Posted by SilverBullet, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jan 16, 2007 at 3:59 pm
Come on! Don't you know that 150 years (at best) of climatological data is enough to understand the cooling and warming trends of our 4.5 billion year old planet! Get on board! Geeeeez!!! I mean, if Al Gore says its so, it must be so!
Posted by Dave, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jan 16, 2007 at 7:24 pm
You can pooh-pooh global warming and Al Gore all you want, but the fact is that we are doomed if we don't stop polluting the atmosphere with greenhouse gases. You're just global warming deniers trying to whistle your way past the warming watery graveyard that our city will become when the ice caps melt.
It's time to do more than just discuss this to death on message boards. We need mandatory caps on consumption and energy use NOW. My heart breaks when during this cold weather, I think of us all heating our homes to 65 or even 70 degrees using FOSSIL FUELS that poison the atmosphere and doom us to destruction - if not perdition. We all need to set our thermostats at no more than 55 degrees and have inspections by the government to make sure no one is cheating and thereby destroying the atmosphere. We, in our over-heated Amerikan style homes are using resources that belong to the earth and to us all. Do you think people in the rest of the world think 55 is too cold? No- only us whiny Americans do that. Same in the summer. Air conditioning should be banned. (They don't have air conditioners in Africa, and it's much hotter than good old Palo Alto!)
Time to get serious about Global Warming. See an Inconvenient Truth if you don't think hte situation is dire!
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jan 16, 2007 at 7:53 pm
Even the most ardent of Warmingists fundamentalists is reluctant to claim more than a 0.6 degree component of global warming is "caused" by man. And for this we are to hand over control of our economy to prohibitionists who hate cars and the freedom from control by their betters that cars make possible? Energy is all that separates us from the aborigines.
Posted by Jim, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Jan 16, 2007 at 8:21 pm
The TOTAL surface warming claimed by the global warming folks is 0.6 C. Even the most ardent adherents of anthropogenic greenhouse warming effetcs does not claim ALL of this global warming.
Surface terrestrial measurments are made by thermometers, which are subject to some serious potential errors, like island effects. Satellite measurements show little, if any, surface warming.
The first thing to show is that there actually is any earth warming. This is not a clear answer by a long shot. If this is shown to be true, then we need to know what fraction of this warming is due to human activity. If it is shown that athropogenic greenhouse gases are a serious contributing factor, then we can ask what to do about it.
It is amusign to me to see how the true believer can whip themselves up into a savior furry.
Posted by Talk to the Polar Bears, a resident of the Community Center neighborhood, on Jan 17, 2007 at 9:01 am
Comment to Silver Bullet: If you're going to criticize _An Inconvenient Truth_, please take the time to actually watch the movie. Had you seen it, you would note that the climatological sampling is not 150 years, but more like about 650,000 -- enough to spot a clear and extremely disturbing spike in temperatures in recent years.
Silver Bullet wrote: "Come on! Don't you know that 150 years (at best) of climatological data is enough to understand the cooling and warming trends of our 4.5 billion year old planet!"
All these people on this discussion who are so eager to discredit the consensus of the vast majority of the scientific community, what do you have to say to the people who lived on Lohachara island, which was submerged by rising sea levels last month? Web Link
I can sense that you (Silver Bullet, Draw the Line, besides) may not be the type of people who respect wildlife enough to care that countless species are on the brink of extinction (yes, including polar bears) because of new aberrations in weather and habitat destruction brought about by climate change. But I'll mention it anyway because I know others are reading this post, and I want to make sure everyone is aware of the very real and, in many cases, irreparable effects of global warming that are taking place in real time.
Posted by Joanna, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Jan 17, 2007 at 9:31 am
PA Resident (original poster) -- would you post a link to that map? I've been trying to find it.
Thanks! And thank you for posting, because regardless of what other commentors are saying, you are right, it is a *very* local issue, and it will affect us, and it will take an even greater toll on the lives of our children. The responsible thing is to own up to it now while we can still hope to change things.
Posted by PA resident, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Jan 17, 2007 at 9:43 am
Joanna -- you need to download Google's GoogleEarth application (which you can find by searching at google.com). When you have it open, type any Palo Alto address as a search term. As you move your cursor over the resulting map, the program automatically gives you the height of that location above sea level. Most of Palo Alto east of El Camino registers at less than 25 ft.
