Is CO2 really Earth’s “control knob”?

 

I rarely devote an entire blog to promoting other blog posts, but this one has a great deal of data relative to the role of atmospheric CO2 concentration on climate variability.

Thanks to Kenneth Richard on NoTricksZone.

CO2 Control Knob? A 15-22°C Warmer Arctic With Sea Levels 25 m Higher When CO2 Ranged From 300-400 ppm

I’ve long (since 1992) suspected that the atmosphericCO2/global average surface temperature correlation is spurious. The steadily rising CO2 data just doesn’t correlate with the cyclicity of global average surface temperature, before or after recent adjustments in the available data.

As an archaeologist, I find paleoclimate data to be compelling in looking for climate mechanisms to explain modern variability. It’s clear to me that natural climate cycles are responsible for the bulk of modern climate variability as well as long-term climate change.

Click HERE for more on the difference between climate variability and climate change.

Climate Hysteria

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I recently made a mistake by posting an entry on the Edward Abbey Matters Facebook page about the subjugation of environmentalism by climate hysteria (See HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE) speculating that “If Ed Abbey were alive now, he’d turn over in his grave.” For those unaware of Edward Paul Abbey and his works (1927-1989), see my Ed Abbey web page.

I was surprised at the virulence of the response my post received from those who thought I was attempting to speak for the late Ed Abbey, and that I was denying climate change. Yes, I should have known that irrational climate change hysteria dominates the Internet and all other forms of communication these days, to the exclusion of any rational thought about the science or the realities of climate variability and the nature of global climate change. (See Rowdy College Students Protest Campus Forum Debunking Climate Alarmism, for an extreme example.)

Much of the response to my post was in the form of “97% of scientists agree that climate change is real and humans cause it,” “What are your qualifications to question the climate change consensus?”, and “Show me scientific publications that disprove human caused climate change.”

Of course, there are a plethora of publications on both sides of the climate change argument. There is no scientific consensus, even if consensus were important in scientific investigation. Most importantly, one needs only to search the Internet and read to find a myriad of articles questioning the human caused climate change hypothesis and providing data pointing to other climate variables, such as Milankovic cycles, cloud formations, natural ocean/atmospheric dynamics and chaos and complexity theory that demonstrates that climate is basically unpredictable.

Rather than attempting to provide pointers to this documentation on Facebook, which is unsuited to such complex discussion, I’ve created pages on this blog (HERE and HERE, and more to come) to provide a detailed explanation of my position, with links to relevant documents. This is a work in progress, so bear with me for a bit as I pull this all together.

Just to let the climate cat out of its changing bag, the take home message is this:

Climate change and climate variability are natural physical processes that are influenced by the complex interplay of numerous variables, one of which is human greenhouse gas emissions.

“Extinction Rebellion” Comes to Santa Cruz

ER-logo-4col-Black-Linear-1A recent Guest Commentary by Michael Levy in the August 26, 2019 Santa Cruz Sentinel revealed upcoming activities by the local “Extinction Rebellion” (XR) group in Santa Cruz. You’ve not doubt read about XR in international news, as groups of climate change activists who lobby for change in government in response to what they perceive as “climate breakdown” and a “climate emergency.”

XR spokesman Levy explains that “global heating is a direct threat to the survival of the human race,” without specifying what source is heating the globe and why that would present an emergency for the human race.

Levy also claims that “We are currently losing 200 species per day, and are indeed facing our own extinction if we do not drastically limit CO2 emissions,” again without revealing the source of the extinction claim nor the connection between species extinction and CO2 emissions. The Center for Biological Diversity states: “Nobody really knows how many species are in danger of becoming extinct.” “In the past 500 years, we know of approximately 1,000 species that have gone extinct…” That’s two species per year, not 200 species per day.

What does “XR” propose to do about this”climate emergency”?

From the XR website: “XR is committed to non-violent civil disobedience against the inevitable, global collapse of the biosphere if human societies do not stop burning fossil fuels.”

“XR is committed to the idea that local, self-organized non-violent action, along with seeding a regenerative culture of love, compassion and understanding, is not only the best remedy for the isolation and sense of powerlessness brought about by “apocalypse fatigue,” but the only way to bring about meaningful change in the time left to us.”

“XR” is calling for a Global Climate Strike and Week of Actions on September 20th, to draw attention to the United Nations Climate Summit in New York, and the Youth Climate Summit on the 21st, followed by the COP25 Climate Summit in Santiago, Chile, in December.

The group’s website contains a list of their “demands” (My comments follow each point, emphasis mine):

  • That the Government must tell the truth about the climate and wider ecological emergency, it must reverse all policies not in alignment with that position and must work alongside the media to communicate the urgency for change including what individuals, communities and businesses need to do.

