The Pope goes all in on environmental issues

Pope Francis published his encyclical Laudato Si  (“praise to you,” from the first words of the document), fully embracing the environmentalist cause.  It warns of global warming, says man is responsible, and calls for sweeping changes to save the earth.  It also, as we will blog tomorrow, makes some sweeping theological changes that constitute a major change in Western Christianity.

You can read the entire document in English here.  After the jump is a news account.  Then I want to pose some questions for our discussion. [Read more...]

ABC’s predictions for June, 2015

We often make predictions here at the Cranach blog, but we also do what often does not happen elsewhere:  we check them.  So it’s fitting to consider the predictions of some ABC programming seven years ago, projecting what June, 2015 would be like.  Gas was supposed to be over $9 a gallon.  Milk cost $13.  And New York City would be underwater.  Among other things.

See one of the videos and read an account of the predictions after the jump. [Read more...]

Prosecuting global warming skeptics

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) says that some global warming sceptics should be prosecuted under RICO  (the Racketeer Influenced & Corrupt Organizations act).  He argues that some of the anti-global warming research is funded by energy companies, which is what Big Tobacco did in funding research that played down the health hazards of smoking, which brought down the wrath of RICO.  That statute has also been used against pro-life activists, with the approval of the Supreme Court.  We are seeing how unpopular ideas can be criminalized.

You have to read the estimable Mark Hemingway’s response to Sen. Whitehouse’s op-ed piece, linked to and excerpted after the jump. [Read more...]

The failure of reality to match up with computer models

The ice caps are supposed to be melting.  But the ice in Antarctica is at record levels.  And the ice at the North Pole, after declining for awhile, is back to normal levels.  So reports a British newspaper, the Register.  I’m struck, though, by a comment in the article that cites,  “This failure of reality to match up with climate modelling.”

That “reality” has somehow failed is rather humorous.  Isn’t computer modelling dependent on what data is programmed into the model?  And isn’t reality always going to be more complex than a model, with far more variables, many of which are unknown to the researcher?  [Read more...]

Accounting for the “pause” in global warming

Scientists admit that there has been no global warming between 1998 and 2013, even though the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has continued to increase.  A new study claims to account for this so-called “pause” in global warming.  It turns out, there are “natural fluctuations” in the climate.  Who knew?

The scientists claim that a little cooling blip has cooled things off in the last decade or so, but that the global warming will soon resume.  Read about the findings after the jump.

But doesn’t this research miss the point?  Does invoking “natural fluctuation” really give us a cause?  What causes the fluctuations, and if they are “natural,” might they account for other temperature phenomena, including those blamed on human agency?  More fundamentally, if greenhouse gasses can increase without making the temperature of the earth go up, doesn’t that suggest that there may be problems with the assumptions behind the computer modeling that give us the dire global warming forecasts? [Read more...]

Obama enacts carbon restrictions despite Congress

Congress has refused to pass legislation restricting carbon emissions, so President Obama is doing it on his own.  He has decreed what is being called a “war on coal”:

The Obama administration took aim at the coal industry on Monday by mandating a 30 percent cut in carbon emissions at fossil fuel-burning power plants by 2030 — despite claims the regulation will cost nearly a quarter-million jobs a year and force plants across the country to close. [Read more...]