Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Everything you ever wanted to know about climate change...

...but were too afraid to ask.

Via Jason Bo Green comes an absolutely amazing article on climate change by Kerry Emanuel. It details the science, controversy and politics from an objective perspective, giving all sides their say and throwing plenty of blame at the extremists on both the left and right.

It'll take you a long time to read through it, but Emanuel explains complex science in a very easy to understand way and after reading this you'll have a much greater understanding of climate change. I know I did.

Bitching about Liberal or Tory policy will take a lot less time but trust me on this - it's well worth the read.

19 Comments:

  • If you want more along that vein I'd check out realclimate dot org. They don't engage in sensationalism and post dissenting opinions. They also do a very good job debunking the creationist...I mean global warming denier talking points.

    By Blogger Jose, at 8:15 AM  

  • Thanks for this a good read.

    By Blogger eugene plawiuk, at 8:45 AM  

  • THANKS for putting this up, man!!! It is the BEST read on climate science ever, I've emailed it out to so many people in hopes they would read it.

    Two comment threads ago, I mentioned that I was directed to the article by Dodos, to whom I'm eternally grateful! :)

    (Jose, if I recall correctly, Dodos originally found this on realclimate.org - I've never heard of the site til this week!)

    D/art, you're the best.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 9:10 AM  

  • Let me get this straight, if a group predicts man-made climate change catastrophe and another group considers it statos quo for our planet that has experienced far greater climate swings in its five-billion year old history, how do you get "extremists on both left and right?"

    By Blogger Dr. Strangelove, at 10:17 AM  

  • Speaking for myself, personally, Dr. Strangelove, I think that either position is acceptable. "Extremists" in my mind are those who shout down others without engaging in a reasonable, honest debate.

    (Between the two positions you give, I think the truth is far in between the both of them, personally)

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 10:30 AM  

  • The 2 biggest polluters in Canada are Ontario Hydro and Quebec Hydro, both coal burning facilities. To meet increasing demands, China is in the process of constructing numerous coal burning hydro plants that dwarf both Canadian facilities. Add India to the mix and what we plan to do in Canada has little if no effect on climate change in the world. And if that's not bad enough, in 2006, automobile sales in China rose 40%. Liberals, NDP and the liberal media have made climate change the "number one priority of Canadians" at the moment. Has something changed in the last year from 3 years ago to warrant this "catastrophe in the making"? The only change I see is the government in power. I agree that climate change is a problem that we have to address. If governments of industrialized countries were truly concerned with climate change, they would send money and brains to China and India and help them develop nuclear power now. Until those 2 countries change their thinking, nothing we do in Canada will have any effect whatsoever. So it's time to scrap that sacred cow "Kyoto" and take the politics out of climate change and start helping the worst offenders. And those little "feel good" programs the Liberals put in place are exactly that. A way for you and me to "feel good" about what we're doing to save the world. In reality, it's out of our hands.

    By Blogger Bud, at 11:05 AM  

  • Perhaps the most bizarre aspect of this report is that while it attempts to cover many aspects of the issue, including the political debate, he never once mentions Kyoto. Not once. He had a terrific opportunity to do so when he remarks, "...political debate about global climate change became polarized along the conservative–liberal axis some decades ago. Although we take this for granted now, it is not entirely obvious why the chips fell the way they did." HELLO KYOTO!!!

    As even-handed as this report appears, the professor's bias is amply illuminated by this statement, "...this soap opera is kept alive by a dwindling number of deniers constantly tapped for interviews by journalists who pretend to look for balance."

    While I appreciate the reference, I've read most of this stuff before from google searches.

    By Blogger Dr. Strangelove, at 11:19 AM  

  • By the way Jason, you may have noticed the term "deniers" employed by Jose in the first comment as well as Prof. Emanuel. This term is used pejoratively by the AGW crowd. I could just as easily call them deniers of non-AGW. The truth is that one side believes one thing, the other believes another. Each denies the other's hypothesis.

    I can understand how this term is thrown around by the great unwashed in the blogosphere commentariat (deniers/alarmists). But when employed by someone of the Professor's stature, it's not a contributor to one's credibility in the political discussion.

    By Blogger Dr. Strangelove, at 11:37 AM  

  • The report is about science, not politics. Science deals in fact and hard, empirical evidence. Politics deals in fuzzy opinions. One may legitimately be against or for Kyoto, but the science in the article was true a billion years ago and will be true a billion years from now.

    I'm not sure I understand your position, Strangelove. Are you saying that Global Warming is not Anthropogenic (ie not caused by humans)? If so, do you think that the correlation between rising CO2 levels and rising temperatures is due to coincidence rather than causation? How do you dispute the evidence?

