Global Warming, New Study

From Joe Romm:

With the added bit to this story that these are reports from those who have been skeptical of human-caused global warming trends.

“The decadal land-surface average temperature using a 10-year moving average of surface temperatures over land. Anomalies are relative to the Jan 1950 – December 1979 mean. The grey band indicates 95% statistical and spatial uncertainty interval.” A Koch-funded reanalysis of 1.6 billion temperature reports finds that “essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases.”

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • JHM

    We need to be a little careful about the “Koch-funded” part of this. The Charles G. Koch Foundation contributed $150,000 of the $635,000 total funding. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Fund for Innovative Climate and Energy Research (created by Bill Gates) also contributed, for instance. You could call it “bi-partisan” I guess.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Unsurprisingly, there is a similar dynamic going on here as there is on the gun control issue. On gun control one of the commenters on this blog said that it is unfortunate that we cannot get past the point where we admit that having lots of guns contributes to gun deaths and start to discuss what good laws would look like to control guns. Same thing has been going on here, where the right is denying the possibility that it is happening never allowing us to get to the point of having an intelligent conversation about what actions would make sense to combat the trend.

  • David M.

    As long as we’re being specific, JHM, we could note that the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation was the largest contributor to the first phase of the study. The next highest contribution to the first phase was $100,000. In addition, the author of the study, Richard Muller, has been a vocal skeptic with regard to the human contribution to global warming – many of the people who are convinced global warming is a hoax point to Muller’s work as confirmation of their beliefs.

    My prediction is that this new study will change very few minds on the subject. Climate change deniers will minimize the level of funding from Koch and regard Muller as having somehow been swayed by that shadowy conspiracy of scientists who have, however improbably, allowed their ideological commitments to overshadow the data.

  • http://jesus.scilla.org.uk/ Chris Jefferies

    DRT (2) writes ‘the right is denying the possibility that it is happening never allowing us to get to the point of having an intelligent conversation about what actions would make sense to combat the trend’.

    Maybe so in the USA, but internationally and for most of us that intelligent conversation has been going on not for years but for decades. By far the most effective action would be a large cut in the world’s population; that’s not very practical, of course. It would ameliorate many issues – species loss, habitat loss and quality, depletion of resources, etc, etc, etc.

    On global warming, carbon capture and clean energy seem to be high on the list of things to focus on. Nuclear energy seems essential as part of the solution in the near term.

    The state of the planet is dire in so many ways – and we were told to take care of it :-(

  • Tom

    “…essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases.”

    How do we know this? Greenhouse gases are a natural part of the atmosphere, how do you distinguish between human emissions and “natural”?

    Climate change is always happening.
    Climate change is natural.
    Climate change is not catastrophic.
    Climate change cannot be controlled.
    Climate change is used by special interest groups.

    Humans should spend time, resources, and brain power on learning to adapt.

  • Jason Lee

    Tom, have you looked to see if climate change scientists or the author of this study address how they distinguish between human emissions and “natural”? Seems like a basic question thousands of scientists who’ve spent their lives studying a topic might have given some thought to.

    The statements following your question are highly debatable. If climate change is used by special interest groups, this doesn’t decide for us if it’s truly happening or not. Many ideas that are false or true are used by a variety of groups. Just because information is used by a group to achieve a certain end, does not make the information false.

  • http://davidbrush.com David Brush

    Given the choice between believing something on a fear-based level or on a data-based level I find most people default to fear as their motivator. The data says we should change our ways, the fear says if I change my ways my way of life, economic advantage, theology, philosophy, etc. are called into question.

    The polarization in our country at so many levels is so high; at some point it is going to break and it isn’t going to be pretty when it happens. As Christians there is no more important time in US history for those of us that follow Christ to find the way of peace, or like Jesus’ Lament over Jerusalem we might well find our time is too late, the bridegroom has come and there is no oil in our lamp…

    I honestly can say that this data will not change anyone’s mind; but if it does I hope it is not too late.

  • Rick Cina

    Carbon is the “greenhouse gas emission” referred to as being emitted primarily by humans, right? Isn’t it true that only a very small fraction of the earth’s atmosphere is made up of carbon (something like 380 parts per million). The rest is mostly water vapor. And isn’t it true that of that small fraction of atmospheric carbon, the vast majority of carbon emissions comes from the oceans, erupting volcanoes, decaying plant and animal life, etc.? How then, can most of the “climate change” be due to human activity?

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    David Brush, I too think that there is fear, but the fear is in being rejected by their chosen flock.

    I still cannot understand how people can think that they are being conservative when they do not want to conserve the global ecosystem. It is just beyond me.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Rick Cina,

    The problem is that the world is a very complicated environment so people who want to have an intuitive understanding really need to do research. I suggest starting here.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming

    If I put a little bit of fertilizer on my yard the grass turns green. Is that intuitive? Not really.

  • Rick Cina

    DRT,
    Could you respond specifically to my question? What percentage of the earth’s atmosphere is carbon? And what percentage of the carbon released into the atmosphere comes from warmed oceans, volcanoes, decaying plant and animal life?

  • Ron Spross

    At Rick Cina (#8): It is correct that the concentration of atmospheric CO2 is “merely” 380 parts per million (up from 280 ppm pre-industrial levels). HOWEVER, there are many things which have an effect that are completely out of proportion to their amounts. If 380 ppm of anything is so small that it could have no effect, then surely you would think nothing of putting 380 parts per million of strychnine in your morning coffee (please read up on lethal doses of that substance before you take me up on that).

    As far as the cause of the increase in CO2 during the last two centuries, it is actually approximately 50% less than what would be expected by computing the total amount of fossil fuel emissions during that time, the balance being reabsorbed, evidently, in the biosphere and the oceans (which is another problem). That the observed increase is due to fossil fuel emissions rather than some other non-human source has also been shown through isotopic analysis.

    The earth absorbs energy from the sun around the visible range of the electromagnetic spectrum, and then cools by emitting the same amount of energy at longer infrared wavelengths. Whereas the primary constituents of the atmosphere – the diatomic gases oxygen and nitrogen, along with the monatomic argon – are transparent to the wavelengths of interest, the more complex molecules of CO2, H2O, CH4 (methane), etc. are not transparent. CO2 has a huge effect, and this is observable in high altitude and satellite measurements of the radiation from the earth. It is not trivial, and it is not uncertain. Unfortunately, graphics cannot be included in comments, otherwise I would paste in a picture. A schematic is here: http://earthguide.ucsd.edu/virtualmuseum/images/RadiationSpectrumEmittedFromSun.html

    There is a natural greenhouse effect due to the presence of CO2 independent of human activity. Without this natural effect, the earth would be mostly if not completely frozen and inhospitable to anything like life as we know it (this is not speculation, but a well understood result of fundamental physics). The degree of the greenhouse effect depends on the concentration of CO2 (and other greenhouse gases), and humans are increasing the concentration enough that this is measurably affecting the average temperature and the climate of the earth.

    If you have the time and inclination to pursue the matter, you can download figures from the book A First Course in Atmospheric Physics, by Grant W. Perry, among which are a number of plots of the infrared emission spectrum of the earth, clearly showing the significant effects of the various greenhouse gases. http://www.sundogpublishing.com/shop/a-first-course-in-atmospheric-radiation-2nd-ed/

  • Jerry

    Chris (4), interesting that you mention the nuke option. I happen to agree but how do we get past the fear?

  • http://jesus.scilla.org.uk/ Chris Jefferies

    Rick Cina (11) – None of the Earth’s atmosphere is carbon. Carbon is a black solid material. The gas you are referring to is actually carbon dioxide. This article – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide_in_Earth's_atmosphere – includes a chart showing that the atmosphere would have contained about 390 parts per million (ppm) in 2010, but had only 315 ppm at the end of the 1950s. That’s about a 50 year span during which the concentration has increased about 25%.

    This is a huge increase in a very short time. The really scary thing about the graph is the yearly change. You see those little wobbles? They represent the annual increase in the winter and decrease in the summer. And every single year shows the level has gone up again. It’s growing so fast that the minimum levels in one year are higher than the maximum three years previously.

    In its natural, balanced state the inputs from warmed oceans, volcanoes and organic decay were the same size as the recapture in the form of seashells, fallen timber etc being trapped under ocean sediment or in anaerobic wetlands.

    All of the increase in the graph is the result of fossil fuel burning.

  • http://jesus.scilla.org.uk/ Chris Jefferies

    Jerry (13) – We get over the fear of nuclear energy by having DRT (2)’s intelligent conversation over and over again. One of the things that conversation will reveal is that we should be FAR more scared of global warming than we are of nuclear energy.

    It’ll take time (that we don’t have) and it may not work. And even if it does I have the strong feeling we have already left it far, far too late.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Rick Cina –

    Air is:

    Nitrogen — N2 — 78.084%
    Oxygen — O2 — 20.9476%
    Argon — Ar — 0.934%
    Carbon Dioxide — CO2 — 0.0314%
    Neon — Ne — 0.001818%
    Methane — CH4 — 0.0002%
    Helium — He — 0.000524%
    Krypton — Kr — 0.000114%
    Hydrogen — H2 — 0.00005%
    Xenon — Xe — 0.0000087%
    Ozone — O3 — 0.000007%
    Nitrogen Dioxide — NO2 — 0.000002%
    Iodine — I2 — 0.000001%
    Carbon Monoxide — CO — trace
    Ammonia — NH3 — trace

    As you can see none if it is pure carbon. Carbon is not the culprit in greenhouse effects.

    I was unable to locate a table that lists the relative contribution of greenhouse gasses, and this is fine by me because of the overwhelming scientific consensus surrounding the conclusion. This article give a good overview of that consesus.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change

    Now if you are not willing to believe the scientific consensus, then there is nothing I can do to help you. That is the way our society works. People specialize in various subjects, come up with conclusions and we act on it.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    I was able to find something that may help you

    Gas Preindustrial level Current level Increase since 1750 Radiative forcing (W/m2)
    Carbon dioxide 280 ppm 396 ppm 116 ppm 1.46
    Methane 700 ppb 1745 ppb 1045 ppb 0.48
    Nitrous oxide 270 ppb 314 ppb 44 ppb 0.15
    CFC-12 0 533 ppt 533 ppt 0.17

    The article is here

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_gas

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    …and here is the paragraph that will likely be most applicable to your question:

    Since about 1750 human activity has increased the concentration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Measured atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide are currently 100 ppm higher than pre-industrial levels.[41] Natural sources of carbon dioxide are more than 20 times greater than sources due to human activity,[42] but over periods longer than a few years natural sources are closely balanced by natural sinks, mainly photosynthesis of carbon compounds by plants and marine plankton. As a result of this balance, the atmospheric mole fraction of carbon dioxide remained between 260 and 280 parts per million for the 10,000 years between the end of the last glacial maximum and the start of the industrial era.

    In english, that means that the naturally occurring causes seem to be in a steady state balance that does not increase the net level. Given that we are seeing significant (per the table in my previous response) increases since the industrial revolution we believe that the effect is likely due to human sources. Therefore, it is like adding water to a full bucket. While the bucket already has a lot in it, the difference in adding is enough to take it over the top.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Goodness, I now see that Chris Jefferies #14 cited a more direct answer than I did. Good job.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    …and Ron Spross#13 said what I said more concisely. I should read the other comments first…..

  • saladyears

    I’ve often asked this question of those who deny that AGW is happening and never get a straight reply. The question is simple:

    What would convince you that climate change is a) happening and b) man-made?

    If the person is committed to a non-ideological, scientific understanding of what is happening, then this question should be fairly easy to answer. There should be some criteria that they would deem as undeniable that a scientific consensus has been established. Usually, though, the answer is “nothing,” because the person is committed to an ideology and not evidence. People don’t generally like to say that out loud, though.

  • JamesT

    Is it true that the polar ice caps are melting on Mars? What’s that all about? SUVs?

  • Rick Cina

    “CO2 has a huge effect, and this is observable in high altitude and satellite measurements of the radiation from the earth. It is not trivial, and it is not uncertain.”

    You’re certain of the huge causal effect CO2 has on temperature? Here’s a paragraph from an article that suggests something else. (The whole article is worth a look too.)

    http://www.co2science.org/about/position/globalwarming.php

    “In thus considering the seven greatest temperature transitions of the past half-million years – three glacial terminations and four glacial inceptions – we note that increases and decreases in atmospheric CO2 concentration not only did not precede the changes in air temperature, they followed them, and by hundreds to thousands of years! There were also long periods of time when atmospheric CO2 remained unchanged, while air temperature dropped, as well as times when the air’s CO2 content dropped, while air temperature remained unchanged or actually rose. Hence, the climate history of the past half-million years provides absolutely no evidence to suggest that the ongoing rise in the air’s CO2 concentration will lead to significant global warming.”

  • Rick Cina

    “I’ve often asked this question of those who deny that AGW is happening and never get a straight reply. The question is simple:

    What would convince you that climate change is a) happening and b) man-made?”

    Global warming is happening. It’s a little more than 1 degree warmer now than it was 100 years ago. Global warming was also happening during the Medieval Warming Period 1,000 years ago, when global temperatures were much higher than they are now. But the idea that humans have and have had a far more of an effect on global temperatures than the sun (!), oceans, water vapor in the atmosphere…combined, is borderline laughable to me. It’s hubris to think that we humans can have that much of an effect on the earth’s atmospheric temperatures.

    I’m reminded of the George Carlin bit on the ridiculousness of thinking we humans can save the planet. Here’s a transcript of the gist of it (that’s surprisingly clean):

    “Compared to the people, the planet is doing great. Been here four and a half billion years. Did you ever think about the arithmetic? The planet has been here four and a half billion years. We’ve been here, what, a hundred thousand? Maybe two hundred thousand? And we’ve only been engaged in heavy industry for a little over two hundred years. Two hundred years versus four and a half billion. And we have the CONCEIT to think that somehow we’re a threat? That somehow we’re gonna put in jeopardy this beautiful little blue-green ball that’s just a-floatin’ around the sun?

    The planet has been through a lot worse than us. Been through all kinds of things worse than us. Been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles…hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worlwidefloods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages…And we think some plastic bags, and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference? The planet…the planet…the planet isn’t going anywhere. WE ARE!”

  • Mike M

    Thanks for the link Rick Cina. I hate graphs. You can make-up any correlation you want using them but you can’t make them prove causation. The sad part is, most people look at a graph like that and see causation.

  • http://krusekronicle.com Michael W. Kruse

    DRT #9

    “I still cannot understand how people can think that they are being conservative when they do not want to conserve the global ecosystem. It is just beyond me.”

    Many of the public faces who were popularizing the concerns about warming early on had very clear political agendas, often quite radical. Instead of asking “We have a global problem. How can we rally people to address it?” too often a posture was taken “We have a global problem. How can we use this to advance our political agenda?” Michael Hulme (“Why We Disagree About Climate Change”) is an environmental scientist who freely admits that in the late eighties and into the nineties that the latter was his approach. In addition to teaching teaching the science of climate change, he used the issue as a tool to beat up on the Thatcherite politics and to advance his political views. He was far from alone. He repents of having used his influence in the way he did (but he still holds the same views he held then.) Consequently, climate change became closely identified with agendas that wanted to radically reshape political, social, and economic structures.

    The conservative impulse is to conserve. There is a belief that there is considerable collective wisdom represented in institutions that have emerged and that those institutions are worth conserving. But there is also the realization that institutions and societies change. A wooden preservation of the past structures will ultimately be disastrous. So conservation is not about resisting all change but about being appropriately adaptive and resisting radical solutions that wholesale throw out the received wisdom of the past. Conservatives are unwilling to throw out (not conserve) the institutions that have generated human flourishing in order to save the environment.

    Many early climate changers were adamantly demanding the radical solutions to wholesale alter our human institutions. The conservatives went into conserve mode. The blatant politicization has caused many conservatives to then become suspicious about the veracity of the science altogether. Conservatives do need to look at climate change more seriously but I suspect that will only happen when the weight of the conversation turns away from radicalism and name calling and toward practical and prudent responses. I think this has been the aim of groups like the Copenhagen Consensus, which I support.

  • Rick Cina

    Chris Jeffries,
    “None of the Earth’s atmosphere is carbon.”
    Yes, I realize that. I had assumed you would understand that when I said “carbon,” I really meant carbon dioxide. I was truncating it in the same way that we say “carbon footprint” and “carbon credits” instead of adding the other word. Al Gore typically doesn’t use the word “dioxide” when talking about the subject either. But…I’ll use “CO2″ from here on.

    “All of the increase in the graph is the result of fossil fuel burning.”

    You state this as if it is an indisputable fact. But all you have is correlation (and a weak one at that) between temperature and CO2. You have absolutely no proof that CO2 levels actually CAUSE temperature changes. You also don’t have proof that an increase in CO2 levels actually *preceded* (and didn’t lag behind) air temperature changes—a requisite for proving causation.

    And to say that “all” of the increase in CO2 concentration is due to humans burning fossil fuels means that you actually think that the sun, the oceans, the soil, plants, animals, volcanic eruptions…have had absolutely nothing to do with CO2 levels over the last few hundred years. Do you really want to stand by the simplistic (and unscientific) humans-alone-have-caused-the-earth-to-warm position? Is there no possibility that other factors might have played a role?

    Graphs can pretty much say whatever you want them to say by zooming in or zooming out or changing how close together you put the years or numeric levels. McIntyre’s hockey stick graph that has been thoroughly debunked has demonstrated that.

    Here is a graph (and its subset) that shows the opposite of what your graph does about CO2 levels and temperature.

    http://i1264.photobucket.com/albums/jj484/rlcina71/Phanerozoic_Carbon_Dioxide.jpg
    “At this scale, there is really no apparent correlation between carbon dioxide levels and global temperatures. What’s more, there have been ice ages when CO2 has been as much as 10 to 15 times higher than modern levels (for example the end-Ordovician Ice Age). There have also been times when temperature was increasing but CO2 was decreasing and times when CO2 was increasing but temperatures decreasing (during the Silurian and Devonian and during the Triassic and Jurassic, respectively).”

