Man-made We're screwed

Man-made We're screwed

"What we found is that temperatures increased in the last hundred years as much as they had cooled in the last six or seven thousand," he said. "In other words, the rate of change is much greater than anything we've seen in the whole Holocene," referring to the current geologic time period, which began around 11,500 years ago.

Brian H | March 9, 2013

Absolute nonsense. The 1st 2 warming bursts since the late 19th had nothing to do with humans or CO2, and we're still well below the best periods for civilization in history. Fear of warming is scare-mongering BS.

donlyle | March 10, 2013
Curt Renz | March 10, 2013

Link to 2011 video of 19-minute lecture on climate change by Nobel Prize winning professor of atmospheric science, Don Wuebbles:

bdcrane | March 10, 2013

The steady accumulation of data from many sources show quite clearly that global warming, and it's link to atmospheric carbon, is not BS.

The results of this are widespread, and mostly very bad. Apart from rising sea levels and providing the energy for more extreme storms, changes in temperature and rainfall patterns are harming already stressed ecosystems. Then there's the acidification of the oceans. Much of the CO2 we release into the atmosphere is absorbed by the oceans, causing a drop in pH. This is already having a deleterious effect on marine life that have calcium carbonate shells or skeletons (corals, pteropods).

Climate change denial often relies on cherry picking small datasets that appear to contradict climate change models. But invariably when those data (like the 1922 article cited above) are put in the context of broader datasets, the contradiction melts away. Kind of like our glaciers are doing.

Brian H | March 10, 2013

BS. All of it. Glaciers vary hugely naturally. The West Coast ones, e.g., in Prince Rupert Sound extended to the sea filling the sound when Captain Vancouver discovered and named it over 2 centuries ago, and have been receding ever since. Extrapolated linearly, the Antarctic ice cap will crush the Great Barrier Reef in 300 years, and cover the globe in 1,000.

jason_freedman | March 10, 2013

Sorry Brian, but that's simply not true. Ice is mostly decreasing in Antarctica as well. Yes, sea ice is increasing somewhat during the winters, but it's land ice that counts in Antarctica (since that is the permafrost there). Land ice in Antarctica has been decreasing at an increasing rate in the last 20 years.

I can accept, to some small degree, the idea that it is not proven that "human impact" is increasing CO2 that much and therefore creating the problem. That is a possibility, as is the possibility that it isn't CO2 that causes warming. There is certainly a lot of research on this and all of the major studies agree that CO2 does cause warming and that humans are the cause of the increased CO2 over the last 150 years or so.

Most scientists I know in this area are more than willing to admit that they don't "know" for certain anything. After all, relativity is just a theory too.

But forget the science for a minute. No matter what, I'll never convince you that the science points very clearly to an increased amount of CO2 caused by human-influenced factors (carbon burning, human breathing, livestock, etc...) and our best understanding of climate shows that CO2 interacts with the atmosphere in a way that warms the planet. And that that will be a bad thing. It's just a theory and very smart people will disagree on aspects of it. They will also be proven wrong about aspects of it without a doubt (on all sides).

Here's the thing. Scientists are not people who make millions of dollars on their research. There are no climatologists on the Forbes billionaires list. In fact, for people with very difficult PhD's to attain, these guys really make a pittance. Not that any really strong physicists are starving or anything. If they are looking for money however, it is mostly to pay for the research to begin with. It makes very little sense for scientists as a rule to lie about their science really.

Unless, of course, the scientists are being paid by someone to lie. So, who would do such a thing? Greenpeace? The left-wind commie democratic party?, Canada? China?

Oh, I know... people / groups with money today who have a vested interest in these things... like... oil companies, coal companies, plastics manufacturers, etc. Some of these organizations may be well meaning - but I really doubt it. There's no margin in it.

