Nov 232012
 

Some important facts for everyone to consider:

A survey of all peer-reviewed abstracts on the subject ‘global climate change’ published between 1993 and 2003 shows that not a single paper rejected the consensus position that global warming is man caused. 75% of the papers agreed with the consensus position while 25% made no comment either way, focusing on methods or paleoclimate analysis (Oreskes 2004).

Several subsequent studies confirm that “…the debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely nonexistent among those who understand the nuances and scientific basis of long-term climate processes”. (Doran 2009). In other words, more than 95% of scientists working in the disciplines contributing to studies of our climate, accept that climate change is almost certainly being caused by human activities.

We should also consider official scientific bodies and what they think about climate change. There are no national or major scientific institutions anywhere in the world that dispute the theory of anthropogenic climate change. Not one.

Is There A Scientific Consensus On Global Warming?

I very often read on article comments elsewhere that “fraud” was found among climate scientists (or everything is blamed on Al Gore).  What do the FACTS actually say?  No less then 9 investigations found:

What do the ‘Climategate’ hacked CRU emails tell us?

  1. In February 2010, the Pennsylvania State University released an Inquiry Report that investigated any ‘Climategate’ emails involving Dr Michael Mann, a Professor of Penn State’s Department of Meteorology. They found that “there exists no credible evidence that Dr. Mann had or has ever engaged in, or participated in, directly or indirectly, any actions with an intent to suppress or to falsify data”. On “Mike’s Nature trick”, they concluded “The so-called “trick”1 was nothing more than a statistical method used to bring two or more different kinds of data sets together in a legitimate fashion by a technique that has been reviewed by a broad array of peers in the field.”
  2. In March 2010, the UK government’s House of Commons Science and Technology Committee published a report finding that the criticisms of the Climate Research Unit (CRU) were misplaced and that CRU’s “Professor Jones’s actions were in line with common practice in the climate science community”.
  3. In April 2010, the University of East Anglia set up an international Scientific Assessment Panel, in consultation with the Royal Society and chaired by Professor Ron Oxburgh. The Report of the International Panel assessed the integrity of the research published by the CRU and found “no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the Climatic Research Unit”.
  4. In June 2010, the Pennsylvania State University published their Final Investigation Report, determining “there is no substance to the allegation against Dr. Michael E. Mann”.
  5. In July 2010, the University of East Anglia published the Independent Climate Change Email Review report. They examined the emails to assess whether manipulation or suppression of data occurred and concluded that “The scientists’ rigor and honesty are not in doubt”.
  6. In July 2010, the US Environmental Protection Agency investigated the emails and “found this was simply a candid discussion of scientists working through issues that arise in compiling and presenting large complex data sets.”
  7. In September 2010, the UK Government responded to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee report, chaired by Sir Muir Russell. On the issue of releasing data, they found In the instance of the CRU, the scientists were not legally allowed to give out the data. On the issue of attempting to corrupt the peer-review process, they found The evidence that we have seen does not suggest that Professor Jones was trying to subvert the peer review process. Academics should not be criticised for making informal comments on academic papers“.
  8. In February 2011, the Department of Commerce Inspector General conducted an independent review of the emails and found “no evidence in the CRU emails that NOAA inappropriately manipulated data”.
  9. In August 2011, the National Science Foundation concluded“Finding no research misconduct or other matter raised by the various regulations and laws discussed above, this case is closed”.

There is simply no evidence of fraud or misrepresentation. Yet Climategate accusations continue (to shrivel).

Yet Al Gore is still being blamed.  The reason this happens is “blame” must be placed somewhere, just don’t blame me. Gore makes a nice easy target, but this sort of behavior is unjustified.

Climate change deniers are actually guilty of fraud by continuing to spread false information. However, this is not their only crime. They’re guilty of laying the foundation through deception, misinformation and anger of destroying the human race.

By vehemently insisting that “climate change is false”, they are contributing to the “no action” policy of national governments and industry.  Nowhere else in the world is this more evident then in America.