    So…using this graph—which is indexed to millions of years instead of hundreds—will you still say with certainty that humans burning fossil fuels are the sole cause of CO2 concentration level changes, Chris Jefferies?

  • http://jesus.scilla.org.uk/ Chris Jefferies

    Rick (27) – Yes, I still say with certainty that fossil fuel burning is the cause of the current rapid increase. Perhaps you haven’t yet grasped the huge rate of increase. 25% in 50 years is way, way faster than any change in the longer term (millions of years) data. We are effectively conducting a huge and uncontrolled experiment in atmospheric manipulation and the results are already coming in loud and clear.

    All the points you make have been very thoroughly debunked in the scientific literature. I’m not about to go through through those arguments again here. But a good place to begin reading is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming_controversy – the article provides plenty of references.

    More than anything, we need to have a calm debate about what can be done, and just as urgently we need to recognise that whatever our conclusions individually, we are brothers and sisters in Christ first and disussers and arguers second; it’s a very poor second at that.

  • http://jesus.scilla.org.uk/ Chris Jefferies

    Here’s a further thought.

    Most of those who deny anthropogenic global warming (AGW) are US citizens. Why is that, does anyone have any idea? Is there something about US culture that has made such denial more likely?

    And not related, but in a similar vein, most deniers of AGW are not professional scientists. And among climate scientists in particular, less than 3% are deniers. Why? Is it rational to try to explain this as some kind of conspiracy?

    I’m really interested to hear thoughts on these questions.

  • Fish

    I never understand people who look at science and say “I don’t believe that.” Science is not God — personal beliefs are irrelevant.

    The US is like a homeowner who is told by 95% of roofers that the roof is going to start leaking, but because we don’t like that inconvenient outcome we instead trust the 5% who tell us what we want to hear.

    The bottom line is that the lush Southern treescape where I currently live is going to look like West Texas to my grandchildren. And for us, the people reading this blog right now, to leave that legacy to our descendants is a terrible thing.

  • Ron Spross

    Rick (#27) says, “So…using this graph—which is indexed to millions of years instead of hundreds—will you still say with certainty that humans burning fossil fuels are the sole cause of CO2 concentration level changes, Chris Jefferies?” The graph covers hundreds of millions of years. Time scales commensurate with the geologic processes are important, hundred of millions of years includes major tectonic events (among other things) and it is inappropriate to fail to discriminate among them when considering whether the current increase in CO2 is anomalous or not.

    The facts are that during the last 800 thousand years, and probably the last two million or more, the earth has regularly oscillated between ice ages and warm “interglacial” periods. The reasons for this are not as important here as is the fact that it is this periodic, regular oscillation between ice and not ice that is natural in “recent” geologic time. And it is this natural time scale that is important for us. CO2 changes naturally by 100 ppm between ice ages and interglacials. This is the same absolute change in CO2 concentration that has occurred in the last 200 years.

    However, the natural 100 ppm increase from an ice age to a following warmer interglacial age takes several thousand years to complete (and the reduction of CO2 back into the ice age takes place over a much longer period).

    Besides the fact that we know from isotopic studies that the current increase in CO2 is due to fossil fuel consumption it is also true that 1) the increase has taken place in 200 years, which is between ten and one hundred times more rapid than “normal” increases associated with the “recent” two million year past; 2) we are currently in an interglacial period, which means that natural CO2 levels should be decreasing (very slowly) from their normal natural maxima of about 280 ppm, rather than increasing during the last two hundred years to the currently value of 380-400 ppm (which value is probably unique in the last several tens of millions of years); and 3) at the current rate of CO2 increase (2 ppm per year) we are on track to increase by another 100 ppm in the next fifty years or less.

    By any reasonable measure, what is going on in the atmosphere today is not natural.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Rick Cina,

    i must ask, do you believe that the earth is billions of years old and not created by god in 6 days?

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Rick Cina,

    I also have to ask the question, given that 97% of people who are experts in their field of global climate feel that the temp is increasing and it is being caused by man. And if this continues it will have bad effects on many ecosystems, and further that if we do nothing then this will continue, do you not think that it would be more beneficial to start the conversation as to what changes can be made and start to make those changes just because the devastation will be so deleterious to so many people? What is on the other side of the scale? That it may cost a bit more to do it? Does it not seem practical to start to take steps and continue to let the science provide more evidence so in the case that the science is right that we will be in a better situation to effect the outcome? Isn’t that simply a practical and humane and conservative approach to this?

    Its like this. Say you really believed the studies that tobacco smoke did not cause health problems. But 97% of science says it does. Would it not at least be practical to consider quitting smoking and look at alternatives?

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Rick,

    OK, I will address your graph in particular.

    First, not that the graph you are showing is covering a period that is quite long. So short term and minor changes in climate are not going to make it into the data.

    Second, note, as I have said before, climate science is very complex. Over the period shown in the graph it is certain that CO2 had some impact on the environment, but so did many other things. Here is a quote from this article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleoclimatology

    Phanerozoic climate
    Major drivers for the preindustrial ages have been variations of the sun, volcanic ashes and exhalations, relative movements of the earth towards the sun and tectonically induced effects as for major sea currents, watersheds and ocean oscillations. In the early Phanerozoic, increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations have been linked to driving or amplifying increased global temperatures.[11] Royer et al. 2004[12] found a climate sensitivity for the rest of the Phanerozoic which was calculated to be similar to today’s modern range of values.
    The difference in global mean temperatures between a fully glacial Earth and an ice free Earth is estimated at approximately 10 °C, though far larger changes would be observed at high latitudes and smaller ones at low latitudes. One requirement for the development of large scale ice sheets seems to be the arrangement of continental land masses at or near the poles. The constant rearrangement of continents by plate tectonics can also shape long-term climate evolution. However, the presence or absence of land masses at the poles is not sufficient to guarantee glaciations or exclude polar ice caps. Evidence exists of past warm periods in Earth’s climate when polar land masses similar to Antarctica were home to deciduous forests rather than ice sheets.
    The relatively warm local minimum between Jurassic and Cretaceous goes along with widespread tectonic activity, e.g. the breakup of supercontinents.
    Superimposed on the long-term evolution between hot and cold climates have been many short-term fluctuations in climate similar to, and sometimes more severe than, the varying glacial and interglacial states of the present ice age. Some of the most severe fluctuations, such as the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, may be related to rapid climate changes due to sudden collapses of natural methane clathrate reservoirs in the oceans.[citation needed]
    A similar, single event of induced severe climate change after a meteorite impact has been proposed as reason for the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event. Other major thresholds are the Permian-Triassic, and Ordovician-Silurian extinction events with various reasons suggested.

    As you can see, things like the continents breaking up are likely to have a impact on earth’s temperature. That is obvious. Likewise, there are events like large scale eruptions and large meteor impacts that may have caused all of that.

    The most important thing to note, however, is that your graph is for a time period where we really do not have detailed information as to what exactly was going on with any degree of specificity. If there was a 10 year period where all hell broke loose in terms of volcanic activity then it would be difficult to ascertain the precise time that happened when we are talking about millions of years ago. Give or take a few 10′s of millions of years is probably the best we can do.

    I cannot understand how you can look at a graph of information from millions of years ago and think that you can tell the effect of carbon dioxide on the climate while we have graphs out the waazooo from the past 100 years that show clear correlations between carbon dioxide and warming. This makes absolutely no sense to me. Do you see what I am saying?

    Climate science is not as simple as that.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Chris Jefferies#29,

    You ask a very good question. Why is it that these questions are taken seriously in the US. I have to say it is because as a country we are probably the most arrogant people who walked the earth. Well, at least we are close.

    Add to that the fact that we are now like 20 something in ranking on science and math education and you come up with a terrible combination. Dumb and arrogant.

    I started my own company a few years ago and have a pet theory that I regularly tell people. I tell them that I don’t mind working with arrogant people. I get a kick out of them (and I may even be one of them). I also don’t mind working with dumb people. They can’t help it. But dumb and arrogant is a terrible combination and I will not work with them.

  • http://saintmarkslutheran.org Mark Brown

    DRT @ #16 – “Now if you are not willing to believe the scientific consensus, then there is nothing I can do to help you. That is the way our society works. People specialize in various subjects, come up with conclusions and we act on it.”

    If that is the functional view of society that you are working with, you are going to be very disappointed. There are authorities, yes, but acting as a society on those conclusions rarely happens. Sometimes for good and sometimes for bad. We can all point out countless times where all the authorities have said x, and y ended up the truth. The more complicated the thing you are talking about, the more likely that is true. A bias for inaction is a good thing in complexity. (Insert random Chesterton quote.)

    In AGW the big hurdle would seem to be to simply explain why the variance we see over the ages is not caused by variance in that big yellow thing in the sky. That would seem to be the coarse tuning compared to anything we do. And even then, if you agree 100% with the scientific consensus, you can still come to a rational conclusion that a) we can’t change our society to the extent argued so b) gradual adaptation is a much better solution while waiting for a technological answer. As for why “deniers” are located in the US, the US has a long history of telling the authorities they are wrong and being proven right. That’s part of being a free people and citizens who do get to judge.

    AGW may have the science all right, but they have everything else all wrong. Which in itself is reason to question the science. If is was such a slam dunk, it wouldn’t be so hard to explain, and people like Rick Cina wouldn’t sound like they actually have the better arguments.

  • David Philpott

    Here is another summary of the research: http://arstechnica.com/science/2012/07/berkeley-earth-project-is-back-to-re-re-confirm-earth-is-warming/

    For those that are referencing volcanoes, etc, Muller says this:

    “The careful analysis by our team is laid out in five scientific papers now online at BerkeleyEarth.org. That site also shows our chart of temperature from 1753 to the present, with its clear fingerprint of volcanoes and carbon dioxide, but containing no component that matches solar activity. Four of our papers have undergone extensive scrutiny by the scientific community, and the newest, a paper with the analysis of the human component, is now posted, along with the data and computer programs used. Such transparency is the heart of the scientific method; if you find our conclusions implausible, tell us of any errors of data or analysis. “

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Mark Brown:

    If is was such a slam dunk, it wouldn’t be so hard to explain, and people like Rick Cina wouldn’t sound like they actually have the better arguments.

    This is absolutely not true in even the slightest little bit. If the doctor tells you to take thyroid medicine do you think it would be easy to explain on a phenomenological level why your thyroid is not excreting enough juice? Can you explain why things have mass and inertia? How about why gps satellites have to have their clocks set differently than those here on earth?

    And Rick Cina (sorry Rick) does not sound like he has a good argument.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    The problem with Rick’s and Mark Brown’s view is that they are not willing to go out and read the scientific evidence at a detailed level to understand why this is true. Sorry, but the simple fact is that there are many things in life that require years of education and study to understand. That is why we have education. I am trained as an engineer. There are plenty of things that I know that I will never be able to explain to someone without an education so that they cannot come back with an overly simplistic question that shows that they are lacking fundamental knowledge.

    Take the simple act of riding a bicycle. Has anyone ever explained to you how it is so easy to stay upright?

    How about picking stocks. How can it be that picking a bunch of stocks actually allows you to reduce the risk below that of any the constituents?

    How about why water is slippery but nearly any other frozen liquid is not?

    Here is a great one. Why does a metal object that is hot burn you?

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Here is one of the most famous counter-intuitive ideas

    Suppose you’re on a game show, and you’re given the choice of three doors: Behind one door is a car; behind the others, goats. You pick a door, say No. 1 [but the door is not opened], and the host, who knows what’s behind the doors, opens another door, say No. 3, which has a goat. He then says to you, “Do you want to pick door No. 2?” Is it to your advantage to switch your choice?

  • Ron Spross

    @Mark (#36): “In AGW the big hurdle would seem to be to simply explain why the variance we see over the ages is not caused by variance in that big yellow thing in the sky. That would seem to be the coarse tuning compared to anything we do.”

    In fact the big yellow thing has been ruled out rather decisively; there is fundamental science for the reason that the folks in The American Physical Society, the National Academy of Science, and The Royal Society — many of whom have PhD’s in how that big yellow thing works — all agree that it is not the reason. Here’s why:

    We KNOW from satellite measurements the output of the sun and we know that it varies by about 0.1% over the period of the eleven year sunspot cycle. It turns out physicists also know, from fundamental discoveries early in the development of quantum mechanics, the relationship between the temperature of an object and the energy that it absorbs or emits (for technical reasons it could be said that we are even more certain of our understanding of this relationship than we are in our understanding of gravity). This relationship, called the Stefan-Boltzmann equation, allows us to compute what the actual variation in the earth’s temperature should be, given the known, measured actual variation in the sun’s output (this in fact is a calculation that can be done by high school AP physics students). The answer is that known variation in the sun can only produce a change in Earth’s temperature of less than a tenth of a degree Celsius. This is a factor ten smaller than the observed increase; furthermore, since the solar output over a multi-decadal period is constant, we should actually see an oscillation of the Earth’s temperature with the same eleven year periodicity. No such oscillation is seen in the data.

    People who say it’s the sun do not have fundamental physics on their side, they must invoke some other unknown and undemonstrated mechanism to explain the temperature increase that has been observed. They also have to explain — at least they have to explain in legitimate scientific forums, which this is not — why a mechanism with well understood and well measured quantitative effects (that is the greenhouse gas increase), is — contrary to all fundamental expectations — actually NOT the reason the temperature has increased, and why it is actually due to some other, undemonstrated mechanism. In fact, skeptics can’t even get their story straight (one would think, if the alternative to greenhouse gases were so obvious, skeptics could at least agree on what it is). Some say it’s the sun, others it’s cosmic rays, others it’s volcanoes, others deny that it’s happening at all.

    The professionals have good reason to agree that greenhouse gases are the cause of the temperature increase of the earth in the last few decades. The arguments that skeptics put forward have been considered and answered time and time again. However, some people are just not interested.

  • Ron Spross

    Here is a blog post that gives you some idea of the significance within the scientific community of Muller’s “conversion”. http://desmogblog.com/conversion-fever-why-media-adores-former-climate-skeptics

  • Rick Cina

    “All the points you make have been very thoroughly debunked in the scientific literature.”

    Well, then that would make it thoroughly easy for you to summarize these scientifically proven findings. Summarize the proof that high CO2 ppm levels directly *cause* warming temperatures and are not just *correlated* with warmer temperatures. Summarize the scientific proof that high CO2 ppm levels have *always* preceded a rise in temperatures and have *never* followed a rise in temperatures over the course of the last hundreds of millions of years (a prerequisite for causation). Your stated position is that there is a direct and certain cause and effect relationship between CO2 ppm levels and air temperature. I’m inviting you to provide evidence for this conclusion.

    “We are effectively conducting a huge and uncontrolled experiment in atmospheric manipulation and the results are already coming in loud and clear.”

    The global air temperature results of “unprecedented” ppm levels have already come in loud and clear? What are these loud and clear cause-effect results? That I know of, we’ve warmed 1 degree in 100 years.

    “Most of those who deny anthropogenic global warming (AGW) are US citizens. Why is that, does anyone have any idea? Is there something about US culture that has made such denial more likely?”

    Most Europeans are much more liberal or, as we say now, progressive, than their American counterparts. Progressives are much more likely than conservatives to believe that industrialization, capitalism, technological advancement, overpopulation…are harming the earth and her citizens, and therefore these phenomena must be regulated and controlled (by government) so that the planet can be saved. AGW theories and its accompanying taxes and caps and energy regulations fit into this paradigm rather nicely.

    “I cannot understand how you can look at a graph of information from millions of years ago and think that you can tell the effect of carbon dioxide on the climate while we have graphs out the waazooo from the past 100 years that show clear correlations between carbon dioxide and warming. This makes absolutely no sense to me. Do you see what I am saying?”

    I’m not the one claiming that I can “tell the effect of CO2 on the climate” by looking at a graph. My main point was to demonstrate that graphs are easily manipulated to support the agenda of those presenting them, and the graph I used there was designed to show how resilient the earth has been despite many more “extremes” in CO2 (and temperature) levels.

    And again you say that there are clear correlations (no cause now?) between CO2 and warming in the last 100 years, and yet the earth’s temperature is *one degree* warmer now than it was 100 years ago. A thousand years ago, the global air temperatures were much warmer than they are now in the absence of fossil fuel burning. Could it be that something other than fossil fuel burning could explain temperature increases? Could, perhaps, the ever-dynamic *sun* have something to do with the 1 degree increase in the last 100 years, or in the Medieval Warming Period? Have you completely ruled this out as a possibility? If so, why?

    “…natural CO2 levels should be decreasing (very slowly) from their normal natural maxima of about 280 ppm, rather than increasing during the last two hundred years to the currently value of 380-400 ppm (which value is probably unique in the last several tens of millions of years).”

    Probably unique? So you acknowledge that there is at least a possibility that the current ppm levels are not unprecedented in the last tens of millions of years? If so, why do you believe the earth and its millions of plant and animal species was resilient enough to sustain such levels in the past, but is no longer going to be able to absorb this CO2 abuse this time around?

    “I also have to ask the question, given that 97% of people who are experts in their field of global climate feel that the temp is increasing and it is being caused by man.”

    Do 97% of scientist believe that humans are the one and only *cause* of the 1 degree increase in global temperatures in the last 100 years, as you do? Do 97% of scientists believe that variations in solar activity have absolutely nothing to do with the 1 degree increase in global temperatures in the last 100 years, as you do? Do 97% of scientists believe that warming of earth’s temperatures will have disastrous, catastrophic consequences for life on earth as we know it, and that, for the first time in its billions of years of existence, the earth will be unable to counteract and sustain these disastrous factors causing its demise? Do 97% of scientists believe that humans, by dramatically changing our burgeoning CO2-laden lifestyles, can do enough to reverse the effects of high CO2 ppm levels? Do 97% of scientists believe that air temperature warming is absolutely disastrous for the biosphere and therefore prefer that the earth’s temperatures cool instead?

