Day by Day

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Frequently Asked Questions by Ignorant Climate Change Alarmists

Ignorance is a strong foundation to build a belief system on, and human-caused climate change is the best example extant. I’m frequently confronted with statements that anthropogenic global warming, climate change, or now its latest incarnation, weather “weirding”, are responsible for such things as droughts, sea levels rising, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, vanishing snow, retreating glaciers, civil war in Syria, deforestation in Indonesia, and loss of the Kilimanjaro ice cap.

My answer is always that climate change is natural, and that our current modest warming is a natural recovery from the Little Ice Age (1400-1850AD), the coldest period during the past 10,000 years. I explain that there have been five warming periods in the past 10,000 years since the end of the Ice Age. I name the periods chronologically, beginning with the Holocene Optimum 8,000 to 5,000 years ago, the Minoan, Roman, Medieval (900 to 1400AD), and finally our current warm period. I point out that each warm period does not get as warm as its predecessor, and that the warm period we are experiencing now is the least warm by far.

Then I throw in the Eemian warm period 125,000 years ago, and note that it was much warmer than any of the Holocene, our current warm period. By then I can see total incomprehension, so I don’t explain that the past million years have a pattern of 100,000-year cold (glacial) periods alternating with 20,000-year warm (interglacial) periods. The bottom line is that I have just given a brief lesson in natural climate change, and that the concept that climate is always changing, and often is much warmer than now, is met by dumb disbelief by my audience. “That’s not what Al Gore said!”

So then I make it simple. I show a chart of temperature in a local city, Santa Rosa, California (below). Temperature in Santa Rosa peaked in the 1930’s, and there has been a cooling trend since.

Since these temperature records are from the U. S. government National Climatic Data Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, I can’t be accused of oil company propaganda.

They might say, so what, that’s only one city, and the Earth is overheating. Obviously they haven’t comprehended what I illustrated concerning natural climate change in the past 10,000 years, and the past million years. So then I show them a chart showing there has been no significant global warming for almost 18 years, a period where the rate of increase of atmospheric CO2 has doubled. 

None of the climate models show that a huge increase in atmospheric CO2 does not increase warming for almost 18 years. Just the opposite. The climate models show warming accelerating, yet at this point measured temperature is below the lowest climate model projections. In science studies, when models don’t agree with reality, the models get thrown out. Since the UN still goes with the models instead of reality, that shows that science is not what the UN is trying to accomplish.

How about sea levels rising. Tide gauge records for the four largest cities on the U. S. West Coast – San Diego, Las Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle – show that current sea level for each of them is the same as in 1941, and that all have experienced falling sea level since 1997.

Droughts? Fewer and less severe than before 1950.

Hurricanes? Glad you asked. Fewer powerful ones, and the longest period since the Civil War that no strong hurricane has hit the U. S.

Tornadoes. Also fewer strong ones.

Floods? Besides the fact that floods should not have anything with global warming, there has been no trend in increasing weather-related losses.

Snow? No trend of less snow.

Glacier retreat? Glaciers have been retreating since the end of the Little Ice Age, and for many glaciers, they retreated far more before 1900 than after. Seen Chasing Ice, by James Balog? James does not inform his viewers that the glacier he videoed in Greenland retreated 18 miles from 1851 to 1964, stopped retreating until 2001 while atmospheric CO2 increased steadily and dramatically, and has retreated an additional six miles since (during a period of no significant global warming).

Wildfires? The trend is going down.

It is amazing how small an effect facts have on beliefs, such as the anthropogenic global warming/climate change religion. It should be so simple to end it. CO2 is going way up, but temperature isn't, and the climate now is nowhere as warm as previously naturally. 

But it isn't. Belief dies hard, if ever.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Unscientific Left

I am often called unscientific and a climate change denier by those who don’t even know about prior warmer periods: the Eemian, only 125,000 years ago, and the Holocene, Minoan, Roman, and Medieval within the past 10,000 years. 

I thought of the unscientific left when I read an article in the Press Democrat about Sebastopol opposing fluoride in drinking water. The American Dental Association says that water fluoridation is “the single most effective public health measure to prevent dental decay,” and world and US health organizations all support it. 

Also endorsed by prestigious world and US science and health organizations, and opposed by many northern California liberals: geneticallymodified organisms (GMO) and immunizations. 

Supported by those same liberals, although debunked by scientific and health organizations: natural supplements; organics; complementaryand alternative medicine such as homeopathy, acupuncture, and chiropractic. None of the purported benefits of these alternatives are supported by rigorous scientific studies. "There is really no such thing as alternative medicine, just medicine that works and medicine that doesn't." 

For example, a recent Stanford study found that organic food is no more nutritious than food grown using pesticides and chemicals – and won’t benefit your health. 

