Friday, February 27, 2009
The Green Energy Fantasy
By Keith Lockitch FrontPageMagazine.com 2/26/2009 (source)
Will a green energy industry be an engine of economic growth? Many want us to think so, including our new president. Apparently a booming green economy with millions of new jobs is just around the corner. All we need is the right mix of government “incentives.”
These include a huge (de facto) tax on carbon emissions imposed through a cap-and-trade regulatory scheme, as well as huge government subsidies for “renewable,” carbon-free sources. The hope is that these government sticks and carrots will turn today’s pitiful “green energy” industry, which produces an insignificant fraction of American energy, into a source of abundant, affordable energy that can replace today’s fossil-fuel-dominated industry.
This view is a fantasy -- one that could devastate America’s economy. The reality is that “green energy” is at best a sophisticated make-work program.
There is a reason why less than two percent of the world’s energy currently comes from “renewable” sources such as wind and solar--the very sources that are supposedly going to power the new green economy: despite billions of dollars in government subsidies, funding decades of research, they have not proven themselves to be practical sources of energy. Indeed, without government mandates forcing their adoption in most Western countries, their high cost would make them even less prevalent.
Consider that it takes about 1,000 wind turbines, occupying tens of thousands of acres, to produce as much electricity as just one medium-sized, coal-fired power plant. And that’s if the wind is blowing: the intermittency of wind wreaks havoc on electricity grids, which need a stable flow of power, thus requiring expensive, redundant backup capacity or an unbuilt, unproven “smart grid.”
Or consider the “promise” of solar. Two projects in development will cover 12.5 square miles of central California with solar cells in the hope of generating about 800 megawatts of power (as much as one large coal-fired plant). But that power output will only be achieved when the sun is shining brightly -- around noon on sunny days; the actual output will be less than a third that amount. And the electricity will cost more than market price, even with the life-support of federal subsidies that keeps the solar industry going. The major factor driving the project is not the promise of abundant power but California’s state quota requiring 20 percent “renewable” electricity by 2010.
More than 81 percent of world energy comes from fossil fuels, and half of America’s electricity is generated by burning coal. Carbon sources are literally keeping us alive. There is no evidence that they have -- or will soon have -- a viable replacement in transportation fuel, and there is only one in electricity generation, nuclear, which “green energy” advocates also oppose.
We all saw the ripple effects last summer when gas prices shot above $4 per gallon, and higher transportation costs drove up prices of everything from plane fares to vegetables. If green policies cause a permanent, and likely far greater, hike in the cost of all forms of energy, what shockwaves would that send through our already badly damaged economy?
We don’t want to find out.
Regardless of one’s views on global warming -- and there is ample scientific evidence to reject the claim that man-made carbon emissions are causing catastrophe -- the fact is that kneecapping the fossil fuel industry while diverting tax dollars into expensive, impractical forms of energy will not be an economic boon, but an economic disaster.
We in developed countries take industrial-scale energy for granted and often fail to appreciate its crucial value to our lives -- including its indispensable role in enabling us to deal with drought, storms, temperature extremes, and other climate challenges we are told to fear by global-warming alarmists.
If we want to restore economic growth and reduce our vulnerability to the elements, what we need is not “green energy” forced upon us by government coercion but real energy delivered on a free market.
Keith Lockitch is a Ph.D. in physics and a writer for the Ayn Rand Institute in Irvine, CA.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
President Obama wants to tax industries and activities that produce carbon dioxide, as does every internal combustion engine, and every animal that exhales. Obama is counting on his "carbon cap and trade" scheme to raise Billions of dollars in revenue for the Federal Government. This is nothing more than a thinly-disguised tax that will be passed on to the consumer, all based on the myth of man-caused global warming. It is truly economic and scientific insanity. Will Congress listen? This is a huge factor in the current worldwide economic crisis. Stay tuned.
Princeton Physicist Tells Congress Earth in 'CO2 Famine' -- Increase 'Will Be Good for Mankind'
Dr. Will Happer, once fired by Al Gore, challenges former vice president's much-published claim that warming debate over.
By Jeff Poor Business & Media Institute 2/25/2009 11:08:28 PM (source)
When former Vice President Al Gore said the science was settled on the issue of global warming before Congress in 2007, he might have meant it was settled as far as people that he would allow to work for him.