In any case, if you want to discuss specific pieces of research and how they play into the larger picture - I'm game. Let's argue about interpretation of results and how they play into a belief or lack thereof in global warming. And we can grab the head of Yale's climatology department down the road to see if he has a differing perspective as well. I'm certain that if you can show that he's been wrong about his research, he'd be the first person to put you on the front cover of Science magazine and be relieved that he won't have to worry about this crap anymore.

And yes, I'm a physicist and electrical engineer by background, but I went to work in business because I saw what the financial picture was for these guys.

kenliles | March 10, 2013

The new data in the OP goes back far further than before and is the most extensive to date. It shows precisely the opposite of @Brian H remarks which have been typical of the few.

Brian H | March 10, 2013

jason_freedman | March 10, 2013

Yes. Sea ice is increasing and it isn't an anomaly. Scientists pretty much understand why this is happening. Land ice is decreasing at a larger rate. I'll send some recent studies across if you like. Keep in mind that Antarctica is a land mass, not a sea mass like the arctic.

I'm open to the possibility of being wrong - but it will be when good well reviewed scientific studies prove otherwise.

Even if wrong though, I still think that burning fossil fuels is just stupid when there are alternatives

lph | March 11, 2013

Jason, +1
There are many loud voices on the internet who know little and drown out thoughtful reasearch. Many of those have vested interest in discrediting largely good scientific work and are spreading misinformation IMO.
Science is a process and some of the harshest critics are going to be (rightly so) from their collegues until a concensus is reached and no other reasonable alternatave theories available at that time hold up. This process on complicated subjects (as is climate science) takes a long time and appears to be messy partly because there are so many vairables. Sometimes a small disagreement that does not change the outcome significantley, can appear to be large to the layman. This is what has happened in the past with climate science. However, the concensus of opinion among those in the know, is definately pointing towards man made impact to the planets climate.
I am an Engineer (structural) too and owe my knowledge in my field to other Engineers and scientists that came before. This world would not even be out of the dark ages without solid science. I know personally some that do reaserch in this area (climate) and they seem to me to be sincere and smart people.
I am sure that there are spelling mistakes here, but it is late and I cant be bothered to check.

Pungoteague_Dave | March 11, 2013

Today's WSJ has an article claiming EV's have a larger carbon footprint than ICE vehicles and that the $7,500 tax credit is wasted money.

danielccc | March 11, 2013

Yeah, that's a common claim. I've spent quite a bit of time nailing it down. A study from Norway was highly publicized a couple of months ago, for example.

Petersen was all over it, but some comments noted very specific flaws in its assumptions. It turns out, for example, that battery manufacture has high water toxicity, from coal tailings, from the coal used to power the battery manufacture. So it's a bit of jujitsu. They set up these reports in a way that in order to attack renewables, they sneak in fossil fuel use all over the place. It's a catch 22. We are in a fossil fuel economy so any initial manufacture, be it batteries or solar cells, will have emissions. This is then used as an argument against renewable technologies.

Another trick is to use an irrelevant baseline. So a Tesla ends up compared with a Prius, instead of an M5 which is an example of a real alternative to a Tesla, as anybody reading these forums can see.

The study from Norway, it turns out, is from NTNU Trondhein, which is a center of oil and gas exploration. The university has a strong relationship with Norway's state oil company. It turns out it's like reading something from Texas.

These reports are almost always the same. Highly obfuscated assumptions and baseline data with conclusions designed to generate headlines and back editorials in the WSJ.

Objective1 | March 11, 2013

As to EV carbon footprint, it apparently depends on the energy source used in making the batteries.

N8Tyler | March 11, 2013

The Wall Street Journal also had an article about Global Warming this past week. Basically it said that at the turn of the 20th century (1900-1909) the temperatures were 95% below Earth's average temperature. At the beginning of the 21st century (2000-2009) the temperature was 75% above Earth's average temperature. Their point was "Hey, look at how fast the Earth is warming up". My thought was if you average those two data points you are still below the average temperature of the Earth. Anybody else see this article?

