A Few Things Ill Considered

A layman's take on the science of Global Warming featuring a guide on How to Talk to a Climate Sceptic.

Friday, August 25, 2006

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Back From Australia

Well, as you may or may not have noticed, this blog has been pretty quiet, the last post being almost a month ago. That is not due to lack of interesting events, rather to my being away for a business trip in Australia. Tasmania to be more precise.

Now, while considering what to post next, a rather cheap shot from Roger Pielke Jr has given me that elusive motivation strong enough to overcome the inertia of the long silence.

So the subject of the post is the question I posed in the comments section of a recent Real Climate post.

Is it wrong to be pleased that the American people seem to have really awoken to the danger of Global Warming due to this summer's extreme heatwave and last year's hurricane season? The problem being that no individual storm can be directly attributed to global climate change and this summer's heat wave can't either and we will undoubtably still see some extreme cold snaps, record setting even, in the warming-or-not future.

Global Warming is a grave concern and large protions of the US public, being so susceptible to the accidental genius of the American propaganda machine, have long held its existence in doubt, believing there to be no conclusive scientific evidence yet available. This is not the reality. Now along comes a tremendous storm (not even so tremendous, Katrina was Category 3 at landfall) and suddenly people seem to believe Global Warming is here and now.

And this is the reality.

But Katrina was not proof of that, nor was this summer's heat wave. Not even the record warmth of 2005 can be claimed as "proof", proof does not exist in this kind of science, one must look at the balance of the evidence. So the public has come to believe in a reality through faulty reasoning.

Is it wrong to accept this state of affairs with gratitude? How hard should one try to stamp out that misconception, that Katrina is clear evidence that Global Warming is here? As I stated in my comment (link above), I would not say it, and will correct people who say it to me, but I don't feel any urge to go out of my way to stamp it out.

Is that wrong?

(An interesting article on distinguishing Hurricane Katrina from Catastrophe Katrina here.)

Labels: ,

23 Comments:

  • At August 25, 2006 7:09 PM, Blogger ankh said…

    Heck, I'm still tracking down and correcting that Associated Press typo where they said sea level could rise as much as 20 feet // by 2100. Where the // indicates omitting "several hundred years from now if all the ice melts, and as much as two or three feet" no doubt to shorten the headline.

    Yeah, I think it's completely important to correct misunderstandings and try to find the sources of spin, no matter which way the spin turns away from facts known so far.

    Von Storch commented on his weblog, after his last Congressional testimony that he gets requests from both left and right in the US political world, and neither side cares to get the science right, they're looking for talking points.

    Intellectual honesty is as good as we can hope for, on any side in the politics.

    Besides -- you can make a very good educational point by saying "no one hurricane .... but that's why we can say we know the climate is changing, not because any one thing changes but because so many things, checked in so many ways, have been changing" and then talk about when the robins show up, or hay fever season starts, and say, see, these are more just anecdotal events you aren't proving anything by -- but they _can_ be studied usefully. And point from there to the way they can look this stuff up for themselves.

    Just my thought. And I try to have great patience because -- since the Net came along -- there's only the experts (few) and the uninformed (everyone else). The old great middle ground of somewhat informed people with info that was only 10 or 20 or 30 years out of date but good enough and as good as you could generally get -- is gone.

    Because now we can look this stuff up -- and each time we do there are new answers, and new thinking needed. And trolls don't footnote.

    Didn't say it'd be easy.

    -- Hank Roberts

     
  • At August 26, 2006 12:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    ===coby said:===

    Is it wrong to be pleased that the American people seem to have really awoken to the danger of Global Warming due to this summer's extreme heatwave and last year's hurricane season?
    =================================

    Not necessarily wrong; but it exemplifies that environmental fearmongering has had an effect.

    And this year extreme heatwave? That's another exaggeration we don't need. Across Canada, it has been a nearly universally splendid summer. Blame the Pacific Decadal Oscillation for that.
    ==================================

    ===coby further says:=========

    .....large protions of the US public, being so susceptible to the accidental genius of the American propaganda machine, have long held its existence in doubt...
    =================================

    Americans, being on average substantially better educated then Canadians, are LESS susceptible to propaganda, almost all of which has come from the environmental lobby.

    That is why we in Canada gullibly signed onto Kyoto at the first opportunity and then went on to increase our emissions at a much higher rate then our neighbours to the south.

    The result is large sections of a pliant Canadian population have bought into the canard of our superior environmental sensitivity when the opposite is true.

    Propaganda indeed.

    -Paul G.

