future climate change may indeed mean that extreme cold events in the middle of large continents may well get colder. SO I’d also need in fact to see science that analysed the climate models and predictions to see if an increrase in cold events in some part of the world would actually be contradictory. It really does seem like a strawman argument from Lubos.

    - Knowledge gap (2). Not familiar with the mechanism behind CO2 and global warming. Nor with the IPCC pronouncements on the subject.
    - Rhetorical misuse. Not knowing what a “strawman argument” is. A strawman is something built, for the express purpose of tearing it down. (For good examples of this, see Matt’s previous posts.)
    - Argument from authority
    - Strawman argument. By calling Lubos’s argument a “strawman”.

    Total score

    Cognitive dissonance 1
    Strawman Arguments 4
    Argument from Authority 2
    Knowledge Gaps 3
    Rhetorical misuse 1
    Points of evidence 0

    Total -11

    I will give you points though, for NOT using ad hominem.


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  • #
    Mike Davis

    Thanks! Les:
    That was interesting. I would include that climate has been cycling since the LGM. However that even though correct could be called false as the climate has ben cycling as long as there has been a climate to cycle. This is a statement that has not been falsified. Another is that the temperatures have cycled dramatically and faster in the recent past (ie. 14,000 years) than our present weather (ie 250 years). As you have rightley pointed out. A fact that GCM/AGW/ACC supporters want to ignore (but very important to their claims) the GHE should raise min. temp. world wide which would actually be benificial to mankind/ plants and animals. allowing all to expand their enviorment and reduce weather relatd stress. Even though it is sadley not happening. I say: Bring on AGW!


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  • #
    MattB

    Les. point by point.

    I dispute that it is an argument from authority.. it was a throw away line.
    Gaussian issue is a non-issue as I clearly stated I was unable to access the website.
    No strawman – I said I wanted to see evidence of significant number of genuine records.
    No strawman – unless having a sense of humour and lol about web debates about climate is a strawman.
    Cognitive dissonance… see last statement.
    I’ll admit I have knowledge gaps… but can you show that AGW means that nowhere on the planet may have more cold events? If so I’d appreciate the pointer.
    Strawman… well I’d have thought that saying that what is happening there is evidence against AGW implies that AGW says it could not possibly happen… so that to me fits unless you are being quite picky.

    So I get a net ZERO you big stinky poo poo head Les. Oh crap that makes -1;)


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  • #
    MattB

    Also you’re in luck, as I’ve already accepted a challenge to peer at the core of my support for AGW by reviewing the current science as it stands, and hoping to do so with both eyes… I often say I’ve no interest in trying to put together grass roots solutions to a problem that does not exist, what a waste of a career.

    On FIAT… I do sometimes wonder why the US has resisted carbon trading for so long if it is a financial smokescreen… or is it because they don’t want the mighty USD challenged? Would the carbon market, once established, be the trigger for the final collapse of the USD as a safe haven?


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  • #
    MattB

    Not to avoid the true science investigation though Jo… you state:

    “Evidence of carbons impact:
    If temperatures followed CO2 levels in the past. (They didn’t)
    If the atmosphere showed the characteristic heating pattern of increased greenhouse warming. (It doesn’t).”

    I disagree with point 1… and as you know many many climate scientists are quite happy that major temperature changes in the past have seen CO2 rise as a result of “something else”, then the CO2 triggering further rise. I’ve also said that really if you were being rigorous even temps following CO2 would only be circumstantial evidence at best anyway so I’m surprised you would (or doubt you would) accept that anyway.

    And on point 2 I don’t agree with your touting the hotspot as the rabbit in the pre-cambrian so to speak. I was actually re-reading God Delusion and the parallels between evolution and climate change are astoundingly… and I could easily see how both sides of this debate can claim the scientific vs religious perspectives… so much so I was going to have a google today to see what Dawkins makes of climate change, and see where MIchael Shermer sits (I know at a talk recently I saw him comment that he was skinging back to climate scepticism after thinking the science was strong until recently). Not that it matters what they think… but then I need to defer to experts not shacking up with a rocket scientist and all that;)


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  • #
    Mike Davis

    MattB:
    You seem to be missing some information in your reading.There is NO evidence of carbon impact. There is no evidence of CO2 trigger!
    The only problem is alarmists claiming a problem that does not exist. If thet have thier way it WILL affect you.


