Why are we arguing about climate change?

Image courtesy of Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Image courtesy of Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The first I ever heard about global warming was 1968 when it was mentioned by my school teacher at the time. A billion things have been mentioned since and I have listened to both sides of the argument and whether it is caused by A, B or C.

But today I read something that is the most profound of all the arguments:

The overwhelming consensus among climate scientists is that human-caused climate change is happening. Yet a fringe minority of our populace clings to an irrational rejection of well-established science. This virulent strain of anti-science infects the halls of Congress, the pages of leading newspapers and what we see on TV, leading to the appearance of a debate where none should exist.

Bingo. Got it in one.

The rest of the article isn’t bad either. ;-)

44 comments on “Why are we arguing about climate change?

  1. Yep, the sea ice, that is growing, while the land ice is disappearing. Never seen any evidence of lower temperatures in the region, bringing it about. All it took was for the wind to change, blowing the ice out of the bay, to allow the ship to sail on.

  2. Right from the get go there has been an organised, concerted opposition to the concept of climate change with commerce controlling the engine room and strangely, a complicit Catholic Church which has now reluctantly changed sides but which still believes that God is in control and we need not worry.

  3. Yes, Voyager, we can see what you’re trying to do there you Climate Change denying moron, but in fact you’re hoist upon your own petard. That scientific expedition was in fact caught in land based ice which had melted & ended up in the ocean, then re-frozen. This is a fact that you would have known if you’d actually listened to the SCIENTISTS, instead of getting your “facts” from NewsCorpse morons. Pass the Kool Aid, Voyager, you imbecile.

  4. Yes, Fed Up, if we give idiots like Voyager enough scientific facts, then maybe his head will explode. That’s a win in my books. Why don’t you piss off back to Menzies House where you belong, Voyager? Given what an ignorant sheep you are though, I suspect that Bernardi might get the wrong idea & try to root you.

  5. ….and whilst Australia burns, where is our intrepid PM, the guy who-as opposition leader-was absolutely everywhere? Oh, that’s right, he’s nowhere to be found. Bloody useless, overpaid tit.

  6. Wonder why he took off to Switzerland so early?

    Not a word about the fires. Still, those in the Blue Mountains are still waiting for a visit.

  7. Anthropogenic Global Warming is a fact but I think there is a great deal of uncertainty as to whether this will lead to catastrophic warming.

    Below is the abstract from;
    Pennell & Reichler, Journal of Climate vol.24, 2010

    They find that;
    ‘The results suggest that current methodologies for the interpretation of multimodel ensembles may lead to overly confident climate predictions.’

    Recently models provide scenarios that support CAGW have been running to ‘hot’ and now support lower climate sensitivities although they still believe that warming will be catastrophic but over a longer timescale. On the other hand models with lower sensitivity may well be presenting a more accurate scenario.

    Abstract
    Projections of future climate change are increasingly based on the output of many different models.
    Typically, the mean over all model simulations is considered as the optimal prediction, with the underlying assumption that different models provide statistically independent information evenly distributed around the true state. However, there is reason to believe that this is not the best assumption. Coupled models are of comparable complexity and are constructed in similar ways. Some models share parts of the same code and some models are even developed at the same center. Therefore, the limitations of these models tend to be fairly similar, contributing to the well-known problem of common model biases and possibly to an unrealistically small spread in the outcomes of model predictions.

    This study attempts to quantify the extent of this problem by asking how many models there effectively are and how to best determine this number.Quantifying the effective number of models is achieved by evaluating 24 state-of-the-art models and their ability to simulate broad aspects of twentieth-century climate. Using two different approaches, the amount of unique information in the ensemble is calculated and the effective ensemble size is found to be much smaller than the actual number of models. As more models are included in an ensemble, the amount of new information diminishes in proportion. Furthermore, this reduction is found to go beyond the problem of ‘‘same center’’ models and systemic similarities are seen to exist across all models. The results suggest that current methodologies for the interpretation of multimodel ensembles may lead to overly
    confident climate predictions.

