Coastside fights global warming with a Montara beach party

posted by Barry Parr
Sat, April 7, 2007
57 comments
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Coastsiders will meet Saturday, April 14 12:30 to 5:00pm for a picnic at Montara State Beach. The event is part of a national effort by Step It Up 2007 to increase awareness of global warning by gathering at in locations that could be under water if present trends continue. Participants are invited to bring their own picnic lunches and wear blue to show what the beach will look like if it’s covered with water. The picnic will be followed by a group photo at 2pm. See the Coastside Step It Up page for more details and information on more than 50 gatherings in the Bay Area.

“present trends continue”

And, just what are these trends please?

Try a Google search for

rising sea level evidence

  Read a few of the > 1 million hits.  Next do a Google search for

global warming evidence

  Read a few of the 8.5 million hits.  Next search Google for

increasing carbon dioxide evidence

  Read a few of the million hits.

You can even skip all the ones which are blog entries.  Heck, skip everything that isn’t a university or science institute.  (Include site:*.edu in the search terms to limit to just higher educational institutions in the USA.  [That’s a colon after the word site—it’s really hard to tell on my screen.]  Still 35,000, 46,000, and 43,000 hits, respectively.)

You’ll still have lots more to read than you have time for before I have beachfront property (and I live at least 1/4 mile from the ocean.)

We can assume “present trends continuing” refers to conclusive evidence of global warming like polar sea ice melting that the Bush administration recently confirmed in opting to push for polar bears as a threatened species (Washingtom Post, December 27, 2006), or the U.N.Intergovernmental Climate Panel’s comprehensive report in February about human impact on climate. The jury has been in on this subject for some time.

Comment 4
Tue, April 10, 2007 9:13am
jbmell
All my comments

The average temperature of the earth has risen, and is in fact, rising. The changes observed over the last several decades are likely mostly due to human activities.
Polar ice caps are melting at increasing rates.

Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is now 35% higher than it’s been over the last 600,000 years based on ice core data.

The more unpredictable shifts in weather patterns which lead to both droughts and stronger more frequent storms combined with rising sea levels.
These affect the scarce resources so many rely on to survive.

Julie Mell

Mr Perkins,

The author is clearly referring to global warming when he mentions “if current trends continue”. If you are unsure what global warming is, then I suggest you take Mr Worens advice and do some research.

Global Warming is very real and it’s very much here with us, it’s our duty as the only species on Earth capable of doing something about it to act to try to control the damage. It’s the least we can do being as we are solely responsible for the damage to begin with, we owe that much to every other living thing on this planet.

Let’s hope for a huge turn out on Saturday.

Kevin

My goodness, I just don’t really know about global warming.  I have been butt cold for months now, and it seems most parts of the country are experiencing record cold also.

Go figure.

Mike Perkins said:
<butt cold?>
You can’t live in the same place I do!
<Most parts of the country are experiencing record cold also.>
Did you forget the east coast didn’t have anything remotely winter like until January or some late date like that. It was big news then.
Weathermen tend to over exaggerate things and use such terms as record cold or heat that don’t have a lot of meaning. Also for excitement they add such things as “wind chill temperature” to boost ratings for the tabliod corporate news and weather.

—> This <—- is worth a look.

From Camille Paglia (whoever she is)

As a native of upstate New York, whose dramatic landscape was carved by the receding North American glacier 10,000 years ago, I have been contemplating the principle of climate change since I was a child. Niagara Falls, as well as the even bigger dry escarpment of Clark Reservation near Syracuse, is a memento left by the glacier. So is nearby Green Lakes State Park, with its mysteriously deep glacial pools. When I was 10, I lived with my family at the foot of a drumlin—a long, undulating hill of murrain formed by eddies of the ancient glacier melt.
Geology and meteorology are fields that have always interested me and that I might well have entered, had I not been more attracted to art and culture. (My geology professor in college, in fact, asked me to consider geology as a career.) To conflate vast time frames with volatile daily change is a sublime exercise, bordering on the metaphysical.
However, I am a skeptic about what is currently called global warming. I have been highly suspicious for years about the political agenda that has slowly accrued around this issue. As a lapsed Catholic, I detest dogma in any area. Too many of my fellow Democrats seem peculiarly credulous at the moment, as if, having ground down organized religion into nonjudgmental, feel-good therapy, they are hungry for visions of apocalypse. From my perspective, virtually all of the major claims about global warming and its causes still remain to be proved.
Climate change, keyed to solar cycles, is built into Earth’s system. Cooling and warming will go on forever. Slowly rising sea levels will at some point doubtless flood lower Manhattan and seaside houses everywhere from Cape Cod to Florida—as happened to Native American encampments on those very shores. Human habitation is always fragile and provisional. People will migrate for the hills, as they have always done.

