Tag Archives: AGW

The Statistical Probability That Climate Change Is Not Manmade Is 0.01 Percent

That climate science relies too heavily on models is one of the last arguments that climate change deniers cling to—many of them argue that proving climate change is manmade is impossible. But one researcher says he’s basically just done the opposite: he used statistics, actual observed data, and, most importantly, no computer models at all to prove that climate change has not been a natural phenomenon…. read the rest here

 

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IPCC WG2 Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability

Instead of relying on leaked drafts of this report, you can now download the final version. Before you do though, please have a read of Graham Readfearn’s take, but before you do even that, please consider this story from the New York Times about the awful mudslide in Oso, Washington. To me, it is almost an analogy for the entire human race and our human caused climate change.

A Mudslide, Foretold

Timothy Egan

DON’T tell me, please, that nobody saw one of the deadliest landslides in American history coming. Say a prayer or send a donation for a community buried under a mountain of mud along a great river in Washington State, the Stillaguamish. Praise the emergency workers still trying to find a pulse of life in a disaster that left 25 people dead and 90 missing.

But enough with the denial, the willful ignorance of cause and effect, the shock that one of the prettiest valleys on the planet could turn in a flash from quiet respite in the foothills of the North Cascades to a gravelly graveyard.

“This was a completely unforeseen slide,” said John Pennington, the emergency manager of Snohomish County. “It was considered very safe.” He said this on Monday, two days after the equivalent of three million dump truck loads of wet earth heaved down on the river near the tiny town of Oso. Unforeseen — except for 60 years’ worth of warnings, most notably a report in 1999 that outlined “the potential for a large catastrophic failure” on the very hillside that just suffered a large catastrophic failure.

It is human nature, if not the American way, to look potential disaster in the face and prefer to see a bright and shining lie. The “taming” of this continent, in five centuries and change, required a mighty mustering of cognitive dissonance. As a result, most of us live with the danger of wildfire, earthquake, tornado, flooding, drought, hurricane or yet-to-be-defined and climate-change-influenced superstorm. A legacy of settlement is the delusion that large-scale manipulation of the natural world can be done without consequence.

What happened when the earth moved on a quiet Saturday morning in the Stillaguamish Valley was foretold, in some ways, by the relationship that people have with that sylvan slice of the Pacific Northwest.

Almost 25 years ago, I went into one of the headwater streams of the Stillaguamish with Pat Stevenson, a biologist with the American Indian tribe that bears the same name as the river and claims an ancient link to that land. The rain was Noah-level that day — just as it’s been for most of this March.

We drove upriver, winding along the drainage of Deer Creek, one of the main tributaries of the Stillaguamish. We couldn’t see Whitehorse Mountain, the dreamy peak that towers over the valley, that day. We could barely see beyond our windshield wipers. At last, we arrived at an open wound near road’s end. I’d never witnessed anything like it: an active slide, sloughing mud and clay down into the formerly pristine creek. We watched huge sections of land peel and puddle — an ugly and terrifying new landscape under creation before our eyes.

Stevenson pointed uphill, to bare, saturated earth that was melting, like candle wax, into the main mudslide. Not long ago, this had been a thick forest of old growth timber. But after it was excessively logged, every standing tree removed, there was nothing to hold the land in place during heavy rains. A federal survey determined that nearly 50 percent of the entire basin above Deer Creek had been logged over a 30-year period. It didn’t take a degree in forestry to see how one event led to the other.

The Stilly, as locals call the river, is well known to those who chase fish with a fly rod, and to native people who have been living off its bounty for centuries. Zane Grey, the Western novelist, called it the finest fishing river in the world for steelhead, the big seagoing trout that can grow to 40 pounds. What Stevenson showed me that day in a November storm was how one human activity, logging, was destroying the source of joy and sustenance for others. When the crack and groan of an entire hillside in collapse happened a week ago Saturday, I thought instantly of Stevenson and that gloomy day at Deer Creek.

And, sure enough, logging above the area of the current landslide appears to have gone beyond the legal limits, into the area that slid, according to a report in The Seattle Times.

Yes, but who wants to listen to warnings by pesky scientists, to pay heed to predictions by environmental nags, or allow an intrusive government to limit private property rights? That’s how these issues get cast. And that’s why reports like the ones done on the Stillaguamish get shelved. The people living near Oso say nobody ever informed them of the past predictions.

Just upriver from the buried community along the Stillaguamish is Darrington, a town with a proud logging tradition. The folks who live there are self-described Tarheels, transplanted from Southern Appalachia several generations ago after their own timber mills went bust. They hold a terrific bluegrass festival every year, and they show up in force at public hearings where government and environmentalists are denounced with venom. It’s not their fault that the earth moved, certainly. But they should insist that their public officials tell them the plain truth when the science is bad news.

