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Thread: WSJ Climate Denial

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    Default WSJ Climate Denial

    The below is from the Wall Street Journal, not the Onion.

    May 8, 2013, 6:37 p.m. ET

    In Defense of Carbon Dioxide

    The demonized chemical compound is a boon to plant life and has little correlation with global temperature

    By HARRISON H. SCHMITT AND WILLIAM HAPPER

    Of all of the world's chemical compounds, none has a worse reputation than carbon dioxide. Thanks to the single-minded demonization of this natural and essential atmospheric gas by advocates of government control of energy production, the conventional wisdom about carbon dioxide is that it is a dangerous pollutant. That's simply not the case. Contrary to what some would have us believe, increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will benefit the increasing population on the planet by increasing agricultural productivity.

    The cessation of observed global warming for the past decade or so has shown how exaggerated NASA's and most other computer predictions of human-caused warming have been—and how little correlation warming has with concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide. As many scientists have pointed out, variations in global temperature correlate much better with solar activity and with complicated cycles of the oceans and atmosphere. There isn't the slightest evidence that more carbon dioxide has caused more extreme weather.

    The current levels of carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere, approaching 400 parts per million, are low by the standards of geological and plant evolutionary history. Levels were 3,000 ppm, or more, until the Paleogene period (beginning about 65 million years ago). For most plants, and for the animals and humans that use them, more carbon dioxide, far from being a "pollutant" in need of reduction, would be a benefit. This is already widely recognized by operators of commercial greenhouses, who artificially increase the carbon dioxide levels to 1,000 ppm or more to improve the growth and quality of their plants.

    Using energy from sunlight—together with the catalytic action of an ancient enzyme called rubisco, the most abundant protein on earth—plants convert carbon dioxide from the air into carbohydrates and other useful molecules. Rubisco catalyzes the attachment of a carbon-dioxide molecule to another five-carbon molecule to make two three-carbon molecules, which are subsequently converted into carbohydrates. (Since the useful product from the carbon dioxide capture consists of three-carbon molecules, plants that use this simple process are called C3 plants.) C3 plants, such as wheat, rice, soybeans, cotton and many forage crops, evolved when there was much more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than today. So these agricultural staples are actually undernourished in carbon dioxide relative to their original design.

    At the current low levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, rubisco in C3 plants can be fooled into substituting oxygen molecules for carbon-dioxide molecules. But this substitution reduces the efficiency of photosynthesis, especially at high temperatures. To get around the problem, a small number of plants have evolved a way to enrich the carbon-dioxide concentration around the rubisco enzyme, and to suppress the oxygen concentration. Called C4 plants because they utilize a molecule with four carbons, plants that use this evolutionary trick include sugar cane, corn and other tropical plants.

    Although C4 plants evolved to cope with low levels of carbon dioxide, the workaround comes at a price, since it takes additional chemical energy. With high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, C4 plants are not as productive as C3 plants, which do not have the overhead costs of the carbon-dioxide enrichment system.

    That's hardly all that goes into making the case for the benefits of carbon dioxide. Right now, at our current low levels of carbon dioxide, plants are paying a heavy price in water usage. Whether plants are C3 or C4, the way they get carbon dioxide from the air is the same: The plant leaves have little holes, or stomata, through which carbon dioxide molecules can diffuse into the moist interior for use in the plant's photosynthetic cycles.

    The density of water molecules within the leaf is typically 60 times greater than the density of carbon dioxide in the air, and the diffusion rate of the water molecule is greater than that of the carbon-dioxide molecule.

    So depending on the relative humidity and temperature, 100 or more water molecules diffuse out of the leaf for every molecule of carbon dioxide that diffuses in. And not every carbon-dioxide molecule that diffuses into a leaf gets incorporated into a carbohydrate. As a result, plants require many hundreds of grams of water to produce one gram of plant biomass, largely carbohydrate.

    Driven by the need to conserve water, plants produce fewer stomata openings in their leaves when there is more carbon dioxide in the air. This decreases the amount of water that the plant is forced to transpire and allows the plant to withstand dry conditions better.

    Crop yields in recent dry years were less affected by drought than crops of the dust-bowl droughts of the 1930s, when there was less carbon dioxide. Nowadays, in an age of rising population and scarcities of food and water in some regions, it's a wonder that humanitarians aren't clamoring for more atmospheric carbon dioxide. Instead, some are denouncing it.

    We know that carbon dioxide has been a much larger fraction of the earth's atmosphere than it is today, and the geological record shows that life flourished on land and in the oceans during those times. The incredible list of supposed horrors that increasing carbon dioxide will bring the world is pure belief disguised as science.