MORE in following post:

Who is impious enough to believe that Earth’s contours are permanent? Our eyes are simply too slow to see the shift of tectonic plates that has raised the Himalayas and is dangling Los Angeles over an unstable fault. I began “Sexual Personae” (parodying the New Testament): “In the beginning was nature.” And nature will survive us all. Man is too weak to permanently affect nature, which includes infinitely more than this tiny globe.
I voted for Ralph Nader for president in the 2000 election because I feel that the United States needs a strong Green Party. However, when I tried to watch Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” on cable TV recently, I wasn’t able to get past the first 10 minutes. I was snorting with disgust at its manipulations and distortions and laughing at Gore’s lugubrious sentimentality, which was painfully revelatory of his indecisive, self-thwarting character. When Gore told a congressional hearing last month that there is a universal consensus among scientists about global warming—which is blatantly untrue—he forfeited his own credibility.
Environmentalism is a noble cause. It is damaged by propaganda and half-truths. Every industrialized society needs heightened consciousness about its past, present and future effects on the biosphere. Though I am a libertarian, I am a strong supporter of vigilant scrutiny and regulation of industry by local, state and federal agencies. But there must be a balance with the equally vital need for economic development, especially in the Third World.

I guess we won’t be seeing you there Saturday Mr. Perkins, what a shame.

Wow… I thought that Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity were the last two people on the “Global Warming Doesn’t Exist” lifeboat.  Better make room for two more.

And sorry, Mary. As soon as my laptop encountered the reference to “560 KSFO” above the video, it froze up and shut down. Oh, and the video has since been removed.  But I’m sure it was newsworthy.  Did it have an intro from Melanie and Lee, or perhaps it was narrated by Rush himself?

Mike

Comment 14
Wed, April 11, 2007 10:53pm
Ken King
All my comments

Whoever Camille Paglia is? Pawning off Ms. Paglia’s views about climate when she is actually an ideologically-driven social critic poorly positioned to evaluate physical science is a dismal counter to the mass of scientific evidence on global warming.

Anyone who imagines that global warming is a cyclical occurrence needs to increase their scientific understanding of why what’s happening today is different from anything the world’s experienced before. Timothy Ferris’s book, The Weather Makers, an introduction to the main topics of climate science and global warming is a good place to start.

Deniers of global warming practice a brand of religion where beliefs, or odd exceptions, are used to justify conclusions. They think their conclusion, that it’s not a real phenomenon, or that it’s happened before, or that it’s not that important in the overall scheme of things is right, so that changes aren’t warranted. That belief is a hazzard on the road to oblivion. (Whatever oblivion is.)

I just find it amusing that Mr. Perkins is willing to post a theory on this topic with no idea who the author is, her credentials, what background/education supports her belief, etc. etc.  Debate on Global Warming aside, too many people are willing to blindly regurgitate the online ramblings of others with no attempt to verify the author’s credentials, etc. The internet is a glorious tool.  After you find that startling missive that supports your every personal belief, click around a little more and find out who is creating the ramblings you now stand behind.

In response to Mike McCall:

Does this link suit you better, since it does not mention the offensive (to you) radio station? Wouldn’t it be worth viewing just to see the flaws in it?

