Hi autoengineer, I am electroengineer ;-)

February 7, 2007 at 4:59 pm | Posted in 2007, Answer, Climate challenge, Climate change, Climate preparedness, Climate Reports, Engineering, Environment, Global warming, IPCC, Irresponsible, NERC, Royal Society, Science Education, Unequivocal | 10 Comments

Hi autoengineer,

Thanks for your reply. I am an engineer too.

  • Q. Do you know what “unequivocal” means?
  • A. There is no doubt.

Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global mean sea level.

That’s what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated on Friday after an extensive and thorough analysis of climate change research over the past six years.

They also stated the cause of global warming:

Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.

There are 2500+ scientific expert reviewers, 800+ contributing authors, 450+ lead authors from 130+ countries, who have worked for 6 years to produce 4 volumes (of which the recent report released in Paris is the first) which will be combined into a single IPCC report “Climate Change 2007” later this year. This larger assessment report is the fourth to be produced by the IPCC and is referred to as AR4.

These climate experts convened by the UN state that global warming is unequivocal, and human activity—especially fossil fuel combustion which releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere—is very likely the main driver. All our governments have approved this document. That is as authoritative as you can get.

Yet, curiously, you still ask:

how authoritative is it really?

More commentary on that is in my recent post. You are welcome to comment here, but please remember that my blog is read by schoolchildren on both sides of the Atlantic 🙂

Your definition of common sense is not the same as mine 😉  There are many different ways of viewing the world.  Perhaps you will recognise the wisdom in this story, though:

Solomon famously gave two women a choice over the destiny of the child they both claimed. When he threatened to kill the baby, the women’s responses revealed which was the true mother. The true mother would save the baby’s life at all costs—even by giving her own baby to the other woman. The false woman had her lies exposed when she told Solomon to go ahead and divide the child. The false woman didn’t care about the child: she was jealous of the true mother.

There is no party line.

The media does not insist we follow anything.

I think my own thoughts.

Brainwashing of the general public in America (not in Europe or Japan, thankfully) is another issue. Americans have been provided a steady diet of doubt over the past decade as far as global warming is concerned. That doubt prevented action to combat climate change early on. As a result, the actions we need to take personally, locally and globally now are more extreme than they would have been if global warming sceptics had not sown doubt, manufactured debate, and derailed talks on this subject for at least ten years.

Actually, I did look at sitewave.net yesterday and have seen the petition by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine (OISM) before, but I did not click on the links above directly from within your post, so I admit you could not see that I had visited those links if you checked your WordPress Clicks in your Blog Stats. Sorry for inadvertently misleading you there.

Frederick Seitz is a well-known global warming skeptic, who wrote the cover letter to people to encourage them to sign a petition against the Kyoto Protocol that was organised by the OISM. Furthermore, Seitz has links with another global warming skeptic: Fred Singer. Seitz is 95 years old. Singer is 82 years old. I respect elderly people, especially when they have made a positive contribution to people’s lives and life on Earth.

Anything written by named individuals who are well-known global warming skeptics, such as Sallie Baliunas and Willie Soon, I consider not authoritative on climate change. Sceptics have succeeded in delaying positive action to combat climate change long enough.

In summary, for authoritative information on climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has the greatest credibility worldwide, and the recent Summary for Policymakers (SPM) was approved by representatives of world governments — including the United States, China and India — line-by-line. No other organisation in any branch of science goes through a similarly rigourous process before releasing an assessment report, as far as I can tell. This SPM is the first of several IPCC reports to be released this year on various aspects of climate change including: the physical science basis; impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and mitigation of climate change.

Beyond IPCC assessments, I look to NOAA, NERC, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, Met Office Hadley Centre, and The Royal Society for authoritative scientific information on climate change. The Union of Concerned Scientists has recently completed an investigation into political pressure on climate scientists which may be worth reading if you are interested in the so-called brainwashing aspects of this controversy.

As far as your quote is concerned:

the global warming prophesied by the climate modelling industry is not scientifically real

  • Scientists and engineers do not prophesy. (You should know that if you have studied engineering at University. Elementary school kids know that scientists and engineers are different from prophets.)
  • I did not know there was a “climate modelling industry”. Interesting.
  • “not scientifically real” is a pretty vapid phrase. Here’s a better one, from the President of the Royal Society who made a three paragraph statement (in response to the release of the IPCC SPM last Friday in Paris) concluding with:

“We need both to reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases and to prepare for the impacts of climate change. Those who would claim otherwise can no longer use science as a basis for their argument.

