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John Dolva

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''Denmark: Activists face jail for climate protest - send letters of support


-In Copenhagen, Sydney-based climate justice advocate Natasha Verco and US activist Noah Weiss faces charges under Denmark's counter terrorism laws. Verco faces up to 12-and-a-half year jail for her role in organising protests against the United Nations Copenhagen climate summit in December.

Brief: W.A. - Activists welcome delay of stop and search law...

France: Elections a blow to Sarkozy

Green activists are not terrorists

Save the Williams River!''http://www.greenleft.org.au/2010/832/42797

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Climate change treaty 'more urgent than ever'

By Richard Black

Environment correspondent, BBC News website, Bonn

Environmental protesters outside the UN meeting in Bonn, Germany (Getty Images)

Protesters want a legally binding global deal on curbing emissions

The need for a new global climate deal is "greater than ever", according to developing country delegates speaking at the opening of UN climate talks.

Blocs representing the poorest nations called for intensive talks during the year, leading to agreement on a legally binding treaty in December.

The EU backed the call, re-stating that the conclusion of December's Copenhagen summit had not met its ambitions.

But other industrialised countries do not appear so keen for a new treaty.

The three-day meeting here in Bonn is the first since the Copenhagen summit concluded without the global treaty that many countries had aimed for, instead producing a political declaration known as the Copenhagen Accord.

As a well-known politician once said, the one thing we learn from history is that we never learn from history

Tosi Mpanu Mpanu, Africa Group of nations representative

Earth Watch - Richard Black's blog

The US and other rich countries see it as a positive development, but others decry it as a figleaf that detracts attention from the real issues.

Describing Copenhagen as "a total failure", Venezuela's delegation chief Claudia Salerno said the accord would not reduce emissions enough to prevent significant climate impacts on poorer countries.

"My country raised its voice against the misnomer 'Copenhagen Accord' because... it contains proposals for voluntary reductions in carbon emissions that according to scientists would lead to increases in temperature of about 5C (9F)," she said.

"So nobody should be congratulating themselves on that. The urgency we face now is even greater than 2009."

Not all analyses of the Copenhagen Accord's pledges on curbing carbon emissions produce such high estimates for temperature rise, but many of those pledges are far from precise.

Lessons of history

The US - which did not speak during the opening session here - has been the accord's principal champion, saying it "achieves a number of landmark outcomes".

Two men on a cart surrounded by smoke

The world's poorest nations are set to be hardest hit by rising temperatures

Its written submission to the UN climate convention (UNFCCC) backs "further formalisation of the accord" at this year's summit in Mexico, and says that "it will be difficult to find consensus around alternative proposals that depart from the accord understandings".

These statements have raised the hackles of developing countries, which interpret them as meaning that the US now sees the accord as the central global agreement and is not prepared to engage in anything that goes much beyond it.

"As a well-known politician once said, the one thing we learn from history is that we never learn from history," said Tosi Mpanu Mpanu from the Democratic Republic of Congo, speaking for the Africa Group of nations.

"The Africa Group believes that if we are to avoid a repetition of Copenahgen and repair this damaged process, then we must learn from Copenhagen."

And one of the lessons to learn, he continued, was that breaking away from formal inclusive negotiations and instead focusing on "a secret text put together by a selected few fundamentally broke the trust that is necessary for any partnership that aspires to be succesful and enduring".

Fernando Tudela, the Mexican delegate whose government will host this year's summit, referred to the need for "an authentic process of multilateral negotiations", with many others echoing his call.

Time and money

How and when these negotiations can happen, though, is another matter.

Developing country blocs called for at least three extra meetings this year - and perhaps as many as five - in addition to the regular fortnight in Bonn scheduled for June.

Staging all the extra meetings between the 2007 Bali summit and Copenhagen cost more than $30m (£19.5m), according to the UNFCCC secretariat; and governments would have to provide the money needed to hold another series.

Among wealthy nations, the EU appears the bloc most likely to engage with developing country concerns.

"We all need to frankly assess and examine the lessons learned last time," said Spain's Alicia Montalvo Santamaria, speaking for the EU, as Spain currently holds the presidency.

"The EU recognises the positive outcomes of the Copenhagen conference that gave important political guidance from the highest levels.

"However, the outcome did not reflect the EU's ambitions, and... we remain fully commited to negotiations with all parties in order to conclude a comprehensive global legal framework that allows us to stay below a rise of 2C (3.6F) since pre-industrial times."


