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January 24, 2005

When in Danger, When In Doubt...

Run in circles, scream and shout--but don't forget to issue a fear-mongering report.

Global warming reaching point-of-no-return

Global warming is reaching the point-of-no-return, with widespread drought, crop failure and water shortages the likely result, according to a new international report highlighted in the British press.

The countdown to climate-change catastrophe is spelt out by a task force of senior politicians, business leaders and academics. In 10 years or less, they predict, the catastrophic point-of-no-return may be reached, The Independent daily reported.

Might as well lay back and enjoy it then. Even if the goals of the Kyoto Accord were met starting today by every nation on earth, it wouldn't have any effect on average global temperatures by 2014.

No known mechanism can stop global warming in the near term. International agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol would have no detectable effect on average temperature within any reasonable policy time frame of 50 years or so — even with full compliance. Beyond 50 years, we have little, if any, idea what the energy infrastructure of our society will be. To highlight the folly of any such projection, compare the energy related concerns of 1900, when pundits cautioned that major U.S. cities would be knee-deep in horse “emissions” by 1930 unless we saw fit to “act now,” with those of 2000.

If a report from the Cato Institute isn't authoritative enough--and I suspect it might not be, for some--try this interview with a NASA climate scientist and anthropogenic global-warming theory adherent.

What happens first of all, is that because of the lifetime -- the residence time of sulfur dioxide and the products that are formed from sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere -- because the residence time of those species is very short compared with carbon dioxide, the initial response is to the sulfur dioxide effect and that is a warming. So that over the next 10 to 20 years, we would continue to have warming, in fact we'd have more rapid warming.

Gotta love the "point-of-no-return" use, implying as it does that after 10 years Global Warming will become a permanent condition, at least until the "widespread agricultural failure, water shortages and major droughts, increased disease, sea-level rise and the death of forests..." wipe everyone out. One would think that such a world-shaking report, this "passionate call for action on this most vital of issues..." would be made immediately available to everyone on the planet, so as to increase its impact and move world opinion in a direction towards actions that would prevent this disaster.

One would be wrong.

Not to worry. There is a free, newly published and peer-reviewed article up on the web today dealing with world climate change. *

For those of you unwilling to hack your way through the verbiage, here's a news report summarizing its findings. (lvi)

Humans may have unwittingly saved themselves from a looming ice age by interfering with the Earth’s climate, according to a new study.

The findings from a team of American climate experts suggest that were it not for greenhouse gases produced by humans, the world would be well on the way to a frozen Armageddon.

Scientists have traditionally viewed the relative stability of the Earth’s climate since the end of the last ice age 10,000 years ago as being due to natural causes.

But there is evidence that changes in solar radiation and greenhouse gas concentrations should have driven the Earth towards glacial conditions over the last few thousand years.

What stopped it has been the activity of humans, both ancient and modern, argue the scientists.

Good on you, SUV drivers of the world! That's the way to think globally and act locally.

*It's free to me, but I'm coming from a .edu domain, which sometimes allows me access to stuff that would not otherwise be available. If anyone is unable to get to that PDF, let me know and I'll summarize it further below.

Postscript: Yes, I am aware that current global warming theory includes a proposed mechanism for sending us all into another ice age, so save the calls and letters. Be advised that scientists admit they have no idea what is happening with the Greenland Ice Sheet, and that warming alone does not appear to be enough to explain the observed thinning of that sheet from 1993 to 1998.

Also, ice core drilling has found plant remains underneath the sheet, data that could be spun either way in the global warming debate, but a discovery that is basically too cool for words nonetheless.

Researchers from the project, known as NGRIP, said particles found in clumps of reddish material recovered from the frozen, muddy ice in late July look like pine needles, bark or blades of grass. Thought to date to several million years ago before the last ice age during the Pleistocene epoch smothered Greenland, the material will be analyzed in several laboratories, said researchers.

The suspected plant material under about 10,400 feet of ice indicates the Greenland Ice Sheet "formed very fast," said NGRIP project leader Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, a professor at the University of Copenhagen's Niels Bohr Institute. "There is a big possibility that this material is several million years old -- from a time when trees covered Greenland," she said.

I'm waiting for the carbon-dating results, myself.

Posted by Bigwig at January 24, 2005 01:42 PM | TrackBack
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