    Mr. Schmitt, an adjunct professor of engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was an Apollo 17 astronaut and a former U.S. senator from New Mexico. Mr. Happer is a professor of physics at Princeton University and a former director of the office of energy research at the U.S. Department of Energy.

    [IMc - For those who need a guide to what’s wrong here, please go to http://mediamatters.org/research/201...at-plan/193986 ]

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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    Unfortunately, the Luddites will read the C&P, but not the debunking at the link in the last line.
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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    I had to look up "Luddites" and it was a fascinating read including the modern application. In many areas I suppose I am a bit of a "Luddite" (I keep rebuilding 12 HP Kohler 301 engines) but in the area of global warming I don't see how anybody can realistically deny it.
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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    I read the debunking link. I absorb thoughts such as :
    While CO2 is an important element that stimulates plant growth, the planet's flora requires a cocktail of elements to maintain its health
    and think, "they're right!"

    Then I read on and the debunkers state:
    Arguably the most important of these elements is water. With the global increase in temperature caused by the various factors affecting our climate's balance, increased evaporation means decreased soil moisture.
    Now I think to myself, "yeah, well, won't evaporation lead to more precipitation? That's the earth science I was taught?"

    This is why I just can't get off the fence on this global warming issue. No one seems to be able to speak clearly and irrefutably...er, should I say... "nondebunkably."


    Kevin
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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    Quote Originally Posted by hanleyclifford View Post
    . . .in the area of global warming I don't see how anybody can realistically deny it.
    There are a number of media marvels, pundits, and quasi-scientists who are very well paid to do so. Isn't the Wall Street Journal (never a voice for environmental reform) owned by some Aussie fascist? Mudcock? The gruesome old bugger who owns Fox News.

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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip-skiff View Post
    There are a number of media marvels, pundits, and quasi-scientists who are very well paid to do so. Isn't the Wall Street Journal (never a voice for environmental reform) owned by some Aussie fascist? Mudcock? The gruesome old bugger who owns Fox News.
    It just shows that rich fascist swine and Fox News might not be right all of the time.
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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip-skiff View Post
    owned by some Aussie fascist? Mudcock?
    He's all yours now.

    Anyway (and this is for prevaricators like Kevin) plants don't grow on atmosphere alone. In fact the bulk of their mass is below the ground. This goes straight the the heart of the Dustbowl argument of the article: The soils were destroyed by appalling agricultural practises and striping the plants away that could cope with dry and variable conditions of that climate and ecosystem. Many, if not most, of our existing plants will also die in continually enriched carbon conditions.
    “For masterpieces are not single and solitary births; they are the outcome of many years of thinking in common, of thinking by the body of the people, so that the experience of the mass is behind the single voice.” Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    I read the debunking link. I absorb thoughts such as : and think, "they're right!"

    Then I read on and the debunkers state:

    Now I think to myself, "yeah, well, won't evaporation lead to more precipitation? That's the earth science I was taught?"

    This is why I just can't get off the fence on this global warming issue. No one seems to be able to speak clearly and irrefutably...er, should I say... "nondebunkably."


    Kevin
    There seems to be a tipping point...

    Water vapor in the atmosphere acts as a greenhouse gas compounding the problem.
    Also where would the increased precipitation occur and in what form, since the Earth's surface is mostly water?
    Think about what happens in the desert, it rains like he!! here for 3 months during the monsoon. But the ground is so hot and dry, and the rain so intense, it washes away whatever topsoil there may be, and what doesn't run off evaporates as soon as the sun comes out. I'm from back east, so I got to see this as new and kind of freaky

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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    Thing is, more water vapour in the atmosphere = more clouds = less insolation.

    Up to a point.

    Andy
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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    Quote Originally Posted by Norman Bernstein View Post
    Unfortunately, the Luddites will read the C&P, but not the debunking at the link in the last line.
    I wouldn't call their citations "debunking" as much of what they say uses computer modeling and inference too. However I would say that it does contradict the conclusions of the WSJ opinion piece. FYI: All the references to "ominous rise" in temperature are using 2010 data, and there are some recent data that suggest that temperatures have unexpectedly plateaued in contradiction to all the computer models. The problem is that climate change needs to be measured in centuries and we are breaking it down by decade and even year to make conclusions. Even how the temperature is measured and the readings historically calibrated to newer measurement techniques makes it difficult to compare temperature reading from as little as 100 years ago. I think science is making a good faith effort to manage all these variables, but that doesn't make the measurements or the prediction as certain as they would seem. Since we are talking about changes as little as 2 degrees centigrade, even the year one chooses to start and stop the measurement for statistical analysis can make a big difference.