    A 1993 publication by the Heartland Institute reports: “A Gallup poll conducted on February 13, 1992 of members of the American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society-the two professional societies whose members are most likely to be involved in climate research-found that 18 percent thought some global warming had occurred, 33 percent said insufficient information existed to tell, and 49 percent believed no warming had taken place.”

    In 1997, the conservative think tank Citizens for a Sound Economy surveyed America’s 48 state climatologists on questions related to climate change. Of the 36 respondents, 44% considered global warming to be a largely natural phenomenon, compared to 17% who considered warming to be largely man-made. 89% agreed that “current science is unable to isolate and measure variations in global temperatures caused ONLY by man-made factors,” and 61% said that historical data do not indicate “that fluctuations in global temperatures are attributable to human influences such as burning fossil fuels.”

    What’s happened since the early nineties? Did scientists just so happen to “see the light” in more recent times? Or could it be that, with scientific funding and compensation directly tied to published articles, and the concomitant and routine rejection of any article that dares to question AGW, an influential reason why so many scientists “agree” that human activity and global warming go together is that denying the significance of the relationship between human activity and global warming is tantamount to losing one’s source of funding?

    “Does it not seem practical to start to take steps and continue to let the science provide more evidence so in the case that the science is right that we will be in a better situation to effect the outcome?”

    Even if we were to somehow reduce our CO2 output in this country, will it not be easily counteracted by the explosion of industrialization and fossil fuel burning in China and (less so) India in the coming decades, two countries that, by themselves, account for almost 40% of the earth’s population (and dwarf America’s) ?

    “i must ask, do you believe that the earth is billions of years old and not created by god in 6 days?”

    Do you believe that bats are actually birds, and not mammals, as the Bible writers did? Do you believe that the earth actually stopped in the sky during one of the Israelites’ battles (so that the Israelites could continue to slaughter their opponents), as the Bible writers did? Do you believe that the spherical earth has “ends” (i.e., the phrase “the ends of the earth” was used numerous times) as the flat-earth Bible writers did? Do you believe that the people who Jesus encountered who were convulsing and frothing at the mouth were actually possessed by demons (instead of having seizures), as the Bible writers did?

    If it’s necessary to believe that the Bible is inerrant and consistent with science to be a Christian, then I guess I am not qualified to be one. I like Christians. I am a churchgoer. I’m moral and charitable. I just don’t believe what most Christians believe. So what does that make me? I don’t know.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Rick Cina,

    I hope you the best and hope that you take some courses in real science so you can appreciate the work that has been done by these wonderful scientists. I am not nearly skilled enough to take you from your level of understanding to the one the article is professing if you are nonplussed by the argumentation that is in this thread. You are making assumptions that are just not even close to true and hope that you try to take some science classes, or even better yet hang out in a science lab doing fundamental research before you bash these folks.

    You said:

    Summarize the scientific proof that high CO2 ppm levels have *always* preceded a rise in temperatures and have *never* followed a rise in temperatures over the course of the last hundreds of millions of years (a prerequisite for causation)

    That is not true. It is not a prerequisite for causation.

    Your arguments are not valid, but you view that they are valid in the face of patient folks trying to give you an explanation.

    But the crux of it is that you are not engaging in the conversation here. You ask a question, people answer, and you do not engage in what was said. Go back to Ron Spross #31 and directly engage his arguments. He was kind enough to engage with yours.

  • Rick Cina

    “But the crux of it is that you are not engaging in the conversation here. You ask a question, people answer,”

    You have not answered this question/challenge. Nor has anyone yet. #31 did not either. The bombastic “We’re-so-superior-to-you-that-we’re-unable-to-sink-to-your-level-of-ignorance” retort doesn’t qualify as a response. My question/challenge is this:

    Provide scientific proof that there is an empirically direct causal relationship (and not just a correlation) between higher CO2 ppm levels and higher air temperatures. Again, correlative data will not suffice, nor is correlative data science.

    Provide scientific proof that of all the variables affecting the release of CO2 into the atmosphere, there is one variable (humans burning fossil fuels), and one alone, that can be neatly and clearly isolated from all the others, and with absolute, 100% certainty, this one variable can explain “all” of the increase in the higher CO2 concentrations we have today.

    Finally, provide scientific proof that the global warming that has occurred in the last 100 years (one degree) has and will have catastrophic consequences for the earth and its citizens in the biosphere, and that this time, we humans did it. We destroyed the planet. Never mind that it was several degrees warmer 1,000 years ago than it is now. Never mind that we were growing crops on Greenland as recently as 800 years ago. Never mind that the CO2 ppm concentrations were far higher millions of years ago than they are now. After 4.5 billion years of existence, the earth has finally met its match, and now humans—not the sun, not water vapor, but humans buzzing around in SUVs, are in 100% control of determining future climate.

    Twenty years from now, when sea levels haven’t risen 20 feet like Al Gore said they would, when the polar bear population continues to boom (as it has for the last 50 years), when the catastrophes predicted by the AGW alarmists haven’t turned out to be true, when we have more ClimateGates and FakeGates and debunked hockey sticks and more of the mounting evidence that the sun and solar activity has more to do with global temperatures than anything we humans decide to do…this whole argument will be something that educated people who now think they’re too smart for everyone else will wish they hadn’t aligned themselves with.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Rick Cina, you are missing the point. The point is that you can’t have 100% certainty except for taxes and death. I can’t help that you are unreasonable.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Rick Cina,

    All of the information from the study is here

    http://berkeleyearth.org/results-summary/

    They have included the study, the underlying data as well as the analysis tools used. Once you have read and analyzed that come back and say what you do not like.

  • Rick Cina

    “Rick Cina, you are missing the point. The point is that you can’t have 100% certainty except for taxes and death. I can’t help that you are unreasonable.”

    Exactly my point. There isn’t such thing as 100% certainty about cause and effect relationships when discussing an issue as controversial as man-made global warming, and yet that is exactly what Chris Jefferies has claimed: that it has been determined with 100% certainty that “all” of the increase in CO2 concentrations in the last 100 years can be attributed to a single isolated variable, the burning of fossil fuels by humans. I find that position unreasonable and ridiculous. Apparently you do too. Perhaps you should let Chris Jefferies know that he is unreasonable, as he is the one positing it.

  • Rick Cina

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/aug/24/china-cars-green-vehicles
    “Between 2000 and 2010, the number of cars and motorcycles in China increased twentyfold. In the next 20 years it is forecast to more than double again, which means there will be more cars in China in 2030 than there were in the entire world in 2000.”

    Currently, 95,000 new cars are added to the earth’s roads every single *day*. In China, SUV sales are surging, and there is very little interest in hybrid or electric cars despite plenty of governmental subsidies to strengthen that interest.

    So, even if it is true that the burning of fossil fuels is an instrumental culprit in current CO2 ppm levels, and even if it’s true that CO2 drives temperature (and not the other way around), there is nothing that can be done to even put a dent in the explosive growth of fossil fuel burning.

    So…should we panic?

  • Rick Cina

    DRT,

    http://www.theresilientearth.com/?q=content/grand-view-4-billion-years-climate-change

    “Once you have read and analyzed that come back and say what you do not like.”

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Rick Cina,

    The article is irrelevant. They create a straw man that is not what is being argued by saying “The Earth and its climate are constantly changing—there is no one correct climate or temperature for our planet. Those who say CO2 is the most important factor in climate change, that human GHG emissions will cause runaway global warming, have no historical basis for such claims.” They are right. The earth is constantly changing, there is no one correct climate or temp. And man made CO2 emmisions will probably not creat runaway global warming of the type that they are looking at. The trouble is that none of that is relevant to the current scenario.

    We are only talking about a couple of degrees difference now, not runaway warming. And the point is not that the earth turned into a snowball in the past therefore we should not care if it does so in the future. I don’t care if the earth was warmer in previous times. If we are heating it up now just a few degrees that will create problems for us and create the most problems for those who the most poor in the world. It is irrelevant that the earth was warmer of colder in the past.

    If you want to deny the findings of current research you need to read the current research and find a problem with that. You also need to separate the issue of whether it is happening and what we should do about it.

    You are the perfect illustration of what I wrote about in comment 2 to this post.

  • http://jesus.scilla.org.uk/ Chris Jefferies

    Rick Cina (43) – wrote, “All the points you make have been very thoroughly debunked in the scientific literature.” Well, then that would make it thoroughly easy for you to summarize these scientifically proven findings.

    That’s not the point Rick. I’m not going to attempt any such summary, not all arguments can be reduced to a brief summary, there is a great deal of evidence and it’s been examined and re-examined many times already. It’s there for you to examine too if you wish.

    But you don’t seem to understand how science works. You demonstrate that again in comment 43. Science does not (actually cannot) prove anything 100%. Science doesn’t even attempt to prove things, it works by disproving things. The hypotheses that the Earth is getting warmer and that fossil fuel burning is the cause, have not been disproved. The hypotheses that the Earth is not getting warmer and that fossil fuel burning does not cause warming have been very, very comprehensively found wanting.

    If you want scientists to take notice it is your responsibility to disprove those first two hypotheses. You need to find some new ideas that are testable and have not already been shown to be false. Then you need to publish them as a proper scientific paper. I can assure you that it won’t be easy.

  • Holly

    I’ve waited long enough to comment that what I have to write will likely be irrelevant.

    Oh well. It took me awhile to think thru what bothers me about this article. It’s this:

    It’s written as if to say, “That’s it. It’s final. It’s all settled, no more thinking necessary. All wrapped up, tied up, put in a box. It’s time to panic and it’s all our fault. Time to legislate. Time to stop having kids, time to stop breathing, folks.”

    It almost sounds as if it were written by a fundamentalist, and I’m trying to stay away from that type of thinker. (Bad memories, bad vibes, bad outcomes and all….) Since when is it a GOOD thing to think we’ve got something all wrapped up, or to tell people exactly how to think and what to do? How does that align with freedom and democracy? Better yet – what view of God does this perpetuate? A God who has been stymied by humans, or a good God, a God who loves and desires to restore and renew? Does God have a plan or not? Is He involved with humans, or has the Holy Spirit already left us to our own devices? It’s obviously not just the dispensationalists who are doomers here….and frankly? Let me just say that if you walk with God and believe in what He is doing in this world – I don’t know how you *could* legitimately be a doomer (on either side of the environmental/apocalyptic coin.) We have this hope, this conquering of the grave, this resurrection on our side and in our hearts!

    Also – while signs may point in one direction, what’s to say our interpretation (research) is good? We’re talking about the future here, and that’s not been written. With origins, you can look backward and try to put together the puzzle of what happened based upon scientific fact. With global warming – we are looking into the future and trying to guess what will happen. That’s harder to define according to cause and effect. Computer models have been woefully and abysmally wrong on this – and I think that’s another thing that makes people *not* believe in manmade, global warming. (That along with the agenda, as Michael Kruse mentioned.) How DO we explain past warming periods (before the industrial revolution?) How do we know that a very slight warming will be bad for the planet? Maybe it will cause better plant growth. Maybe it will be good for flexible and adaptive people.

    It’s the black and white thinking here, and the encouragement for people to wrap this topic up and fall in line that I struggle with.

  • Rick Cina

    “Science does not (actually cannot) prove anything 100%. Science doesn’t even attempt to prove things, it works by disproving things.”

    Exactly, Chris Jefferies. That’s why there’s no such thing as “certainty” when it comes to the *cause* for our current CO2 ppm levels. And yet that is exactly what you’ve been saying throughout this thread, that there is scientific certainty that the higher CO2 levels we enjoy today are entirely due to humans burning fossil fuels. You leave no room for other factors to be considered. The sun? Not a factor. Volcanoes? Not a factor. Naturally occurring phenomena? Not a factor. According to you, humans are the *only* factor causing the rise in CO2 ppm levels. This isn’t scientific, Chris. Science does not determine causes with 100% certainty. Because you claimed it did, I asked you to provide proof. And, of course, you can’t. Saying: “Yes, I still say with certainty that fossil fuel burning is the cause of the current rapid increase” is therefore not a tenable position. Perhaps you should retract it, as even DRT considers it “unreasonable.”

    “And man made CO2 emmisions will probably not creat runaway global warming.”

    I agree. If runaway global warming ever occurs again, humans will not have been the cause, just as they were not the cause for the warming that occurred in the distant past, when air temperatures were as much as 11 degrees C warmer than they are now.

    “It is irrelevant that the earth was warmer of colder in the past.”

    No, it’s relevant to the discussion here that the earth was (much) warmer in the past compared to now because that calls into question the “man-made” part of the current global warming debate. If the earth has been much warmer than it is now in the absence of humans burning fossil fuels (which it has), and if the earth has had CO2 ppm levels so high that they dwarf current levels in the absence of humans burning fossil fuels (which it has), then the theory you have that humans burning fossil fuels are a primary cause of current and future warming and higher CO2 ppm concentrations stands on very shaky ground. That’s why the proponents of AGW try to downplay the Medieval Warming Period. 15 to 20 million years ago, there was vegetation growing on the edges of Antarctica while the CO2 fluctuated between 190 ppm and 850 ppm—both much lower and much higher than current levels. In this very thread, Ron Spross wrote that the “normal natural maxima” for CO2 concentrations is “about 280 ppm.” Here’s a thought: there is no such thing as a “normal natural maxima” for CO2 concentrations. That you guys think there is such a thing as “normal” when it comes to the earth’s temperature and CO2 concentrations is borderline ridiculous, and yet you put yourself in the position of patronizing those who dare to question your views.

    “If we are heating it up now just a few degrees that will create problems for us and create the most problems for those who the most poor in the world.”

    Actually, the most poor in the world are the ones who suffer more *now* because of the do-something policies and regulations of environmentalists and AGW alarmists and their ever-so-willing-to-regulate governments. And that is the point here. You have claimed that we need to *do something* about reducing our CO2 emissions so as to keep the planet from warming too much. But there isn’t really anything we can do to reduce our CO2 emissions. Every day, 100,000 more cars (a small fraction of which are hybrid/electric) are added to the earth’s roads. Even if we were to have governments install draconian regulations restricting auto usage, even if we were to spend hundreds of billions of taxpayer money on high speed rail, ethanol production, solar panels, wind, etc., even if we install cap and trade systems, a CO2 credit system worldwide… it’s not going to do more than put a tiny dent in the explosion of CO2 usage in the coming decades. And why is *this* not the point?

  • Rick Cina

    Ron Spross wrote: “By any reasonable measure, what is going on in the atmosphere today is not natural.”

    If what’s going on today is not natural, but due to artificially-induced human causes (burning fossil fuels), what do you think about what was going on in the middle Miocene, which is where we may be headed? Was that due to unnatural causes? Rather difficult to imagine that considering there were no SUVs around back then.

    http://www.theresilientearth.com/?q=content/once-future-climate
    “The middle Miocene Climate Optimum is just another example of the unpredictable variation displayed by Earth’s climate. For reasons unknown to science, a 50 million year descent into an ice age was put on hold for a couple of million years of balmy weather. Atmospheric CO2 levels went from notably lower that modern levels, quadrupling by the peak of the warming. But note that the warming caused the rise in CO2 levels, not the other way around. And then, despite levels more than twice current readings, the climate resumed global cooling. Atmospheric CO2 levels are a side effect of climactic change, not a driving cause. Human emissions will not cause a return to an ice free Arctic or a forested Antarctica—both natural and certainly not unprecedented conditions. The climate will change and we, like all of Earth’s creatures, will simply have to deal with it.”

  • http://jesus.scilla.org.uk/ Chris Jefferies

    Rick, you accuse me of contradicting myself. I told you that science doesn’t attempt (and cannot) prove anything 100%. I explained that science works by disproving things. As far as I’m concerned AGW has not been disproved, and the absence of AGW has been pretty thoroughly found wanting.

    I am therefore completely sure that AGW is happening. That’s my view, personally. OK?

    You can have the last word if you wish, Rick. I’m certain you will reply to this, though I’m probably not coming back to check.

    I repeat what I wrote earlier…

    ‘The hypotheses that the Earth is getting warmer and that fossil fuel burning is the cause, have not been disproved. The hypotheses that the Earth is not getting warmer and that fossil fuel burning does not cause warming have been very, very comprehensively found wanting.’

    ‘If you want scientists to take notice it is your responsibility to disprove those first two hypotheses. You need to find some new ideas that are testable and have not already been shown to be false. Then you need to publish them as a proper scientific paper. I can assure you that it won’t be easy.’

  • http://jesus.scilla.org.uk/ Chris Jefferies

    Holly, I understand your point of view. But really there is no black and white thinking. That would go completely against the principles of science. Science is sceptical in its approach. But in the case of global warming and the causes of that warming there’s little room left for doubt.

    Also, I think Father lets us make mistakes and face the consequences. There are plenty of examples – Chernobyl, the BP oil spill, poor flood management on the lower Mississippi. He doesn’t always step in to clean up behind us and prevent enormous damage and loss of life. He want us to be wise and careful.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Holly, I appreciate you comment. If you are still reading I have a couple of things to say.

    First, people who know about the research and scientific process realize that this conclusion is not going to stop the research, it would likely increase the research. So saying it is all wrapped up is not an ending point to thinking about it, but a starting point to understand it even better.

    Here is an anology. A captain is sailing in the ocean and he has a crew of several people. The people are telling the captian that the boat has a leak and there is water accumulating in the bottom of the boat. But the captain keeps saying that they should not worry, the boat is designed to have some water come in and out of the bottom (some boats are like that). But the crew continues to worry about it, and see its level rising. Despite the warnings the captain still refuses. Finally one day, they take pictures down in the bottom and the captain suddenly realizes that it is too much water and they should do something about it. At that point he orders the crew to go down there and figure out what is going wrong and spend the time doing that instead of coiling the ropes or playing with his Parrot. Yes, this becomes a sort of “its settled” moment. But the fact is that the crew could get down there, and in there deeper investigation conclude that it is still within the acceptable level. Then they would not have to do anything. But the point is that the Captain indeed admitted that we have a problem and was able to take action just in case there is something terribly wrong.

