Tag Archives: CO2

Preternatural Climate News And Other Tweets

(If Revkin can do it… 😎  – my Twitter account in English is ‘omnologos’)

1@bbcworld there is something preternatural in seeing every good climate news invariably more than compensated by some badclimate news refers to “Temperature and CO2 feedback loop ‘weaker than thought‘” by Roger Harrabin, which includes:

The authors warn, though, that their research will not reduce projections of future temperature rises.

2Total rout for AGW : UK Science chief John Beddington calls for honesty on climate change refers to “Science chief John Beddington calls for honesty on climate change

3another case of gross misrepresentation of the literature, thereafter conveniently disregarded? refers to my comment “Himalayagate 2

4Building a broad climate coalition of scientific/professional organizations reminds of “100 Scientists against Einstein” refers to “Climate change activists work to regain momentum” by Eric Berger, Houston Chronicle

5 Science : “Brown Clouds over South Asia: Biomass or Fossil Fuel Combustion? (answer: mostly biomass) refers to
Science 23 January 2009: Vol. 323. no. 5913, pp. 495 – 498 “Brown Clouds over South Asia: Biomass or Fossil Fuel Combustion?” by Örjan Gustafsson et al

6ClimateDepot “warmists” have been scoring own goals for quite some time – and still they do – refers to “The Disastrous Setback for Climate Advocacy of Late 2009” by Chris Mooney in “The Intersection” where I comment

I fully agree with redlink18…disparaging any comment that falls outside of the party line and concentrating on blaming a handful of well-paid individuals when there has been a clear and massive change in public opinion in the USA like in the UK, all of that will lead Mooney’s “camp” nowhere.

On the other hand, given that the “warmists” have been scoring spectacular own goals for quite some time now, no wonder they show no chance of getting anything right at the moment.

7“try and change the Received date! Don’t give those skeptics something to amuse themselves with” refers to “East Anglia Confirmed Emails from the Climate Research Unit – 1189722851.txt

8Using religious language to fight global warming refers to “Using religious language to fight global warming” by Helen Grady, Analysis, BBC Radio 4

9@Revkin: Watts is at third of Gandhi’s four stages: “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win” refers to “Poorly sited U.S. temperature instruments not responsible for artificial warming” on Dr. Jeff Masters’ WunderBlog

How Science Will Get Rid Of The AGW Dogma

(thanks to BBC’s In Our Time for inspiring this blog)

Will Science ever get rid of the silly “It’s all CO2/It’s all global warming” dogma that AGW has degraded into? Yes it will, as a matter of course (“you can fool all of the people some of the time…” and all that). But when? And can we draw down a likely process that will make that happen?

Yes we can.

It’s rather straightforward, and on past performance suggests any date between 2018 and 2091 as the year CO2-based AGW (or CO2-AGW) went the way of the dodo (using a quasi-arbitrary baseline of 1988 as when AGW became mainstream, with Hansen’s testimony to the US Senate).

Here’s the outline then for how Science will reject CO2-AGW:

  1. Wait a suitable number of years (could be 30, could be 93)
  2. Present yet more irrefutable evidence and improved measurement techniques to a recognized expert in the field

How can we know? What we need is an example from the history of Science, showing:

  1. how for decades all evidence contrary to an established, multi-disciplinary consensus had been there for all to see
  2. how that evidence went repetitively rejected, for years and years again and again even when yet new evidence of the same sort kept surfacing (thereby showing how the consensus had turned into a dogma)
  3. how peer-review failed miserably because of the dogma
  4. and finally how a new consensus supplanted the old dogma mostly because:
  • a new generation of established scientists became available, with nothing personal at stake in defending the established consensus/dogma;
  • the newest new evidence was recognized as incontrovertible (together with the old one, with the wisdom of hindsight) also thanks to the development of new measurement techniques

And here’s the example. It involves the Ediacaran animals (let’s call them “animals” shall we), at least 3 scientists either wholly diregarded or actively isolated by the consensus/dogma crowd, a few rejected scientific papers, for example by Nature magazine, and a consensus/dogma in the shape of the rather odd theory that complex animals popped up on this planet all of a sudden in the Cambrian era (around 540 million years ago).