Brian H | March 11, 2013

Sounds silly. The only way to average temperatures is to specify the range first, otherwise Kelvins above absolute zero is assumed, about 273K for freezing of water, or about 300K for comfortable tropics, etc. 96% below or 75% above that would be frozen atmosphere and superheated steam, respectively.

GoTeslaChicago | March 11, 2013

"Basically it said that at the turn of the 20th century (1900-1909) the temperatures were 95% below Earth's average temperature"

I didn't read the article, but more likely it said, or should have said that the average temperature of 1900-1909 decade was below the average temperature for 95% of the decades in the period being compared.

I see errors all the time in the financial press, even when they are talking about subjects they should be experts on. I made this example up for purposes of illustration, but I see similar mistakes all the time:

For example: "durable goods orders are at a 20 year low" When they should have said "durable goods had the biggest one month fall in 20 years"

If they can't get financial reporting correct, it's not too surprising that they might get something about climate science wrong even if the reporter is not named Broder.

FLsportscarenth... | March 12, 2013

If you look at geologic history there were periods that there was no year round ice on Earth, London was once tropical...

Climate change has been around before people and will still function after we are long extinct....

The difference is that in the modern era we built so many cities right at sea-level... so... Some are worried.

I am not.

ICE cars and burning fossil fuels for power generation is dumb economically and in terms of our national interest so that is why I like renewables and EVs.

Brian H | March 12, 2013

I believe I heard camel fossils were recently found in the Arctic. Rhino and alligator ones have long been known. And dinosaur remains have been found in coastal Antarctica (with adaptations for low-light sensitivity for the long night). The world has been a tropical "Hot House" for much longer than the current "Ice Box". The last 2-3 million years are a very cold anomaly.

alcassfast | March 12, 2013

Climate change = different weather

jason_freedman | March 13, 2013

Yup, and all of the continents were all once one contiguous land mass - but that was way before humans. Stupid discussion.

Never the less - whether for climate change or to get away from supporting terrorists, or becoming less reliant on anything - moving to electric cars (especially with solar power) is not a bad idea.

teddyg | March 13, 2013

+1 to DanielCCC
Almost all of the anti-EV pollution claims are funded by the oil and gas industry.
Peterson just used another one which was directly funded by Exxon and Schlumberger.
Oil industry is scared to death of EV's because transport fuel makes up 70% of their business...they want the EV to die...and quickly...especially as oil only accounts for about 5% of world electricity generation. They are SCREWED long term and they know it.

On the issues of climate change I am on the fence and with Elon when he says "its a game of Russian roulette, why take a change with the atmosphere?"

More logically I just don't believe we should pollute the air we breath or the water we drink if at all possible. EV's combined with renewable energy get us closer to this end goal, which is why I support Tesla and SolarCity.
If by cleaning up the air and water we end up stopping climate change well hell that's a good side effect but I just want clean air and water!
Was jogging this morning and had a nasty old truck spray me with thick black exhaust...I felt like swearing at the guy...we need to change!

teddyg | March 13, 2013

"why take a CHANCE with the atmosphere"...sorry

evpro | March 22, 2013

Every ICE car in the world dumps 400-500lbs of invisible CO2 into the atmosphere for every tank of gas. There is a built-in delay before this is expressed as rising temperatures so much more warming is in the pipeline and cannot be avoided. Then add the reinforcing effects of changing reflective ice surfaces into absorbent black water and add the methane from permafrost melt.

The results are already outrunning scientific predictions. A few (maybe 1 or 2) more years of superstorms and superdroughts and we will be in panic mode and looking at emergency measures. One may be a high prioritization of electrified transport, with much larger subsidies for EV purchases, EV factories and solar powered charging stations.

alcassfast | March 22, 2013


Succinct and coherent. Thank-you.

Brian H | March 22, 2013

The actual storm and drought count is at near all-time lows, despite nonsense press releases to the contrary. Same for hurricane and cyclone events. "Superstorm" Sandy, btw, was a rather standard anti-cyclone emphasized by a burst of cold air from Quebec, and the ignoring of maintenance and preparations over many years by NY and other cities. The storms of the '50s, e.g., were far worse.