Ken King brings up a subject that I was going to broach (thanks Ken!) when he mentions the spiritual aspect. Of course, he posits that it’s the deniers of global warming who are practicing a brand of religion. I have good reason to see it another way.

I am currently on a fact-finding mission to a country that is extremely concerned about global warming. Most eveyone I have spoken to about the subject lauds Al Gore for bringing global warming to global attention (though they are unaware of his feeling the need for carbon offsets to make up for his energy use). Currently, where I am staying, they are experiencing a devastating drought, with water limitations imposed in the city and many farmers and stockmen on the brink of failure. I’m in Australia.

One thing I notice as being different here is that there doesn’t seem to be a vocal faction running around shouting in-your-face death-and- destruction from global warming. This is not to say that the end it near faction isn’t here—if it is, members are not as visible as they are in the Bay Area. (Maybe they don’t have good PR people?) Here the individual takes it upon himself to do what they can do without being coerced to join the cult. There are some moves by the government (banning incandescent light bulbs for example) but people tend to step back and ask why, even though they are not what Ken King might term global warming deniers.

The contrast is amazing and highlights to me the actions of some of those at home who have taken on the prevention of global warming as a religious crusade. The mentality of if you aren’t with me you are an infidel is kinda scarey when viewed from 10,000 miles away. I may try to extend my visa…

I’m looking forward to Sacha Baron Cohen’s documentary about America and Global Warming.

See ya!

The accusation that global warming believers are behaving like religious zealots is just weird—the science supports the global warming scenario and the religious right is in bed with the deniers.

For another perspective on the Channel 4 documentary Mary cites, see the following:

http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/climate_change/article2326210.ece

A small correction, Ken: The book “The Weather Makers” is by Tim Flannery. I know this because, due to your post, I just ordered the book from Amazon.  Timothy Ferris is, of course, an excellent writer on astronomy.

Thanks for the book suggestion…

—Darin

Hi Coastsiders.

I just hope that those of you who believe there is a problem and want to be a part of the effort to make a change, come say hello on Saturday, introduce yourself and partake in the message we are sending to congress.

The plan is to picnic, build sand castles, and play games on our incredibly beautiful beach until 2:00.  At 2:00 we will take a head count and organize you all to take a place on the beach in a designated location.  Between 3:00 and 3:30 we will spell out the words Step It Up with our bodies seated in the sand.  An aerial photographer will snap photos for us until she is satisfied with the resulting photo.  These photos will be posted on the Step IT Up website and sent to Senator Dianne Feinstein,
Senator Barbara Boxer and Tom Lantos along with a letter of concern and a request to Step It Up.

Thank you all for participating and passing the word.  We look forward to seeing you all there on Saturday.

Julie Mell

Comment 20
Thu, April 12, 2007 10:37pm
Ken King
All my comments

Thank you for the correction, Darin! You’ll appreciate Flannery’s book, I guarantee it. Sorry to confuse things for those paying attention.

Flannery is from New Zealand, btw, and has plenty of information about Austalia’s energy and land use patterns that affect its ongoing drought. The govenment there has been even more obdurate in the face of its environmental problems than has the Bush administration, if you can feature that.

I do have a theory Cheri, it’s called “be more here now”.  The climate has been undergoing change since it became.

Anyway, I wish you man-made global warmers would have done a global warming dance instead of a rain dance.  Hope your beach party went well and nobody got wet…especially when you could have gotten a sunburn instead.  OOps, skin cancer…not good.

I am going to be missed in this forum.  Simply can no longer deal with all you rightous libs. So, going to end my “contributions”.

Stay safe and warm.

Hey, Mike! Don’t go away mad, and don’t go away. Your ironic touch would be missed. As a libertarian and freethinker, you should not be surprised that many folks arrive at different opinions than yours. We have the freedom to do that in this country, and this forum allows the opportunity for diverse folks to sound off. Stick around, please. To keep us “libs” stirred up if nothing else.