Presumably “the truth” referred to is that human produced CO2 is causing “global heating,” and reducing these emissions will stop, reverse or otherwise reduce climate change. Science doesn’t do truth, and there is no evidence to support the claim that reducing human CO2 will significantly influence climate change.

  • The Government must enact legally-binding policies to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 and take further action to remove the excess of atmospheric greenhouse gases. It must cooperate internationally so that the global economy runs on no more than half a planet’s worth of resources per year.

“The government” in Santa Cruz, that is, the Santa Cruz City Council and the County Board of Supervisors, have passed Climate Emergency Declarations (Click HERE for the City, and HERE for the County), and have Climate Action Plans in place, along with the cities of Capitola and Watsonville. There is nothing local government can do to remove the excess of atmospheric greenhouse gases, nor does anyone know what constitutes an excess of these essential constituents of our planet’s atmosphere.

  • We do not trust our Government to make the bold, swift and long-term changes necessary to achieve these changes and we do not intend to hand further power to our politicians. Instead we demand a Citizens’ Assembly to oversee the changes, as we rise from the wreckage, creating a democracy fit for purpose.

Citizen involvement in local government is always a good thing. It’s unclear how a “Citizens’ Assembly” would differ from our current representative form of government, with its commission and committee structure.

  • We demand a just transition that prioritizes the most vulnerable people and indigenous sovereignty; establishes reparations and remediation led by and for Black people, Indigenous people, people of color and poor communities for years of environmental injustice, establishes legal rights for ecosystems to thrive and regenerate in perpetuity, and repairs the effects of ongoing ecocide to prevent extinction of human and all species, in order to maintain a livable, just planet for all.

This is the most difficult part of XR and Green New Deal (GND) demands. Human “justice” has nothing to do with human impacts on the environment. In fact, focusing on human justice often blinds activists to effective solutions to environmental problems (e.g., immigration and population control) that affect all species. Movements for human social justice have attached themselves to climate change activism as another rationale to support their causes. This is the case with XR and GND, and is abundantly evident in Santa Cruz, as well as nationally and internationally.

Environmentalists, real environmentalists not climate change activists, have been long frustrated by the co-optation of environmental activism by social activism, which displaces scientific data-based research and discourse with non-scientific opinion and emotional rhetoric.

If climate change presents a real emergency for Santa Cruz and its human and non-human residents, a claim I do not accept, let our local government response be based on science, not hyperbolic, media driven, emotional demonstrations designed to drum up support for national and international social, economic and political programs.

Can Renewable Energy Replace Fossil Fuels?

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The modern obsession with Climate Change and its presumed primary cause in the burning of fossil fuels, has led to the unchallenged assumption that modern civilization can and must switch its energy production from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric and hydrokinetic (wave and tide) sources.

The question is rarely asked: “Can renewable energy sources replace fossil fuel energy sources to provide all of the energy that human civilization demands, now and into the foreseeable future?”

The usual technocratic response is “Sure. There is no technical barrier to producing all of our energy needs from renewable energy sources.”

The follow up question is never asked: What would be the environmental cost of attempting to produce present and future energy demands with renewable energy sources?”

While it may be *feasible* to produce all our energy needs from “renewable” energy sources, this technological infrastructure comes with large and severe environmental impacts. Mining minerals and rare earth metals necessary to build and maintain renewable energy systems results in habitat loss and natural resource depletion. The enormous physical sites required for wind and solar farms (see above) reduce the availability for natural ecosystems and their native species. Hydroelectric requires dams that inundate huge swaths of natural ecosystems and result in unpredictable seismic changes.

Here is an overview of the environmental impacts of renewable energy sources from the Union of Concerned Scientists:

The question is not “Which is best, renewable energy or nonrenewable energy?” The only question that is meaningful in terms of the full biosphere is: “How can we reduce our impacts on the natural world by reducing our energy demands?”

Climate Cycles, not Climate Crashes

Gary Patton’s Blog, We Live in a Political World, cites Jessica Stites, Deputy Editor of In These Times. as claiming:

“within 100 years, many of our cities will become uninhabitable, submerged under oceans or deadly hot. Storms will become more violent. The gentle planet we’ve known will be no more.”

I have a Doctorate in anthropology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where my dissertation and post-doc research was on the chronology of occupation of the Bering Strait from 2500 BP to the present. I published papers on the effects of climate change on human population movements in Siberia, Alaska, Canada and Greenland. I did dendrochronological and dendroclimatological research on driftwood and archaeological wood from Siberia, St. Lawrence Island and the Alaska mainland. I studied tree ring research at the University of Arizona Tree-Ring Research Lab, and climate change at the University of Alaska Geophysical Institute.