It so happens, in any case, that cooling climate produces far worse weather and storms than warming would. Study some elementary meteorology to understand why.

kenliles | March 23, 2013

@Brian H. What is it you are proposing? CO2 more?, less?, ignore?
Most scientists are dumb? Fooled by press?
We're colder, than when dinosaurs were around, so no problem for humans if we heat back up to then? We're not ever going to do that because this 'cold anomaly' will last forever? We're 'near all time low storm and drought' because our cold anomaly 'actually produces far worse weather and storms'?

nwdiver93 | March 23, 2013

To the deniers:

Which of these Facts do you have a problem with?

1) CO2 is a "greenhouse gas" in that it absorbs infrared light far better than visible light.

2) CO2 is now >390ppm up from ~280ppm 200 years ago most of that increase in the last 100 years

3) Humans now add ~30 Billion tons of CO2 annually; More than enough to be cause the increase in CO2 that has been seen.

I don't understand how any informed person can disagree with any of these; I don't understand how once accepted you can deny anthropogenic climate change. "Cut and dry" is an understatement.

Brian H | March 23, 2013

1) Absorbs, also emits. The net atmospheric effect may be neutral, or even cooling (as non-GHGs can't emit to space).

2) Great! 280 is bordering on CO2 famine for plants. Agriculture has benefitted greatly from additional supplies.

3)The fluxes are much better explained by the warming of the ocean surface (which always PRECEDES CO2 increase in the atmosphere, btw), which determines the level of gas solubility -- all gas, not just CO2.

The CO2 level would likely be about the same if humans added nothing; there is a dynamic ocean-air balance determined by chemistry and temperature. Man's effects are negligible overall, but any emissions are beneficial. The small warming that might result would be beneficial, too. The entire "scare" is bogus.

nwdiver93 | March 23, 2013

1) The NET effect is undeniably in the warming direction lookup CO2 spectral lines. More CO2 means higher temperatures.

2) Stawman; yes, more CO2 is better for plants that's not the point. Climate Change is also causing more droughts; extra CO2 won't makeup for lack of sufficient water.

3) Do the Math... 30 Billion tons is more than enough CO2 to raise atmospheric concentrations by > 4ppm.

kenliles | March 23, 2013

1) Absorbtion does not simply equal emission, or even close. Rates are highly correlated to atmospheric levels (surface to space)
2) not only is 280 not bordering plant famine (180), if you want the best planet for plants we need to pump in huge amounts to get over 1000. I assume this is what you are now proposing then as optimal for what? Human plants?
3) That's exactly the point! If that historical trend was true for today's readings, the ocean temperatures would be off the charts (to create the corresponding current amounts of CO2). That's EXACTLY an admission we are in human caused anomaly
4) your lack of understanding is simply beyond corrective energy levels , CO2 or otherwise! :)

Solarwind | March 23, 2013

We now know we are on this earth because of a very unique combination of chemicals, and as of yet, found only on earth . We also know that all things have to have a balance, for us, and for the earth to survive. If you eat to much you die. You eat to little you die. If you burn a billion years of carbon (fossil fuel) in 100 year you will unbalance the atmosphere as we now know. We have to get off carbon as fast as possible for our grandkids to survive.. Electric cars will be a big part of the solution. Not many people can own a oil well, but almost everybody can own photo cells.

nwdiver93 | March 23, 2013

"Climate wars" produced by the BBC on YouTube does a great job explaining these issues. Also the Frontline documentary "Climate of Doubt".

JaneW | March 25, 2013

A main reason for the change in climate from ice age to hothouse over thousands of years is the tilt of the earth. We have been in a cooling phase for 10,000 years, and the earth is still tilted for cooling. We should be heading for an ice age, but the temperature is rising anyway. Faster in 100 years than it ever has risen in 5,000 years. Only sufficient cause is man, and arguments against that are ignorant an unsupported.