  8. I’ve just about had enough of “people” like Voyager-BS, I’ve travelled to, and worked in, Antarctica twice, for periods of 11 to 14 months, including a 7 week voyage on the Aurora Australis to all Australian bases and there are numerous ways for a ship to become ice bound for a number of days/weeks and none of them disprove AGW. And in fact, as Marcus points out some of those methods are being exacerbated by AGW. Something as simple as a wind direction change can lock a ship in for days until help or another prevailing wind change comes along. Unfortunately, it will take something more substantial to change the “simple” minds of Voyager-BS and his fellow Merde-ochian/IPA travellers.

  9. Bloody oath you can see that Federal & State by elections are going to be held in Queensland, both LNP parties have gone on a self interest promotional TV and radio blitz, with the Media as their talking-up PR machine, while at the same time they are denigrating the ALP at every opportunity they can, once again you can see that Multinationals Businesses are the Bosses of the LNP.

  10. SSJ, what is in it for Voyager? *snicker* He thinks he’s going to be wealthy and he has to support those who will allow and support his ruthless means to achieve it at others expense. LOL
    That is why he is our Village Idiot.
    The thing about the Prime Miniature missing that is frightening for me is the fact he could be squirreled away somewhere signing us all over into Slavery to Multinational Corporations. I know I’d like him tied to the Flag Pole of Parliament House where we can keep a good eye on what he does. Best thing with that, he can enjoy his warming World which is being assisted by his “friends” and enjoy his spoils of it.

  11. Not a word about the fires

    Actually, I heard that he said they are just a normal summer experience, or wtte. I’m sure those in the Grampians are thankful their PM is advising them to HTFU, and ignoring the fact that our warming atmosphere is increase both the regularity and intensity of these events.

    Shit Happens.

  12. In a universe that is 13.7 billion years old, our fragile and unique 4.6 billion year old earth gravitationally floats through space as a quiet speck of galaxial improbability.
    The fossil record shows that more than ninety-nine percent of all the species that have ever lived on this planet have become extinct, with the vast majority having met this fate through five major and separate episodes of annihilation. Our coal, oil and gas deposits were formed from the resultant dead bodies of plants and animals that met this fate. The last and perhaps best known episode was 65 million years ago, when the dinosaurs and countless other species perished forever.
    The cause of these five cataclysms? Climate change; a warmed planet.
    The evidence shows that all of these catastrophes were precipitated by chance volcanic eruptions of lava or, in the case of the dinosaurs, a meteorite strike, in geologic formations where massive coal deposits ignited and burned and/or carbonate minerals such as limestone were decomposed by the resultant heat.
    Both processes caused a massive release of carbon dioxide, resulting in destructive global warming. The acidified oceans became a warm, anoxic soup of anaerobic bacteria whose toxic, gaseous emissions also poisoned the atmosphere, and hence land creatures as well.
    If the all-consuming, economically-obsessed, plague species that we humans have allowed ourselves to become, continue to release carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by burning fossil fuels, decomposing carbonates to make cement for concrete, allowing methane clathrates to melt, and interfering with Earth’s natural nitrogen cycle at accelerating rates, the consequences are as equally predictable as the previous major extinctions. The inertia for the certain continuation of the already-documented warming and acidification process over the past century, is provided by the simple fact of the known fifty year atmospheric half-life of carbon dioxide, and, as it dissolves, the resultant, predictable acidification of the world’s oceans.
    It’s ironic that some of the most crucial and elusive evidence that has allowed science to painstakingly piece together the complex, interrelated palaeobiological, geochemical, atmospheric and climate history of earth has been discovered by big fossil fuel companies, in their quest for indicators of likely new deposits.
    These and other recent studies show us that the warming process won’t be uniform across the globe. Some areas in the Northern Hemisphere will get colder, and the Southern Hemisphere hotter, as evidence proves happened in the past when the last ice age was in retreat seventeen thousand years ago. The already-changed, meandering and lingering pattern of the lower winds in the stratosphere causing unusual blizzards, storms, coastal storm surges, flooding rains and droughts, the southern shift of the climate equator and resultant shift south of the high pressure systems and their westerly Southern Ocean winds, and the recorded thirty-percent slowing of the Atlantic conveyor current over the past fifty years are evidence of global climate history of the previous twenty thousand years repeating itself. The difference this time though is that carbon dioxide levels have increased further and faster, and without action, possibly will reach an uncontrollable tipping point with predictable consequences.
    Here’s one example: If a thermometer is wrapped in a wet cloth and suspended in warm air, the reading rises to a point of equilibrium and stops. That is, the thermometer rises due to the heat of the surrounding air, but that same heat from the air causes the water in the cloth to evaporate, thus cooling the thermometer bulb in the same way that sweat cools our bodies. The equilibrium point is dependent on how high the temperature of the air is, and the amount of water vapour (humidity) in the air. More humidity slows evaporation rate and thus the quantum of the cooling effect. The highest stabilised reading for the hottest, most humid places currently on Earth is 31 degrees Celsius. If this wet-bulb temperature gets to 35 degrees, humans and other animals and plants die from heat stress. The increased temperatures and resulting, automatic increases in humidity that are within the scope of current climate change predictions mean that large parts of Australia will be uninhabitable. Before we get to the lethal stage though much outdoor work, sport and leisure activity will be curtailed. This isn’t speculation, it’s just simple, junior grade physics and biology.
    Even without climate change, our Sun will eventually consume its thermonuclear fuel, swelling into a red giant star that engulfs Earth in about 3 billion years time, when the last life on Earth will perish. For the last billion years before that, the only living things will be single-celled organisms drifting in isolated pools of hot, salty water.
    Runaway climate change will simply bring the timing of this biological extinction forward by nearly 3 billion years.
    So, if the ignorant, the apathetic, and the greedy, (including the anthropogenic climate-change deniers in the Coalition) have their way, (business as usual), the meek shall not inherit the earth.
    Bacteria once again, will; but the Great Barrier Reef, tourism jobs, precious farmlands, coastal real estate and comfortable lifestyles will be gone long before then.
    Arguments about modelling are simply a distraction from the need for governments and individuals to act.