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jan 17, 2007 at 10:21 am
There ia absolutely no evidence of rising sea levels. there is much evidence, on the other hand, that sandbars at the mouths of rivers are not a good place for permanent residence. See New Orleans and other Mississippi delta areas.
There is no concensus of the "Vast majority of the science community" except in the fevered imagination of Warmies. There is a trend in those scientists who have bet on warm - their own specialties have little to do with weather, climate or much else except grantpigging.
Posted by Draw the Line, a resident of Stanford, on Jan 17, 2007 at 10:26 am
Science is not consensus, it is not a democracy.
A few facts - Polar Bears are not on the brink of extinction from global warming. Funny how they survived the climate when GREENLAND was all farmland and the earth was much warmer than now.
I have watched the movie by Al Gore. Read the link I posted. The little science there was in there that was accurate was completely overshadowed by such ridiculous "graphs" that weren't labeled to scale ( such as the famous hockey stick graph) and...well, just read the link if you care about science. Don't if you just want to be scared and want to feel like you are doing something to save the earth without actually doing much of value.
A responsible discussion of this issue should not be hyped or politicized, it should be carefully examined for facts, and teased apart for what HUMANS are responsible for, what HUMANS can do about it, and what is completely beyond our control, like the cyclical shifting tilt in the earth, and the cyclical increase in sun spots, and the 1,500 year cyclical up and down of global temperatures, the last up which was...surprise! 1,500 years ago.
I think that this kind of politicizing and hype distracts from what we COULD be doing to prepare for the inevitable increase in temperatures, which we can not prevent. And prevents us from capitalizing on the benefits we could reap, as in increased food production to prevent starvation..
If you want to read the SCIENTIFIC response to this NYT article, click
I know that many of you, or whatever reason, maybe to give meaning to your lives, really want to believe the hype. If that is so, then I suggest you find a real theology to believe in to give meaning to your life, and study the actual science of this one.
Posted by Talk to the Polar Bears, a resident of the Community Center neighborhood, on Jan 17, 2007 at 11:48 am
In case anyone wants the scoop on what's happening to polar bears -- here's a link. Web Link But let's face it, polar bears are the tip of the iceberg (what's left of it). Palo Altans are a pretty savvy lot. They know, for instance, that Big Oil and the auto industry is capable of financing a lot of political campaigns disguised as information. (Example: Web Link ) They know that the Bush Administration has a lengthy history of altering scientific findings to suit political purposes. They know that admitting the human causes of climate change will have an impact on Business as Usual. It's not an easy pill to swallow, and no one is saying it is. Palo Altans are capable of doing their own reading and research, and if they do so with no bias, the information out there speaks for itself. Palo Altans, please, go read. Educate yourselves, and then take some appropriate actions.
Posted by sarlat, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Jan 17, 2007 at 3:13 pm
Actually, there's no dispute in the scientific community regarding global warming. The only so-called scientists disputing the overwhelming evidence that global warming is caused by our use of fossil fuel and the destruction of the global eco-system are employed by energy companies or other big businesses and the think tanks serving them whose financial interest make it essential to ignore the evidence. We have no way of knowing if we have already reached the point of no return, but if we have, it's unlikely that there will be life on this planet a hundred years from now and it's quite possible that we don't even have that much time left. The deniers of global warming (like Wallis and his ilk)are nothing but the new Flat Earthers, and we know where they ended up.
Posted by shareka davis, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Jan 17, 2007 at 4:56 pm
i am only twelve years old and reading about the effects of global warming has really opened my eyes i think we need to stop making green houses and uses these gases that are a danger to our earth my advise would be just stop and think about the earth the earth is already poluted by trash and oil spills so lets at least try to save what we have left
Posted by secret, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jan 17, 2007 at 5:08 pm
please help us stop global warming i mean think about your children and your childrens children and you childrens childrens childrens and . . . . . . . . . . . . so on i mean dont they deserve a chanse to live on earth just like we do and why do we need even need green houses american matter fact the united states is the most wastefull un beautiful poluted country on earth thats what i think we dont care about no one but our selves and its time for someone to take a stand and try to save the earth while its not to late
Posted by sarlat, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Jan 17, 2007 at 5:29 pm
The doubters of global warming would have you believe that there's a 'controversy' attached to it. The so called controversy is a manufactured ploy by the loony right wing, the Bush crowd and big oil. The rest of the world has moved way beyond it. There isn't one serious scientist who doubts that global warming is real and presents the greatest threat to the survival of life on earth. The crowd of deniers also believed and probably still does that we invaded Iraq because Saddam was about to attack the U.S with WMD, that he was behind 9/11 and that he received a fair trial. They alos believe that Bush is a great president who served out with honor his national guard duty.
