Lack of Environment

A blog on the politics and psychology underlying the denial of all our environmental problems

To mark Australia’s return to the anti-science wilderness!

with 35 comments

It looks like Australia is just about to elect the most anti-science government outside of North America:  ‘Tony Abbott to win Australian election, final polls show’ (i.e. on UK’s Telegraph website).

To mark this latest ‘victory’ for those duped by conspiracy theory explanations for climate science in particular (and the stupidity of libertarian ideological blindness in general), I have decided to reproduce below my response to my most recent reality-challenged follower, called ‘freedomfan’, who has suggested that Richard Lindzen’s beliefs are a good reason to think humanity is not sleepwalking into an environmental catastrophe.

Richard Lindzen may be a meteorologist but he is not well-respected. He shredded his scientific credibility a long time ago as a result of being willing to appear as an expert witness for tobacco companies trying to dispute the reality of inconvenient science. Sadly, he learnt nothing from doing this and has repeated his mistake with the fossil fuel industry.

For someone who is gambling the future habitability on low climate sensitivity (when every time the issue is revisited the consensus view is that Lindzen is wrong), you seem remarkably confident in your own wishful thinking. This seems even more ill-judged when you consider that the International Monetary Fund, the International Energy Agency and the US Department of Defense all agree that anthropogenic climate disruption is happening; and that it is significant, bad, and worth preventing. Are they all in on the conspiracy to perpetuate scientific research funding; and/or justify higher taxes and authoritarian government? Quite frankly, it is more likely that the Moon Landings were faked (e.g. that flag was blowing in a breeze after all, right?).

If there is no positive feedback mechanism (and/or massive inertia in the climate system), why have the glaciers, ice caps, ice shelves and sea ice all continued to melt? If there is no positive feedback mechanism, why is the Keeling Curve a curve (rather than a straight line)? Positive feedback mechanisms are everywhere in Nature (very few things are linear); because Nature is biological – and we are part of it.

Here are 10 positive feedback mechanisms, which Guy McPherson has identified, that all need to be “disappeared” before your ambivalence towards the veracity of climate science becomes anywhere near being anything other than ideological blindness:
– Methane hydrates are bubbling out the Arctic Ocean.
– Warm Atlantic water is defrosting the Arctic Ocean.
– Siberian methane vents are increasing in size.
– Amazonian drought/fires released more CO2 than USA in 2010.
– Peat decomposition in boreal forests is accelerating.
– Methane is now being released from seabed in the Antarctic.
– Wildfires are increasing in frequency and scale.
– Increased CO2 is accelerating glacier disintegration.
– Exposure to sunlight is accelerating the thawing of the permafrost.
– Arctic drilling is being fast-tracked by Western governments.

For links to data sources, see: What on Earth are we doing (19 February 2013).

Anyone in any doubt about Lindzen, should read the large number of posts on this blog in the ‘Lindzengate’ category.  However, anyone in a hurry should start with:  Lindzen is either negligent, incompetent, or deceitful (6 July 2012).

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35 Responses

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  1. Nature is biological – and we are part of it.” Who knows, perhaps in time we will evolve into an intelligent species? :-(

    Paul Handover

    6 September 2013 at 16:56

    • Thanks Paul. I know this is a common refrain from you; one that makes an important point very succinctly. However, to be more precise, the problem is not that humans are unintelligent. The problem is that they are not being entirely rational.

      Martin Lack

      6 September 2013 at 17:02

  2. “Here are 10 positive feedback mechanisms…” Fascinating.

    Meanwhile, the climate is pretty much acknowledged not to have warmed for going on 20 years [it’s 15 years actually but a 50% error is nothing for fans of Richard Lindzen’s version of climate science. – ML], and not a single one of your warmist scientists can produce a credible explanation. Such a pity Mother Nature refuses to co-operate, isn’t it?

    catweazle666

    7 September 2013 at 01:07

    • Catweazle, if you think no-one has put forward any credible explanations for the hiatus in land surface warming, you have not been looking very hard (or reading very carefully). Surface warming has paused before (e.g. 1940s to 1970s) mainly due to the cooling effect of unfettered industrial pollution, whereas many other things are getting worse faster even than the IPCC predicted in 2007…

      However, talking of credible explanations, have you got one for the totality of post-Industrial warming yet? Such a pity logic, science and history refuse to co-operate, isn’t it?

      Martin Lack

      7 September 2013 at 10:43

      • have you got one for the totality of post-Industrial warming yet?

        Have you one for the warming that lifted the Earth out of the Little Ice Age yet?

        catweazle666

        7 September 2013 at 14:33

        • You are talking nonsense, Catweazle. The warming since the Industrial Revolution (let’s say 1850) cannot be explained by natural variation, sunspot cycles, and random volcanic eruptions. Furthermore, the LIA was a pothole on the road approaching the mountain of post-1850 warming.

