The "Al Gore is fat" talking point is a perfect example. First of all, Gore is merely a politician who has seized on an issue that appeals to him. He is not a trained climate scientist so it isn't particularly important what he says on the subject. Discrediting Al Gore doesn't change the findings of the climate debate one iota. And commenting on his physical appearance really doesn't have anything to do with whether the planet is warming. In fact, it doesn't matter what anyone says on the subject—the planet keeps warming anyway.
The other talking point the deniers like to bring up is that because many of the early predictions of the climate science community has been wrong, their science is also wrong. Again, this point is irrelevant to the question of whether the planet is warming. We can measure the warming and so we know that energy is being added to the atmosphere. What this actually means is another subject and it is the speculation on this topic that has any controversy attached to it at all.
Fortunately, it has been a bad year for deniers. And as the evidence becomes more undeniable, it will get worse. Unfortunately, scoring debating points with fools is time wasted that could be spent addressing serious problems. Even worse, once the crude climate deniers have been vanquished we still must deal with the moneychangers who are already telling us we are so deeply in debt, we cannot possibly spend the funds necessary to make a meaningful dent in this building catastrophe.
Huge Blow to Science Deniers: Koch Funded Researchers Confirm Global Warming
The report is purely an estimate of planetary warming, and it makes no estimate of how much this warming is due to human activity, which is another issue for deniers. Kevin Drum October 25, 2011
Physicists are notorious for believing that other scientists are mathematically incompetent. And University of California-Berkeley physicist Richard Muller is notorious for believing that conventional wisdom is often wrong. For example, the conventional wisdom about climate change. Muller has criticized Al Gore in the past as an "exaggerator," has spoken warmly of climate skeptic Anthony Watts, and has said that Steve McIntyre's famous takedown of the "hockey stick" climate graph made him "uncomfortable" with the paper the hockey stick was originally based on.
So in 2010 he started up the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project (BEST) to show the world how to do climate analysis right. Who better, after all? "Muller's views on climate have made him a darling of skeptics," said Scientific American, "and newly elected Republicans in the House of Representatives, who invited him to testify to the Committee on Science, Space and Technology about his preliminary results." The Koch Foundation, founded by the billionaire oil brothers who have been major funders of the climate-denial machine, gave BEST a $150,000 grant.
But Muller's congressional testimony last March didn't go according to plan. He told them a preliminary analysis suggested that the three main climate models in use today—each of which uses a different estimating technique, and each of which has potential flaws—are all pretty accurate:
Global temperatures have gone up considerably over the past century, and the increase has accelerated over the past few decades. Last week, BEST confirmed these results and others in its first set of published papers about land temperatures.(Ocean studies will come later.) Using a novel statistical methodology that incorporates more data than other climate models and requires less human judgment about how to handle it (summarized by the Economist here), the BEST team drew several conclusions:The report that carbon dioxide emissions jumped a whopping 6% last year has been mostly ignored by the domestic media but here is how it was covered in UK.
In the press release announcing the results, Muller said, "Our biggest surprise was that the new results agreed so closely with the warming values published previously by other teams in the US and the UK." In other words, climate scientists know what they're doing after all. more
- The earth is indeed getting warmer. Global average land temperatures have risen 0.91 degrees Celsius over the past 50 years. This is "on the high end of the existing range of reconstructions."
- The rate of increase on land is accelerating. Warming for the entire 20th century clocks in at 0.73 degrees C per century. But over the most recent 40 years, the globe has warmed at a rate of 2.76 degrees C per century.
- Warming has not abated since 1998. The rise in average temperature over the period 1998-2010 is 2.84 degrees C per century.
- The BEST data significantly reduces the uncertainty of the temperature reconstructions. Their estimate of the temperature increase over the past 50 years has an uncertainty of only 0.04 degrees C, compared to a reported uncertainty of 0.13 degrees C in the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.
- Although many of the temperature measuring stations around the world have large individual uncertainties, taken as a whole the data is quite reliable. The difference in reported averages between stations ranked "okay" and stations ranked "poor" is very small.
