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From: Wharf Rat1/27/2012 11:37:05 PM
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NASA Video Illustrates 130 Years of Global Warming: Hansen Expects New Global Temperature Record Within 3 Years

By Stephen Lacey on Jan 27, 2012 at 10:57 am

In 1880, when modern global temperature records began, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were at 285 parts per million. In 2011, they are were over 390 parts per million. That has trapped a lot of extra energy on earth — see “ The Radiative Forcing of the CO2 Humans Have Put in the Air Equals 1 Million Hiroshima Bombs a Day.”

As we’ve spewed greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere at at a faster pace, global temperatures have accelerated upward, particularly since the 1970's. To illustrate this rise, NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies released this fascinating video of 131 years of temperature records edited into a 30-second video.

“We know the planet is absorbing more energy than it is emitting,” said GISS Director James E. Hansen. “So we are continuing to see a trend toward higher temperatures. Even with the cooling effects of a strong La Niña influence and low solar activity for the past several years, 2011 was one of the 10 warmest years on record.”

Hansen said he expects record-breaking global average temperature in the next two to three years…. “It’s always dangerous to make predictions about El Niño, but it’s safe to say we’ll see one in the next three years,” Hansen said. “It won’t take a very strong El Niño to push temperatures above 2010.”

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From: Glenn Petersen1/29/2012 11:30:02 AM
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h/t Mark J. Perry

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (35151)2/3/2012 3:33:26 PM
From: Land Shark
of 36177
Warren Buffett Exposed: The Oracle of Omaha and the Tar Sands

On January 23, Bloomberg News reported Warren Buffett's Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF), owned by his lucrative holding company Berkshire Hathaway, stands to benefit greatly from President Barack Obama’s recent cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline.

If built, TransCanada's Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline would carry tar sands crude, or bitumen (“ dilbit”) from Alberta, B.C. down to Port Arthur, Texas, where it would be sold on the global export market.

If not built, as revealed recently by DeSmogBlog, the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side, and could include increased levels of ecologically hazardous gas flaring in the Bakken Shale, or else many other pipeline routes moving the prized dilbit to crucial global markets.

Rail is among the most important infrastructure options for ensuring tar sands crude still moves to key global markets, and the industry is pursuing rail actively. But transporting tar sands crude via rail is in many ways a dirtier alternative to the KXL pipeline. “Railroads too present environmental issues. Moving crude on trains produces more global warming gases than a pipeline,” explained Bloomberg.

A key mover and shaker behind the push for more rail shipments is Warren Buffett, known by some as the “Oracle of Omaha” — of " Buffett Tax" fame — and the third richest man in the world, with a net worth of $39 billion. With or without Keystone XL, Warren Buffett stands to profit enormously from multiple aspects of the Alberta Tar Sands project. He also, importantly, maintains close ties with President Barack Obama.

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To: Wharf Rat who wrote (35150)2/3/2012 3:38:18 PM
From: Land Shark
of 36177
Coal-Powered PAC Runs Harassment Campaign Against Climate Scientist Michael Mann

by Brad Johnson, cross-posted with permission from ThinkProgress.

A coal-industry astroturf group is running a public campaign to harass Pennsylvania State University climate scientist Michael Mann for his “radical agenda” of climate science. The Common Sense Movement/Secure Energy for America Political Action Committee (CSM/SEAPAC) has established a website asking people to criticize the Penn State Speakers Forum for allowing Michael Mann to speak about the climate change challenge. “ Join us in calling on the administration to disinvite the disgraced academic,” the group says on its Facebook page.

On the webpage, CSM/SEAPAC accuses Mann of “manipulating scientific data to align with his extreme political views on global warming”:

On February 9th, the Penn State Forum Speaker’s Series is featuring Professor Michael Mann in a speech regarding global warming. This is the same professor who is at the center of the ‘Climategate’ controversy for allegedly manipulating scientific data to align with his extreme political views on global warming. Join us in calling on the administrators of Penn State to end its support of Michael Mann and his radical agenda.

The suggested text for the letter to editor says Mann is “conspiring with his left-wing cronies to intimidate and silence those who would dare to question his intentions,” tarring Mann with “questionable ethics” and “extreme political activism.”