          Once again, you are causing me to repeat myself. This can mean only one thing; that you are repeating the same old tired, previously falsified arguments. Time for some moderation, I think…

          Martin Lack

          7 September 2013 at 14:55

        • Time for some moderation, I think…

          Ah, the last refuge of the defeated “Liberal”, eh, Marty?

          Jolly good, carry on.

          catweazle666

          7 September 2013 at 16:32

        • Just watch the video. I am not a liberal (and I am not defeated).

          Martin Lack

          7 September 2013 at 16:34

        • Have you read William Ruddiman ‘Plows, Plagues, and Petroleum: How Humans Took Control of Climate’?

          Some answers in there.

          Lionel A

          7 September 2013 at 17:35

    • It’s 15 years actually but a 50% error is nothing for fans of Richard Lindzen’s version of climate science. – ML

      In fact, depending on which dataset you use… [Repetition of the “there has been no statistically significant warming in the last {x} years” meme has been deleted because I am fed up responding by saying that the recent hiatus is not relevant given that (1) there have been other pauses and (2) it is now warmer than it has been since the last Ice Age. – ML]

      catweazle666

      7 September 2013 at 14:31

      • I trust you will get the message from the above but, if not, try this:

        As I said above: “Are they all in on the conspiracy to perpetuate scientific research funding; and/or justify higher taxes and authoritarian government? Quite frankly, it is more likely that the Moon Landings were faked…”

        Martin Lack

        7 September 2013 at 15:07

      • Near surface warming is only a small part of the picture as the oceans have continued to take up heat as Earth’s radiation budget continues in the black. It has been estimated that if the huge mass of oceanic water, compared to the rather smaller mass of the atmosphere, were to transmit all that stored heat energy into the atmosphere then the latter would increase in temperature by in the order of 35 degrees Celsius.

        What is causing ice to melt at the poles and on mountain glaciers of which latter most are in retreat with just a few outliers with unique meteorological conditions? Do you catweazle understand the concept of sensible heat? Do you appreciate the quantitative difference between the heat energy required to raise a mass of water through one degree Celsius and to melt a similar mass of ice, this assuming that the ice is already at the triple-point?

        To use the temperature rise of near surface atmosphere as a measure of total global warming is absurd as

        this article demonstrates as does this new study Retrospective prediction of the global warming slowdown in the past decade.

        Lionel A

        7 September 2013 at 16:53

  3. Good result in Australia, don’t you think?

    Hopefully, this will be the start of the collapse of the Watermelons.

    catweazle666

    7 September 2013 at 16:35

    • Have you forgotten already that the whole point of this post (on which you are commenting) is to lament an insane victory for (anthropogenic) climate change deniers?

      http://www.smh.com.au/environment/think-tank-a-false-climate-prophet-20130616-2oc48.html

      Martin Lack

      7 September 2013 at 16:40

      • No Martin, I have not.

        First, I cannot have any respect for someone who conflates me to a Holocaust denier, and accuses me of belief in various other forms of conspiracy theory.

        All my scepticism for the AGW hypothesis is based on around half a century of training and practice as an engineer, especially in the use of Navier-Stokes and other concepts directly related to climatology, including, incidentally some first-hand experience in the creation of computer models.

        So I can do nothing but applaud Abbott’s victory, and sincerely hope that he lives up to expectations, particularly with regard to rolling back the Green initiatives.

        The AGW scare is dying, as you would notice if you were to take account of the many, many peer-reviewed papers rolling back the sensitivity estimates and increasingly accepting the part played by natural variability.

        catweazle666

        7 September 2013 at 17:11

        • Catweazle, any conflation with holocaust denial is in your mind only. All I have ever implied is that you are not being sceptical – because you are rejecting the bulk of available evidence that supports the consensus.

          With regard to “scares”, you have therefore erroneously conflated the majority of scientists today who accept that AGW/ACD is happening with the minority in the 1970s who feared an approaching Ice Age.

          If you are not a conspiracy theorist of some kind, please explain why the latest IPCC report concludes that humanity does not have time for (your kind of) complacency? There is only one of us that is ignoring what “many, many peer-reviewed papers” say; and it is not me.

          Martin Lack

          8 September 2013 at 17:05

        • The AGW scare is dying, as you would notice if you were to take account of the many, many peer-reviewed papers rolling back the sensitivity estimates and increasingly accepting the part played by natural variability.

          Concern about AGW is not dying. Far from it. You have to be enclosed in some strange bubble not to notice what is going on around the world. Some clues here, and more here and many more here.