To us it might as well appear quite obvious that Earth has been populated by something larger than bacteria before the “Cambrian explosion” (the Ediacarans being our “lucky strike” in finding something across such an enormous span of time, somehow imprinted as a fossil). But that was not the consensus until around 50 years ago, and it is actually still being used to nag poor Darwin, of all people the one more at pain in understanding why nobody could find complex lifeforms before the Cambrian geological strata.

But that was not the case. Such lifeforms’ fossils were found as early as 1868:

The first Ediacaran fossils discovered were the disc-shaped Aspidella terranovica, in 1868.

At least one scientist understood they were fossils, as early as 1872 (note how others had been blinded by…the established consensus!!):

However, since they lay below the “Primordial Strata”, the Cambrian strata that were then thought to contain the very first signs of life, it took four years for anybody to dare propose they could be fossils.

Alas, consensus won the day, and buried the fossils into the forgetfulness of history:

Elkanah Billings’ proposal (see here) was dismissed by his peers […] the one-sided debate soon fell into obscurity.

Six decades on, more pre-Cambrian stuff is found. Guess how it all ends:

In 1933, Georg GĂźrich discovered specimens in Namibia, but the firm belief that life originated in the Cambrian led to them being assigned to the Cambrian Period, and no link to Aspidella was made.

Thirteen more years pass, and a strong-willed Australian paleontologists gets involved. Consensus still (barely) wins, although against the first signs of a breakdown:

In 1946, Reg Sprigg noticed “jellyfishes” in the Ediacara Hills of Australia’s Flinders Ranges but these rocks were believed to be Early Cambrian, so while the discovery sparked some interest, little serious attention was garnered.

And here’s how the story ends, and the dogma, with an already well-respected scientist called Martin Glaessner and yet more evidence:

It was not until the British discovery of the iconic Charnia in 1957 that the pre-Cambrian was seriously considered as containing life. This frond-shaped fossil was found in England’s Charnwood Forest, and due to the detailed geologic mapping of the British Geological Survey there was no doubt that these fossils sat in Precambrian rocks. PalĂŚontologist Martin Glaessner finally made the connection between this and the earlier finds, and with a combination of improved dating of existing specimens and an injection of vigour into the search, many more instances were recognised.

Of course, some things never change: Nature rejected Sprigg’s original article, then published Glaessner’s letter.

So much for “peer review”.

Reg Sprigg switched to the Energy&Environment equivalent of the time, Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia. Glaessner’s appeared on International Journal of Earth Sciences Volume 47, Number 2 / June, 1959.

The partner of Sprigg’s son is his biographer and has more about that:

If you look at them now I find it very hard [to think] that anybody could doubt them: they are about the size of the palm of your hand and you can quite clearly see they are circular, they look as you’d expect a jellyfish to look if it had dried out, or some kind of worm or something. But back then, yeah, he wrote a paper and submitted it to Nature, which is one of the most prestigious journals in the world, and they rejected it, they didn’t believe either in what he’d found. And it was about another 10 years before some amateur naturalists went back to Reg’s site and found some more specimens, different ones again, and took them again to the museum. And by then the museum was a little bit more interested and they organised their own expedition and brought back two truckloads of material and from then, the momentum grew.

What rules can we identify for the AGW debate? Nothing to be too proud of:

  • You might as well present irrefutable evidence against the dogma. Yet, it may be too early, in other words no recognized expert will be available to pick it up, so your efforts will only be good as backup material to future, post-dogma researchers (think Steve McIntyre)
  • Without improvements in the measurement techniques, we would still be discussing the possibility of exiting the old “Cambrian” dogma. (think Anthony Watts…it means “keep up the good work on the surface stations, don’t expect too much coming out of the rest of the WUWT blog for the time being” (see rule (a))
  • If the irrefutable evidence and improved measurement techniques meet a budding or rather unknown scientist (Sprigg) rather than an authority (Glaessner), well, it will be up to the authorities (Glaessner) to have the courage to follow up (see rule (a)).