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The Variable Energy Output of the Sun Appears to Be the Major Determinant of Decadal- to Millennial-Scale Global Climate Change Volume 4, Number 48: 28 November 2001


What is responsible for the approximate 1500-year cycle of global climate change that has been intensely studied in the region of the North Atlantic Ocean and demonstrated to prevail throughout glacial and interglacial periods alike? This is the question Bond et al. (2001) set out to answer in a study of ice-rafted debris found in three North Atlantic deep-sea sediment cores and cosmogenic nuclides (10Be and 14C) sequestered in the Greenland ice cap (10Be) and Northern Hemispheric tree rings (14C).

Based on arduous analyses of the deep-sea sediment cores that yielded the variable-with-depth amounts of three proven proxies for the prior presence of overlying drift-ice, the scientists were able to discern and, with the help of an accelerator mass spectrometer, date a number of recurring alternate periods of relative cold and warmth that wended their way through the entire 12,000-year expanse of the Holocene. The mean duration of the several complete climatic cycles thus delineated was 1340 years, the cold and warm nodes of the latter of which oscillations, in the words of Bond et al., were "broadly correlative with the so called 'Little Ice Age' and 'Medieval Warm Period'."

The signal accomplishment of the scientists' study was the linking of these millennial-scale climate oscillations - and their imbedded centennial-scale oscillations - with similar-scale oscillations in cosmogenic nuclide production, which are known to be driven by contemporaneous oscillations in the energy output of the sun. In fact, Bond et al. were able to report that "over the last 12,000 years virtually every centennial time-scale increase in drift ice documented in our North Atlantic records was tied to a solar minimum." In light of this observation they concluded that "a solar influence on climate of the magnitude and consistency implied by our evidence could not have been confined to the North Atlantic," suggesting that the cyclical climatic effects of the variable solar inferno are experienced throughout the world.

At this point of their paper, the international team of scientists had pretty much verified a number of things we have regularly reported on our website over the past several years, i.e., that in spite of the contrary claims of a host of climate alarmists, the Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Period were (1) real, (2) global, (3) solar-induced, and (4) but the latest examples of uninterrupted alternating intervals of relative cold and warmth that stretch back in time through glacial and interglacial periods alike. [For more information on topics 1-3, see Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Period in our Subject Index; for additional material on topic 3, see Solar Effects (Climate); for information on topic 4, see Climate Oscillations.]

Because these several subjects are of such great significance, particularly to the global warming debate that currently rages over the climate model-predicted consequences of anthropogenic CO2 emissions, Bond and his band of researchers went on to cite additional evidence in support of the implications of their work. With respect to the global extent of the climatic impact of the solar radiation variations they detected (topics 2 and 3 above, with 1 implied), they made explicit reference to confirmatory studies conducted in Scandinavia, Greenland, the Netherlands, the Faroe Islands, Oman, the Sargasso Sea, coastal West Africa, the Cariaco Basin, equatorial East Africa, and the Yucatan Peninsula, demonstrating thereby that "the footprint of the solar impact on climate we have documented extend from polar to tropical latitudes." Also in support of topic 3, they noted that "the solar-climate links implied by our record are so dominant over the last 12,000 years ... it seems almost certain that the well-documented connection between the Maunder solar minimum and the coldest decades of the LIA could not have been a coincidence," further noting that their findings support previous suggestions that both the Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Period "may have been partly or entirely linked to changes in solar irradiance."

Another point reiterated by Bond et al. is that the oscillations in drift-ice they studied "persist across the glacial termination and well into the last glaciation, suggesting that the cycle is a pervasive feature of the climate system." At two of their coring sites, in fact, they identified a series of such cyclical variations that extended throughout all of the previous interglacial and were "strikingly similar to those of the Holocene." Here they could also well have cited the work of Oppo et al. (1998), who observed similar climatic oscillations in a sediment core that covered the span of time from 340,000 to 500,000 years before present, and that of Raymo et al. (1998), who pushed back the time of the cycles' earliest known occurrence to well over one million years ago.

So how do the small changes in solar radiation inferred from the cosmogenic nuclide variations bring about such significant and pervasive shifts in earth's global climate? In answer to this question, which has long plagued proponents of a solar-climate link, Bond et al. describe a scenario whereby solar-induced changes high in the stratosphere are propagated downward through the atmosphere to the earth's surface, where they likely provoke changes in North Atlantic Deep Water formation that alter the global Thermohaline Circulation. In light of the plausibility of this scenario, they suggest that "the solar signals thus may have been transmitted through the deep ocean as well as through the atmosphere, further contributing to their amplification and global imprint."