Mel. | March 25, 2013

Jane, what records do you have for temperature change 5000 years ago? Ok , how about 1000 years ago?

JaneW | March 25, 2013

temperatures over 11,500 years.

New chart, and explanatory article.

Brian H | March 25, 2013

The article has been roundly refuted; it juggles time periods invalidly. You can't mix short-term and long-term data sets like that. Statistical garbage.

nwdiver93 | March 26, 2013

Fox News is not a scientific journal, isn't peer reviewed and certainly can't legitimatly refute any scientific findings. Micheal Manns work has been independently verified several times by other scientists.

JaneW | March 26, 2013

The test in science is whether findings can be replicated using different data and methods. More than two dozen scientific papers, using various statistical methods and combinations of proxy records, have produced reconstructions supporting the broad consensus shown in the hockey-stick graph.

Nobody has ever successfully refuted this basic idea, and the new results further support it.

Brian likes statistics. Well, 98% of climatologists support anthropogenic climate change. If 98 doctors said you needed heart surgery and two told you the other 98 were just after your money, what would you do?

nwdiver93 | March 26, 2013

And those 2 percent DON'T refute it... at least not with a published paper proposing an alternative to the observations.

There are ZERO published papers refuting AGW. ZERO. There are hundreds if not thousands supporting it. The jury has been in since the early 80s.

Brian H | March 26, 2013

All false. There are hundreds, despite the attempted "bar the door" efforts of the Believers and Consensualists. But here's the point: every failed projection, and they are numerous, is a "falsification", requiring reset and restart. If the science was honest, it would have attempted to find those itself, up front, to forestall criticisms if nothing else.
Here's the fundamental fail:

When examining the past 15 years of monthly global temperature anomalies, the per century change from a warming trend to a cooling trend becomes clear. Calculating 10-year linear trends from the monthly anomalies, the above chart plots end of year per century trends (plus the May 2011 10-year trend).
As can be seen, since 2001 the per century trends have conclusively switched from a global warming direction to a global cooling direction. In addition, the early 2011 temperature anomalies confirm what has actually been taking place since 2001. If the May 2011 10-year trend continues, the global temperature by 2100 will have decreased by -0.67°C.
This warming to cooling reversal has happened in the face of "business as usual" increases in atmospheric CO2 levels. And this global temperature phenomenon reversal has occurred despite the "consensus" claims of IPCC "climate scientists" and predictions of the bureaucrats' climate models. (The lower left chart clearly depicts how badly the climate models have failed.)

nwdiver93 | March 26, 2013

Nice Graphs... anyone can make graphs; It takes REAL research in the field to do science. It takes publication and pear review to become accepted and have your hypothesis established as scientific fact. That's how science works.

Survey of PUBLISHED research; 97% Agree with AGW; 0% provide alternative hypothesis

Courtesy of National academy of science

Where is the PUBLISHED and PEER REVIEWED research refuting AGW... IT DOES NOT EXIST.

Brian H | March 27, 2013

Quoting the 97% is the sign of gulliblity; it was generated by a couple of incompetent grad students with a ludicrously invalid survey, which winnowed down 5,000 requested responses to 79, of which 77 sort of agreed humanity might have a statistically non-zero effect on the climate, and 77/79 = 97%! Pathetic.

nwdiver93 | March 27, 2013

The National Academy of Science is a couple of grad kids? I guess Tesla is a few hobbyists tinkering in their garage. This was published and peer reviewed in one of the most prestigious scientific journals in the world.

Even if you ignore this study the fact remains that there isn't a single peer reviewed and published paper that explains the warming this last century w/o AGW.

JaneW | March 27, 2013

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States (incompetent grad students) reviewed publication and citation data for 1,372 climate researchers and resulted in the following two conclusions:
(i) 97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of ACC (Anthropogenic Climate Change) outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

(ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers.