Dr. William Happer, currently a professor of Physics at Princeton University, was once fired by Gore at the Department of Energy in 1993 for disagreeing with the vice president on the effects of ozone to humans and plant life, also disagrees with Gore’s claim that manmade carbon dioxide (CO2) increases the temperature of the earth and is a threat to mankind. Happer appeared before the U.S. Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee on Feb. 25 and explained CO2 is in short-supply in relative terms of the history of the planet.
“Many people don’t realize that over geological time, we’re really in a CO2 famine now. Almost never has CO2 levels been as low as it has been in the Holocene [geologic epoch] – 280 [parts per million (ppm)] – that’s unheard of,” Happer said. “Most of the time, it’s at least 1,000 [ppm] and it’s been quite higher than that.”
Happer said that when CO2 levels were higher – much higher than they are now, the laws of nature still managed to function as we understand them today.
“The earth was just fine in those times,” Happer said. “You know, we evolved as a species in those times, when CO2 levels were three or four times what they are now. And, the oceans were fine, plants grew, animals grew fine. So it’s baffling to me that, you know, we’re so frightened of getting nowhere close to where we started.”
That directly conflicts with the line Gore has been telling the media for years. In November 2007, Gore told NBC’s “Today” that there was “as strong a consensus as you'll ever see in science” that global warming was caused by mankind.
The chairwoman of the EPW committee, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., has long supported Gore’s “global warming battle.” During Wednesday’s hearing, she was skeptical of Happer’s view, stating a lot had changed in the 80 million years. But Happer explained that the laws of science had not changed.
“Well, I don’t think that the laws of nature, physics and chemistry have changed in 80 million year,” Happer said. “Eighty million years ago, the earth was a very prosperous place and there’s no reason to think it will suddenly become bad now.”
Happer claimed that in fact, an increase in CO2 levels wouldn’t be a bad thing at all, but a good thing for humanity.
“Increasing concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere will cause some warming of the earth’s surface,” Happer said. “The key question is will the net effect of the warming and any other effects of CO2 be good or bad for humanity? I believe the increase of CO2 will be good.”
Happer explained to the committee that the global warming movement mirrors the temperance movement that led to Prohibition in the 1920s. He claimed the movement has enlisted various elements of society, including the media, to promote their cause. He noted his opinion that children are being misused to spread the “climate catastrophe” movement’s message.
“Like the Temperance Movement a hundred years ago, the climate catastrophe movement has enlisted the mass media, leadership of scientific societies, trustees of charitable foundations, many other influential people to their cause,” Happer said. “Even elementary school teachers and writers of children’s books terrify our children with the idea of impending climate doom. Children should not be force-fed propaganda masquerading as science.”
Also accompanying Happer on the Senate panel were Dr. R.K. Pachauri, chairman of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Dr. Christopher Field director of the Department of Global Ecology at the Carnegie Institution for Science, and Dr. Howard Frumkin, director of the National Center for Environmental Health.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Scientists Find Good News About Methane From the Ocean Floor
December 20, 2007 SCIENTISTS FIND GOOD NEWS ABOUT METHANE BUBBLING UP FROM THE OCEAN FLOOR (source)
Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, is emitted in great quantities as bubbles from seeps on the ocean floor near Santa Barbara. About half of these bubbles dissolve into the ocean, but the fate of this dissolved methane remains uncertain. Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara have discovered that only one percent of this dissolved methane escapes into the air – good news for the Earth's atmosphere.
Coal Oil Point (COP), one of the world's largest and best studied seep regions, is located along the northern margin of the Santa Barbara Channel. Thousands of seep fields exist in the ocean bottom around the world, according to David Valentine, associate professor of Earth Science at UC Santa Barbara. Valentine along with other members of UC Santa Barbara's seeps group studied the plume of methane bubbles that flows from the seeps at COP.
Their results will soon be published as the cover story in Volume 34 of Geophysical Research Letters. This research effort is the first time that the gas that dissolves and moves away from COP, the plume, has been studied.
The amount of methane release from COP seeps is around two million cubic feet per day, according to Valentine. About 100 barrels of oil oozes out of this area as well. Methane warms the Earth 23 times more than carbon dioxide when averaged over a century. Thus the fate of the methane bubbles from the seeps is an important environmental question.
"We found that the ocean has an amazing capacity to take up methane that is released into it – even when it is released into shallow water," said Valentine. "Huge amounts of gas are coming up here, creating a giant gas plume. Until now, no one had measured the gas that dissolves and moves away, the plume."
