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Climate Study: Global Warming Irreversible
Expert sees long legacy in emissions
By Jim Erickson, Rocky Mountain News
July 19, 2005
Even if carbon dioxide emissions were magically cut to zero today, future generations will feel the heat.
Because heat-trapping carbon dioxide gas lingers in the air for a century or more, our descendents will feel the effects of global warming even if dramatic steps are taken now to reduce emissions, said Susan Solomon, a Boulder atmospheric scientist.
"It's important to appreciate what our contributions to climate change imply, not just for our own lifetime but for our children and our grandchildren," said Solomon, who works for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Humans pump the equivalent of about 7 billion tons of carbon into the air each year in the form of carbon dioxide. Fossil-fuel combustion and deforestation are the main sources.
Even if all new emissions could be blocked - an obvious impossibility - it would take about a century to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide to levels that existed in 1975, Solomon and French colleague Pierre Friedlingstein report this week in "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."
Under this imaginary zero-emissions scenario, the remaining carbon dioxide would increase global temperatures about half a degree Fahrenheit over the next 30 years, according to the report, which relied on computer climate models.
The world's oceans, which are slow to respond to increased air temperatures, would add to the ongoing warming.
Solomon is best known for identifying the process that produces the Antarctic ozone hole.
She is one of two co-chairs of Working Group 1 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Established by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations in 1988, the panel periodically assesses the latest climate research and advises policymakers on the likely effects of climate change.
ericksonj@RockyMountainNews.com or 303-892-5129
You cant ignore global warming completly but neither can you say that emission of CO2 is the only cause of global warming.
Nobody knows how much of the present global warming trend might be a natural phenomenon. Actually the global temperatures have been rising since the 1850's after a 400 year cold spell known as the "Little Ice Age".
Nobody knows how much of the present global warming trend might be man-made.
Global Warming is also an example of Politicized Science. You cannot deny the fact that the issue of global warming is actually another way to stop the develping nations from growing.
global warming is inevitable you only need to look at bore samples from the north and south poles to recognise that fact. to say that global warming is reversible is to deny the nature of the earth, over time the earth warms, causes glacial melt and fresh water to be dumped into the oceans, the dilution of the salt water causes the gulf stream to be cut off and the water in the north refreezes to reinstate the balance, ie an ice age. eventually the ice age ends and the cycle of increased carbon dioxide from natural biological processes and geological processes such as volcanoes, continues eventually causing another global warming and another ice age. nature has its balance and we cant do anything about it, its a matter of decreased (due to mans technological development) time until the next ice age.
Originally Posted by hypocrite
We dont know how much these individuals or organizations are influenced or in other words funded to actually say that human activity is the cause for Global Warming.
Most enviromental principles have the effect of preserving the economic advantage of the west and thus constitute modern imperialism toward the developing world. It is a nice way of saying, "we got ours and we dont want to get yours, because you'll cause too much pollution."
To actually come to the conclusion that Global Warming is entirely due to human activity, you need to collect data beyond 18th century. The reason i'm saying this is that in someplaces as oppose to global warming we see global cooling. The trend of Global warming can also be part of a cycle.
However this does not mean that we should have an extreme view towards either of the theories. But as muslims we should have a moderate view. We should take steps to stop emitting CO2 not because of global warming, but because of the amount of pollution we release in to our enviroment.
Originally Posted by Makki
Politics plays climate 'hockey'
Last Updated: Monday, 18 July, 2005, 20:51 GMT 21:51 UK
Top scientists have reacted angrily to a US Congressman who has demanded to see the full financial and research records of three climate experts.
Millennial Northern Hemisphere (NH) temperature reconstruction (blue – tree rings, corals, ice cores, historical records) and instrumental data (red) from AD 1000 to 1999. A smoother version (black), and two standard error limits (grey) are shown. Source: IPCC Third Assessment Report
The Congressman, Joe Barton, says questions have been raised about a study the experts did on climate history and which is at the heart of the current understanding of global warming.
The dispute surrounds a pair of papers written by Michael Mann, Raymond Bradley and Malcolm Hughes at the end of the 1990s suggesting that the past decade was probably warmer than any other in the last one thousand years.
A graph from the papers, showing a sudden up-turn in temperatures in the 20th Century, has been dubbed the "hockey stick" diagram, and has become an icon of global warming.
As such, it has drawn much of the fire aimed at climate science from sceptics.
The strategy, in the words of one scientist, appears to be guilt by association: if the hockey stick is wrong, then other science indicating global warming must also be suspect.
Republican Congressman Joe Barton waded into the controversy late in June.
In his capacity as chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Mr Barton wrote to Mann, Bradley and Hughes.
He demanded they should send details from the whole of their careers, covering sources of funding, whereabouts of raw data, and full computer codes (see box).
