Inescapable truths via The Economist points to the National Academies of Science and the Royal Society’s position on climate change:
Feb 27th 2014, 15:12 by O.M.
THE National Academies of Science (NAS) and the Royal Society—the elite scientific fellowships of America and Britain, respectively, respectively—
released today a rather handy “Frequently Asked Questions” resource on climate change (http://royalsociety.org/policy/projects/climate-evidencecauses/).
It seems designed to act as a sort of counterbalance to op-ed pieces like this one by Charles Krauthammer (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-themyth-of-settled-science/2014/02/20/c1f8d994-9a75-11e3-b931-0204122c514b_story.html) of the Washington Post, which take aim at “those scientists who pretend to know exactly what [carbon-dioxide emissions] will cause in 20, 30 or 50 years.”
The scientists of Mr Krauthammer’s scorn don’t actually exist: No one pretends to such precision. But no matter, Mr Krauthammer’s real complaint is more general. His target is anyone who believes that “science is settled”—a belief he tries to ascribe to Barack Obama. “There is nothing more anti-scientific,” he says, “than the very idea that science is settled, static, impervious to challenge.”
This sounds good in a Popperian way (http://www.economist.com/node/1973924) ; but it is not really true. While science is more unsettled than some feel comfortable admitting, it nevertheless depends on some things being settled irrevocably. The earth has a crust, a mantle and a core. Plants photosynthesise. Air is made of molecules. All these things were once not known and are now accepted as fundamental. And it was in among such fundamentals that the president put climate
change when he said during his state-of-the-union speech that “The debate is settled. Climate change is a fact.”
This view is confirmed by the authors of the Royal Society/NAS FAQ. “Y es,” they answer the first question on their list. “Earth’s average surface temperature has increased by about 0.8°C since 1900.” Mr Obama is also joined by the vast majority of climate sceptics, let alone climate scientists. As Matt Ridley, a climate sceptic who was once the science editor of The Economist, and who writes much better op-eds than Mr Krauthammer (http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/thesceptics-
are-right-don’t-scapegoat-them.aspx) , puts it: “No climate change sceptic that I know ‘denies’ climate change, or…
Dan, I couldn’t get your links to work so I’m re-posting my reply to CoRev’s posting on the Feb. 28th Open Thread. My reply is dated March 2nd. Seems like deja vu all over again. There’s lots more to that prior discussion, but it can be reviewed on the original thread.
March 2, 2014 2:27 pm
So I have two choices in regards to the so called argument/debate over “climate change.” On the one hand I can accept what Co Rev reproduces here, the many and several “scientific”(?) findings that he claims disprove the thesis that climate change is taking place or that human activity has anything to do with it. On the other hand I can accept the findings of two widely respected organizations that promote scientific research and the dissemination of such research findings, “An overview from the Royal Society and the US National Academy of Sciences”
From the Conclusions of that Overview:
“This document explains that there are well-understood physical mechanisms by which changes in the amounts of greenhouse gases cause climate changes. It discusses the evidence that the concentrations of these gases in the atmosphere have increased and are still increasing rapidly, that climate change is occurring, and that most of the recent
change is almost certainly due to emissions of greenhouse gases caused by human activities. Further climate change is inevitable; if emissions of greenhouse gases continue unabated, future changes will substantially exceed those that have occurred so far. There remains a range of estimates of the magnitude and regional expression of future change,
but increases in the extremes of climate that can adversely affect natural ecosystems and human activities and infrastructure are expected.”
So who do we accept as the experts in regards to the issue of climate change? On the one hand we have CoRev, reactionary blogger. On the other hand we have a review of the literature published by the two most prestigious scientific communities in the world. I’ll ponder the choices.
March 2, 2014 2:29 pm
Oh, one other point, and here I agree with CoRev. The issue does seem to be settled, at least the science of the issue seems so. The emotional and political aspects of the issue apparently rage on in some minds.
And I should mention that my link to the Royal Society article works.
I missed this one Dan. Who of us has denied that the planet has warmed ~0.8C since the start of the temperature measurements? But, I continuously see the same strawman argument. Yup! Its has warmed.
The RS/NAS study actually does not present anything new, and isn’t even very well written. As for the question is the science settled. the Reports starts with this:
“The evidence is clear. However, due to the nature of science, not every single detail is ever totally settled or completely certain. Nor has every pertinent question yet been answered. Scientific evidence continues to be gathered around the world, and assumptions and
findings about climate change are continually analysed and tested. Some areas of active debate and ongoing research include the link between ocean heat content and the rate of warming, estimates of how much warming to expect in the future, and the connections
between climate change and extreme weather events. ”
If it is so settled how can these major areas continue to be questioned? Yes, they are major areas, the Oceans are cited many times over in the CURRENT science as a cause of the “slow down” in warming. “Nature GeoScience” has a list of those printed just in their journal: http://www.nature.com/ngeo/focus/slowdown-global-warm/index.html If the ocean can cause a slow down, then it can also cause the warming.
If the oceans can overwhelm the warming from CO2, then it also exacerbates GHG warming. BUT, the big issue is how MUCH is assigned to anthropogenic and how much is assigned to natural cause like Oceans.
That is still to be defined. If you actually read the literature this value is either ignored or seriously fudged. Try and find it in this ‘Report.