Let’s be pragmatic and accept that’s just the way things are: CO2-AGW is a “conspiracy” where most of the “conjurors” have little idea they are actively practising it. Still, they are.

Space Aliens May Have Destroyed Home Planet With CO2 Emissions

(an example of Do-It-Yourself climate alarmism)

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has discovered carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of a planet orbiting another star.

Translation: Powerful life-threatening gas is so abundant on that planet, it has been detected light-years away

This breakthrough is an important step toward finding chemical biotracers of extraterrestrial life.

Translation: We have no hopes but to find only the traces of whatever life might have been there before runaway global warming

The Jupiter-sized planet, called HD 189733b, is too hot for life.

Translation: QED

[…] Previous observations of HD 189733b by Hubble and the Spitzer Space Telescope found water vapor. Earlier this year, Hubble found methane in the planet’s atmosphere. […]

Translation: The planet’s atmosphere is made up almost 100% of greenhouse gases! Those space aliens must have been in the SUV business big time, poor them.

Is the above justified? I say yes, and why not? Of course it’s all possible, therefore on the basis of the precautionary principle, of course we ought to behave like it were true.

Please stop breathing.

Why Climate Change is Unbearably Naked

What do I find so impossibly sloppy to bear, about Climate Change in its contemporary definition, as the result of human activities (also known as “Anthopogenic Global Warming” or AGW, and usually associated to CO2 emissions caused by humans)?

Yesterday’s incredible (counter-)discovery by Anthony Watts on CO2 measurements getting corrected upwards after having gone downwards “for the first time in history” provides an opportunity for a non-exhaustive list (I may add links to each point next week) of all that depaupers Climate Change of actual meaning:

  • Climate models are all based on forcings, something that cannot be measured. The tool has become the cause.
  • Those same models are demonstrably “right” whatever happens, either warming or cooling (once again, as all they show is that forcings are supposed to do)
  • Proponents are fixated on negativities (not just the newsmedia and the Stern Report…I have some interesting findings about a recent book on Climate Change, and I will publish them this week or next)
  • Climate change is improbably comprehensive in its effects, and yet “Attribution”, the ability to pinpoint a particular change as having something to do with Climate Change, is still up in the air
  • The IPCC itself cannot see much evidence for change in 2/3 (two-thirds!) of the planet
  • The “truth” is that temperatures are going up but if one looks at actual measurements, they are continuously adapted and adjusted. Measurement stations are not increasing in the number, and locations are far from perfect.
  • And now of course, on-the-fly upward adjustments of CO2 data appear just as values begin to go “the wrong way”.

I personally agree with Watts when he writes: “While nefarious motives may not be there, its just damn sloppy IMHO, and given this is the crown jewel for CO2 data I expect far better“.

And please don’t get me wrong…I am perfectly aware that such generalized sloppiness is part-and-parcel of modern Science, with genetists looking for Mendelian transmission of what is not Mendelian and a whole generation of Cosmologists trained on calling 96% of the Universe as “Dark Matter” and “Dark Energy”, two names for the same thing (“Total Ignorance”).

“Institutionalized Science” is of course 80% rubbish, as per the famous 80/20 rule.

But the whole Climate debate is much more than Science. And for that, there is still so much it needs to be dressed with, before it can be shown as properly thought of, and ready for being a solid basis for a revolution in societal mores.

If I read about “scientists demonstrating that train travel is impossible” I may get a laugh, as people at the time surely did. But when I see all the massive propaganda machine put in place to convince people to turn carbon-free by way of guilt, there isn’t much to be amused of.

If the keys to absolute gullibility are ever found, we may as well all turn back to live up the trees.