Posted by Carl, a resident of the Southgate neighborhood, on Jan 17, 2007 at 5:48 pm
Dear Shareka and Secret,
The United States of America is not the most wastefull un beautiful poluted country on Earth. We live at a higher standard than many people, and that means we use more energy. The rest of the world mostly would like to live like us. That is why they are trying so hard to improve their living standards.
The USA has put a lot of effort into cleaning up our environment. I think that is a good thing. Do you, too? I hope so.
Are you both twelve years old? Are you in the same class together? If so, I hope your teacher is telling you the truth about our planet. Did she watch Al Gore's movie? Did you? If so, what did you learn that was true? What did you learn that was not true?
Posted by Jim, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Jan 17, 2007 at 5:55 pm
Sarlat, this is your quote: "There isn't one serious scientist who doubts that global warming is real and presents the greatest threat to the survival of life on earth."
Sarlat, please explain to me why satellite microwave measurments of our troposhere do NOT show that our Earth surface is warming. Be specific. BTW, these measurments were done by NASA, not an oil company.
Posted by besides, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jan 18, 2007 at 11:24 am
The problem with threads like this is I dont think you can get the average citizen to agree on the empirical evidence, let alone the theories of what the outcome might be. There is a lot of FUD that out there and recognizing whats FUD and whats fact can be hard. The FUD folks are well funded and have personal interests in the outcome going their way.
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jan 18, 2007 at 6:33 pm
DNFTT, you sure know where to go to get your science - not from an engineer but from a cartoonist and a Divinity School dropout. And of course, from that monument to truth, the Union of Concerned Scientists whose every title word is a lie, including "the" and "of".
Sometimes, reality is better served by considering the earth as flat. Better than one climate model that neglected the ocean. Remember also, 50 years ago I was the one taking the temperatures at one datum.
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jan 19, 2007 at 10:24 am
I don't "get" my science from anyone. By engineering education and experience I have developed the ability to filter valid data from hype. My early experience in the calibration of instrumentation and sampling taught me the need for the independent calibration back to standards of any predictive program and of the dangers of extapolation from even known values but especially extrapolation from wild ass guesses and from self serving predictions.
It is not very convincing to me, either way. I can't see how 2000 scientist buy into the global warming theory, nor how how 100 scientists buy into a neutral trend. Consensus doesn't really matter in science. Hard data matter. Judge for yourself.
Posted by Kevin, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Jan 20, 2007 at 6:12 pm
That cartoon has been around the block, already. Try to stay fresh.
Are you saying that consensus overrules science? Or are you saying that consensus IS science? Michael Creighton would have fun with your mind. The speed of light is not a matter of consensus, it is a fact of nature. It doesn't matter how many grassy knoll nuts say that JFK was shot by other than Oswald - there is no evidence, whatsoever, to prove that the consensus of conspiracy theorists is correct. Facts are hard things to accept, but they are still facts.
Until the facts are established about the mean temperature of planet Earth, there is no reason to jump to any conclusions.
Posted by Kevin, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Jan 21, 2007 at 7:56 pm
Creighton is not a meteorologist. He is novelist with a focus on science (and science fiction) themes. However, he has a pretty good feel for propaganda. He sees a lot of that within the global warming crowd.
Posted by Gordon, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jan 21, 2007 at 10:31 pm
I'm appalled that people continue to take "An Inconvenient Truth" seriously and rely upon it as a source of accurate information about climate change. Here are a few points in this regard:
1. Gore claims that glaciers have been retreating for 50 years. True, but he neglects to mention that they have been retreating since the early 1800's, far before increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide.
2. Gore asserts that Antarctica is warming. That is true for 2% of the land area of Antarctica -- the other 98% has largely cooled over the last 35 year.
3. Gore implies that there is a high risk of sea levels rising by 20 feet or more over the next century. The UN panel on climate change estimated a rise of only 1-2 feet over the next century, which is comparable to the rise of roughly one foot over the last 100 years.