    I guess I am a climate agnostic. It's not that I do not believe in man made climate change - I first learned about it on an Oceanography class in college in the 70's so it is hardly a new concept. I feel the evidence suggests climate change is occurring and that the cause (or perhaps part of the cause) is due to man's presence on the planet, but some of the "data" has turned out to be questionable especially the infamous "hockey stick" prediction. Add to that a series of emails from climatologists that suggest they are more intent on selling everyone of the existence of climate change and less interested in reporting the data and letting the reader draw their own conclusions. Add to that the "16 year plateau" in temperature and it leaves some question about this.

    Our climate is enormously complex - so much so that a good meteorologist cannot predict your weather more than 12-24 hours in advance with absolute certainty, and yet we are trying to determine if air or sea temperatures will be 2 deg C higher in 30 years and that by altering our behavior we can arrest this rise.

    So does that make me a Luddite? Your call.
    Last edited by Concordia 33; 05-13-2013 at 09:05 AM.
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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    The unknown effect of climate change are tipping points. Most people think of climate change as a slow steady tightening of the screw; what happens if it doesn't work that way. One decade you think you have a grasp on events, the next decade there is all sorts of hell to pay as a tipping point is breached and nature seeks equilibrium.

    I read once that evolution happens in spurts, and climate change may scarily be the same. And we are powerless to stop either, I think.
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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    Quote Originally Posted by Concordia 33 View Post
    Our climate is enormously complex - so much so that a good meteorologist cannot predict your weather more than 12-24 hours in advance with absolute certainty, and yet we are trying to determine if air or sea temperatures will be 2 deg C higher in 30 years and that by altering our behavior we can arrest this rise.

    So does that make me a Luddite? Your call.
    Complex? This is like predicting the growth and health of a young child. We can be reasonably certain the child will grow taller and heavier in the coming years but only a fool would precict that the child will not catch a cold in the the next 24 hours.

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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    Quote Originally Posted by hanleyclifford View Post
    It just shows that rich fascist swine and Fox News might not be right all of the time.
    I'm still trying to see the upside in assuming global warming is a hoax or the downside in assuming it is not a hoax.
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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    I remember a term from Geology class... punctuated equilibrium.

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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    Complex? This is like predicting the growth and health of a young child. We can be reasonably certain the child will grow taller and heavier in the coming years but only a fool would precict that the child will not catch a cold in the the next 24 hours.

    And yet your analogy is considerably less complex than the task understanding climate. Regarding your analogy, you can be no more "reasonably certain" of either growth or the catching of a cold.
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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    I read the debunking link. I absorb thoughts such as : and think, "they're right!"

    Then I read on and the debunkers state:

    Now I think to myself, "yeah, well, won't evaporation lead to more precipitation? That's the earth science I was taught?"

    This is why I just can't get off the fence on this global warming issue. No one seems to be able to speak clearly and irrefutably...er, should I say... "nondebunkably."


    Kevin
    Climate science is a very complex study of a multitude of disciplines. Ask me individual questions and I'll try and provide some answers if you are interested. One thing at a time tho lest we get bogged down right off the bat.

    cheers
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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyG View Post
    Thing is, more water vapour in the atmosphere = more clouds = less insolation.

    Up to a point.

    Andy
    thats not quite how it works Andy. Water vapor is a different form of matter than clouds are , Clouds are condensed vapor, the liquid form of water. The two act very differently. Water vapor has the right size and shape to reflect certain wave lengths of energy, clouds effect a different range of wave lengths. So the two have distinctly different effects within the climate system.

    Vapor, including water vapor is the byproduct of temp variations in the environment, see Boyle's laws. Clouds form due to a number of different influences not just vapor content.

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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    Condensation, in turn, is influenced by topography (look up adiabatic lapse rate) and the presence of particle nuclei in the atmosphere.

    What can be boggling is to try to define a trend globally: the scale is too large. What strikes me is the way local and regional climate measures have gone crazy in the last few years: the ranges of temps, precip, etc. are generally greater. The intensity of weather events has increased. Dry is drier. Hot is hotter. Wet is wetter. More thermodynamic energy in the system, I think, and steeper gradients.

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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    ...and they wouldn't occur at all if there was no vapour content. Do you maybe sense a link there?

    Meanwhile, I know what clouds are: living here in Scotland I've seen one or two over the years.

    Andy
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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    well done Chip

    see
    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_...gure3-22-l.png

    From
    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_...3s3-4-3-1.html


    Andy once again clouds are influenced by a number of factors, not just vapor content. The fact that more aerosols are being injected into the atmosphere, the greater energy available due to larger regional variation in temps, there's a lot of reasons for the cloud cover trend.

    The reason I mentioned it was you mentioned more clouds = less insulation. Thats not how it works. Clouds can both trap heat and reflect sunshine, depends on what type of cloud.