     
  • At August 26, 2006 12:48 PM, Blogger coby said…

    Hi Paul,

    Though a bit off topic, I would be quite interested in the evidence you have that the American population is better educated than the Canadian one. You know, literacy rates, percentage of university graduates, that kind of stuff (they are called "facts").

     
  • At August 26, 2006 2:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    ===coby said:====

    Though a bit off topic, I would be quite interested in the evidence you have that the American population is better educated than the Canadian one. You know, literacy rates, percentage of university graduates, that kind of stuff (they are called "facts").
    ==================================

    No need to be condescending coby.

    The assertion that Americans, on average have a higher level of education then Canadians was made by a Canadian educator on CBC Radio several weeks ago. If I can find a supporting reference for the claim I will post it.

    Back to topic, any comments coby that Canadians are actually more susceptible to propaganda then our southern counterparts?

    - Paul G.

     
  • At August 26, 2006 3:27 PM, Blogger coby said…

    Paul, I don't know if quoting one radio commentator will proide very much light on this comparison, unless of course they are providing some good referential material.

    My scepticism of this claim is due to the extremely low ranking of the US in literacy rates.

    See here for some interesting stats, which generally agree with other reports I hae read. If you find any error, I do want to know.

    I wouldn't think Canadians are much more or less susceptible to propoganda, but our media, what little is not Ameriacan!, is generally much less profit motivated and corporate controlled. This gives us a better chance of seeing more reality than consumers of Good Morning America and the like.

     
  • At August 26, 2006 3:42 PM, Blogger Peter K. Anderson said…

    Also it seems realised that within the USA 'literacy in English' is artificially low due to the number of languages spoken within the influx of new persons the USA 'hosts' in ever increasing numbers, perhaps in excess even of the 'naturalised birth rate'.

    There is not any point looking at biased statistics then trying to then derive a 'substantive platform' for opinion, which is BTW how the 'greenhouse platform' (and associated 'enviro-opinion') is 'wagoned along' and so such practices are commonly seen within those ''enviro-lobby' associations having become their 'modus operandi'.

    Again I would mention the "4wd" example:-
    ["...often people cite the increasing danger of collision with "4wd's", but that is only as there are increasing numbers of "4wd's" present NOW on the roads than previously and is NOT presenting that collisions with "4wd's" are inherently more dangerous NOW than previously..."]

    Your's,
    Peter K. Anderson a.k.a. Hartlod(tm)
    From the PC of Peter K Anderson
    E-Mail: Hartlod@bigpond.com
    http://hartlod.blogspot.com/

     
  • At August 26, 2006 3:48 PM, Blogger coby said…

    within the USA 'literacy in English' is artificially low due to the number of languages spoken within the influx of new persons

    That's a good point, I had not thought of it. I don't know if the kinds of literacy tests used by organizations such as the UN are language specific or not. Actually, I would be quite surprised if this factor is not taken into consideration.

     
  • At August 26, 2006 4:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    ==== coby said: ====
    Paul, I don't know if quoting one radio commentator will proide very much light on this comparison, unless of course they are providing some good referential material.

    My scepticism of this claim is due to the extremely low ranking of the US in literacy rates.

    See here for some interesting stats, which generally agree with other reports I hae read. If you find any error, I do want to know.
    ===================================

    You link to a notoriously biased web site? Why sacrifice your credibility so easily coby?

    The UN rates the education of Canada and the US as identical.
    http://hdr.undp.org/reports/global/2003/indicator/indic_6_1_1.html

    The point the radio commentator made was that while the percentage of the population in Canada and the US with post-secondary education was similar, a much higher percentage of Americans then Canadians held multiple degrees which is not reflected in UN or other data.
    ================================

    ===coby further says: ======

    I wouldn't think Canadians are much more or less susceptible to propoganda, but our media, what little is not Ameriacan!, is generally much less profit motivated and corporate controlled. This gives us a better chance of seeing more reality than consumers of Good Morning America and the like.
    ================================

    Ah, the leftist anti-corporate bias rears it's ugly head! And here I thought this was a site about global warming! :)

    But here's another ugly reality. If Canada is so much more environmentally aware, less profit orientated and less corporate controlled, then why is our growth in C02 emissions so much worse?

    My conclusion is that corporate and profit driven America has been more successful at limiting C02 emissions growth then we have; Kyoto or no Kyoto. And that is a fact.

    - Paul G.

     
  • At August 26, 2006 5:20 PM, Blogger J. S. - (Wacki) said…

    "Is that wrong?"