Concluding their landmark paper, the authors say the results of their study "demonstrate that the earth's climate system is highly sensitive to extremely weak perturbations in the sun's energy output," noting that their work "supports the presumption that solar variability will continue to influence climate in the future." It is readily evident, therefore, that the study of Bond et al. provides ample ammunition for defending the premise that the global warming of the past century or so may well have been nothing more than the solar-mediated recovery of the earth from the chilly conditions of the most recent Little Ice Age, and that any further warming of the planet that might occur would likely be nothing more than a continuation of the same solar-mediated cycle that is destined to usher the globe into the next Medieval-like or Modern Warm Period. Consequently, since there's plenty of precedence for this scenario - it's happened over and over for more than a million years - and none for a warming of the planet as a consequence of atmospheric CO2 enrichment (see CO2-Temperature Correlations in our Subject Index), it would seem the height of folly to implement any energy policy that would restrict anthropogenic CO2 emissions for the avowed purpose of attempting to prevent future global warming. It's not CO2 that's been causing the earth to warm. It's the sun!


Dr. Sherwood B. Idso

President Dr. Keith E. Idso

Vice President


Bond, G., Kromer, B., Beer, J., Muscheler, R., Evans, M.N., Showers, W., Hoffmann, S., Lotti-Bond, R., Hajdas, I. and Bonani, G. 2001. Persistent solar influence on North Atlantic climate during the Holocene. Science 294: 2130-2136.

Oppo, D.W., McManus, J.F. and Cullen, J.L. 1998. Abrupt climate events 500,000 to 340,000 years ago: Evidence from subpolar North Atlantic sediments. Science 279: 1335-1338.

Raymo, M.E., Ganley, K., Carter, S., Oppo, D.W. and McManus, J. 1998. Millennial-scale climate instability during the early Pleistocene epoch. Nature 392: 699-702.

Edited by Greg Burnham
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Thank you for noting this important topic Greg. As everyone knows there are debates raging on this issue, largely because of the possible economic consequences of dealing with human induced global warming. There are many articles on the matter. This cyclical event is not discounted, but I think the author rather gleefully comes to a conclusion that conveniently brushes aside important factors yet must touch on them because he knows very well what the issues are : ''the authors say the results of their study "demonstrate that the earth's climate system is highly sensitive to extremely weak perturbations in the sun's energy output," noting that their work "supports the presumption that solar variability will continue to influence climate in the future." ''

The flaw really is in his dismissal at the end of the article where he leaps into a spectacular conclusion : ''It's not CO2 that's been causing the earth to warm. It's the sun!''


The way that recent human induced changes to the atmosphere, massive deforestation, even such a thing as changing the overall hue of the earth surface with manscapes, makes this so fragile ''highly sensitive to extremely weak perturbations in the sun's energy output'' more susceptible to the ''solar variability (that) will continue to influence climate in the future.".

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CO2 and Temperature: The Great Geophysical Waltz

Volume 2, Number 7: 1 April 1999


In a recent news release, NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies declared 1998 to be "a record temperature year," the warmest ever recorded during the period of instrumental temperature assessment. Likewise, in a new analysis of proxy temperature data, Mann et al. (1999) suggest that the past decade may well have been the warmest of the past millennium. And once again (see our Vol. 1, No. 1 editorial: Much Ado About Tiny Temperature Trends), we have the Goddard Institute for Space Studies' James Hansen being quoted as stating that "there should no longer be an issue about whether global warming is occurring, but what is the rate of warming, what is its practical significance, and what should be done about it."

In truth, there is no issue about whether the globe has warmed over the past century or so. Everyone accepts that it has warmed significantly, as the planet has recovered from the global chill of the Little Ice Age. There is also beginning to be a consensus about the practical significance of the warming. Growing seasons have lengthened and plant biomass formation has increased, as a result of both the warming and the concomitant increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration. So what should be done about it?

We suspect that very few people would want to turn back the climatic clock to the conditions that spelled the doom of the Viking colonists on Greenland and created extreme hardship in Northern Europe and elsewhere. Likewise, not many people have a problem with longer growing seasons and increased biomass production. So what's all the fuss about?

It's pretty much a tempest in a computerized teapot. For many years climate modelers have predicted that the ongoing rise in the air's CO2 content will intensify earth's natural greenhouse effect and boost surface air temperatures to levels that will create all sorts of planetary havoc, melting polar ice caps, raising sea levels, flooding some parts of the globe while turning others to deserts, reducing agricultural productivity, and on and on ad infinitum. And now the likes of James Hanson would have us believe that because atmospheric CO2 and global temperature have both been rising over the past century or so, the rise in atmospheric CO2 must be driving the warming that is asserted to be sure to bring on the worst of the apocalyptic predictions.

In assessing such claims, it is important to remember that correlation does not prove causation, and that causation, if it does exist, may well operate in reverse fashion from what one may have originally thought. Hence, it is important to have as much data as possible when attempting to evaluate claims of causal relationships between different parameters; and the last few weeks have given us a wealth of new data of just the type needed to determine if there is indeed any relationship between atmospheric CO2 concentration and surface air temperature.