    We need to see why our boat is leaking and move onto doing something about it.

  • Rick Cina

    Chris Jeffries says: “But in the case of global warming and the causes of that warming there’s little room left for doubt.”

    So what was the cause of the global warming during the Medieval Warming Period, Chris? Was it humans burning fossil fuels? No? If humans burning fossil fuels wasn’t the cause of significant warming 1,000 years ago, why are you so convinced that humans burning fossil fuels is the one and only cause currently? This is a simple question, and one that I’d like you to answer rather than harkening back to the hackneyed “look it up yourself, I already know I’m right” line.

    We’ve had much *higher* ppm concentrations of CO2 during *Ice Ages* than we do now. We’ve had much *lower* ppm concentrations of CO2 during warming periods, such as the warming period when there was significant vegetation on Antarctica. What this means is a) there is little correlation (not to mention *cause*) between CO2 concentrations and air temperature, b) that there is no such thing as a maximum normal level when it comes to CO2 ppm levels, and that if we reach some magical number, say 500 ppm, it’ll send the earth into a tizzy. We’ve already been at 500 ppm. We’ve already been at 600 and 700 and 800 ppm (during Ice Ages!). And the biosphere has still survived. So this idea of yours that we are on some never-before-seen territory because CO2 levels have risen so quickly in the last 50 years is little more than alarmist hogwash. You’ve bought into the propaganda.

    You think your point of view has been “tested” and confirmed. Well, there’s quite a bit of evidence out there that says that the computer models you rely upon are as “real” as McIntyre’s hockey stick graph.

    But you’ll still find comfort in knowing that, within the last 15 years, the world’s scientists have changed their minds on the prospect of human activity influencing global warming. (When they do, their articles get published and their funding comes in streams.) Since when did science become a “4 out of 5 scientists surveyed” deal anyway?

    And why do you *want* to believe that humans are causing the current warming? I ask this because I assume you’re reasonable enough to acknowledge that virtually nothing can be done to stem the tide of adding 100,000 vehicles a day to the earth’s roads, or the explosion of coal usage in China. What do you get out of all the hand wringing and fretting about humans belching CO2? Does feeling guilty, and trying to make others feel guilty, help you out in some way?

    Below is a brief summary of the many ways in which the “junk” science of AGW has been debunked just within the last several years. I’m sure you’ll dismiss it and rest on your I-know-I’m-right certitudes. After all, if something doesn’t align with your presuppositions of truth, you don’t think it’s worth considering.

    http://www.theresilientearth.com/?q=content/climate-sciences-tangled-web
    It is not wrong or unusual for scientists to make mistakes, what is wrong is to cling to erroneous ideas and refuse to admit past mistakes. Faced with literally hundreds of corrections and new findings, the rational thing for a scientist to do would be to reevaluate his theory and its conclusions.

    Instead, the climate alarmists stubbornly insist that the incorrect predictions made by their erroneous models over the past three decades somehow remain valid. Using tortuous arguments they have tied themselves in knots of illogic defending a theory that is indefensible. Climate science has not learned a lesson most mother’s try to teach their children: you cannot lie your way out of being wrong.

  • Rick Cina
  • Rick Cina

    DRT: “We need to see why our boat is leaking and move onto doing something about it.”

    So if we accept the unproven and anti-historical premise that our boat is leaking because humans are adding too much CO2 to the atmosphere, then what, exactly, can be done to slow or stop the rapid increase of CO2 concentrations that we have experienced in the last few decades? Even if we introduce a cap and trade system with carbon credits, as they are in California, even if we take 10s of billions out of the private sector and transfer it into the creation of high speed rail (as they are in California), this isn’t going to make a speck of difference given China’s booming coal industry and love affair with the automobile. The more we regulate and tax energy consumption, or the more we restrict “non-green” energy production, not only are we no better off, but the ones who get hurt the most are the poor. “Greening” *costs* jobs, and makes it more difficult for small and large businesses to survive in the US, which just means the jobs go to areas of the world with less restrictive environmental policies. They don’t just disappear. It’s also prohibitively expensive to transform our world’s energy infrastructure into renewables. We’re talking 100s of *trillions* of dollars here. And what of the great harm “green” policies and regulations and restrictions do to the citizens of developing countries, or the world’s most poor? As a Christian (presumably), are you prepared to support policies that worsen the lives and the suffering of the world’s poorest people?

    Please be specific with any suggestions you have about what we can do to reduce or limit our CO2 emissions, as you seem to be of the opinion that the science is settled, and now it’s time to act. What “acts” do you have in mind?

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Rick Cina,

    That is exactly the point. We need to move the conversation from one of discussing whether it is happening to what we can do about it. I have not heard enough about possible solutions to know what impact there is because we spend so much time simply arguing the obvious that it is happening.

  • Rick Cina

    DRT,

    Yes, it’s happening. The earth has warmed by 1 degree in 100 years. You say CO2 emissions due to human fossil fuel burning is *the* reason for this warming, even though historical records have shown this to be a bunch of hooey. You claim you have the truth, that you are so vastly more educated on this subject, and that I need to take some science courses so that I can learn to appreciate how complicated this all is, and yet when you are challenged on some of the most basic tenets of your man-made global warming beliefs, you do not respond. Probably because you can’t. You know that acknowledging the challenge and answering the questions will serve to undermine or even destroy your case, so instead of responding to them, you choose to patronize, extol your education, offer up stories about holes in boats, claim that the matter is settled already and need not be discussed, or call the challenges to your AGW belief system “irrelevant.”

    I’m going to repeat my challenges. I’m guessing your “response” will once again fall somewhere between avoidance and obfuscation.

    1) If humans burning fossil fuels is what causes the atmosphere’s trace amounts of CO2 concentrations to rise, how is it that the earth has enjoyed several periods in its history with CO2 ppm concentrations far, far higher than they are currently (in the absence of humans burning fossil fuels)?

    2) If humans burning fossil fuels is what causes air temperatures to rise, how is it that the earth has experienced much warmer climes in the recent and not-so-recent past in the absence of humans burning fossil fuels?

    3) If high CO2 ppm concentrations are what causes air temperatures to rise, how is it that historical records indicate that the earth had much lower CO2 ppm concentrations than we have now during its much warmer periods, and much higher CO2 ppm concentrations than we have now during its many Ice Ages?

    4) You say we need to “do something” about CO2 emissions to avert the pending catastrophes that will befall us and our planet. But what can we, as Americans and Europeans, do to curb our CO2 emissions that will not be undermined and easily overrun in other places in the world such as China, India, and South Korea? By 2030, there will be more cars in China than there were cars in the entire *world* in 2000. In 2000, the Chinese burned 1.0 billion tons of coal per year in satisfying their exploding energy needs. By 2010, the Chinese were burning through 3.1 billion tons of coal. Short of exterminating the citizens of these other countries, there is no policy, no regulation, no cap and trade system, no green energy infrastructure, that will even come close to curtailing or even slowing our world’s fossil fuel burning proclivities. The let’s-do-something-about-CO2 construct presupposes that there something that actually *can* be done. I am challenging you to come up with some ideas of what can be done that will not only be effective in reducing our fossil fuel burning, but will not institutionalize draconian hardships on the world’s economies and exacerbate the current suffering of the world’s poorest citizens.

    5) And finally, given how tiny we humans are in relation to the planet, its atmosphere (water vapor), the sun, the oceans, and given how our thousands of years on the planet (and mere 200 years of industrialization) pale in comparison to the earth’s age (billions of years), do you not think it’s a little suspect that we humans think we’re so powerful, so mighty, that we can actually *control* the earth’s climate? This strikes me as something close to pathological hubris. Why do you consider the human orchestration of the earth’s climate to not only be defensible, but highly reasonable?

    So let’s move to discus

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    OK, I will take your challenge.

    1. Let me answer this one this way. Lets say that every time the US has gone into a recession the cause was a significant trade imbalance. We were buying far more than we sell. But this latest recession is blamed on a too free of credit. Does that mean that it cannot be free credit? No, something changed. In the case of global warming it is that we are pumping a ton of CO2 into the atmosphere. That is a material difference between times past and now.

    2. Similar to 1, there are multiple causes of temperature increases. In the past two hundred years we have ruled out the other causes and the one that is left is man made. We also have substantial evidence that the man made CO2 emissions are able to cause the effect we see.

    3. Similar again. There are multiple causes that caused the ones in the past and the science understands those causes. That is what we use to determine if what we have now is the same. It is not.

    4. I do allege that we need to do something, and the first thing I propose is that we invest money into figuring out what we should do. It is obvious that we should scale back where we can, but I personally do not have the answer to what we should do. I advocate comprehensive study that should be made public of what the trade offs are and what the relative benefit would be.

    5. I consider it reasonable and defensible based on the quantity and quality of the research that has been done to date. As you can see from this study, the knowledge continues to increase, and the state of the knowledge has significantly increased since a few years ago and that is why this person has changed their mind about the causation. Is it hubris? It would be if we did not have the quantity and quality of information that we have on hand.

  • Rick Cina

    “Lets say that every time the US has gone into a recession the cause was a significant trade imbalance. We were buying far more than we sell. But this latest recession is blamed on a too free of credit. Does that mean that it cannot be free credit? No, something changed. In the case of global warming it is that we are pumping a ton of CO2 into the atmosphere. That is a material difference between times past and now.”

    What a ridiculously illogical “answer” this is. For one, you (not surprisingly) never came close to specifically addressing the question, which is why much higher CO2 ppm levels have commonly existed in the absence of humans burning fossil fuels. And significant trade imbalances don’t cause recessions. Perhaps you need to take some courses in economics, which is quite a different field of study than the study of the natural world (a hard science). Recessions also don’t have one cause, and one alone. The causes are multi-faceted, with some factors more influential than others. Your “answer” also falls on its face because you *presuppose* that humans burning fossil fuels causes CO2 levels to rise, and then you “answer” the question by saying that CO2 levels have risen because humans are burning fossil fuels. Circular logic isn’t especially scientific, DRT. You have no data to support your contention that there is a “material difference” between today’s CO2 concentration levels and the CO2 concentration levels (that have been much higher than they are now) of the past. Just saying that there is a “material difference” doesn’t mean that there actually is one. Sorry, but your answer is sorely lacking in substance.

    “Similar to 1, there are multiple causes of temperature increases. In the past two hundred years we have ruled out the other causes and the one that is left is man made.”

    Unbelievable. So, in your belief system, *all* of the other possible explanations for the cause of the current 1 degree increase in the earth’s atmospheric temperatures in the last century have been “ruled out” with one exception: humans burning fossil fuels. No other causal explanation has any merit whatsoever. Do you realize how unscientific this is? Not even the flawed IPCC reports have claimed what you have here. All other factors have been “ruled out?” When did this happen?

    And what was the unruled-out cause of the much higher temperatures in the Medieval Warming Period, DRT? Why didn’t humans burning fossil fuels cause that warming? Why does the current 1 degree warming have only one cause, and one cause alone, when you yourself admit that “there are multiple causes of temperature increases?” You’ve contradicted yourself in the course of one sentence to the next!

    What is the scientifically proven “material difference” between the cause of today’s warming and the cause of the warming of 1,000 years ago (when Greenland had crops and trees), or 2,000 years ago (when the Romans grew grapes in Northern England), or the middle Miocene (when plants and trees grew on Antarctica)? Show me where science has *proven* that this “material difference” exists.

    “We also have substantial evidence that the man made CO2 emissions are able to cause the effect we see.”

    And what is “the effect that we see” of man-made CO2 emissions, DRT? The earth’s temperatures have warmed 0.8 degrees in the last 100 years. Is this the effect you’re claiming that we see? You really think that a hundred years of collected data and a some faulty computer models predicting the future (unsuccessfully) cuts it as far as scientific explanation for the “effect that we see” of humans burning fossil fuels? Or are you talking about sea levels rising by 20 feet (Al Gore’s prediction) as the “effect we see?” Sea levels actually have declined recently. Or are you talking about the melting glaciers, or the declining polar bear population? Glacier melting is happening in some places, and glacier *growth* is happening in others (like it has for millions of years). And the polar bear population is thriving, having tripled in the last 50 years. Or maybe this effect is more hurricanes, which are actually less common now than they used to be. What, pray tell, are the effects of rapid CO2 rise that we can already see?

    “Similar again. There are multiple causes that caused the ones in the past and the science understands those causes. That is what we use to determine if what we have now is the same. It is not.”

    And how do you know that there is a “material difference” between the causes of today’s CO2 ppm concentration levels and temperatures and the causes for the CO2 ppm concentration levels and temperatures from thousands and millions of years ago? Again, just because you claim there is a material difference doesn’t mean there is one. Just because you claim there is a “normal” level of CO2 ppm concentrations (280 ppm) doesn’t mean that level actually is “normal.” Just because you claim that humans are the one and only cause of the 0.8C rise in air temperature in the last 100 years doesn’t mean that all other factors have been scientifically “ruled out.”

    “ I do allege that we need to do something, and the first thing I propose is that we invest money into figuring out what we should do.”

    We’ve already done that. Hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars, eveh trillions, have gone into “figuring out what we should do.” And what have we come up with? Cap and trade. Carbon credits. Wind power units littering the landscape. High speed rail. The Chevy Volt. Squiggly light bulbs. Suppressing oil production in some parts of the world and not others. Fart catchers on cow butts (to catch methane, which is 23 times more effective than CO2 at trapping heat). http://phys.org/news135003243.html

    And what do we have to show for all of this wasted taxpayer money? Absolutely nothing (other than worsening economies and no improvement in the fortunes of the world’s poorest people). These do-something ideas have not come close to putting a dent in fossil fuel burning activities, especially since people in China and India and South Korea aren’t giving up their exploding coal consumption and internal combustion engines anytime soon. So, let’s throw more money at it, right? Maybe another trillion dollars will lead to something even more ingenious than trapping cow farts.

    “I consider it reasonable and defensible based on the quantity and quality of the research that has been done to date.”

    Oh, you mean the quantity and quality of the research that the IPCC (the world’s leading authority on AGW) has put out there in its 4 reports? Even the IPCC itself admits that all 4 of its past reports were rooted in unreliable and falsified data. The InterAcademy Council (which oversees the IPCC) has determined that the IPCC’s past findings weren’t peer reviewed, relied on politics more than science (by selecting authors who agree with the alarmist position rather than the best, most informed ones), utilized a phony “confidence interval” system that basically polled members for their opinions (which is not science), stated conclusions so vaguely so as to make them impossible to refute, and did not have a conflict of interest policy or a system in which participants were subject to any self review. The IPCC has not refuted these IAC findings, but just promises to do better next time around. This is the same organization that gave us the hockey stick graph (that Al Gore uses) with fabricated and falsified data that has been thoroughly and widely refuted. This is the same organization that laughably asserted that glaciers in the Himalayas were melting so fast that they would disappear by 2035, a claim that was based on a *single quote* in a science journal news story, and never repeated in peer-reviewed literature. This isn’t just an “error,” as the IPCC claimed when they were caught, it was evidence that they operate more on agenda than they do on science. The IAC has warned them they need to rely less on scaremongering and policy advocacy and more on actual research. And yet *this* is the kind of junk science that you are putting all your faith in, DRT.

    And here I thought you were more informed than this, given all your bluster about how educated you are. How about doing some critical analysis of your own belief systems, rather than resting on your know-it-all laurels?

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Rick Cina, I have given you my perspective and you have given me yours. God bless and have a good day!

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Rick Cina, I do have to ask, why do you have so much obvious passion around this? Is it just that you hate to see money spent on it? I am just curious.

  • Rick Cina

    My passion stems from the notion that you, Chris Jefferies, Ron Spross, and other “believers” in man-made global warming think that the matter is settled, you have science on your side, and that anyone who disagrees with you is being “unreasonable” or doesn’t have enough intelligence to understand what you’re saying. You apparently have no idea that you’ve been subject to propaganda, to junk science rooted in politics more than research, to the greatest hoax in modern times.

    And here I was thinking thinking that you guys were at least aware of the holes in your belief system, but had chosen to just suppress or minimize those dubious aspects. With the manner in which this thread has unfolded, with the illogical non-answers to questions, the appeals to the ridiculous 4-out-of-5-scientists-surveyed “consensus” bunk (that has nothing to do with real science), I’m now convinced that you have no idea that your belief in man-made global warming is rooted in little more than junk science. You have no idea that the IPCC, the primary purveyors of this AGW propaganda, has been exposed worldwide as falsifying data, making non-peer-reviewed predictions (that have been roundly debunked) and peddling politics over research.

    I’ve been mentioning phenomena like the “hockey stick graph” assuming you know what I’m talking about. But, considering how ill-informed you are about anything that doesn’t align with your entrenched presuppositions, I’m now going to assume that you don’t know what I’m talking about. So I’m going to provide a link to a summarizing article about the hockey stick graph and the junk science that man-made global warming is built upon. I’d advise reading the whole thing, as you could obviously stand the education.

    http://www.john-daly.com/hockey/hockey.htm

  • Ron Spross

    I can’t believe this is still going on (I got burned out some time back. DRT, I’m impressed.)

    Rick, it’s true of course that CO2 levels have been higher in the past, a fact ironically that has been ascertained by the very climate scientists who are concerned about the effects of our fossil fuel consumption on the future climate. How is it that they, who have had the patience and diligence to uncover the evidence of past climate be so wrong about its implications for the future? (That’s not to suggest that they are 100% correct, but that
    opinions contrary to theirs deserve some skepticism as well).

    So when CO2 levels were as high as they were these tens of millions years ago, what were sea levels at that time compared to where they are now? Answer is, a lot higher, given that there was no ice. Furthermore, given that the average temperature of the earth was warmer, what (and this may be even more important) what was the temperature distribution over the earth (probable answer is that it was quite balmy at the poles and possibly unlivable in the tropics). The concern is not merely that we will return to such conditions, but that we will do so at a speed that is orders of magnitude more rapid than the natural rate at which such things have occurred in the past. Furthermore we have some understanding of the underlying reasons why past temperature and climate fluctuations occurred, and these were in different contexts and circumstances than today.

