The Consequences of Global Climate Change on the Science ItselfMichael J. Economides and Xina Xie ©2008
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“…the energy wealth and poverty of nations has replaced industrialization as the defining national quality.”
The New Energy Economy Carbon content: High Medium Low (Zero) • Wood (1800s) • Coal • Oil • Natural Gas • Hydrogen (envisioned) • Increasingly: • Clean • Energy intensive • Technologically sophisticated • Distributed
There are no alternatives to hydrocarbon energy sources in the foreseeable future
What Climate Change? • Three points: • Highly politicized…. In the USA anti-industrial, anti-capitalist. Internationally: full frontal attack on the US • Confusion (at times deliberate) between “global warming” and man-made effects • Preposterous: “science all in”. My offer: $10,000 for ONE peer-reviewed paper showing causality between CO2 and increased temperature. None exists
The Snows of Kilimanjaro Kilimanjaro August 1973 Kilimanjaro July 2002
Alarmism not science • The Snows of Mt. Kilimanjaro • Lonnie Thompson, 2001, studied tropical ice caps, including Mt. Kilimanjaro, for two decades, and is “convinced that global warming has begun to make its mark on the planet” • On February 26, 2001, the New York Times reported that “to most mainstream scientists, the rapid erosion of Kilimanjaro's majestic ice cap, along with the steady retreat of mountaintop glaciers elsewhere, is further dramatic evidence of a relentless warming of the earth's atmosphere that cannot be explained by normal climate shifts and is at least partly traceable to the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil.”
Alarmism not science • The Snows of Mt. Kilimanjaro • In an interview on “Larry King Live” on CNN (June 13, 2006) Al Gore stated, “This is Mount Kilimanjaro, 30 years ago and last year. Within the decade, there will be no more snows of Kilimanjaro. This is really not a political issue so much as a moral issue. Temperature increases are taking place all over the world….” Kilimanjaro's shrinking ice cap was featured in his award-winning movie, “An Inconvenient Truth.”
Alarmism not science • The Snows of Mt. Kilimanjaro • An article in Nature on November 24, 2003 declared that global warming did not cause the disappearing of Kilimanjaro’s ice cap. “Although it’s tempting to blame the (Kilimanjaro) ice loss on global warming, researchers think that deforestation of the mountain’s foothills is the more likely culprit” • Climatologist John Daly also had a similar opinion: “What happens on Kilimanjaro will also be happening on countless mountains all over the world where forests on lower slopes have been replaced by open pasture.”
Alarmism not science • The Snows of Mt. Kilimanjaro • Michaels, 2004 “From 1953 through 1976, 21 percent of the original [ice cap] area was uncovered. This was during a period of global cooling – yes, cooling – of 0.13º F.…Around Kilimanjaro, satellite data show a cooling of 0.40º F since 1979. “What people may find surprising, however, is that in many instances the rate of glacier retreat has not increased over the past 70 years; and in some cases glacier mass balance has actually increased, all during a time when the atmosphere experienced the bulk of the increase in its CO2 content.” • Mote and Kaser, 2004: “ice loss on Kilimanjaro is driven strictly by solar radiation through sublimation… air near Kilimanjaro's summit is almost always well below freezing. "The decline is… associated with… sublimation and with an energy balance dominated by solar radiation, rather than by a warmer troposphere."
Alarmism not science • Hurricane intensity and occurrence • "The one thing I think we can say with a fairly high degree of confidence is the severity of the storms – they're gonna be more severe… The oceans of the Northern Hemisphere are the warmest they've been on record. When they get up in that temperature, they spin off hurricanes. Well, if it goes up another degree, it's gonna spawn these with more intensity."Bob Corell, CBS 60 Minutes, Feb. 19, 2006 • Professor Kerry Emanuel of MIT showed that hurricane intensity has doubled over the past 30 years and is linked to rising sea surface temperature. Nature, 2005
Alarmism not science • Hurricane intensity and occurrence • Webster et al., 2005, found that the number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes around the world has doubled over the past 35 years • Webster told National Geographic News, "I'm prepared to make an attribution to global warming." Sept. 15, 2005 • Santer et al., 2006, declared “that the recent increase in sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic and Pacific hurricane regions is due to human-caused global warming”
Alarmism not science • Hurricane intensity and occurrence • Landsea and his group, 2006 declared that pre-1990 hurricane data are not sufficiently accurate to determine historical trends in hurricane intensity. "Something is either wrong here, or there was no real change in Category 4 or 5 [storms.]“… if global data were better, the increase in intensity might be lower, if it exists at all” • Group led by Chunzai Wang, 2008 postulated that global warming may actually decrease the number of hurricanes that strike the United States because warming waters may increase vertical wind speed, or wind shear, cutting into a hurricane's strength.