Perhaps the most exciting new data come from Fischer et al. (1999), who examined records of atmospheric CO2 and air temperature derived from Antarctic ice cores that extended back in time across a quarter of a million years. Over this immense time span, the three most dramatic warming events experienced on earth were those associated with the terminations of the last three ice ages; and for each and every one of these tremendous global warmings, earth's air temperature rose well before there was any increase in atmospheric CO2. In fact, the air's CO2 content did not begin to rise until 400 to 1,000 years after the planet began to warm.

Clearly, increases in atmospheric CO2 did not trigger these massive climate changes. In addition, there was a 15,000-year period following the second of the glacial terminations when the air's CO2 content was essentially constant but air temperatures dropped all the way down to values characteristic of glacial times. Hence, just as increases in atmospheric CO2 did not trigger any of the major global warmings that lead to the demise of the last three ice ages, neither was the induction of the most recent ice age driven by a decrease in CO2. And when the air's CO2 content finally did begin to drop after the last ice age was fully established, air temperatures either remained fairly constant or actually rose, doing just the opposite of what the climate models suggest should have happened if changes in atmospheric CO2 drive climate change.

In much the same vein, Indermuhle et al. (1999) determined that after the termination of the last great ice age, the CO2 content of the air gradually rose by approximately 25 ppm in almost linear fashion between 8,200 and 1,200 years ago, over a period of time that saw a slow but steady decline in global air temperature, which is once again just the opposite of what would be expected if changes in atmospheric CO2 affect climate in the way affirmed by the popular CO2-greenhouse effect theory.

So who leads who? In the geophysical dance of carbon dioxide and temperature, which repeats itself every hundred thousand or so years, it is definitely not CO2. Sometimes the two parameters are totally out of sync with each other, as when one rises and the other falls. Sometimes one is in transit to a higher or lower level, while the other is in stasis. And even when they do move in harmony, temperature seems to take the lead.

Clearly, there is no way that these real-world observations can be construed to even hint at the possibility that a significant increase in atmospheric CO2 will necessarily lead to any global warming, much less the catastrophic type that is predicted to produce the apocalyptic consequences that are driving fear-ridden governments to abandon all sense of rationality in the current hysteria over "what should be done about" the ongoing rise in the air's CO2 content.

We need to get real about this issue. We need to look at real phenomena that have actually occurred in the real world. And in spite of all the computer simulations to the contrary, we have got to realize what these real data are really telling us. When this is done, the answer comes very simply, as simply as mastering the old-time waltz that the planet has been playing for a quarter million years or more. The key is in the interaction of the participants; when you know who leads, you can avoid a lot of missteps.

Dr. Craig D. Idso

President Dr. Keith E. Idso

Vice President


Fischer, H., Wahlen, M., Smith, J., Mastroianni, D. and Deck, B. 1999. Ice core records of atmospheric CO2 around the last three glacial terminations. Science 283: 1712-1714.

Indermuhle, A., Stocker, T.F., Joos, F., Fischer, H., Smith, H.J., Wahlen, M., Deck, B., Mastroianni, D., Tschumi, J., Blunier, T., Meyer, R. and Stauffer, B. 1999. Holocene carbon-cycle dynamics based on CO2 trapped in ice at Taylor Dome, Antarctica. Nature 398: 121-126.

Mann, M. 1999. Northern hemisphere temperatures during the past millennium: Inferences, uncertainties, and limitations. Geophysical Research Letters 26: 1759-1762


Edited by Greg Burnham
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Methane escaping from Arctic seafloor

Simon Butler

26 March 2010

Arctic researchers have found vast amounts of methane — a powerful greenhouse gas — are leaking from the seabed off the East Siberian coast. This is the first time a study has found so much methane escaping into the atmosphere from the ocean.

Results of a five-year study were published in the March 5 Science journal. It debunked the widely held view that the frozen arctic sea-floor prevented methane from escaping in large amounts.

It turns out that the seabed permafrost is perforated, allowing the gas to leak out.

Natalia Shakhova, a lead researcher on the study from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, told ScienceDaily.com on March 5: “It was thought that seawater kept the East Siberian Arctic Shelf permafrost frozen. Nobody considered this huge area.”

Past studies of methane emissions have focused on the Siberian mainland. A 2005 study revealed that warming temperatures due to climate change was causing the soil to thaw across western Siberia, turning frozen peat bogs into shallow lakes.

The August New Scientist said western Siberia’s peat bogs could hold up to 25% of the world’s methane stored in land.

Scientists are concerned that business-as-usual carbon pollution may raise temperatures enough to release vast amounts of methane from the Arctic. This would likely trigger a climate “tipping point” and lead to runaway climate change.

