Thursday, June 30, 2005

More of the same old Blair hot air

A useful discussion. . . .

I suggest that Tony Blair and his G8 pals might just be dumbfounded by this excellent discussion. Note that the summary has one sentence I have to disagree with - the last sentence in italics "By the 1990s, there was a tentative answer: minor solar variations could indeed have been partly responsible for some past fluctuations... but future warming from the rise in greenhouse gases would far outweigh any solar effects". Why - because this is outrageous speculation that rides on the back of hard won research, thought and deductive process. Why was this sentence included? Simply to act as a salve, I would have to guess, which is too damn bad.

The Washington Post has it right!

Must reading for all who, like me, feel frustrated by the politics of global warming. That this article apppears in the Washington Post is all the more remarkable. I'll write no more, please read the article instead!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Ice Age Temperatures

The Kyoto Protocol states that we should spend billions of dollars to lower global temperatures by 0.02 to 0.28ºC. But just what is less than half a degree in terms of recent geological history? Let's look at the recent Ice Ages (there were four of them, separated by warming up periods). We know from evidence on the ground that ice sheets covered most of Britain, with the southern edge of the ice sheet running across southern England at its zenith. That would place southern England (represented by London) in the same position as the capitol of Greenland, Nuuk (used to be called Gothab). Nuuk enjoys a very different climate from London. The July maximum for London is 21ºC, for Nuuk it is 8ºC. That's a colossal 13ºC difference. If we simply say that, from the coldest period of a recent Ice Age to the Present Day the July maximum temperature could have risen as much as 13ºC, then the aims of the Kyoto Protocol do seem rather unimportant!

Greenland is, in itself, an interesting case history for studying global warming over the short term (in other words, over the time frame most doom-and-gloom climatologists consider to offer valid data). Do read this article for a succinct presentation on Greenland's recent history of cooling. Much of the published research referred to in this article was made by fanatic anthropogenic global warming advocates. I am sure that, if their results had indicated Greenland is warming rather than cooling, the media would have been very busy telling the world about it. As it is, the findings of this research work have gone largely unnoticed.

Politicians want consensus!

Today the BBC carries a story that makes me want to cringe with fear for the future. Tony Blair states: "If you accept, as I do, that global warming is a major, long-term threat, then policies at an international, national and local level are needed to help tackle it."

There is worse. All three mainstream British political parties want to get together to tackle global warming. It could be said that their collective hot air has much to do with causing global warming, but that would actually be good for the planet so I won't suggest it too strongly!

The arrogance of Blair and politicians in general never fails to amaze me. Blair is not a scientist and neither are most politicians. They think like lawyers because many of them trained to be lawyers. This is not good for the country, never mind the planet.

Oh, one more thing, Stephen Byers, ex-Transport Secretary (the guy now accused of ruining Railtrack by ex-shareholders) is a chairman of a new committee to deal with this consensus forming non-science. Surely it will snow today!

Monday, June 27, 2005

The First Post

I've been making comments on my personal site, focalplane.com for quite a while. Unfortunately this site doesn't have weblog capabilities so I never get into a discussion. So I am going to copy all the global warming features from focalplane (maintaining their original dates) and reserve that site for travel and photography (which is why it exists).

I am a scientist with a Ph.D. in Geology. I am convinced that global warming exists because global temperatures are known to have changed (up and down) throughout geological history. I am not, however, convinced that the present evidence for global warming is accurate and I am certainly not convinced that global warming is a man made phenomenon.

Unfortunately, many climate scientists have created a funding bandwagon and for some strange reason many of the world's politicians have found global warming to be an interesting problem for them to solve. Perhaps it's because they can't solve global warming that they have decided to tackle it head on anyway. Far better that than actually doing something useful!

Well, enough already. Let the party begin!

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Population sampling

London’s Royal Society (one of Earth’s most august scientific bodies) has signed off on global warming being a man-made problem. Its president, Sir David Wallace, claims he represents the consensus of climate scientists in so doing. Yet other organizations, such as those that compiled the Oregon Petition, do not support the concept of global warming being man-made.

This raises the question of selected population sampling. The Oregon Petition has been signed by 20,000 scientists whereas the RS only polled the opinions of climate scientists. Once again, the truth may be hidden by the statistics, methinks. Think scientifically, Sir David.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Change is good

I think that these G8 get togethers need to be abandoned. This latest one has turned out to be nothing more than a parade ground for stupid politician pronouncements. And the media are right in there as well. As are some faded rock'n'roll "legends" looking to revitalise their careers.

The question of African debt has been with us for a long long time and the truth about African aid programs is well known to most of us who claim to know even a little bit about Africa. Thus we tend to get just a little steamed up when we find ourselves bombarded with a sudden sense of urgency from Gordon Brown and Bob Geldof and their ilk. (Tho' at least the word "corruption" has been acknowledged this time around).

But this piece is more about the other G8 topic of the day - global warming. Aided and abetted by such liberal media as the BBC and the Guardian newspaper, we are being inundated by stories from "experts" who are attempting to scare the lay public into believing their mantra: global warming is bad for the planet.

There is plenty of evidence to suggest that global warming could be of tremendous benefit to a majority of people on this planet. Carbon dioxide is a key ingredient for the plant world - more CO2 and plants grow faster. Translate that into higher crop yields and global warming could help to relieve hunger. But we all know (don't we?) that hunger is not so much a question of not enough food but rather a problem of distribution. Transportation generally requires energy and energy is a bad word under the Kyoto Protocol.

At this point the futility of arguing with the political propapanga machine makes me wonder why I started this piece. So, back to basics. Change is good - it's why we humans have evolved - and we should be considering how to take advantage of predictable changes in our environment, not making futile attempts to control Nature (remember the Indian Ocean tsunami and the resulting chaos and recriminations in supplying aid? Much of it still hasn't arrived.)

If sunflowers will be a sensible crop for southeastern England - GOOD! Let's get ready. Personally I can't wait to be able to have bougainvillea's growing up the walls of our cottage.

It's strange that it is the liberals in our society that want to keep everything the way it is. I thought that was the provenance of the conservative. Somewhere along the way our politicians have gotten so messianic that they have forgotten their own creeds.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Global warming from the perspective of a biogeographer

Today's Daily Telegraph carries a letter from Professor Emeritus Philip Stott, an eminent biogeographer. He lays out the three pronged problem that is global warming and suggests that it has become a legitimized myth. Not only was his letter printed without editing (how do I know that?) but Google brought up Stott's own weblog (which is the link above as the Telegraph letter is no longer available). Perhaps there is an undercurrent of common sense stirring in the scientific community concerning global warming.

This comes at a time when the White house is accused of "doctoring" scientific documents. A serious allegation. Interesting then that the quoted example was the adding of the word "extremely" to the sentence: The attribution of the causes of biological and ecological changes to climate change or variability is extremely difficult. The editor of this sentence has a long history of association with the American Petroleum Institute, an august body that has never been a radical political group (far too conservative for that). I would suggest that such an association might be an advantage but of course there are many who think otherwise as a matter of principle. Given that climate change is truly a multi-variant phenomenon, the addition of "extremely" in to the sentence is actually a matter of caution. See Philip Stott's weblog for an explanation!