The entire CO2 debate (NOTE: There has never been an honest debate, under oath - only a 50 billion propaganda campaign sponsored by some "not so honest people"!
Just apply a little common sense, such as the WSJ article, and do your own "thorough" investigation - not difficult to do!
First, what are the two most important events for creating "all life on earth"?
The SUN & the wonderful trace gas CO2.
I have asked >50 people about "how much of the astmosphere is represented by CO2" & the answers ranged from a low of 3 % to 60 %? The actual is that all CO2 in the atmosphere is 0.04 % (their term is 390 parts/million) or 1 part in every 2500 parts! Also, remember that "water vapor" is 25 times more (1.0 %) abundant & creates the heat trapping clouds
A interesting science experiment would be to heat all the earth's Co2 & spread evenly back into the atmosphere - and there would "probably" be "NO TEMPERATURE CHANGE"!
Much more common sense (the internet has volumes of honest data - concentrate on some of the older info generated when science was factual); but we really need an honestd debate, under oath, to resolve this controversy!
What is a scientist doing writing an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal rather than in the pages of the scientific journals publishing the papers discussing global warming? As Happer states in his op-ed, this is not the way science is supposed to work.
If you search for Happer in Google Scholar, you'll see that he has not published any research supporting his contentions that global warming is controvertible or that CO2 is not a greenhouse gas or that increasing greenhouse gas concentrations do not increase the energy of the earth's climate system thus forcing changes to achieve a new equilibrium. In fact his scant discussion of CO2 leaves completely undiscussed that last issue and its consequences, such as increased extreme weather. The question must be asked why?
I think that his closing paragraph sums up his real concern, and it is about corruption of the policy process, such as that which pushed for cap and trade as a free market answer, not that global warming is not occuring. For one, free market theory is a failed theory, as proven by the existence of bubbles and financial crises, and using it to serve to ameliorate human activity would more than likely result in a few gaming the system to their benefit without reducing greenhouse gas emissions and slowing global warming. But that is a question separate from whether human activity is causing global warming.
I suggest that Happer et al enter the debate through valid research. As it stands now it seems that he is actually concerned with the economic implications of global warming rather than its effects on life as we know it. He may be honestly concerned with the consequences of human activity and how to best minimize the harm we cause, but he hurts his cause by writing an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal or First Things:
"First Things is published by The Institute on Religion and Public Life, an interreligious, nonpartisan research and education institute whose purpose is to advance a religiously informed public philosophy for the ordering of society."
I think that Happer et al have their own agenda, they should be honest enough to disclose it.
CO2 is increasing, but it is not as simple as you indicate. CO2 is already at a concentration that achieves over 90% absorption at it's relatively narrow band of wavelengths. Doubling the CO2 concentration only increases the greenhouse effect by a few percentage points.
Advocates of the "hair on fire" scenario have to resort to the argument that small increases in warming, due to CO2, cause an increase in water vapor, which in turn really does cause more infrared absorption, hence more increases hence "hair of fire". This completely ignores the opposite feedback, where water vapor causes more clouds to form, which reflect incoming infrared and cause cooling.
Whether the positive feedback or the negative feedback win out is a complex issue that cannot be addressed so naively as "CO2 is a greenhouse gas and causes warming". It is quite likely that the negative feedback works like a thermostat and keeps the temperature relatively stable.
Note that NONE of the computer models so often quoted has a mechanism for cloud formation, not one. This in itself is an astonishing fact, given the absolute certainty with which their proponents declare our future climate.
The article on the dissenting scientists misses a couple of important points. First, scientific truth is determined by evidence and logic, not by nose counts. But even considering numbers, the American Physical Society (of which I am a Life Member) has 50,000 members. Membership is not subject to any qualifying exam, nor (unlike religions or political parties) are dissenting members subject ot expulsion. I believe the other named societies are similar in this regard. Thus it's to be expected that there will be a few contrarians. incompetents, and members with conflicting affiliations within such organizations.
Second, the case for anthropogenic climate change is not based solely, nor even mainly, on weather records. It is predictable from well established physics and chemistry. We know the optical properties of CO2 and how it contributes to a "greenhouse effect." We also can plot the trend in CO2 concentration over a long historical period. This is from direct measurements in the last 50-100 years, and from ice core samples before that. (The two agree closely over the period where both are available.) The amount of extra CO2 corresponds to our consumption of fossil fuels since the industrial revolution began (correcting for that absorbed in known sinks). And isotopic analysis shows that the added CO2 is of fossil fuel origin.