Valentine hypothesized that the methane is oxidized by microbial activity in the ocean, thus relieving the ocean of the methane "burden."
To arrive at this hypothesis, Valentine and lead author Susan Mau, a postdoctoral fellow in Valentine's lab, tracked the plume down current from the seeps at 79 surface stations in a 108 square mile study area. They found that the methane plume spread over 27 square miles.
By boat, the authors sampled the water on a monthly basis. They found variable methane concentrations that corresponded with changes in surface currents. They also found that more wind releases more methane into the atmosphere. Overall, they discovered that about one percent of the dissolved methane escapes into the atmosphere in the area they studied, a long-term average. This lead the authors to hypothesize that most of the methane is transported below the ocean's surface – away from the seep area. Then it is oxidized by microbial activity.
To back up their findings of their surface sampling of the water, the scientists used a mass spectrometer hauled behind the boat as well. This equipment allowed for very high-resolution chemical information about the methane. This effort showed no significant difference in the numbers.
"We showed that the currents control the fate of the gas and supply it to bacteria in a way that allows them to destroy the methane," said Valentine.
Valentine said that while the seeps at COP are among the largest in the world, they can be found just about anywhere.
##Contact:Gail GallessichUniversity of California - Santa Barbara805firstname.lastname@example.orgThis text derived from:http://www.ia.ucsb.edu/pa/display.aspx?pkey=1704
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Since you raised the subject of the AAPG position statement, here it is in full: dpa.aapg.org/gac/statemen...Read this, and then the first 15 page chapter of the AAPG heavyweight introductory climate text is here:http://www.aapg.org/committees/gcc/geoPerspectivesGCC.pdfRead and digest this thoroughly and you will find out what the real professional scientists consensus is, and its not what you were told it was, by a very long chalk.
AAPG Statements on:
Geologic Carbon Storage
Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf Resources
Preservation of Geological and Geophysical Data
National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska Access
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Access
United States National Energy Supply
Natural Gas Supply Concerns
Reformation of the Endangered Species Act
Reformation of the Clean Water Act -- Wetlands Access
Offshore OCS Access
Research and Development Needs
Oil and Gas Workforce Needs in the 21st Century
Climate Change (PDF)
In the last century growth in human populations has increased energy use. This has contributed additional carbon dioxide (CO2) and other gases to the atmosphere. Although the AAPG membership is divided on the degree of influence that anthropogenic CO2 has on recent and potential global temperature increases, the AAPG believes that expansion of scientific climate research into the basic controls on climate is important. This research should be undertaken by appropriate federal agencies involved in climate research and their associated grant and contract programs.
Geologists study the history of the earth and realize climate has changed often in the past due to natural causes. The Earth’s climate naturally varies constantly, in both directions, at varying rates, and on many scales. In recent decades global temperatures have risen. Yet, our planet has been far warmer and cooler than today many times in the geologic past, including the past 10,000 years.
Certain climate simulation models predict that the warming trend will continue, as reported through NAS, AGU, AAAS, and AMS. AAPG respects these scientific opinions but wants to add that the current climate warming projections could fall within well-documented natural variations in past climate and observed temperature data. These data do not necessarily support the maximum case scenarios forecast in some models. To be predictive, any model of future climate should also accurately model known climate and greenhouse gas variations recorded in the geologic history of the past 200,000 years.
Read AAPG's publication that further discusses worldwide climate. The first chapter of Geological Perspectives of Global Climate Change is provided here as a PDF.
You may order this book edited by Lee Gerhard, William Harrison, and Bernold Hanson through the AAPG Bookstore.
AAPG supports expanding scientific climate research into the basic controls on climate specifically including the geological, solar and astronomic aspects of climate change. Research should include understanding causes of past climate change and the potential effects of both increasing and decreasing temperatures in the future.
AAPG supports research to narrow probabilistic ranges on the effect of anthropogenic CO2 on global climate.
AAPG supports reducing emissions from fossil fuel use as a worthy goal. (However, emission reduction has an economic cost, which must be compared to the potential environmental gain).
AAPG supports the premise that economies must retain their vitality to be able to invest in alternative energy sources as fossil fuels become more expensive.
AAPG supports thepursuit of economically viable technology to sequester carbon dioxide emissions and emissions of other gases in a continuing effort to improve our environment and enhance energy recovery.