But the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, covering about 2 million square kilometres, could be an even bigger methane source. The Science paper estimated the Arctic seabed emits about 7 million tonnes a year.

“The amount of methane currently coming out of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf is comparable to the amount coming out of the entire world’s oceans”, said Shakova.

“Our concern is that the subsea permafrost has been showing signs of destabilisation already. If it further destabilises, the methane emissions ... would be significantly larger.”

Because this is the first study of its kind, nobody is sure if the methane emissions from the Arctic shelf are new. Shakova has called for follow-up studies to be made as soon as possible.

However, it is clear that the Arctic is warming faster than elsewhere on the globe.

The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA), an international research project of the Arctic Council and the International Arctic Science Committee, concluded that “five ACIA-designated models project that mean annual temperatures [in the East Siberia/Alaskan arctic region] will increase by 3-4ºC by the late 21st century”.

Meanwhile, Wired.com reported on March 16 that researchers from the University of Bristol found methane levels may be building up underneath the Antarctic ice sheet. This would mean substantial melting of Antarctica’s ice-sheet could also release big quantities of the powerful greenhouse gas.

From: International News, Green Left Weekly issue #832 31 March 2010.

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Global Warming: A Stratospheric Surprise


Solomon, S., Rosenlof, K., Portmann, R., Daniel, J., Davis, S., Sanford, T. and Plattner, G.-K. 2010. Contributions of stratospheric water vapor to decadal changes in the rate of global warming. Sciencexpress: 10.1126/science.1182488.


The authors write that "the trend in global surface temperatures has been nearly flat since the late 1990s despite continuing increases in the forcing due to the sum of the well-mixed greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, halocarbons, and N2O), raising questions regarding the understanding of forced climate change, its drivers, the parameters that define natural internal variability, and how fully these terms are represented in climate models."

What was done

Solomon et al. used observations of stratospheric water vapor concentration obtained over the period 1980-2008, together with detailed radiative transfer and modeling information, in order to calculate the global climatic impact of this important greenhouse gas and compare it with trends in mean global near-surface air temperature that were observed over the same time period.

What was learned

The seven scientists report that stratospheric water vapor concentrations decreased by about 10% after the year 2000; and their analysis indicates that this decrease should have slowed the rate of increase in global near-surface air temperature between 2000 and 2009 by about 25% compared to what would have been expected (on the basis of climate model calculations) due to measured increases in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases over the same time period. In addition, they found that "more limited data suggest that stratospheric water vapor probably increased between 1980 and 2000, which would have enhanced the decadal rate of surface warming during the 1990s by about 30% [above what it would have been without the stratospheric water vapor increase]."

What it means

In their concluding paragraph, Solomon et al. write that it is "not clear whether the stratospheric water vapor changes represent a feedback to global average climate change or a source of decadal variability." In either case, their findings elucidate a hugely important phenomenon that was not previously included in any prior analyses of global climate change. They also write that current climate models do not "completely represent the Quasi Biennial Oscillation [which has a significant impact on stratospheric water vapor content], deep convective transport [of water vapor] and its linkages to sea surface temperatures, or the impact of aerosol heating on water input to the stratosphere."

Consequently, in light of (1) Solomon et al.'s specific findings, (2) their listing of what current climate models do not do (which they should do), and (3) the questions they say are raised by the flat-lining of mean global near-surface air temperature since the late 1990s, it is premature in the extreme to think that we know enough about the intricate workings of earth's climate regulatory system to drastically reduce our CO2 emissions, especially in ways that would radically alter -- and in a negative manner -- the way we obtain the energy that sustains our modern societies.

Reviewed 7 April 2010

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While I don't have any firm opinion on climate change, as weather is something to be experienced and not argued over, Greg's friend John Costella seems to have a lot to say about the subject. - BK





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Recent Arctic Temperatures: Unusual or Nothing Special?

Volume 8, Number 2: 12 January 2005


A long succession of climate models has consistently suggested that CO2-induced global warming should be significantly amplified in earth's polar regions, and that the first signs of man's predicted impact on the world's weather should be manifest there. In the words of Meadows (2001), "the place to watch for global warming - the sensitive point, the canary in the coal mine - is the Arctic." So let's check it out and see just what level of warmth the Arctic has achieved over the past two decades, a period of time during which climate alarmists claim the earth attained a mean temperature that is unprecedented over the past one to two millennia.

Working with the Jones et al. and Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN) databases of the World Temperatures section of our website, we have calculated the difference between the ten-year mean maximum temperature of each 10-degree latitude band of the Northern Hemisphere that occurred somewhere between the late 1930s and early 1950s (mid-century Tmax) and the most recent ten-year mean maximum temperature (end-century Tmax) that occurred exclusively over the most recent ten years of the available records (1994-2003). The figure below depicts our results in the form of a graph of mid-century Tmax minus end-century Tmax vs. latitude, where the plotted data points are averages of the Jones et al. and GHCN results, except for the 80-90°N latitude belt, where there were insufficient data to obtain a result from the GHCN database.