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  1. Snap, snap! Girl, you should be a lawyer! 🙂

  2. Well said. You’re an outstanding advocate, keep up the good work.

    I might suggest that it’s time to shift focus. The denialists aren’t just losing … they have lost. Perhaps we should change our strategy from defense against denialism, to offense against inactivity. It’s time to motivate the voting public to insist that either elected officials take prompt, tough action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, or we’ll send ’em looking for another job.

    Politicians are slow to respond when the human race is threatened, but very quick to respond when their re-election is in danger.

  3. Thanks, Brian. I’m glad I worked in engineering design labs, and later in field, headquarters and clients’ offices designing global networks for mission-critical applications instead of spending my time in a law court. Engineering is much more fun. Anyway, I am far too geeky to be a glamourous lawyer 😉

  4. Thank you tamino. I appreciate your advice any time.

    You are right: the focus is now on the future, not the past.

    Eventually, I want to be able to write so clearly that middle school students can see positive examples of adults tackling the climate challenge, to give more hope to our younger generation.

  5. Nice work again, inel. Very well-worded.

    At one point you mentioned the Oregon Petition. I don’t know if you’ve seen any of the criticisms of it, but that is one thing that is commonly used by skeptics to claim that there is no consensus. Usually, they’ll refer to it by saying that over 17,000 scientists signed it. Not even close. I could provide some sources if you haven’t seen them.

  6. Yeah, Scientific American was going to be the first source I cited. That petition was heavily marketed and was signed by everybody and their mother, regardless of credentials. So, to tout that petition as “over 17,000 scientists” is disingenuous at best.

  7. Thanks. Funny how there’s no Scientific European, huh?

  8. You are welcome to provide the sources you mention, reasic. I looked Oregon Petition up on Wikipedia and this is what struck me in terms of credibility (!) :

    In 2005, Scientific American reported: [8]

    Scientific American took a sample of 30 of the 1,400 signatories claiming to hold a Ph.D. in a climate-related science. Of the 26 we were able to identify in various databases, 11 said they still agreed with the petition —- one was an active climate researcher, two others had relevant expertise, and eight signed based on an informal evaluation. Six said they would not sign the petition today, three did not remember any such petition, one had died, and five did not answer repeated messages. Crudely extrapolating, the petition supporters include a core of about 200 climate researchers – a respectable number, though rather a small fraction of the climatological community.

  9. People still claim there were 2,500 scientists in the IPCC report for policymakers?…..

    Several of the “real scientists” have actually spoken about this several times and it has been known for a longtime that the IPCC reports, since the first one, only had between 12-30 “real scientist” who ahd any real experience on Climate Change. The rest of the so called “scientists of the IPCC” are nothing more than policymakers, environmetalists and politicians who have no real knowledge on Cliamte Change but have been part of the IPCC reports because those countries participating in the reports chose them as “experts”….

    Here is what one of the “real scientist”, who was a lead author in several of the IPCC reports has to say…..

    [excerpt]
    The hurricane expert who stood up to UN junk science
    The Deniers — Part III

    Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post
    Published: Friday, February 02, 2007

    You’re a respected scientist, one of the best in your field. So respected, in fact, that when the United Nations decided to study the relationship between hurricanes and global warming for the largest scientific endeavour in its history — its International Panel on Climate Change — it called upon you and your expertise.

    You are Christopher Landsea of the Atlantic Oceanographic & Meteorological Laboratory. You were a contributing author for the UN’s second International Panel on Climate Change in 1995, writing the sections on observed changes in tropical cyclones around the world. Then the IPCC called on you as a contributing author once more, for its “Third Assessment Report” in 2001. And you were invited to participate yet again, when the IPCC called on you to be an author in the “Fourth Assessment Report.” This report would specifically focus on Atlantic hurricanes, your specialty, and be published by the IPCC in 2007.

    Then something went horribly wrong. Within days of this last invitation, in October, 2004, you discovered that the IPCC’s Kevin Trenberth — the very person who had invited you — was participating in a press conference. The title of the press conference perplexed you: “Experts to warn global warming likely to continue spurring more outbreaks of intense hurricane activity.” This was some kind of mistake, you were certain. You had not done any work that substantiated this claim. Nobody had.

    As perplexing, none of the participants in that press conference were known for their hurricane expertise. In fact, to your knowledge, none had performed any research at all on hurricane variability, the subject of the press conference. Neither were they reporting on any new work in the field. All previous and current research in the area of hurricane variability, you knew, showed no reliable upward trend in the frequency or intensity of hurricanes. Not in the Atlantic basin. Not in any other basin.