    So the fact that the earth has had warmer or colder climates in the past is in itself not an argument against anthropogenic climate change, and it is very naive to suppose that it is. CO2 does regulate/influence the temperature of the earth and its concentration in the atmosphere can be and is increased and decreased by natural processes. If these processes occur slowly (as they usually have) species can adapt. If the pace is too rapid the disruption can be significant.

    A possible example of unusually rapid climate change is the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) event about 55 million years ago (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:65_Myr_Climate_Change.png), a thermal spike in the climate. There is uncertainty about the triggering event (unusual volcanic activity, or perhaps the collision of the Indian subcontinent with Asia) but almost certainly the thermal spike itself was the result of a sudden buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere which might in turn have caused or been accompanied by destabilization of methane clathrates, greatly amplifying the greenhouse effects of the CO2. At any rate the suddenness and intensity of this thermal spike was accompanied by perhaps the greatest mass extinction in Earth’s history. Correlation is not causation; on the other hand, the correlation is not surprising.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Ron Spross – “I got burned out some time back. DRT, I’m impressed.” I don’t think that is a good thing for me ;)

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Rick Cina,

    Certainly you do not have all this passion just because of the thoughts of little old me? Why do you have the passion? Why do you care if I am promoting this?

  • Rick Cina

    “Rick, it’s true of course that CO2 levels have been higher in the past, a fact ironically that has been ascertained by the very climate scientists who are concerned about the effects of our fossil fuel consumption on the future climate. How is it that they, who have had the patience and diligence to uncover the evidence of past climate be so wrong about its implications for the future?”

    Um, because these same climate alarmists have had an absolutely horrible track record when it comes to predicting the future with their flawed and falsified computer modeling. We’re supposed to have sea levels rise 20 feet by 2050 according to these “scientists.” The glaciers in the Himalayas are all supposed to melt within the next 25 years according to these “scientists.” The polar bears are supposed to disappear because they have no more ice to stand on according to these “scientists.” We’re supposed to have greater frequencies of hurricanes and tornadoes according to these “scientists.” How impressed have you been with their capacity to predict the future, Ron?

    You probably completely bought into the ridiculous hockey stick graph when that came out too. You probably were impressed by the “science” in Al Gore’s movie. If you weren’t, if you acknowledge that the IPCC has been peddling falsified and unreliable “science” for the past 20 years, what makes you think that they’re going to get it right this next time around?

    Do you think that climate scientists should have their studies and analysis subjected to the scrutiny of the peer review processes that other scientists are expected to operate under before publishing their findings? Or do you, like those running the IPCC, think that the peer review process is unnecessary and any casual assertion (such as all the Himalayan glaciers will melt by 2035) by a climate “scientist” can and should be included in their report as long as it aligns with their alarmist belief systems?

    “So when CO2 levels were as high as they were these tens of millions years ago, what were sea levels at that time compared to where they are now? Answer is, a lot higher, given that there was no ice.”

    This whole sentence is flawed. So you think that CO2 levels determine sea level? Did you realize that CO2 levels much *lower* than they are now existed during the middle Miocene of 15 million years ago, when it was so warm that Antarctica was covered with vegetation? Were you aware that much *higher* CO2 levels than today existed during most of the earth’s many Ice Ages? You don’t have your science right, Ron. As historical records indicate, CO2 levels are not a driving cause of temperature changes. They’re a side effect of other causes. So when you say that high CO2 levels automatically mean higher temperatures and therefore higher sea levels (and “no ice”), your analysis is undermined by your faulty presuppositions.

    “Furthermore we have some understanding of the underlying reasons why past temperature and climate fluctuations occurred, and these were in different contexts and circumstances than today.”

    Again with the flawed thinking that we have some “special” circumstances now compared to the past, or that 280 ppm is some sort of a “maximum” normal level for CO2 (as you have so erroneously asserted). If the sun was the primary driving force in temperature changes in the past, it must be ruled out as a factor now because, well, we’ve just *got* to blame global warming on humans. Even though we’ve determined that the sun was the primary driving force for air temperatures for the past millions of years, you think the sun has *nothing* to do (it’s been ruled out!) with today’s air temperatures because, well, we drive SUVs now. Got it.

    “If these processes occur slowly (as they usually have) species can adapt. If the pace is too rapid the disruption can be significant.”

    Yes, and for you, the 0.8C increase in air temperature over the last 100 years is so rapid, so catastrophically fast, that we now have to brace ourselves for Armageddon and spend trillions on green energy projects that don’t work and nobody wants. If we had access to the data of air temperature fluctuations over the course of a century from millions of years ago, you may be surprised to find that temperature increases and decreases have been much more rapid than 0.8C in 100 years. But since we don’t have access to that too-precise information, that gives climate “scientists” room to aggrandize the doom to come with their unreliable and falsified computer models. And you’ve bought into their propaganda.

  • http://jesus.scilla.org.uk/ Chris Jefferies

    I said I was probably not coming back to check (56). But I couldn’t resist a quick peep and I’m really disappointed by your attitude, Rick. There’s no need to be so critical of people like DRT and Ron. They, like you, are entitled to their own point of view. I assume we’re all doing our best to follow Jesus here, so let’s be respectful – love one another – yes?

    Your posts have been making so many claims on so many different aspects of the argument that maybe we need to simplify. Let’s take the so-called hockey-stick curve with which you clearly disagree.

    The scientific reply concerning the hockey stick is clearly and briefly set out at http://www.skepticalscience.com/broken-hockey-stick.htm and that reply looks sound to me (lots of debate there too). Can you explain why you still believe the hockey-stick findings to be false?

    I will not reply to another rant. I might reply to a calm response explaining your reasons for rejecting the evidence for the recent and rapid temperature rise during the 20th century.

  • Rick Cina

    My attitude changed once DRT decided to insult my intelligence by saying “I can’t help that you’re unreasonable,” and when he decided to tell me I need to take some science classes because his knowledge on these matters is so superior to mine that he can’t dumb it down far enough for me to understand. When one is confronted with that level of disrespectful patronization, he tends to respond in kind (especially when the one claiming intellectual superiority has demonstrated that he is not nearly so informed as he thinks he is). I don’t like to have my intelligence insulted. Perhaps DRT could have been more hospitable, as I’m new to this forum and was expecting a different caliber of discourse considering you are Christians.

    The Mann hockey stick graph completely eliminated the Medieval Warming Period and Little Ice Age. Why? Because they didn’t fit in with the agenda of portraying recent times as the hottest ever. The graph also uses surface temperature records from the recent past instead of satellite temperatures, which are usually at strong variance. Why? Because the satellite temperatures from recent years do not show the violent uptick that surface temperatures do, which again fits in with the agenda. And Mann’s hockey stick also used tree rings to determine temperatures from hundreds of years ago, and this has been shown to be a very unreliable source of information…
    _______________________________________________________
    All a tree ring can tell us is whether the combined micro-environmental conditions during the growing season were favorable to tree growth or not. This is because tree rings are influenced by numerous factors other than temperature, such as rainfall, sunlight, cloudiness, pests, competition, forest fires, soil nutrients, frosts and snow duration. Thus they are not even a good daytime temperature proxy for the few months of the growing season. Other proxies such as isotopes in coral, ice, minerals and sediments are vastly superior.

    Trees only grow on land. Since 71% of the planet is covered by oceans, seas and lakes, tree rings can tell us nothing about the maritime climate, even though the oceans are known to be the prime determinants of climate conditions throughout the world.

    In other words, historical climate simply cannot be described without taking into account the winter and adjacent months temperatures, night-time temperatures, and ocean sea surface temperatures. Tree rings, no matter how carefully they are measured and examined, cannot provide information on any of these key parameters, and are a doubtful proxy even for daytime temperatures on land in summer.
    ____________________________________________________

    Despite these major flaws in methodology, Mann’s hockey stick graph was widely accepted by climate alarmists without critical analysis when it was presented. There were no peer reviews, no questioning of his flawed methodologies or data collection. Just widespread acceptance by the IPCC and their ilk. Why? Because any graph that makes it look like humans are the cause of warmer temperatures fits in with the agenda. The quality of the science is a secondary or tertiary factor compared to adherence to the humans-did-it paradigm. Unfortunately, though, science is not about adherence to an agenda. It’s about forming testable hypotheses, empirical testing of those hypotheses, subjecting the results to critical analysis and peer review scrutinization, doing further testing to see if the same results can be garnered independently, etc. None of that was done with Mann’s hockey stick. That’s why it’s been widely characterized as little more than junk science. Not even the IPCC itself still stands by the hockey stick graph, as they’ve acknowledged its many flaws.

    But apparently you *want* the hockey stick graph to be considered accurate. You want humans to be the cause of global warming. Why? What do you get out of it?

    I’m opposed to the perpetuation of the myth of man-made global warming because I see what kind of harm it does to the world’s citizens, especially the poorest ones. Green energy policies drive up the cost of energy for all of us, and this disproportionately affects those who can least afford it. Green energy policies cost jobs. Green energy policies cost too much and deliver inadequate benefits in return. Green energy policies churn out Solyndra-like scandals, the wasting of taxpayer money. And green energy policies don’t even come close to reducing fossil fuel burning worldwide, as countries like China’s fossil fuel burning will exponentially outpace any slight reduction in fossil fuel burning in this country or in Europe.

    So why do you want man-made global warming to be true, Chris Jefferies?

  • Rick Cina

    CO2 = warming undermined in less than 2 minutes.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fCP_nHRjP8&feature=relmfu

  • http://jesus.scilla.org.uk/ Chris Jefferies

    Rick, I’m not working from an agenda of wanting something to be wrong or right. I’m simply trying to look at the evidence and draw conclusions from it.

    You write, ‘Science is not about adherence to an agenda. It’s about forming testable hypotheses, empirical testing of those hypotheses, subjecting the results to critical analysis and peer review scrutinization, doing further testing to see if the same results can be garnered independently, etc. None of that was done with Mann’s hockey stick.’

    But it has been done many times since, hasn’t it? It takes time to plan and conduct experiments and publish the results, but today there are many studies completed and available in the literature.

    The link I included (73) includes this summary, ‘Since the hockey stick paper in 1998, there have been a number of proxy studies analysing a variety of different sources including corals, stalagmites, tree rings, boreholes and ice cores. They all confirm the original hockey stick conclusion: the 20th century is the warmest in the last 1000 years and that warming was most dramatic after 1920.’

    This is followed by an outline of the evidence backing up that summary.

    Even if you think the original study was flawed, what do you say to the extensive confirmation since 1998? Can we move on beyond ‘the hockey-stick is wrong’ and accept the evidence?

  • Rick Cina

    “But it has been done many times since, hasn’t it?”

    No, it hasn’t. The falsified methodology used for Mann’s hockey stick has never been repeated (because it has been recognized as flawed), and therefore there have been no graphs that look like his hockey stick ever again published by the IPCC. The IPCC disassociated itself from Mann’s hockey stick. By its next report, it was nowhere to be found.

    The key here is not that the earth has warmed. It has. By 1 degree in the last 100 years. That’s not what is being disputed here. What’s being disputed here is what has *caused* that rise in temperature. You say it’s CO2 due to humans burning fossil fuels, but the evidence shows that CO2 is not the *cause* of temperature changes, but a side effect of them. See the youtube video I linked to above in #75 for a quick summary of this.

    See, the reason why Mann and the IPCC excluded the Medieval Warm Period in their flawed reporting is that acknowledging that the earth’s temperature was (much) warmer 1,000 years ago categorically undermines the agenda of blaming humans for global warming. If the earth warmed even though humans weren’t burning fossil fuels 1,000 years ago, then the theory that burning fossil fuels causes warming is undermined. And since undermining the man-made part is not an option for the warmists, well, then, we just magically make the Medieval Warming Period disappear in our graphs. If data undermine your hypothesis, toss ‘em out and hope that others won’t notice. Does that seem like good science to you, Chris?

    “They all confirm the original hockey stick conclusion: the 20th century is the warmest in the last 1000 years and that warming was most dramatic after 1920.”

    Actually, the earth’s temperatures *cooled* between 1940 and 1975 (despite rising CO2 levels during that same period—hmmm, but I thought rising CO2 levels *caused* temperatures to rise!). So to say that the warming was most dramatic after 1920 ignores the cooling that took place for 35 years in the middle of the last century (despite rapidly accelerated fossil fuel burning). Here’s a report on the way the warmist propagandists whom you rely upon for “truth” have manipulated the data so as to exclude the “1940s blip.” http://strata-sphere.com/blog/index.php/archives/11466 It’s similar to how data was manipulated so they can exclude the inconvenient Medieval Warm Period. Again, if the information doesn’t fit the agenda, toss it out. That’s the “science” behind the theory you’ve been believing in.

    Chris, I’m not disputing the earth has warmed overall in the past 100 years (after 1975, the temperatures began rising again). What I am disputing is that humans have *caused* this warming. If humans weren’t the cause of all the times in the past when air temperatures were much warmer than they are now, then why is it that you are absolutely certain that we are the one and only cause for the warmer temperatures of today?

    If you truly believe that humans are the lone cause of climate—to the exclusion of all other possible factors or explanations—and if you believe that we are about to plunge the planet into 20 foot high sea levels and other cataclysmic baddies because of our fossil fuel burning practices, then what do you propose that we do about it? Should we install a cap and trade system in this country? Should we tax CO2 emissions? Should we churn out more ethanol (which actually facilitates more fossil fuel burning than gasoline)? What can and should we do about it?

  • http://jesus.scilla.org.uk/ Chris Jefferies

    Rick (77) – ‘Actually, the earth’s temperatures *cooled* between 1940 and 1975 (despite rising CO2 levels during that same period’. There are well understood reasons for that, but I don’t want to address those. Instead I suggest that we now set the hockey-stick argument aside. If you accept that global temperatures rose by 1 degree over the last hundred years we can leave to one side all remaining hockey stick arguments as not relevant to our conversation here. Is that OK?

    Instead, lets move on to something we may still disagree about, and see if we can make further progress.

    You ask, ‘If humans weren’t the cause of all the times in the past when air temperatures were much warmer than they are now, then why is it that you are absolutely certain that we are the one and only cause for the warmer temperatures of today?’

    Simply because all of the possible causes have been examined very carefully, and they’ve been eliminated one by one until only one remains, sticking out like a sore thumb – human activity. If we’re going to get anywhere we need to look at those causes one at a time. Which one would you like to address first?

  • Rick Cina

    “Simply because all of the possible causes have been examined very carefully, and they’ve been eliminated one by one until only one remains, sticking out like a sore thumb – human activity. If we’re going to get anywhere we need to look at those causes one at a time. Which one would you like to address first?”

    The sun has not been “eliminated” as a possible cause of climate warming. On a regular basis there are new studies and reports that come out documenting the large impact solar activity (sun spots) has and has had on global temperature. Have you never read any of these before? If this forum host would allow me to post more than two links at a time in a response like this without calling it too “spammy,” I could link you to dozens of studies that show the powerful impact the sun has on temperature. If you think the sun has absolutely no impact on temperature, you are sorely mistaken, and so are the propagandists who feed you those untruths.

    Water vapor (easily the top Green House Gas), which comprises most of the atmosphere and traps heat 100s of times more efficiently than CO2, has not been eliminated as a possible cause of climate warming. Water vapor is so powerful that it accounts for about 95% of the greenhouse effect. Did you not know that? It dwarfs CO2′s heat-trapping effect. Here’s a brief summary.
    http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/greenhouse_data.html
    ________________________________________________
    Just how much of the “Greenhouse Effect” is caused by human activity? It is about 0.28%, if water vapor is taken into account– about 5.53%, if not.

    Water vapor constitutes Earth’s most significant greenhouse gas, accounting for about 95% of Earth’s greenhouse effect (5). Interestingly, many “facts and figures’ regarding global warming completely ignore the powerful effects of water vapor in the greenhouse system, carelessly (perhaps, deliberately) overstating human impacts as much as 20-fold.

    Water vapor is 99.999% of natural origin. Other atmospheric greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and miscellaneous other gases (CFC’s, etc.), are also mostly of natural origin (except for the latter, which is mostly anthropogenic).

    Human activities contribute slightly to greenhouse gas concentrations through farming, manufacturing, power generation, and transportation. However, these emissions are so dwarfed in comparison to emissions from natural sources we can do nothing about, that even the most costly efforts to limit human emissions would have a very small– perhaps undetectable– effect on global climate.
    ___________________________________________________

    But let’s consider CO2, the boogeyman you think is the one and only factor in warming temperatures. The oceans and volcanic activity release far more CO2 into the atmosphere than humans burning fossil fuels does. Human activity accounts for less than 10% of the CO2 released into the atmosphere. Here’s a link. I could link you to dozens more like this.

    http://www.grassrootinstitute.org/system/old/GrassrootPerspective/PhysicsTrumps.shtml
    “[O]f the total atmospheric CO2 inventory, the manmade fraction is less than 3 percent of the CO2 total and therefore far less than 1 percent of the total greenhouse gas.”

    You are entitled to your own perspectives, but not your own facts. And the fact is, all the factors influencing warming and cooling temperatures for the last 100s of millions of years have not been completely eliminated as factors in the last 100 years. Causes don’t just disappear. That’s magical thinking, not science.

    I have a question for you. Between the years 1940 and 1975, the CO2 ppm levels in the atmosphere rose drastically. You’ve said in previous posts that drastically rising CO2 ppm levels are alarming and cause for great concern because they’ll in turn lead to drastic warming. But guess what happened between the years 1940 and 1975? Despite a dramatic rise in CO2 ppm, the atmospheric temperatures *cooled*, by 0.2C. How is that? If CO2 is the only cause of warming, as you erroneously believe, how is it that, for 35 years of very recent history, the CO2 didn’t do its job and warm the planet? Likewise, the earth’s air temperatures warmed rapidly (by 0.5C) between the years 1910 and 1940. But guess what? During that time period of rapid temperature rise early last century (at a faster pace than in modern times), the CO2 ppm levels rose only slightly, or far less dramatically than they did from 1940 to 1975, when the earth’s temperatures *cooled*. This dramatically undermines your CO2-causes-warming theory. CO2 is not a primary driver of temperature. It’s not even a particularly efficient GHG. Methane from cow farts and decaying matter is far, far better at trapping heat than CO2 is. And water vapor is the most powerful greenhouse gas of all.

