The IPCC is working up to releasing pieces of its next climate report, starting in 2013. This has the world's climate scientists scrambling to get their latest work included in that dubious document. Foremost among those struggling for primacy of place are the computer modelers, those who study their own created worlds instead of the natural one around them. This report promises to be more contentious than the last one (AR4) in that the modelers have been racing to incorporate the effects of aerosols, soot and other airborne particulates that had previously been give scant attention. Early results suggest that aerosols have a much greater impact on regional climate than scientists had realized and that aerosols and clouds are providing some big surprises.
Resilient Earth coauthor, Dr. Doug L. Hoffman, has contributed a chapter to a new text book in GALE CENGAGE Learning's Opposing Viewpoints series entitled “Switching to Renewable Energy Is Prohibitively Expensive.” Based on his blog article, “The Cost Of Running The World On Renewable Power,” the published version provides a counterpoint to the views of green advocates also presented in the book. “I am really pleased to get this chance to present an opposing viewpoint to the standard line of green advocacy found in normal school textbooks,” said the author. “Illogical policies can only be countered with reason and, to be able to reason, students need to hear more than one side of an issue.”
A new Current Biology paper proposes that the accumulated output of dinosaur flatulence could have changed the global climate during the age of the dinosaurs. Insert dinosaur fart joke here. No, seriously, this is a real report in an actual scientific journal. It just happens to be on a subject that the news media could not resist blowing out of proportion on their best day. Given that much of the CO2 in Earth's atmosphere was emitted by some form of living creature this is a serious area for study by environmental scientists. So after giving the chattering media magpies some time to calm down, here is a more serious take on this heady topic.
It is accepted that the ancient Sun was considerably cooler than our local star is today, so much so that Earth a few billion years ago should have been a lifeless frozen ball. But scientists have also shown that the planet was not frozen—shallow seas warmer than any modern ocean abounded with microbial life. A recent study, detailed in the journal Nature, is a good example of the sometimes convoluted, even improbable reasoning is used to get a handle on earthly climates during eons long vanished. Using the fossilized impact dimples from rain drops that fell 2.7 billion years ago, researchers have calculated new limits on the density of Earth's atmosphere. This, in turn, has implications on the development of the ancient atmosphere and what role greenhouse gases may have played in warming the young Earth.
Not wanting to miss out on the global warming bonanza that is being used as an excuse for increased government spending in other agencies, US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has declared war on climate change. Panetta spoke at the annual reception for the Environmental Defense Fund at the Renwick Gallery in Washington D.C., on May 2, 2012. In his remarks, the Secretary thanked the organization for recognizing Defense Department efforts to make military bases and equipment more efficient and environmentally friendly. He also bemoaned rising fuel prices that are having an adverse affect on Pentagon operations in Afghanistan and elsewhere. “We now face a budget shortfall exceeding $3 billion because of higher-than-expected fuel costs this year,” he told the audience.
Carbon offsets, favored by PC Hollywood stars and green politicians alike, have been used by the rich and powerful as a way to make their energy wasting lifestyles appear to be OK from an ecological point of view. Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio have both used carbon offsets to greenwash their jet-setting travel on private aircraft. Airlines even offer the unwashed masses an opportunity to purchase carbon offsets before boarding a flight—you may not be able to fly like they stars but you can lie like the stars. Finally, a voice from the green ranks has spoken up to denounce carbon offsets for what they are: “carbon offsetting is without scientific legitimacy and is dangerously misleading.”
Just when it looked like the climate catastrophists had slunk back into well deserved academic obscurity, a new report in the journal Nature Geoscience has resurrected claims of Earth's impending climatic demise. A new computer climate study says to expect increases in temperature of up to 3°C by 2050, confirming or exceed predictions made by the IPCC reports. Can this model based report be considered any more accurate than previous attempts? Have modeling techniques suddenly improved? Or is this report's appearance in a major scientific journal the signal of a renewed round of scaremongering by eco-alarmists?