Alarmism not science • Arctic and Antarctic Ice • In “An Inconvenient Truth,” Al Gore said: “The Arctic is experiencing faster melt. If this were to go, sea level worldwide would go up 20 feet [my emphasis]. This is what would happen in Florida. Around Shanghai – home to 40 million people; the area around Calcutta – 60 million. Here's Manhattan – the World Trade Center Memorial would be under water. Think of the impact of a couple hundred thousand refugees, and then imagine 100 million • Corell told CBS News (Aug. 6, 2006), "Right now the entire planet is out of balance.…This is a bellwether, a barometer. Some people call it the canary in the mine. The warning that things are coming….In 10 years here in the Arctic, we see what the rest of the planet will see in 25 or 35 years from now.” He said “all that water will raise sea levels three feet [my emphasis] higher globally within 100 years. “You and I sit here, another foot. Your children, another foot. Your grandchildren, another foot. And it won't take long for sea level to inundate.…Sea level will be inundating the low lands of virtually every country of the world, ours included.”
Alarmism not science • Arctic and Antarctic Ice • The IPCC observed that the global average sea level rose at an average rate of 1.8 mm per year from 1961 to 2003, and at about 3.1 mm per year from 1993 to 2003. The annual average extent of the Arctic sea ice has shrunk by 2.7 percent per decade since the study began. IPCC projected a sea level rise of 0.26 to 0.59 meter in the next 100 years by using the worst-case scenario – a CO2 concentration of 1550 ppm in the air, 2008. (This is 25 times less than the Al Gore claim).
Alarmism not science • Arctic and Antarctic Ice • Petr Chylek et al., 2006 found that “the current Greenland warming is not unprecedented in recent Greenland history.…Although there has been a considerable temperature increase during the last decade (1995 to 2005), a similar increase, a faster rate (50 percent higher) occurred during 1920 to 1930 when carbon dioxide… could not be a cause. “…we find no direct evidence to support the claims that the Greenland ice sheet is melting due to increased temperature caused by… atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide.” • In January 2008 the journals Nature and Science reported findings about Antarctic cooling and ice thickening. Nature reported that Antarctic has grown noticeably cooler since the mid-1980s, and that air temperature in the Antarctic for 14 years ending in 1999 declined by about 1F. Joughin and Tulaczyk… detected a net gain of 26.8 billion tons of ice per year.
Why it is never just science • Impact on society and economy • Major U.S. law firms are already tooling up with groups of attorneys that will either bring legal action on behalf of the public claiming damages from global climate change, or to defend those being sued. In September 2007, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi threw out a class-action suit brought against 26 energy companies for their role in the damage wrought by Hurricane Katrina. • In a recent conference, “Finding the Balance: Energy and Climate Summit” held October 8-10, 2007 at Teton Village, Wyoming, Prof. Geoff Heal of Columbia University discussed the insurance industry’s predicament should a 20-foot rise in sea level occur.
The cost is beyond any estimate • Consider this • Capturing and sequestering CO2 from today’s level to the forecast by 2030 will require roughly as many wells as drilled thus far and still operational in the entire oil and gas industry
Conclusion • There is little question that global warming has generated considerable scientific enquiry. Unfortunately science has been high jacked by political agendas and, in furthering these political agendas the potential impact has been exaggerated to contradictory and illogical conclusions that are intended to impress, primarily to cause alarm. The motives of some scientists surely must come into question.