    See
    http://www.google.com/url?q=http://w...09Uxn2k8aOsCAw

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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    I read the debunking link. I absorb thoughts such as : and think, "they're right!"

    Then I read on and the debunkers state:

    Now I think to myself, "yeah, well, won't evaporation lead to more precipitation? That's the earth science I was taught?"

    This is why I just can't get off the fence on this global warming issue. No one seems to be able to speak clearly and irrefutably...er, should I say... "nondebunkably."


    Kevin
    Yep.
    Same here the logic was ice age = low temperatures = a lot of water retained in the form of ice = a lot of deserts.
    On the other hand high temperatures = a lot of water vapour = a lot of rain = a lot of vegetation.

    I think it is eather cold = dry, or hot = wet.
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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    Again, your missing the point, its all about rate of change, not that things don't change or that various weather systems don't have similar charictoristics. Look at the graphs of historical CO2 levels and todays meteoric rise in CO2 levels. If you change the chemistry of the atmosphere to fast you end up with run away feedbacks that result in mass extinction. Its all over the paleo climate record to a lesser degree, but today, we're changing the chemistry much much faster than ever seen before.

    see
    http://www.johnenglander.net/sites/d...0420%20kyr.gif

    thing to remember about that graph is that CO2 is rising so fast that its not accurately depicting the present state of affairs. CO2 just topped 400.

    another thing about that type of graph is that in order for the resolution to be accurate you'd have to have a microscopically thin line going straight up to properly represent both CO2 and temp.
    Last edited by Boston; 05-13-2013 at 03:12 PM.

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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    Ask away, I'd be happy to try answer any questions you might have. Chip also did a great job pointing out some cloud dynamics as well, so I'm sure I'm not the only one who'd be happy to engage some of the issues those on the fence might have. Deniers on the other hand simply deny the science, but if your willing to take a rational look at the science, its pretty irrefutable.

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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    Quote Originally Posted by Boston View Post
    The reason I mentioned it was you mentioned more clouds = less insulation. Thats not how it works. Clouds can both trap heat and reflect sunshine, depends on what type of cloud.
    Let's not confuse insulation (i.e. decreasing thermal exchange across a temperature gradient) with insolation which is the energy input from solar radiation. Clouds influence both processes.

    The effect of clouds on insolation was demonstrated to me in a striking way when I was on a high glacier as the sun was covered and then revealed by patchy clouds. When the sun shone, all the meltwater streams on the glacier would start running higher, making quite a racket. When a cloud would pass, they'd quiet down within minutes: it was pretty fast-twitch.

    Thanks for the links: good discussion.

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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    Yikes, that was so long ago, I missed that completely, now I'm going to have to go look that up, thanks for the tip.

    OK I lucked out and used the correct term. But clouds do both, effect insolation and insulation. The energy that strikes the ground and the effect of clouds on radiant heat. If I got it right. Nice call Chip, I always appreciate it when someone can improve my information base on this particular subject. It was a long time ago I took climate studies, and its such a interdisciplinary science its hard to keep up.

    Cheers
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    Last edited by Boston; 05-13-2013 at 04:46 PM.

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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    Ok Boston, here's my first question. Thank you for your patience and indulgence.
    Its all over the paleo climate record to a lesser degree, but today, we're changing the chemistry much much faster than ever seen before.
    Are "we" changing the chemistry, or are we "adding to a changing" chemistry? If the latter, by how much?

    Thanks,

    Kevin
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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    perfectly reasonable question, we're dramatically changing a dynamic system would be my best answer. First I'd suggest looking at a graph of CO2 over the last half million years or so

    see
    http://www.johnenglander.net/sites/d...0420%20kyr.gif

    OK that vertical line on the right hand side representing recent additional CO2. Its actually slightly off. It should read 400, but the levels of CO2 are changing so fast this graph is just outdated even though its not even more than a few years old.

    the reason we can be assured that "all" of the additional CO2 is due to the burning of fossil fuels, rather than from the natural cycle is because CO2 has a fingerprint, where it comes from is actually pretty easy to determine. I've gone over it once but not very well I guess, lets try Gavin Schmidt's site, realclimate ( won best new scientific blog ) for a more in depth look at how science knows where the excess CO2 came from.