As can be seen from this figure, the warmth of the last ten years (1994-2003) was indeed greater than that of the mid-20th century maximum everywhere from the equator to 70°N. In the Arctic, however, from 70°N to the pole, the earlier maximum was greater, and by a relatively large amount.

These instrumental temperature measurements create major problems for the world's climate alarmists. The real-world data either totally destroy their contention that "the place to watch for global warming - the sensitive point, the canary in the coal mine - is the Arctic," or, if this statement is true, they totally destroy their more basic premise, i.e., that CO2-induced global warming is occurring, for they reveal a significant cooling of the Arctic between 1940 and 1998 (the mean midpoints of the ten-year periods used to define the mid-century and end-century mean maximum temperatures of the Arctic), a stretch of time that witnessed the greatest increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration of the entire industrial era: a rise of 60 ppm, which constitutes close to 70% of the entire increase in atmospheric CO2 experienced from the inception of the Industrial Revolution through 1998.

Consequently, in response to the question posed in the title of our Editorial - Recent Arctic Temperatures: Unusual or Nothing Special? - we are forced to conclude they have indeed been nothing special. In addition, it should be obvious to even the most casual of observers that this finding argues strongly against the existence of a CO2-induced greenhouse effect that is anywhere near the magnitude of what is claimed by the world's climate alarmists, as that hypothesized phenomenon appears to be totally overpowered by natural decadal variations of the type that produced the warmer temperatures of the late 1930s to early 1950s and the cooler temperatures of the 1960s and 70s, from which the Arctic has yet to fully recover.

Sherwood, Keith and Craig Idso


Meadows, D.H. 2001. Polar bears and 3-year-olds on thin ice. AlterNet.org. Posted 6 February 2001

Recent Arctic Temperatures: Unusual or Nothing Special?

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[...]While I don't have any firm opinion on climate change, as weather is something to be experienced and not argued over, Greg's friend John Costella seems to have a lot to say about the subject. - BK [...]

John is relatively new to anthropogenic global warming/climate change [AGW] skepticism. However, I've been fighting this one for over 5 years. He recently wrote a very good paper (IMO) called: Why Climategate Is So Distressing To Scientists

In the final analysis, we probably don't yet have enough reliable data to make a more absolute judgment about AGW. However, we can make a judgment about the validity, or lack thereof, of the process employed by those who are making the assertions. The biggest problem has more to do with the methodology employed by the scientists within the so-called "Climate Science Community" than it does with their personal bias. Nearly all scientists will have some personal bias as a function of the human condition. However, reducing [if not eliminating] the negative correlation such bias potentially would have on discovering the truth, is a main purpose of the Scientific Method. When that process is abandoned the resultant conclusions are not necessarily wrong, but they are certainly unproved. Additionally, if such conclusions are resting upon data whose inception is spurious, and this suspect quality is known to those scientists conducting or reviewing the scientific papers, but has not been disclosed to the public nor challenged during peer review, by way of analogy, it would be tantamount to obstruction of justice in a criminal court. Moreover, the severity of this charge is compounded by the fact that the conclusions WERE challenged by peers within their own camp--and these scientists were ignored and their dissenting opinions were kept out of the final reports.

The case for AGW must be made by those (scientists [not politicians]) "accusing" CO2 of the "crime" of warming the globe. At this juncture, it is unscientific to assume that this trace element is responsible for this "crime". CO2 is not "guilty until proven innocent" as Al Gore would have us believe with his false claim that "there is a scientific consensus"--even though there clearly is none. So, the burden of proof is on those claiming AGW is real. In this case, if compared to the legal system, it would be thrown out of the court room with prejudice. But, it's not the legal system--so double jeopardy doesn't attach and, I fear, this will take a hell of a long time to sort out.

Edited by Greg Burnham
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Why the climate sceptics are wrong

Kamala Emanuel 22 August 2009

Family First Senator Steve Fielding returned from a US international climate deniers' conference in June, armed with a shonky graph and some dodgy questions.

Fielding has used these tools of climate scepticism to try to reignite doubt about the science of global warming.

The questions, the answers from climate change minister Penny Wong and her scientific advisors, and the counter-response from Fielding's advisors formed the basis for numerous blog posts and news articles.

The problem confronting climate scientists is that when it comes to responding to the so-called "sceptics", they're damned if they do and damned if they don't.

To respond risks giving credibility to pseudo-science.