    To add to the utter incomprehensibility of the press conference, the IPCC itself, in both 1995 and 2001, had found no global warming signal in the hurricane record. And until your new work would come out, in 2007, the IPCC would not have a new analysis on which to base a change of findings.[/excerpt]
    http://www.nationalpost.com/story.html?id=ae9b984d-4a1c-45c0-af24-031a1380121a&k=0

    there have been several other lead authors of the IPCC reports who ahve come forward and stated that the reports have been changed to satisfy policymakers, environmentalists and governments who are trying to profit from “Climate Change”.

    Here is what some of the other “real scientists” who were lead authors of the IPCC reports have to say…

    [excerpt]
    According to official IPCC procedures (section 4), the main science report shall be modified after publication of the Summary so as to “ensure consistency with” the Summary. But the Summary is written by government representatives to fulfill political objectives in support of carbon dioxide reduction negotiations. IPCC lead author and NRSP Allied Scientist Professor Richard Lindzen of MIT explained that the Summary “represents a consensus of government representatives (many of whom are also their nations’ Kyoto representatives), rather than of scientists.”

    Besides questioning the legitimacy of releasing the S ummary months before the release of the report it is supposedly written to summarize, attention should also be focused on situations in which lead authors of the Fourth Assessment Report are using their own work, reviewed by scientists with whom they work closely, as the primary support for conclusions of specific IPCC report chapters. The US National Academy of Sciences Wegman Report (2006) highlighted how this lack of independent review resulted in serious problems with the last WG1 Summary (2001). In that Summary, the ‘Mann Hockey Stick’, a now-discredited graph that purported to show that 20 th century warming was unusual, formed the cornerstone of the IPCC conclusions. Wegman concluded “ authors of policy-related documents like the IPCC report … should not be the same people as those that constructed the academic papers.”

    Finally, it should also be recognized that the fact that many scientists were involved in reviewing the Fourth Assessment does not necessarily mean that these scientists agree with the report. For example, NRSP Allied Scientist Dr. Madhav Khandekar was an official reviewer of parts of the document that related to his specialty (extreme weather) and has revealed that the IPCC ignored his comments. NRSP Science Advisory Committee member, Dr. Vincent Gray , also an official reviewer of IPCC reports, speaks about his experience, “They sometimes take notice of your comments. They don’t take much notice of mine because most of the time I don’t agree with what they are saying…. It is not like the scientific press where you are supposed to answer objections; they don’t bother to answer objections; they go their own way.”
    [/excerpt]
    http://www.nrsp.com/release_01-02-07.html

    Oh and BTW, i am an Engineer too…what the heck does that mean exactly, that i must be right just because i am an Engineer?…..

  10. Dear Muaddib,

    Thanks for your comment.

    When you wrote:

    People still claim there were 2,500 scientists in the IPCC report for policymakers?…

    That is a puzzle to me. My statement was:

    There are 2500+ scientific expert reviewers, 800+ contributing authors, 450+ lead authors from 130+ countries, who have worked for 6 years to produce 4 volumes (of which the recent report released in Paris is the first) which will be combined into a single IPCC report “Climate Change 2007″ later this year. This larger assessment report is the fourth to be produced by the IPCC and is referred to as AR4.

    So, I did not claim what you state, but am merely quoting from a source I trust, which is the IPCC, whose official flyer includes the same numbers. More recently, I posted a couple of images of two pages from that 4-page official flyer here:

    https://inel.wordpress.com/2007/11/17/ipcc-ar4-synthesis-report-release-valencia/

    Beyond that, it often helps to know a little about sources.

    Googling the title of the piece from which you quote, “hurricane expert who stood up to un junk science”, it is clear that that article has been promoted far and wide by the usual contrarian machinery, gaining 948 web hits as they did so, and was covered almost a year ago by such inauspicious sources as Heartland, JunkScience, GlobalWarmingSkeptics, ClimateAudit, NewsBusters, Inhofe’s EPW blog, and National Post as well as the Financial Post.

    As far as any cautionary advice from NRSP is concerned, I ignore it. Natural Resources Stewardship Project is another well-known Canadian-based source of misinformation on climate change, whose own online meta states its intent thus:

    “Understanding Climate Change is a campaign against the Kyoto Protocol (Kyoto Accord, Kyoto Treaty) and other greenhouse gas reduction shchemes while promoting sensible climate change policy and debate in Canada. Understanding Climate Change is an inaugural campaign of the National Resource Stewardship Program (NRSP).”

    BTW, engineer is not a noun used to indicate whether someone is right or wrong. The only reason engineer appears in the title of my post is that I was replying to someone who describes himself as autoengineer, so I replied in a lightly humourous vein as electroengineer, to show that we have engineering in common. That’s all.


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