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UN climate claims ‘based on student essay’

I picked this up at ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Company).  There is a lot of talk about Climategate and Glaciergate but now we find a new instance of the IPCC reports that were not based on peer-reviewed scientific information.

Now that the IPCC has admitted one problem, it is obvious that everyone is going to go through every claim with a fine-tooth comb. For the sake of the IPCC, I hope that there aren’t more problems discovered. If there are, then the entire global warming conversation will take a significant move towards skepticism.  It is interesting that this is almost precisely the problem that Michael Crichton described in his novel on global warming “A State of Fear” and why he spoke out about the issue of bad scientific discover.

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Escalating Ice Loss Found in Antarctica

Washington Post – January 14, 2008

Changes to the ice mass on Antarctica could be the tipping point for a wide range of calamities caused by global warming. This news of escalating ice loss is very disconcerting. We need to monitor this situation closely to understand if it is within the realm of variability or if this is significant on-going trend.

I don’t typically jump on to the sky is falling bandwagon. However, significant changes in this ice mass or so concerning that caution is called for. Even if the root cause of global warming is not man but rather it is nature, the events of Antarctica are extremely noteworthy and anything that we can do to reverse this trend is likely to be worthwhile.

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Antarctica’s penguins threatened by global warming

Reuters – December 11, 2007

Penguins are especially appreciated by humans, at least in the US.  There are countless movies which feature them as interesting and cute animals.  Due to their coloring, they are often depicted as uppity butlers in many children cartoons.  Even Batman had a few battles with Penguin.

So when a study suggests that harm has come to these animals, many people take notice.  They are much more attractive to us than polar bears which, while cuddly as stuffed animals, are fairly ferocious animals.It is a little unfortunate though that the penguins are getting the attention since it appears that the penguins are reducing in numbers because krill are reducing in numbers.  Why isn’t this article entitled: “Antarctica’s krill threatened by global warming” rather than the one that was chosen.  Krill are kind of ugly so that must be the reason. At least Nemo appears to be safe!

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Compact fluorescent lamps

Wikipedia

My interest in this subject came from a lot of talk on the web about replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFL). Much of this talk is surely driven by the Answer the Call: Make The Commitment campaign that Live Earth is currently promoting. While I was confident that fluorescent was better at producing light for a given amount of energy coming from the socket, the mechanical engineer in me questioned that it was a free lunch.

It didn’t take long for me to start to realize that lunch costs money!

Let’s start with Wikipedia which is always a decent source but sometimes can’t be trusted so we will dig more lower in this post. You can read the full Wikipedia reference here but I will pull out a few key passages and then add my comments.

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Global warming melts Andean glaciers toward oblivion

Reuters – June 7, 2007

You will see different versions of this article floating around the internet.  This article discusses the major impact and hardship that will befall the people of Bolivia due to the melting of their small glaciers that are in the Andean mountains.  These glaciers are melting, so the story claims, because of global warming.

If you have read this site for any length of time, you know that some people believe a myriad of evils has been delivered on us (or will be delivered) due to climate change. I have written of several examples of this (here and here and here).  I don’t discount that these glaciers may be melting since the article gives us data to support that claim.  I also do not refute that this will cause these people harm – in fact, my heart goes out to them in their plight.

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Earth – melting in the heat?

BBC News – October 7, 2005

This article details some of the observed effects of global warming as well as some of the effects for the future.  It is quite light on scientific detail – just a discussion on the empirical observations that bring one to conclude that global warming is real.

Indigenous Arctic peoples will find their food stocks gone, while fresh water supplies in Asia and south America will disappear as the glaciers which provide them melt away; penguins, polar bears and seals will find their habitats gone, their traditional lives unliveable.

There is so much ice here [Antarctic] that if it all melted, sea levels globally would rise hugely – perhaps as much as 80m. Say goodbye to London, New York, Sydney, Bangkok, Rio… in fact, the majority of the world’s major cities.

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