Archive for the ‘Global warming’ Category

Climate, er, change: A paper’s sober look at the science

Coming from a German paper, and Der Spiegel, no less, “Climate Catastrophe: A Superstorm for Global Warming Research” is a surprising, impressive and important piece of journalism. At eight Web pages long, you won’t get through it quickly. But I heartily recommend it for anyone who wants to read a critical but fair examination of the state of climate science.

Spoiler alert: The days of “consensus” are over for all but the most basic elements of climate science.

Here’s a sampling from the report, offered with the intent of enticing you read the entire piece.

On the politicization of science:

Reinhard Hüttl, head of the German Research Center for Geosciences in Potsdam near Berlin and the president of the German Academy of Science and Engineering, believes that basic values are now under threat. “Scientists should never be as wedded to their theories that they are no longer capable of refuting them in the light of new findings,” he says. Scientific research, Hüttl adds, is all …

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Since someone brought up energy policy…

A couple of people have gotten excited in the comments section of another post about the leaps and bounds by which the market for wind turbines is growing, according to noted wind-turbine peddler General Electric.

Huzzah! If this keeps up, maybe wind will make up 2.5 percent of our energy mix by 2035, instead of 1.9 percent as currently projected. Or maybe even 3 percent! No, 4! And all for a few hundred billion dollars. Well, we can dream, can’t we?

Back on Earth, Harvard professors say they’ve figured out what it will take to meet the CO2 reductions proposed by the Obama administration: $7-a-gallon gasoline. Hope you’re ready for it.

Also, since we haven’t checked in on Climategate in a few days…East Anglia professor Phil Jones testified in the British Parliament on Monday. He defended his not releasing climate data, computer codes and methods because it “hasn’t been standard practice” in climate science to do so. Which makes climate science a rather, ahem, unique branch of …

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This week’s sign of the non-apocalypse (Vol. 1, No. 3)

National governments are getting the message that the United Nations’ besieged climate panel (see one recent summary here) is not a group to stay snuggled up to.

First, from Pajamas Media:

During the review of the Environmental Protection Agency budget in [Tuesday's] Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing, both Senator Barbara Boxer — the chair of the committee — and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson distanced themselves from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4).

Boxer and Jackson’s statements, in addition to being a striking change in policy, are problematic because U.S. climate science is very closely tied to the IPCC reports…

(snip)

Both Boxer and Jackson appeared to be trying to distance the EPA from the IPCC report. Boxer said:

‘In my opening statement, I didn’t quote one international scientist or IPCC report. … We are quoting the American scientific community here.’

When [Sen. James] Inhofe directly asked …

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Because the SEC has nothing better to worry about — right?

I’m sure the next Bernie Madoff is being caught as we speak, given that even the Securities and Exchange Commission has found time to jump on the cause celebre of climate change. From the Washington Post:

The commission, in a 3 to 2 vote, decided to require that companies disclose in their public filings the impact of climate change on their businesses — from new regulations or legislation they may face domestically or abroad to potential changes in economic trends or physical risks to a company.

Chairman Mary L. Schapiro and the two Democrats on the commission supported the new requirements, while the two Republicans vehemently opposed them.

(snip)

Schapiro said companies already must disclose anything that can have a significant effect on their bottom lines. But she said the SEC’s action on Wednesday was intended to provide more guidance on what might be taken into account. “The commission is not making any kind of statement regarding the facts as they relate to the topic of …

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This week’s sign of the non-apocalypse (Vol. 1, No. 2)

The Climategate saga continues to unfold. The latest chapter involves the apparent cover-up by Phil Jones of the beleaguered Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at East Anglia University and a Chinese-American colleague, Wei-Chyung Wang, about the significant movement of weather stations in China. These are weather stations whose records are a crucial piece of the data demonstrating rapidly rising temperatures — and their movement, perhaps from rural areas to urban centers, could in part undermine the conventional wisdom about why the Earth warmed in the late 20th century.

Ronald Bailey at Reason Magazine has one of the best summaries of this particular episode — which, like much of the Climategate story, has depended on yeoman’s work by British journalists while most of their American colleagues pooh-pooh it. (Example: Search for “Wei-Chyung Wang” on Google News and you get 55 results and just under 300 articles, or less than 10 percent of the hits generated for “Punxsutawney …

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This week’s sign of the non-apocalypse

Remember that claim by the United Nations’ climate authority that the Himalayan glaciers were likely to disappear by 2035? If not, don’t worry — you weren’t really missing anything.

It turns out, the Times of London reports, that this “scientific” conclusion was based a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) campaign report, which in turn took its “scientific” information from an interview in a magazine in which one — yes, just one — Indian scientist made the claim. Now, that scientist says the whole thing was just speculation on his part.

All of which would be bad enough if that’s where the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) left it. But, the Times reports:

When finally published, the IPCC report did give its source as the WWF study but went further, suggesting the likelihood of the glaciers melting was “very high”. The IPCC defines this as having a probability of greater than 90%.

(snip)

However, glaciologists find such figures inherently ludicrous, pointing out that …

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Not everyone thinks global warming would be bad

Greenlanders stand to gain a great deal if their climate warms. From Popular Mechanics:

When the 748-foot Stena Forth plows into the deep waters of Greenland’s Disko West zone next summer, the advanced drillship will be taking the first crack at what could be the world’s biggest untapped reservoir of oil and gas….The United States Geologic Survey estimates [Greenland's] offshore reserves could hold 50 billion barrels of oil and gas, or nearly one-third of the arctic total.

(snip)

While hunters, who make up a sizable proportion of Greenland’s population, are suffering as a result of climate change, government officials quietly confirm that warming temperatures should bring new riches to the country. In addition to oil and gas, the retreat of ice is prompting new onshore mining ventures, and in coming decades Greenland could benefit from shipping as the Northwest Passage become a viable alternative to the Suez and Panama Canals.

One aspect of the climate-change debate …

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