    Heh, I made my comments here:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/08/new-public-opinion-poll-on-global-warming/#comment-18195

    and you never responded. It seems clear that you have read Curry's work. So I don't understand why you are so upset about this when Curry's charts seem to imply that Katrina has a ~33% chance of being caused by global warming. There are bigger fish to fry IMO.

     
  • At August 26, 2006 5:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    ********************
    Ah, the leftist anti-corporate bias rears it's ugly head! And here I thought this was a site about global warming! :)

    But here's another ugly reality. If Canada is so much more environmentally aware, less profit orientated and less corporate controlled, then why is our growth in C02 emissions so much worse?

    My conclusion is that corporate and profit driven America has been more successful at limiting C02 emissions growth then we have; Kyoto or no Kyoto. And that is a fact.

    - Paul G.
    **********************

    Try readin it again:

    ================================

    ===coby further says: ======

    I wouldn't think Canadians are much more or less susceptible to propoganda, but our media, what little is not Ameriacan!, is generally much less profit motivated and corporate controlled. This gives us a better chance of seeing more reality than consumers of Good Morning America and the like.
    ================================

    Media style is not CO2 reduction.

    I live in the U.S. and I choose to not listen to commercial radio, nor watch commercial TV because they annoy me with continuous adds and product placements. These aren't evil, I just don't like them. Additionally, MSM news isn''t there to inform me, it's there to get me to sit and watch adds. It's not evil, it's just annoying to me.

    So I avoid MSM and stick to the much elss invasve internet news and Public Radio.

    I sense that Coby and many other Canadians feel the same way.

    And this has nothing to do with economic efficiency and CO2 emmissions, or whatever misdirection you hoping to achieve.

     
  • At August 26, 2006 6:22 PM, Blogger -Sam said…

    The above unsigned Anon comment was mine...sorry about that.

    Got an account now so I won't forget.

     
  • At August 26, 2006 6:43 PM, Blogger Peter K. Anderson said…

    The comment is still anonymous 'Sam' as there is not any real 'identification' made in 'getting an account'. There is not any reality within 'greenhouse remediations' and it is very much a 'media based effort' to promote 'greenhouse issues' as being 'detrimental' to 'the environment'.
    The best effort from 'media' is to simply NOT publicise the 'greenhouse pronouncements'. It is only the incessant output of 'beat-up stories' from lobby-publicists that produce the 'supposition' of 'an existent problem', not any observation of REALITY.
    This is NOT at all related to 'media' being 'commercial' or 'non-commercial' and the anonimity of the INTERNET seems to make the electronic media the most prolific at 'production/presentation' of these 'greenhouse doom beat-up' opinion piece stories...so it would see to be the ANONYMITY of the Internet that encourages the more vocal 'greenhouse supposition', not 'TV' or even 'Radio' Corporate (or otherwise derived) 'policy'.

    I too dislike commercial media due to advertisement, not due TO the advertisement but to the TIME added to a production's viewing (~25% generally in Australia), one looses interest in the overall 'show' with the inserted 'commercial breaks'.

    Your's,
    Peter K. Anderson a.k.a. Hartlod(tm)
    From the PC of Peter K Anderson
    E-Mail: Hartlod@bigpond.com
    http://Hartlod.blogspot.com/

     
  • At August 26, 2006 8:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    ==== sam said: =====

    "Media style is not CO2 reduction."

    ===================================

    Agreed. Ratifying the Kyoto Accord, spending billions of taxpayer's dollars and hosting international conferences on global warming is not C02 reduction either.

    While coby celebrates the lessened profit motive and weaker corporate control in Canada, that is ultimately besides the point.

    The reality is Canada's CO2 emissions are higher per capita (partly explained by our colder climate) and our CO2 emissions growth is occurring far more rapidly.

    We in Canada have been effectively "propagandized" by our government and various environmental groups that we are concerned and proactive about CO2. We aren't.

    - Paul G.

     
  • At August 26, 2006 10:49 PM, Blogger ankh said…

    Is there a killfile with this software?

     
  • At August 27, 2006 1:44 PM, Blogger coby said…

    Re "Is there a killfile"

    Sadly, no. The choice I face is constantly deleting the completely unproductive comments, which I do, at quite a time consuming rate, or putting on comment moderation, which I have done and will do again soon. But moderation slows done any potentially interesting exchanges so I use it only with regret.

    At one point I had to delete well over 100 lengthy comments in a single two week period. Very annoying.

     
  • At August 28, 2006 3:03 PM, Blogger J. S. - (Wacki) said…

    Coby is ignoring my questions.......

