All posts in climate change science

  • Peter Jones - June 26, 2014

    Fossil Fuels Promotion = Horse Manure

    So, Canada’s federal government has finally approved construction of the proposed Enbridge pipeline that is intended to carry bitumen from Alberta’s tar sands to Kitimat, and thence by ocean to China.

    If we do not go ahead, the Prime Minister warns us, Canada’s economy will be in grave danger. “No country is going to take actions that are going to deliberately destroy jobs and growth in their country,” he declared a week ago, in a joint statement with the openly climate denying Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott.  Read more at “Prime Minister Harper ups the ante!”

    But what if none of this is true? What if there were two possible directions that Canada’s future economy could take, not just one? What if there was another future built on clean technology, renewable energy, sustainable transportation and zero-carbon buildings, in which Canada could prosper without the tar sands and the unwanted pipelines, and without all the fracking, the oil-polluted waters, the exploding trains, the waves of public opposition and the legal challenges from First Nations?

    To Stephen Harper and his supporters, such a future is unthinkable. He would far rather we dwelled on the danger of not supporting fossil fuel expansion than the far graver danger of a world that is four, five or even six degrees warmer due to the carbon released by the fossil fuels. Read more at  “A Half Truth or a Suppressed Truth”.

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  • cap fits
    Peter Jones - May 7, 2014

    If the cap fits, wear it!

    What do you call a report on climate change prepared by 830 scientists around the world?

    “Group think”, according to the head of a business panel that advises the Australian Government.

    No, this gentleman is not attempting to describe the arrangements that enable these scientists to share their conclusions with each other. Nor is he describing the rigours of the scientific method, and the contribution of peer reviewed papers.

    Group think is a “put down” of experts that global warming sceptics don’t agree with.

    It is puzzling how anyone could use the term in the context of the consensus of 97% of scientists who advise us about global warming and its causes.

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  • stephen-harper
    Peter Jones - May 3, 2014

    A Half Truth? Or a Suppressed Truth?

    The Conservative politicians who support pipelines (Keystone XL and Northern Gateway) repeat a tiresome mantra. They assert that the decision whether to approve the construction of these soon-to-be relics of a past era should be based on science and not on politics.

    With the approach of the June decision date on Northern Gateway approval we can expect this misleading appeal to scientific wisdom to be re-iterated by Prime Minister Harper and his finance minister Joe Oliver.  Oliver will also stress the economic benefits of construction and the prosperity that exporting tar sands oil will bring to Canada.

    Let’s just stick with their appeal to science.  Scientists have been warning us that we must reduce GHG emissions or face a grim future this century.  Their conclusions have been re-affirmed in the three recent reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In their appeal Conservative politicians completely ignore the scientific conclusions of the IPCC.

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  • oil well
    Peter Jones - April 24, 2014

    Comments on the Great American Divide

    Politicians who accept environmental studies of the world climate as summarized in the IPCC Reports are certain that Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) are the cause of global warming.  Other politicians who reject this causal connection refer to the significant changes in earth’s climate over many millennia. They draw support from some scientists who insist there are too many uncertainties to attribute global warming to this cause.

    The past thirty years have seen wide variations in public opinion polls, which suggests that on the issue of the cause of global warming American voters are undecided who is correct.

    This great divide in US politics coincides with certain philosophical beliefs as to the role of government in a modern economy.  Environmentalists consider that the state (US Government authorities) must enact laws to suppress GHG emissions.  They defend the need for such laws on the ground of a common good that independent minded legislators can recognize and protect, despite a lack of a clear majority in voter opinion.

    The contrary opinion is based on libertarianism. America’s accomplishments come from its absolute commitment to individual liberty.  Enacting laws limiting business activity where there is no clear public recognition of their utility is restrictive of individual rights.  In the long term such laws will erode the entrepreneurial spirit that has made America great.

    Both sides acknowledge that taxation is a necessity for a modern state:  the difference between them is a question of degree. Libertarians regard the current level of taxation as beyond what is reasonable and so an obstacle to the legitimate creation of individual wealth.  The Tea Party, a recent grass-roots political movement, believes that if not checked taxation contributes to a government bureaucracy that is inimical to individual achievement.

    A leading US Senator calls global warming a “hoax”.  US law makers who propose action against global warming are referred to by their opponents as “socialists”. Very recently a leading US environmentalist and former politician referred to global warming sceptics as “immoral, unethical and despicable”, words much stronger than he has used before.   Read more

  • wg1cover
    Peter Jones - March 3, 2014

    Global Warming doesn’t mean “no more winter”!

    The Polar Vortex (aka the Arctic Oscillation) has been the subject of comments in 4RG. Follow these links to see how 4RG has tracked changes in this generator of the cold weather North American has been experiencing this year.

    Go to last year’s commentary on the winter of 2013 - the blog was based on articles from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the British Met Office.  Here is what we wrote:

     “. . . the Arctic Polar Jet Stream has gone “loopy”.  Usually the jet stream is a fast flowing high atmospheric air current found between air masses of significantly different temperature.  With the warming of the Arctic the temperature difference is less so the jet stream is weakening.   As it weakens, it starts to meander, looping to the South. The most recent atmospheric charts of the jet stream show significant loops.” [“Loopy”=1. full of loops. 2.Slang. a. eccentric; crazy; dotty . . . ]

    Speaking of “ crazy” is there anything crazier than the Southern California experience of no rain for months ending with extreme rainfall from thunderstorms that brought mudslides, impassable roads, sinkholes, flash floods, power outages . . . you name it.  But according to TIME Magazine no relief from the drought conditions!

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  • wellington-640x360
    Peter Jones - January 30, 2014

    Attacking credibility is easier than attacking Science

    Attacks on the credibility and integrity of scientists who were the authors of the Fourth Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were without merit.  Yet the tag of “Climategate” stuck, and public support for measures against climate change dropped.

    A group of New Zealand Denialists with the fanciful title of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition, attempted to use this technique of attacking credibility to undermine reports from Government scientists.

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