His letters also talk of "methodological flaws", "data errors", and of questions about the authors' willingness to share their data.
To quote: "...in recent peer-reviewed articles in Science, Geophysical Research Letters, and Energy & Environment, researchers question the results of [the hockey stick] work. As these researchers find, based on the available information, the conclusions concerning temperature histories - and hence whether warming in the 20th Century is actually unprecedented - cannot be supported by the Mann et al studies... ".
Mr Barton also wrote to the chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which reproduced the hockey stick in its 2001 scientific assessment of global warming, and to the director of the National Science Foundation, which funds much of the climate science done in the United States.
The letters were also signed by the Republican chairmen of the Sub-committee on Oversight and Investigations - a body that has previously looked into the Enron and oil-for-food scandals.
The committee is concerned, the BBC was told, that a climate policy that could cost trillions of dollars must be seen to be based on solid data.
Request to withdraw
Many scientists have reacted with astonishment at the aggressive tone of the letters, and the extent of their demands.
Henry Waxman, a Democrat member of the committee, wrote to Mr Barton asking him to withdraw them.
"Some might interpret them as an attempt to bully and harass climate experts who have reached conclusions with which you disagree," he wrote.
Now, the three scientists are making their own formal responses.
Raymond Bradley, with only a hint of irony, welcomes the Congressmen's interest in "the basis for President George Bush's recent statement" acknowledging the consensus on global warming and mankind's role in it.
He adds that "it's absurd" to think the conclusion of the IPCC's assessment on global warming rested on any one figure or table.
Dr Bradley told BBC News he thought the intent behind the letters was to undermine confidence in the IPCC which is currently working on its next assessment due to be published in 2007.
Dr Thomas Crowley, of Duke University, whose own climate reconstructions resemble those of Mann et al argues there is a more general intent to intimidate climate researchers.
He warns about the direction Mr Barton's detailed requests could lead.
"For example, requests could be made to palaeontologists and molecular biologists for all data and files supporting evolution," he writes in EOS, the house journal of the American Geophysical Union.
"Likewise, radiochemists could be entrained into pseudo-scientific debate because of all the massive and magnificent geochronological data that have been gathered over the last few decades."
The issue became even more complex over the weekend when Representative Sherwood Boehlert, chairman of the House Committee on Science, declared a turf war with Mr Barton.
As well as saying the Committee on Energy and Commerce has no jurisdiction over climate science, he admonishes the intervention as "at best foolhardy", and argues that the tone of the original letters reflects on the committee's "inexperience" in matters of science.
And support for Mann, Bradley and Hughes has come from the American Association for the Advancement of Science; from the newly appointed president of the US National Academy of Sciences; from the European Geophysical Union; and from a clutch of individual experts, including Nobel Laureate Mario Molina.
But others are standing up for Congressman Barton. Myron Ebell, of the Competitiveness Enterprise Institute and a prominent global warming sceptic, told BBC News: "We've always wanted to get the science on trial", and "we would like to figure out a way to get this into a court of law", adding "this could work".
THE LETTERS' DEMANDS
- Comprehensive CV detailing all authored climate research
- List of grants or other financial support to pursue those studies
- Basis on which finance was obtained; any stipulations laid down or agreements sought
- Detailed catalogue of data archives, contents and location; including calculations and computer source codes used
Rep. Barton's harassment of scientists, disdain for fellow lawmakers a disservice
July 20, 2005, 1:27AM
The heart of science isn't quiet. Challenges to data, methodology and interpretation churn throughout the scientific process. Harassment of scientists, however, deserves no role in scientific inquiry. U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis, ignores this principle in his shameful hectoring of well-known climatologists.
Late last month, Barton requested mounds of documents from three scientists known for studying global warming. As chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Barton demanded detailed documentation of almost every aspect of hundreds of studies the scientists had penned.
He made a similar request to the head of the National Science Foundation, writing, "The term 'records' is to be construed in the broadest sense ... whether printed or recorded electronically or magnetically or stored in any type of data bank, including, but not limited to ... summaries of personal conversations or interviews ... diaries ... checks and canceled checks ... bank statements."
Barton gave the scientists 18 days to comply with the request, which he has the power to convert into a subpoena.
One recipient was University of Virginia researcher Michael E. Mann, whose studies suggest the Earth's climate has grown warmer in large part due to humans' use of fossil fuels. Mann co-authored a 2001 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Since then, numerous climate studies have supported Mann's original findings.
Partly because of its influence, Mann's early work still draws critiques from global-warming skeptics. Barton cited these critiques in his letter to Mann, adding "this dispute surrounding your studies bears directly on important questions about the federally funded work upon which climate studies rely."
