This post is made in reply to a discussion begun at
I must say that this site is one of the very few that is prepared to discuss the essential things to do with the AGW theory and to that extent they have my applause.
However the latest answer to the sites explanation, (because I took the trouble to carefully read the references) has balloned to such a size I thought it would be more appropriate posted everything here.
Avid readers may wish to visit the links on my blog or the originator’s blog as described above.
Unfortunately after the final replies (copied below in the comments section), none of which even got close to examining my point, I was blocked from making any more comments
I can only assume that my comments were hitting a little close to home.
Relevant comments which refrain from Ad Hominem comments and other abuse are welcomed.
Frankly I have seen more honest explanations in Scientology books.
“What does past climate change tell us about global warming?”
In case you dont know it, your explanation uses the AGW theory to explain the question when the question is really asking for some proof of the AGW theory.
The comment was published in the modified form shown below.
Rogerthesurf, you’d do better to explain yourself. Failing that, presumably you won’t care if your post is deleted?
72.doug_bostrom at 13:53 PM on 8 April, 2010
Rogerthesurf, you’d do better to explain yourself. Failing that, presumably you won’t care if your post is deleted? “
Sorry your reply did not show up on my “My Comments” page.
Thank you for editing my comment (not)
However my point is simple.
Correct me if I am wrong, but at no point does your explanation discuss the validity of the “Anthropogenic CO2 causes Global Warming” hypothesis.
Instead your host of explanations which are all based on the assumption that it (the above hypothesis) is fact, which actually it is not fact but as yet simply an unproven hypothesis.
Therefore all your explanations are no better than this unproven hypothesis.
I trust that is clear.
I also always post my comments and replies on my other site https://globalwarmingsupporter.wordpress.com where my readers can evaluate my questions and your answers. Check under your url and post title.
Roger, I’m not spotting the tautology. Which part of the physics do you disagree with?
Roger, what exactly in the theory of climate that underlies the above that you are objecting to? That, when you add more heat to our climate, global temperatures rise? That CO2 is a greenhouse gas? That greenhouse effect is real? These questions of climate physics are better addressed on other threads. For past climate, it is better to realise that it is primarily where models can be tested and constrained.
Phil (also from NZ)
Phil and Doug,
Thanks for your answers, please consider the opening statement to the answer of the question on this page.
“If there’s one thing that all sides of the climate debate can agree on, it’s that climate has changed naturally in the past. Long before industrial times, the planet underwent many warming and cooling periods. This has led some to conclude that if global temperatures changed naturally in the past, long before SUVs and plasma TVs, nature must be the cause of current global warming. <b>This conclusion is the opposite of peer-reviewed science has found.
Our climate is governed by the following principle: when you add more heat to our climate, global temperatures rise.”</b>
The above opening statement in the “explanation” as to why there were previous warmings (when there was no anthropogenic CO2) neatly sidesteps the question.
The question, which is a very good one, is – “If there are previous warmings, why do we blame this one on CO2?”
The answer is “Because an increase in CO2 which is a greenhouse gas, is the cause THIS TIME”.
So I am saying, where is the empirical proof of this cause.
All that is in the explanation is a lot of theory which is not based on anything empirical, in fact like I have mentioned above, the explanations assume that the “Anthropogenic CO2 causes Global warming” hypothesis is fact when in actual fact there is no emperical support whatsoever. In fact previous warmings disprove the hypothesis.
Hope you can understand my point.
This comment and your answers are posted on http://www.globalwarmingsupporter.wordpress.com for the benefit of my readers.
Response: “where is the empirical proof of this cause?”
There are multiple lines of empirical evidence that CO2 is causing warming. We have a number of different satellites from NASA and Japan finding less infrared radiation escaping to space at CO2 wavelengths (Harries 2001, Griggs 2004, Chen 2007). Surface measurements from thousands of ground based stations are also finding more infrared radiation returning back to the Earth’s surface (Wang 2009). A close examination of the infrared spectrum returning back to Earth finds more infrared radiation at CO2 wavelengths (Evans 2006).
So we have independent measurements finding the same answer – which is consistent with lab measurements and simulations of an increased greenhouse effect caused by rising CO2.
If you could post this answer on your blog, would be much appreciated
Your reply is faithfully included in my blog.
