The Rightful Place of Science: Disasters & Climate Change is the latest book by Roger Pielke, Jr., noted political scientist and professor in the Environmental Studies Program and a Fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES). In it he addresses the controversial subject of whether natural disasters are becoming more frequent and more fearsome due to manmade climate change. This short volume is an excellent summary of his work in this area and a reference that anyone serious about climate change should have on their shelf. After receiving an advance copy of the work, here is my review.
Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works, famous for creating, among other things, the U-2 & SR-71 spy planes and the F-117 stealth fighter, shocked the world of physics research by announcing that they are going to build a compact fusion reactor. The proposed compact fusion reactor (CFR) is conceptually safer, cleaner and more powerful than much larger, current nuclear systems that rely on fission. Governments and industry have poured billions of dollars into fusion research for half a century with little success. Can Lockheed's vaunted engineers succeed where armies of PhDs have failed? If so, the arguments over energy, the environment and de-industrialization are over—or are they?
To honor the overly excitable greens and mental dullards participating in this weekend's People's Climate March, we are going to give away The Resilient Earth ebook for Kindle. That's right, instead of spending a lot of time and effort (not to mention emitting a lot of CO2) you can stay in the comfort of your own home and read about the real science behind climate change. You can purchase your own copy of this science classic for absolutely nothing between 9/20/2014 and 9/22/2014. This entertaining, easy to read book contains color illustrations and hundreds of references, all of which will give you the facts regarding climate science and the global warming scare.
You may be aware of a movement of conspiracy theorists labeled 9/11 truthers. These benighted souls refuse to believe that al-Qaeda terrorists intentionally crashed airplanes into the World Trade Center, killing thousands of innocent people. Instead they blame the government or other shady characters. Their beliefs are not important but the mindset exhibited by the truthers is. You see, they will not stand for any debunking of their theories or even doubts about their beliefs. In this way they are a reflection of the mindset that infects believers in anthropogenic global warming (AGW). Climate change true believers also will brook no descent nor tolerate any deviation from their conviction that humanity is destroying Earth's climate through CO2 emissions. Obsession, irrational thought and religious adherence to unsubstantiated theories are not limited to political conspiracy nuts.
It is no secret that there is much misinformation bandied about regarding climate change and the related subject of green energy. Half-truths and lies are spread by advocates on both sides of the debate, most often via the Internet. Recently, climate alarmists trumpeted a report claiming that 23% of the world's energy was now being supplied by renewable sources, clearly an attempt to bolster the claims of the wind and solar industry. At the same time, a report appeared that powering a car via electricity is 10 times less efficient than via fossil fuel. These are only two of the bogus, misleading reports to surface recently, promoted by both warmists and skeptics. Sadly, the public is caught in the middle without the scientific or technical background to judge the truth of such pronouncements.
Marine and terrestrial proxy records suggest that there was a peak in global warming between 10,000 and 6,000 years ago, following the end of the last glacial period. Since the Holocene Thermal Maximum, Earth has undergone global cooling. The physical mechanism responsible for this global cooling has remained unknown and doesn't fit in with the current CO2 based climate models. Those climate models generate a robust global annual mean warming throughout the Holocene, mainly in response to rising CO2 levels and albedo changes due to retreating of ice sheets. In other words, the models disagree with reality, and when models disagree with nature the models have a credibility gap. A new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) says this model-data inconsistency indicates a critical reexamination of both proxy data and models is called for.
One of the sad side effects of the global warming climate scam is the way otherwise fairly intelligent people have been snookered into believing the dumbest things. An example in point: in a world where millions die each year due to malnutrition, US Secretary John Kerry lectured African leaders attending a summit in Washington that creating more farms in Africa causes too much carbon pollution. Can you imagine the response of any national leader, being told he must let his people starve because a bunch of rich nation, ivory tower science boffins have this unproven, wild idea that CO2 might cause the world to warm by a degree or two a hundred years from now? This is the type of imbecility that comes from following a pernicious untruth down a rabbit hole of false assumptions. Yet around the globe people seem defenseless against the infectious ignorance that is climate alarmism.
Back at the beginning of Earth's existence there was a time known as the Hadean Eon—Hadean as in Hades, or hell. The history of the Hadean Earth (~4.0–4.5 billion years ago) is poorly understood because rocks from that time have not survived. The oldest known rocks are little older than ~3.8 billion years. A new paper in the journal Nature attempts to shed some new light on the least known part of Earth's distant past. Researchers have long speculated about the conditions on Earth in the first 500 million years after the planet's formation, some 4.5 billion years ago. The researchers report that, according to their model, the early Earth is likely to have been hit by up to four asteroids, each capable of snuffing out fledgling life and completely resurfacing the planet.