    And yet you think that all these other factors have absolutely nothing to do with temperature changes. The one and only cause of temperature changes, to the exclusion of all other factors, according to you, is human activity. And you think you have science on your side?

  • http://jesus.scilla.org.uk/ Chris Jefferies

    Rick, thanks for that very full reply. However, I’m not going to attempt to deal with multiple points at the same time so let’s focus on your first one – the sun.

    We have very good data on the range of solar output fluctuations. They are very small relative to total solar output. However the trend in the last thirty years has been lower thermal output while over the same period global temperatures have been rising faster than ever before. For the previous thousand years global temperatures followed solar output much more closely.

    The evidence suggests that solar forcing has not been responsible for global warming over the last thirty years, and probably not for the last 60 years. Here’s the summary – http://www.skepticalscience.com/solar-activity-sunspots-global-warming-intermediate.htm – I’ve set it to open the intermediate tab but you can select basic or advanced once the page displays.

    If we can agree that the sun is not causing the current warming trend we can move on to another possible factor.

  • Rick Cina

    Chris,
    To further amplify the implausibility of your position that *all* other possible causes of the 1 degree rise in temperatures in the last 100 have been “eliminated,” leaving one cause—humans burning fossil fuels—standing alone as the only cause, I will ask you a few questions. See if you can answer them.

    Since you believe that humans burning fossil fuels is the one and only cause of temperature rise on the planet in the last century, you therefore believe that 100% of the cause of global warming is man-made, and 0% of the cause is due to any other factor or factors (non-CO2 GHGs such as water vapor, solar activity, naturally occurring climate cycles, etc.). Now, since humans burning fossil fuels is a relatively recent phenomenon, you must then acknowledge that, prior to the Industrial Age of the last 125 years or so, all, or 100%, of the cause of warming air temperatures were due to factors *other* than humans burning fossil fuels, and 0% of the cause of warming air temperatures could be attributed to humans burning fossil fuels. So, for hundreds of millions of years, all the other possible causes amounted to 100% of the cause, and the human contribution represented 0% of the cause. Then, at some point in recent times, the causal factors experienced a dramatic shift, and the 100% factors were all reduced to 0%, or disappeared, and the 0% factor shot up to 100%.

    My question is, in what year or years did this dramatic causal shift (0% to 100%, 100% to 0%) occur? Please answer as precisely as you can, and back it up with scientific evidence, not just pontification. Surely such an event in climate history as a dramatic and certain causal shift in global temperature warming has been recorded and explained somewhere in the literature you read (on the skepticalscience propaganda website).

    Then, once you have answered this question, please answer this next one, which is highly related. In what other aspect of geologic science has there been a time when a naturally occurring phenomenon such as, say, a volcanic eruption, or a rain cloud formation, or an avalanche, undergone such a dramatic shift in identifiable determinant causes as what you are suggesting has happened with humans causing climate in the last 100 years? For millions of years, volcanoes have erupted due to causes A, B, C, and D, but never Q. For millions of years, rain clouds have formed due to causes E, F, G, and H, but never Q. For millions of years, avalanches have occurred due to causes I, J, K, and L, but never Q. Now, in your case, for millions of years, global climate warming has occurred due to causes M, N, O, and P, but never Q, but now you say that M, N, O, and P have been completely eliminated as causal factors, and they’ve been totally replaced by a brand new and previously unrelated factor, Q. So the question is, has there ever been another instance in which all the composite causes for a naturally occurring event have, in a tiny span of years, just *disappeared*, only to be fully and completely replaced by another cause that has never influenced this naturally occurring event before? If so, please share what this naturally occurring event is. And support this scientifically.

    “The evidence suggests that solar forcing has not been responsible for global warming over the last thirty years, and probably not for the last 60 years.”

    As I’ve mentioned previously, I can list dozens of links that suggest that the sun has had a very strong influence on climate. If I list more than one link, I’ve found this web hosting mechanism subjects this post to “moderation” before it can appear in a response (which why my last response took 8 hours to appear), and if I post more than two links, it will not allow it because it’s considered too “spammy.”

    But even on this slanted website that you’ve linked me to (again), there is not one study or source that suggests that the sun or solar activity has 0% to do with temperature change, as you have been alleging throughout this thread. They all identify at least *some* influence of solar activity, even if they say it is a small one. Even the opening line of the “rebuttal” says: “As supplier of almost all the energy in Earth’s climate, the sun has a strong influence on climate. A comparison of sun and climate over the past 1150 years found temperatures closely match solar activity.” So you’ve linked me to a source that disagrees with your own position that the sun has had nothing to do (0%) with the warming observed in the last 100 years. Why doesn’t your position match up with even the sources of information you’ve linked me to?

    But let’s get to it. The quote summary above says that the evidence suggests that the sun cannot explain the warming for the last 30 years, and “probably” for the last 60 years either (although I don’t see what data are used to “probably” add the extra 30 years). But I’ll be generous. Let’s say I accept that, since 1952 (60 years ago), the sun has not had a discernible impact on warming temperatures. This begs the question: What about the rapidly warming temperatures prior to 1952? As I mentioned above (and you’ve yet to respond to), the earth’s surface temperatures warmed by 0.5C from 1910 to 1940, which was a more rapid increase in temperature than we’ve experienced in the last 30 years. Did the sun have 0% impact on global temperatures in those years (when humans were indeed burning fossil fuels)? Not even your favorite website suggests that the sun wasn’t an important factor back then. How is it that the sun had a significant impact on global temperatures during the warm years of 1910 to 1940, but it has had no impact whatsoever (0%, according to you) in the last 60 years? What changed? Please be specific and provide scientific evidence when answering.

  • Rick Cina

    While I hesitate to write this, as it seems to contradict my previous insistence upon not reducing climate science down to a consensus of opinion, which isn’t science, I think it is important to note that the number of climate scientists who disagree with the concept that humans are primarily responsible for climate change is rapidly rising, not decreasing. Earlier in this thread there was a “97% consensus” figure that was bandied about, and it seems to be one of the bedrocks of the belief system that, if the vast majority of scientists believe something, well, therefore, it just must be true. We need to just accept that these people know more than we amateurs do. Though it’s not how science works, it is a persuasive argument, and one that I myself fell prey to until about 4 years ago. Yes, up until 2008, I was a believer in man-made global warming. It was after I watched Gore’s Inconvenient Truth, however, that I thought it was worth looking into what the other side had to say. Needless to say, the evidence on the other side seemed to be much more sound than the arguments that Al Gore was making.

    Below I’ve provided excerpts from a linked source that describes just how widespread the viewpoint is among scientists that humans do not play more than a fractional role in climate change. In brief, the scientific “consensus” that humans cause climate change is little more than an illusion.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2012/07/17/that-scientific-global-warming-consensus-not/2/
    ____________________________________________________________
    Since 1998, more than 31,000 American scientists from diverse climate-related disciplines, including more than 9,000 with Ph.D.s, have signed a public petition announcing their belief that “…there is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.” Included are atmospheric physicists, botanists, geologists, oceanographers, and meteorologists.

    While real polling of climate scientists and organization memberships is rare, there are a few examples. A 2008 international survey of climate scientists conducted by German scientists Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch revealed deep disagreement regarding two-thirds of the 54 questions asked about their professional views. Responses to about half of those areas were skewed on the “skeptic” side, with no consensus to support any alarm. The majority did not believe that atmospheric models can deal with important influences of clouds, precipitation, atmospheric convection, ocean convection, or turbulence. Most also did not believe that climate models can predict precipitation, sea level rise, extreme weather events, or temperature values for the next 50 years.

    A 2010 survey of media broadcast meteorologists conducted by the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication found that 63% of 571 who responded believe global warming is mostly caused by natural, not human, causes. Those polled included members of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and the National Weather Association.

    A more recent 2012 survey published by the AMS found that only one in four respondents agreed with UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change claims that humans are primarily responsible for recent warming. And while 89% believe that global warming is occurring, only 30% said they were very worried.

    A March 2008 canvas of 51,000 Canadian scientists with the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysics of Alberta (APEGGA) found that although 99% of 1,077 replies believe climate is changing, 68% disagreed with the statement that “…the debate on the scientific causes of recent climate change is settled.” Only 26% of them attributed global warming to “human activity like burning fossil fuels.” Regarding these results, APEGGA’s executive director, Neil Windsor, commented, “We’re not surprised at all. There is no clear consensus of scientists that we know of.”

    A 2009 report issued by the Polish Academy of Sciences PAN Committee of Geological Sciences, a major scientific institution in the European Union, agrees that the purported climate consensus argument is becoming increasingly untenable. It says, in part, that: “Over the past 400 thousand years – even without human intervention – the level of CO2 in the air, based on the Antarctic ice cores, has already been similar four times, and even higher than the current value. At the end of the last ice age, within a time [interval] of a few hundred years, the average annual temperature changed over the globe several times. In total, it has gone up by almost 10 °C in the northern hemisphere, [and] therefore the changes mentioned above were incomparably more dramatic than the changes reported today.”

    The report concludes: “The PAN Committee of Geological Sciences believes it necessary to start an interdisciplinary research based on comprehensive monitoring and modeling of the impact of other factors – not just the level of CO2 – on the climate. Only this kind of approach will bring us closer to identifying the causes of climate change.”
    _________________________________________________________

  • http://jesus.scilla.org.uk/ Chris Jefferies

    Hi Rick,

    Once again you are adding masses of old and new arguments. I’m not willing to engage with those, we need to focus on one thing at a time. In comment 80 I wrote, ‘If we can agree that the sun is not causing the current warming trend we can move on to another possible factor.’

    But you made it quite clear in comment 81 that we are not yet agreed about that. I think you have misunderstood some things I wrote near the beginning of this discussion. Of course the sun has an impact on our climate, that is surely self-evident – if the sun went missing Earth’s surface temperature would rapidly fall and the atmosphere would precipitate out as solid nitrogen/oxygen.

    When I say the sun has no effect, I’m talking about the recently measured global warming. Once again, over the last 30 (or perhaps 60) years, solar output has fallen while temperatures have been rising faster than ever. A slightly cooler sun is unlikely to be causing the increased rate of warming – wouldn’t you agree? I’m not saying solar forcing cannot affect climate. I’m saying it cannot be responsible for the recent warming. Something else must be causing it.

    We’ve agreed the hockey-stick argument is no longer an issue because we both accept that the Earth is heating up. We should also now be able to reject the sun as the cause of that warming. If not, we cannot make any further progress with this conversation.

  • Rick Cina

    Chris Jefferies,

    Yes, I understand that you find my refutations of your arguments inconvenient, but that doesn’t mean you should just gloss over them as if they do not exist.

    Look at this extraordinarily peer-reviewed position paper (link below). It is the position paper that 31,487 (so far) American *scientists* with degrees in climate-related fields have signed off on, indicating their agreement that: “[T]here is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.” Talk about peer-reviewed consensus!

    The signers of this scientific position paper are listed by name, and they scroll down by the thousands on the right. Look around the site and read the other peer reviewed literature on the subject of global warming. Some of it may be new to you, especially since you seem to only have one source for your “science” information—-John Cook’s propaganda on his skepticalscience website.

    http://www.petitionproject.org/gw_article/Review_Article_HTML.php
    Now, Chris Jefferies, notice the third graph down from the top. It shows just how closely solar activity correlates with temperature. It’s almost as if it’s a perfect match. And look! The correlation between solar activity and temperature is just as strong since 1952 (when you claim the sun completely stopped being a causal factor in temperature) as it was before 1952. How could this be, Chris? If 31,487 American scientists agree that solar activity is highly correlated with air temperature, why do you, a non-scientist, find yourself *certain* that solar activity doesn’t have anything to do with climate temperatures (at least not for the last 30, er, 60 years)?

    And I’m still waiting for your scientific explanation of how perpetual (millions of years) causes of naturally occurring events (such as air temperature increases) just disappear in a span of a few years and get replaced by other, wholly unrelated causes. That is what you’ve claimed has happened. You cannot support this position with science, and that is why you refuse to respond to these challenges. Your position that solar activity has completely disappeared as one of the causes of air temperature fluctuations in the last 30 to 60 years isn’t remotely scientific.

  • http://jesus.scilla.org.uk/ Chris Jefferies

    Rick, the first thing I noticed from the petition project (it’s not a scientific position paper, by the way) is how the information is selected, not global. Graph one is from the Sargasso Sea, graph two doesn’t specify, graph three is Arctic, graphs four to eight are USA, nine and ten are Atlantic, eleven is global. No doubt this serves a petition project well, but it is bias, something that scientific publications always attempt to avoid.

    You seem to be unwilling to engage in dealing with one factor at a time. I am not arguing that solar activity had no effect on global air temperatures in the last 30 to 60 years. What I have said is that its influence will have been negative (less solar energy -> global cooling) during a period when global temperature has risen faster than ever before.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Chris, perhaps you know, I can’t remember. I seem to recall reading an article several years ago that said if the loss of solar brightness had been instantaneous rather than gradual as it has been that it would be noticeable to us with the naked eye.

  • Rick Cina

    “Rick, the first thing I noticed from the petition project (it’s not a scientific position paper, by the way)”

    So is it your contention that the IPCC puts out reports that are more scientific than the one referenced here? The IPCC doesn’t even subject all of their final reports to peer review, which is why false data and acknowledged statistical fraud has accompanied the 4 IPCC reports (1990, 1995, 2001, and 2007). The 1995 IPCC conclusion that humans cause climate was rewritten just prior to publication by *one* man (who obviously didn’t have his conclusions subjected to peer review). Did you know that? The IPCC is a government-centered body that focuses most of its attention on policy, not science. One of its own authors has since “outed” the myth that “2,500″ scientists agree with its conclusions:

    http://blog.independent.org/2010/06/18/ipcc-insider-admits-climate-consensus-claim-was-a-lie/
    ______________________________________________________
    The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change misled the press and public into believing that thousands of scientists backed its claims on manmade global warming, according to Mike Hulme, a prominent climate scientist and IPCC insider. The actual number of scientists who backed that claim was “only a few dozen experts,” he states in a paper for Progress in Physical Geography, co-authored with student Martin Mahony.

    “Claims such as ‘2,500 of the world’s leading scientists have reached a consensus that human activities are having a significant influence on the climate’ are disingenuous,” the paper states unambiguously, adding that they rendered “the IPCC vulnerable to outside criticism.”

    Hulme, Professor of Climate Change in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia—the university of Climategate fame—is the founding Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and one of the UK’s most prominent climate scientists. Among his many roles in the climate change establishment, Hulme was the IPCC’s co-ordinating Lead Author for its chapter on “Climate scenario development” for its Third Assessment Report and a contributing author of several other chapters.
    ___________________________________________________________

    “…is how the information is selected, not global. Graph one is from the Sargasso Sea, graph two doesn’t specify, graph three is Arctic, graphs four to eight are USA, nine and ten are Atlantic, eleven is global..”

    Did you read what you just wrote here? You said that the information sources for this report, which has 132 scientific references supporting it, is *not* global, and then you point out that the informational sources for the graphs came from…global sources. That I can tell, you’ve contradicted yourself.

    “No doubt this serves a petition project well, but it is bias, something that scientific publications always attempt to avoid.”

    Please explain how using information from a variety of global sources is “bias.” Then explain how the IPCC has eliminated bias from its own reports.

    “You seem to be unwilling to engage in dealing with one factor at a time.”

    I’ve been unwilling to engage in a discussion with you about solar activity and its correlation to air temperature (warming)? Then why is it that my last 2 responses have addressed this very topic?

    “I am not arguing that solar activity had no effect on global air temperatures in the last 30 to 60 years.”

    It’s good to know that you have modified your previous statements.

    “What I have said is that its influence will have been negative (less solar energy -> global cooling) during a period when global temperature has risen faster than ever before.”

    Actually, global temperatures have not risen “faster than ever before” in the last 60 years. In fact, global temperatures were *cooling* from 1952 to 1975, which is within the 60 year span you’ve said that the sun had been carefully “ruled out” as a factor in temperature fluctuations. It was cooling so much that the scientific consensus (there’s that word again) back in the mid-’70s was that the globe was headed towards another Ice Age. Then, about 20 years later, the consensus changed again.

    So as to not perturb you by moving on to another topic without your permission, I will stay with solar activity and its correlation with air temperature. Some questions for you (which you’ve still refused to answer). 1) In what year or span of years did solar activity cease to be a factor in determining air temperature fluctuations? 2) What scientific processes underlie the heretofore unprecedented phenomenon of the complete disappearance of a determinant cause (solar activity) from a naturally occurring process (warming air temperatures) and a simultaneous wholesale replacement with another, unrelated determinant cause (humans burning fossil fuels)? 3) What scientific sources support your contention that solar activity ceased to be a factor in determining air temperature fluctuations in whatever year or year you are contending this occurred (the answer to question 1)? 4) Why did the earth’s air temperatures increase at a faster rate from 1910 to 1940, when you’ve claimed solar activity *was* a factor in the warming, than it did from 1952 to present, when you’ve claimed that solar activity was *not* a factor in the (milder) warming that has taken place? You keep on avoiding these questions about solar activity and warming temperatures, and yet you claim that I am “unwilling to engage” you on this subject?

    Once we get done talking about the sun and how it does or doesn’t impact temperature, I’d like to find out your views about what it is that we as humans can do about the global warming you think we’re causing. After all, isn’t that the point?

  • http://jesus.scilla.org.uk/ Chris Jefferies

    DRT (86)… Eighty-six and rising?!! Is this a record number of comments for a Patheos blog?