4. The movie implies that global warming caused hurricane Katrina. However, there is no evidence of links between global warming and hurricanes, and the expert who Gore relies upon has said it would be "absurd to attribute the Katrina disaster to global warming."
I could list many other lies and distortions in "An Inconvenient Truth", but you get the idea.
Richard Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT, wrote nice summary of the global warming debate at:
"So what, then, is one to make of this alleged debate? I would suggest at least three points.
First, nonscientists generally do not want to bother with understanding the science. Claims of consensus relieve policy types, environmental advocates, and politicians of any need to do so. Such claims also serve to intimidate the public and even scientists--especially those outside the area of climate dynamics.
Secondly, given that the question of human attribution largely cannot be resolved, its use in promoting visions of disaster constitutes nothing so much as a bait-and-switch scam. That is an inauspicious beginning to what Mr. Gore claims is not a political issue but a "moral" crusade.
Lastly, there is a clear attempt to establish truth not by scientific methods but by perpetual repetition. An earlier attempt at this was accompanied by tragedy. Perhaps Marx was right. This time around we may have farce--if we're lucky."
In my opinion, anyone who claims that it has been conclusively established that anthopogenic CO2 emissions are the major cause of global warming is either a fool, a liar, or both (eg, Al Gore).
Posted by Kevin, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Jan 22, 2007 at 11:50 am
I watched that farce this morning on CSPAN. There were a couple of alarmists that were driving the bandwagon ("50 ft. increases in sea...soon"). What a bunch of crap. The industry PR guys were saying what they think people want to hear.
We are watching one of the great mass hysterias off all time. The problem (at least the main one) is that the data do not exist to support it. This has all the feel of the "Population Bomb" hysteria of Paul Ehrlich.
Posted by Kevin, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Jan 22, 2007 at 4:16 pm
Industry eventually got behind the DDT ban, too, after initial and sensible resistance. They got jumped by alarmists like Rachel Carson. The Ban on DDT caused millions of unnecesary human deaths due to malaria in Africa. And it didn't save one brown pelican.
I just want to see convincing data. The Greenland and Antarctic ice masses are, if anything, INCREASING, not decreasing. That alarmist woman on CSPAN this moring was having an orgasim of alarm - and those industry guys were enchanted.
Posted by Kevin, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Jan 22, 2007 at 7:30 pm
The ESA meauremnts are altimeter reading. The NASA reading are gravitaional readings. Altimeter readings are more direct, with fewer assumptions and corrections. However, the mass increase (about 11% net effect shown by the ESA measurements) are consistent with warming of the waters around Greenland (similar to El Nino currents off of the Pacific coast of the Americas). A warmer current produces more water vapor, thus more snow, thus more snow pack, thus ice sheet mass increase. A similar thing is happening in Antactica (melting at certain margins, mass increase, due to snow effect, in much larger regions.
None of the above proves anything in terms of global warming. It is suggestive of warming currents, but is it due to global ocean warming? The troposhperic data do not support this hypothesis, but it is hard to tell. It is still very murky stuff.
A sober view would be that we need to continue with satellite measurments, using various parameters, and follow longer term trends. Calving of icebergs don't mean much of anything (one view is that they are being pushed into the sea by a heavier mass behind them; another is that increased marginal melt is greasing the skids; another is that both effects are working together). The bottom line is that nobody knows for sure.
I am convinced that we do not know anything for sure, including overall globall warming. It may be happening, at least to a small degree. I am even more convinced that we do not know if anthroprogenic greenhouse gases have anything to do with it, even if 'it' is happening. It is very hard to tease very small effects from small effects in a hugely dynamic system that is the global climate.
So, I take alarmist views with a grain of salt. I think it is sad that there is a current hysteria about this subject. It could force all of us into making crazy decisions.
Posted by BushMustBeAFlamingLiberalNow, a resident of another community, on Jan 23, 2007 at 10:11 pm
Uh-oh Kevin, even your President has gone over to the "dark side" - from his state-of-the-union address:
"America is on the verge of technological breakthroughs that will enable us to live our lives less dependent on oil," he said. "These technologies will help us become better stewards of the environment — and they will help us to confront the serious challenge of global climate change."
Posted by Kevin, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Jan 24, 2007 at 5:38 am
Why would you think that I view new technology as a bad thing? I am for that, whether or not there is global warming. Anything that gets us off of dependence on foreign oil is a good thing, IMO. Don't you agree?