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  • #

    Matt,

    Point 1 – Go for it, link to a paper that claims amplification is a real thing (and not just a hunch by lots of climate researchers with an interest in finding some way to justify their continued funding and prestige). If you find said paper (and no one seems to be able too) I’ll consider what it says. Until then, ‘amplification’ is just a hypothesis on a wish list.

    Point 2 – “but then I need to defer to experts not shacking up with a rocket scientist and all that;)” Fair enough. So your policy on who to believe includes the clause “shacks up with non rocket scientist?”


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    MattB

    Sorry jo, what I meant is that I have to consult others as I do not have the good fortune of just being able to nudge a rocket scientist. I needed a comma after experts. Meant to read as “have to defer to experts, (given I am) not shacking up with a rocket scientist and all that;)”. It really was not meant to be dismissive or rude.


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  • #

    Hey Matt, thanks, offense was not considered. I just thought it was an odd way to assess evidence. ;-)


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  • #
    cmb

    32Joanne Nova:
    February 8th, 2009 at 4:10 pm
    Matt,

    Point 1 – Go for it, link to a paper that claims amplification is a real thing (and not just a hunch by lots of climate researchers with an interest in finding some way to justify their continued funding and prestige). If you find said paper (and no one seems to be able too) I’ll consider what it says. Until then, ‘amplification’ is just a hypothesis on a wish list.”

    One wonders what actual evidence could be presented that a work is “just a hunch by lots of climate researchers with an interest in finding some way to justify their continued funding and prestige.”

    We hear this sort of thing a lot, but no one ever seems to have that evidence. =)


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    Joanne,

    I just read your little book, and think it is great. I am working on improving the understanding of our government officials here in Idaho, and especially here in Coeur d’Alene. I just read the Skeptics Handbook and noted your offer of cartoons and articles free of charge to further the debate on climate change. Thanks. I am going to the conference on climate change in March and look forward to meeting you.

    If you could take a minute to look over what I have written I would appreciate it. I would especially appreciate any input you can give to me indicating where my arguments may be weak, or lacking. I am targeting this for the non-scientist, so want to avoid a lot of mathematical/scientific language. Any help you can give me will be appreciated. I do look forward to meeting you.

    Thanks

    Jim Hollingsworth jimhollingsworth@verizon.net

    Sir

    This is a letter that I sent to a friend, and I thought I would just CC it on to you. It covers most of the ground that I have recently looked at. I know that you have been charged with seeing what the state can do to cut greenhouse gases. In the main anything the state does would probably also save energy, and would thereby save expenses, so that is good. There are some things, however, that could radically affect the way we do business in Idaho, and the way we live. Those remedies would be a very big mistake. There are also some things that would seem to save energy, but in the long run, and from a national perspective they will actually take more energy than they save.

    Global Warming has become a very hot issue on the national/international scene the last few years. As such, there is a group of mainly government officials that have taken the position that the science is settled and that there is a consensus on what is causing the present warming trend. It is unfortunate that they have been willing to consider the fact that there is a growing body of well-respected scientists who see things differently. Some of these great men (and women) have been vilified because of the positions they have taken. It has to be apparent to any thinking person that true science does not depend on consensus, and that scientists generally work to prove themselves wrong.

    With that in mind I would like to be sure that you have at least considered all the evidence. I am not asking you to agree with me, but I would ask that you at least consider some of the ramifications. The evidence is that the earth has been in a mild cooling trend since about 1998, and some of the horror stories of what the future holds may be exaggerated, or misplaced.

    Would you take a minute to look over what I have written? If you wish, I can expand on any aspect, or provide reference materials for your benefit. Idaho is a great place to live and I know that you want to keep it that way.

    Thanks so very much.