Greenhouse Gases: The Laboratory Fallacy

It is often said that the greenhouse effect by anthropogenic CO2 emissions is an established fact, as laboratory studies have been showing the interaction between CO2 and infrared radiation since before the times of Arrhenius.

That’s not necessarily true.

I am not saying that all those experiments have been wrong or that there is an international cover-up on the lack of greenhouse properties by carbon dioxide. That’s obviously not true, or else there’s something very wrong with quantum physics…

What I am referring to is the logical fallacy of stepping from the laboratory to the real world.

For an example of established chemical reactions that fail to live up to expectations outside of the laboratory, just look at the history of “Antioxidants“, an entire class of molecules supposed to slow down aging and prevent diseases.

Only, they don’t. Or if they do, it’s hard to tell. Perhaps some of them might even shorten one’s life.

This has not prevented the birth and sustainance of a whole industry of dietary supplements, just as the complexity of the real atmosphere mean nothing to those trying to take advantage of the carbon taxes or markets.

The underlying tragedy is that there may be something important about antioxidants/micronutrients, under specific conditions, but the true knowledge about it has been buried for decades by too quick claims disseminated for public health concerns: yet another analogy with CO2-based greenhouse warming…

Has Nordhaus Demonstrated We Better Do Nothing About CO2 emissions?

Kudos to the climate-change-believers at the New York Review of Books for providing almost 3 full pages to climate-heretic Freeman Dyson’s review of William Nordhaus’ “A Question of Balance: Weighing the Options on Global Warming Policies” (Yale University Press) (and of Ernesto Zedillo (ed)’s “Global  Warming: Looking Beyond Kyoto”).

Well it does provide a welcome change from the usual doom-and-gloom of Hansen, Flannery and McKibben, doesn’t it

Dyson (whose article has been rebuked on RealClimate with way too quick a contempt) doesn’t actually deal with the reasons for his skepticism on the dangers of global warming. After a long preamble on how efficient vegetation is at capturing atmospheric carbon dioxide, the NYRB article deals (among other things) with Nordhaus’s conclusions about costs and benefits of various possible climate-related policies, in a 100- and 200-year timeframe.

First of all, Nordhaus is very convinced about the need to put a “price” to carbon, to avoid “economic inefficiencies”.

It doesn’t sound such a bad idea, if the majority of people are truly convinced CO2 is a harmful emission. My main concern is, how does anybody find out what that “carbon price” should be, if not an arbitrary value?

As Dyson reports, Nordhaus follows “the conventional wisdom of economists” and does all computations for a 4% discount rate.

For mysterious reasons, this has become a point of contention, with the Stern Report using a discount rate close to 0%, and the RealClimate guys rather naively trying to argue for an equivalence between people actually living today and people possibly living in the future. Luckily, an AGW-believer with a solid experience in economics has torn such equivalence to pieces. It simply makes no sense, morally-economically speaking.

What is the point of stealing from the people of the present thereby removing plenty of resources from the very people of the future one is trying to provide resources to?

And what is the moral case, outside of economics? Well, let’s say you have a sick child and a single dose of medicine…would you really withold it just in case you would have another child, five or ten years in the future?

My criticism of Nordhaus is different. I would have rather preferred computations based on a progressively fuzzier discount rate, since the future gets harder and harder to predict (obviously) the further we try to look into the…future!

Leaving the rate at 4%, Nordhaus’ 1-century results are the following, compared to a “do nothing/business-as-usual” (BAU) situation:

(a) with a continuously-adjusted carbon tax, a $3 trillion net gain
(b) with an updated Kyoto protocol, a $1 trillion net gain (with the US), and zero (without the US)
(c) with draconian, Stern-like limits on emissions, a $15 trillion net loss
(d) with drastic-but-gradual, Gore-like limits on emissions, a $21 trillion net loss
(e) if a cheap way to capture and store CO2 (“low-cost backstop”) is discovered, a $17 trillion net gain

Dyson reports the conclusions as:

(1) Avoid the ambitious proposals
(2) Develop the science and technology for a low-cost backstop
(3) Negotiate an international treaty coming as close as possible to the optimal policy, in case the low-cost backstop fails
(4) Avoid an international treaty making the Kyoto Protocol policy permanent.