This was the position taken by Australian National University's Professor Will Steffen. Steffen is the executive director of the ANU Climate Change Institute.

Fielding invited him to debate climate sceptics Bob Carter and Jay Lehr, to "brief" senators, the day before the vote on the government's emissions trading scheme.

Although they are scientists (a marine geologist and hydrologist, respectively), neither "sceptic" has published peer-reviewed climate research.

After copping flak for his refusal, Steffen released his July 22 letter to Fielding, which included a damning assessment of the lack of scientific rigour displayed by the sceptics.

In part he said: “<193> you state in your letter that ‘it is important that all Senators are given the opportunity to hear both sides of the debate <193>’ In terms of the relationship between carbon dioxide (and other greenhouse gases) and global warming, there is no debate in the climate change research community.

“That the Earth’s surface is warming is unequivocal, and there is also strong agreement amongst the vast majority of climate change scientists that anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases <193> are the primary cause for the warming observed since the middle of last century.

“The counter argument put forward by Professor Carter and his colleagues do not constitute the ‘other side of a scientific debate’. In fact, based on the written documentation that I have seen <193> these counter arguments do not constitute credible science.

“These documents demonstrate a serious misunderstanding of climate science and processes for assessing that science; they also contain violations of the fundamental principles of sound statistical analysis.

“In addition, there are numerous examples of flawed logic, misleading and inaccurate statements, and confused and inconsistent analyses. In my professional opinion and experience, science students at the ANU would be expected to do much better than this <193>

“My participation in your proposed event would thus send precisely the wrong message to your colleagues in the Senate”, Steffen said.

Climate deniers often accuse others of shying away from the debate, having something to fear from open discussion, or lacking the answers. In reality, the answers have long ago been provided — but the distortions, half-truths and fabrications keep being recycled.

There is an added problem in engaging in public debate with climate deniers. Many sceptics employ “debating” techniques designed to win over audiences, rather than advance the development of evidence-based knowledge.

Such techniques have been developed by creationists — exaggerating the significance of inconsistencies or gaps in existing knowledge; refusing to respond to glaring holes in their arguments; and continuing to use untrue arguments long after they have been refuted.

Australian geologist Ian Plimer, a critic of creationism and author of Telling Lies for God, has apparently borrowed his method of climate denial from his former sparring partners.

British journalist George Monbiot has come up with a tactic that is proving effective. He criticised Plimer's recent climate sceptic book Heaven and Earth.

Plimer challenged Monbiot to a public debate. Monbiot agreed — on the proviso that Plimer agree to write “precise and specific responses to his critics' points in the form of numbered questions”. Monbiot sent the questions to Plimer and posted them on his blog on August 6.

The questions present a series of alleged distortions in Plimer's book. Monbiot said he made the selection because: "These statements are either right or wrong, sourced or unsourced. They are critical to your argument. If they turn out to be false, they torpedo your thesis. If your claims are correct, you should be able to answer my questions briefly and easily.”

So far Plimer has not answered the questions. The longer he goes without responding, the clearer it is that his claims are baseless.

There are numerous excellent responses to the climate sceptics. For the non-specialists who find papers in Nature, Science or the Journal of Geophysical Research hard to follow, there a number of useful websites.

A small sample of these include Realclimate.org, Skepticalscience.com and the classic “How to Talk to a Climate Change Skeptic” available on Scienceblogs.com.

Professional climate sceptics trade on their scientific credentials to present pseudo-scientific dogma to raise doubt about climate change. In the face of the evidence of global warming, we have to ask why they do it.

Like the apologists for the tobacco industry before them, the professional climate denialists serve the vested interests of wealthy corporations that stand to lose from widespread acceptance of the evidence. Only this time, the stakes are even higher.

From: Comment & Analysis, Green Left Weekly issue #808 26 August 2009.

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Why the climate sceptics are wrong

[...] British journalist George Monbiot has come up with a tactic that is proving effective. He criticised Plimer's recent climate sceptic book Heaven and Earth.

Plimer challenged Monbiot to a public debate. Monbiot agreed — on the proviso that Plimer agree to write “precise and specific responses to his critics' points in the form of numbered questions”. Monbiot sent the questions to Plimer and posted them on his blog on August 6.

The questions present a series of alleged distortions in Plimer's book. Monbiot said he made the selection because: "These statements are either right or wrong, sourced or unsourced. They are critical to your argument. If they turn out to be false, they torpedo your thesis. If your claims are correct, you should be able to answer my questions briefly and easily.”