Read more: Coal-Powered PAC Runs Harassment Campaign Against Climate Scientist Michael Mann

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To: Land Shark who wrote (35153)2/6/2012 2:53:55 PM
From: Land Shark
of 36177
6 February 12 Here We Go Again – Republican Attacks On EPA Kick Off 2012 Agenda

With the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set to finally enact stricter air pollution standards in accordance with the Clean Air Act and two subsequent U.S. Supreme Court decisions requiring them to do so, powerful Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are working to make sure that the new standards never see the light of day. The specific measures being targeted are the EPA’s new standards for carbon emissions from power plant smoke stacks.

Fred Upton (R-MI), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, along with Republicans Joe Barton (TX) and Ed Whitfield (KY) sent a letter last week to the White House, demanding that the Obama administration take action to stop the EPA from regulating carbon emissions from power plants.

From their letter:

We are concerned about the regulation’s impact on jobs and the economy, and that it will not comply with all applicable Executive Orders…

In this rulemaking, EPA may be seeking to do precisely what Congress and the American public rejected in the last Congress. The Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade legislation from the 111th Congress would have significantly raised the cost of energy and driven US jobs overseas.

We ask for your help in supporting policies that will encourage economic growth and job creation rather than additional costly regulations that will raise new barriers to job creation and burden struggling businesses and families.
The three men certainly know how to include the buzzwords that appeal to American citizens – jobs, economy, raising energy prices – but when put through the truth test, their claims simply don’t hold up. For example, enacting the new standards has the opposite effect on the job market – it would create tens of thousands additional jobs for American workers, not destroy them. The conservative Heritage Foundation has also been beating the drum about regulations raising energy costs, which could actually happen. However, any rate increases would be a corporate decision, not a government decision. The electric energy industry in America currently generates $370.5 billion a year in revenue, with an average revenue of $9.88 per KwH sold. With the national average to produce a kilowatt hour of electricity being around 10 cents, that leaves the company a profit of more than $9 per Kwh of electricity sold, meaning that any rate increases are the result of protecting profits, not because they can’t afford the increase.

So why are these Republicans trying to dismantle the work of the EPA? Simple – they are in the pockets of the dirty energy industry. Fred Upton has received more than $640,000 from electric utilities over his career, and an additional $308,000 from oil and gas. Joe Barton has a combined total of more than $3 million from electric utilities and oil and gas over the course of his career. And Ed Whitfield has gotten more than $600,000 from the two sectors during his tenure in Washington. All of these men have a direct financial stake in the profitability of the dirty energy industry. After all, the more money these companies spend on complying with new standards, the less they have to purchase politicians in Washington.

These latest attacks on the EPA and the environment are not a surprise. In fact, the anti-environmental record of the US Congress over the last year was so awful that Democratic Congressmen Henry Waxman, Edward Markey, and Howard Berman prepared a report last December detailing the numerous ways in which the 112th Congress earned the reputation as the most anti-environmental Congress in history:

House Republicans have repeatedly voted to undermine basic environmental protections that have existed for decades. They have voted to block actions to prevent air pollution; to strip the Environmental Protection Agency of authority to enforce water pollution standards; to halt efforts to address climate change; to stop the Department of the Interior from identifying lands suitable for wilderness designations; to allow oil and gas development off the coasts of Florida, California, and other states opposed to offshore drilling; and to slash funding for the Department of Energy, including funding to support renewable energy and energy efficiency, by more than 80%.

The House of Representatives averaged more than one anti-environmental vote for every day the House was in session in 2011. Of the 770 legislative roll call votes taken in the House this year, 22% – more than one out of every five – were votes to undermine environmental protection. During these roll calls, 94% of Republican members voted for the anti-environment position, while 86% of Democratic members voted for the pro-environment position.

The Environmental Protection Agency was the most popular target of House Republicans. Of the 191 anti-environment votes, 114 targeted EPA; 35 targeted the Department of the Interior; and 31 targeted the Department of Energy.
And that was just in their first year. Imagine what they can accomplish the next round of elections this coming November.

Image credit – MZ ChelleyCredible Blog

Farron Cousins's blog Login or register to post comments

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To: Land Shark who wrote (35154)2/8/2012 10:29:17 AM
From: Land Shark
of 36177
Speaking of ignorant filthy disgusting pigs:

Santorum Calls Global Warming a “Hoax,” Suggesting a Full-Fledged Climate Conspiracy Theory

Conservatism is a political philosophy that is, at its most fundamental, about resisting change.

So perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that an outrageous and absurd line uttered about global warming in 2003—Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe’s assertion that it is the “ greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people”—has not, nearly a decade later, been discredited on the right. Instead, this idea has persisted.

Indeed, the “hoax” charge was recently reiterated by Rick Santorum—who uttered it in Colorado on Monday en route to his three state primary triumph yesterday.

This raises at least two points for me that bear addressing:

Read more: Santorum Calls Global Warming a “Hoax,” Suggesting a Full-Fledged Climate Conspiracy Theory

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From: Wharf Rat2/8/2012 11:05:42 AM
of 36177
Michaels Misrepresents Nordhaus and Scientific Evidence in General
Posted on 9 February 2012 by Alex C

The Wall Street Journal’s 27 January 2012 climate change op-ed came under harsh and swift criticism for being signed by only two climate scientists and fourteen other non-climate scientists, criticism most notably demonstrated by a group of 38 climate scientists in a response letter that the Journal has agreed to publish (to its credit). Apparently this strong show from experts in the field has not stopped Dr. Patrick Michaels, though, from nailing his colors to the mast at Forbes, and both promoting misrepresentation of the research of another scientist - Professor William Nordhaus - and misinforming the public on the consensus of evidence in climate science.

Michaels continuing the misrepresentation of Dr. William Nordhaus Michaels starts his opinion piece by first contradicting another op-ed that appeared in the New York Times, written by Andrew Revkin. In his piece, Revkin cites an email exchange that he had with Sterling Professor of Economics at Yale University, Dr. William Nordhaus. For some quick background info, the Wall Street Journal op-ed stated:

A recent study of a wide variety of policy options by Yale economist William Nordhaus showed that nearly the highest benefit-to-cost ratio is achieved for a policy that allows 50 more years of economic growth unimpeded by greenhouse gas controls.

Nordhaus said in his exchange with Revkin,

The piece completely misrepresented my work. My work has long taken the view that policies to slow global warming would have net economic benefits, in the trillions of dollars of present value. […] I have advocated a carbon tax for many years as the best way to attack the issue.

Now one would think that a researcher would be aware of what his own research says. Michaels does not think so though, and goes on to explain how the WSJ op-ed authors know more about Nordhaus’ work than the man himself does, as is allegedly demonstrated in Nordhaus' book, A Question of Balance: Weighing the Options on Global Warming Policies. In his book, Nordhaus details the 2007 results of the DICE (Dynamic Integrated model of the Climate and Economy) model, which is an economic model that compares the costs of climate damages and mitigation policies, from the perspective of economic growth theory. He summarizes this in his first chapter:

In this approach, economies make investments in capital, education, and technologies, thereby abstaining from consumption today, in order to increase consumption in the future. The DICE model extends this approach by including the “natural capital” of the climate system as an additional kind of capital stock. By devoting output to investments in natural capital through emissions reductions, reducing consumption today, economies prevent economically harmful climate change and thereby increase consumption possibilities in the future. (p. 7)

The model ran a baseline scenario in which no action is taken, and projected present-value costs of such a course of (in)action. Nordhaus then had it run several more simulations, which are based around various climate policies that economies could work to implement.

Michaels cites the 16 signatories (who had responded to this accusation of misrepresentation themselves), who in turn cited Table 5.3 in Nordhaus’ book (p. 89), which gives the foregone costs from each policy (relative to the baseline scenario) and implementation costs, and a ratio between the two. In order, the policies with the highest benefits/costs ratios are:

Rank Climate policy option Ratio of Benefits
(relative to baseline) to Costs

1 Kyoto without USA 6.00 2 Limit to 2.5*pre-industrial CO2 (700 ppm) 2.43 3 "Optimal" (most efficient, optimistic) 2.42 4 50-year wait 2.38 The ratio is about 2% less than a general proposed carbon reduction plan (2.5xCO2), so there's not much of a difference between 50-year wait and carbon pricing policies (aside from the Kyoto agreement w/o USA involvement - this will be covered below, but Nordhaus starts to express his own conclusions of the Kyoto agreement likely being inefficient on page 17). It is not this ratio, however, that is the most important bit of data concerning this issue. The ratios are very similar, but what about the money actually saved? I could spend $1 to save $3 down the road, but I would much rather spend $10 to save $30. Indeed, Nordhaus had actually commented on this important aspect of climate policy in the first chapter of his book:

