Feb 18, 2008
Polar bears are not quite the enormous white climate canary of frozen climes that we have been led to believe. In fact, they’re more likely to turn out to be the elephant in the room, when in fifty years time their numbers have grown despite Gory warnings.
Anyway, in the spirit of being contrary almost for the sake of it, but more seriously for the sake of science, I’d like your thoughts on the following article. It was published on ScienceandPublicPolicy.org, which is controversial enough, with the organisation’s Chief Science Advisor being Willie Soon, who along with Sally Baliunus, suggests that climate change is down to non-anthropogenic phenomena.
Anyway, the SPPI article highlights how some scientists have apparently now broken ranks to proclaim that anthropogenic carbon dioxide is not quite the forceful climate change driver those who advocate a global carbon tax would have us believe. After all, if George W Bush is suddenly on-message when it comes to the environment, then something is surely wrong with the world. Of course, I’d want the full insider details and to know if there are any conflicts of interest before taking any refusenik too seriously.
The post’s author Jerry Carlson suggests that a brave journalist who stands up against the carbon conspiracy might be in line for a Pulitzer by 2010. There are a few out there who are making waves including at least one NYT writer, he tells us. Carlson suggests that in order to take the Prize, that enterprising investigative journo will have to find answers to an intriguing pair of questions. I’m sure the folks at RealClimate.org will be readying their riposte right now, if they haven’t already, but here are Carlson’s queries for the record:
First, he asks, why don’t those who suggest we reduce atmospheric CO2 emissions and sequester carbon ever mention the enormous opportunities for feeding the world that might come from longer growing seasons and higher carbon availability for crops? Historically, civilisation has seemingly thrived when the climate has been warmer and wetter and agriculture more prolific. One might also tack on to the CO2 question the issue of water vapour being a much broader and potent greenhouse gas than CO2 as well as a dozen other apparently unaddressed issues within the climate change models.
The second Pulitzer-winning question Carlson offers is: Why is the IPCC’s projected future global warming almost linear or accelerating, when it is well-known that the greenhouse-gas impact of CO2 fades sharply with each incremental increase of CO2 in the atmosphere?
My own additional question to IPCC would ask about that 10% uncertainty in their initial report that suggested we are 90% certain that humans are responsible for rising temperature trends. 9 to 1 against is long odds, but not lottery impossible and mean that there is a chance (albeit just one in ten) that our carbon emissions are not to blame. If they’re not to blame, then rather than asking what is perhaps it’s time we checked the climate change data and took a more rigorous look at the historical and prehistorical trends, before it’s too late.
We live in an ice age, by definition; there is ice at the poles and that defines it as such. But, despite measurable volume changes in the Arctic ice sheet, NASA satellite images show without doubt that the ice cap is growing. Couldn’t that cause cooling because of increased reflectance? It has been said before, but what if we actually manage to reduce CO2 levels only to discover that the earth’s natural cycle is about to take us into a deeper ice age? We’ll regret meddling with atmospherics if it does. But, at least the growing polar bear population will be happy.