Thank you Julie for organizing “stepitupnow2007” on the coastside.  I appreciate the 10 % of people like you who actually do something which brings matters to our attention in such a positive manner.  Remarkable to me that religion and politics came into play.  Actually, not remarkable, just ridiculous that some of the 90% who decide to do nothing, choose to argue the subject without having any facts.  So, why do we make statements back, unless it’s just for pure fun.  It’s okay with me if Mr. Perkins keeps his “contributions” to himself.
Thanks again Julie.

Ahem…check this out!!

http://tinyurl.com/2yftbz

[Huntsville, AL Times]

Hi Mike,

I’m glad that Roy carved time out of his busy schedule, between talking to the “Republican Women of Madison” and “evangelical leaders”.  And I often look to the Huntsville Times for objective opinions on global issues.  I lived in Huntsville and Decatur.  I appreciate your tenacity, Mike.  But you’re going to have to do much better than this.

Mike

Like you Mr McCall I love to have a copy of the ‘Huntsville Times’ delivered along with my copy of the ‘New York Times’ and the ‘Economist’ it gives me a balanced view of Everything Alabama.

Kevin

No question, matters of future climate change are probabilistic and based on (ever-more-refined) models. Also no question that Earth’s surface, as a whole, is warming (though warming much more quickly in some regions than others) and that carbon dioxide and other significant greenhouse gas molecules partially contributed by artificial human activity are increasing in concentration in the atmosphere.

When it comes to assessing risk, Americans are particularly dingbatty among the “educated” First World countries. (Perhaps that has something to do with scoring near the bottom of the heap in assessments of science and math abilities among those countries, perhaps not.) In any event, there is sometimes a huge emotional hubbub over a “threatening” event with very little probability of harming anyone at all, such as an old satellite falling out of orbit, and high degrees of denial that anything is wrong when massive amounts of evidence and high probabilities indicate that it is, such as global climate change. We are willing to set safety standards for air travel and safety and efficacy standards for forms of health care where the odds of anyone being harmed are far lower than for various effects of global climate change.

At the risk of disrupting feel-good, head-in-the-sand denials or faith-based speculation by introducing just one of the major scientists with decades of experience in this area, including trying to inform the public of the basics of the issues, some might be interested in this website:
http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu

Carl May

Comment 28
Fri, April 20, 2007 12:14pm
Ken King
All my comments

Ahem, back, Mike Perkins. There are two strong research universities in the U of Alabama system, Mobile and Birmingham. Note that Huntsville, where Spencer holds his position, is not one of them.

Spencer admits (in the second paragraph) that “he knows he is in the minority with his opinions.” To be clear about what constitutes a “minority” in this case, almost NO scientists who conduct peer-reviewed research deny that global warming is occurring, or that it is caused by humans. The annual increase of carbon dioxide particles in the atmosphere over the last century is the clearest indication of our effect.

The article contains no evidence, just Spencer’s opinion, which is understandably popular with the White House and its partisans who want to continue exploiting Earth’s resources while denying the consequences.

I wonder how this article came to your attention, btw? I assume it was a “forward” in an otherwise not very informative newsletter. As others suggest above, you can do better than this, but then you might change your opinions.

“It’s important that we all keep up the illusion of being well informed.” Garfield the cat today

Yep, that’s my story, and I’m stickin to it.
So..spsfipfidtght.

OOps, I’m suffering from global warming syndrome.  Makes you kinda nuts. 

If the stinking planet warms up a tad in the next oh…500 years, we wont be around anyway…the destruction of honey bees from you cell phone junkies will end us in the next 5 years regardless.

Oh yea, even if the demise of the bees don’t do it, the wack job islamist extremists will make you DEAD anyway.

Bye now!!

It seems that the University of Oregon has been paying my former roommate a rather healthy salary for the last several decades to collect data around global warming. As a civilian Senior Research Advisor he’s been under the North Polar Ice Cap in USN nuclear submarines and spent numerous trips throughout the Antarctic building and placing deep water data collection systems.

