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Bill Nye calls deniers ‘unpatriotic’

Bill Nye ‘The Science Guy’ was on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show this past Wednesday, discussing the latest round of snowstorms and if climate change is responsible. Nye told Maddow that the people who are saying that the snowstorms around Washington D.C. disproves climate change are almost ‘unpatriotic’.

Nye also said that he felt from his experience that global warming denial could be attributed to generational factors, like his personal observations that older people have a much harder time grasping how billions of people could affect the thin atmosphere. He felt that younger generations are more accepting of this possibility.

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.

A Glacier Meltdown – The Himalayas and climate science.

An excellent opinion in the Wall Street Journal. It is absolutely amazing that there are so few media companies that try to get the story straight.

Last November, U.N. climate chief Rajendra Pachauri delivered a blistering rebuke to India’s environment minister for casting doubt on the notion that global warming was causing the rapid melting of Himalayan glaciers.

“We have a very clear idea of what is happening,” the chairman of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) told the Guardian newspaper. “I don’t know why the minister is supporting this unsubstantiated research. It is an extremely arrogant statement.”

UN climate change expert: there could be more errors in report

I am absolutely amazed at the arrogance of Dr. Rajendra Pachauri when he says “It was a collective failure by a number of people. I need to consider what action to take, but that will take several weeks. Its best to think with a cool head, rather than shoot from the hip.” How can you legitimately say that he is running an international agency that is designed to collate the scientific truth when he says this. He needs to own up to a massive mistake that has caused nations around the world to take massive actions to curb industry.

From Times Online:

The Indian head of the UN climate change panel defended his position yesterday even as further errors were identified in the panel’s assessment of Himalayan glaciers.

New Priorities For Our Energy Future

Boone Pickens and Ted Turner are well respected businessmen (the former a big  investor and the latter a media mogul and founder of CNN). Both have a history of speaking their mind on public issues and both have a history of making huge sums of money.

While I certainly do not begrudge this gentlemen the right to speak their mind, I wonder if this message (that may be good for America) also is good for their business interests. Mr. Pickens is renown in the energy sector and a large scale switch to natural gas would likely help his wallet. Mr. Turner is a very large landowner in the western States and my gut is that he has found large deposits of natural gas under some of his holdings.

All that being said, I tend to agree with the core of their opinion. The United States should concentrate more on natural gas. It would most likely help the environment and it would help to lessen the choke hold that foreign interests have on our economy.

The following parts of their opinion appeared in the Wall Street Journal.

Renewable energy and clean-burning natural gas are the basis of a new strategy the world needs to create a cleaner and more secure future. And the global transformation to a clean-energy economy may be the greatest economic opportunity of the 21st century. According to the authoritative Potential Gas Committee (administered by the Colorado School of Mines), the U.S. sits on top of massive reservoirs of natural gasan estimated 2,000 trillion cubic feetthat contain more energy than all the oil in Saudi Arabia.

Harnessing this large supplyplus developing wind, solar and biofuel energy sourcesis essential to achieve three strategic national priorities:

Energy security: The internal combustion engine makes us dependent on oil that’s concentrated in a handful of countries in some of the world’s most volatile regions. In June, we imported 374 million barrels of oil, nearly two-thirds of what we used, at a cost of $24.7 billion. With 70% of imported oil going into cars and trucks, our transportation system is perilously at risk to shaky oil markets and even shakier regimes.

Economic security: Last year more than $155 billion was invested in clean energy technologies such as wind and solar, and China and India plan to invest hundreds of billions in renewable energy sources. The annual market for clean energy may escalate in the next decade to between $1 trillion and $2 trillion. The race is on.

Climate security: Likewise, the clock is ticking on potentially devastating climate changes. We already are witnessing the disintegration of polar ice, melting glaciers, rising sea levels and altered weather patterns. But if we act now, we can prevent catastrophic human and economic impacts.

Are the glaciers our fault?

I am often asked if the reduction of the size of glaciers is the fault of global warming. My standard answer is that I don’t know as the evidence is far from conclusive.

A case in point is a graph from the USGS fact sheet:

Two conclusions are fairly obvious from the above graph.  First, the size of glacier recession has been occurring almost since the time when we started measuring the size back in the late 50s.  The second is that the reduction seemed to increase rather rapidly in the late 80s and early 90s. If we draw a straight line to average the reduction from 1960 to 1975, we will see a totally different rate as compared to the line that averages 1980 to 2005.

Not cool anymore – followup (Irreversible climate change due to carbon dioxide emissions)

As a quick followup to my earlier posting on the 1,000 year irreversibility status of global warming.  The folks over at RealClimate also did a story on this subject but they tried to make the distinction that “irreversible” does mean “unstoppable”.  I think they are trying to play with words a bit but I will let you decide for yourselves.  As I read the abstract of the study (below), I do not think that they are following the same logic that the original authors followed.  That is okay though since science is all about discussing the different hypotheses and then testing them.

Ice melting across globe at accelerating rate, NASA says

CNN – December 16, 2008

This story about the rapid melting of ice in the major cold areas of the world (Greenland, Antarctica, and Alaska) needs to cause everyone concern. While the story doesn’t convincingly discuss the causality of the situation, it does point out that increased melting accelerates the planets warming due to loss of reflectivity of the “white” ice.

The article goes on to point out the increase of pine beetles which is theorized to be attributed to a warmer environment. It even goes so far as to predict the increase in sea level (ala Al Gore) by the end of the century based on this loss of ice.

Gore Delivers Remarks on Energy and the Climate

Washington Post – July 17, 2008

Mr. Al Gore recently gave a speech in Washington DC regarding energy.  While many in the blogosphere will call Mr. Gore “Pope Gore” and refer to environmentalists as a religion, in this case, I don’t think that Mr. Gore makes many of the outlandish comments which I have chastised him about. Most of his comments are regarding energy independence, the status of the technology of alternative fuels, and the balance of power.

He does make a few global warming references which are a little hard to defend. He implies that the fires in California are caused by manmade global warming – this is probably not true since California has been enjoying an unusually wet climate for several decades and it appears that this current drought is simply going back to status quo.

Glaciers on California’s Mt. Shasta keep growing

July 8, 2008 – USA Today

The reasons that a glacier grows or shrinks are not solely due to air temperature (regardless of what Mr. Gore implies).  This story in the USA Today is a prime example of proving this false.  Unfortunately, this mountain seems to be the only mountain in the lower 48 states of the USA that has growing glaciers.

Due to Mt. Shasta’s elevation and proximity to the Pacific ocean with its prevailing winds, the area is seeing an increase in precipitation in the form of snow.  This snow is forming glaciers.

This does not mean that global warming doesn’t cause glaciers to shrink!  This just means that the formation and the maintenance of glaciers is more complicated than just ambient temperature.