Posted by Jeff Condon on December 6, 2011
It isn’t often that I have cause to agree with Nick lately but he has put a comment in another thread which I would like to copy here in the middle of climategate just to give some perspective on why I don’t fall in line with the IPCC.
Nick Stokes said
My general position is, yes, AGW is happening and will change our world a lot. How bad a rise of 3-4C will be I don’t know, but it’s very likely to happen.
You can’t deny Arrhenius and RTE. What that comes down to is that the IPCC judgment, right at the front of the SPM, that AGW has caused a rise of about 2 W/m2 in incoming radiation, is sound. Then you get to the climate sensitivity, which is more controversial. But even 2C per CO2 doubling has a big effect.
The arithmetic that is very basic, often forgotten, is on total C. We’ve burnt overall about 350 gigatons, and about 200 of that is in the atmosphere now. Rough figures – it’s late night here. There’s at least another 3000 Gtons C we could easily dig up and burn. That puts arguments about whether we’ve only had about 0.7C rise so far in perspective. It’s more than the total C in the atmosphere and biosphere (what was there and what we’ve put there, about 1500-2000 Gtons), and doesn’t allow for unconventional carbon. It’s at least two doublings. And the real question is, can we burn it all? And if not, how will we stop ourselves?
I haven’t mentioned the temp record, or paleo. That’s not part of the case. It’s important because if by now we hadn’t seen a temp rise, there would be legitimate questions. But we have. It isn’t the proof of AGW, but it’s consistent with it. Paleo says that it’s beyond the normal expactation, but that’s even less essential to the basic case.
Now I can’t disagree with any of what Nick has written, this is different than fully agreeing but only because I don’t have as much confidence in his warming numbers. So if Iam one of the bad-guy skeptics, where does that put the argument?
I’m a skeptic because:
- I beleive climate models are systematically biased through financial and political pressures. The biasing mechanism is complex.
- I do believe it is still in the bounds of reason that negative feedback is real or <1C of warming per doubling of CO2 is not impossible.
- I believe the models are running warm compared to observations.
- I believe UHI in the temeperature record is being given the gloss over and the dominant historic ocean temps have poorly explained problems.
- I believe that the effects of warming are completely unknown and these particular damage exaggerations of the IPCC are fraudulently biased and disgusting.
- I believe that even if we wanted to stop production of CO2- we can’t because the technologies recommended are fake.
- I believe that Nuclear is our only viable alternate option and it only solves part of the problem.
- I beleive that paleoclimatology is a fungus growing on the backside of the IPCC and they should find an ointment ASAP.
- I beleieve that information which supports the above and contradicts the scientific story the IPCC would tell is being repressed.
- I believe that a lot more of that information would come to light were funding balanced on science rather than politics.
- I believe the media and governments are working actively to cover the above problems up.
So as an engineer, despite my understanding of the basics Nick has stated, I also believe that there isn’t anything we can do to stop CO2 production today anyway. In the meantime, I am a piss-poor activist. I don’t care enough to make a concerted attempt to organize as these scientists do. I don’t collect lists of reporters who are friendly to the cause, because there isn’t a cause – and not many unbiased reporters. The most activist thing I do is occasionally ask Anthony Watts to post something I’ve written so that it gets read more.
As always, feel free to tell me I’m wrong.