Friday, March 20, 2015

A Reagan approach to climate change - The Washington Post

The trend of disappearing summer sea ice in the Arctic is clear even though there is always some variability from year to year. Severe winter weather underscores the importance of keeping track of significant trends. Here are the numbers, according to Julienne Stroeve, of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo., as reported in the Economist in February:
"Between 1953 and 2014, the average area of the Arctic sea ice shrank by 48,000 square kilometers a year." 

Temperatures vary. You may have read about a global "stall" in temperature increase over the past decade, despite carbon dioxide levels rising at about 0.5 percent each year. Here again, though, trends tell the bigger story. Since humans started to produce more CO2 in the late 1800s, we know that overall land and ocean temperatures have increased about 1 degree Celsius, and in Antarctica, teams examining the world's oldest ice cores recently released their findings of 800,000 years of climate history. "Even when our climate was in some other phase, some different way of balancing the many subtle influences that make up the wind and weather and warmth we experience, temperature and greenhouse gases still marched in lockstep," wrote Gabrielle Walker in her book "Antarctica: An Intimate Portrait of a Mysterious Continent." "Higher temperature always went with higher CO2. Lower temperature went with lower CO2." 
These are simple and clear observations, so I conclude that the globe is warming and that carbon dioxide has something to do with that fact. Those who say otherwise will wind up being mugged by reality.

The author confused correlation v causation with regard to the ice data on CO2 and temperatures - if they vary together due to another factor, any money spent on CO2 would be pure waste.  If heat of the water goes up, the water will release more CO2.  CO2 then is just a trailing indicator.

If you assume that CO2 is a green house gas of significance, you will be lead to wrong conclusions.

Then there's the issue of whether it is possible for politicians to write legislation that accomplishes what they claim it will, or whether - even if it does - the benefits will out weight the negative unintended consequences.  I think of the CAFE laws as the poster child for this issue.

The author's use of "we" is telling.  "We" do nothing, we cede our power and they do what they want to us.  Being able to hold onto the idea of government action as something "we" do betrays significant naïveté.

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