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Monday, February 05, 2007

Lies, lies and damn lies
From the WSJ, so I guess we shouldn't be surprised. They weakly attempt to "rebutt" the IPCC report. By rebuttal I mean that they make claims, without evidence, often in direct contradiction of the truth. Therefore the IPCC report is "rebutted" and also is itself a sign that climate science is "controversial" and "undecided".

The first lie:

Yet the real news in the fourth assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) may be how far it is backpedaling on some key issues. Beware claims that the science of global warming is settled.

The document that caused such a stir was only a short policy report, a summary of the full scientific report due in May. Written mainly by policymakers (not scientists) who have a stake in the issue, the summary was long on dire predictions.

There were those who were prepared for this criticism, as it is so typical of the global warming denialists. The problem is that the policymakers (aka evil bureaucrats) are scientists. . They make it sound like the people coming up with the policy have no scientific credentials, or worse are agents of evil foreign governments, with this cheap turn of phrase when in fact this is not the case.

Onward to the next lie:

More pertinent is the underlying scientific report. And according to people who have seen that draft, it contains startling revisions of previous U.N. predictions. For example, the Center for Science and Public Policy has just released an illuminating analysis written by Lord Christopher Monckton, a one-time adviser to Margaret Thatcher who has become a voice of sanity on global warming.

Take rising sea levels. In its 2001 report, the U.N.'s best high-end estimate of the rise in sea levels by 2100 was three feet. Lord Monckton notes that the upcoming report's high-end best estimate is 17 inches, or half the previous prediction. Similarly, the new report shows that the 2001 assessment had overestimated the human influence on climate change since the Industrial Revolution by at least one-third.

Monckton is the "voice of sanity"? More like denialist-in-chief. Stoat and Deltoid have been pretty dismissive of his criticisms, which are mostly pretty pathetic nonsense. Lot's of attacking the messenger, misrepresenting what the different models represent (acting like the scientists don't know some are conservative models while others are purposeful exaggerations), followed with doses of fatalism about China, and pointless nitpicking. Of course he doesn't actually present any data or actually bother to create his own model. He just pisses on the report like having a snappy little come-back to each point is somehow scientific rebuttal. Sorry pal, you need some data, or at least present realistic alternative interpretations of the data. You can't just hand-wave and say that's science. And the sea-level change that shows the report is revising down the effects of global warming? Not that, just a revision of how they make the measurements. Every time the scientists recalibrate everything the denialists start jumping up and down and saying they were right. It's like attacking a conversion to from feet to metric as a sign climate scientists are idiots.

Anyway, next lie:

U.N. scientists have relied heavily on computer models to predict future climate change, and these crystal balls are notoriously inaccurate. According to the models, for instance, global temperatures were supposed to have risen in recent years. Yet according to the U.S. National Climate Data Center, the world in 2006 was only 0.03 degrees Celsius warmer than it was in 2001 -- in the range of measurement error and thus not statistically significant.

This is the new "global warming ended in 1998" myth. Taking advantage of a short term blip in global temperature averages they're trying to suggest a trend doesn't exist. Nexus6 takes care of it. No big deal, typical denialist bullshit, in this case, selectivity.

Next lie:

More scientists are also studying the effect of solar activity on climate, and some believe it alone is responsible for recent warming.

Ummm, solar activity is included in climate models already and specifically has been discounted as the sole source of a global warming effect. And I love the incredibly vague "more" scientists. Has it gone from two to three? Has Monckton recruited a third? Or has he become a scientist rather than a peddler of doubt?

All this appears to be resulting in a more cautious scientific approach, which is largely good news. We're told that the upcoming report is also missing any reference to the infamous "hockey stick," a study by Michael Mann that purported to show 900 years of minor fluctuations in temperature, followed by a dramatic spike over the past century. The IPCC featured the graph in 2001, but it has since been widely rebutted.

Rebutted? Maybe, if denialists shouting really loud is a rebuttal. But the facts are that Mann's report has been categorically certified by real experts, again and again and most recently by a panel in 2006.

Pathetic denialism from the WSJ as always, next they'll deny the HIV/AIDS link.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

IPCC report
The Report(PDF) is now available.

Perhaps we should take some of that good Exxon money Buck mentioned and totally sell out for like, 10,000 dollars. That would be awesome.

I will try to read it thoroughly, I think some of the data they've included speaks for itself.

First of all, the so-called Hockey-stick figures showing the relative increases in greenhouse gas emissions due to human emissions compared to ten thousand years of data from proxy measurements:

Then there is the global mean temperature increases (the measure of global warming), sea-level increases, and snow cover decreases over the last 150 years or so.