    Jim Hollingsworth

    3130 N. Conference Dr

    Coeur d’Alene, Id 83815

    (208) 667-7748

    jimhollingsworth@verizon.net

    P.S. I would like to invite you to attend the 2009 International Conference On Climate Change put on by the Heartland Institute in New York. I spoke to Lori Hardisty about it and she said there is no money for this. I have been informed that a full scholarship, including registration, hotel, and flight will be provided for all legislators. I have communicated with the Legislature, but it appears that there is just too much going on for any of them to get away. With that in mind it is possible they may be willing to extend this to someone in your position. You can see the program and the speakers if you go to the Heartland Institute’s web site. The meetings are March 8-10. If you are interested get back to me and I will see what I can do about making arrangements.

    I believe that this conference will be the most important conference on Climate Change going on anywhere and anyone who has questions will be able to get most of them answered there. It promises to be a time well spent.

    Dear…:

    I really do appreciate your willingness to stay with me while I try to learn what is going on with climate science. Most of the people I know who are environmentally alert would have given up on me a long time ago.

    I am really concerned about the concept that the science is settled. I have to confess that I have a couple of pre-set ideas that, at least initially, have affected my interest, and my unwillingness to accept some of what has been in the press. First off, I was a geology major for most of the time I was in college until I changed my major to Social Science. I also worked doing geological work for several years and have an abiding interest in earth science. Geologists look at climate over very long periods of time, and recognize that this old earth has gone through some pretty terrible times, but it is still here. The people and the residents of the biosphere have experienced these times as well, and they have survived. Some have even thrived. So, when I look at just 150 years and conclusions drawn from that I get concerned.

    Second, I have been involved in a lot of issues over the years that have included the United Nations. I have spent some time in Mexico, Brazil and Honduras, as well as having close friends who write regularly from Africa, Indonesia, China, India and other third world countries. As a result of this I have just gradually developed a fear that the interests of the UN are not the best interests of most of the people in the world.

    As I began to study the issue of Global Warming and Climate change and started reading it was like opening a pandora’s box. The more I read the less sure I became in what I actually did believe. The more I read the more it seemed I had to read. One of the first things I read was the Summary For Policy Makers of the Fourth Report (2007) of the IPCC. Later I began to read the actual report itself. What I found is that where the Summary For Policy Makers was definite and sure about the science and the correction course needed, the actual science was much more doubtful, using words like likely, unlikely and such. If you don’t mind I want to take a few minutes and just summarize where I am at the moment in my quest. I am planning to go to New York to a climate conference in March, and I hope I can learn some things there that will help me understand the science a little better. Much of the actual science is pretty technical.

    The Science Is Settled.
    The actual science goes back many years. Not much happened until about 1988. We do have Al Gore and his professor (Reville?) but even that seems to have changed over the years.
    As mentioned, the actual report of the IPCC leaves some room for doubt.
    We have now had four reports of the IPCC, and it seems that each report leaves just a little more room for doubt. The hockey stick graph was not used in the last report. Several papers indicate that the hockey stick has been proven wrong; I am not sure why the IPCC did not include it in their last report.
    The number of scientists who are willing to stake their careers on the belief that the science is not settled are increasing rather than decreasing. One climate alarmist indicated that you could get all the deniers in a phone booth. While that could have been true twenty years ago it is not so today. The Petition Project is now up to almost 32,000 men and women of science who do not accept this view.
    There Is A Consensus.
    If I write on this often enough at least I will learn how to spell consensus.
    Because I majored in science for several years, and have studied a lot of science since then I believe that science does not have anything to do with a consensus. True science works in trying to prove themselves wrong. At one time people believed that the sun went around the earth. We are even told that some people believed that the earth was flat, though just a little observation of the solar system ought to convince people that was not so. Those who observed an eclipse could see the shape of the earth as it crossed the moon, so that anyone who really wanted to know could understand the truth. People used to believe that maggots were generated from the meat itself until someone proved that they came from flies. The point is that a majority can be very wrong, and they can hold their position strongly enough to try to kill anyone who did not agree with them. While I think we have gotten past that as a civilization we still are not free from making serious mistakes about science.
    If one scientist believes he is right and continues to work on what he believes and then gets others to do the same experiments and reach the same conclusions then the science may be accepted. So much of what we believe science has told us has been done on hasty conclusions. I am thinking of the ozone hole and CFCs, mercury poisoning, asbestos poisoning, curbside recycling, light bulbs and many other things that have not been carefully thought through.
    I mentioned the 32,000. Just having that many does not make them right, but it does open the door to at least the possibility that they could be right.
    True science simply depends on understanding a certain relationship, and then making the same experiment over and over again to reach the same results.
    The Earth Is Warming.
    We are told that the earth has warmed about 0.5 degrees Centigrade over the past 100 years. Actually I have seen 0.5, 0.6, and 0.7. As they are all using the same database it is hard for me to understand this.
    There are 1221 official weather stations in the United States. Anthony Watts and others have set out to take pictures and otherwise document the location of each one of them. What they are finding is pretty startling.
    i. Some are next to black top.