So, are we trying to say here that his and other similar scientists   careers have been based on some kind of gross misunderstanding? ........ The Kilamanjaro glaciers are melting, ..... Oetzi decided to just pop out of the glacier in the Italian Alps in 1991 after a 5,000 year nap, ......... the convective engine of the Gulf Stream is running out of energy due to alterations in the temperature and salinity differentials, ......... mid-level species of animals are being driven to seek higher elevations in Yosemite to avoid the heat that is now overtaking the once cooler valleys, ........ birds, which have nested in the Gulf of Anadyr for gawd knows how long, are starving because the cold water seaweeds they had traditionally been feeding on have been replaced by warmer water species.

Let’s forget about the obvious facts for a moment and look at this from a common sense standpoint. It doesn’t take a whole lot of rocket science to see the argument for using fuels that are sustainable within shorter time frames. At the same time the sun is warming the atmoshere, today, we are also releasing heat from wood that is perhaps 70 years old, petrochemical energy from plants’ stored energy from millions of years ago, and in the case of nuclear fuels, we are releasing energy from the time the Earth was created 4.5 billion years ago. All this is being dumped into a fragile atmosphere AT THE SAME TIME.

It is bad enough that both sides of the political aisle have been dodging this bullet for decades with excuses that there was never any proof. The current administration had been in almost total denial of this problem until it became recently “fashionable” to show concern and then it started doing the backstroke.

Chech out what Professor Patrick Michaels has to say wrt Global Warming.

Also, don’t ignore his credentials…I’m sure you will find fault with them.

Are you warm yet??

OOPS…Not sure, but I think I left off the URL of the article of interest in my last post. (The PC police haven’t posted it yet.) Here it is: 

http://www.cato.org/testimony/ct-pm110697.html

Global warming is freezing my brain…what there is left.

Mike Perkins, the Michaels article you refer us to is ten years old, and that is supposed to convince us of what?

“Anything that smacks of criticism of Bush will not be tolerated,” says Chris Preble of the Cato Institute. I’d hardly reference that outfit to objectively state any case, let alone one that shows that the adminstration it supported was part of the problem.

I’m really sorry I missed the Step It Up party. As a new Montaran (moving in two weeks) I look forward to meeting members of my new community; especially those with deep concern for the future both locally and globally.

Joel

Gotta love citing the Cato Institute.  I’m a Libertarian and Cato’s agenda often annoys me.  They can try to hide behind a facade of science, but their agenda is clearly political.

On the issue of if the earth is warming, why am I cold now?, I think that “climate change” is now preferred to “global warming.”  “Global warming” considers only world-wide averages over the long term.  The nature of the complex ecosystems involved means that patterns will and maybe already are changing such that some areas will actually get colder while others get warmer, some get drier and some get wetter.  For example, a region which is currently kept temperate by a warm ocean current could get cold if the climate change caused by global warming causes the path of that warm ocean current to shift so that it no longer reaches where it used to.  When we have a really wet “El Nino” winter here, it’s due to a certain level of warming in a particular region of the Pacific Ocean which then causes a change in the pattern of ocean currents.  At a lower level of warming of that region, the result here is warmer winters but no change in the total rainfall.

Lots of people confuse “climate” with “weather,” which can lead to ridiculous comments like “There was a record low temperature today—so much for the global warming whackos.”

Carl May

Another thing I wish to point out is that when I lived in Oklahoma in the ‘70s, the brunt of the tornado season was typically a floating couple of weeks that occured somewhere between the last two weeks of May and the first two weeks of June.

During that timeframe, the CD sirens were blaring almost every night, and it was just a regular thing to have a funnel pop down on a trailer park (never could figure out the affinity for trailer parks). Here it is in April and we’ve already had a couple weeks of tornado episodes. This conforms all too well within the the predictive model made about global warming.

Pretty interesting Frontline on Channel 9 tonight called “Hot Topics”, basically outline the Bush regime’s promise to limit, then ultimately attempting to shoot down the impact of, carbon emissions. 

Especially interesting was Christie Todd Whitman (republican, then head of the EPA)on Crossfire saying how the White House was aware of the Global Warming problem and committed to addressing it.  She was basically taken the woodshed after that, followed by Bush starting a slow retreat from his promises he gave in the 2000 elections.