These objectives, according to Dyson, are valid for economic reasons, independent of the scientific details of global warming.

I am not sure I can agree with the above.

What I see is a strong case for doing absolutely nothing.

In scenario (a), in fact, the total loss for BAU is about $15 billion per year. Not much to cry about, really. 

Just the complex mechanism that needs to be setup and run for a continuously-adjusted carbon tax, with its load of intrinsic inefficiencies, should be more than enough to bring such a loss to zero.

Kyoto-like interventions (scenario (b)) look absolutely irrelevant, and of course both Stern and Gore (scenarios (c) and (d)) have the single-minded goal to make us all miserable (starting with the Chinese).

The one “hope” is in carbon capture and storing, something presented by Dyson in his preferred terms of genetically-modified trees that could reduce the atmospheric CO2 content “by half in fifty years”.

But…if you believe in CO2 as a greenhouse gas, reducing its atmospheric concentration by half will surely sound like absolute madness…a one-way trip to a worldwide refrigerator?


All in all, then, it looks like the work of a convinced AGWer such as William Nordhaus has been useful in identifying what to do regarding CO2 emissions: nothing, zero, zilch, nada.

Will that accelerate the end of the AGW madness? I don’t think so. Perhaps the above is why Lord Stern, well aware of the overall situation, went through all the pains of trying to argue for a quasi-zero discount rate.

If logical arguments show the best course of action is to do nothing, that concept by itself will simply convince AGWer to become gloomier prophets of doom than ever.

You see…there simply is no AGW worry without catastrophism.

What AGW Worry Without Catastrophism?

Anthropogenic Global Warming proponents have an intrinsic need to chase the latest gloomier-than-thou reports and projections. 

In fact: is there anything to worry about AGW, when one removes its usual catastrophist baggage?

Or to phrase the question differently: is it possible to argue for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions without espousing the rather too common doom-and-gloom ideas of those that see the planet literally in peril, and civilization as-we-know-it ready to end in a decade or two?

The answer seems to be a resounding “no”, for a simple reason argued by Alex Cull in a comment to my “Discounting the Future” blog: since a slight warming is obviously beneficial, only a lot of demonization can paint it in an unfavorable light

[…] A different point, which follows on from your earlier blog re John Groome’s gloomy assessment of the ills of global warming. This may sound obvious but the projected deaths from global warming have to be very high for the whole argument to make sense, in fact they have to be inflated by any means possible, and the benefits of warming have to be minimised. Earlier springs mean a longer growing season, meaning in turn that fewer people die from starvation, and warmer winters mean fewer cold-related deaths. Obviously these are not catastrophic consequences, so the deaths will have to come from other causes, for instance as a result of more frequent and violent storms and from rising sea levels.

Now, if there is no well-established link between frequent violent storms and global warming, and if sea levels continue to rise by a few millimetres a year, as they have for well over a century, there’s a problem – no catastrophe. Hence the importance of Greenland and, of course, stubborn, recalcitrant Antarctica. Melt these, however long it may take, and you have your catastrophe. Which is why it is crucial for anyone advocating CO2 abatement that the ice caps must be projected to melt much faster than anyone has previously thought, that the resulting sea levels must be projected to rise far higher than anyone has previously thought, and the human casualties must therefore be far greater.

Because, if the number of people dying as a consequence of global warming is not very much different to, or is lower than, the number of people who would die if there were no warming trend, the CO2 abatement argument is dead in the water. If there is still a warming trend, and if it is caused by man-made CO2 but if it is not, on balance, going to kill more people than would otherwise die, and if we could stop this warming trend by reducing CO2 emissions, what on earth would be the point of doing it?