Take today’s two on climate change. Such undistinguished and pathetic contributions to a pseudo-debate!
THE worldwide average temperature for 2009 was the warmest on record and 0.68C above the 20th century average ("Warming unmistakable — and worse here", 30/7).
But a more detailed reading of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s State of the Climate Report shows that the northern hemisphere made a significantly greater contribution to this figure.
The report also includes a section on greenhouse gases that acknowledges CO2 makes a contribution to the greenhouse effect, without qualifying the extent.
We should conclude that even though the world is warmer than the 20th century average, the rise is unlikely to be outside the normal range of variation over the long term.
It would be premature to attempt to reduce CO2 until a much clearer understanding of the other climate contributors are determined.
Peter Clark, Mount Gambier, SA
AS London diarist John Evelyn wrote during the winter of 1683-84 at the depth of the Little Ice Age: "Conditions were terrible with men and cattle perishing and the seas locked with ice such that no vessels could stir out or come in. The fowls fish and birds and exotic plants and greens were universally perishing. Food and fuel were exceptionally dear and coal smoke hung so thickly that one could scarcely see across the street and one could scarcely breathe".
Who in their right mind is decrying the progressive warming since the 17th century?
William Kininmonth, Kew, Vic
Take Bill first. Of course no-one is decrying the progressive warming since the 17th century. That is the strawest of straw men! I find it hard to believe such guff is worth printing. But I guess any crap he cares to write passes muster in The Oz, given his distinct lack of objectivity on the subject.
William Kininmonth is an Australian climate change skeptic. His only listed qualification is "Director of the Australasian Climate Research Institute" , but the Institute is listed as simply a trading name for "Kininmonth, William Robert", and is based at his private residence in Kew, Australia. It has no website, phone number or existence separate from Kininmonth.
He is listed as an "expert" on Kyoto issues at Envirotruth, was a member of Australia’s delegation to U.N. climate treaty negotiations, and until 1998 was head of Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology’s National Climate Centre for 12 years.
His recent book launch was organised by the Lavoisier Group and was chaired by Hugh Morgan, the President of the Business Council of Australia. John W Zillman, President of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, launched the book, "Climate Change: A Natural Hazard?"critiquing some aspects of the book.
In a letter to to The Age newspaper, Kininmonth wrote that "Greenhouse gases emit more radiation than they absorb and their direct impact is to cool the atmosphere."
Now for Peter who, it seems, has managed to read all 224 pages of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s State of the Climate Report 2009 and come to the amazing conclusion that “the northern hemisphere made a significantly greater contribution.” Wow! Nor does he mention that this is entirely consistent with global warming projections, as you may see from this video of a +4C world.
What is clear from the rest of the letter is that he hasn’t paid serious attention to what climate scientists actually say, or to the relevant physics. At the risk of seeming repetitious:
If you want as objective an account of the science as seems reasonably possible view the lecture series by Professor Richard Muller of the University California, Berkeley.
That video "deals with the physics of climate change, the data on global temperature and carbon dioxide changes, and some potential solutions. Also covered are the many mistakes that can be made, including the trap of exaggeration. He warns against the danger of cherry picking and overstating the case. When people discover that the exaggerated case is not valid, they may dismiss the problem altogether. Professor Muller has researched this topic for many years and has co-authored a book with Gordon MacDonald called Ice Ages and Astronomical Causes.
If you care to read Climate Assessment for the Year 2009 PDF you can draw your own conclusions.
I am sick of suffering fools gladly on this topic. It is no longer debatable that there is a problem called anthropogenic global warming, even if there is a proper degree of uncertainty — around 10% — on the size of the problem. The real debate is about what best to do, and "nothing" is the worst answer.
I am reminded of Thabo Mbeki’s AIDS policy in South Africa, a tragic mix of postcolonial politics and pseudoscience. The only serious publication in Australia to carry a flag for that pseudoscience was Quadrant! Kind of figures, doesn’t it? See Three magazines and an amazing AIDS story…