No scientific body of national or international standing has maintained a dissenting opinion. Your "Believers and Consensualists" are: National Academy of Sciences, Geological Society of America, American Meteorological Society, American Institute of Biological Sciences, European Geosciences Union, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (US), National Research Council (US) ... and on, and on.

The "experts" you are quoting are people such as Lobbyist for Exxon Mobil Fred L. Smith, Jr ., Richard Linzen who deliberately falsified the results of a Gallup Poll ( according to Gallup), Fred Singer, who cites IPCC members as not agreeing when they felt the Policymaker’s Summary downplayed the seriousness of the situation, and the world's leading climate change critic, "sceptical environmentalist" Bjørn Lomborg who now says that we need to put it at the top of our priority list.

JaneW | March 27, 2013

Brian's chart refers to the UK Met Office study HadCRUT3.
Here's their chart:

Here's their official conclusion:
Average global temperatures are now some 0.75 °C warmer than they were 100 years ago. Since the mid-1970s, the increase in temperature has averaged more than 0.15 °C per decade. This rate of change is very unusual in the context of past changes and much more rapid than the warming at the end of the last ice age. Sea-surface temperatures have warmed slightly less than the global average whilst temperatures over land have warmed at a faster rate of almost 0.3 °C per decade.

These longer-term analyses have shown that current warming is being caused mainly by human emissions of greenhouse gases which have accumulated in the atmosphere and intensified the greenhouse effect by absorbing more of the thermal radiation emitted by the land and ocean.

This long-term warming trend is set to continue as the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere continues to increase. Inevitably this will lead to further impacts on our lives and the world's natural ecosystems. Heatwaves and droughts are likely to become more prevalent; snow cover is projected to continue to diminish; and sea ice to continue to shrink.

Brian H | March 27, 2013

The rate of warming has fluctuated since the end of the Little Ice Age around 1800, and the two previous warming cycles rose as fast as the recent one. The overall rate of rise is steady, once the cycles are smoothed. Thank goodness for the warming; why the coldest period since the beginning of the Holocene 10,000 years ago is taken as the norm, God only knows.

The 5 warmings since the end of the Ice Sheet period 10K yrs ago have been successively cooler. Civilization boomed in the previous ones, and we can only hope this one does not end too soon. Warming is benign. You won't like cooling; it kills.

danielccc | March 27, 2013

As Musk likes to say, start from first principles, not analogy.

The physics of the situation is clear CO2 is a greenhouse gas, something scientists have known for two centuries. We are adding CO2 to the atmosphere in significant quantities at a geometrically increasing rate.

At best, this is an uncontrolled experiment on the planet. Last time I checked, we only have one. Thus, this behavior is foolish. It is especially foolish because we have alternative technologies.

JaneW | March 27, 2013

There's a certain psychology in those who pride themselves in denying the overwhelming evidence of scientific studies -- the hoaxes of climate change or evolution or the big bang or clean energy. It's their way of feeling superior to the "sheep" who just go along. Ah, well. Enough of this.

Brian H | March 27, 2013

You're not to blame for buying and Believing; "It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist.
The late Dr. Hal Lewis, Fellow and founding member of the American Physical Society, in his resignation letter after the executives repeatedly refused to permit discussion of the issue among the members.

JaneW | March 28, 2013

You and those like you will be to blame when things get worse for our kids and grandkids, because you and others believed people like this tired old physicist who knows nothing about climate and who makes ridiculous statements about trillions of dollars corrupting scientists, and supposes a worldwide conspiracy of scientists all eager for a trip to Hawaii, and was bamboozled (like you) by Montford's silly Climate Gate. Irrational nonsense.

"the executives repeatedly refused to permit discussion of the issue among the members" because there is no real discussion. The real scientists don't want to give air time or lend credibility to the denier quacks. Meanwhile, the falsely named Discovery Institute is trying to force teachers to "teach the controversy" about warming as they have about evolution. And you are at their side.

Well, I hope you enjoy your Tesla even though it helps save the world from global warming.