An Act of God is a legal term to describe an event outside of human control. No one can be held responsible. Exactly 50 years ago Thursday, in Alaska, the second largest earthquake in recorded history, magnitude 9.2, remade the Last Frontier State. What had been gravel beaches rose to become 30-foot cliffs. What had been forests at sea level were submerged, leaving only the ghostly silver tips that you can still see. In Anchorage, 42,000 people were left homeless.

That quake was an Act of God. Even so, cities along the West Coast have adopted strict seismic standards to lessen the human misery, should another earthquake of that size strike.

The Dust Bowl, arguably the greatest environmental disaster in American history, was not an Act of God. A drought, even a prolonged one, was no stranger to the High Plains — same as heavy rain is to the west side of the Cascade Mountains. But those regions have been considerably altered by human hands. In both cases, you love the land, but you should never forget that it can turn on you.

Now, I’m an atheist, so the whole “Act of God” thing doesn’t even register in my thoughts as everything has a cause and most things arise from chance. Anthropogenic climate change, like the American Dust Bowl, is not occurring due to chance. It is most definitely of our making. The predictions and warnings have been coming from the scientific community for much longer than the 25 years or so of IPCC reports and yet, still our emissions continue to grow and at some point, like the millions of tons of mud in Oso, Washington, climate change will come crashing down on us.

Graham Readfearn’s take is here

The IPCC report is here.

The original NYT article is here.

 

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The hellish monotony of 25 years of IPCC climate change warnings

This is the title of the latest article from Graham Readfearn at the Guardian. For me, I think an equally acceptable one would be…

25 years with our heads in the sand. Not even ostriches are stupid enough to do that.

Anyway, Graham writes…

The latest blockbuster United Nations report on the impacts of climate change makes dire reading, just as the first one did almost a quarter of a century ago.

Entire island nations “rendered uninhabitable”, millions of people to be displaced by floods and rising seas, uncertainties over global food supplies and severe impacts on human health across the world.

The news from the United Nations on the likely impacts of climate change is dire, especially for the poorest people on the planet.

There will likely be more floods, more droughts and more intense heatwaves, says the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

As human emissions of greenhouse gases continue to rise, natural ecosystems come under extreme stress with “significant” knock-on effects for societies….

Read the full article here.

 

 

 

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Going for the youth vote…inadvertantly

I promised myself I would ignore the No Carbon Tax Climate Sceptics Party (CSP) because quite frankly I found them to be so far on the right hand fringe of Australian politics, they have a tiny tiny following and so are really of no consequence and very little interest except in a kind of old school, circus freak show kind of way. No offence meant to any circus freaks by the way.

I used to write about the CSP a fair bit, mostly focussing on the dishonesty of a few of their hierarchy. Nothing too serious of course, just making up grossly exaggerating professional credentials, misrepresenting blog comments and lying about stuff including their nonsense claim that they are a centrist party. Their position on climate change is out there with the wackiest of the wacky as evidenced by their devotion to the ever loopy Christopher Monckton and their endless spouting of just about every denier canard ever uttered. You will notice I’m not providing any links to anything I’ve written about them because it’s easy enough to find. Just search my blog for “CSP” and you’ll have plenty to read.

Anyway, I was sent an email today by a colleague pointing me to the AEC website and this announcement…

regI was wondering why they changed their name? Not catchy? Perhaps they realised that it’s a bit too prescriptive? Maybe a name change will result in a better result at the next election? Maybe it’s all three. In the last election they saw their vote for the Senate positions drop from 0.2% in 2010 to 0.13% in 2013. They could do worse I guess. Anyway, given the timing it’s clear they have seen how easy it was for a couple of morons from other fringe parties to get elected by vote harvesting and they want to try to get their own moron elected in the rerun for the WA Senate spots next month. They even admit as much….not the moron part but the rest, in their own Press Release. Try and ignore the spelling and grammatical errors and poor setting out.  Whoever wrote it was probably a bit excited. Link here.

Nice logo…very American looking and the Party name also has a very American feel about it. I’m almost inclined to think whomever came up with both has been spending a lot of time visiting The American GOP sites and watching Glen Beck or Sean Hannity videos on YouTube. They are always carrying on about attacks on their freedom and future prosperity. You could have gone all out and whacked “liberty” in there somewhere. The Freedom, Liberty and Prosperity Party (FLAP) Now, before anyone discounts FLAP and says that’s a bit silly, what was pointed out to me in the email, was this part…

FAP

Oh dear….. Anthony, you are either completely out of touch or a bloody genius! Even I, in my 40′s, know enough about youth culture to know there is an internet meme attached to the word FAP. Fap is…..ummmmm. Well according to the Urban Dictionary…

ud

 

