May 20, 2006

Who Killed Global Warming?

The debate about global warming isn't really dead, but it is on life-support. Oh, I'm not doubting that it is a little warmer today than it was say 5 or 10 years ago, I'm talking about the disaster that the owlgores and true believers and global warming alarmists (GWA's) would have you think is coming in the next decade or two. It ain't gonna happen folks, it just ain't.

One of the more delightful, articulate and scathing bloggers to take on the GWA and the dishonest reportage of the GWA's is Scott Burgess who writes The Daily Ablution. In his latest, Scott takes a whack at dishonest journalism. Specifically, a whack at Johann Hari who attempts (poorly as it turns out) to discredit

Bjorn Lomborg, the Danish statistician whose 2001 book The Skeptical Environmentalist argued - inter many alia - that, while anthropogenic global warming was a reality, Kyoto represented a sub-optimal means of dealing with it."
According to Scott according to Lomborg, "anthropogenic global warming was a reality..." a point I'm not willing to concede but be that as it may, there is an increase in temperature overall according to a lot of reputable scientists. Of course, there are a lot of reputable scientists who disagree also looking at a larger temperature and climate pattern.

For example, one can legitimately claim that there is global warming at least in the northern hemisphere as we go into summer (and a cooling in the southern hemisphere).

Much of the argument is whether it is anthropogenic or not. I don't know, I'm not a climitologist. I have reported on the statistics of global warming however and I do know something about that. Other sites such as CO2 Science have much more data, as does a site on the opposite side of the argument, Real Climate.

But, I digress. Scott notes:

In the time honoured tradition of agenda-driven hacks everywhere, Mr. Hari begins by softening up his target with a bit of the old ad hominem:

"The problems start with the fact that - contrary to how he is presented in the media - Lomborg is not a scientist. He is a statistician with a degree in politics. He has never produced any original research in the fields of biology, ecology or environmental science."

Of course, Mr. Lomborg has never claimed to be a scientist; and, having reviewed quite a bit of media coverage of his work over the last five years, I can't recall him ever being represented as such (it seems that perhaps Mr. Hari's expertise concerning straw men may stem from a certain self-awareness).

Followed by:
Mr. Hari continues:

" ... and the only problem is to lift the developing world up to our standards. But when Hurricane Katrina - almost certainly a product of global warming..."

"Almost certainly"? How, pray, does Mr. Hari know this? A Katrina scenario had been predicted for decades (I specifically recall being warned of it when I lived in New Orleans in the 70s). It's worth remembering that the storm was only a category 3, with maximum sustained winds of 121 mph, when it made landfall - and that "the sustained winds over all of metropolitan New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain likely remained weaker than Category 3 strength," according to the National Hurricane Center (emphasis added).

In other words, by the time it hit New Orleans, Katrina was a garden variety storm that just happened to take the worst possible track, an ultimately inevitable event that had long been feared. Any global warming connection is pure speculation, and claims of near certainty are utterly spurious."

You really ought to go read the whole thing. I'll also note that if Scott isn't on your regular reading list, add him. You won't be disappointed.

Posted by GM Roper at May 20, 2006 04:02 PM | TrackBack

Who killed GW? Algore did. All by his silly lisping self. Americans are not stupid. They know the air, the water, the countryside is cleaner than it use to be thanks to new technologies. What they won't sacrifice is high gas prices for ridiculous GW policies.

I think many policies from the 70s and 80s need to be re-examined and most put to death.

Glad to hear about your much improved health!

Posted by Espella at May 20, 2006 05:03 PM

The Earth has been worming up since the Ice Ages. Maybe it was the fires of the cavemen. During the Cretaceous period the Earth was much warmer but there were no humans aroudn. How can this be??

However, I am concerned that we aren't doing everything we can to limit greenhouse gases. All those carbonated beverages - those bubbles come from CO2. And everytime my kids mix vinegar and baking soda together, guess what gas is released? More CO2? I hope somebody does something about this soon.

I blogged on gobal warming about a month ago.

Posted by DADvocate at May 20, 2006 07:25 PM

Ah yes, the non-partisan and objective Real Climate site which had this to say recently....

"'An Inconvenient Truth'.... The film is about Al Gore's efforts to educate the public about global warming.... It is an inspiring film, and is decidedly non-partisan in its outlook. ...Since Gore is rumored to be a fan of RealClimate, we thought it appropriate to give our first impressions. ...For the most part, I think Gore gets the science right, just as he did in 'Earth in the Balance.'"

Also, since our old buddy Mark A. York, aka Jake Elmore, is a frequent commenter and disciple of "Real(?) Climate" and global warming, that should give someone an idea of that site's credibility, if their movie review didn't.

BTW, in the comment thread of the review, Mark A. York had this to say, "I'm hoping my book will fare as well with the staff here as VP Gore's film did." Me, too, York. You do, in all sincerity, have as much credibility as the former V.P. (Now, there's a book that I'm looking forward to reading. I've become a fan of fiction.)

Posted by Woody at May 21, 2006 08:48 AM

LOL! Pulp Fiction, Woody!

Posted by Ben USN (Ret) at May 21, 2006 07:03 PM

I'm not a climatologist, but some friends are. Their unanimous opinion is that anthropogenic global warming is not support (or refuted) by science. The evidence for it is lousy. The computer models are so full of assumptions that they can be made to say anything. The paleoclimactic data they are calibrated against is of very poor quality.

All that being said, I do want to correct the comments about Katrina. While it did not have category 5 windcs when it hit New Orleans, it did have a category 5 storm surge. And for New Orleans, the storm surge is all that really matters. A storm surge can be thought of as sort of a very high tide that comes in pretty fast. Storm surges historically have caused the most loss of life in hurricanes (Galveston Island, for example).

Katrina had a cat 5 storm surge because water has a lot of inertia. A storm with the winds and wide area of Katrina, which was cat 5 just a few hours before hitting New Orleans, had created a lot of water with considerable inertia headed inland (towards the shore just east of New Orleans). When the winds suddenly dropped in strength, the water continued on its way, still carrying the momentum imparted by the cat 5 winds and large wind fetch.

This storm surge was over 20 feet high in areas, which is why coastal Mississippi had such a great amount of damage. By any definition, that was a cat 5 surge.

The flooding control systems (levees and storm walls) care nothing about the wind, but a lot about the storm surge.


Posted by John Moore at May 22, 2006 10:27 PM

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