    :-(

     
  • At August 28, 2006 3:26 PM, Blogger coby said…

    Hi Wacki,

    Sorry, I don't mean to be ignoring you. I went back and looked at your reply to me on RC again, and honestly, I didn't reply simply because I had nothing to add or disagree with! I suppose I should have said so, but RC is a busy enough place without alot of "me too!" posts ;-)

    Personally, I will continue to avoid attributing Katrina to GW simply because I think it sidetracks the issue. That is similar to why I avoid Hockey Stick discussions: low relevance to PR vulnerability ratio, know what I mean?

    Thanks for the comments!

     
  • At August 29, 2006 3:32 AM, Blogger Peter K. Anderson said…

    The event that 'Katrina' became is now simply a media hyped 'human interest story, nothing more now that the 'Environmental Lobby' is foundering upon its 'storm scare' platform. I notice in this weeks local TV programming a story on a Prison that was incarcerating 7,000 people at the time of the storm, but really there is just not that much interest anymore.
    This is simply that far too much was made of a storm that was not extraordinary, except in the event showing the overall effort the environmental lobby would attempt with use of Media to subvert (political) opinion with scare by 'doom and woe' platforming. Now, simply put, unless you live in the region of New Orleans there is little interest, and even then residents should be far more interested in their relative elevations to sea level than 'storms in general, past or future' or even their 'distance from the coast.
    Sea inundations will follow inland depression routes, and can send water miles inland and well away from possibly remote 'coastal breech points', and much of the State of Florida and the surrounding environs are below current relative Sea Level.

    Your's,
    Peter K. Anderson a.k.a. Hartlod(tm)
    From the PC of Peter K Anderson
    E-Mail: Hartlod@bigpond.com
    http://hartlod,blogspot.com/

     
  • At September 04, 2006 7:32 PM, Blogger EliRabett said…

    Hi,

    Did you get to visit the Isle of the Dead benchmark?

     
  • At September 04, 2006 7:40 PM, Blogger EliRabett said…

    Couple of comments

    1. Canada has quite a large 1/2 generation immigrant population, probably the same as the US or larger

    2. My reply to the Katrina question is to reply something like: There is a high probability that global warming contributed to Katrina's destructiveness. We know that warmer sea surface temperatures increase the strength of hurricanes and we know that global warming is producing higher sea surface temperatures.

     
  • At September 05, 2006 1:55 AM, Blogger Peter K. Anderson said…

    Greetings 'EliRabett',

    If you notice the reality of the warmer ocean surface, you will see that this trend follows the present Land Surface rise in 'shape' even, lagging by 15 years due to the productions of Conduction and Convection transporting that Kinetic Energy TO the Ocean Surface whilst the muting of that displayed trend is due to internal production of Turbulence in the Ocean surface as reaction to those inputs of Kinetic Energy (this trend is seen in plots at the link * below).

    There is nothing UNNATURAL in the production of the 'Katrina Event' that can contain ANY result of 'greenhouse supposition', and ONLY the cumulative effect from the production of Human Habitat Sprawl upon the land surface (related to Human Population growth in its rapid rise from 500 Million to over 6 Billion in ~400 years) can be seen (again with slides in *). There is NOT possible a 'greenhouse effect' as the 'greenhouse theory' describes. Temperature is NOT even a valid indicator of supposed UNNATURAL 'Climate Change'.

    When 'temperature' is mentioned, realise that the 'temperature' of a System is that Kinetic Energy residual within the materials constituting that System that is NOT directly involved in the production of the processes of Turbulence within that System. In a System where-in the Mass of the most involved materials contained is proportioned in kilogramsx10^24, then alterations to Turbulence within those materials WILL release (or uptake) vast amounts of Kinetic Energy, and that this will then be observed as a RISE (or DECLINE) in the measured 'temperature' of the System with NO NEED for alteration of the RATE of overall 'new' Kinetic Energy production. Interaction of Oceanic (slower) and Atmospheric (faster) process will see the style of variation of TEMPERATURE seen so far.

    Alterations to the processes of Turbulence produce alteration in those observable events there-in linked with 'Weather' being such a 'Set' of observable effects. As such in the context of reading 'global warming due to greenhouse effects inducing unnatural climate alterations' being relevant to the "Katrina event" as your meaning then "EliRabett", there is then not ANY 'probability' of such at all.

    As an aside, realise that the NUMBER of immigrants not officially noticed within the USA is much higher, as is the Population overall, than that of Canada. This will alter trends in determinations regardful of overall linguistic/literacy abilities (the 'unofficial' entries hiding their 'illegalities'). There is also little of relevance to 'climate' with such topical discussions.