I am not disputing any of the findings that you mention in your answer, although some might, but none of this information proves in any way that anthropogenic CO2 is the root cause.
My argument which is simply based on the standard scientific proof of a hypothesis, is not hard to understand, but for your benefit I will explain more.
Even in the absence of previous warmings, the earth could be heating up for some other reason. The fact that there are well documented and general agreement that there have been previous warmings, such as the Holocene Maximum, the Minoan Warming, the Roman warming and the Medieval Warm Period, which are recorded in history as well as scientific proxies and the like, make CO2 as the root cause of global warming even less likely.
The situation can be likened to the problem that pharmaceutical researchers have. If a patient is ill and you give him some of your new drug, and the patient gets well:- Did he get well because of the drug, or did he get well anyway?
Very hard to tell, so as you should be aware, this problem is solved by doing double blind tests on a large sample of patients and doing a statistical analysis of the results. (Double blind because if the patient knows if he is receiving the drug or placebo, it effects his response, as the response is also effected if the person administering knows whether it is the drug or a placebo)
To further illustrate the difficulty of proving a hypothesis, I recommend watching the following video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxiBHNeTG7o&feature=related
The video has nothing to do with CO2 or global warming, but illustrates well the problems of hypothesis proof. A number of people died when the captain of this aircraft formed a hypothesis of what was wrong with the plane, an incident seemed to support his hypothesis, but in spite of definitive disproof of his hypothesis being readily available, because the hypothesis was incorrect, the aircraft crashed.
In fact there are a number of known things which could cause the current warming, and probably a greater number of factors which are unknown.
I hope this clarifies things for you and your readers. Please take the time to watch the video.
This response is also posted on http://www.globalwarmingsupporter.wordpress.com
Response: “The fact that there are well documented and general agreement that there have been previous warmings… make CO2 as the root cause of global warming even less likely”
The degree and global extent of warming is still debated for certain periods (re the Medieval Warm Period) but putting that aside, we can all agree that there have been many periods in Earth’s history when the planet has experienced dramatic changes in temperature.
Why has climate changed in the past? The primary driver of Earth’s climate is and has always been changes in the planet’s energy imbalance. If anything causes a change in the energy coming in or going out, that will lead to warming or cooling. This can include the sun getting hotter, more aerosols in the air reflecting incoming sunlight, more CO2 absorbing infrared radiation, etc. CO2 is not the only driver of climate – in the past, various factors have driven Earth’s climate. The one constant is that an energy imbalance has driven temperature change.
So what does past climate change tell us? It tells us that when the planet suffers an energy imbalance, global temperature changes. It doesn’t mean CO2 is always the main driver of past climate change. The ice age cycles of the past million years were driven initially by orbital cycles, not CO2 (but CO2 does play a positive feedback role).
A crucial piece of information we learn from past history is how much climate responds to an energy imbalance. How sensitive is our climate? And what we find is when our planet accumulates heat, there is a net positive feedback response from our climate which amplifies the initial warming. Past climate change reveals a key truth: our climate is sensitive. If you impose an energy imbalance on our planet, positive feedbacks will amplify the initial warming.
What does this have to do with CO2? We know rising CO2 is causing an energy imbalance because of direct observations (satellites observing less infrared radiation escaping to space and surface measurements of more downward infrared radiation).
So we have two pieces of information from empirical data:
1. Direct measurements today find CO2 is imposing an energy imbalance
2. Past climate change finds the climate is sensitive to an energy imbalance
Our understanding of climate comes from considering the full body of evidence. You need to consider past climate change in the context of the current energy imbalance imposed by CO2.
Roger, you should add this to your blog because it speaks to the weight of your opinion on this subject:
Some scientific conclusions or theories have been so thoroughly examined and tested, and supported by so many independent observations and results, that their likelihood of subsequently being found to be wrong is vanishingly small. Such conclusions and theories are then regarded as settled facts. This is the case for the conclusions that the Earth system is warming and that much of this warming is very likely due to human activities.
That’s from the National Academy of Sciences. You can find the press release for this just-released report as well as links to the report itself here.
What is this “National Academy of Sciences”? You can learn about it here. It’s sort of like the UK’s Royal Society but with the brand of USA on it.