Posted by AnotherHereticDiscovered, a resident of another community, on Jan 24, 2007 at 9:56 am
McCain also welcomed Bush's acknowledgment, while saying "of course" the U.S. needs to go farther than Bush has proposed on the issue. "We've got to start reducing these greenhouse gas emissions before our planet is unalterably heated, and the consequences of that are catastrophic," he said on CNN.
Posted by Draw the Line, a resident of Stanford, on Jan 24, 2007 at 4:16 pm
The comments about Bush going over to the "dark side" reveals what I believe is the basic problem with most people when discussing this.
Because I remain highly skeptical about human's impact on "global warming", based on the actual science, doesn't mean that I think we should soil our earth and the atmosphere. They are not mutually exclusive. HOW we decrease our soiling is a point of disagreement. Through regulation? Or through incentives?
Also, the comment shows a naivete about politics that I remember for myself. In this case, Bush used a politically acceptable excuse to do what we need to do anyway. Decreasing dependence on foreign oil is good, no matter how we do it. The corn farmers are partying like crazy right now, because they are about to make a killing in farming corn. Politically it sounded good, because it appeals, on the surface, to the anthropogenic global warming crowd. It is going to play well in Europe. And it will get us what we want. Less dependence on foreign oil.
BUT..we are still going to be burning carbons. What now? When is the outcry going to begin? Burning anything carbon based has an effect. But, the reason for switching to corn based fuel is supposedly good for the environment.
The same line will be used for nuclear energy. It will sound good. Decrease dependence on fossil fuels. Make a good sound bite. But the point will be to decrease dependence on foreign oil. And, ..what about the nuclear waste? When is the outcry going to happen?
What I am saying is that nothing is free, and everybody uses political feel good talk to get what they want. Bush is getting really good at it. He, or his speech writer, is learning how to phrase ideas in a way that most people can "feel good" about it. Frankly, it is about time he started using this kind of talk to get us where we need to go anyway.
I believe it is manipulative. But, I don't care because it accomplishes what I want.
I support anything that gets us out of dependence on foreign oil.
Posted by Kevin, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Jan 24, 2007 at 10:02 pm
Draw the Line,
"BUT..we are still going to be burning carbons."
You are correct about this. Going to ethanol or biodiesel (or some other biofuel) will still produce CO2. They are good, in that they get us away from foreign oil dependence, but that does not prevent the production of greenhouse gases (if that matters).
The ideal fuel is hydrogen, used in fuel cells. Any fuel used in an internal combustion engines will produce pollutants (yes even hydrogen). This is because the simple act of compression will produce nitrogen oxides as well as aldehydes. Of course, an all electric vehicle avoids this issue, but where will the electricity come from? Wind and solar and hydro are possibilities, but the massive amounts of electrcity needed for EVs will need to come from nuclear power.
Posted by TheThirdPath, a resident of another community, on Jan 25, 2007 at 10:33 am
These ongoing debates over fuel types are really a waste of time - there's no magic bullet, including hydrogen. If you REALLY want to make an impact, ignore Dick Cheney and embrace CONSERVATION - it's been proven time and time again that we get back over $1 for every $1 invested - because we are a truly wasteful nation when it comes to energy use.
The obvious problem is that using less oil/energy means less profits for oil/energy companies - who, not so coincidently, formed the bulk of good-old-Cheney's energy task force back in 2001.
Posted by Observer, a resident of the Adobe-Meadows neighborhood, on Jan 27, 2007 at 8:02 pm
Washington wakes up to global warming By MATT CRENSON, AP National Writer
Sat Jan 27, 12:38 PM ET
NEW YORK - Maybe it's the weird winter weather, or the newly Democratic Congress.
Maybe it's the news reports about starving polar bears, or the Oscar nomination for Al Gore's global warming cri de coeur, "An Inconvenient Truth."
Whatever the reason, years of resistance to the reality of climate change are suddenly melting away like the soon-to-be-history snows of Kilimanjaro.
Now even George W. Bush says it's a problem.
For years, the president and his supporters argued that not enough was known about global warming to do anything about it. But during last week's State of the Union address Bush finally referred to global warming as an established fact.
"These technologies will help us be better stewards of the environment, and they will help us to confront the serious challenge of global climate change," Bush said in proposing a series of measures to reduce gasoline consumption by 20 percent in 10 years.