    ‘I seem to recall reading an article several years ago that said if the loss of solar brightness had been instantaneous rather than gradual as it has been that it would be noticeable to us with the naked eye.’

    I don’t recall that, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised. The human eye is very sensitive to rapid changes of all kinds, even very subtle ones.

  • http://jesus.scilla.org.uk/ Chris Jefferies

    Rick (87)

    ‘So is it your contention that the IPCC puts out reports that are more scientific than the one referenced here?’ – Yes, of course.

    ‘you point out that the informational sources for the graphs came from…global sources’ – No I don’t.

    You can’t measure something in the Sargasso Sea, or in the USA and claim it’s global. To be of global value, data must be collated and processed from as many sources as possible, preferably from every continent and every ocean. You can’t draw global conclusions from local areas. And I’m sorry, but in global terms the USA is a rather small area.

    Back to solar effects. Go here again

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/solar-activity-sunspots-global-warming.htm

    and look carefully at the first graph. Do you see a difference before and after 1980? After 1980 the blue line goes down while the red one goes up. Why? What is causing that difference? Is it solar output? Really?

  • Rick Cina

    ‘So is it your contention that the IPCC puts out reports that are more scientific than the one referenced here?’ – Yes, of course.

    The fraud and flawed methodologies exposed in the IPCC’s 4 reports since 1990 are well documented in the scientific literature. The IPCC has been found to not subject all of its final reports to the scientifically requisite peer review process (which is why, for example, they’ve been caught putting out reports saying that all the glaciers in the Himalayas will disappear by 2035 based on a single suppositional comment by one person, and why the 1995 report’s conclusion that global warming has a substantial human fingerprint was a last minute revision and rewrite by *one* man and not subjected to the review of the other authors of the final document ). The IPCC tries to hide flawed data and tries to get the graphs to look the way they want them to by using methodological “tricks,” as this is exposed quite candidly in the East Anglia e-mails revealed in Climategate. The IPCC was caught sanctioning and proudly touting Mann’s infamous hockey stick in its 2001 report, even though the graph, which failed the repeatable test because of its reliance on hidden (or fabricated) data, was not subjected to the peer review process and therefore its methodologies (i.e., using unreliable tree ring data for all the temperature recordings) and curious deletion of the Medieval Warm Period and LIA from the graph) were widely criticized; the IPCC ignored the criticism and published it anyway. Mann and the IPCC are currently under investigation in the Commonwealth of Virginia for publishing misleading and false information (fraud) on the taxpayer dole, which is a criminal offense. And the IPCC has shown that its earlier (1990, 1995) computer models were biased towards predicting the most extreme future consequences of global warming in terms of sea level rise, temperature rise, glacier melt, and hurricane frequency in spite widespread dispute of these alarmist extremes in the rest of the scientific literature. These computer model predictions have already been demonstrated to have been wildly inaccurate, which makes one wonder why so many people think their more recent predictions should be assumed to be any less unreliable. In sum, the IPCC has a track record of bias, of a focus on political agendas over science, and of flawed methodologies, non-peer-reviewed conclusions, and fraud. And this is the organization you are putting your faith in.

    “You can’t measure something in the Sargasso Sea, or in the USA and claim it’s global. To be of global value, data must be collated and processed from as many sources as possible, preferably from every continent and every ocean. You can’t draw global conclusions from local areas. And I’m sorry, but in global terms the USA is a rather small area.”

    Incredible. So here you are criticizing a document with 132 scientific references supporting its conclusions because it used data gleaned from the 1) Atlantic Ocean, the 2) Sargasso Sea, the 3) United States, the 4) Arctic, and from 5) “global” sources (your admitted characterization)—-and yet you say this information gleaning is not “global” enough in its scope. At the same time, you have absolutely no problem accepting Mann’s hockey stick graph as true science despite the fact that he gleaned his temperature readings from tree rings from one section of the earth (North America) representing less than 3% of the earth’s surface. And even tree ring data itself is considered too subject to bias, as it has a selection bias towards the biggest trees and excludes the small ones, which means that results are bound to be skewed. http://www.c3headlines.com/2012/03/the-infamous-hockey-stick-tree-scientists-michael-mann.html In sum, your critical standard of applying the “global” requirement to scientific data that you disagree with, but failing to apply that same “global” requirement to the data you do agree with, smells of intellectual disingenuousness.

    “Back to solar effects. Go here again and look carefully at the first graph. Do you see a difference before and after 1980? After 1980 the blue line goes down while the red one goes up. Why? What is causing that difference? Is it solar output? Really?”

    Yes, I see from the graph presented here on John Cook’s website that there has been a divergence of the colored lines between temperatures and solar activity since 1980 (which is in direct contradiction to the squiggly lines on pictorial graphs accepted by tens of thousands of scientists showing a clear correlation between solar activity and air temperature). So we have competing graphs. This is not surprising considering that climate science is not the least bit “settled.”

    But this graph you keep linking me to begs the question: What was happening with solar activity and its relation to air temperatures prior to 1980, Chris? Does John Cook answer that question for you? If so, what year or years does he say that solar activity completely ceased to be a factor (0%) in the determination of air temperature? Obviously you think this monumental climatic event happened prior to 1980. So what year or years was it? And how is it that solar activity could, for millions and billions of years, been a highly correlated and/or causal factor in the determination of air temperature, but then suddenly disappear from amongst the list of factors at some point prior to 1980? How do scientifically verifiable causes for naturally occurring events just disappear like that? Is it magical? And what was the cause of the earth’s relatively rapid surface temperature warming of 0.5C between the years 1910 and 1940, when CO2 levels were far lower than they are now? Did solar activity have 0% to do with that warming trend too, or did it still have some influence at that point? If so, how much? And what was the cause of the earth’s surface temperature cooling of 0.2C between the years 1940 and 1975? Did humans burning fossil fuels cause that cooling effect? How could that be considering the fact that CO2 levels rose dramatically during those 35 years? How does dramatic CO2 rise cause global *cooling*, Chris, when all along you’ve been insisting that dramatic CO2 level rise (like what was occurring from 1940 to 1975) produces catastrophic *warming*?

    I have asked these same questions 3 and perhaps 4 times now, and yet you still refuse to answer them. I surmise that the reason why you won’t provide answers for these questions (which comprise the heart of your argument that humans burning fossil fuels is the one and only cause of temperature warming) is because you cannot. You know that if you answer them one way or another, your belief that humans alone cause climate will be cast into doubt. I challenge you to finally respond to the above questions, Chris. If you think that these questions are just going to go away if you ignore them enough times, you are underestimating the depths of my rhetorical patience.

  • Rick Cina

    Chris Jefferies, DRT, and Ron Spross:

    Please read and refute these well referenced scientific findings. The page takes awhile to load (pdf). I’ve included some excerpts that are central to this chapter.

    http://www.nipccreport.org/reports/2009/pdf/Chapter%203.pdf
    Figure 3.1 tells us three things about the current warm period. First, temperatures of the last decades of the twentieth century were “unprecedented” or “unusual” only because they were *cooler* than during past interglacial peaks. Second, the current temperature of the globe cannot be taken as evidence of an anthropogenic effect since it was warmer during parts of all preceding interglacials for which we have good proxy temperature data. And third, the higher temperatures of the past four interglacials cannot be attributed to higher CO2 concentrations caused by some non-human influence because atmospheric CO2 concentrations during all four prior interglacials never rose above approximately 290 ppm, whereas the air’s CO2 concentration today stands at nearly 380 ppm.

    Likewise, Mudelsee (2001) determined that variations in atmospheric CO2 concentration lagged behind variations in air temperature by 1,300 to 5,000 years over the past 420,000 years. During certain climatic transitions characterized by rapid warmings of several degrees Centigrade, which were followed by slower coolings that returned the climate to essentially full glacial conditions, Staufer et al. (1998) observed the atmospheric CO2 concentration derived from ice core records typically varied by less than 10 ppm. They, too, considered the CO2 perturbations to have been caused by the changes in climate, rather than vice versa.

    Other studies have also demonstrated this reverse coupling of atmospheric CO2 and temperature (e.g., Cheddadi et al., 1998; Gagan et al., 1998; Raymo et al., 1998), where temperature is the independent variable that appears to induce changes in CO2. Steig
    (1999) noted cases between 7,000 and 5,000 years ago when atmospheric CO2 concentrations increased by just over 10 ppm at a time when temperatures in both hemispheres cooled.

    Another pertinent study is that of Siegenthaler et al. (2005), who analyzed CO2 and proxy temperature (δD, the ratio of deuterium to hydrogen) data derived from an ice core in Antarctica. Results of their analysis revealed a coupling of Antarctic temperature and CO2 in which they obtained the best correlation between CO2 and temperature “for a lag of CO2 of 1900 years.” Specifically, over the course of glacial terminations V to VII, they indicate that “the highest correlation of CO2 and deuterium, with use of a 20-ky window for each termination, yields a lag of CO2 to deuterium of 800, 1600, and 2800 years, respectively.” In addition, they note that “this value is consistent with estimates based on data from the past four glacial cycles,” citing in this regard the work of Fischer et al. (1999), Monnin et al. (2001) and Caillon et al. (2003).

    These observations seem to undermine the IPCC’s claims that the CO2 produced by the burning of fossil fuels will lead to catastrophic global warming. Nevertheless, Siegenthaler et al. stubbornly state that the new findings “do not cast doubt … on the importance of CO2 as a key amplification factor of the large observed temperature variations of glacial cycles.” The previously cited Caillon et al. also avoid the seemingly clear implication of their own findings, that CO2 doesn’t cause global warming. We find such disclaimers disingenuous.

    When temperature is found to lead CO2 by thousands of years, during both glacial terminations and inceptions (Genthon et al., 1987; Fischer et al., 1999; Petit et al., 1999; Indermuhle et al., 2000; Monnin et al., 2001; Mudelsee, 2001; Caillon et al., 2003), it is extremely likely that CO2 plays only a minor role in enhancing temperature changes that are induced by something else. Compared with the mean conditions of the preceding four interglacials, there is currently 90 ppm more CO2 in the air and yet it is currently more than 2°C colder than it was then. There is no way these real-world observations can be construed to suggest that a significant increase in atmospheric CO2 would necessarily lead to any global warming, much less the catastrophic type that is predicted by the IPCC.

  • http://jesus.scilla.org.uk/ Chris Jefferies

    Rick (90 and 91),

    I am not going to engage with a whole slew of different arguments and inferences at the same time. I’m only asking you to accept that from 1980 onwards global temperatures increased while solar radiance fell. None of the arguments you have offered can change those simple facts. We are not discussing what happened a thousand years ago or a million years ago. Can we now agree that since 1980 something other than the sun has caused warming?

  • John Inglis

    Re CJ @ #92 “Can we now agree that since 1980 something other than the sun has caused warming”

    No, no one can agree because we have competing graphs, and the graph you favour is inconsistent with historical correlations between solar energy and earth temperature.

    Issues other than total solar irradiation affect the relationship between the sun and earth’s temperature, such as the jet stream, cloud cover, ocean, etc.

    I don’t see Chris as arguing that the sun is th only driver of weather & air temperature is the sun. Climate is a complex phenomenom with many drivers.

  • Rick Cina

    “I am not going to engage with a whole slew of different arguments and inferences at the same time.”

    You can’t provide cogent answers to my challenges anyway, Chris. Because you know as well as I that if you did respond to my challenges, the inconsistencies and flimsiness of your position would be exposed. That is why you’re not answering.

    ” I’m only asking you to accept that from 1980 onwards global temperatures increased while solar radiance fell.”

    Considering I’ve seen probably ten times as many graphs from well referenced scientific studies showing the opposite of the one you keep on linking to, I will not accept that solar activity does not move at a similar trajectory as air temperatures. We have competing graphs. You say yours is right. I say all the dozens (and perhaps hundreds, if I count all the times I’ve seen them in articles) I’ve seen showing that solar activity and air temperatures are correlated are probably right. Why do you expect me to just drop everything I’ve learned about solar energy correlating with air temperature and accept your graph is right? Is it because you think you have “consensus” on your side?

    “We are not discussing what happened a thousand years ago or a million years ago.”

    I realize you are refusing to engage in discussions of what happened a thousand years ago or a million years ago. Because if we did, you’d have to acknowledge that the earth has been much warmer than it is now *at the same time* that it had *lower* CO2 ppm levels (in the 100s and 200s), and you’d have to acknowledge that the earth has been much colder than it is now at the same time that it had C02 ppm levels in the 600s, 700s, and 800s, or more than double what they are now (380 ppm). In other words, you’d have to acknowledge that CO2 is not a primary driver of (warmer) temperatures. Other factors drive temperature, Chris. And, considering there weren’t any humans burning fossil fuels thousands and millions of years ago, you’d have to acknowledge that human activity wasn’t one of those factors correlating, much less causing, temperature fluctuations.

    But not only are you unwilling to answer challenges related to what happened thousands and millions of years ago, you’re not even willing to answer challenges pertaining to what happened 50 years ago. Namely, why is it that the earth’s temperatures *cooled* (by 0.2C) for 35 years in the middle of the last century (1940 to 1975) while at the same time CO2 levels increased dramatically (from 310 ppm in 1940 to 340 ppm in 1975)? Why is it that the earth’s temperatures *warmed* rapidly between 1910 and 1940 (by 0.5C) while at the same time CO2 ppm levels only increased mildly (by 10 ppm) during those 30 hot years? Again, if CO2 is the primary driver of warming temperatures, why is it that we have objective evidence from just *last century* that does not support this hypothesis?

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/22/picking-carbonated-cherries-in-1975/

    Perhaps you’ve noticed, but the perpetual sidestepping of these questions hasn’t made them disappear yet. Perhaps you think that if you sidestep them for a 5th time, I’ll stop asking them. No such luck.

  • http://jesus.scilla.org.uk/ Chris Jefferies

    Rick, there is a perfectly good reason that I keep asking one question and refuse to answer the many you ask. This is my final attempt to see if you will accept the obvious, that solar radiation in the last 30 (maybe even 60) years has not been the cause of warming. I can assure you that a cooling sun cannot have been the cause of warming over that period.

    It’s not that hard to see. What is stopping you from admitting it?

    Yes, the sun’s output does vary slightly on short time scales or tens, hundreds or thousands of years, and those changes are reflected in the temperature records. Such changes are still there (but hidden) in the last 60 years of temperature records. Why are they hidden? What is hiding them? Something else that is having a larger and growing impact. We can talk about that if we can first agree that a recently cooling sun cannot be causing increasing temperatures over the same period.

    It’s an important first step that we agree this. I’m not moving on to discuss other factors until we do. Without that agreement this will be my final post on the subject.

  • Rick Cina

    “Rick, there is a perfectly good reason that I keep asking one question and refuse to answer the many you ask.”

    Yes, and the reason you won’t answer my questions is that if you do, your belief that humans are the one and only cause of temperature fluctuations will be exposed for the myth that it is. Pretending like this is not the reason why you won’t respond to these questions is, in a word, disingenuous.

    “This is my final attempt to see if you will accept the obvious,”

    Your belief that the sun is *not* one of the driving factors in temperature fluctuations isn’t “obvious,” Chris. If it were, then we wouldn’t have so many studies and research and graphs and satellite data that tell us that the sun does play a (large) role in temperature fluctuations, just as it has for thousands and millions and billions of years. The sun hasn’t just suddenly disappeared as a causative or correlative agent in temperature fluctuations since 1980. Greenhouse gases, of which water vapor is easily the most prominent (95% of GHGs, dwarfing CO2’s percentage), also play a role in warming. Clouds and oceans are also factored in there. Oceans store CO2 for hundreds of years, which means that it’s highly unlikely that the CO2 the oceans are releasing now is due to some human activity from, say, 1993. The oceans’ store of CO2 is something like 50 times greater than the CO2 content in the atmosphere. And it’s not possible to objectively distinguish between the oceans’ release of mass quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere and the CO2 added to the atmosphere by humans (a small fraction of it by comparison). Those who think they can distinguish between the oceans’ CO2 release and humans’ CO2 release are selling you a line. Put simply, the science behind what drives temperature is anything but “settled,” or, in your word, certain. If you’ve been told that the science is settled, that we understand so well what drives temperature fluctuations and what doesn’t that we can actually “rule out” factors one by one so as to reach a desired and definite conclusion (that humans cause climate), you are not familiar with how the scientific process works.

    “ that solar radiation in the last 30 (maybe even 60) years has not been the cause of warming.”

    That’s what your (one) graph suggests. I could link you to probably 50 graphs that say exactly the opposite, that solar activity and temperature rise and fall are closely correlated. You’re getting your information from John Cook (skepticalscience), the guy who believes that the Medieval Warm Period never happened. Why does he believe the Medieval Warm Period never happened? Because if he did acknowledge that temperatures were much warmer 1,000 years ago (MWP) and 2,000 years ago (Roman Warming Period) and 8,000 years ago (Holocene Maximum) than they are now, when CO2 ppm levels were simultaneously much *lower* (in the 200s ppm!) than they are now (pushing 400 ppm), he’d have to admit that CO2 is not a primary driver of temperature, and that humans didn’t cause all that warming. Can’t admit that, of course. So…those warm periods never happened. Even if he denies those warming periods from the past 10,000 years ever happened, he’d have to further deny that hundreds of other warming periods have occurred in the last several million years according to the historic scientific data collected .

    http://www.co2science.org/education/reports/prudentpath/ch1.php

    What Cook does is pretty simple. He doesn’t allow postings on his website from real skeptical climate scientists or in-the-know individuals with real arguments that authentically challenge or undermine his belief system. He deletes those. He does, however, allow posts and comments and challenges to be made by those with a limited understanding of the science. In that way, he can make it appear that, when challenged, he can knock any “denier’s” argument out of the park. There is no genuine debate allowed on his website. Once he carefully manipulates the “denier” position by stating it in partial or less than honest terms, he “defeats” it, not allowing for any “comebacks” or clarification of the misstatements. Cook has never had a real, open debate with a knowledgeable AGW skeptic. If you surround yourself with only the data that you agree with (i.e., the hockey stick graph), and dismiss all the other competing information as “misleading” or “misinformed” or “lies,” as he does, then you can sit on your perch and look like you have all the answers. You have “consensus” on your side. This is why I (and many, many others) consider John Cook’s skepticalscience website to be little more than propaganda. And it’s why I look at your graph and am unwilling to accept it as “truth.”

