Climate science is real, says American Meteorological Society

Rush Limbaugh says that global warming is not science, but a hoax.

Response:

Limbaugh is mistaken. Climate scientists have concluded that the world is heating up, burning fossil fuels is the main cause, and if the world does not stop the burning, we will suffer worse and worse weather catastrophes.

Limbaugh quotes Joe Bastardi, who is not a climate scientist, but a meteorologist, a weather forecaster, who has publicly questioned climate science. However, the professional organization for his profession does not support his skepticism.

The American Meteorological Society issued a statement this past August saying that “the Warming of the climate system now is unequivocal, according to many different kinds of evidence. Surface temperature data for Earth as a whole, including readings over both land and ocean, show an increase of about 0.8°C (1.4°F) over the period 1901–2010….”

“It is clear from extensive scientific evidence that the dominant cause of the rapid change in climate of the past half century is human-induced increases in the amount of atmospheric greenhouse gases, [of which the most ] important … is CO2, whose concentration in the atmosphere is rising principally as a result of fossil-fuel combustion and deforestation.”

 

Costs of global warming

An article in the WSJ describes how ‘Much of Sandy’s Flood Damage to be Covered by Cash-Strapped Federal Program’

Response

In 1980, when the science of climate change moved from theory to reality, people said, ‘Well, we’ll have to do something.’ In 1990, the threat still seemed quite distant, the predicted melting of ice caps, floods, storm surges, sea level rise, droughts and forest fires. By 2000, the temperature of the Earth was rising faster than predicted, the Arctic was melting away, and changes in sea currents and tundra methane indicated that ‘tipping points,’ changes in natural functions of the Earth with potential for widespread destruction of basic life systems, might be starting. Many nations, US states, and municipal governments began to shift to more efficient use of energy and increasing use of green technology like wind, wave and solar power. However, the US Congress failed to act.

Billions in damage claims from this storm will be born by taxpayers, more costs will never be recovered, and many lives were lost.

Data shows that the frequency of heavy downpours (defined as the top 1 percent of rainfall events) has increased by almost 20 percent on average in the U.S, as a result of climate change over the past 50 years. Severe weather events will increase for several   decades, even after we stop burning fossil fuels.  It takes decades after release of excess CO2 for it to raise the temperature of the huge Earth. So the planet’s temperature will keep rising for at least another 20 years, and then stay high for  centuries.

It is time to deal with the problem.

The corporations selling the oil, coal and natural gas, the fossil fuels that emit the carbon dioxide (CO2) that is the main cause of this imbalance in the climate, have failed to coordinate an appropriate response. Responsible corporate behavior would be to shift their investments and production into geothermal, wind, solar, battery, algae fuel, smart grids, efficiency technology, and other products that could replace the burning of the fossil fuels. With a few insignificant exceptions, they have not done this.

Isn’t it time for the federal government to protect us from increasing damages from overheating the climate. A tax on carbon that increases every year would give the petroleum industry a measured incentive to shift to production of green technology.

We do not have to keep burning fossil fuels. We can reduce US energy use by 20% just with regulations requiring buildings to be more energy efficient.   Wind and solar electricity are already cost competitive in many places and smart grids can handle different and new energy sources. Worldwide demand for solar technology is surging. America has the engineering and entrepreneurial expertise to create a new industrial base of green energy that can out-compete fossil fuel, revitalize our economy and protect our shores.

Why not export green technology?

The Port of Los Angeles is holding classes on exporting American products according to a WSJ report.

Response:

Green energy is the export opportunity of the century. Solar and wind electricity are competitive in many places already, and substantially cheaper than conventional options in underdeveloped areas.

Southeast Asia is a new growth market for solar PV according to speakers at a Bloomberg leadership forum.  Thailand installed 219 MW by the end of 2011 and aims to install 2GW more. Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia are taking steps to increase solar power.

India awarded contracts for 350 MW solar last December and is auctioning contracts for 20,000 MW more. A US solar panel maker is building solar capacity for utilities in the Middle East and Australia with sophisticated technology for integrating facilities with current networks.