Instead this Report many times over implies all or at nearly all the warming is from CO2 (and in some places ACO2 or AGHGs), but that circle can not be squared when they start off with: “…the link between ocean heat content and the rate of warming, estimates of how much warming to expect in the future,…” If they do not well estimate future warming, and that is a major issue, and if they can not tell us how the oceans impact warming, then all or at nearly all the warming CAN NOT BE from CO2.
If you read the Report yo will find most of what I have said and displays of the very same data that I have used for years. Skeptics interpret it differently than AGW adherents.
The question not asked was what I said earlier: “…how MUCH is assigned to anthropogenic and how much is assigned to natural cause like Oceans. ” and the other natural forcings?
“The question not asked was what I said earlier: “…how MUCH is assigned to anthropogenic and how much is assigned to natural cause like Oceans. ” and the other natural forcings?”
Not asked? That is what climate science is you neanderthal.
EM, since it is so obvious, answer the question with amounts, you ignorant numbskull! (See how easy name calling is?)
Obviously you seem to think that natural forcings are ignored by climate scientists. That could not be more inaccurate.
EM, you are of the attitude the numbers are well known: “That is what climate science is…” and there is no discussion since it is so obvious. Tell us, please. This article was about what some thought was an excellent Report, it surely must be there. It was after all about climate science.
How do you get to: “you seem to think that natural forcings are ignored by climate scientists.”? In my comment analyzing the Report I provided the link of recent CLIMATE studies which cite NATURAL causes for the slow down/hiatus in warming. The amounts for each category, anthropogenic — natural, is the core of the debate.
The latest science, including AR5, is shifting more influence to natural factors. There is no issue that mankind influences local climate. We;ve even given it names, UHI, deforestation, land use, etc. The issue has always been how much does mankind effect global climate. If it is less than 1/2, and that is what this above list of papers and even AR5 imply, then profound and costly solutions may be ineffective and harmful. You can draw from those papers what you will, but reference the science and not just your opinion.
You keep repeating yourself, but you don’t get to the crux of the arguments we have had on AB regarding climate and the weight of current scientific agreement on the subject. Given that we are not the climate or meteorological scientists give us the reasons why we should accept your interpretations of the whole of the scientific reports rather than the analysis of people who are active participants in the scientific community. As I had noted previously, a review of the literature by a combined effort of the National Academies of Science and the Royal Academy disputes your doubts. Even your own citation, above, disputes your uncertainty regarding global warming and what is its basis. ” “Nature GeoScience” has a list of those printed just in their journal: http://www.nature.com/ngeo/focus/slowdown-global-warm/index.html.” From the Editorial of that journal you link to:
“Nature Climate Change: Scientist communicators.”
“Researchers should have reiterated that the science on long-term climate change is solid and widely agreed on — 97% of scientists working in the subject support the principle of anthropogenic climate change (W. R. L. Anderegg, J. W. Prall, J. Harold and S. H. Schneider, Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA107, 12107–12109; 2010). Then, the questions about why the timing of the hiatus had not been predicted should have been addressed.”
What don’t you understand and why don’t you understand it? The scientific community seems to be in virtually full agreement, there is on going global warming, it is different from past temperature trends and it is anthropogenic. Tell us why your interpretation of the scientific research is better than that of the scientific community’s analysis.
jack, you keep bringing up the same untrue strawman argument: “The scientific community seems to be in virtually full agreement, there is on going global warming, it is different from past temperature trends and it is anthropogenic.” Almost no one disputes those facts. 97% of the populace would answer the question affirming just what you said!
Please, please read what I said objectively instead of overlaying the belief that only one side believes in human caused climate impacts. This is what I wrote just above your comment: “There is no issue that mankind influences local climate. We’ve even given it names, UHI, deforestation, land use, etc.” Show me the conflicts with the Nature editorial you cite and the RS/NAS Report.
How could you have missed this in your own quote: ” Then, the questions about why the timing of the hiatus had not been predicted should have been addressed.” after past discussions about the hiatus? BTW, I haven’t read the whole thing, but the quote appears to be another attempt describing how to better communicate the story line.
Why do you not answer the question how much of the warming: ” … is anthropogenic.”? The climate community agrees that there is on going global warming. Absolutely using the global surface MEASURED average temperature records. As soon as we go past that window we see the LIA, and extended several century cool period.. And even the graph for the entire Holocene shows overall cooling, with this current warming peak less than the most recent and all previous peaks. So concentrating on the most recent records, starting at the end of the LIA, we see warming.
Here’s a graphs of the temperature recorded history: http://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/figure-9.png (Yes, I know its the N Pacific chart, but I use it to illustrate the trends.) Look, look there’s warming and look at the decades of the 80s and 90s! Wow, guess which period the models have been tuned? It was in the late 80s when Dr Hansen and his partner in the VP house declared Global Warming a serious problem. Then along came the hiatus.
In the ~160 years of of temperature records there is close to 40% of it spent in cooling cycles, and we have yet to finish the current one. What conclusion do you make from that? HadCru4 data http://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/figure-9.png
Refute it! Or interpret the same data your way.
Its not even science it is just the data and what it shows.
Positive feedback forcings are extremely unusual in natural systems. Climate models that are the basis for concern about AGW are largely driven by assumptions of positive feedback loops, which is one reason why they’ve all overforecast warming over the past several years.
Is it possible that there’s a tipping point from CO2 emissions whereby assuming positive feedback loops is valid? Of course. But it’s not the most likely outcome.