The results of this book emphatically point to the importance of designing cost-effective policies and avoiding inefficient policies. The term “cost-effective” denotes an approach that achieves a given objective at minimum cost. (p. 17)

Nordhaus also, earlier, gives a sneak peak at the quantitative results of the model runs:

The efficient climate-change policy would be relatively inexpensive and would have a substantial impact on long-run climate change. The net present-value global benefit of the optimal policy is $3 trillion relative to no controls. This total involves $2 trillion of abatement costs and $5 trillion of reduced climatic damages. Note that even after the optimal policy has been taken, there will still be substantial residual damages from climate change, which we estimate to be $17 trillion.


We found that for most of the climatic-limits cases, the net value of the policy is close to that of the optimal case. (p. 15)

So, how much do the benefits actually outweigh the costs? Here is that list, derived from numbers in Figure 5.3, but also observable in terms of total cost of each plan in Table 5.1 (p. 83):

Rank Climate policy option Savings = Benefits - Costs
1 Limit to 2.5*pre-industrial CO2 (700 ppm) 3.08 2 "Optimal" 3.07 3 Limit to 3°C 3.02 4 Limit to 2.0*pre-industrial CO2 (560 ppm) 2.67 5 50-year wait 2.14 ... ... ... 10 Kyoto without USA 0.10 Not only did the 50-year wait option fall short of a given carbon pricing plan ratio-wise when it came to benefits v. costs, it falls in fifth place amongst the list of policy options in net savings, almost a full trillion dollars less in savings.

Nordhaus himself states in his book "[o]ur modeling results point to the importance of near-universal participation in programs to reduce greenhouse gases," (p. 19). While not being wrong about their statements about the near-ideal ratio of benefits-to-costs of a 50-year wait policy, the 16 signatories were very wrong about their interpretation and presentation of Nordhaus' results, even though the results were explicitly stated in the book. That is careless. That they would maintain that they correctly represented Nordhaus’ own conclusions, even after he himself insisted they did not, is entirely unacceptable in a meaningful scientific debate; and Michaels should should not have so willingly supported these claims without first double-checking their validity.

When in doubt, turn to experts In addition to misreporting Nordhaus’ research, Michaels decided to attempt to address points brought up in Trenberth et al’s 38-signatory response letter. Dr. Trenberth analogized the commentary of the non-climate scientists in the WSJ op-ed on climate science issues to your dentist attempting to diagnose your heart condition. While both fields fall under the biomedical field of studies, neither is a specialist in the others’ field. This point is lost on Michaels though, who thinks that climate science can be generalized as “nothing more than applied physics.” While this denigration of the field only helps to elaborate on Trenberth’s analogy (cardiology and dentistry are, after all, both fields of medical study!), readers would be wary to not fall for this red herring. When faced with an issue, we consult experts in the relevant field; and when non-experts publish claims that greatly diverge from the consensus of evidence and experts in the field, we face those claims with high skepticism.

Climate sensitivity misinformation Michaels goes on to defend Dr. Richard Lindzen’s views on low climate sensitivity from Trenberth’s likening to extreme views in other fields, such as the idea that AIDS is not caused by HIV or that smoking does not cause cancer (analogies which Michaels thinks make Trenberth as a dentist commenting on cardiology… even though the contrary to those views indeed are the positions of the experts in those fields). Climate sensitivity is the climate's temperature response to a given radiative forcing (°C/W/m^2), and is typically expressed as the temperature response relative to the forcing from a doubling of CO2 (2xCO2). Lindzen has consistently promoted a low climate sensitviity, as low as <1°C/2xCO2. However, contrary to Michaels' assertion, the consensus of evidence does not support a low sensitivity, but instead the IPCC’s mean estimate of 3°C/2xCO2.

Figure 1: Distributions and ranges for climate sensitivity from different lines of evidence. The circle indicates the most likely value. The thin colored bars indicate very likely value (more than 90% probability). The thicker colored bars indicate likely values (more than 66% probability). Dashed lines indicate no robust constraint on an upper bound. The IPCC likely range (2 to 4.5°C) is indicated by the vertical blue shaded regions. Adapted from Knutti and Hegerl (2008).

We have additionally covered at SkS, on multiple occasions (such as here, here, and here), why Lindzen’s views on climate sensitivity are appropriately labeled “extreme.”