    See
    http://www.google.com/url?q=http://w...eVy-_ahjpfUqOA
    Another, quite independent way that we know that fossil fuel burning and land clearing specifically are responsible for the increase in CO2 in the last 150 years is through the measurement of carbon isotopes. Isotopes are simply different atoms with the same chemical behavior (isotope means “same type”) but with different masses. Carbon is composed of three different isotopes, 14C, 13C and 12C. 12C is the most common. 13C is about 1% of the total. 14C accounts for only about 1 in 1 trillion carbon atoms.
    CO2 produced from burning fossil fuels or burning forests has quite a different isotopic composition from CO2 in the atmosphere. This is because plants have a preference for the lighter isotopes (12C vs. 13C); thus they have lower 13C/12C ratios. Since fossil fuels are ultimately derived from ancient plants, plants and fossil fuels all have roughly the same 13C/12C ratio – about 2% lower than that of the atmosphere. As CO2 from these materials is released into, and mixes with, the atmosphere, the average 13C/12C ratio of the atmosphere decreases.
    Isotope geochemists have developed time series of variations in the 14C and 13C concentrations of atmospheric CO2. One of the methods used is to measure the 13C/12C in tree rings, and use this to infer those same ratios in atmospheric CO2. This works because during photosynthesis, trees take up carbon from the atmosphere and lay this carbon down as plant organic material in the form of rings, providing a snapshot of the atmospheric composition of that time. If the ratio of 13C/12C in atmospheric CO2 goes up or down, so does the 13C/12C of the tree rings. This isn’t to say that the tree rings have the same isotopic composition as the atmosphere – as noted above, plants have a preference for the lighter isotopes, but as long as that preference doesn’t change much, the tree-ring changes wiil track the atmospheric changes.
    Sequences of annual tree rings going back thousands of years have now been analyzed for their 13C/12C ratios. Because the age of each ring is precisely known** we can make a graph of the atmospheric 13C/12C ratio vs. time. What is found is at no time in the last 10,000 years are the 13C/12C ratios in the atmosphere as low as they are today. Furthermore, the 13C/12C ratios begin to decline dramatically just as the CO2 starts to increase — around 1850 AD. This is exactly what we expect if the increased CO2 is in fact due to fossil fuel burning. Furthermore, we can trace the absorption of CO2 into the ocean by measuring the 13C/12C ratio of surface ocean waters. While the data are not as complete as the tree ring data (we have only been making these measurements for a few decades) we observe what is expected: the surface ocean 13C/12C is decreasing. Measurements of 13C/12C on corals and sponges — whose carbonate shells reflect the ocean chemistry just as tree rings record the atmospheric chemistry — show that this decline began about the same time as in the atmosphere; that is, when human CO2 production began to accelerate in earnest.***
    In addition to the data from tree rings, there are also of measurements of the 13C/12C ratio in the CO2 trapped in ice cores. The tree ring and ice core data both show that the total change in the 13C/12C ratio of the atmosphere since 1850 is about 0.15%. This sounds very small but is actually very large relative to natural variability. The results show that the full glacial-to-interglacial change in 13C/12C of the atmosphere — which took many thousand years — was about 0.03%, or about 5 times less than that observed in the last 150 years.
    For those who are interested in the details, some relevant references are:
    Stuiver, M., Burk, R. L. and Quay, P. D. 1984. 13C/12C ratios and the transfer of biospheric carbon to the atmosphere. J. Geophys. Res. 89, 11,731-11,748.
    Francey, R.J., Allison, C.E., Etheridge, D.M., Trudinger, C.M., Enting, I.G., Leuenberger, M., Langenfelds, R.L., Michel, E., Steele, L.P., 1999. A 1000-year high precision record of d13Cin atmospheric CO2. Tellus 51B, 170–193.
    Quay, P.D., B. Tilbrook, C.S. Wong. Oceanic uptake of fossil fuel CO2: carbon-13 evidence. Science 256 (1992), 74-79
    Isotopic spectral analysis is not unique to climate studies either. The technique is used in all kinds of sciences and its very well established. So the fact that fossil fuel based CO2 has such a unique and easily spotted isotopic signature is one of the methods used to study the rising CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.

    Oh and at first they weren't sure where it was coming from. In the early parts of the previous century your question was not so easy to answer, but right about 1950 or 60 ish. a guy named Keeling discovered the link between rising levels of CO2 and the burning of fossil fuels.

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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    Quote Originally Posted by John Smith View Post
    I'm still trying to see the upside in assuming global warming is a hoax or the downside in assuming it is not a hoax.
    One reason people chose to doubt global warming is that the proposed solutions are very expensive and call for sacrifice by people. I think it is really that simple.

    Cheers,

    Bobby

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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    And yet it is nothing in comparison to the cost and sacrifice that we will face, should we keep to our present course.
    It's a well traveled road, unfortunately.

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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    Quote Originally Posted by Arizona Bay View Post
    And yet it is nothing in comparison to the cost and sacrifice that we will face, should we keep to our present course.
    It's a well traveled road, unfortunately.
    No argument here, it is just part of human nature.