AAPG supports measures to conserve energy, which has the affect of both reducing emissions and preserving energy supplies for the future.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Bolivia holds key to electric car future
By Damian Kahya BBC News, Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia (source)
High in the Andes, in a remote corner of Bolivia, lies more than half the world's reserves of a mineral that could radically reduce our reliance on dwindling fossil fuels.
Lithium carries a great promise. It could help power the fuel efficient electric or petrol-electric hybrid vehicles of the future.
But, as is the case with fossil fuels, it is a limited resource.
Lithium carbonate is already in the batteries of laptop computers and mobile phones.
It is used because it allows more energy to be stored in a lighter, smaller space than most alternatives.
And as the auto industry rushes to produce new fuel efficient and electric cars, it too is turning to lithium batteries as its first choice to boost the power of their new models.
GM has one in its new hybrid Volt, Toyota is testing one in its next generation hybrid Prius. Mercedes is testing an electric version of its Smart, while BMW is doing the same with its Mini.
And Nissan-Renault, Mitsubishi and VW are all rushing to buy or produce enough of the batteries to power their future models.
The best of the pure electric cars can reach ranges of more than 150 kilometres per charge.
More is needed
But there is a problem.
“ This isn't a magic solution ” Luis Alberto Echazu, Bolivian minister for mining
Mitsubishi, which plans to release its own electric car soon, estimates that the demand for lithium will outstrip supply in less than 10 years unless new sources are found.
And they have ended up in Bolivia.
"The demand for lithium won't double but increase by five times," according to Eichi Maeyama Mitsubishi's general manager in La Paz.
"We will need more lithium sources - and 50% of the world's reserves of lithium exist in Bolivia, in the Salar de Uyuni," he adds, pointing out that without new production, the price of lithium will rise prohibitively.
Lithium is found in rocks and sea water.
But almost all the commercially exploitable reserves are found in the brine under salt flats.
The world's largest reserves lie in Bolivia at the Salar de Uyuni - in the remote southern Andean plane.
But Bolivia is not a country known to be friendly to foreign industry.
Its socialist president, Evo Morales, is keen to expand state control over its natural resources, a task carried out by Bolivia's minister for mining, Luis Alberto Echazu.
"We want to send a message to the industrialized countries and their companies," Mr Echazu says.
"We will not repeat the historical experience since the fifteenth century: raw materials exported for the industrialisation of the west that has left us poor."
(Salt has been gathered from dry lake beds for thousands of years.)
Gold, silver, tin, oil and gas have all been found and exported from here whilst the country remains the poorest in the region.
“ They probably don't have a lot of experience of doing this sort of thing themselves so they'll have to bring in expertise and technology ” Charles Kernot, mining analyst, Evolution Securities
For President Morales' supporters, that is reason enough not to allow in foreign mining companies to extract the lithium.
Across the flats, freelance miners work to break up the surface salt selling it to passing trucks for just a few dollars.
Indigenous and poor, they are core supporters of the president.
A grizzled old miner, giving his name only as Alfredo, says he does not believe that lithium will ever be extracted.
"We don't want to see foreign companies here," he says.
"It would be very bad, as the government says."
Alfredo's hopes for the future are modest.
"I just want to work until I die" he says, a smile across his face. It is not an uncommon sentiment here.
Sharing the benefits
In spite of the grinding poverty here, attempts in the 1980's and 1990's by foreign companies to extract the lithium met with resistance from the community.
They say the money would go elsewhere.
Francisco Quisbert is a local activist with President Morales' party who took part in the resistance.
Now he is working with the president to hammer out a new plan for a state-owned pilot plant on the flats.
"We don't want international involvement," he says.
"This plan has raised the hopes of the region.
"Before our grandparents lived on the salt. They arrived from the valleys in caravans of llamas, but the market forced them to leave.
"We want to return to live on the salar [and] improve our living conditions and to participate in the project."
To begin with the pilot plant will produce no more than 1.2 kilotonnes a year.
If an industrial plant is then built it may increase to around 30 kilotonnes by 2012, - thats just under a third of current production.
But most lithium now goes to small batteries for electronic goods.
Car batteries are far larger and Mitsubishi estimates the world will need 500 kilotonnes a year just to service a niche market. For electric cars to become the norm, it could need far more.
Mitsubishi predicts that there will be a supply shortage by 2015.
Analysts suspect that Bolivia's government can produce this much.