Again, as I stated above, the BURDEN OF PROOF is on those [AGW scientists] who are making the positive assertion that human activity is causing Global Warming. The burden is NOT on those who are critical of that conjecture. IOW, skeptics need not attempt to PROVE A NEGATIVE. In order to expose the flaw in the original positive assertion, one need only demonstrate the procedural lack of conforming to the Scientific Method employed by those offering the original theory. If additional flaws in the theory exist (and I think they do, but even if they don't) they serve to compound, indeed they serve to confirm, the fundamental flaw of allowing personal bias to dictate "rules of engagement" in which arbitrary cherry picking, if you will, from the Scientific Method's accepted procedures is condoned.

So far Plimer has not answered the questions. The longer he goes without responding, the clearer it is that his claims are baseless. [...]

That is a fallacious conclusion. It is also hypocritical for the author to earlier claim that the refusal of AGW scientists to engage in debate with the skeptics was for the purpose of not giving credibility to pseudo-science, yet, when a skeptic does not immediately indicate whether or not he is willing to accept the terms of a proposed debating format, his claims are summarily dismissed as baseless! One cannot have it both ways. If such lack of response (to an invitation to debate) is tantamount to proof of baseless claims in the one instance, so too, such refusal (to accept an invitation to debate) is similarly proof of baseless claims. The author has cited one skeptic's lack of response as proof of the "baselessness of his claims" but--he has also cited, presumably, the refusal of every AGWist that has ever been invited to debate (which number is far greater than one) as proof of the AGW's interest in safe guarding everyone from pseudo-science! Given the weight of the author's own (albeit flawed) argument, if either side's expressed claims are baseless, it is clearly those of the AGW. My conclusion is founded upon the author's own LOGIC and argument and it is inescapable.

Edited by Greg Burnham
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This isn't a court. Climate Change Skeptics draw on studies for their arguments. As you stated above, the burden is on them to scientifically support their conclusions. If they cannot, except by claiming they have no need to do so, they enter the field where as referenced to the indefensible tobacco industries lobby groupings counterstudies have indeed been shown to be peudo science. The Climate Skeptics will enter the dustbins of history just like the pro tobacco lobby has, and, fortunately, Costella and co with them.

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Why make this personal? I have not. The point is that skeptics who are QUALIFIED scientists have a standing. Yet, none of them made the original positive assertion! There is nothing for the skeptical scientists to [dis]prove yet, if ever, since the original assertion is based upon flawed methodology and therefore impeaches itself (at least in its present form). Can you not see that?

As an example: If I was a scientist with a specialty in quantum mechanics and I--with a group of similarly qualified scientists--wrote a series of papers that claimed the cause of Global Warming was due to decay in the orbit of the Earth around the Sun, and that the decay was reversable by spending hundreds of billions (if not trillions) of dollars on further RESEARCH into ways of controlling the consumption of green vegetables. Furthermore, I and my group of scientists refused to supply our data and procedures to other qualified scientists in the skeptics corner. How are the skeptics expected to adequately attempt to replicate the experiments?

Now, would proving this theory be the responsibility of those who were making this original, positive, assertion--we'll call them the "Orbital Decay Theorists"? -- Would it be on them to make their case? Afterall, they still believe in AGW, just due to a different cause (not CO2, but green veggie consumption negatively effecting orbit). So should we require them to offer real proof (duplicatable) or should we just buy it (to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars) and force the QUALIFIED scientists who are skeptics to DIS-prove it?

Court of law or not, the answer is obvious...and therein lies the rub. Many people believe that the science is actually settled. Upon what information do they base this belief though? It is clearly not settled when the data used by the scientists making the claim has been witheld from the public and even from other scientists who are attempting to replicate the results! I'm not making this up and it is very important! They even ignored FOIA requests in violation of the law. Why?

It's interesting to note that Gore claims that there is a scientific consensus on the subject. I have two comments to make. The first almost shouldn't count because the second is the relevant one. But, firstly, there is no consensus. The following was signed by over 31,000 scientists (over 9,000 with PhD's) which clearly refutes the claim of a "consensus" on AGW:


Petition Project

Secondly, and most importantly, even if there was a consensus: Science is not discovered by consensus -- It wasn't in Galileo's time and it isn't now. Scientific truth stands or falls on its own merit not by a "show of hands". Yet, in this case the science hasn't even been allowed to be challenged by disinterested third parties composed of qualified scientists because the data and procedures have been kept hidden from all except those within the inner circle, and they stand to benefit from offering their endorsement to the project.

This isn't a court. Climate Change Skeptics draw on studies for their arguments. As you stated above, the burden is on them to scientifically support their conclusions. If they cannot, except by claiming they have no need to do so, they enter the field where as referenced to the indefensible tobacco industries lobby groupings counterstudies have indeed been shown to be peudo science. The Climate Skeptics will enter the dustbins of history just like the pro tobacco lobby has, and, fortunately, Costella and co with them.
Edited by Greg Burnham
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