The Koch Brothers have heavily funded this deception, but this badly backfired on them when their own scientists found ‘Global Warming Is Pretty Much Beyond Dispute Now’.

Anybody paying actual attention and not stuck in denial-mode could have admitted to that, yet millions of Americans continue to support the denialist-meme.  This makes no sense at all, other then they’re operating out of fear and loathing of what this actually means for America and the world at large.  Learning (belatedly) that your world is now at extreme risks is not a comfortable feeling.  Denial is the first step in the “5 Stages of Grief“.

Yet we need as a nation to move beyond denial, anger, and lashing out at anyone that challenges our failing world-view.  Reality is a harsh mistress, slapping us when we really don’t want to be slapped.

The decadal land-surface average temperature using a 10-year moving average of surface temperatures over land. Anomalies are relative to the Jan 1950 – December 1979 mean. The grey band indicates 95% statistical and spatial uncertainty interval.” A Koch-funded reanalysis of 1.6 billion temperature reports finds that “essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases.” Via BEST.

In Ten Charts That Make Clear The Planet is Warming, we can learn that despite the false interpretations being applied by psuedo-skeptics and self-appointed ‘experts’, the facts are very clear.

Yet despite this, and thousands of other reports, articles, assessments and scientific analysis from all over the world, there remains a significant number of people who “just don’t believe it” for one reason or another.

This is very sad actually, because their reality is distorted and deeply flawed.  Perhaps Senator Inhofe represents this best: incredibly out of touch with reality and deeply angry about what is happening to our world.

Denial and anger (Stage 2) however, do not make the problem go away, or change the facts or the science behind it. Science is science, a rigorous process that actually attempt to “prove itself wrong”.  The consensus about global warming isn’t just something that a handful of scientists dreamed up, it came about from decades of study (abbreviated for brevity purpose, read the whole excerpt here):

Science achieves a consensus when scientists stop arguing…. Over a period of time, each idea is tested and retested …. Nearly all hypotheses will fall by the wayside during this testing period, because only one is going to answer the question properly…. But the testing period must come to an end. Gradually, the focus of investigation narrows down to those avenues that continue to make sense, that still add up, and quite often a good theory will reveal additional answers, or make powerful predictions, that add substance to the theory.

So a consensus in science is different from a political one. There is no vote. Scientists just give up arguing because the sheer weight of consistent evidence is too compelling, the tide too strong to swim against any longer. Scientists change their minds on the basis of the evidence, and a consensus emerges over time. Not only do scientists stop arguing, they also start relying on each other’s work. All science depends on that which precedes it, and when one scientist builds on the work of another, he acknowledges the work of others through citations. The work that forms the foundation of climate change science is cited with great frequency by many other scientists, demonstrating that the theory is widely accepted – and relied upon.

What does this mean?  It means that there is now a 97% consensus among scientists that humans are causing global warming (Is There A Scientific Consensus On Global Warming?).

How then could so many people continue to believe exactly the opposite?  Through media manipulation and a well-funded campaign of denialism, the “message” being spread is categorically false. This deception fits in rather nicely with the fear people have about climate and what it means to them and their future.  It is easier to embrace denialism because you are afraid.

I’m afraid too — but not because I’m in denial. I’m afraid because I’ve spent a very long time now assessing what this actually means for the human race. Understanding things like “wet-bulb temperatures” and “respiration rates” may not sound like your idea of a good time, but it does have bearing upon whether or not we can survive this.  This particular blog has placed a heavy emphasis on what this means, while trying to dispel the false myths and notions about ‘survival’ that is so prevalent online.

In the end, it isn’t going to matter one bit what you ‘believe’, since reality is virtually inescapable.  You can deny all you want — or you can accept the facts as they are.

It is vitally important to recognize that the longer humans (any humans) choose denial, the worse reality is going to be.  Climate change may be unstoppable already, and the longer denial remains firmly embedded in the minds of Americans, the worse it’s going to get due to individual inaction.  You are the ONLY person who can “do something”.  The expectation that someone else will do it for you is just as false as the narrative of denial.