The Earth is still heating up Michaels spreads further misinformation in his response to Trenberth’s claim that warming has not abated in the past decade (as was claimed in the original WSJ op-ed). Both Michaels and the 16 WSJ signatories make the mistake that many “skeptics” do, which is to focus on short term time spans and ignore the underlying trend: trying to walk down an up escalator.

Figure 2: Still Going Down the Up Escalator ( NOAA NCDC Land-Ocean Data)

There are further problems with Michaels’ article on this issue, though.

Adding trends to data helps us see the trends For starters, we actually do have surface temperature records, not just satellite data from which surface temperatures can be estimated. NASA’s GISTEMP is perhaps the most comprehensive of the surface records, as it includes regions excluded by others (such as the polar Arctic, which is left out in HadCRUT3 for instance; the polar Arctic is also not included in the satellite data), and using the time interval Michaels chose, since 1997 we have seen warming of ~0.16°C. That’s simply not zero. Even when we apply a trend to the UAH satellite data over the 1997-present time period, which Michaels for some reason did not do, we see that the lower troposphere has warmed by about 0.145°C, again not zero.

Accounting for variation Furthermore, both the surface and troposphere temperature estimates are subject to the effects of exogenous factors – such as ENSO, or the solar cycle – that do not have a long term contribution to the temperature trend but which can affect short term data analysis (this is why it is generally not a good idea to pick small time frames when looking for trends). When these exogenous factors are accounted for, as Foster and Rahmstorf 2011 did, we see a continuation of the warming trend from the past several decades.

Figure 3: Foster and Rahmstorf (2011) - Figure 5 in-paper

Heat accumulating elsewhere, too Of course, the planet is not only defined by the atmosphere. Energy has not only been accumulating in the atmosphere, but also in other heat sinks as well, namely the ocean. In fact, Trenberth et al note as much in their letter:

And computer models have recently shown that during periods when there is a smaller increase of surface temperatures, warming is occurring elsewhere in the climate system, typically in the deep ocean.

This aspect of the climatic system, however, goes unmentioned in Michaels’ article. We indeed have confirmation of such heat accumulation, especially of accumulation in the very deep ocean (1500 meters) as shown by von Schuckmann and Le Traon 2011.

Figure 4: von Schuckmann and Le Traon (2011) - Figure 5 (middle) in-paper

What we see in the spread of evidence is that the Earth continues to warm up, and that claims that the Earth has stopped warming since “year X” are without foundation.

The importance of addressing misinformation The public deserves to be well informed of the accepted science in any field. Climate scientists like Trenberth et al perform a service to the public (not to mention the credibility of their own profession) by addressing misinformation as promulgated in the WSJ op-ed, and by standing up for the consensus of evidence. The consensus of evidence tells us that global warming is happening, that it is now almost entirely human-driven and that it will cost us down the road unless we start to take action now to address it. Just like we need our cardiologists to tell us when our heart is at risk, we need our climate scientists to step up and speak out. It is telling how Michaels feels about such confrontation from his concluding statement:

All of which goes to show that when climate scientists engage each other, the waste heat probably does contribute to an increment of global warming.

It’s not quite often that we hear from “skeptics” that climate scientists shouldn’t engage each other, or other people (it's shocking to think that such a statement came from a climate scientist in the first place). However, as long as “skeptics” continue to spread misinformation, especially when they are not experts in the field, that is exactly what they should expect and be prepared for. And as long as Dr. Michaels chooses to continue misinforming others himself - and more reprehensibly, to continue to misrepresent the research of other scientists - he too should expect to be called out by people paying attention.

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To: Wharf Rat who wrote (35156)2/8/2012 11:08:39 AM
From: Wharf Rat
of 36177
Michaels though, who thinks that climate science can be generalized as “nothing more than applied physics.”'s planetary physiology.

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To: Wharf Rat who wrote (35157)2/8/2012 11:23:16 AM
From: Land Shark
of 36177
Those guys don't know how to extract the signal out of the mix of noise. They interpret noise being a signal... They amplify it in the media. Noise, noise, noise.

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To: Land Shark who wrote (35158)2/8/2012 11:48:11 AM
From: Wharf Rat
of 36177
Mostly what they know is how to extract BS from their butts. They are very good at it, tho.

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