Tuesday, November 07, 2006

An inconvenient truth

Canada free press has an argument against gore's new film. Now I don’t think gores film is perfect but it seems to be worth defending against these attacks.

> Gore’s credibility is damaged early in the movie when he tells the audience that, by simply looking at Antarctic ice cores with the naked eye, one can see when the American Clean Air Act was passed.

I'll give them this - it doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense - but to be charitable maybe it was an unusual piece of ice.

> Gore repeatedly labels carbon dioxide (CO2) as “global warming pollution” when, in reality, it is no more pollution than is oxygen.

This is silly semantics. There are traces of almost everything in the environment including gasses such as NO2 or CO but we still consider excessive amounts of harmful substances pollution. Similarly ozone isn’t a pollutant in the ozone layer but it is surrounding a machine at ground level. If CO2 is harmful it is reasonable for gore to call the excess released by humans "pollution".

> Professor Jan Veizer demonstrated that, over geologic time, the two are not linked at all. Over the intermediate time scales Gore focuses on, the ice cores show that CO2 increases don’t precede, and therefore don’t cause, warming. Rather they follow temperature rise - by as much as 800 years.

Did not this author just say they ere no linked? I think he just undermined his own credibility.

> Even in the past century, the correlation is poor – the planet actually cooled between 1940 and 1980 when human emissions of CO2 were rising at the fastest rate in our history.

1) Does he mean rising as a %? I presume so - in which case the point is specious.
2) If his argument is that the world would "all things being equal" be going through a cooling phase then he has just increased the evidence for the threat of global warming without realizing it.

> Similarly, the fact that water vapor constitutes 95% of greenhouse gases by volume is conveniently ignored by Gore.

if CO2 caused 100% of the temperature on earth then doubling the CO2 concentration by almost 50% and the relationship was direct between heat and CO2 (ridiculous assumptions of course) then we would be looking at 2000 being 140 degrees or so hotter than 1900. If it had 1% of the effect it might be 1.4%, obviously it doesn't have to be 100% to be significant.

> While humanity’s 3 billions tones (gigatonnes, or GT) per year net contribution to the atmosphere’s CO2 load appears large on a human scale, it is actually less than half of 1% of the atmosphere’s total CO2 content (750-830 GT).

So over 100 years you add 50% right? And increase the temperature but (using the really rough 5% assumption) by 7 degrees? Tiny eh?

>Perhaps even more significant is the fact that the uncertainty in the measurement of atmospheric CO2 content is 80 GT – making 3 GT seem hardly worth mentioning.

This implies a misunderstanding of uncertainty. That is a bit like saying we cant be sure how many people died this year so no one will notice me killing a few more.

>Dr. Timothy Ball, notes, “The theories that Gore supports indicate the greatest warming will be in Polar Regions. Therefore the temperature contrast with warmer regions - the driver of extreme weather - will lessen and, with it, storm potential will lessen.”

Actually everywhere should heat up. More heat in the equatorial regions means slightly more storm energy powered by slightly hotter water and slightly hotter poles means slightly less ice.

"There has been no increase in EW events in Canada in the last 25 years."

As I understand it there is no increase in number, but there is an increase in power. Are one or both sides being disingenuous?

> “In fact some EW events such as winter blizzards have definitely declined”, say Khandekar.

heh - no kidding. less winter could cause that.

> Besides clumsy errors in the presentation of the facts (Katrina did not get “stronger and stronger and stronger” as it came over the Gulf of Mexico)

generally they get stronger over hot water and weaker as they approach land - so probably a bit of both.

> In their open letter to the Canadian Prime Minister in April, 61 of the world’s leading experts modestly expressed their understanding of the science: “The study of global climate change is an "emerging science," one that is perhaps the most complex ever tackled. It may be many years yet before we properly understand the Earth's climate system.”

most scientists would try to not be presumptuous in their claims. BUT one should take action based on the best evidence, and at present GW has more evidence behind it than "not GW". Besides even the anti GW 'scientists' are arguing 'the effect isn't quite as big as you think as opposed to 'there is no effect'. even a small effect of lets say 1 degree, could easily warrant action.


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