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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    perfectly reasonable question, we're dramatically changing a dynamic system would be my best answer. First I'd suggest looking at a graph of CO2 over the last half million years or so

    see
    http://www.johnenglander.net/sites/d...0420%20kyr.gif

    OK that vertical line on the right hand side representing recent additional CO2. Its actually slightly off. It should read 400, but the levels of CO2 are changing so fast this graph is just outdated even though its not even more than a few years old.

    the reason we can be assured that "all" of the additional CO2 is due to the burning of fossil fuels, rather than from the natural cycle is because CO2 has a fingerprint...
    Thanks.

    So CO2 levels are some 25 percent higher than they have been in 500 million years and have risen in the shortest time period and we have evidence to show that burning fossil fuels ( man/we ) is the cause. Now some more questions.

    1. Is CO2 from burning fuel any different from CO2 produced by natural means?

    2. Quick Googling reveals that if we go back further in time, to some 15 million years ago, the CO2 levels were at the same height as today, according to core ice samples from Greenland and Antarctica. Yet we are here, the earth has thrived since then. The only apparent difference is that this time, the rise is occurring much faster...faster than ever before. How do we know the earth cant cope with such rapid change, when its never happened before?

    Kevin

    Edited: correct timeframe
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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    The earth will cope with it, many of the present species may not. Extinction events have happened a number of times.
    It appears we are in the midst of one now.

    http://science.nationalgeographic.co...ss-extinction/

    Humans haven't been around very long.
    http://geolor.com/EarthIssues/Earths...ons_geolor.htm
    Last edited by Arizona Bay; 05-13-2013 at 07:36 PM.

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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    Thanks.

    So CO2 levels are some 25 percent higher than they have been in 500 million years and have risen in the shortest time period and we have evidence to show that burning fossil fuels ( man/we ) is the cause. Now some more questions.

    I think its more accurate to call it 35% since we started at 280 and are now at 400

    1. Is CO2 from burning fuel any different from CO2 produced by natural means?

    Yes, reread the previous.

    2. Quick Googling reveals that if we go back further in time, to some 15 million years ago, the CO2 levels were at the same height as today, according to core ice samples from Greenland and Antarctica. Yet we are here, the earth has thrived since then. The only apparent difference is that this time, the rise is occurring much faster...faster than ever before. How do we know the earth cant cope with such rapid change, when its never happened before?

    Kevin

    Edited: correct timeframe
    To answer your last, its easy to know what will happen just by looking at previous extinction events and seeing how long they lasted, how far down things died and at what speed the climate system changed to cause it.

    See
    http://phys.org/news/2013-03-link-co...s-species.html

    In the KT boundary extinction it took about 1 million years for the Siberian trap event to alter the average world temp by about +4°C and everything down to about 2lbs died off, for about 30 million years.

    See
    http://www.snowballearth.org/cause.html

    In the Cambrian extinction, pretty much the opposite happened CO2 levels fell dramatically, about twice as fast as they'd rose in the KT boundary event. and the world froze over, killing everything down to amoeba, for about 50 million years.

    You might also find this interesting
    http://www.google.com/url?q=http://l...l4ZREnzpPeya1A

    So the link between just how fast the atmospheric chemistry changes and how far down and for how long, is pretty well established. Its no big leap to look at the known data and project todays changes in the atmospheric chemistry into the mix, unfortunately the result is a massive extinction like none other.

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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    Wikipedia: Harrison H. Schmitt

    Schmitt has contended that increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are not significantly correlated with global warming,[18] and that government attention to climate change is a conspiracy to increase government. Schmitt is listed as an "expert" by the Heartland Institute, a libertarian think tank that has supported climate change denial and has received funding from ExxonMobil.

    Regarding the international scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change, Schmitt has said that "[t]he CO2 scare is a red herring",[19] that the "global warming scare is being used as a political tool to increase government control over American lives, incomes and decision-making," and that scientists who might otherwise challenge prevailing views on climate change dare not do so for fear of losing funding.[20]

    Likewise, in a 2009 interview with libertarian talk-radio host Alex Jones, Schmitt asserted a link between Soviet Communism and the American environmental movement: "I think the whole trend really began with the fall of the Soviet Union. Because the great champion of the opponents of liberty, namely communism, had to find some other place to go and they basically went into the environmental movement."[21] At the Heartland Institute's 6th International Conference on Climate Change Schmitt said that climate change was a stalking horse for National Socialism.[22]

    - - -

    Wikipedia: William Happer

    His academic career started at Columbia University where he became a full professor and director of the Columbia Radiation Laboratory.[2] In 1980, he left to go to Princeton, where he was later the Class of 1909 Professor of Physics.[2] In 1991, he joined the United States Department of Energy, where he was the director of its research budget of $3 billion.[2] In 1993, he returned to his position at Princeton, where he became the chair of the University Research Board in 1995.[2]

    Happer is credited with a key insight in 1982 that made adaptive optics possible: there is a layer of sodium in the mesosphere, at around 90 to 100 km. elevation, that could be lit by a laser beam to make an artificial guide star. His idea was tested successfully by DARPA, but classified for possible military applications.