Hollywood actors, producers and directors are constantly at pains to prove that they are in some way socially relevant. It is not enough to make millions of dollars simply entertaining people, the oh so politically correct members of the Hollywood elite just cannot resist commenting on politics and the environment. When spouting off on talk shows like The View is not enough, these self appointed protectors of the unwashed masses often make entire feature films about topics that bother them—the fact that they know little about the underlying subjects is never a barrier to film making. Case in point, Matt Damon, best know for the trilogy of Bourne spy thrillers, has signed on to do “Promised Land,” a film that hopes to do for fracking what “The China Syndrome” did for the nuclear power industry.
The dire results of anthropogenic global warming have become passé. Treated by the news media and climate alarmists as established scientific fact, the IPCC's vision of a dystopian future, a world ravaged by global warming, is feed to our children in school, TV shows and Hollywood movies. What is never mentioned is that even the IPCC's predictions encompass several ranges of possible outcome, all predicated on a seemingly simple but mysterious factor called climate system sensitivity. A recent study, published in the journal Science, used spatially more complete paleoclimate data for the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) in an effort to improve previous estimates of climate sensitivity. The new results have not been widely reported in the news media because, according to the researchers, “these results imply a lower probability of imminent extreme climatic change than previously thought.”
One of the claims put forth by climate change alarmists is that Earth's glaciers are rapidly melting. This supposedly causes all sorts of problems, from rising sea levels to failing water supplies. A recent report in the journal Nature uses NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite to measure the loss of glacial ice around the globe. Analysis of the satellite data on Earth's changing gravity field delivers some unexpected results and the results have surprising implications for both the global contribution of glaciers to sea level and the changes occurring in the mountain regions of Asia.
As the global warming debate increases in its intensity we find both sides deeply entrenched, hurling accusations and lies at one another in an attempt to gain the upper hand. This divide within the scientific community has left the public wondering who can be trusted to provide them with accurate information and answers.
Climate-impact models combine projections of change in physical climate with data on population, economic growth and other variables. The output of such models are used to make predictions regarding the cost of anthropogenic global warming, in both monetary and human terms. They are the source of dire predictions used to scare politicians and bludgeon the public into accepting draconian measures to curb human CO2 emissions. Unfortunately for the prophets of climate change catastrophe, the models' reports are far from being in agreement, leading more rational members of the public to doubt the models' veracity. To rectify this lack of believability, a new “fast-track” program to coordinate modeling studies and make “their narratives of possible futures more coherent and useful to decision-makers,” has been launched. In other words, it is an attempt to make sure that climate change propaganda is at least consistent.
A new theory of supercontinent formation, published in the journal Nature, predicts that the Arctic ocean will be squeezed out of existence in the future as most of Earth's landmass gathers in a new supercontinent—Amasia. The new orthoversion helps to resolve the problems of the older introversion and extroversion models, which have led to a “fundamental disconnection … between the geologic evidence for supercontinent formation, and the models purported to explain their assembly.” If the Arctic Ocean disappears so will the Polar Bear, an iconic species that has been held up as a poster child for global warming. The climate catastrophists are correct in predicting the demise of the white bear of the Arctic, but they have both the reason and time frame terribly wrong.
Many of the more strident reports regarding runaway global warming center on rapid ice loss from the glaciers of Greenland. During the early 2000s the Greenland Ice Sheet experienced the largest ice-mass loss since accurate instrument readings have been kept. This was largely caused by the acceleration, thinning and retreat of large outlet glaciers in West and southeast Greenland. Now a new study in Nature Geoscience confirms that ice loss from the Helheim Glacier between 2003 and 2005 was the worst recorded—at least since the last period of rapid ice loss during the late 1930s.
A study commissioned by the California legislature has just reported that, in order to achieve the state's aggressive greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions by 2050, the golden state will need to more than triple the percentage of electrical power it gets from nuclear energy. In the January 6, 2012, issue of the journal Science a paper outlining the report's findings was published and they may be a bit unsettling for deep green Californian ecologists. It finds that technically feasible levels of energy efficiency and decarbonizing the state's energy supply alone are not good enough. The answer? Here is a hint—electric vehicles powered by expanded nuclear energy.