The extraordinary scope of Barton's investigation has rightly appalled many scientists and lawmakers. The European Geosciences Union called the requests "burdensome and inappropriate." The director of the National Academy of Sciences vainly offered to appoint an independent panel to review the consensus on global warming claims.
A mark of the inappropriate nature of Barton's actions, a fellow Republican rebuked him in a public letter. U.S. Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Science Committee, warned Barton that his investigation was outside his committee's jurisdiction and showed "an insensitivity toward the workings of science [that] may reflect your Committee's inexperience in the areas you are investigating."
Calling Barton's precedent "truly chilling," Boehlert added, "My primary concern about your investigation is that its purpose seems to be to intimidate scientists rather than to learn from them."
Barton has responded to his critics with a bizarre tone unsuited to the subject's gravity. "We regret that our little request for data has given them a chill," his committee spokesman recently said.
Barton is right that global warming is a pressing and controversial issue — and tracking the use of federal funding is a worthwhile endeavor. In his indiscriminate mining for documents, however, Barton ignores the first steps of fact-finding: hearings, discussions with the scientists and reading the peer-reviewed and published papers in the field.
Given his indebtedness to the oil and power industries — from 1989-2004 he received more money from these industries that any other House member — Barton seems to be acting on motives other than a thirst for truth. This is a disservice to the nation. Harassing scientists is the wrong way to find answers to environmental questions that affect us all.
'Beyond Kyoto' Plan to Be Unveiled Soon
CNSNews.com) - The United States and its anti-Kyoto Protocol ally Australia are on the verge of announcing a new "beyond Kyoto" plan aimed at tackling climate change without jeopardizing economic development.
The project, news of which was leaked to a national daily newspaper in Australia, will reportedly include giant Asian polluters China and India as well as South Korea.
A key U.S. and Australian criticism of the Kyoto Protocol is the fact that it does not require developing countries to reduce their emissions of "greenhouse gases" -- CO2 and other pollutants blamed for climate change -- by specified amounts.
Citing that concern as well as the potential damage to their economies, Washington and Canberra have refused to ratify Kyoto, which came into effect last February.
The U.S. in particular has come under strong criticism from foreign governments and environmentalists for its stance.
The new alliance would bring together nations that account for more than 40 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, The Australian reported Wednesday. It said the Australian and Indian prime ministers discussed the plan with President Bush during their respective visits to Washington last week.
Asked at a press conference Wednesday about the report, Environment Minister Senator Ian Campbell confirmed that Australia had been "working on something that is more effective post-Kyoto."
It had been involved in discussions with "partners around the world" for the past 12 months on proposals, which he said "will be announced in the very near future."
Campbell declined to name the countries involved, but said that "the main target ... is to involve developing countries."
"Anything that's going to work in the future has to engage all major emitters."
Although he would not give details of the project, Campbell did say that drastically curbing emissions while meeting countries' growing energy needs would require "trillions of dollars of investment in technology."
"We know that this is the answer, we know that the Kyoto Protocol is a failure in terms of saving the climate - we have to do better," he said.
"We need to engage the big emitters, we need to engage the countries that have no commitments inside Kyoto, we need to ensure that we develop technologies that will see energy expand -- because we need more energy."
The news brought a flurry of strong reactions from Australian political parties and green groups supportive of Kyoto.
Kim Beazley, leader of the official opposition Labor Party, dismissed the reported new plan as "spin."
He urged Prime Minister John Howard to "sign the Kyoto Protocol immediately and stop mucking about."
Australian Greens party leader Bob Brown in a statement said the "secret pact" was driven by coal interests.
The countries reportedly involved in the plan included "four of the world's biggest coal producers -- China, USA, India and Australia," he said.
"This is all about taxpayers' money being diverted from developing clean renewable technologies to try to make burning coal less dirty."
Greenpeace energy campaigner Catherine Fitzpatrick accused the government of "skulking around making secretive, selective deals" instead of signing up to Kyoto.
Another environmental group, the Australia Conservation Foundation, took a different approach, saying it welcomed signs that Bush and Howard "are now recognizing that serious action is needed to tackle climate change."
Of the reported new plan, the organization's executive director Don Henry said: "Promoting new technologies is important but we also need tough targets to cut greenhouse pollution if we are to avoid the catastrophic consequences of climate change."
Global warming is a predecessor to global cooling which will occur after the planets magnetic field is lost, the ozone layer is gone and the atmosphere is stripped off of the planet.
It already happened to Mars, thus the intense interest in that planet.
Also, claiming Global warming is a political issue will condemn mankind. I envision that massive ionizers could restore the ozone layer if we put politics aside and start acting like a single race of people that care about our long term future (as opposed to short term political and financial gain.)
"I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them." -Isaac Asimov