If the US redirected some of the billions that we spend to defend foreign supplies of oil, and for cleaning up spills, and for covering businesses and homes against increasing climate related disaster into support for new clean energy industries, perhaps that would inspire corporations to invest more in American green manufacturing.

Fossil fuels supply 85% of US energy. Isn’t it time to let competitive American enterprise provide some alternatives that will get the prices down, and win new customers for American goods?

Add pollution to cool the Earth?? No, No geoengineering

British scientists have decided not to experiment with  shading the Earth with sulfur dioxide particles, a form of geoengineering, at least not just now.

Response:

Good!  This geoengineering experiment seems like someone wrapping duct tape around their mouth to try to stop smoking. Way too risky, too many unplanned consequences, and does not deal with the problem.

Sulfur dioxide is a polluting chemical that is bad for peoples’ lungs, corrodes buildings, and makes soils and lakes more acid. We should not make our biosphere even more acid.  The excess carbon dioxide that we are adding to air by burning oil, coal and natural gas is already turning the oceans more acid and killing coral, shellfish, and tiny creatures that feed the fish we eat.

Also, the process would not solve the problem, but only mask it.  If sprinkling sulfur dioxide in air did cool the Earth, as soon as that stopped, the temperature would shoot way up.

We know that getting more energy efficient, switching to clean energy instead of burning fuel that emits warming gases, and conserving forests would halt the increasing warming of the globe.  These are the steps we need to take.  Geoengineering would give people a false sense of security and delay us from taking the measures that we know will work.

A 7 year old zoologist

Listen to Olivia

Flood report all wet

KING 5 Weather Minds answered the question, “Why have we had so many 100 year floods?” with nary a whisper about  climate change, instead implying that it is just natural variability.

Response:

“The frequency of heavy downpours has increased by …about 12 percent in the Pacific Northwest,” according to Washington State’s Integrated Climate Response Strategy.  As for “Future projections: Climate models project an increased risk for more frequent extreme precipitation in the Northwest by the second half of the 21st century,….in the Seattle-Tacoma area, the magnitude of a 24-hour storm is projected to increase 14 to 28 percent during the next 50 years”

Communities deserve accurate media reports on the increasing danger to our civilization of continuing to burn fossil fuels so that we can better appreciate the opportunities for a more prosperous economy with efficiency technology and clean energy.

Pseudo-science of climate change skeptics

A WSJ book reviewer quotes from Pseudo-Science Wars by Michael D. Gordin. “[W}hen mainstream science is attacked in politically credible ways, the danger comes not from the fringe of outsiders—who will always come and go, like bright, streaming comets—but from the inside, in the form of credentialed scientists at mainstream institutions who lend their prestige to, say, Big Tobacco or to energy companies fueling climate-change skepticism.” Comments express skeptic views.

Response:

The climate science data  shows that  rising levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) traceable to burning fossil fuels correlate with rising temperatures. The effect of increased CO2 takes a couple decades to appear, because the oceans are so huge; it takes a while to warm the Earth. So the increased evaporation, flooding, drought, fires, insect infestation, melting Arctic ice and other climate related events happening now are the result of warming gases released 20 years ago.  We will continue to see increasing climate damage for several decades after we switch to green energy.

The agency that put a module on Mars tells us that 2009 was the second warmest year since 1880, NASA reported , and that 2000 to 2009 was the warmest decade on record.

Should an individual with a deadly and highly contagious disease be allowed to carelessly infect other people? If, as is true with climate science, 98% of scientists with relevant expertise think the risk of danger is high, then what is the individual’s responsibility?

The good news is that the alternative to global warming is a phenomenal opportunity.

BNEF reports that in “more and more markets rooftop solar power is cheaper than daytime retail energy prices.”  Wind turbines, batteries and all other clean energy equipment costs are lower than just a few years ago and still dropping.  US taxpayers spend $83 billion /year to police the straits of Hormuz to protect oil shipments to China, and we spend $350 billion a year on foreign oil.  We can have a stronger economy, more exports, higher employment, and  reduce water scarcity  by getting the energy industries to  industrialize green technology and leave oil, coal and natural gas in the ground.