Environmentalists and scientists who study the problem say the nostrums Bush proposed Tuesday night will do little to prevent the serious environmental effects that the globe faces in coming decades.
Environmentalists favor imposing a mandatory cap on greenhouse gas emissions tied to a market-based emissions trading system. Several of the global warming bills that have been introduced to the new Democrat-controlled Congress would do exactly that. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (news, bio, voting record) has proposed creating a new global warming committee to consider the legislation.
"We want the pressure on. The pressure will drive the development of new technologies," said Rep. Henry Waxman (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif., who introduced one of the global warming bills.
Many industry leaders have come to realize that such measures may be more an opportunity than a hindrance. The day before Bush's speech the chief executives of 10 corporations, including Alcoa Inc., BP America Inc., DuPont Co., Caterpillar Inc., General Electric Co. and Duke Energy Corp., called for mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions.
"It must be mandatory, so there is no doubt about our actions," said Jim Rogers, chairman of Duke Energy. "The science of global warming is clear. We know enough to act now. We must act now."
And a week before the State of the Union address a dozen evangelicals called action against global warming a "moral imperative" in a joint statement with scientists from the Centers for Disease Control, NASA, Harvard and other institutions.
There is still plenty of opposition to action on global warming in both the evangelical and business communities, but the tide is clearly turning.
"You're seeing a major political shift that is fairly broad-based," said Robert Watson, a scientist at the World Bank and former chairman of the United Nations scientific panel responsible for evaluating the threat of climate change.
Scientists have been at the vanguard of the climate change issue for decades. As early as 1965 a scientific advisory board to President Johnson warned that increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide could lead to "marked changes in climate" by 2000.
In 1988 the United Nations created the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Though assailed by critics as an overly alarmist organization, the panel actually represents a relatively cautious assessment of global warming because it relies on input from hundreds of scientists, including well-known skeptics and industry researchers.
Every five or six years since 1990, the IPCC has released an updated assessment of the environmental threat posed by global warming. And every time, a single memorable and increasingly alarming statement has stood out from the thousands of pages of technical discussion.
The first report noted that Earth's average temperature had risen by 0.5 to one degree Fahrenheit in the past century, a warming consistent with the global warming predictions but still within the range of natural climate variability.
"The observed increase could be largely due to this natural variability," the scientists concluded.
But by 1995 that possibility had all but vanished: "The balance of evidence suggests a discernable human influence on global climate," the second IPCC report concluded.
Six years after that: "There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities."
Since then, scientists have accumulated abundant evidence that global warming is upon us. They have documented a dramatic retreat of the Arctic sea in recent summers, accelerated melting on the Greenland and Antarctic ice caps and the virtual collapse in mountain glaciers around the globe. They have found plants and animals well poleward of their normal ranges. They have recorded temperature records in many locations and shifts in atmospheric and oceanic circulation. Globally, the planet is the warmest it has been in thousands of years, if not more.
Emboldened by these discoveries, scientists just in the last month have issued some dire warnings. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, originally formed in response to the dangers of nuclear weapons, cited the climate change threat in moving its "doomsday clock" two minutes closer to midnight. And Britain's meteorological agency announced just three days into the year that 2007 has a 60 percent likelihood of being the warmest year on record, thanks to the combined effects of global warming and El Nino.
"You just can't explain the observed changes that we've seen in the last half of the 20th century by invoking natural causes," said Benjamin Santer, a U.S. government scientist who was involved in previous IPCC assessments.
The scientists who will gather in Paris this coming week to complete the first section of this year's IPCC report are not allowed to talk about the early drafts that have been circulating in recent months.
But there is little doubt that when the report is released on Friday it will include references to some of the specific environmental effects of global warming that have already been observed, and an even stronger statement about the imminent threat of global warming.
Posted by Kevin, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Jan 27, 2007 at 9:32 pm
I would be satisfied if they would just publish their data sets online. No need to come to my house. That way, everyone could run their own models, using their data. The statistical tools are probably not adequate to the task of adequately deciphering the raw data that is being produced with respect to the dynamic climate situation.
Satellite data is the best hope of trying to decipher the real situation, and we are not even close to building an adequate data base. In the meantime, we will continue to have hysterical politicians and PR agents doing back flips, as they try to gain purchase of the national economy.