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John McCain’s recent speech

Junkscience.com – May 15, 2008

I was about to write a review of John McCain’s recent speech.  I was reading other comments on it first to make sure that I had my thoughts put together and I found Steven Milloy’s review.  He has done an excellent job of discussing the speech.

I am going to pull the highlights from Steven’s article.  Click through at the end to read the whole commentary.

Next to solar power, however, wind power is the most heavily subsidized form of energy. Taxpayers cough up an astounding  $23.37 per megawatt hour of electricity produced, according to the Wall Street Journal. In contrast, coal and natural gas are only subsidized  to a tune of $0.44 and $0.25, respectively.

The Endangered Polar Bear

The US has just listed the Polar Bear as a Threatened Species.  It is claimed by some that this is the first species that has been declared threatened by global warming.

I really don’t know if this is good or bad. The arguments from both sides seem quite convincing, in different ways.  The pro-endanger side says that since global warming is going to melt the ice that polar bears hunt on, they will start to rapidly decline in numbers and need our protection.  The con-endanger group says that there is no evidence to date that polar bears are dying due to ice loss so we are rushing the effort and the polar bear population has increased since the elimination of controlled hunting of the bears.  A great discussion of this can be found at The War Over the Polar Bear.

Trouble In Paradise: Global Warming A Greater Danger To Tropical Species

ScienceDaily – May 6, 2008

A team of University of Washington scientists has been studying the insect population of the tropics and concluded that an increase in temperature could many species at risk of extinction. I give more credence to these types of studies to articles on climate models since, in this case, it is possible to do some true cause and effect analysis as well as maintain a control group. The problem with climate models is that they are simply mathematical equations that are developed by mathematicians and then run on moderately powerful computers.

I wrote about Brazilian ants several months ago. This new study seems to be in contrast to the conclusions of that article. This is not unusual in science that different studies with different techniques results in different conclusions.

Antarctic ice threatened by ozone-hole recovery

Nature – April 29, 2008

Once again, we see an example of how the climate models that are predicting the end of the world, as we know it, have not taken into account some important factors.  Granted, this particular article is discussing another model (or at least calculation and prediction). It still points out that our models are far from complete and we need to spend more money and effort to increase this capability.

Recovery of the ozone hole above Antarctica could warm the Antarctic and cause more ice to melt in coming decades, researchers say. As the ozone hole heals, wind patterns that shield the interior of the polar region from warm air may break down, causing warming in the Antarctica as well as warmer and drier conditions in Australia.

Scientists doubt climate change

The Washington Times – December 21, 2007

This story has been floating around the media for some time and I suppose it is time that I discuss it as well. It wouldn’t be such a big deal except that Mr. Al Gore, former Vice President of the United States and Nobel prize winner, declared the debate over and that there was a consensus among scientists. Of course, the first thing that happens with that kind of grandiose statement is the nay-sayers raise their hands REAL HIGH!

That is part of what makes this discussion so interesting (and so frustrating). Seemingly intelligent people with such strong and diverse opinions that are arguing so strenuously. As with most bi-polar discussions, the truth likely lies somewhere in the middle.

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.

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!

Polar bear watchers race against global warming

USAToday – November 2, 2007

Evidently, in this area of Canada, they have done a reasonably good job of counting bears and they cite several statistics that show that bears are declining in numbers. Other studies have shown that there is no significant bear decline so I wanted you to read this story as well.

This story is actually part of the USAToday’s travel section and describes an unusual destination trip in Canada where tourists are allowed to drive out and see polar bears in the wild. I hope that the reason for the decline in bears here is not because of other human interference that the story discusses such as:

  • tourists trips
  • bear watches

35 Inconvenient Truths: The errors in Al Gore’s movie – Part 2 of 5

This is the second of a 5 part series reviewing the comments of the Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI) in regards to “An Inconvenient Truth” (AIT).

You can read Part 1 of 5 here.
You can read Part 3 of 5 here.
You can read Part 4 of 5 here.
You can read Part 5 of 5 here.

ERROR 10 – Actually, SPPI isn’t tough enough on AIT on this one. Mr. Gore says that 350ppm of CO2 is all that keeps a mile of ice off of the top of Cleveland, Detroit, and New York. The last time that happened was 2 million years ago during the Pleistocene era and Mr. Gore’s data doesn’t extend that far back so therefore he is making an unsubstantiated claim.

35 Inconvenient Truths: The errors in Al Gore’s movie – Part 1 of 5

Several days ago, I posted about RealClimate.org’s defense of the 9 ‘mistakes’ that a British court found in “An Inconvenient Truth” (AIT). My review was not well regarded by many at RealClimate as they defended their defense. My point at the time was that extremism is bad in all ways. Even if you think that the world is going to end due to human induced global warming, you must be able to see spin for what it is and confront it.

Conversely, if you think that all this global warming conversation is hooey, you still should not say that everything out of Mr. Gore’s mouth is biased and wrong. We need to evaluate each claim on its own and seriously discuss the viable issues.