"Governments in South America have had a very successful history of mining," explains Charles Kernot, a mining analyst at Evolution Securities.
But the question is how fast.
"They probably don't have a lot of experience of doing this sort of thing themselves so they'll have to bring in expertise and technology," Mr Kernot adds.
"That whole process may take a lot longer than people are anticipating."
Consequently, he continues, "the car manufacturers will have to strike a balance between how quickly they manufacture with the supply of metal because they don't want to drive the price up to such an extent that the cars get priced out of the market".
Long-term, Bolivia's government is wary of the environmental damage mass extraction could cause. (The salt flats in Bolivia look much like the famous Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, near the Great Salt Lake.)
The mining minister, Mr Eschazu, has a stark message for Western firms.
"The capitalist leaders have to change," he says.
"If all the world had consumers like North America, everyone with a car, it would grind to a halt.
"It is also going to generate pollution, not just from fossil fuels but also from lithium plants, which produce sulphur dioxide. This isn't a magic solution."
It is not a view likely to go down well in the offices of Toyota and General Motors.
Story from BBC NEWS:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/business/7707847.stmPublished: 2008/11/09 16:07:02 GMT
Thanks for the recognition. I must give thanks to my many teachers and peers.
Skeptic of the Week
The award for most skeptic arguments in a single article over the past 7 days goes to:The Great Global Warming Hoax: Who Is To Blame? by Pete's Place (6 arguments)
Friday, February 6, 2009
On The Hijacking of the American Meteorological Society (AMS)
Below is the introduction to a paper being circulated by Bill Gray, Professor Emeritus, Colorado State University and AMS Fellow, Charney Award recipient, and a member of AMS for over 50-years. The full paper can be obtained from Prof. Gray: Gray@Atmos.ColoState.Edu
I am appalled at the selection of James Hansen as this year's recipient of the AMS's highest award - the Rossby Research Medal. James Hansen has not been trained as a meteorologist. His formal education has been in astronomy. His long records of faulty global climate predictions and alarmist public pronouncements have become increasingly hollow and at odds with reality. Hansen has exploited the general public's lack of knowledge of how the globe's climate system functions for his own benefit. His global warming predictions, going back to 1988 are not being verified. Why have we allowed him go on for all these years with his faulty and alarmist prognostications? And why would the AMS give him its highest award?
By presenting Hansen with its highest award, the AMS implies it agrees with his faulty global temperature projections and irresponsible alarmist rhetoric. This award, in combination with other recent AMS awards going to known CO2 warming advocates, is an insult to a large number of AMS members who do not believe that humans are causing a significant amount of the global temperature increase. These awards diminish the AMS's sterling reputation for scientific objectivity.
Hansen previously studied the run-away greenhouse warming of Venus. He appears to think that man's emittance of CO2 gases, if unchecked, will eventually cause the Earth to follow a similar fate. Hansen's arrogance and gall over the reality of his model results is breathtaking. He has recently warned President Obama that our country has only 4 years left to act on reducing CO2 gases before the globe will reach a point of irretrievable and disastrous human-caused warming. How does he know what thousands of us who have spent long careers in meteorology-climatology do not know?
Hansen's predictions of global warming made before the Senate in 1988 are turning out to be very much less than he had projected. He cannot explain why there has been no significant global warming over the last 10 years and why there has been a weak global cooling between 2001 and 2008. Hansen and his legion of environmental-political supporters (with no meteorological-climate background) have done monumental damage to an open and honest discussion of the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) question.
He and his fellow collaborators (and their media sycophantic followers) are responsible for the brainwashing of a large segment of the American public about a grossly exaggerated human-induced warming threat that does not exist. Most of the global warming we have observed is of natural origin and due to multi-decadal and multi-century changes in the globe's deep ocean circulation resulting from salinity variations (see the Appendix for scientific discussion). These changes are not associated with CO2 increases.
Hansen has little experience in practical meteorology. He apparently does not realize that the strongly chaotic nature of the atmosphere-ocean climate system does not allow for skillful initial value numerical climate prediction. Hansen's modeling efforts are badly flawed in the following ways: His upper tropospheric water vapor feedback loop is grossly wrong. He assumes that increases in atmospheric CO2 will cause large upper-tropospheric water vapor increases which are very unrealistic. Most of his model warming follows from his invalid water vapor assumptions.