Yes yes I know that the Urban Dictionary isn’t a real dictionary but I can guarantee that if you go out into the street and ask a heap of people aged 15 to 25 what “FAP” is, most of them will give you the Urban Dictionary definition. It is of course a lot older than that and it originally was an adjective meaning drunk or befuddled. Either way, whomever came up with it, clearly didn’t think it through…. or did they? I wouldn’t be surprised if a number of apathetic politically naive young voters see FAP, have a chuckle and vote for them. No harm in that, FAP will need all the help they can get. Now that people are waking up to the wrecking ball Abbott, they are hardly likely to give their vote to a party that is even further to the right than him.  The turmoil that he has created will see voters wanting stability in the Senate and these knucklehead fringe dwellers that try to vote harvest and do shady preference swaps won’t get a look in, especially if voters go and look at the policies. Speaking of which, I’m pleased to see that FAP are continuing with all their principles, including their conspiracy ideation about “Agenda 21″. Good stuff. That’s the sort of thing the loony right- wing Tea Party in the USA carry on with. Maybe I am sensing a theme here. American looking banner and American sounding name, American culture has permeated into our youth, our youth are fairly apathetic but will find FAP funny…hmmm. Genius! Anyway, speaking of American politics…

we-choose-to-fap-not-because-it-is-easy

 

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climate change – evidence and causes

I feel that every now and then it is good to get back to the basics of climate change science andlook at the big picture. The Royal Society in conjunction with the US National Academy of Sciences have released a primer in a straight forward Q and A style, presenting the evidence for and causes of climate change. It is written in a style that even the simplest of deniers should be able to understand….. maybe.

Climate Change – Evidence and Causes

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The denial of science

Originally posted on quakerattled:

Daniel’s recent battle with a Thai monkey got me thinking about vaccinations. He has had all of his rabies vaccinations now but it was quite a detailed process with lots of shots required and at very particular intervals and all of the same type i.e.there are a few options for rabies vaccinations I am told and whichever particular variety is chosen at the outset must be continued for the duration. It was also *very* expensive.

But I don’t doubt for a second that we did the right thing. The risk may have been very, very small but the consequences were so awful to contemplate that it really was a no-brainer in the end. Yet there are many people, particularly in New Zealand, who deny the effectiveness of vaccines. They take it even further than this by claiming that vaccines are harmful. One such organistion, WAVES (warnings about vaccine expectations NZ…

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The sixth mass extinction is underway

from the WonkBlog at the Washington Post

by Brad Plumer

There have been five mass extinctions in Earth’s history. Now we’re facing a sixth.

There have been five mass extinction events in Earth’s history. In the worst one, 250 million years ago, 96 percent of marine species and 70 percent of land species died off. It took millions of years to recover.

628x471Nowadays, many scientists are predicting that we’re on pace for a sixth mass extinction. The world’s species are already vanishing at an unnaturally rapid rate. And humans are altering the Earth’s landscape in far-reaching ways: We’ve hunted animals like the great auk to extinction. We’ve cleared away broad swaths of rain forest. We’ve transported species from their natural habitats to new continents. We’ve pumped billions of tons of carbon-dioxide into the atmosphere and oceans, transforming the climate.

Those changes are pushing more species to the brink. A 2007 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggested that 20 to 30 percent of plant and animal species faced an increased risk of extinction this century if the planet keeps warming (though scientists are still debating these exact numbers, with some going far higher).

So what happens if the extinction rate speeds up? That’s one of the questions that New Yorker science writer Elizabeth Kolbert explores in her excellent new book, The Sixth Extinction, an in-depth look at the science of extinction and the ways we’re altering life on the planet. We spoke by phone this week about the topic.

Read the rest here.

 

 

 

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El Niño may make 2014 the hottest year on record – environment – 10 February 2014 – New Scientist

Brace yourselves. If the predictions are correct and an El Nino does develop, the dryspell we’ve been having will seem wet and the fire seasons we’ve seen over the last couple of years will pale into insignificance. It won’t be pretty. 2013 was the hottest year on record for Australia. 2014 will be hotter.

El Niño may make 2014 the hottest year on record – environment – 10 February 2014 – New Scientist.

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Cold, hard facts | UCAR – University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

To those spouting moronic, shortsighted and ignorant comments about the cold weather in the Eastern US and how it “disproves the global warming scam” here, have some perspective.

Cold, hard facts | UCAR – University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.

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Guess what morons?

Climate change is happening, it has always happened, and it is happening faster then it should because of we humans, and our burning fossil fuels. Now, the non-morons can relax with the realisation that I wasn’t addressing them and was directing that at anthropogenic climate change deniers. Please enjoy this video from Hank as he dismisses 10 common climate denier memes. The only criticism I have of his video is that he speaks far too quickly for morons to comprehend. However, if they can operate a mouse they should be able to pause and replay as often as they need to. For the rest of you, enjoy.

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