    In addition to these positions, he has had numerous other assignments: trustee of the MITRE Corporation, the Richard Lounsbery Foundation and the Marshall Institute,[2] ** of which he is also Chairman, since 2006.[8]

    Views on global warming

    In February 2009 Happer testified before the U.S. Congress, "I believe that the increase of CO2 is not a cause for alarm and will be good for mankind", for among other reasons because of its beneficial effects on plant growth.[9]

    Happer was listed as a signer of the petition of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, no later than 2000,[10] and Cato Institute's 2009 letter.[11] With Fred Singer, Harold Lewis, Robert Austin, Larry Gould, and Roger Cohen, Happer led[12] the 2009 petition [13] to the American Physical Society to change its position statement on climate change. The petition was signed by a few hundred of the 47,000 members and was rejected.[14]

    In 2012, Happer published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, "Global warming models are wrong again", where he wrote that "The observed response of the climate to more CO2 is not in good agreement with model predictions." [16][17] Happer was also among the 16 signers of "No Need to Panic About Global Warming", another WSJ op-ed.[18]

    - - -

    * * The George C. Marshall Institute (GMI) is an American politically conservative think tank established in 1984 in Washington, D.C. with a focus on scientific issues and public policy. In the 1980s, the Institute was engaged primarily in lobbying in support of the Strategic Defense Initiative.[1] Since the late 1980s, the Institute has put forward environmental skepticism views, and in particular has disputed mainstream scientific opinion on climate change, although it continues to be active on defense policy. The George C. Marshall Institute has been described by Newsweek as a "central cog in the denial machine."[2]

    Historian Naomi Oreskes states that the institute has, in order to resist and delay regulation, lobbied politically to create a false public perception of scientific uncertainty over the negative effects of second-hand smoke, the carcinogenic nature of tobacco smoking, the existence of acid rain, and on the evidence between CFCs and ozone depletion.[3]

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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    Oreskes does a great lecture on the history of climate denial


    http://www.google.com/url?q=http://w...wAW15ZWGlYdXeQ

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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    Great information Boston!

    On a more basic level, the thought that we can, over a couple of hundred years, combust and therefore release large percentages of CO and CO2 that were laid down millions of years ago and over a period of millions of years and not have any effect on the Earth's climate and ecology is ludicrous.

    Carbon is an essential part of our atmosphere, but geological history shows quite clearly that too much, or too little of it in the atmosphere make conditions for life difficult. That we're pumping it out in a non-geological time frame has direct consequences for our crops, our water, our ecosystems and ourselves.

    Last time I checked we (humans) burn about one cubic kilometre of petroleum and about 75 cubic kilometres of coal every year and that these amounts are still rising.

    For comparison's sake Mount St Helens released 2.79km3 of material into the atmosphere almost 33 years ago to the day and global average temperatures wobbled all over the place for a few months afterward. So that means we humans have released about 2,500km3 of carbon (amongst a whole bunch of other stuff). I'll let readers reach their own conclusions from this...
    “For masterpieces are not single and solitary births; they are the outcome of many years of thinking in common, of thinking by the body of the people, so that the experience of the mass is behind the single voice.” Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

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    Quote Originally Posted by hokiefan View Post
    One reason people chose to doubt global warming is that the proposed solutions are very expensive and call for sacrifice by people. I think it is really that simple.

    Cheers,

    Bobby
    And there is no guaranty that they will stop the rising temperatures.
    An alternative would be to learn to deal with it, in doing things like buiding better defences against rising sea levels.
    We Dutch have been doing that for quite a while and we are still around.
    Don't worry I'm happy

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    OK so we all go to hell in a short time because of our stupid behaviour.
    This is a theme that has been chewed over all over the internets, for ages.
    Now what are we going to do to stop this from happening?
    I take all ideas, even the ones that will cost gazillions of $$.
    Don't worry I'm happy

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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian McColgin View Post
    The below is from the Wall Street Journal, not the Onion.