You may be angry and afraid, but this is actually irrelevant.  The only relevant facts are this: are humans causing this? And if so, what actions can I take to help stop it or at least, prepare for it?

This isn’t just a problem for “believers”, it’s a problem for all life-forms on the entire planet.  “Belief” has nothing to do with it.  Either it is happening, or it isn’t.  Either it is real, or it isn’t.  The facts speak for themselves.

We are in a global crisis, which world leaders are slowly admitting to, yet the denialist meme continues to rage on with utter inanities and blame, as if this would somehow “make it all go away”.  This is how little children act (badly), angrily lashing out at what they cannot accept or do not understand.

I’m afraid I personally have zero sympathy for this crowd anymore. They’re holding us all back from critical and essential changes that must be embraced. Unfortunately, I’m stuck on the same boat they are, otherwise I’d just get off and paddle my own boat, but I can’t do that.  The best I can do is to refute with all possible reason and effort what is clearly a huge, gigantic mistake on the part of denialists.  Whether deliberate, or through ignorance or propaganda or whatever, it doesn’t matter.  What matters is we stop putting up with this absolute nonsense and get to business about what we can do about reality.

Many are now trying to “bargain” their way out of this problem (Stage 3). Unfortunately, this will not work either. We’re not dealing with something we can easily control or even through a stupendous amount of effort on a gargantuan scale.  Uh uh. Not going to happen like that.  What we’ve set in motion is akin to lighting the Sun on fire, how are you planning on putting it out?

Several other authors have taken the time to try and encapsulate the problem in these terms. I’ve spent some effort here discussing this in this post and others.  Many have written to me, describing depression (Stage 4), disillusionment and even disgust.  Hopelessness sets in — but this is without any doubt — the path to utter failure.  Now is not the time to “quit” and give up.  Now is the time to get busy.

That requires acceptance (Stage 5) — a critical step towards recovery.  This is the place to be — acceptance, because it holds the only hope humanity actually has.

The sooner “more of us get there” the better we ALL will be and the better our collective chances are at surviving this.  It simply does no good at all to continue to go on pretending or fabricating the lies that “this ain’t happenin’ ” when it most clearly is.

I will keep harping on this topic again and again no doubt, at what has come as a great personal sacrifice. I’m beyond caring about that.  I’m beyond worrying about what people might think or do, because I know that if we don’t finally get together on this, nothing is going to matter — and I mean NOTHING.  All the petty issues I see posted online, all the ridiculous bullshit, all the lame conspiracies, allegations and alarmism designed to fleece all the fools, won’t make a lick of difference in the end if we go on ignoring this crisis.

I’m not asking (or expecting) anyone to agree with ME — go read the facts for yourself. I’ve zero interest in creating a “personality cult” or following. My only motivation is the slim and fast fading hope that my own children will have a survivable world to live in.

Addendum:

It bears repeating that warming of 7°F or beyond is “incompatible with organized global community, is likely to be beyond ‘adaptation’, is devastating to the majority of ecosystems & has a high probability of not being stable (i.e.  4°C [7°F] would be an interim temperature on the way to a much higher equilibrium level,” as climate expert Kevin Anderson explains here. Tragically, that appears to be the likely outcome of business as usual.

Study: We’re Headed To 11°F Warming And Even 7°F Requires ‘Nearly Quadrupling The Current Rate Of Decarbonisation’

Of course, planning for 4°C [7°F] in 2100 — let alone 6°C [11°F] — is tantamount to planning for the end of civilization as we know it (see this review of more than 60 recent studies — “An Illustrated Guide to the Science of Global Warming Impacts: How We Know Inaction Is the Gravest Threat Humanity Faces“).