  13. Talking about elections in Queensland. I see Bill Shortens first press conference on ABC24, got cut off about a minute and a half into it. This seems to be happening to opposition M.P.’s with monotonous regularity of late. It never seems to happen to members of the government when giving media stops. Not only now biased as a pommy wind jammer in a hurricane, but blatant censorship.

  14. I see Bill Shortens first press conference on ABC24, got cut off about a minute and a half into it. This seems to be happening to opposition M.P.’s with monotonous regularity of late.

    This happened with regularity to the previous Government, whilst they managed to get all of those remote vested talking points from the then opposition without any hassle

    Not that I am implying anything there ;)

    Bill Shorten got cut of on the weekend for them to switch to morriscum telling them nothing. Go figure

  15. Meanwhile, the more we learn about the climate, the worst it looks

    The world’s most devastating global weather phenomenon – the weather events associated with “El Niño” – will double in frequency to once a decade if global warming remains unchecked, according to what scientists believe is a major step forward in the understanding of such events.

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jan/19/unchecked-global-warming-double-el-nino-weather?CMP=twt_gu

  16. Thanks for the article. Very interesting. Below is a link to another interesting read explaining why we are arguing about climate change. It layouts how the American neo feudal oil barons, the Koch brothers, are funding climate change denial, inaction on climate change and hindering renewable energy implementation. The Koch brothers company, Freedom Industries, are responsible for the recent disastrous chemical spill that has poisoned the water in West Virginia leaving 300 thousand people without water.

    The Koch brothers have links to Australia. “The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) received funding from Koch foundation grants between 1997 and 2005 totalling $471,420. This organisation has been intent on developing the campaign against climate science in Australia. In August 1997, the CEI and the Frontiers of Freedom front group sponsored a conference in Canberra, with the Australian and New Zealand Chambers of Commerce and the Western Mining Corporation (WMC) in attendance”….”The CEI were prominent in getting climate scepticism off the ground in Australia led by Western Mining Corporation, Chambers of Commerce, and prominent politicians in the Liberal and National Parties:”

    Although a fringe minority they are extremely politically powerful. They have ‘bought’ Congress and have ‘bought’ the LNP in Australia…and of course aided by the Murdoch cult to disseminate their denial.

    http://indymedia.org.au/2010/04/02/exposing-koch-industries-web-of-climate-denial

  17. Same-Same, this from the late 90’s…. :(
    “Perhaps nowhere has the fossil fuel industry been more successful than in Australia, where the government has presented industry lobby interests as synonymous with the national interest. The green stance of the public has been systematically eroded through a well-orchestrated campaign to portray global warming as little more than a theory that scientists can’t agree on. Their strategy was aimed at crippling the impetus for government action to solve these problems because such action might adversely affect corporate profits.