    ii. Some are next to air conditioners.

    iii. One in Death Valley is placed in the most atypical spot within 100 yards, right in the middle of a small salt flat, which would affect the actual temperature recorded.

    iv. Many have been in the same place for a lot of years, but cities have grown up around them. It is evident that cities are not the same temperature as the surrounding land. Farmland tends to be cooler because the earth evaporates more moisture, and cities are warmer because of BLACKtop, and concrete that holds heat. Also, buildings tend to redirect wind, and that can affect temperature.

    Very few weather stations have been in the same place for over 100 years.
    i. As mentioned towns have grown up around some of them.

    ii. New stations have come online and older ones have been taken away.

    iii. In Russia a number of weather stations stopped all at once, and they were in very cold locations, so that this could have affected the recorded average temperature for subsequent years.

    Location of weather stations do not necessarily give an average reading.
    i. Looking at the various temperatures as you drive across town here in Coeur d’Alene you note some considerable differences in temperatures. This could just be very inaccurate recording devices, but it is hard to believe that someone would spend more than 30,000 on a device and not spend 1,000 on a quality thermomenter.

    ii. On flat land a thermometer could be placed almost anywhere and get about the same reading. But, in hilly land it is always cooler on top, and cooler at the bottom. Those who raise avocados understand this. You find their groves where the air is always moving and is the warmest.

    iii. I have seen no frost on my garden in the morning, yet frost on my car just 50 feet away. Depending on which location I would have had a thermometer would determine which reading I would have gotten.

    iv. There are no weather stations over the ocean.

    v. There are very few weather stations in Antarctica. We do have recent satellite readings, but they only go back to about 1979.

    vi. I believe that it is impossible to get accurate readings of temperatures to closer than 0.5 degrees. Therefore the conclusion that the earth has warmed a half-degree is within the range of the accuracy of the measurements.

    Carbon Dioxide Is The Chief Cause Of Warming.
    We are told that Carbon Dioxide is a greenhouse gas.
    i. The term greenhouse is not adequate to explain the greenhouse process that takes place in the atmosphere. What actually seems to be happening is that the greenhouse gases are actually absorbing the infrared rays and becoming warmer, not that they are acting as a blanket over the Earth.

    ii. The greenhouse gases are water vapor, methane, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and a few other minor possibilities.

    iii. Water vapor is the most important, but probably the least understood, and is rarely mentioned.

    iv. It is obvious that water vapor has a lot to do with earth temperature. The tropics have very little variation of temperature during a 24 hour period. On the desert I have seen the temperature go from –10 to 40 degrees in one day. This is why so few people live on the deserts.

    v. There seems to be close correlation of carbon dioxide and temperature over a lot of years, but it is lacking in some time frames. But correlation does not equal causation. Just because two things are associated in time does not mean that one caused the other.

    1. Ice core samples at first stated that CO2 preceded temperature, then later they said that a closer inspection reversed the evidence.

    2. Since the ocean is a large carbon sink it is possible that when the temperature warms it give off CO2, not the other way around. At least it is a possibility.