    Your's,
    Peter K. Anderson a.k.a. Hartlod(tm)
    From the PC of Peter K Anderson
    E-Mail: Hartlod@bigpond.com
    (*) - http://hartlod.blogspot.com/

     
  • At September 06, 2006 8:55 PM, Blogger EliRabett said…

    Sorry Peter, I know PC when I see it.

     
  • At September 08, 2006 5:39 AM, Blogger Peter K. Anderson said…

    No need to apologise 'EliRabett', P(olitical)C(orrectness) is all that 'greenhouse rhetoric' survives on and so we are all very weary 'PC'... The other issue is the 'shaping' of 'statistics', not only in their production (as with 'proxy') but in the rhetorical presentations in way of 'explanations & interpretation' by 'consensus'.

    There is not any valid link to 'CO2 sources' thus made in supposition within 'greenhouse science' and there is also NOT the 'valid link' of 'CO2' to any possible warming process. If you notice the reality of the warmer ocean surface (slides in link * below), you will see that this trend follows the present Land Surface rise in 'shape' even, lagging by 15 years due to the productions of Conduction and Convection transporting that Kinetic Energy TO the Ocean Surface whilst the muting of that displayed trend is due to internal production of Turbulence in the Ocean surface as reaction to those inputs of Kinetic Energy (this trend is seen in plots at the link * below). There is nothing UNNATURAL in the production of the 'Katrina Event' (as example) that can contain ANY result of 'greenhouse supposition', and ONLY the cumulative effect from the production of Human Habitat Sprawl upon the land surface (related to Human Population growth in its rapid rise from 500 Million to over 6 Billion in ~400 years) can be seen (again with slides in *).

    When 'temperature' is mentioned, realise that the 'temperature' of a System is that Kinetic Energy residual within the materials constituting that System that is NOT directly involved in the production of the processes of Turbulence within that System. In a System where-in the Mass of the most involved materials contained is proportioned in kilogramsx10^24, then alterations to Turbulence within those materials WILL release (or uptake) vast amounts of Kinetic Energy, and that this will then be observed as a RISE (or DECLINE) in the measured 'temperature' of the System with NO NEED for alteration of the RATE of overall 'new' Kinetic Energy production. Interaction of Oceanic (slower) and Atmospheric (faster) process will see the style of variation of TEMPERATURE seen so far.

    Combusting Coal is not in itself dangerous, particulate reduction and removal of real pollutants is very common and undertaken 'as a matter of course' certainly here in Australia under control of legislation and regulation (this has been so for years also). There is more than enough Coal to last centuries there is NOT any actual shortage of Oil either (just supply/production issues due to lack of investment in new infrastructure) and transition to Bio-FuelOils will readily supplement and eventually REPLACE 'Fossil derived Fuel', it will be more readily made and cheaper also.

    These Bio-FuelOils can also power the TURBINES used to generate ELECTRICITY and so 'coal utilities' could be removed eventually with also reduction in potential needed use for Uranium/ This is as the constant effort to OPINION 'renewable sources' overlooks that these have NOT been able to produce the Electricity that is needed AND is otherwise generally produced with Coal or Gas fuelled Utilities. "Wind Farms producing 20 MW cannot replace even a single 1000 MW Coal fired Turbine. It is only needed to notice the actual outputs, and also realise that these 'renewables' utilities output requires rectification before input to the distribution Grid, so the REAL power additions to the Grid from these 'renewables' is even LESS than the oft mentioned RATED 'renewable outputs'. A pretty picture and opinion will NOT produce electricity, and it is NOT sufficient to nominate the Cost per kW as a suitable statistic (see above), 'Cheap but Inadequate' isn't a suitable & VALID remediation.

    It is NOT possible for a 'greenhouse warming process' to even have been existent; the 'greenhouse effect' is inconsistent with the materials it involves as these materials present their ACTUAL behaviours, this is inclusive of those materials presented on the surface as well as with those 'bio-forms' of surface life as they exist NOW. It is NOT possible for the 'greenhouse theory' to produce in reality a 'warming effect' as it is supposed, with manipulation of Energy within the 'Infrared Region' with regard to the real materials present (including those materials involved/contained in 'life forms'. There is thus NO REASON to deny the Population sufficient Electricity, Water or TRANSPORT simply to satisfy the PC opinion of a very few set of lobbyists.

    Your's,
    Peter K. Anderson a.k.a. Hartlod(tm)
    From the PC of Peter K Anderson
    E-Mail: Hartlod@bigpond.com
    (*)- http://hartlod.blogspot.com/

     

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