I agree that many indigenous cultures have, in the past, “demonstrated [the] ability of the human species to adapt to changing conditions.”

I strongly disagree that “the extinction of the human species is a very real possibility,” with respect to climate variability. I strongly object to the statement “within 100 years, many of our cities will become uninhabitable, submerged under oceans or deadly hot. Storms will become more violent.”

There is simply no evidence to support these alarmist predictions.

Patton also cites Dahr Jamail’s book “When the Ice Melts,” as justification for these alarmist claims. I must point out that Dahr Jamail is not a climate scientist nor an anthropologist, nor a scientist of any sort. He is a journalist, one with a long record of unrealistically inflammatory rhetoric regarding what he calls “climate disruption,” which is in reality natural climate variability.

Yes, many glaciers are retreating, as are many glaciers advancing. That’s what glaciers do and have done for millennia, long before human civilizations developed. Climates around this planet (and all the other planets in the solar system) vary cyclically in tune with its variable travels around its star, and our planet’s own internal cycles of the closely coupled ocean/atmosphere system.

Does atmospheric CO2 and CH4 warm the planet? Yes, up to certain point. Does increased atmospheric CO2 result in increased global warming? No one knows, as this has never been tested. Does human produced atmospheric CO2 threaten runaway global warming? Not in the slightest.

Jamail and Stites’ dire “predictions” are not supported by climate science, not even by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is a policy making organization, not a scientific research organization.

Should we “civilized” cultures change our ways to be in closer harmony with natural cycles? Of course. Human population growth coupled with cultures based on unlimited consumption cannot continue in a world of finite resources. We not only must change our ways, we most certainly will.

Humans may think we live in a world separate from Nature, but Nature functions otherwise. Humans are subject to the same ecological cycles as all other species. There’s no exit strategy. There’s no other planet to escape to. This is our only chance and either we figure out how to get it right, or Nature will haul us back into place in ways we make not like.

The choice is ours.

 

IPCC’s Lineal Projections of a Non-Lineal World

SR15

“Global Warming of 1.5°C,” an IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty

Special Report SR15 (https://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/) recently released by the IPCC is a rehash of old policy conclusions and recommendations, repackaged to emphasize the projected effects of a 1.5°C increase in global average surface temperature over the 1850-1900 global average surface temperature.

SR15 states (A.1) “Human activities” have “caused approximately 1.0°C of global warming above pre-industrial levels”;  (A.2) “Warming from anthropogenic emissions from the pre-industrial period to the present will persist for centuries to millennia“; (A.3) “Climate-related risks for natural and human systems are higher for global warming of 1.5°C than at present, but lower than at 2°C.”

The report projects: “increases in: mean temperature …, hot extremes …, heavy precipitation …, and drought and precipitation deficits …”. The report goes on to project decreased species loss and extinction on land, a slower rate of sea level rise, reduced increase in ocean temperature and pH fluctuation, compared to the effects of a 2°C increase in GASP. But then …

Climate-related risks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human
security, and economic growth are projected to increase with global warming of
1.5°C and increase further with 2°C.

It seems clear that someone or someones in the IPCC hierarchy has/have decided that 2.0°C of Global Warming is insufficiently scary to prompt world leaders to toe the Global Warming line and get on the IPCC Sustainable Development bandwagon.

Choosing between 1.5°C and 2°C of acceptable warming increase is akin to deciding which deck chair to throw over the rail of the Titanic to keep it afloat. In reality, nothing humans can do or not do will significantly change the rate and “direction” of climate variation. Allow me to explain:

The entire concept of Global Warming, aka Anthropogenic Climate Change, and the latest aka “Climate Disruption,” is based on (at least) three assumptions:

1) Global Warming (calculated as Global Average Surface Temperature or GASP) equals Global Climate Change;

2) Human produced CO2 is the thermostat for all observed climate variation since the ill-defined beginning of the Industrial Revolution; and

3) Presently observed climate variation will continue indefinitely into the future at the same rate or faster.

Temperature is only one variable of climate. We go outside. It’s warm or it’s cold. It’s warmer or colder than it was yesterday and will be tomorrow. Last year was warmer or colder than this year. Alaska is colder than Southern California.

Global Average Surface Temperature (GASP) is derived from some of the temperature measurements from existing instruments around the planet, adding them up and dividing by the number or readings. Raw data are frequently manipulated by a variety of correction factors thought to balance the widely differing characteristics of instrument stations around the world. (This is, of course, incredibly simplified, but you get the idea.)

So-called “Global Climate” is then depicted as a graph, usually as a time series of GASP, usually converted to “temperature anomalies” from an arbitrarily selected time period, for example, + or – differences from the global average surface temperature between 1850-1900. The result is promoted as significant and meaningful, and all manner of dire troubles for humans and all other life are variously interpreted from these simple graphs.