    In terms of the total composition of the atmosphere we note that carbon dioxide is only about 38 parts per million. It would seem, therefore, that other factors might be more important as a greenhouse gas.
    Not enough emphasis has been given to the sun and changing energy from the sun. This may not prove anything, but it needs at least to be seriously considered. After all, almost all the energy that comes to the earth comes from the sun. A little comes from being reflected from the moon, and a very very little from the stars and other cosmic bodies.
    I have a friend who is a climatologist and when I asked him for some information the other day on CO2 his response to me was that CO2 was “yellow science”, whatever that is. [I did run onto an interesting article on the subject. See attachment.]
    Rising Sea Levels Will Seriously Affect The World.
    The oceans rise and fall, depending on the time of year. During the winters a lot of water is locked up in snow and ice on the landmass and this lowers the ocean, as much as half an inch. In the springtime that snow begins to melt and by the end of the summer there is a maximum amount of water in the ocean. Landmasses that have a lot of ice gain and lose water as ice.
    Antarctica is a desert. A very small segment of Antarctica is warming and losing ice, but most of Antarctica is gaining ice.
    Greenland is losing some ice, but most of Greenland is gaining ice. There is the famous case of a P-38 that had to crash land on the ice in Greenland because they ran out of fuel in the Second World War. Recently they found it, melted a hole down to it, disassembled it, removed it from the ice, reassembled the airplane and flew it. It is a very interesting story. The part that makes it interesting as far as climate science is concerned is that it was under 268 feet of ice and it had moved quite a distance laterally. So ice has increased on Greenland during the past fifty years.
    Melting of sea ice in the arctic will not affect the sea level. All the ice is floating and when it melts the water will take up the same space as the ice did.
    We are told that Greenland ice could get lubricated and just slide off into the ocean. The problem is that Greenland is a country with lots of mountains and these mountains restrict the motion of the ice.
    We are told the same thing about Antarctica. Actually, the ice is increasing on Antarctica. For that much ice to simply melt would take a tremendous amount of heat, or a tremendous amount of time. We can see from the ice that hangs on here in Coeur d’Alene that it takes a lot of heat to melt ice. In fact one thing you can see for yourself is that when new snow falls, that which falls on old ice stays there, while that which falls on bare ground quickly melts. As far as Antarctica is concerned it will make no difference if the temperature goes from 10 degrees to 11 degrees, from 30 below to 29 below, the ice will still not melt. Actually, temperatures vary very little in Antarctica. It is not a very nice place to live and those few who have traveled there have some pretty interesting stories to tell about their trips.
    The stories that I have read about sea level rise talk about a cataclysm that takes place so quickly that they cannot get out of the way. That is pure fiction. We hear various estimates of sea level rise over the next hundred years from under a foot to as much as 20 feet. But, even at the higher rate there is still plenty of time to get out of the way, to resettle, to set up house on higher ground, or build a higher sea wall etc. The scenes in the movie Day After Tomorrow, with ships on Broadway, are just not realistic. This is pure fiction, excellent fiction, but fiction none-the-less.
    As a geologist I recognize that the ocean has covered most of the landmass of the earth at one time or another. Sea fossils are found high in the Rockies and in other locations. But, these are probably from tectonic forces (rising mountains) rather than from sea level changes. Seas have risen and fallen for millions of years, and just the fact that the ocean may or may not be rising really does not prove anything. Actually, warmer temperatures will cause the seas to expand.
    The biggest difficulty we face today, concerning sea levels, is that so many people have been attracted to the beach and a lot of people live very close to the beach. Many have died from tsunamis simply because they did not pay heed to the conditions of the sea, or lived too close. This is a real world tragedy.
    Islands of the Pacific are very close to sea level, but just a couple of inches is not going to have much affect on them.
    Rising CO2 Affects Storms
    In the movie “An Inconvenient Truth” were pictures of hurricanes and floods. These things are pretty dramatic weather, but they have been happening in one place or another throughout history, and are actually a normal part of any long-term weather pattern.
    We have always had hurricanes and floods.
    Dr. Gray has studied hurricanes most all his life, and has seen no significant increase in number or severity of hurricanes.
    There is more damage from hurricanes, floods and tsunamis because there is now more expensive development in these areas.
    Although it is very possible that rising CO2 does affect storms you would first have to prove that rising CO2 causes a significant rise in temperature, and then that this rise in temperature actually has affected hurricanes. There are too many variables in this to be able to build a solid case one way or the other.
    Biodiversity and Species Extinction
    This is a very interesting area for study. Here is what I have found so far.
    First off, we are only talking about less than one degree in temperature. Thinking intuitively it would seem that just one degree is not going to affect very many plants or animals.
    Again, thinking intuitively if it did affect any plants or animals they would have to have a very limited habitat, that is, they would have to live in a very select location. The only ones that come to mind are penguins. I suspect there could be others, especially in the plant varieties, maybe plants that live in volcanoes, or in hot springs or in other very limited locations.
    Several studies have been made on species extinction, and biodiversity. What we are talking about is just a hundred miles north or south in latitude. There are very few things that are limited to that small a range for life. Here is what I have seen in the extant literature:
    i. Carbon dioxide actually helps plants to grow. Where there are higher levels of carbon dioxide the plants can live with less water (they lose less water in growing) and can stand higher temperatures.

