Famines and Wars Predicted

In a recent article in City Watch, Seth Berenstein whinges on about apparent ho-hummieness about climate change among the public in the United States (mistakenly calling us “Americans” (Does that include Canada, Central and South America?). We’re apparently supposed to be “extremely worried” about climate change, as if being worried would in some way make it go away.

There are two problems with the popular perception of climate change that make it a non-issue.

1) The case for human causation, and, thus, human solution to the perceived problem of climate variation, is very weak. We all know that climates have varied for millennia, long before humans had the capacity to influence weather, let alone climate. If climate didn’t vary on its own, we’d all still be buried under miles of glacier ice. Despite this simple fact, we are expected to accept as rote that humans are so powerful as to cause climate change, and, worse yet, we’re even powerful enough that we can control climate change.

2) The social changes necessary to lower anthropogenic CO2 to levels suggested by the IPCC as sufficient to forestall climate disaster are never full explicated. They would amount to dismantling western civilization and replacing it with a low energy, highly dispersed economy, instead of the present high energy, highly centralized economy. This is not, mind you, a bad idea, whether it affects climate variation or not. But I digress.

No one knows how to do this, no politician or economist wants to do this, and few in the public understand the full implications of the anthropogenic CO2 hypothesis. Life in the United States, and much of the rest of the world, is dominated by propaganda promoting the very totalitarian capitalist consumer economy that is said to be the source of “global warming.”

How do we get the problem to solve itself?

Whether or not observed climate variation is “caused” by humans, or is a natural phenomenon subject to limited human influence, speculation about famine and wars, based on interpretations of worst case scenarios projected by an international policy organization run by the “Sustainable Development” arm of the United Nations, are baseless at best and ultimately counterproductive. This is eminently evident in the response of much of the public around the world to alarmist media pronouncements leading up to the looming major global summit meeting attempting to solidify the global corporate stranglehold on local economies.

Beyond the rampant hyperbole and screaming headlines, one thing is true: human growth and development must stop and some way must be found to decrease economic disparity throughout the world, global warming or not. Famine and wars will continue as they have for thousands of years, with or without climate change.

And still, all of life shares this world of finite resources. We Homo sapiens cannot continue on our present economic and social course. Either we deal with this reality or Nature will deal with us as she has done with all other species.

Re-Counting the Deck Chairs on the Titanic?

Two recent announcements on the Climate Change front have the blogosphere buzzing:
Richard A. Muller announced an updated paper, in the NY Times Opinion Page, originally presented and rejected for publication in 2011, claiming that global warming is indeed occurring and “essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases.” Oh, and he also claimed, again, despite evidence to the contrary, that he is a “converted skeptic.” 
Just in the nick of time, Anthony Watts announced on Sunday the paper he and others have been working on since June 2011, consisting of a reassessment of temperature instrumentation siting across North America based on a newly certified method of classification of siting criteria. Unlike the Muller paper, Watts has made the contents and data available openly for all to view and critique.
Despite evident similarities in scientific grandstanding, neither paper offers anything to a produce a sea-change in conclusions about the reality and nature of anthropogenic climate change. Muller’s paper amounts to saying, “And another thing…” a year and half after the argument is over. Watts paper, makes an important contribution to the interpretation of a a small part of available atmospheric data, and may point the way to a reassessment of surface temperature measurements throughout the world.
Luboš Motl, in his blog, The Reference Frame, asks: Have Muller or Watts transformed the AGW landscape? The answer, of course, is “No.”
Science doesn’t work that way. Science is not advanced by opinion pieces in the New York Times nor strategically timed blog announcements, both designed to build popular interest in otherwise esoteric studies of scientific methodology. Science advances by the slow accumulation of observations, painstaking hypothesis testing of theories to explain those observations and careful modification, or in extreme cases, rejection, of established theory. Science doesn’t take place in the blogosphere or on rapidly yellowing newsprint.
The climate science hyperbole exposed this past weekend is not about science, it is about credibility.
Despite recent headlines, there are only two scientific questions about climate variation of importance to politicians, policy-makers and the general public: 
Does CO2 produced by human activities contribute significantly to observed changes in global average surface temperature and, thusly, global weather patterns? The corollary question is: Will reduction of human atmospheric CO2 production significantly reduce future increases in global average surface temperatures and resulting changes in global weather patterns?
On these two questions, climate science is equivocal.
The controversy centers of the observed correlation between variation in global average surface temperature and global average atmospheric CO2 concentration. 
Global average atmospheric CO2 concentration has increased at a steady rate since modern measurements began in 1957. 
Global average surface temperature has increased variably since modern measurements began in  1885 (in most places), 1650 in the UK.