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https://i2.wp.com/www.infiniteunknown.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Global-warming-trend.jpg

What is ignored in these projections is that Global Average Surface Temperature is a meaningless calculation, and there is no global average climate to change.

In a 1964 published article (“The Problem of Deducing the Climate from Governing Equations,” Tellus 16 (1964), pp. 1-11), Edward Lorenz established that a highly complex adaptive systems such as weather does not converge to an average. In other words, weather variability is so complex that averaging the extremes produces a perception of “climate” that is meaningless in terms of predictability. Weather variability is the result of a complex system of interacting variables that cannot be predicted with any reliability beyond a day or two.

This reality is further complicated by arbitrary (or self-serving) choices of endpoints in comparisons of GASP trends. In the graphs above, start and end points of temperature anomalies, and the date range of the average to which they are compared, are chosen to emphasis a particular conclusion. The beginning points of the graphs are usually chosen as 1850, because that aligns with the almost universally held assumption that global warming and/or climate change began with human CO2 production as a result of the industrial production based on fossil fuels. This ignores the reality that today’s observed GASP increase began in the mid-1600s, not 1850, long before human CO2 emissions.

None of this matters to the IPCC, however, as it’s business is political policy recommendation rather than scientific theory confirmation. The IPCC produces projections of future risk assessment, not predictions of actual outcomes. That’s why their reports are couched in terms of scenario ranges rather than discrete events.

https://i0.wp.com/slideplayer.com/slide/8651031/26/images/4/IPCC+GHG+emission+scenarios.jpg

Even though weather and climate variability are nonlinear and therefore unpredictable other than in meaningless general terms, IPCC reports persist in deriving linear conclusions from the nonlinear data, as in A.1 through A.3 above. That’s the IPCC’s job, in support of the political and economic agendas that prompted the formation of the IPCC in the first place.

Global climate change consists of long term fluctuations in global weather patterns, such as the periodic change from from glacial to interglacial periods over the past several million years. Climate variability consists of shorter term fluctuations in global weather patterns within those larger cycles, such as the warming period we are experiencing now, coming out of the most recent cooling period of the Little Ice Age. This too shall pass as we make our way through the Holocene toward the next glacial period on the horizon.

Will the alarming prognostications of the IPCC come to pass? Will reducing our “carbon footprint” stop Global Warming or even change climate variation and climate change? No one knows.

What we can know is that we cannot predict what weather will be like in the future, so we would be well advised to organize ourselves and our material culture in ways that are more resilient in the face of inevitable change.

The Worm Turns?

“Treade a worme on the tayle, and it must turne agayne.” 1564 proverb, John Heywood

It seems that the climate change worm may be a-turning!

e6660-pulling-out-hairIt started with Bret Stephens’ April 28 editorial, Climate of Complete Certainty, which generated the expected round of knee-jerk criticism from the Usual Suspects. Cries of “Science Denier!” accompanied the digital gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair, as the Climate Change Alarmist machine shifted into high gear.

But then something new happened! Blogs, articles and papers are appearing touting solar influences on climate change, doubts cast upon the projections of global climate models. See here, here and here. Solar and orbital influences on observed climate variation seem to be gaining increased acceptance, in contradiction to the IPCC’s continuing insistence on human causation.

This is a good sign of a trend toward climate change sanity and rejection of the climate change obsession of past decades. The IPCC’s stranglehold on public opinion is beginning to loosen. Critical thinking is peeping above the miasma of political and economic thought control.

I have long cautioned against embracing the Global Warming consensus, from the standpoint of potential loss of respect for science when the anthropogenic global warming proposition is inevitably proven false. But now it seems that science and critical thinking may be making inroads into unsupported faith and unquestioned acceptance. The evidence for the limitations of the anthropogenic CO2 hypothesis, and the reality of the complex system of natural solar, orbital, cosmic, atmospheric and oceanic drivers of climate variation are growing daily.

The alarmists continue to tilt against the windmills of solar luminance variation and Milankovich Cycles, claiming, without evidence, that such influences are minor and ineffective when compared to their favored CO2 thermostat model. They huddle in a linear Cartesian world, fingers in their ears at any mention of nonlinear processes, complexity theory and chaotic adaptive systems.

It is not any single driver that results in observed climate variation. Climate is an emergent property of the chaotic, nonlinear, solar/atmospheric/oceanic adaptive systems, that is unpredictable in meaningful human chronologies. It is also unresponsive to manipulation of human CO2 output. It is the combination of all cycles of natural climate drivers that results in constantly varying, highly diverse climates that are beyond human control.

We’ll see how this trend plays out and how much the worm turns on the climate change consensus. It’s about time!