    ii. When the temperature rises, and the CO2 also rises at the same time, then the controlling factor for habitat seems to be water, rainfall.

    iii. Now, what the studies have found is that a rising temperature actually increases habitat, and biodiversity. They have not found any plants that could not continue to live in their existing habitat, but the increased temperature enabled them to ranger [range jh] farther north. Thus there were more and different plants (animals?) living together with increased warming.

    iv. A most recent possible example of that is the fact that some birds are now ranging farther north, but have not abandoned their normal habitats.

    Some statements have been made that if the temperature rose then the plant/animal would not be able to move farther north, or higher up the mountain in order to survive. But, we have to remember that this half-degree increase is over a century, so there would be time to move, should that be necessary.
    Also, man could play a part in this. If extinction were a potential problem man could transplant some of these plants into a more favorable location and actually cultivate them for their survival. Of course the animals could move northward by their own power.
    The geological record appears to record many plants and animals that are now extinct. Their loss has not radically affected life on this planet. In fact, it appears that the planet is so interconnected that when there is the loss of one species it may affect others, because of the nature of the food chain. We have a few important species that are seriously threatened, and huge efforts are being made to save them, but changes in habitat and other changes are making it very difficult for them to survive. Our own survival as a species (homo sapiens) does not depend on the survival of very many other species. Our ability to adapt means that if we can no longer grow rice, we can eat wheat, corn, potatoes, etc. We are naturally concerned about the survival of any natural species, but we may not be able to save some, and it may not depend at all on the ambient temperature.
    Controlling Carbon Dioxide Production
    No one would be very concerned about the global warming debate if it were not for the political aspect of the debate. Scientists and inventors have had crazy ideas for centuries and no one took them very seriously. Once in awhile their ideas actually produced something, and the world is better off for it. But, it took a lot of crazy ideas before something worthwhile actually came forth.
    It is interesting that the United States did not sign the Koyoto [Kyoto jh] treaty, and that the nations that did sign it have not made any real progress toward controlling their output of Carbon Dioxide.
    In order to control carbon dioxide you have to know how much you are producing. To know how much you are producing takes some very complex data collection and even more complex calculations. Most of what the U.S. Department of Energy does has to do with keeping track of how much oil, gas and coal is produced and then also how much end produce is used, such as gasoline, diesel etc. If this process is complicated for a country like ours with lots of resources, what must be the nature of the case for under-developed nations? It is very hard to put much confidence in the data that is out there.
    Making the kind of reductions in CO2 that are being suggested will very likely not have the hoped-for effect.
    Making these significant reductions will very likely return the U.S. to an economy similar to that of much of the rest of the world; maybe not as bad as we assume, but certainly not as good as that expected by the climate alarmists.
    There is some evidence that groups like the Rothschilds and Bilderbergers are intent on controlling the world economy, and they believe that this issue, global warming, is a prime method for bringing all of the world under their control. I have no way to verify this, but I do recognize that if you can control the whole world under one simple theme, you can have a negative impact on all the nations of the world.
    Use of renewable energy sources include hydroelectric, wind, solar and hydrothermal energy.
    i. Hydroelectric. It probably is not practical to build many more dams, and in fact there is a movement to remove some of them, which would actually be a regional disaster.