As for the "natural" climate changes (Milankovich cycles) these take place over millenia, not decades, and according to the Milankovich theory we should be in a cooling phase now.
Permit a little analogy. If a kid is batting baseballs at the side of a house, one can predict from the scatter of trajectories and the kinetic energy of the ball that sooner or later he will break a window, even if he has not yet done so.
The legitimate debate in the scientific community is in the details of exactly how the effects of increased atmospheric heating will be manifested. (Which window will break and where will the pieces fall?)
We can think of the atmosphere as a heat engine (or an ensemble of engines), using temperature differences to perform work (wind, the water cycle, and other weather). Adding more heat the the "boiler" will make the engine work harder. This is likely to show up as intensified weather phenomena as well as a general temperature rise. If we wait until the catastrophe has already manifested itself to the satisfaction of the most die-hard deniers, it will be much to late to take any effective action.
So you are willing to follow with blind faith what your fav TV show says instead of finding out what the basis for these claims are just because there are only 16 of them? Doesn't really make you any different or more right than they are.
Mt. Pinatubo has been putting out greenhouse gasses over the last 20 years which total more than the total of all human emmission in recorded history. The recent eruptions in Iceland have emmitted enough CO2 to negate all "human" CO2 reductions over the last 4 years. The climate on this planet is changing and humans are extremely arrogant to think that their puny input into the system is driving the entire system. The planet climate changed before we were here, and it will keep changing after we are gone. The "climate change" program is nothing more than a way for left leaning politicals to get control of money and power.
I am not advocating a return to no pollution controls, but we need to use common sense.
Any time a so-called scientist cites a theory as 'fact', I need to take issue.
I remember a lot of the pseudo-scientific alarmist climate theories... from the no-atmosphere in the model 'nuclear winter', to global warming to global cooling and back again. In order to bring the alarmists together, who couldn't get their scary theories straight, 'climate change' was invented! What ever happened to the earth-killing ozone hole over the Antartic? Weren't we all supposed to be dead by now because of the 'incontrovertible' danger of this cataclysmic event?
Unfortunately, my experience has been that there are few real 'scientists' left... Science is based upon criticism and skepticism. I left my pursuit of Physics (with a special intersest in astrophysics/cosmology), not from a loss of interest, but because of the narrow-minded political focus of academia... and little better can be said of so-called 'private' research facilities, too. Everyone needs to make a buck, feed their families, pay off their student loans, and, unfortunately, we sell our skills for a price unless we're independently wealthy. Academics sells their skills usually for government or private grants, publications, and occasional media interest in the form of books, movies/video, consulting, etc. There is a major bias going on, and don't let anyone fool you into thinking there's not. The true scientific method really doesn't accept 'laws', it accepts theories that haven't been disproven yet. The 'climate change' that I am most concerned about is the 'climate' of the scientific community... namely the notion that the theory is 'fact', that this issue is not open to discussion and reasonable debate... they feel the matter's been settled and any dissenters are foolish, misguided, and not to be trusted. Hardly a climate suitable for scientific progress.
A great deal of money has been funnelled into the so-called 'green' industries... many of the industries focus upon renewable energy, such as solar, hydro, wind, etc. Many of the heavy metals used for photovoltaic cells are plentiful from Chinese mines, but not so much in the West. Just track the money, and I'm sure that 'sound, scientific' opinion will soon follow... but don't worry, there are those will will jump on the bandwagon just to 'fit-in' and be accepted by their peers.
