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Scientists and Engineers are upset

If you read this site often, you will know that I am an engineer by training (even though I don’t currently practice). I tend to respect this profession a great deal as being fairly straight-forward and hard working. As a group, they also tend to be a pretty smart bunch.

One of the major trade rags in engineering is C&EN (Chemical and Engineering News). It is edited by Mr. Rudy Baum. If you aren’t in that trade, you would probably never pick up an issue so you may not be familiar with it. I haven’t read the publication in a long time but was recently made aware of a bit of controversy by Climate Depot. While the readers of C&EN are likely not climatologists, the science of CO2 and its affect on the atmosphere is very steeped in chemistry which their target market knows a bit about.

Alaska town sues over global warming

Portland Business Journal – February 27, 2008

I need to file this one under Ridiculous. How can a town in Alaska sue over global warming?  To make matters worse, they are suing oil companies and utilities! If they want to sue someone, they should sue you and me. Filing suit against the providers of a product that is bought by consumers, is like filing suit against the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association for the high rate of heart attacks.

For those that live in other countries than the USA, I must explain.  The US is a very litigious society.  I can’t find accurate statistics on the number of suits filed in a given year but it is shameful. We have crazy stories of lawsuits for hot coffee and lost laptops. Just to give you an example, there is even a site that is dedicated to tracking stupid lawsuits!

The truth about recycling

Economist.com – June 7, 2007

True or False: Recycling is a waste of time as it costs more money to recycle than to produce as new.

FALSE!!

There are a lot of old wives tales regarding the benefits of recycling. When an old friend of mine sent me this article, I decided that it fit into the goal of this site to try to educate the world on global warming issues.

The short answer is that it is far more efficient to recycle materials than to create new.  The Economist has a long article on the subject.  I will cite a couple relevant quotes for this global warming audience but check out the full article.

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.

Little Green Lies

BusinessWeek – October 29, 2007

BusinessWeek must be one of the most venerable periodicals in the business community. Few magazines can acclaim to the level and depth of business discussion. Most CEOs and business leaders read or at least skim the magazine on a regular basis.

As their cover story, BW decided to cover the idea that "going green" was a good thing for business.  I have discussed this issue before and it was good to get BW’s opinion and coverage on the story.  Their perspective is quite interesting.

The Global Warming Learning Curve

Time – October 17, 2007

I am not sure what inference can be drawn from this study but I do find it interesting. The study analyzes the search patterns of words on the Internet that relate to the topic of global warming. Without a doubt, this activity has fallen in the past few months but as with all trends, the causality is still in question.

How green is General Electric’s (GE) green business?

BloggingStocks – September 14, 2007

No one should be surprised at this. Evidently GE is getting push-back from its customers and its shareholders on the company’s "green" efforts. GE is one of the oldest corporations around and has a wide assortment of businesses. Some of these businesses thrive off the use and production of electricity, so some customers are not too keen on GE condemning the way electricity is used and produced.

In addition, this ecological effort undoubtedly has extra costs or lower margins than a more traditional approach. This then reduces the profitability of GE which impacts its shareholders. In this current business environment, companies need to be very concerned about upsetting their shareholders!

Consensus discussion – Liars or Statistics?

There is an old saying that statistics don’t lie but liars use statistics.

While I am not going to call anyone a liar, I will point out that the belief of the individual analyzing raw data can affect the outcome of the data. This is one of the reasons why one should always be skeptical.

This posting will not be about any given article but rather will cover several articles that have recently been getting a lot of discussion among skeptics and non-skeptics on the theory of global warming and its causes. I admit that I am somewhat of a “junkie” when it comes to climate news so you may not have been affected by all of the news so here is the high-level:

Why is Arctic ice melting 50 years too fast?

HowStuffWorks

This is an excellent article to give you some background on the recent announcement about the increasing speed of Arctic ice melting.  In August, a survey of scientists funded by Japan announced that the Arctic is melting much faster than current climate models indicate that they should.