- The urban heat island effect—i.e., the theory that rising temperatures around cities might be corrupting the global data—is very small.
Greenhouse gases rise by record amount
Levels of greenhouse gases are higher than the worst case scenario outlined by climate experts just four years ago
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 3 November 2011
The global output of heat-trapping carbon dioxide has jumped by a record amount, according to the US department of energy, a sign of how feeble the world's efforts are at slowing man-made global warming.
The figures for 2010 mean that levels of greenhouse gases are higher than the worst case scenario outlined by climate experts just four years ago.
"The more we talk about the need to control emissions, the more they are growing," said John Reilly, the co-director of MIT's Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change.
The world pumped about 564m more tons (512m metric tons) of carbon into the air in 2010 than it did in 2009, an increase of 6%. That amount of extra pollution eclipses the individual emissions of all but three countries, China, the US and India, the world's top producers of greenhouse gases.
It is a "monster" increase that is unheard of, said Gregg Marland, a professor of geology at Appalachian State University, who has helped calculate department of energy figures in the past.
Extra pollution in China and the US account for more than half the increase in emissions last year, Marland said. moreAnd the account from Germany.
Rapid Spike in CO2 Emissions Shocks Researchers
By Gerald Traufetter and Christian Schwägerl
International attempts at climate regulation have failed on a number of levels. With CO2 emissions rising much more than predicted between 2009 and 2010, the goal of capping global warming at a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius now seems elusive. But political interest in changing course has waned.
When Germany's top climate researcher meets with politicians and average citizens these days, he now starts from the very beginning. Then he delivers a lecture on why the scientific community is so sure that climate change even exists. He speaks of a "purely physical" effect caused by concentrations of greenhouse gases in the earth's atmosphere that heat up the planet by a single degree Celsius. "What's more," says Jochem Marotzke, the head of the German Climate Consortium, "there is the affect of water vapor, which accounts for at least another degree."
Next Friday, Marotzke will travel to Berlin once again for a preparatory meeting at the Environment Ministry ahead of the next World Climate Conference in Durban, South Africa, at the end of November. He almost sounds as if his audience of politicians and ministers had never heard of climate change, as though thousands of them hadn't thronged together at more than a dozen World Climate Conferences over the last two decades.
Marotzke, also the director of the Hamburg-based Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, has no illusions about the current importance of climate policy. "The interest in Berlin and elsewhere has cooled off palpably," he says. The topic counts as one that doesn't necessarily need to be addressed, he adds, "because citizens are also turning away (and) no great pressure to act is placed on the politicians."
Still, the widespread indifference stands in disturbing contrast to the grim facts. According to the latest calculations of the US Department of Energy, CO2 emissions are rising sharply. Some 512 million more tons of greenhouse gases were emitted from smoke stacks, exhaust pipes and agricultural land.
"That means we're beyond the scenarios with which we're calculating the further warming of the earth," Marotzke says. "In light of these new figures, I can only hope that the feeling of fatigue evaporates."
The new numbers show the extent to which international climate policy has failed. At the first "Earth Summit" in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the concentration of the greenhouse gas CO2 was at 360 parts per million (ppm). In the 20 years since, it has risen to 390 ppm -- and there is no end in sight to the upward trend. Year after year, representatives from almost 200 countries negotiate over how much they'll have to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. These are mega-events, but the results remain meager. Expectations for the 17th World Climate Conference in Durban are among the lowest they've ever been.
Another setback threatens to further damage prospects at the upcoming conference. The current CO2-reduction agreement for the classic industrial countries expire at the end of 2012 with the end of the Kyoto Protocol's timeframe. But Russia, Canada and Japan have refused to agree to new requirements as long as China -- the world's largest producer of greenhouse gases -- and other developing nations aren't included. Under these circumstances, Durban could be a nail in the coffin for the Kyoto Protocol, the only binding set of rules for climate protection. more