GCR’s, Clouds, and Climate, Oh My!

Head in a Cloud has a post about a GRL paper: Luis Eduardo Antunes Vieira and Ligia Alves da Silva of the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais, Brazil, entitled “Geomagnetic modulation of clouds effects in the Southern Hemisphere Magnetic Anomaly through lower atmosphere cosmic ray effects”. Its from July, and this is the first I’ve heard of it (thanks Hank). I’ve put a comment in over there – it looks to me like more cloud/enso confusion, which Paul Farrar pointed out, but I’m not sure.

The missing piece of the U.S. Climate Change Technology Program Strategic Plan

A thing called the U.S. Climate Change Technology Program Strategic Plan has been released (thanks to commenters at RC for the link). It seems (of course, I haven’t read the whole thing…) to be a set of options for reducing CO2 emissions. All very splendid. But what is missing is… *why* would you want to reduce CO2? Of course, we all know the answer – climate change, but (presumably for politicial reasons) they can’t say that or give any details.

The document appears to be an exercise in dancing around the point: Although scientific understanding of climate change continues to evolve, the potential ramifications of increasing accumulations of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the Earth’s atmosphere have heightened attention on anthropogenic sources of GHG emissions (1) is about as close as we get.

It does say this is because of the UNFCCC and avoiding dangerous levels of CO2, but then goes on to say the Plan makes no judgments as to what constitutes a dangerous level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (2). If this is really true, then why bother to do anything, since you don’t judge BAU levels to be dangerous?

Ch 3, p27 goes as far as reproducing the IPCC’s radiative forcing graph (see, I skimmed that far…) but if there is anything there associating that with temperature change I missed it.

Sanity from the Royal Society proves unpopular

Yesterday I noted with approval a letter from the Royal Society asking Exxon to stop funding climate change denial. RP Jr, bizarrely, finds this inconsistent with the open and free exchange of ideas. Its bizarre because Exxons funding of these dubious organistaions has nothing to do open exchange – its all about misinformation and slipping Exxons desired world view in from the side.

There is also a rumour of another letter – though we haven’t seen it, only the Torygraph report on it calling for “the UK media to be vigilant against attempts to present a distorted view of the scientific evidence about climate change” – in other words, to avoid being taken in by disinformation. This, too, is a bad idea if you live in Pielke-land.

[Update: a transcript of a BBC R4 interview is available via RP (thanks) via BP (thanks). First of all, this clarifies the origin of the RS letter: in a meeting I had in July that they were making statements that misrepresented the science and that they were funding groups that were similarly misrepresenting the science. They then offered themselves to stop funding these groups. But let me make a distinction here… What happened is, after I’d explained why the Royal Society felt that the statements Exxon Mobile had made in a report in February, when I explained to them that they were wrong in our opinion, they then send me a report in the summer, a new report, which repeated all of the statements which I complained about in the first place. Then we have David Whitehouse (who he?): Different views, contrary positions, are essential to the progress of science (ad nauseam; plus various irrelevant comments about free speach). Exxon aren’t funding science: they are funding lobbying groups. If they *were* funding climate science that would be splendid (they pay well, I understand…). And: My point is not an argument about the science. The science is irrelevant in this context. You can go to your own website and read scientists talk about the uncertainties of global warming. No, the science isn’t irrelevant, which is why he can’t resist trying to bring it up. -W]

California sues governor over global warming

News just in… California is suing its own governor over his Hummer… no, of course not. But California sues carmakers over global warming.

California sued six of the world’s largest automakers over global warming on Wednesday, charging that greenhouse gases from their vehicles have caused billions of dollars in damages. The lawsuit is the first of its kind to seek to hold manufacturers liable for the damages caused by their vehicles’ emissions, state Attorney General Bill Lockyer said. It also comes less than a month after California lawmakers adopted the nation’s first global warming law mandating a cut in greenhouse gas emissions. An automaker trade group called the global warming move a “nuisance suit.”
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Larry Sanger has a dream… Citizendium

And you can read about it at http://citizendium.org/. Predicatably enough, wikipedia already has an article on it. Will it fly? Who knows…

[Update: Nature has an article on this, featuring a brief appearence by yours truely… I don’t get to say anything exciting though. Or perhaps more precisely, I *didn’t* say anything very exciting]


Over at pharyngula (which I *cannot pronounce… I could never be a biologist) there is an account of the silly ID’s folks attack on Chris Mooney for not having the right credentials to talk about the science. Its a silly attack, of course, and PZ dutifully rips it apart (I’m a bit baffled as to why ID is a scientific and *legal* issue… but anyway).

This post is only to point out that the reverse argument is used, just as foolishly: ie, “we can’t possibly listen to you, you’re a scientist who knows about the subject, and therefore obviously biased… we need someone *without* credentials to talk impartially about this…”.

AMQUA vs AAPG over SoF

The AMQUA (American Quaternary Association, bet you didn’t know that) takes AAPG (American Association of Petroleum Geologists) to task for giving Crichton its journalism award for State of Fear, with the laughable assertion that “It is fiction, but it has the absolute ring of truth”. The award says more about what petroleum geologists would like to be true than it does about reality; its nice to see AMQUA standing up against this nonsense.

Nature: Climate change: A cosmic connection

Nature has a review on its front cover (subs req, of course) that pretty well says forget solar forcing for explaining current climate change (“brightening of the Sun is unlikely to have had a significant influence on global warming since the seventeenth century”; not to be outdone, Science refers to a Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. peice saying much the same). But inside we have Climate change: A cosmic connection about CLOUD, which is a CERN expt to try to find the elusive cosmic-ray cloud connection that much of the solar folk hope for by shooting particle beams through controlled air. This idea has been around quite a while – at least since the EGU was last at Nice, and probably before. But it looks like its finally been funded ($11 M for the first phase; not obviously a useful use of money).
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Warning: bigger carbon cut needed to avoid disaster

Says the Guardian. The full report is here (by the Tyndall follk) but the summary (by FOE/Coop) is here. There is a clear void between the scale of the problem and the actual policy mechanisms proposed well I can agree with that, but from there on…
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