Fracking is moving the US towards energy independence, reviving manufacturing, and actually reducing CO2 emissions compared to non-fracking Europe. Nuclear energy, such as could be provided by liquid fluoride thorium reactors – which do not produce weapons-grade materials or long-life nuclear waste – would answer all the requirements for inexpensive, reliable, non-polluting energy that environmentalists desire, and which wind and solar won’t, yet liberals are afraid of a phantom, not the reality, of the next generation of nuclear energy. 

As they text while driving and sipping bottled water, causing accidents and environmental damage, they wallow in self-adulation.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Uncommon Common Sense

The essence of conservatism is common sense, which is why I support increasing parcel taxes to fund increased urgent care coverage. In fact, it’s a pleasure to choose where and how much of our tax money goes for a good use. Regardless of age, income, family size, or the other factors that divide and separate us, expanded urgent care coverage benefits us all now and our futures as we face the needs of aging. Alice and I want to live here as long as we can; there is no better place we want to move to.

Concerning common sense, the Keystone XL pipeline should be approved. Pipeline or no, Canada will produce and ship oil from its oil sands somewhere, somehow. A pipeline is safer and more economical than trains, boats, and trucks, and won’t be routed through town centers. One negative is that pipelines produce far less plant-feeding CO2 emissions than other means of transport. Another is that the Keystone oil will displace heavy oil from the Middle East, Venezuela, and other areas that do not have Canada’s substantial greenhouse gas regulations in place. For those who are thick as oil sands, please note that my negatives are dripping heavy sarcasm, just as foreign oil producers are dripping oil all over their pristine landscapes.

California has many droughts: in 1953; in the late 1950’s early 1960’s; the mid-1970’s; from late 1986 to early 1991; and several since 2000 including another five-year drought from 2006 to 2011. However, Californians have been extremely lucky “since the past century was among the wettest of the last 7,000 years.” 

Common sense indicates we should be aware of all this, but obviously we’re not since California’s population centers are far from its water sources and growing rapidly.  It’s not climate change, it’s history.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Huge Benefits of Fossil Fuel

In our many and varied travels, Alice and I have seen the benefits of fossil fuel use, and the struggles to survive without it. For example, in Tanzania we saw a village that recently was aided by Rotary clubs donating a manually operated water pump, a great improvement over the previous need to carry water jugs great distances from the river. However, its users still hand-pumped the water, then carried water jugs instead of turning on a faucet in their homes.

We have many colorful pictures of women walking by the road with jugs, baskets, or bundles balanced on their heads, and not just in Africa. In Guatemala, India, and in rural areas of Southeast Asia bundles of firewood as well as jugs of water being carried by women and children were common sights. In these areas, the vast majority of the population relies on traditional biomass and waste, mostly firewood and dried cattle dung, for heating and cooking. With increasing populations, the walks to gather fuel get longer, and the air in homes and villages exceed our “spare the air” standard every day.

Given these observations of living lives without the abundant, easily accessed energy we take for granted, I wasn’t surprised by a recent study that found that “(T)he benefits of fossil fuel energy to society far outweigh the social costs of carbon (SCC) by a magnitude of 50 to 500 times.” 

It’s common sense, which unfortunately is not commonly found in the developed world. We would like to preserve the lives of peoples of the developing world in an imagined pristine Eden, and they would like to live like us.

We don’t want to live like them, yet are surprised they don’t either. With economic freedom, Bill Gates thinks by 2035 they won’t have to. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Polar Bear Prosperity

It’s fund-raising time for natural climate change deniers and a photo-shopped image of a polar bear on a tiny ice floe in a vast ice-free ocean was used as their “poster boy” 

Brad Keyes at The Conversation defended its use: “The problem is, only sensational exaggeration makes the kind of story that will get politicians’—and readers’—attention. So, yes, climate scientists might exaggerate, but in today’s world, this is the only way to assure any political action and thus more federal financing to reduce the scientific uncertainty.”

Pity the polar bear. Global temperature was up 1°C, Arctic summers were 5°-8°C warmer, and Arctic summer ice was virtually gone. This occurred annually for thousands of years 130,000-115,000 years ago during the Eemian interglacial, and hit its peak 125,000 years ago. And the polar bear survived.

The polar bear also survived during the recent Holocene Climatic Optimum, 9,000-5,000 years ago, when Arctic temperatures were similar to the Eemian period, with substantially less sea ice than the present. And the polar bear survived.

None of these facts of polar bear survival during previous warmer, lower sea ice periods, seems to have sunk in with the natural climate change deniers. Recent periods of greater warmth, higher sea levels, and lower Arctic sea ice should register something in their feverish minds: our current warming following the Little Ice Age, the coldest period since the end of the Ice Age, is modest and unremarkable compared to previous warm periods. Within the past 10,000 years, the Holocene Climatic Optimum, and the following cooler Minoan, Roman, and Medieval warm periods were all warmer than the present. And the polar bears survived them all.

In fact, the polar bear population quadrupled 1960-2000, and is up 10%-20% from 2000 to the present. 

Surviving? They’re thriving.