Such a world would likely mean:

  • Permanent Dust Bowl conditions over the U.S. Southwest, parts of the Great Plains and many other regions around the globe that are heavily populated and/or heavily farmed.
  • Sea level rise of some 1 foot by 2050, then 4 to 6 feet (or more) by 2100, rising some 6 to 12 inches (or more) each decade thereafter
  • Massive species loss on land and sea — perhaps 50% or more of all biodiversity.
  • Much more extreme weather

These will all be happening simultaneously and getting worse decade after decade. A 2009 NOAA-led study found the worst impacts would be “largely irreversible for 1000 years.”

Also worthy of a repost here — Researchers Quantify Greenhouse Gases From Melting Arctic Permafrost: ‘Potential To Alter The Planet Is Very Real’

Surely the only rational conclusion that one, even a non-scientist, can draw from recent events is that a catastrophe is in its early stages. For our immediate purposes this is partly a climate catastrophe, but when one also considers biodiversity loss, oceanic acidification and stratification, the spread of anoxic and hypoxic ‘dead zones’, the loss of 90% of large pelagic fish, mass tree deaths across the planet, megafires and the general toxification of the biosphere by ubiquitous pollution of every kind, then certainly we are stuffed. The only way out, growing slimmer and less likely by the hour, is a concerted global program of rapid decarbonisation and centuries of hard graft in ecological repair. And to achieve that miraculous escape all dreams of global Empire, of the ineffable superiority of ‘Western Civilization’ over the rest of humanity, of the efficacy of unbridled greed as the path to human happiness and of inexorable, neoplastic, economic growth must be recognised as the nightmares that they truly are. Wealth must no longer be accumulated by a tiny caste of the infinitely avaricious, but rather must be redistributed back to the people who created every cent of it. And consumption and human population must be humanely reduced, yesterday preferably, but today must suffice. Any politician, economist or soothsayer with any other program is, I would assert, an idiot, a liar or an ignoramus, or some combination of these virtues.

Addendum 2: America is the Only Nation Where Climate Scientist Face Organized Harassment

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 Posted by at 2:57 pm

  One Response to “The Truth About Climate Change”

  1. Found over on Climate Central — eyewitness report of a resident in the extreme Arctic (for human habitation):

    By Arthur C. Smith III (Kaktovik, Alaska, 99747)
    on November 20th, 2012

    I’m glad to see in print, the report of what we have experienced up here and how significantly these details relate to a changing climate.

    I live in Kaktovik, Alaska, which is on a small island in the Beaufort Sea, approximately 350 miles to the east of Barrow.

    I believe for the first time in human history, the entire north coast of Alaska was ice free on November 1st; the Arctic Ocean was open and had reached a new record minimum for that date.

    The world cannot underestimate the impact upon climate presented by such a large, newly opened body of water. Personally, I believe that the 2012 record Arctic sea ice minimum has crossed a threshold: the “tipping point” has been reached. The change in weather speaks to it, the change in animal behavior speaks to it, life in the arctic screams it… but will we listen?

    Here in the Arctic, there is no choice but to listen, to see that daily life is changing in real time. I have lived here only nine years but in that short period of time, the change that I’ve witnessed is profound, to put it mildly.

    Speaking of mildly, just to clarify the relative nature of the reader’s interpretation of the word “mild” being used to describe the start of the Alaskan Arctic winter. It is true that we’ve had a record warm September, warmer than normal temperatures in October and November, but the mitigation of temperature by open water has paled in the face of raging blizzards, one after another, week upon week, winds blowing in the 50’s mph for days upon days, gusts in the 70’s, record snowfall, aviation grounded, life at a standstill. Only here, can this scenario pass as quasi normal and equally pass unnoticed by the outside world. Anywhere in the lower 48, these conditions would merit national news coverage and likely some emergency relief.

    But… the water is warmer, it is open. The air temperatures are warmer and the resultant increase in atmospheric energy has defined a fall, here in this part of the world, that no man living has ever seen; that no recorded history has ever documented. If not already on notice due the course of world climate events, be assured that the current exception of the Arctic experiencing “what no man has ever seen” will soon be shared by all man.

    Arthur C. Smith III