The projections of temperature increases are pretty depressing.

Finally, the projections of global mean surface temperature according to the human response to the crisis. Different models are based on different responses to curbing global greenhouse gas emissions, so far, despite attempts to confuse the graph by denialists like Pat Michaels, these models have held up. From what I understand we tend to travel along the blue-line.

The last and most-depressing statement from the report I'll mention?

Both past and future anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions will continue to contribute to warming and sea level rise for more than a millennium, due to the timescales required for removal of this gas from the atmosphere.

Time to get off our asses and do something about this. Luckily some Democrats have expressed an interest. For a better understanding of the science involved, I'd direct everybody to the Real Climate discussion on the IPCC report. This is just a summary right now, but the final full report will be available in April.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

El Nino
Real Climate has the answers on why I'm thinking about wearing shorts to work tomorrow even though it's freaking mid-January.

Two things that should be continually emphasized when talking about global warming.

  1. Global Warming refers to mean global surface temperature. It seems every jackass can stick their arm about the window and say whether or not a global phenomenon exists. This is not how it works. At any given time the temperature in various places in the globe will me exceptionally warm or cool, this has nothing to do with global averages.
  2. Global Warming is not going to take effect over the course of one freaking year. We're talking decades of high carbon levels are going to cause a disaster, and insane temperatures this winter (cause by El Nino as described by Real Climate) have nothing to do with long term trends.

So, chill out. Yes we are melting the planet, but our current insane whether is from El Nino pushing the jetstream way north, not some insane rapid effect from carbon increasing the mean temperature of the earth. That being said, El Nino combined with global warming will likely make 2007 the warmest year yet, but that doesn't mean that we're all going to die.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Denialism funded by Exxon
The Union of Concerned Scientists is exposing scientific malfeasance by Exxon in what appears to be a direct rip-off of tobacco company denialism only with global warming instead of cancer. As we discussed in our denialists post, Exxon Mobile has clearly been engaging in hiring false experts and creating false controversy and debate over settled scientific issues related to climate change. Their press release reads like the denialist playbook.

Smoke, Mirrors & Hot Air: How ExxonMobil Uses Big Tobacco's Tactics to "Manufacture Uncertainty" on Climate Change details how the oil company, like the tobacco industry in previous decades, has

* raised doubts about even the most indisputable scientific evidence
* funded an array of front organizations to create the appearance of a broad platform for a tight-knit group of vocal climate change contrarians who misrepresent peer-reviewed scientific findings
* attempted to portray its opposition to action as a positive quest for "sound science" rather than business self-interest
* used its access to the Bush administration to block federal policies and shape government communications on global warming

ExxonMobil-funded organizations consist of an overlapping collection of individuals serving as staff, board members, and scientific advisors that publish and re-publish the works of a small group of climate change contrarians. The George C. Marshall Institute, for instance, which has received $630,000 from ExxonMobil, recently touted a book edited by Patrick Michaels, a long-time climate change contrarian who is affiliated with at least 11 organizations funded by ExxonMobil. Similarly, ExxonMobil funds a number of lesser-known groups such as the Annapolis Center for Science-Based Public Policy and Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow. Both groups promote the work of several climate change contrarians, including Sallie Baliunas, an astrophysicist who is affiliated with at least nine ExxonMobil-funded groups.

Baliunas is best known for a 2003 paper alleging the climate had not changed significantly in the past millennia that was rebutted by 13 scientists who stated she had misrepresented their work in her paper. This renunciation did not stop ExxonMobil-funded groups from continuing to promote the paper. Through methods such as these, ExxonMobil has been able to amplify and prop up work that has been discredited by reputable climate scientists.

"When one looks closely, ExxonMobil's underhanded strategy is as clear and indisputable as the scientific research it's meant to discredit," said Seth Shulman, an investigative journalist who wrote the UCS report. "The paper trail shows that, to serve its corporate interests, ExxonMobil has built a vast echo chamber of seemingly independent groups with the express purpose of spreading disinformation about global warming."

ExxonMobil has used the laudable goal of improving scientific understanding of global warming—under the guise of "sound science"—for the pernicious ends of delaying action to reduce heat-trapping emissions indefinitely. ExxonMobil also exerted unprecedented influence over U.S. policy on global warming, from successfully recommending the appointment of key personnel in the Bush administration to funding climate change deniers in Congress.

Sounds about right. Maybe our new Democratic congress could investigate?

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