And this in probably the most liberal publication in the country.

http://tinyurl.com/23obb9

[Alexander Cockburn in the Nation]

Those who like to belittle the global warming activists as doomsayers and chicken littles seem to overlook a rather significant point. Usually, the thrust of their argument is that the measurable increase in global temperature is a naturally occurring cycle and man has nothing to do with it. Since there is no slam dunk 100% evidence that we’re to blame, why should we do anything to fix it?

I think it’s very likely that mankind’s pumping of gigantic amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere is contributing to the problem, but I’m willing to concede the slim possibility that it is a naturally occurring phenomenon. What I don’t get is why this means it’s not something we need to worry about and/or doing anything about. Even if we haven’t pumped enough garbage into the air to cause the problem yet, it doesn’t mean that we can’t help to alleviate the problem by reducing our impact in the future. With extremely populous nations like China and India becoming industrialized at a rapid rate we can expect the impact to grow quickly unless major strides are made to reduce our per capita ecological footprint worldwide. Does it make sense that we as Americans should continue to be a horrible example for how to interact with the environment just because there’s a small chance we’re not really to blame?

And this in probably the most liberal publication in the country.

Did anyone claim that all ostriches are conservative?

Mike Perkins reminds me of Wolfgang Pauli’s quip about someone who held a different view from his, that “he’s not even wrong.” That fits someone who willfully ignores a mountain of evidence to locate picayune and sundry authorities who agree with him.

The Cockburn link is mere junk, Mr. Perkins. Alexander Cockburn is a colorful and opinionated personality who is sometimes perceptive in his political judgments, but that does not make him an authority in scientific matters. Here he offers no evidence, only an ignorant and unsubstantiated claim.

What do the terms “liberal” and “conservative”—and, especially, political claims to and spin on those terms—have to do with understanding physical phenomena and adjusting activities based on that understanding?

Carl May

Mike Perkins   on 05/02 wrote:

And this in probably the most liberal publication in the country.

http://tinyurl.com/23obb9

[Alexander Cockburn in the Nation]

So who actually read the complete article?

Hint: I didn’t, because, after a teaser the above link says:

CLICK HERE to get access to this article and see ALL of The Nation every week.

The only way to read this article and the full contents of each week’s issue of The Nation online is by subscribing to the magazine. And with the launch of our new online access program, all subscribers will now receive a raft of new benefits…

Do the dismissers of the link do so after reading the article or just because they don’t like Mr. Cockburn? Rhetorical question for the humor challenged.

Don’t get me started on the fake currency of carbon credits, density credits and their like.

Mary, I confess I did not read the whole article for the same reason you didn’t. I didn’t want to pay for access. One reason I lost interest in the rest of the article, however, is that the teaser didn’t impress me a whole lot.

I don’t have anything against Mr. Cockburn, but I do have issues with those who try to minimize the threat of global warming on the grounds of there being some smidgen of doubt that the measurable phenomenon is not caused by humans or Americans in particular and that it’s therefor pointless or silly to take it seriously.

I didn’t follow the link.  Mr. Cockburn had two paragraphs to encourage me to register and read futher.  He failed.  As did Mr. Perkins on several tries to point us to any article based in science.  I just can’t wait for Mike’s Sunday installment.  Perhaps an article applauded by WorldNet Daily or Free Republic?  This is getting a bit boring….

Citing Cockburn as a liberal who happens not to believe in global warming is a falacious appeal to authority because he’s not a scientific authority. The missing premise in Perkins’ argument is that belief in human-influenced climate change is a liberal conspiracy to stop economic progress and human freedom. The problem is that it’s not a liberal idea, it’s been an emerging fact for thirty years but it’s taken this long to gain public attention, largely because of special interest backed oposition in combination with government complicity. But the story if finally out and rhetorical ploys like Mike’s are laughable at this point in our history—we know too much.