    ii. Wind Turbines. It is very hard to determine the actual savings of these projects. Wind machines are very expensive to build, and much of that high cost is because it takes a lot of energy to produce them. So, the net savings is very difficult to determine. Wind machines have problems with noise, and some bird mortality. Wind machines do not provide a constant source of energy, so a backup source is needed.

    iii. Solar. Solar panels are very expensive. We used them in Mexico, and they were a real blessing, but when it rained, our batteries always went dead. Solar panels only work in the daytime, and do not produce much electricity when you get far out of the tropics or temperate zones. It would be possible to use them to pump water up to a reservoir in the day time and let it run down at night and thus generate electricity, but this is a very inefficient operation, probably less than fifty percent. While wind still allows the option of growing crops under the wind machines, you cannot do that with solar. And, it takes a lot of solar equipment to produce a significant amount of electricity. One thing that the literature does not discuss is the other equipment that must go with the solar panels. You have to find a way to get from 6, 12, 24 or other Direct Current voltage to 110v, 220v 2,300v, 11,500 v etc electricity. This takes equipment, then more equipment that coordinates the frequency of the electricity to the electrical grid so they come on line in just the right sequence. All this is very expensive.

    iv. Hydrothermal. This is not common, and the problem is that when you try to extract massive amounts of heat energy from a particular rock formation deep in the earth it will gradually cool off, and the efficiency is reduced. This is actually fairly common in the Midwest.

    Nuclear. Nuclear holds great promise.
    i. The accident at Three Mile Island is often used to try and stop all nuclear development. The fact is that though some radiation escaped it was not significant. Also, there were no people injured by this accident, and they have now new safety methods. One local resident worked on developing the very redundant safety system now used at Three Mile Island.

    ii. Nuclear is the cheapest, safest and best method of producing electricity. In the long run it may cost more to bill for the service than it costs to provide it.

    iii. Spent Fuel Rods are a national issue. But, these can be remanufactured, and their radiation is actually less than the ore from which they were originally mined. The reason this is not routinely done is because it costs more to remanufacture spent fuel rods than it costs to manufacture nuclear material from the ore bodies.

    iv. Much of the cost today in building nuclear reactors is the amount of paperwork and red tape before construction. We are told that a new plant costs up to seven billion dollars, and I am unable to see more than a few million, so there is a lot about this that I do not understand.

    Ethanol production has been put forth as one method of reducing dependence on hydrocarbons.
    i. Ethanol may make sense in Brazil where it can be produced from sugarcane, much higher in sugar content, from which the alcohol is made.

    ii. Brazil even has cars that run on pure ethanol (ethyl alcohol). It does the job, but smells lousy.

    iii. When you consider what it costs to grow the corn, fertilize the corn, harvest the corn, and then manufacture the corn [alcohol jh] it is possible that no net energy is actually produced.

    iv. CO2 is a byproduct of alcohol production. It appears that this is usually captured, but it is also possible that in some cases this is just released to the atmosphere, so there is no net gain. (This needs further study.)

    v. Ethanol cannot be shipped through pipelines, like gasoline, so it has to be trucked to the users.

    vi. Ethanol probably helps keep water out of gasoline, but some recent advisories indicate that it can absorb water from the atmosphere, and therefore lawn mowers and other special season machines should be drained at the end of the season.