In 2013 a group of climate researchers published a study using statistics and the output of the latest crop of climate models. Their purpose was to show when surface temperatures could be expected to permanently depart from previous historical ranges. Such an event is called an expulsion. Camilo Mora et al. presented precise projections for when these unprecedented regional climates would emerge. Now a second group of researchers argue that their methodology produces artificially early dates at which specific regions will permanently experience unprecedented climates and artificially low uncertainty in those dates everywhere. This is an example of what happens when untrustworthy model outputs are combined with specious statistical methods. The resulting predictions are scary enough to be published in a major journal, but so false that even other climate scientists are moved to protest.
One of the greatest failures of climate science has been the dismal performance of general circulation models (GCM) to accurately predict Earth's future climate. For more than three decades huge predictive models, run on the biggest supercomputers available, have labored mighty and turned out garbage. Their most obvious failure was missing the now almost eighteen year “hiatus,” the pause in temperature rise that has confounded climate alarmists and serious scientists alike. So poor has been the models' performance that some climate scientists are calling for them to be torn down and built anew, this time using different principles. They want to adopt stochastic methods—so called Monte Carlo simulations based on probabilities and randomness—in place of today’s physics based models.
Hoards of non-scientists have been making a career out of pushing “settled science,” particularly when it come to climate change, the eco-socialists' favorite excuse for dismantling the world's existing economic and industrial base. Unlike the notoriously squishy science of climate change, physics is viewed as being mature and on a more solid foundation, at least by those who are physicists. Given the recent furor caused by the IPCC and NCA reports, plus the US EPA's ham handed attempt to institute CO2 Cap & Trade without the agreement of Congress, it is instructional for scientific outsiders to review recent events in both fields. Read on, believers in the myth of settled science and those who think scientific questions are resolved by consensus.
News media around the world have been all abuzz, with headlines declaring “Irreversible collapse of Antarctic glaciers has begun” and “West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapse is under way.” The “rapid” collapse threatens to cause sea level change of 4 to 13 feet. Calamity will surely follow. “Collapse will change the coastline of the whole world” shrieked the UK's Guardian, always a good source for mindless rumor mongering. What they are referring to are a pair of new reports that say the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) has pushed its way over a submerged ridge that had been impeding its forward progress, causing the ice sheet to become unstuck from the sea floor. The WAIS is now flowing more freely, and hence more rapidly, into the sea. What the alarmist headlines don't say is that any impacts from this change are centuries to millennia in the future.
The science is settled, the President of the United States assures us. His pet scientists have produced yet another frightening climate report to prove it. Given this President's tenuous relationship with the truth on other matters, a citizen might pause to ask if the claim of settled science is, in fact, true. In the recent past scientific papers have discovered some “unexpected” phenomena that help to regulate climate. In fact, one of the climate change faithful proposed a mechanism affecting the jet stream that could be responsible for this winter's unexpected weather in the northern hemisphere. Only problem, a number of climate alarmist luminaries have dissented from her idea. Remember the consensus that was supposed to shut down all opposing opinions? Never mind. Another study shows statistically that there is no way to establish a human caused warming trend without another 100 years of observation. Of course, if you believe the climate catastrophists the world as we know it will have vanished by then. So is climate science really settled? Here are just some of the most recent indications that it is not.
The state of Arkansas, in the south central portion of the United States, was struck last night by a number of storms that spawned deadly and destructive tornadoes. One of these tornadoes was a half mile wide at its base and reportedly stayed on the ground for eighty miles. The towns of Mayflower and Vilonia were particularly hard hit and the death toll currently stands at 16. Emergency officials and rescue crews are still searching for survivors. In the face of such a natural calamity people ask questions such as “could we have been more prepared” and “how can we help the victims.” Equally predictable in these times, a number of green pinheads have implied that this natural disaster was caused by global warming, and that we only have ourselves to blame. This is simply not true.
It is Earth Day today, a chance for all tree huggers, green activists and other self absorbed eco-types to feel good about themselves by disparaging their neighbors. There was a time when environmental issues were rightfully at the top of people's concerns—the skies above our cities were brown and noxious, our rivers and streams poisoned with pollution, lead was accumulating in the environment and our children. The problem is, though most major problems have been addressed, the bureaucracy that was created to fix the environment cannot help but look for new problems that demand solutions, even if the problems are slight and the solutions draconian. Chief among these new problems is “carbon pollution” by which the eco-enforcers mean CO2 emissions. The tragedy of Earth Day is that governments spend billions of dollars on meaningless efforts to curb carbon dioxide while billions live in poverty and squaller around the world.