The basic point is, anthropogenic warming is considered to be fact, uncontroversially so in terms of scientific understanding. If you dig into the science you’ll find past changes of climate playing the role of evidence in support of this fact.
However I expect you to use your brain to discuss my point. I dont give two hoots what the NAS says, unless they can show me how the “Anthropogenic CO2 causes Global Warming” hypothesis is proven. Now that would be not unreasonable to expect from a bunch of scientists right?
And it might be news to you but “anthropogenic warming” is not considered to be fact, even in IPCC reports and there is an increasing body of opinion that support what I am questioning.
But most importantly, lets not forget this conversation is about whether this blog addresses the question “What does past climate change tell us about global warming?” and I am maintaining that it skirts around the real issue which is what I am raising here.
Roger, what’s to discuss? The National Academy of Sciences says anthropogenic warming is a fact, you say it’s not and you’re quite unprepared to accept otherwise. I’m a bystander to your argument with the NAS but I have to say, I attach more weight to their conclusion and not yours. Are you surprised, that I’d have to give more credit to the NAS and their conclusion based on a veritable mountain of evidence, as opposed to your personal opinion supported by a Youtube video?
What an extraordinary conversation. I’ve participated in many such yet they still leave my head spinning. Either one must leave the merry-go-round filled with folks who show every sign of technical psychosis or one must jump on and join the endless revolution of repetitions.
Thank you for your reply.
I have read your answer carefully and visited all the links you suggested.
If I may, I would now like to analyse your answer.
Remember my assertion is that the “Anthropogenic CO2 causes Global Warming” hypothesis is not proven empirically or by any other means and I cautioned that on your site you appear to be using the above unproven hypothesis to prove itself.
I think we would all agree that this would be meaningless and definitely unscientific.
We seem to be in agreement that the planet has been warmer before. Not only during the most recent time (The Medieval Warm Period), but the Roman Warm Period and the Holocene Maximum just to name some of them.
You assert that the climate warms because of an energy imbalance, which could arise from a number of reasons.
This is obvious, and it is difficult to see how global temperature change could be caused by anything else.
“It does not mean that CO2 is always the main driver of climate change”
Very true, in fact it appears that IF it is currently the driver of this climate change, it will be for the very first time.
Positive feedbacks, by which you mean, as CO2 concentrations rise, and the planet warms, extra CO2 is released by the oceans and bio mass etc, causing higher CO2 concentrations, more heat, and then more releases and so on, put us on less solid ground.
This feed back mechanism idea is another hypothesis and like the “Anthropogenic CO2 causes global warming” hypothesis, it is unproven. In fact it can be clearly seen that the “CO2 Feedback theory” relies on the “Anthropogenic CO2 causes Global Warming Hypothesis” for its basis. (Effectively the use of an unproven theory to prove itself again!)
So since we are talking about empirical proof of the “Anthropogenic CO2 causes Global Warming Hypothesis” we cannot rely on any other hypothesis which relies on the “Anthropogenic CO2 causes Global Warming Hypothesis”, as being any sort of proof of the “Anthropogenic CO2 causes Global Warming Hypothesis”.
Also if there was a positive warming feed back, it is difficult to understand why we did not experience excessive heat (such as enough to make the world uninhabitable) during say the Holocene Maximum where the climate was significantly warmer than today.
“We know rising CO2 is causing an energy imbalance”
I took a look at this link which took me to another part of your site and I carefully read the citations which you have there.
Of course CO2 has some effect on the greenhouse properties of the atmosphere, but the question is, is it significant, (especially considering the inverse logarithmic relationship that CO2 has with radiative forcing) and is it the driver of our current warming?
I would have expected to see some studies providing a time series of the total outgoing radiation, and the proportions of the various components thereof. Then this would need to be compared with the same during say the Holocene period to decide where the similarities/differences lie and then decide, if indeed the outgoing radiation has decreased, which factor(s) is driving it.
Chen is actually doing the same thing. Once again “Cloud Free spectra are used”. Like Griggs, there is no calculation of the total energy absorption over all the spectra which is really what matters.
Indeed the paper ends with the sentence “In the future, we plan to extend the analysis to more spatial and temporal regions, OTHER MODELS, and to cloudy cases.”
The final sentence in the abstract “The rising trend results from increases in air temperature,(fairly obvious), atmospheric water vapour, and CO2 concentration.”