His handlings of rainfall processes are, as with the other global climate modelers, quite inadequate. He lacks an understanding and treatment of the fundamental role of the deep ocean circulation (i.e. Meridional Overturning Circulation - MOC) and how the changing ocean circulation (driven by salinity variations) can bring about wind, rainfall, and surface temperature changes independent of radiation and greenhouse gas changes. He does not have these ocean processes properly incorporated in his model.
He assumes the physics of global warming is entirely a product of radiation changes and radiation feedback processes. This is a major deficiency.
Hansen's Free Ride.
It is surprising that Hansen has been able to get away with his unrealistic modeling efforts for so long. One explanation is that he has received strong support from Senator/Vice President Al Gore who for over three decades has attempted to make political capital out of increasing CO2 measurements.
Another reason is the many environmental and political groups (including the mainstream media) who are eager to use Hansen's modeling results as justification to push their own special interests that are able to fly under the global warming banner.
A third explanation is that he has not been challenged by his peer climate modeling groups who apparently have seen possibilities for research grant support and publicity gains by following Hansen's lead.
Yet another reason has been the luck of his propitious timing. His 1988 Senate testimony occurred after there had been global warming since the mid-1970s and we were experiencing a hot summer. And the global warming that occurred over the next 10 years (to 1998) gave an undeserved justification to his CO2 warming claims. Had Hansen given his Senate testimony in the 1970s or today (since we have seen weak global cooling since 2001) his alarmist rhetoric would have been taken much less seriously.
I anticipate that we are going to experience a modest naturally-driven global cooling over the next 15-20 years. This will be similar to the weak global cooling that occurred between the early-1940s and the mid-1970s. It is to be noted that CO2 amounts were also rising during this earlier cooling period which was opposite to the assumed CO2 temperature relationship.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
See full size video here.
“Scare,” a two-minute video highlighting the scare tactics of global-warming alarmists was produced for the Heartland Institute. Heartland released the video in the wake of former vice president Al Gore’s claim before a U.S. Senate committee January 28 that “scientists are practically screaming from the rooftops” about the threat of global warming.
The first part of “Scare” shows President Barack Obama asserting that “the science is settled” on global warming and alarmist predictions of death and destruction. The voice-over suggests some of the alarmist propaganda is backed by “corporations heavily invested in so-called green technology.”
With video footage of social and political unrest flashing, the video warns that the “cost of force-feeding these technologies into every corner of our lives could bankrupt a world already teetering on financial ruin.”
The second half of the video features several science-based facts about climate change, including that the Earth has been cooling in recent years and global temperatures have been warmer than today for most of the past 10,000 years.
It concludes by inviting viewers to attend the International Conference on Climate Change, where they can learn the Earth isn’t in crisis, and the presenters “have the science to prove it.”
“This is a provocative video on one of the most important public policy issues of day,"said Joseph Bast, president of The Heartland Institute. “Heartland has distributed more than 1 million videos and books presenting scientific and economic facts that show global warming is not a crisis. We hope this video and the conference it is helping to promote are the final stake in the heart of global warming alarmism.”
The video is available on several sites on the Web, including YouTube, Heartland’s Facebook page, and at www.heartland.org.
Also is Al Gore telling the truth about global warming? Watch Heartland Institute’s “Snowjob” to get the facts.
See full size video here.
It is most unfortunate that more geologists don't speak out on the subject, because as the authors point out, geologists are in a uniquely qualified position to refute the cause and effect claims and the shrill cries of catastrophe coming from the global warming alarmists.
Causes of Global Warming,
Are We Certain?
Robert G. Corbett, CPG-04502 and Gary T. Dannemiller, CPG-05118
This paper is not a definitive scientific
treatise nor does it contain new data.
Rather it is a review of current thought
on the topic, and casts doubt on the
importance of CO2 generation in global
warming. Central to this discussion is
questioning the validity of the notion
that burning of fossil fuel significantly
increases global warming.
Before we get started, we need to
review some elements of argumentation.
In any argument, the several sentences
presented may be either premise or
conclusion. A significant error in an
argument is termed a fallacy. There are
patterns in arguments. For example, if
one set of measurements correlates to
another set (either both increasing or
both decreasing) we say there is a positive
correlation. If one variable increases
and the other decreases there is a negative
correlation. Mere correlation is not
enough to establish causation, unless
there are no other variables that can reasonably
explain the situation (Heggie,
2002). We shall use this shortly.