Those who support human origin of increased temperature point out that atmospheric CO2 warms the atmosphere, and note the (rough) correlation between these two graphs and proclaim linear causation. 
Judith Curry has this to say about observation-based attribution.
Those who do not support causation point out that correlation does not equal causation, and also notice that, while global average surface temperature has fluctuated throughout the study period, global average CO2 concentrations have retained a steady, linear rate of increase.
Furthermore, ice core records reveal a 200 to 800-year global lag between prehistoric global average surface temperature fluctuations and subsequent prehistoric atmospheric CO2 concentrations, indicating that atmospheric CO2 concentration variation is driven by global average surface temperature, not the other way round. 
While global average surface temperature may be a largely irrelevant mathematical computation, it is increasingly evident that atmospheric dynamics are driven, to a large extent, by natural cosmic forces, such as Milanković  Cycles, solar magnetic variation and cosmic rays.
It remains to be seen whether the Muller and Watts papers are recounting the deck chairs on the Titanic, or building new acceleration couches aboard SpaceShipOne.

6 Reasons Why Global Warming is Natural

The article: Has CO2 warmed the planet at all in the last 50 years? It’s harder to tell than you think explains the uncertainty regarding the Anthropogenic Global Warming proposition.

It seems clear that the perception of human caused “Global Warming” is a function of several factors:

1) Urban Heat Island Effect (UHI) – the effect of concentrated human technocratic infrastructure that raises local temperatures. The proximate causes of UHI range from placement of weather recording stations in areas of artificial heat generation (airports, near air conditioners r other industrial heat sources) to generalized heat bubbles surrounding major cities. Selection of recording sites is critical in evaluating temperature records. (See numerous articles on Watts Up With That?)

2) Temperature data and data source manipulation – selection of recording sites, start and end points of records analyzed, step increases in temperature masking trends, manipulation of raw data, work to create the impression of a warming climate. 

3) Political agendas – environmental groups, UN/IPCC, World Bank, International Monetary Fund – organizations such as the IPCC, the Met Office, Union of Concerned Scientists, United Nations World Meteorological Organization are not scientific organizations, they are science policy organization. Therefore, the conclusions they reach and communicate are not scientific conclusions, they are policy recommendations based on interpreted results of scientific investigation. The United Nations focus is on “sustainable development,” and most, if not all of their policy documents are couched in terms of making the developed nations pay for continuing development in the “global South.” Environmental organizations such as Greenpeace, The Sierra Club, and World Wildlife Fund have changed from grassroots advocacy and action to political lobbying organizations, requiring multi-million dollar budgets and a compromising presence in world seats of power and influence. 

4) Natural climate change – Yes, the climate of the earth does change, all on its own. In fact, change is the norm. It is the expectation of a static, unchanging climate that is at odds with reality.
5) Media hysteria – Media mavins love a bold headline, even if it isn’t true.

6) Anecdotal weather observations – heat, tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding. Individual, (aka anecdotal) weather observations of floods, tornadoes, hail, thunderstorms, hurricanes give a perception of weather “out of control,” as if weather was ever in control. Today’s weather extremes are no different than those of the past. Anecdotal weather observations do not take into account the history of weather and climate variation.

What to do about Climate Change – whether it’s real or not!

I’m confused!
While reading the news, I constantly see headlines and ledes such as the following:
Yet when I read the climate science literature, I don’t find these alarming headlines backed up by evidence. Quite the contrary.
Much of the alarmist attitude in the press comes from the IPCC, whose charter is to research anthropogenic climate change and propose international policies to deal with it. It is clearly documented that IPCC lead authors have censored articles from their contributing authors and have modified conclusions from contributors after they were approved for publication.
Perhaps this is the source of the confusion, or at least one source. Certainly, concentration on political and economic influences, such as the recent spat over The Heartland Institute document theft, obfuscates the underlying science, grabbing the headlines with lurid stories of undercover schemes, mudslinging and name calling. Whether or not this is deliberate on either side, these actions function to dilute and distort the science of climate variation.
While it is certainly true that human activities modify climate, and is certainly true that atmospheric CO2 absorbs energy and reradiates it into the atmosphere, there is no evidence demonstrating a causal relationship of human produced CO2 and other greenhouse gases to the observed rise in global average surface temperature. The connection is intuitive rather than documented. 
This confusion is further exacerbated by continuing claims for an anthropogenic global warming (AGW) source for every bit of perceived weather excess that comes along, such as the recent tornado outbreak.
Since human produced CO2 accounts for only 3% of the total increase of CO2 in the atmosphere annually, will an international effort to “de-carbonize” the global economy through the construction of windfarms and solar panel arrays in the few remaining undeveloped parts of the world significantly modify observed climate variation? Not bloody likely.
Meanwhile, human activity continues to release truly harmful pollution into the air, land and water, destroy critical habitat for native species, draw down water tables and cover the surface of the planet under a layer of asphalt, cement and steel. There’s no question about these vary real effects of human growth and development.
There is also no question about how to stop the destruction caused by human growth and development: stop human population growth and begin its decline, stop human economic growth and develop steady state economies, stop the release of polluting substances into the biosphere, take no more resources than can be replenished through natural processes and produce no more waste than can be dispersed through natural processes. 
We know how to do these things. Rather than wringing our hands in angst about possible future climate change over which we have no control, let’s do something about those destructive effects of human “civilization that we understand and know how to correct.
If we clean up our own nests, we will contribute less to AGW and, at the same time, become more resilient to accommodate inevitable natural climate variation.