Many of us accept that there may be global warming... but many of us aren't convinced that it's anthropogenic. Notable scientists from CERN noted a few months ago that the verdict was still out... that they felt that the huge fusion reactor only 93m miles from us, called our sun, was a major factor in 'climate change'... the sun goes through cycles of cooling off and heating... the solar spots recently leading to CME (coronal mass ejections/emissions) have had some minor inconveniences for satellites and communications, but these were from CMEs on the far side of the sun. Several cycles of solar activity will soon coincide, or super-impose, which prove to be very interesting... some are predicting a solar storm that hasn't been seen in 50+ years. Additionally, there's the question of geogenic contributions to global warming... what about greenhouse gases emitted from the Earth itself? I've read claims that humanity puts out X times the amount Y greenhouse gas than all of nature combined... really? Where's the data? How much greenhouse gas was emitted by active volcanoes? I've looked at USGS data, and I can only find sampling stations... yet this is a qualitative analysis, not a quantitative... yes, estimates could be made on fluid flow using CFD, but GIGO... if there's estimates, that's all they are... estimates, and my guess, SWAGs. Additionally, let's discuss other potential sources of emissions from the planet... geothermal vents, caves, springs, fissures from geologic shifting... and we're just talking about the those on the landmasses... think about marine sources as well. Let's also think about the biomass of the planet.... from oceanic algae to forestation... while in several third world countries we are cutting down trees for lumber, biofuel, etc. in the U.S. forestation has drastically increased since we not struggle to stop forest fires whether they are natural or man-made in origin. Additionally, let's consider the gravity merry-go-round our planet is riding at any given moment... Sometimes I think it is a miracle that our little planet has managed not to be flung into space or spiral into the sun by a passing massive body or be destroyed by an earth-killer, much like the one thought to be responsible for the moon. Variations in our orbital path could cause significant changes, as well as changes in both our magnetic poles and axis of rotation, which are also slowly changing.
I suspect that much of the AGW argument is based on a fear of humanity's 'power' to change the world... but geologic history has shown that the Earth has had cycles of ice ages and warm spells without human intervention. While I think humanty has a great ability to harm and destroy our own ecosystem on this rock, I suspect that our efforts to significantly terraform our own planet, apart from nuclear warfare, may be greatly exaggerated. I think blamining humanity may be a lazy cop-out... it may be true, and I'm open to it, but I'm not convinced yet, especially given the frenzied response to discredit, silence, and persecute dissenting opinion. Statistical cherry-picking and massaging of data has been seen, so, if the data is so incontrovertible, let's make it publically available for EVERYONE to look at... if it's so damning of us, can we see the data and statistical methods used, the research conducted, who's funding the research, and what's their stakes in it? I'd rather not take the word of some government-grant lackey spouting off in a journal next week just because he or she determines that oxygen and pure water are now categorized as 'pollutants' and we need to tax them to death, and the whole community agrees... I've read enough scientific journals to know that scientists typically guard their data like it was their immortal soul (not that they believe that have one), afraid that someone else may 'steal' their information and reach different conclusions, or, *gasp*, refute their claims... 'peer' review, if honestly done, may be sufficient for those who trust in it, but if we are truly talking a danger to all humanity, let's see more than their 'findings' and see the information be available for all to see, including the skeptics and nay-sayers. It may be available... if so, please let us know where we can find the the 'incontrovertible', 'irrefutable', 'undeniable' all-encompassing collected mass of evidence demonstrating that that AGW, not natural forces, are significantly and primarily responsible for life-endangering changes in climate... if we can see it, let us see the truth (and any nay-saying evidence as well) and let us become believers too...
My concern is that there is way too much money to be gained or lost based on the "truth" about this subject. People who believe manMade global warming is real are "alarmists" and those who do not believe are "deniers". To state an opinion brings horrific ridicule from people whose background includes reading 9 blog entries. For me, I see people with far more context-knowledge falling on both sides of this argument. Unless one truly combs through all of the data, all of the dis-proven data, and questions every piece of "evidence" ... it is horrifically narcissistic to believe that all folks on one side or the other of this argument are "in it for the money" and that all the folks on the other side are people of integrity searching for truth. There is too much money, too much passion, and too much politics involved. Science has lost this battle ... if a finding that made one argument or the other "incontrovertibly true" (unlikely to happen) occurred, the louder folks on the other side would attack it and ignore it (attacking can be healthy if done scientifically ... but we're way beyond that). It is a huge impact on science, but it will be a political/opinion-based impact, and not a scientific one.
Cassiopeia; After reading some posts earlier and later than yours, you seem to have the most complete and reasoned content. What I especially liked about your post was looking at who was funding the opinion. I have read articles 'disproving' human-caused global warming. I always look to see who the authors have been sponsored by. The skeptics always seem to be funded by the fossil fuels industry. While I can't prove that the 97% opinion is not sponsored by an 'interest group', I can be skeptical that the 3% opinion aligns with their sponsors' best interests.
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