A word on economic freedom, since Mike said he’s worried about the economy and jobs. The US should take this opportunity to retool our national priorities and seize the day technologically speaking, or others will do it for us. Toyota has eaten GM’s and Ford’s lunch because of this. There are whole new industries around the corner given some incentives like the government-backed development of the Internet. That changed our whole economy and society, so why freak out because we have to change our carbon-based lifestyle when it’s killing everything around us?

Businesses already view climate change as an opportunity for transformation to a more sustainable economy. Boeing and Toyota are two great examples. The solar industry, which has been around for thirty years is finally starting to take off, but we’re not even in the first inning with that technology yet. Much to do and a lot of jobs out there for us if we think and plan ahead. Not do the ostrich number so many Republicans at the national level seem to favor. Subsidies for oil companies when oil’s over $50/barrel.

I just moved in to my lovely new home in Montara this past weekend and, appropo to the weather, had an interesting chat with a neighbor regarding this thread on Coastsider.com. He pointed out that the essay by Cockburn is available without requirement to register at Counterpunch:

http://tinyurl.com/278jss

I read the essay and wasn’t quite as impressed by Cockburn’s argument as my neighbor was. The gist of it is that, according to one climatologist the author spoke with- a Dr. Martin Hertzberg, the world is warming significantly but it has nothing to do with man’s production of greenhouse gases, a contribution he colorfully refers to as equivalent to “a few farts in a hurricane.” The argument was significantly weakened by the basing of most of it on a couple of graphs we’re supposed to imagine which makes the point convincingly. If the graphs had actually been included it might have helped convince me, but I’m more inclined to think Cockburn fell under the thrall of an ‘authority’ who just happened to bolster his own admitted biases on the subject. Weighed against the impressive array of scientists who have been known to voice rising concern about man’s contribution to the problem, I’m not inclined to accept this one man’s view as gospel- at least not based on Cockburn’s shaky presentation of it.

An iconoclast, Alexander Cockburn thrives on controversy, and he’s not afraid to go over the top, as in this silly statement from his essay: “There is still zero empirical evidence that anthropogenic production of CO2 is making any measurable contribution to the world’s present warming trend.” Here’s a counterexample: Kump’s “Reducing Uncertainty about CO2 as a Climate Driver,” Nature 419, 2004. Many others exist.

Cockburn enlists Martin Hertzberg, a retired US Navy meteorologist to bolster his position: http://groups.google.com/group/ont.politics/browse_thread/thread/1358d007a257c13a/a7040e8bf881c870

Hertzberg argues that there is much more water vapor, a greenhouse gas, than CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere, so that the human contribution of CO2 (he admits it is increasing) is insignificant compared with the constant amount of water vapor. He says the warmer years we’re experiencing are a rebound from the Ice Age. Both Hertzberg and Cockburn omit the fact that CO2 acts as an efficient trigger for water vapor, particularly in the cold areas of the poles and upper atomosphere. Because water vapor creates cloud cover both trapping heat and reflecting heat back into space, its overall effect is uncertain. But because it traps heat, huge, increasing amounts of it due to CO2 influence is worrisome.

Cockburn (and Hertzberg) happily proclaim, “It’s a notorious inconvenience for the Greenhousers that data also show carbon dioxide concentrations from the Eocene period, 20 million years before Henry Ford trundled his first model T out of the shop, 300-400 percent higher than current concentrations.”

Yes, temperatures were higher by 9 to 15 degrees F, and a huge amount of CO2 went into the ocean doing vast ecological damage worldwide. The scale of species extinction is unknown. Why would Cockburn and Hertzberg take comfort in this geological catastrophe and conclude that global warming isn’t happening again?

When Big Businesses like Citybank, GE and Walmart incorporate climate change into their capital budgeting process, you know that they’ve reviewed the evidence thoroughly and objectively because of the dollars and cents involved. Avowed market boosters should recognize that Business is responding 180 degrees differently than the Bushies.

For your consideration: “Citigroup Inc. (C) said it will spend $50 billion over the next 10 years on investments, financings and related activities designed to address global climate change.