    “I can assure you that a cooling sun cannot have been the cause of warming over that period.”

    Considering you’re unwilling and unable to answer even the most basic questions that support your positions on CO2 and warming temperatures, I must say that I find your “assurance” that your beliefs are scientifically correct to be suspect.

    “It’s not that hard to see. What is stopping you from admitting it?”

    Strong contradictory evidence (that you are unwilling to acknowledge exists).

    “Yes, the sun’s output does vary slightly on short time scales or tens, hundreds or thousands of years, and those changes are reflected in the temperature records. Such changes are still there (but hidden) in the last 60 years of temperature records. Why are they hidden? What is hiding them? ”

    Please explain the scientific principles behind “hidden” causation. How do naturally occurring causes go into hiding? And from whose vantage point are they hidden? From scientists with an agenda of suppressing the evidence that causative factors other than human activity play a role in warming temperatures? Is the explanation for why the earth’s temperatures *cooled* from 1940 to 1975 despite a simultaneous rapid rise in CO2 ppm levels hidden somewhere too? If so, perhaps you could locate it at some point and enlighten us.

    “Something else that is having a larger and growing impact. We can talk about that if we can first agree that a recently cooling sun cannot be causing increasing temperatures over the same period.”

    For hypothetical purposes, let’s say I agree with your position. Will that mean you will finally answer my questions? Or will you still refuse to answer them unless I *really* agree with your beliefs, and not just hypothetically? Let me know, as I’m really looking forward to you answering questions such as: What was happening with solar activity and its relation to air temperatures prior to 1980? What year or years did solar activity completely cease to be a factor (0%) in the determination of air temperature? Obviously you think this monumental climatic event happened prior to 1980. So what year or years was it? And how is it that solar activity could, for millions and billions of years, been a highly correlated and/or causal factor in the determination of air temperature, but then suddenly disappear from amongst the list of factors at some point prior to 1980? How do scientifically verifiable causes for naturally occurring events just disappear like that? Is it magical? And what was the cause of the earth’s relatively rapid surface temperature warming of 0.5C between the years 1910 and 1940, when CO2 levels were far lower than they are now, and humans were burning fossil fuels at a fraction of the rate they are now? Did solar activity have 0% to do with that warming trend too, or did it still have some influence at that point? If so, how much? And what was the cause of the earth’s surface temperature cooling of 0.2C between the years 1940 and 1975? Did humans burning fossil fuels cause that cooling effect? How could that be considering the fact that CO2 levels rose dramatically during those 35 years? How does dramatic CO2 rise cause global *cooling*, Chris, when all along you’ve been insisting that dramatic CO2 level rise (like what was occurring from 1940 to 1975) produces catastrophic *warming*?

    “It’s an important first step that we agree this. I’m not moving on to discuss other factors until we do. Without that agreement this will be my final post on the subject.”

    OK, I agree (hypothetically). Now answer my questions, please.

  • http://jesus.scilla.org.uk/ Chris Jefferies

    Rick, I’m going to be on holiday with the family for a week and don’t know if I’ll have internet access. I’ll consider whether to reply to your latest message when I get home around 20th August.

    Meanwhile I’ll just mention that a hypothetical agreement isn’t agreement at all, is it? It amounts to saying you agree when you really don’t. I’m still barely convinced you accept that global temperatures have risen in the last 30 years, let alone that you accept solar radiance has fallen over the same period or that you can see the obvious – that IF those two things are true, then over the last 30 years something other than rising solar input caused the warming.

  • Rick Cina

    Just as I was up until 4 years ago, I’m assuming that you are still unable to accept that something that “97%” of scientists believe to be true may actually not be true. The consensus argument was a compelling one for me too. For most of those who believe that man causes climate, it’s this “consensus” that compels them the most.

    But do you know how this 97% figure was obtained that you all cite so readily? It comes from a 2010 non-peer reviewed article describing an online poll conducted on a website called questionpro. com. (Online polls are not considered remotely scientific, by the way, but when did that fact stop anyone in the AGW camp?) The online poll invitation was sent to 10,257 people who self-identified as “scientists.” By self-identified, it means that there was no verification that those who claimed to be scientists actually were scientists. Of those 10,257 invites, only 3,146 “scientists” (or insurance salesmen, for all we know) bothered to fill out responses. Then, of that 3,146, the author of the non-peer reviewed article citing the poll decided to cull that down even further (and increase the likelihood that he’d get the numbers he wanted). To be included in the results, only the “scientists” who claimed to have recently had 10 articles published specifically on the subject of “climate change” would count. How many respondents did that include? 77. Just 77 out of the 3,146 responses and 10,257 invitations were included in the final tally. Of those 77 respondents considered acceptable to include, 75 (97%) answered “yes” to the following question:

    “Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?”

    Of course, the word “significant” is not defined. If the respondent thought that 5% of the warming temperatures in the latter 20th century were due to human activity, and he considered 5% significant, he could answer ‘yes’.

    Now, what are the chances that someone who self-identifies as having had 10 articles published on the subject of “climate change” is going to actually agree that climate change is caused by humans? It’s like asking how many of those who self-identify as biologists who’ve had 10 articles published on evolution actually believe that evolution best explains biological history? Editors hardly ever even allow articles written by climate change skeptics to be put into their publications, so the 10 article requirement largely eliminated the chances that skeptics would be among the ones whose responses would count.

    So we have a non-scientific online poll of anonymous people who *claim* to be scientists. A sample size of 77, and that sample size of 77 was selected *after the data had already been collected*, and it deliberately excluded all the respondents who had not had articles published specifically on the subject of “climate change.”

    And the sad part about all this is, people like you who are so entranced with the notion of “consensus” consider such a rigged process to be “scientific” and perfectly acceptable. You can go on touting this 97% “consensus” figure guiltlessly and proudly. The polling methodology isn’t sound? Who cares! It says what I want it to say. Mann was found fraudulently fabricating data and made “apples to oranges” comparisons with temperatures so as to make a hockey stick graph? Who cares! The hockey stick says what I want it to say. John Cook of skepticalscience denies that the Medieval Warming Period, Roman Warming Period, and Holocene occurred despite the scientific data (not to mention anecdotal—a booming farming industry in Greenland) that says that the earth has been much warmer than now (with CO2 ppm numbers simultaneously in the 200s)? Who cares! Denying that there were warmer periods than now serves my purposes of blaming humans for climate, so I’ll buy John Cook’s propaganda. This is what the pro-AGW argument has been reduced to. And one wonders why more and more citizens’ views are graduating into the “denier” camp. They’ve awakened from the hoax.

    http://insideclimatenews.org/news/20120507/television-meteorologists-climate-change-skeptics-weather-global-warming-john-coleman-james-span-joseph-daleo
    Here’s an article from a staunch proponent of man-made global warming lamenting the fact that most of the professionals meteorologists are “denying evidence” that humans have been causing climate and weather in recent years. “Only 19 percent accept the established science that human activity is driving climate change, says a 2011 report by the George Mason University Center for Climate Change.”

    Think about that. Just 19% of those who have been studying weather and climate for years believe that humans cause weather and climate. This is stated as a grave concern here, of course. The author of the article thinks that these meteorologist deniers need to be educated—and quick. Kind of sounds like what you guys were telling me last week.

  • http://jesus.scilla.org.uk/ Chris Jefferies

    Rick, we’re back from our holiday. I’ve had a week to think things over, and I’m really not very hopeful that you will pay much attention to what I write. But I’ll have one last try. You want me to answer your many questions, but the only way I can do that is to first get you to focus on one thing at a time.

    Here goes. I will continue to assume that you accept that global temperatures are currently rising and have been doing so for at least thirty years and perhaps longer; in other words the upward trend at the right-hand end of the ‘hockey stick’ is correct. It’s based on instrumental data. If you don’t accept that, we are already stuck and I can explain nothing to you.

    As I say, I am assuming we agree that global temparatures are rising. The Earth’s global temperature is almost exactly balanced between incoming heat from the sun and heat radiating back into space. If this was not so there would be a rapid rise or fall in global temperature. This balance between what comes in and what goes back out is something we need to understand clearly.

    An analogy might help here. Imagine a one-roomed building in a steady climate at 0 degrees Celcius. Without heating, the temperature inside the building will settle at 0 degrees, the same as outside.

    Now suppose we switch on an electric heater inside the room. The temperature will start to rise. As a temperature difference builds between inside and out, heat starts to leak out of the room through the walls and roof. At some particular temperature the amount leaking out becomes equal to the amount produced by the heater and the temperature stabilises. Let’s say this happens at 10 degrees Celcius. Heat is entering the room and leaving the room at the same rate.

    Now suppose we add some insulation to the walls and roof. What will happen? Heat is entering the room at the same rate as before but it is now escaping more slowly. The temperature starts to rise again until it reaches a new equilibrium at a higher temperature, say 15 degrees Celcius.

    The earth’s atmosphere is like the imaginary room. Heat comes in from the sun at an almost constant rate. In comparison to the sun’s total output the fluctuations are very tiny over periods much longer than thirty years or so. They are so tiny that they can’t even be reliably measured by instruments within the atmosphere, only measurements from satellites can manage this difficult task. If global temperature is changing other than very, very slightly, something other than solar forcing must be causing it. This is simple physics.

    Can you see that? Will you accept that this is inescapably true? If you cannot or will not – the discussion ends here.

  • Rick Cina

    “Will you accept that this is inescapably true? If you cannot or will not – the discussion ends here.”

    So you are saying that unless I agree with your (skepticalscience-generated) version of the “inescapable” truth, you aren’t going to play anymore. I find this stance to be incredibly supercilious and sophomoric . It assumes that your belief that we know, with *certainty*, how the sun does and does not affect climate, and that this certainty is wholly accepted by the scientific community. Well, in a nutshell, Chris, your notion that the sun’s radiance has had a 0% impact on global temperatures in the last 30 years is not even close to being accepted as the “inescapable truth.”

    The IPCC itself (in its 2007 report) says that “the uncertainty remains large” about the role of solar forcing and that there is “substantial uncertainty” about the role solar radiance has had on temperature and climate in the last 30 years. The National Climatic Data Center has said: “Our understanding of the indirect effects of changes in solar output and feedbacks in the climate system is minimal.” And NASA has said that solar radiation has “provided a significant component of the global warming the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports to have occurred over the past 100 years,” a conclusion that contradicts your contention (as “inescapable truth”) that solar radiation has had a 0% influence on the warming that has occurred in the last 30 years. And these are the paragons of the man-made global warming alarmism you’ve been depending on for “settled” scientific consensus. Not even the IPCC, NCDC, or NASA agree with your version of the “inescapable truth.” So why should I have to accept your wholly unsupported and unscientific belief that the sun has had no (0%) impact on global temperatures in the last 30 years if not even these purveyors of man-made global warming alarmism themselves agree with you? Are you going to take your argument and go home unless the IPCC, NCDC, and NASA accept your version of the truth as “inescapable” too?

    Because I’m limited to one link per post on this discussion board, I’m just going to refer you to this highly comprehensive and thickly referenced article entitled “Solar Evidence of Global Warming.” If you really want to learn about solar radiation and its effect on climate (and I’m not convinced you are, as you appear to be close-minded with your views on the subject), this is an impressive source. There are literally dozens of graphs and studies in here. I encourage you to read it in its entirety. Then, come back and tell me again why it is you are still so certain that everything you just read in this source is bunk and needs to be ignored in favor of your preferential graph found on the skepticalscience website. I’m including some excerpts below that demonstrate what the IPCC, NCDC, and NASA have to say about your “inescapable truth.”

    http://www.appinsys.com/globalwarming/gw_part6_solarevidence.htm
    ____________________________________________________________________
    The conclusion that the global warming in the latter part of the 20th century is a result of anthropogenic CO2, is based on computerized climate models (Global Circulation Models – GCMs) in which the models are only able to reproduce current global temperature trends by increasing the CO2 levels. However there are problems with the models, including the lack of sensitivity to solar irradiance. Many scientists do not agree that the certainty exists in the models’ ability to forecast the future climate and many scientists present evidence that the models do not account for solar forcings that match reality. The IPCC (AR4) report (The Physical Basis of Climate Change, 2007 states that: “The direct RF [radiative forcing] due to increase in solar irradiance is reduced from the TAR [Third Assessment Report]. The best estimate is +0.12 [Watts per square metre]”. The problem is that it is not currently understood how this small amount of change in solar irradiance during the solar cycle can influence the earth’s climate. In addition the 4AR states: “There is more uncertainty regarding the influence of solar forcing. In addition to substantial uncertainty in the timing and amplitude of solar variations on time scales of several decades to centuries, which has increased since the TAR although the estimate of solar forcing has been revised downwards”. In the Technical Summary the IPCC states:

    “uncertainties remain large because of the lack of direct observations and incomplete understanding of solar variability mechanisms over long time scales.”

    In Chapter 9 of the IPCC AR4, they state: “Note that there is substantial uncertainty in the identification of climate response to solar cycle variations because the satellite period is short relative to the solar cycle length, and because the response is difficult to separate from internal climate variations and the response to volcanic eruptions.”

    A study published in 2003 (“Do Models Underestimate the Solar Contribution to Recent Climate Change?” states as its conclusion: “It is found that current climate models underestimate the observed climate response to solar forcing over the twentieth century as a whole, indicating that the climate system has a greater sensitivity to solar forcing than do models.”

    The National Research Council (National Academy of Sciences) produced a study called “Climate Change Science: An Analysis of Some Key Questions,” which states: “Solar irradiance, the amount of solar energy striking Earth, has been monitored accurately only since the late 1970s. However, indirect measures of solar activity suggest that there has been a positive trend of solar irradiance over the industrial era… It is not implausible that solar irradiance has been a significant driver of climate during part of the industrial era, as suggested by several modeling studies.”

    The sun provides the energy that warms the earth. And yet according to the NOAA National Climatic Data Center: “Our understanding of the indirect effects of changes in solar output and feedbacks in the climate system is minimal.”

    The importance of fluctuations and trends in solar inputs in affecting the climate is inadequately modeled. The climate models assume that the solar irradiance varies by a negligible amount throughout the cycle. There is starting to be more disagreement as to this assumption. For example (Scafetta, N., and B. J. West, 2006. Phenomenological solar contribution to the 1900-2000 global surface warming. Geophysical Research Letters, doi: 1029/2005GL025539) state: “the models might be inadequate: (a) in their parameterizations of climate feedbacks and atmosphere-ocean coupling; (b) in their neglect of indirect response by the stratosphere and of possible additional climate effects linked to solar magnetic field, UV radiation, solar flares and cosmic ray intensity modulations; (c) there might be other possible natural amplification mechanisms deriving from internal modes of climate variability which are not included in the models.”

    A study done by an Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences at Dartmouth University looked at the cycles of the sun’s magnetic fluctuations and found: “the sun’s magnetic activity is varying in 100,000-year cycles, a much longer time span than previously thought, and this solar activity, in turn, may likely cause the 100,000-year climate cycles on earth… Sharma’s calculations suggest that when the sun is magnetically more active, the earth experiences a warmer climate, and vice versa, when the sun is magnetically less active, there is a glacial period. Right now, the earth is in an interglacial period (in between ice ages) that began about 11,000 years ago, and as expected, this is also a time when the estimated solar activity appears to be high.” This 100,000-year cycle is evident in the above figure.

    In a NASA study, “NASA Study Finds Increasing Solar Trend That Can Change Climate,” it states: “Since the late 1970s, the amount of solar radiation the sun emits, during times of quiet sunspot activity, has increased by nearly .05 percent per decade … Historical records of solar activity indicate that solar radiation has been increasing since the late 19th century. If a trend, comparable to the one found in this study, persisted throughout the 20th century, it would have provided a significant component of the global warming the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports to have occurred over the past 100 years”.
    ____________________________________________________________

    And yes, I have noted several times that global temperatures have warmed by about 1 degree in the last 100 years. I thought this had already been established. From 1910 to 1940, it warmed by 0.5 degrees C despite a small fraction of fossil fuel burning compared to today and a very modest (10 ppm) increase in CO2 concentrations during those 30 years. Then, from 1940 to 1975, temperatures *cooled*by 0.2 degrees C despite a rapid rise in CO2 concentrations (30 ppm) and fossil fuel burning (how did that happen?). Then, from 1975 to today, global temperatures have warmed by 0.5 degrees C. So, put together, in the last 100 years, global temperatures have increased by about 0.8 degrees C. Again, there is no debate that global warming has occurred. The debate is about whether and by how much that warming has been influenced, or caused, by humans.

    And again, I am aware that the reason why you refuse to answer my questions is not because you find them peripheral and superfluous (as you apparently want me to believe). It’s because you can’t answer them without contravening your own arguments. It’s time to retreat from your perch as the knower-of-all-things-climate and admit that your positions perhaps need to be looked at more critically. That’s what real scientists do. Once their hypothesis has been shown to have holes in it, they don’t tighten their grip and dismiss the contradictory evidence. They examine the new evidence. They consider the holes. They don’t run away from a debate when they find that someone else isn’t willing to accept what they think they know with certainty. They support their views by responding to substantive challenges. Perhaps this is a direction to consider. Humility is substantially underrated.

  • http://jesus.scilla.org.uk/ Chris Jefferies

    You are confusing indirect effects of solar radiation with direct effects, Rick. I am trying to isolate the direct effects first.

    Your response confirms there’s little or no value in continuing the discussion.

  • Rick Cina

    I see you didn’t read the article, Chris. This is not surprising considering you are not the least bit interested in investigating evidence that contradicts your viewpoints. Enjoy your 100% certainty in the inescapable truth that humans, and humans alone, cause climate and are the sole determinants of atmospheric temperatures.


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