    Coal. Coal production has historically been a very dirty source of energy. When we first moved to Coeur d’Alene in 1968 we had a coal furnace and burned coal. The air just reeked from coal smoke. At about that same time natural gas came to Coeur d’ Alene and we put in a natural gas furnace. In just a couple of years the air cleaned up completely.
    i. Carbon Dioxide (not withstanding the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court) is not a pollutant. All plants need carbon dioxide to grow and even survive. All plants use carbon dioxide to produce wood, and to give off oxygen. All animals need oxygen and produce carbon dioxide, so it is a natural cycle.

    ii. We now have the technology to produce clean coal; no pollution.

    iii. We have more coal reserves than any other nation in the world.

    iv. To restrict the use of coal in the United States is like asking a boxer to fight with one hand tied behind his back. The things that we enjoy as a people, in fact the things we take for granted, are mainly the result of cheap electricity from hydro-electric, nuclear and coal.

    Oil and Natural Gas.
    i. Most petroleum has a lot of carbon per net weight and are fairly complex hydrocarbons. Natural gas is mainly methane which is CH4, mostly hydrogen. For this reason it is the most efficient substance to burn that is taken from the ground. It also produces the least CO2, so natural gas is preferred as a source of energy.

    ii. The problem, of course, is that reserves of natural gas are limited. We can probably make better use of methane that is produced by landfills, and other sources, but most of the methane will probably always come from the ground.

    iii. We have proven sources of oil off the coast, in ANWR, and in other places, but it seems nearly impossible to get permission to develop these areas. This is a very shortsighted policy which makes us dependent on foreign oil, most of which comes from nations that have little use for Americans.

    iv. Some recent studies have led to the conclusion that not all petroleum is from the decay of natural vegetation, but has come from deep in the earth. This is an area for cutting edge discovery. There are all sorts of theories about where the vast oil reserves have come from, and this needs a lot more work.

    v. There are also some deposits of hydrocarbons on the ocean floor, called clathrates, or clathrate hydrocarbons, and these represent an enormous store of energy which can be tapped. Again, this needs further study.

    In conclusion, I want to repeat that I am doing all the study that I can to try and understand the debate. I don’t really know if I am making any progress. I must confess that the more I study the more I feel that global warming alarmism is nothing more than just one more method of controlling the peoples of the world. I do not see this as any sort of urgent problem with a catastrophe in the near future. If this is so, then it would seem that we still have time to very rationally, and carefully study the science involved, and we certainly can afford to consider any arguments that are being made by any deniers that may exist. When we are right we have nothing to fear from those who may not agree with us. When we are wrong, we have everything to fear. Personally I would not want to be guilty of ever ignoring someone or something that might point me toward information that might be critical for my survival, or the survival of this great nation.

    Thanks for being patient with me.

    Jim Hollingsworth

    jimhollingsworth@verizon.net


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    Jeff

    We are being told the reasons for the current extended drought conditions, higher temperatures and the current bushfire disaster in Victoria is Anthropogenic Climate Change. This is evident from Sen Bob Brown’s statements to the media, from Government members and the mainstream media, that Man Made Climate Change is the reason for dangerous bushfire conditions.
    But is this correct? I have always wondered about the cyclic nature of Australian droughts and periods of higher than ‘normal’ temperature. We don’t have droughts every year, and there is some years it is obviously colder than ‘normal’

    Recently there has been a study released by the UNSW on the linking of the Indian Ocean Dipole (I.O.D.)currents, with effects on the climate of S.E. Australia.
    http://www.science.unsw.edu.au/news/indian-ocean-drought/

    The I.O.D. has been known for a while to be a factor in the Monsoon, it’s activity and precipitation, but this UNSW study puts light on effects further afield.


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    Robin

    Evidence of carbons impact

    * If temperatures followed CO2 levels in the past. (They didn’t)
    * If the atmosphere showed the characteristic heating pattern of increased greenhouse warming. (It doesn’t).

    I think that past temperature and atmosphere reconstructions do tend to show that CO2 influences climate, and the climate provides a strong positive feedback.

    Temperature reconstructions over the past 7 centuries, point to a historical climate sensitivity of about 1.5 – 6.2K per doubling (5-95% CI) which is about a positive feedback of something in the order of magnitude of four times.

    That atmosphere does have the heating pattern of increased greenhouse warming:

    Cooling stratosphere.
    Greater warming at the poles.
    Greater warming at night.

    What makes you think that this is not the pattern of increased greenhouse warming?


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