    Australian politicians have linked with US industry and US senators. In August, the Frontiers of Freedom Institute, a conservative, corporate-funded US think-tank, organised a conference in Canberra in conjunction with the Australian APEC Study Centre. According to Australian newspapers, its aim was to `bolster support’ for the government’s increasingly isolated position on global warming……”
    http://www.uow.edu.au/~sharonb/Guardian.html

  18. “….To communicate the sheer amount of heat our planet is accumulating, we have created this widget, embeddable on blogs and also available as a Facebook app, an iPad app, and an iPhone app. To help get the word out on just how much global warming our planet is experiencing, add the widget to your own blog or use the widget on Facebook, like it and share it…”
    http://4hiroshimas.com/

  19. @lovo

    There is some conjecture on the amount of heat being accumulated in the system.

    According to Kevin Trembath heat is accumulating in the ocean depths but Josh Willis who is responsible for the argo floats says this is not possible as the argo floats would have detected the heat as it travelled through the upper layers of the ocean. Willis is project leader the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Cal Tech who are responsible for this system.

    There are 3,000 floats distributed through the worlds oceans that travel for 9 days at a depth of 1,000 meters then surface on the 10th day to transmit their data. Willis say that the argos can detect a temperature change with an error of 0.004°C per year in the top 1,800 metres of the ocean.

    If the heat is not accumulating in the ocean this has implications for climate sensitivity of the general circulation models.

  20. “If the heat is not accumulating in the ocean this has implications for climate sensitivity of the general circulation models.”

    Abject bollocks. More denialist clap trap.

  21. @phil

    A scientist with an extensive publication history in eminent science journals, a presidential science award and he has jointly authored a paper with James Hansen. Denialist clap trap indeed

    Joshua Willis
    Project Scientist – Jason-3
    Education

    B.S., Physics & Mathematics, University of Houston, Honors College, Houston, Texas (1996)
    M.S., Physics, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California (1998)
    Ph.D., Oceanography, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California (2004)

    Awards
    AGU Ocean Sciences Early Career Award (2011)
    Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (2009)
    Lew Allen Award for Excellence (2009)

  22. @phil
    I don’t put much faith in media reports but in the Guardian article I note that Judith Curry was a dissenting voice.

    The argo dataset is the standard for ocean temperatures, no other datasets are used so I will go with the science unless you can provide me with compelling evidence to do otherwise.

    In the IPPC AR4 report of 2007 the rate of warming was reported .2C per decade. In the pre-release of AR5 the rate of warming is now at .12C per decade. At the upper end of the scale on general circulation models this was forecast at .25C to .30C. One would think this was good news and might lead to a rethink of climate sensitivity in the GCM’s but, no, we are told that it merely delays CAGW.

  23. allenmcmahon

    The papers you quote, while interesting, are nonetheless four, or more, years old, You may wish to consider a review of a more contemporary scientific paper with Kevin Trenberth as a joint author.

    I know this is an example of confirmation bias. OTOH it should be expected that apparent discrepancies will attract attention and further scientific research. Equally, it seemed to me reasonable to suppose that increased evaporation through cloud formation would have a cooling effect, but apparently that is not the way it works.

    My question would be, why does not the Federal Government listen to scientific advice and act is well established?

  24. If what you global warming extremists say is true, then why is it that globally, waterfront rel estate continues to surpass previous prices year in, year out, except perhaps in a few locations of those European countries still reeling from the GFC? Why is waterfront property in so much demand if it’s about the be swallowed up by the seas as a result of global warming? Why are developers still producing canal estates across the planet? Why does your messiah Tim Flannery live on the waterfront? Why did your past leaders spend $2.2m on a beach side bungalow in SA and $3m in Noosa? It’s pretty obvious who are the gullible ones in this debate. If you are that gullible, those of you here who live in low lying coastal areas had better sell up and head for the hills if you are that determined about global warming.