As geologists, we are in a better
position than others to recognize that
the geologic record contains evidence
of past cyclical climate changes. Earth
has warmed since the last interglacial
began about 19,000 years B.P., and
sea level has risen for the past 15,000
years (Gornitz, 2007) although in fits
and starts. We recognize that both the
science behind climate change and the
role of greenhouse gases are poorly
understood. In fact, many close to the
situation claim any relation between
global warming and CO2 is a prediction
approach and not a cause and effect
claim. To most persons, it has become a
cause and effect explanation.
potential driver of global warming.
According to Utility and Income, an
investment advisory, “… virtually all
globally respected scientific organizations
have accepted the premise that CO2
regulation is needed.” On the other hand,
the Minority Page of the U.S. Senate
Committee on Environment and Public
Works of May 15, 2007 reports that some
“prominent scientists reverse belief in
man-made global warming….”
Nature of the Argument
Here is the widely promoted argument:
humankind is burning ever increasing
amounts of carbon-based fuels, and this
burning releases carbon dioxide. This
causes an increase in CO2 content in the
atmosphere. As CO2 slowly increases in
our atmosphere, it (being one of several
greenhouse gases) traps heat, preventing
some heat from re-radiating to space.
Conclusion: burning more fossil fuels
causes the Earth to become warmer.
Flaws in the Argument
This involves classic false cause and
effect argument. Why? No good reason
is presented that other causes for global
warming are not possible or likely. All
we need to do is identify one plausible
alternate cause and we may invoke the
false cause and effect objection. This
does not prove or disprove one theory,
but it does invalidate the fast conclusion.
There are other theories to explain the
variations now and over the past years:
plate tectonics and its influence on patterns
of oceanic circulation, green house
gases other than CO2 (water vapor,
methane, tropospheric ozone, nitrous
oxide, CFCs, CO), the Milankovitch
Cycle (Cycles Research Institute), solar
radiation variations, cosmic ray flux,
and Earth position to the Sun.
and Avery (2007) present evidence from
others for a 1500 year-cycle for warming
and cooling of the atmosphere that
is independent of greenhouse gases. J.
Jousel and others (2007) extend the data
and interpretation for the Antarctica
Dome C ice core.
Solar Cycles, A Likely
In their book Unstoppable Global
Warming, Singer and Avery (2007) refer
to Earth’s climate timeline, present
failures of the Greenhouse theory, and
cite the many world- and culture-wide
evidences that relate to climate, including
ice cores, tree rings, pollen, coral,
glaciers, boreholes, sea sediments, tree
lines, and agricultural crops. Singer
and Avery compile and present evidence,
direct and indirect, that follows
the Dansgaard-Oeschger cycle, an
irregular 1470 plus or minus 500 year
moderate warming and cooling cycle.
However, there is no 1470 year solar
cycle. The 1470 year cycle may be caused
by the interaction of other known Solar
cycles. Singer and Avery refer to the 87
year Gleissberg the 210 year Devries-
Suess cycles, and R. Timothy Patterson
mentions the 11 year Schwabe cycle
and the 1100-1500 year Bond cycle.
Patterson’s article Read the Sunspots
is found at Canada.com, dated June 21,
2007. Referring to the Little Ice Age,
Patterson points to the work of others
in noting that as our star’s solar output
and protective wind lessen, cosmic rays
from deep space enter and penetrate
our atmosphere. This allows enhancement
of cloud formation, which has a
Patterson has recently stated “Solar
scientists predict that, by 2020, the sun
will be starting into its weakest Schwabe
cycle of the past two centuries, potentially
leading to unusually cool conditions on
earth. Solar power has overpowered any
effect that CO2 has had before, and most
likely will again. And if we’re to have
even a medium-sized solar minimum, we
could be looking at climate change with
a lot more negative effects than “global
warming” would have had.”
We suggest that there is far too much
uncertainty in ascribing climate change
solely to anthropogenic CO2 production.
Federal Agency Setting
The U.S. E.P.A.
defined climate change as any significant
change in measures of climate (such
as temperature, precipitation, or wind)
lasting for an extended period (decades
or longer). The EPA relates that climate
change may result from:
• natural factors, such as changes in the
sun’s intensity or slow changes in the
Earth’s orbit around the sun;
• natural processes within the climate
system (e.g. changes in ocean circulation);
• human activities that change the
atmosphere’s composition (e.g.
through burning fossil fuels) and
the land surface (e.g. deforestation,
reforestation, urbanization, desertification,
Further information (nearly verbatim)
Scientists know with virtual certainty
• Human activities are changing the
composition of Earth’s atmosphere.