Well although the abstract does not deal with the division of these things, it is obvious that the air temperature is increasing, very likely that water vapour has something to do with it, and one cant get away from the feeling that they mentioned CO2 just to maintain their funding. Nevertheless unless the main body of the report says something substantially different, it is difficult to see how this study pins down CO2 empirically as the culprit.
From Philipona we get a very similar story.
“The resulting uniform increase of of long wave downward radiation manifest radiative forcing that is increased by increased greenhouse concentrations AND water vapour feedback, and proves the “theory” of greenhouse warming with direct observations.”
Also in the text, we read “At least half of the increases may therefore not be explicable by direct effects of GHG’s and associated feedbacks of temperature and humidity, but are rather due to circulation changes over central Europe.”
Of course the biggest danger of any studies like these is that they are all aiming to a predefined conclusion. The effect of this is well known and is the very reason why empirical and statistical tests for the effectiveness of pharmaceutical drugs are conducted using the double blind method. Neither the patient nor the administering physician nor the analysts have any knowledge of the actual people receiving the drug, and only this way can the results be trusted not to have any personal or environmental bias.
I see a lot of attempts to blind people with “science”, very similar to a book on Scientology that I once read.
There is no attempt in your analysis to identify and then rule out the reasons why the earth has warmed in previous epochs. (I agree that it would be a very tough project) Neither have you have not taken into account, so far as I can see, of the negative logarithmic relationship that CO2 has with its greenhouse properties, and most important of all I have not found a shred of proof that actually supports the “Anthropogenic CO2 causes Global Warming” hypothesis.
Unless the previous warmings can be explained and the causes for these definitely ruled out for the current warming, it is difficult to find any support for the current AGW theory.
The effect of implementing the emission reductions as put forward by the IPCC plus the recommended transfers of wealth will simply break our economies.
This is an area of which the IPCC does not dwell on and other so called “Green Economists”, with rose tinted glasses, are actually telling us the opposite.
We hear all sorts of hysterical statements about how greedy we are, how evil our consumer society is and how we need to de-industrialize and how a small cost will be worth it in order to save the planet,even if the scientists are wrong.
Well the fact of the matter is: Reducing the emissions and transferring wealth in the manner outlined by the IPCC will cause a major slowdown in our economies in every sector.
A slowdown of 33% in industrial activity will put us in the same position as the Great Depression with the terrible hardships, poverty, starvation and social unrest associated with it.
I believe that we are likely to surpass the excesses of the great depression.
If we want to reduce CO2 emissions by 40% of 1990 levels, which I calculate to be over 57% of today’s usage, this means we will have to reduce usage of oils, gases, coal, production of steel, cement, fertilizers and other CO2 producing processes by about the same amount. This will effect every part of the western economies and the outcome will be a reduction in total western industrial activity by a similar percentage!
This will put the price of gasoline, gas and coal out of reach for the normal citizen, or if it is rationed, create cataclysmic shortages. All manufacturing processes including agriculture will be affected. This means a cataclysmic rise in the price of food and basic necessities of life. Building will be similarly affected as will the cost of transportation. In other words, normal people will be disadvantaged from every quarter.
Jobs will disappear, poverty and deprivation will be rife.
Countries that have sufficient Hydro power or natural thermal energy will, to some extent, be better off. Nuclear energy is a partial solution but definitely not acceptable by “Green” interests.
Most countries have limited or no opportunity left for further hydro energy production.
Wind energy is unreliable and can only ever serve to supplement current energy production. Hydrogen and electric cars and the like, only serve to transfer the production of CO2 from one place to another and are not a solution. Solar power is very expensive and offers only a partial solution at best.
If governments put billions of tax payers money into so called “green” energy projects, what ever they may be, they will exacerbate the situation because for every “green” job created, several other jobs will be lost because of the taxation. (Milton Freidman received a Nobel Prize for pointing out his fact).
The point is that if we are going to break our way of life so very thoroughly in order to save the planet, WE NEED A VERY HIGH STANDARD OF PROOF INDEED FOR THE “ANTHROPOGENIC CARBON DIOXIDE CAUSES GLOBAL WARMING” HYPOTHESIS.
To carry out the IPCC demands just in case there is AGW is most certainly not an option.
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