  25. According to Kevin Trembath heat is accumulating in the ocean depths but Josh Willis who is responsible for the argo floats says this is not possible as the argo floats would have detected the heat as it travelled through the upper layers of the ocean. Willis is project leader the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Cal Tech who are responsible for this system.

    When you’re a hammer everything looks like a nail. I wonder if Willis really said this. ENSO is his breakfast cereal. Maybe Allen could give us a link.

    The First Law of Themodynamics sends greetings

  26. Despite a comprehensive ongoing education in science, both formal and informal, and despite having a work history involving experimental, as well as applied science(s), I confess to my ignorance of what must be a CRITICAL determinant of global climate effects – notably the inverse relationship between increasing coastal real estate prices in parts of Australia, and sea levels (and global climate trends), thankfully, I have been enlightened through the incisive contribution of the Don.
    Unlike the Don, however, I provide a link to my conclusions wrt to his expertise in making such comments such as that provided @7:21am

    HERE

    along with a brief quote.

    The Dunning-Kruger effect, named after David Dunning and Justin Kruger of Cornell University, occurs when incompetent people not only perform a task poorly or incompetently, but lack the competence to realize their own incompetence at a task and thus consider themselves much more competent than everyone else. Put more crudely, they’re too stupid to realize they’re stupid.

  27. @ wmmbb & Mangrove Jack
    A recent critique of the Trembath paper by Loeb and an email exchange between Pilkie and Willis re missing heat.

    http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2012/01/23/missing-ocean-heat-study-reported-on-by-climate-wire-response-from-josh-willis/

    The final sentence of the Willis email notes that a human caused signal is represented in data over a twelve to fifteen year time frame which is consistence with AGW is but the evidence is far from compelling regarding CAGW.

  28. @ yetanotherblindtroll

    I think I know who the stupid ones being duped are.

    (my emphasis)

    You quite obviously think you know, and also quite obviously DO NOT.
    Your belief is not supported by the facts of the matter. Placing your opinion before that of every major scientific organisation in the world, before that of the vast majority of the world’s climate scientists, betrays your wilful ignorance.

    That you fail to realise that
    Reality ALWAYS trumps ideology
    and further demonstrates the point of the post, rendering this exchange completed.

  29. Sorry Don, your point went south with your link. The Heartland Institute sponsored the research, is a right wing conservative think tank. Which incidentally is sponsored by the Koch brothers. Greenpeace has just run an expose on the Koch’s who are driving the dissemination of the information that is driving the denialist camp.

    Yes there are other theories backed by science. Where this occurs, you will nearly always find that the science is being sponsored by conservative think tanks and other vested interests that want to keep getting rich destroying the planet.

  30. Weird, isn’t it, how the trolls are so gullible to allow themselves to be fooled by obvious vested interest(s) and how they’re all significantly right-wing people. :eek: supposedly smart :roll: …not :razz:
    Right-wing = don’t want to change, don’t want to think, don’t want to give proper consideration to expertise that contradicts my comfortable world view.
    In short.. in denial.

  31. I wonder how high those homes, that worry Don so much are above sea level. Maybe they have the belief that the non believers will come to their senses. Even so, will be safe for a few years yet.

    Talk about red herrings that some raise.

    Well, we get the Abbott’s big speech tonight. Still doesn’t explain why he had to leave at dawn, Monday morning.

  32. Abbott and Co… the dumbest f/wits ever to infect govt. :roll:
    ” The Australian Government’s plans to dismantle the current climate legislation could lead to it increasing emissions in 2020 rather than meeting its target of reducing them by 5% from 2000 levels”…..” The proposed repeal will instead see a likely re-carbonisation of the power sector, the present machinery dismantled – and replaced by a climate policy that goes against the science.”

    http://climateactiontracker.org/news/144/Australian-climate-move-would-turn-climate-target-into-emissions-increase.html

    http://climateactiontracker.org/assets/publications/briefing_papers/CAT_Policy_brief_Australia_2013-11.pdf

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