Increasing levels of greenhouse gases
like carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere
since pre-industrial times are
• The atmospheric buildup of CO2 and
other greenhouse gases is largely the
result of human activities such as the
burning of fossil fuels;
• A warming trend of about 0.7 to
1.5°F occurred during the 20th century.
Warming occurred in both the
Northern and Southern Hemispheres,
and over the oceans;
• The major greenhouse gases emitted
by human activities remain in the
atmosphere for periods ranging from
decades to centuries. It is therefore
virtually certain that atmospheric
concentrations of greenhouse gases
will continue to rise over the next few
• Increasing greenhouse gas concentrations
tend to warm the planet.
The Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC) has stated
“There is new and stronger evidence
that most of the warming observed
over the last 50 years is attributable to
human activities”. In short, a number of
scientific analyses indicate, but cannot
prove, that rising levels of greenhouse
gases in the atmosphere are contributing
to climate change (as theory predicts). In
the coming decades, scientists anticipate
that as atmospheric concentrations of
greenhouse gases continue to rise, average
global temperatures and sea levels
will continue to rise as a result and precipitation
patterns will change.
What’s Not Certain?
Important scientific questions remain
about how much warming will occur, how
fast it will occur, and how the warming
will affect the rest of the climate system
including precipitation patterns and
storms. Answering these questions will
require advances in scientific knowledge
in a number of areas, such as:
• improving understanding of natural
climatic variations, changes in the
sun’s energy, land-use changes, the
warming or cooling effects of pollutant
aerosols, and the impacts of changing
humidity and cloud cover;
• determining the relative contribution
to climate change of human activities
and natural causes;
• projecting future greenhouse emissions
and how the climate system will
respond within a narrow range; and
• improving understanding of the
potential for rapid or abrupt climate
The writers wish to add a note to
What’s Not Certain. The role of water
vapor, a major greenhouse gas, is not
considered by the IPCC or USEPA even
though other greenhouse gases such as
CO2 may have a lesser impact compared
to water vapor.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
However, there is another side to this story. Geologists (some anyway) have long known that natural oil seeps occur, and have occurred as long as the Earth's sediments have been generating oil and gas. Oil fields leak their hydrocarbons to the surface, whether on land or beneath the oceans. Hydrocarbons are less dense than rocks and the water they contain, so the oil and gas is continually trying to escape to the surface. Eventually, given enough time, it all does.
The following satellite images from NASA prove this theory: oil and gas are always naturally leaking and "polluting" the oceans, and in a big way, as can be seen from these images. Also, consider this is going on 24 hours per day, seven days per week, 365 days per year. So maybe "big oil" companies are not the careless, evil polluters they're accused of being.
Another quite amazing thing to consider is the oceans must continually clean themselves. Somehow fish, sea plants, and corals survive. Somehow there remain pristine white sand beaches. Is the public being deceived about the damaging effects of the oil industry? I say yes.
Remote-sensing scientists recently demonstrated that these “invisible” oil slicks do show up in photo-like images if you look in the right place: the sunglint region. This pair of images includes a wide-area view of the Gulf of Mexico from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite on May 13, 2006 (top), and a close up (bottom) of dozens of natural crude oil seeps over deep water in the central Gulf.
The usual technique for mapping oil slicks from space uses radar, which bounces pulses of radio waves off the wave-roughened surface of the water and detects the amount of backscattered energy. The downside of using space-based radars to map oil slicks is that they don’t provide routine coverage of large areas, and oil slicks may evaporate or disperse significantly within a day. The researchers suggest that tracking oil slicks in the wide sunglint region of daily Terra and Aqua MODIS images may be a better avenue for comprehensive, near-real-time monitoring of large oil spills and natural seeps in marine ecosystems.
Hu, C., Li, X., Pichel, W.G., and Muller-Karger, F. E. (2009). Detection of natural oil slicks in the NW Gulf of Mexico using MODIS imagery. Geophysical Research Letters, 36, L01604.
NASA image created by Jesse Allen, using data obtained from the Goddard Level 1 and Atmospheric Archive and Distribution System (LAADS). Caption by Rebecca Lindsey.
Terra - MODIS