The New York financial services holding company said it aims to support the commercialization and growth of alternative energy and clean technology among its clients and markets, as well as within its own businesses and operations.”

Comment 52
Wed, May 9, 2007 12:50pm
KB
All my comments

“When Big Businesses like Citybank, GE and Walmart incorporate climate change into their capital budgeting process, you know that they�ve reviewed the evidence thoroughly and objectively because of the dollars and cents involved. “

No… it’s because there’s dollars and cents involved. They’ll worry less about whether it’s true, vs… how much $$$ they can reap from the global warming craze, whilst looking ethically moral. Especially in light of getting sued on a regular basis these days (at least in the case of Citibank).

Kevin Barron

Kevin wrote:
“No… it’s because there’s dollars and cents involved. They’ll worry less about whether it’s true, vs… how much $$$ they can reap from the global warming craze, whilst looking ethically moral. Especially in light of getting sued on a regular basis these days (at least in the case of Citibank).”

....... And, the plot thickens when one takes into consideration that the automobile and petroleum industries are intentionally dragging their feet of innovation so that they can get their feet in the door of the new emerging markets. The fact that they are attempting to remain as viable entities is only a matter of business evolution; the disturbing part is the political manipulation and the environmental disruption that is taking place over the time it takes to accomplish this goal with the least amount of risk.

We’re all capitalists here, and if you can do good, or assume the appearance of doing good, while making a buck, that’s better than the alternative. Walmart hasn’t generated any other ethical headlines of late, if you haven’t noticed.

Call concern about climate change a “craze,” it will bring sustainable and cheaper energy sources than the $5/gallon gas and heating bills we’re soon to be facing.

Frank Long wrote:
<.....when I lived in Oklahoma in the ‘70s, the brunt of the tornado season was typically a floating couple of weeks that occured somewhere between the last two weeks of May and the first two weeks of June…......Here it is in April and we’ve already had a couple weeks of tornado episodes. This conforms all too well within the predictive model made about global warming.>

Actually, it is not unusual to have April tornadoes in Oklahoma.  Statistically, over the past 57 years, the Oklahoma tornado season is spread mostly over a three month period, peaking in May, with April being the SECOND most dangerous month, followed by June.

The National Weather Service statistics for Oklahoma tornadoes show that during the 57 years from 1950 through 2006, Oklahoma had 1132 tornadoes in May, 605 tornadoes in April, and 474 tornadoes in June. 

So it is not unusual to see a lot of tornadoes in April. But tornadoes are unusual for many reasons, including predictability.  In 2005, there were no Oklahoma tornadoes reported in May, the first time that has happened since records have been collected by NWS. And two recent years, 2005 and 2006, are years with a low number of tornadoes reported in Oklahoma.

Bill Perkins

Bill you might want to review the following,

http://tinyurl.com/yu7lp8

particularly the 30 year average. Also note that the 10 year average is higher than the 30 year average ALONG THE ENTIRE CURVE. The data here from NOAA suggests that in order arrive at a 30 year average being that low, that the previous decades have had to see much lower tornado occurance, at least nationally. After roughly June 1st, the 30 year average is significantly the lowest data curve listed on the chart.

I was merely stating what a few of the old geezers I had hung around with in western OK had been suggesting as the pattern of occurance, since they only happened to be living there 70 to 80 years, or since the 1890s. What would they know?

Looking at the national 30 year average in the mentioned chart, I see the beginning of May through the middle of June as the most volatile time period. Since the tornadoes don’t acknowledge any geographical boundaries, it really don’t mean squat about the statistics solely in Oklahoma, since Texas and/or Kansas could have been hammered instead, only a few miles away. The statement in my earlier post wasn’t far off and I’ll stick with it.

If you were trying to convince me that global warming isn’t happening, you haven’t.

Frank,

Interesting 30 year U.S. stats vs; 57 year OK stats and I understand what you mean about the geographical boundaries.  Long track tornadoes tend to get counted across several states.  The two most disastrous tornado outbreaks in US history were long track I believe and both occurred in early April.  So don’t forget to stock your storm cellar. 

Bill

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