    [IMc - For those who need a guide to what’s wrong here, please go to http://mediamatters.org/research/201...at-plan/193986 ]
    For a listing of the Mediamatters' researcher's technical and scientific experience, see http://www.linkedin.com/in/shaunatheel
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    Quote Originally Posted by beernd View Post
    OK so we all go to hell in a short time because of our stupid behaviour.
    This is a theme that has been chewed over all over the internets, for ages.
    Now what are we going to do to stop this from happening?
    I take all ideas, even the ones that will cost gazillions of $$.
    If I remember even if we immediately stopped all CO2 production we'd still see about another two degrees of warming. So the trick is going to be to mechanically remove the excess CO2 from the atmosphere and bring the climate system back to where it was previous to the industrial age. Down around 280.

    There is a polymer that scrubs CO2 from the air and releases it to water, but then you'd have to do something with the water. Either encourage calcifying life forms to sequester it for you or find some way to do it mechanically.

    It wouldn't be cheap, but it would save our butts to re-stabilize the CH4

    if you look up artificial trees scrubbing CO2 you'll likely see the product I'm talking about. Thing is if we wait to long, and its getting close if not already past time, we're not going to be able to restabilize the CH4. On the other hand CH4 has a relatively short lifespan in the atmosphere so it may be possible to overcome some additional CH4 release, but not much.

    Its a glimmer of hope in an otherwise hopeless situation, trouble is it would need to be done on a massive scale.
    Last edited by Boston; 05-15-2013 at 04:38 PM.

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    "It wouldn't be cheap, but it would save our butts to re-stabilize the CH4"
    Won't happen, get used to the idea. We are a short term thinking species and are adept at ignoring facts that don't suit, especially if it impacts on our lifestyle. It would take a massive cultural change world wide for anything at all to be initiated and I'm talking worl wide. When it comes to the big decisions we are no more in control than your pet cat.

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    No I think we're ultimately screwed cause even if a small consortium did erect a few hundred square miles of artificial trees, the rest of the world wouldn't slow down one bit on producing CO2. But it "could" work so I threw it out there, and its existing technology so it "could" be done today.

    Problem is your right. There's zero incentive for the nations of the world to agree on anything.

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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    Quote Originally Posted by beernd View Post
    And there is no guaranty that they will stop the rising temperatures.
    An alternative would be to learn to deal with it, in doing things like buiding better defences against rising sea levels.
    We Dutch have been doing that for quite a while and we are still around.

    A great idea, that would include moving your best grain producing farmland to somewhere else because rainfall has changed.... it might just begin to be harder than keeping out the sea.
    Try to work out what the marketing guy wants you to do then do precisely the opposite.

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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    What shall we do with the billions of people who will migrate away from their flooding costal lands, and the billions more that will flee the spreading deserts? Borders will become meaningless.
    Who's going to pay to build a sea wall around Bangladesh (for example)?
    And what about the spread of now tropical diseases, and insects into new territory.

    Denial is comfortable... for a while.

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    which is why the CH4 sinks are so important. There's no way yet to scrub CH4 from the atmosphere and its about 25 times more powerful a greenhouse gas as CO2. Once those sinks let go there is no turning back, and its game over. CO2 sequestering is a doable procedure right now, but the level of cooperation it takes to make it happen is just about unthinkable. Not sure what it would take to convince mankind to fix it, but apparently just having each year be hotter than the last for, oh say 30 years now, isn't going to do it.

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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    Found this article today on artificial trees in scientific america

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/ar...carbon-dioxide

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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    I would also like to point out that even the bit in the OP about plants is pretty selective. Some plants will take in more CO2 if it is available and some wont. Stomatic response. There will be winners and losers in plant evolution. Those plants that do win will use less water, a negative feedback in a warming world though of short term benefit to some crops.

    And there will be tipping points. At some point the heat is enough that the thermohalene cycle shuts down. It is my understanding that when that happens the earth will see a huge shift in temperature within ten years, again with some losers and some winners.
    In fact, if you can saw a penciled line, apply glue, drive nails, and bring a modest measure of patience to the task, you can build and launch a smart and able craft in as few as 40 work hours. You need not be driven by lack of tools, materials, skills, or time to abandon in frustration a project you conceived in a spirit of pleasurable anticipation.

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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    Thank you, again, Boston, for your thoughtful answers to my questions.

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    actually Switters when the grand oceanic current ( thermohaline circulation ) fails its game over, the world freezes in another snow ball earth event like what happened in the pre cambrian when everything down to amoeba died off for about 50 million years.

    Oh and I mentioned in an earlier post that there's been a 30% drop in strength in the current over the last few years. So we're well on our way.

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    Default Re: WSJ Climate Denial

    Breakaway, your more than welcome, ask away, I can handle honest questions about how this stuff works, its denial that drives me nuts. If they're is anything else I can possibly respond to, fire away. If I don't have an answer for you I'll defer to some of the researchers I know that would. I've got great resources in that regard.

    Cheers
    B

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