    By Blogger LeoPetr, at 11:57 AM  

  • In other words, one's opinion of Kyoto has nothing to do with the reality of Global Warming.

    By Blogger LeoPetr, at 12:00 PM  

  • Bud, you are right - we count for, what, is it 1.9% of the emissions believed to cause warming? Or is it 2. something - anyway, it's very little. And China and India are exactly as you say, about to go into energy production big-time. This is part of why I feel Kyoto is a joke.

    Well Strangelove (I loved your movie, btw!), I took that comment to mean journalists pretending to look for balance were interviewing crazies on either side. I got zero time for "radical" environmentalists crying about the end of the world.

    I felt the article dished it out well to both sides. And while I'm with you that Kyoto is nuts (I believe that is your position), I think the left-right split on the debate happened before that idea. However, I don't doubt that Kyoto pressed the sides further apart, that is very probable.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 7:04 PM  

  • leopetr: ". Are you saying that Global Warming is not Anthropogenic (ie not caused by humans)? If so, do you think that the correlation between rising CO2 levels and rising temperatures is due to coincidence rather than causation? How do you dispute the evidence?"

    Simple leo. Every time the earth has warmed in the past, which is several, and for most of earth's history, increased levels of CO2 have been present. Since this is the same this time, the presence of humans to witness the warming is the coincidence, not the causation.

    By Blogger Grithater, at 8:16 PM  

  • "...do you think that the correlation between rising CO2 levels and rising temperatures is due to coincidence rather than causation?"

    Since in at least some of the past warming / CO2 events the temperature rise has preceeded the increase in CO2, it is possible that they are both responding to another driver, as well.

    By Blogger deaner, at 12:23 AM  

  • Yes it really is a good survey and gathers up many strands. But at the moment I would like to know what Harper has sent Baird, the political equivalent of Dave Semenko, to Paris for. I mean the work is done, the editing worked or fought out to a printable version, and all that remains is to hand out the copies. Is Baird over there for a photo op in a line up to receive the wisdom of science, which he may deliver to his boss who clearly needs some edicating. Or is he to come back with the inside dope from one of the Denialist hustlers who are probably hanging around outside the hall like ticket scalpers. Pick one.

    By Blogger garhane, at 7:51 PM  

  • "The report is about science, not politics. Science deals in fact and hard, empirical evidence. Politics deals in fuzzy opinions."

    The science is "fuzzy" too. The 2001 report didn't state that global warming was definitely caused by man it states that it was *likely* caused by man. Their definition of likely is 66-90%. The new report is going with "very likely" which basicaly means that its 90%.

    So basicaly belief in the hypothesis doesn't equate to 100% certainty. That wouldn't be rational. However 100% certainty in the opposite isn't rational either.

    The whole point of the matter is that at 90% certainty we can't afford to take the chance. And we can't wait for 100% certainty because we not have it for another 100 years.

    Keep in mind that the IPCC is both conservative in its statements (errs on the side of caution) but also bang on with its projections. The world's climate and the rise of sea levels since 1990 have been within their projections (although sea levels are rising a tad faster than initialy predicted due to underestimating how quickly the polar icecaps can break up).

    That all seems pretty reasonable to me. A cornucopia of supporting evidence, a 17 year track record of accurate modeling, sensible and guarded conclusions that are frank about the uncertainties involved.

    The "denier" crowd on the other hand uses disingenous tactics of the like you hear from creation scientists and Intelligent Design proponents. Not suprising considering how much overlap there is between the two schools of thought. I don't disrespect them simply because their opinions differ from mine. I disrespect them because their behaviour warrants disrespect.

    By Blogger Jose, at 7:56 PM  

  • "Had it not been for green opposition, the United States today might derive most of its electricity from nuclear power, as does France; thus the environmentalists must accept a large measure of responsibility for today’s most critical environmental problem."

    By Blogger PCmarkg, at 10:00 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger pheenster, at 2:17 AM  

  • Deleted my last comment after further review because some might have interpreted it as giving some credence to ID (which I definitively do not).

    However, this still needs to be called out:

    I don't disrespect them simply because their opinions differ from mine. I disrespect them because their behaviour warrants disrespect.

    So hating some people is OK? Sounds like religious talk to me.

    By Blogger pheenster, at 2:27 AM  

  • Having no respect for a line of argument isn't the same as hate. But I admit I'm not so spiritually pure that I don't experience the emotion of hate on ocassion.

    By Blogger Jose, at 4:21 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home