NYT and climate change
The New York Times editorializes today on the fact that many of the Republicans running for Senate who have a good chance to win reject the notion of man-made global warming. The canard used is a familiar one:
The candidates are not simply rejecting solutions, like putting a price on carbon, though these, too, are demonized. They are re-running the strategy of denial perfected by Mr. Cheney a decade ago, repudiating years of peer-reviewed findings about global warming and creating an alternative reality in which climate change is a hoax or conspiracy.
Really? Or are they instead, like Carly Fiorina, “not sure”. I’m certainly not sure. And neither is science if you actually take the time to look into it. There’s more and more coming out daily about the uncertainty within the scientific community that anything that has been theorized before is correct. There is no “consensus” except in the propaganda cobbled together in the politically driven and discredited IPCC report.
So do I think it is a purposeful hoax? Not in the beginning, but now you have to wonder as those who’ve been shown their “science” is deficient appear to want to double-down. Is it a conspiracy? Not as one is generally thought of but again, as this continues and more comes out about this subject, the less credible those who claim previous findings are settled science appear.
For instance, speaking of peer reviewed work, this study recently came to light (check out the excellent graphic at the link):
In “Short-lived uncertainty?” Joyce E. Penner et al. note that several short-lived atmospheric pollutants—such as methane, tropospheric ozone precursors and black-carbon aerosols—contribute to atmospheric warming while others, particularly scattering aerosols, cool the climate. Figuring out exactly how great the impacts of these other forcings are can radically change the way historical climate change is interpreted. So great is the uncertainty that the IPCC’s future climate predictions, which are all based on biased assumptions about climate sensitivity, are most certainly untrustworthy. As stated in the article:
It is at present impossible to accurately determine climate sensitivity (defined as the equilibrium warming in response to a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations) from past records, partly because carbon dioxide and short-lived species have increased together over the industrial era. Warming over the past 100 years is consistent with high climate sensitivity to atmospheric carbon dioxide combined with a large cooling effect from short-lived aerosol pollutants, but it could equally be attributed to a low climate sensitivity coupled with a small effect from aerosols. These two possibilities lead to very different projections for future climate change.
Again we see science noting that as we get more and more into the details of climate, we find we know much less than we thought. Hardly "settled science" then. Dr. Penner goes on to point out the complexity of climate science and what they’re just now learning and what is still unknown:
Of the short-lived species, methane, tropospheric ozone and black carbon are key contributors to global warming, augmenting the radiative forcing of carbon dioxide by 65%. Others—such as sulphate, nitrate and organic aerosols—cause a negative radiative forcing, offsetting a fraction of the warming owing to carbon dioxide. Yet other short-lived species, such as nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds, can modify the abundance of both the climate-warming and climate-cooling compounds, and thereby affect climate change.
Quantifying the combined impact of short-lived species on Earth’s radiative forcing is complex. Short-lived pollutants—particularly those with an atmospheric lifetime of less than two months—tend to be poorly mixed, and concentrate close to their sources. This uneven distribution, combined with physical and chemical heterogeneities in the atmosphere, means that the impact of short-lived species on radiative forcing can vary by more than a factor of ten with location or time of emission. The situation is further complicated by nonlinear chemical reactions between short-lived species in polluted areas, as well as by the interactions of clouds with aerosols and ozone. These processes add further uncertainty to the estimates of radiative forcing.
What she’s basically saying is they’re just now actually beginning to identify and get into all the complexities that are the climate. They’re discovering variables that can either intensify or mitigate. They can also heat or cool. And sometimes the same variable can do both. If anyone thinks the models that have been cited as the basis of the "settled science" used all these variables and used them correctly, then I have a bridge in Brooklyn you might be interested in buying.
Which brings us back to point one – the NYT claiming that the GOP are deniers and implying they’re anti-science. No, they’re just not as gullible as the NYT and many on the left who want believe that man is ruining the planet and see it as a justification for even more government control of our lives. They’re skeptics – thank goodness – as are most respectable and reputable scientists. Climate science, as Dr. Penner’s work points out, is in its infancy. Making policy decisions based on questionable science is a fool’s work. Thankfully the GOP has realized this and taken a stand against rushing into horribly expensive solutions which will hurt the economy and further extend the government’s already extensive intrusion into our lives.
I’ll say this now – if and when science – and not the climate hustlers of today – is able to prove to my satisfaction that a) man has a significant role in climate change and b) changing behavior would be beneficial and something that could actually be accomplished without impoverishing the world, I’ll listen. Until then, I remain a skeptic – and the more new science I see, the more I think I’m right to be a skeptic.