          Please cite those ‘many peer reviewed papers’ – links to Nova (Codling) do not qualify!

          Lionel A

          8 September 2013 at 17:22

        • Thanks for the moral support (and useful links), Lionel. Since Catweazle would appear to be closer to your generation than mine (i.e. unless he started studying Engineering at nursery school), I hope you may have more success getting through to him than I appear to be having…

          Martin Lack

          8 September 2013 at 17:33

    • Good result in Australia, don’t you think?

      Only if your name’s Buddy Abbott or Gina RineHardhart, it is.

      It is a black day for Australia; the global community; and all those organisms that have the great misfortune to inhabit this planet alongside of a semi-intelligent tide of humanity (because of the lack of wisdom & short-term thinking from many).

      Lionel A

      7 September 2013 at 17:01

      • Obviously, I beg to differ.

        However, time will tell – is telling right now, in fact.

        catweazle666

        7 September 2013 at 17:13

  4. However, time will tell – is telling right now, in fact.

    Ah! Yes! That short termism in action. Thank you for proving my point.

    Lionel A

    7 September 2013 at 17:37

  5. Martin; It is nice to stop by your site and the reason that I did was to experience the pain you are suffering over the Australian elections where the people seem to have a deeper understanding of many issues than you or your Aus. buddy, Mike, could ever develop if you lived to be 100….

    [Yet again, these (deleted) remarks essentially presuppose the vast majority of climate scientists to be either stupid, mistaken or deceitful. – ML]

    jdouglashuahinJ

    9 September 2013 at 13:22

    • Douglas: People who create multiple user accounts or email addresses in order to repeatedly break moderation rules on the same website are called ‘Trolls’. Therefore, given your track-record of derogatory and verbose remarks, I am going to heavily moderate the three comments you have posted today. If you post any more, however, your new email address will be blocked as well. The decision is entirely yours.

      Martin Lack

      9 September 2013 at 14:39

  6. Martin; you say this: “Peat decomposition in boreal forests is accelerating.” without knowing this, I assume…

    [Citation of blog posts and/or the extreme minority of data capable of supporting belief that humanity does not have a problem has been deleted – as will be any and all comments that rely on conspiracy theory explantions to reject the reality, reliability and reasonableness of the scientific consensus. – ML]

    jdouglashuahinJ

    9 September 2013 at 13:37

  7. Martin; You say: Increased CO2 is accelerating glacier disintegration. Please explain how CO2 caused these verifiable glacier retreats to occur…

    [Repetition of your tired old “Captain George Vancouver in Glacier Bay” meme (see here for example) has been deleted. Worldwide glacier retreat is now accelerating. End of story.- ML]

    jdouglashuahinJ

    9 September 2013 at 13:52

    • Even if you do want to waste your own time, Doug, please stop wasting mine.

      Martin Lack

      9 September 2013 at 14:41

      • Martin; Thanks for showing just how much regard you have for facts. Since you are using Facebook I will post my comments there for you to enjoy.

        John Swallow

        9 September 2013 at 15:18

        • What’s this, yet another account/email address?? As promised, I haven’t even blacklisted the last one yet! If you had any regard for facts, Doug, you would not be ignoring most of them. 15 months ago, amongst a tirade of personal abuse and a great deal of feigned indignation, you promised never to visit my blog again. Please feel entirely free to respect this generous commitment that you previously made.

          Martin Lack

          9 September 2013 at 15:42

    • With respect to glacier retreat in the period 1876 and on then it has been shown that humans have had an impact on climate by elevating levels of GHGs and alterations in land usage. A very good treatise on this can be found with Wiliam F Ruddiman’s, ‘Plows, Plagues and Petroleum: how humans took control of climate’.

      A fuller explanation of how CO2 caused such glacier retreats has been obtained through the study of radiative physics and chemistry and studies in these areas date back to the early 19th century. A thorough treatment has also been produced by William F Ruddiman in ‘Earth’s Climate: Past and Future’. David Archer has also produced a book covering the basics with ‘Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast’ for which supporting lectures can be found at the University of Chicago, do go and look these up.

      As you dropped the name of Captain George Vancouver you may find this book of interest Passage To Juneau: A Sea and Its Meaning by Jonathan Raban. This is not a book about climate change but rather a collection of thoughts and perspectives, geological, historical and sociological, as one man sails a yacht up the coast from Seattle. There is, however, some acute observation on the plight of the indigenous peoples being impacted by industrial development.

      This book was a serendipitous selection from a library shelf which first appealed because of my interest in nautical history and from having sailed small boats myself.

      Lionel A

      9 September 2013 at 17:03

      • Thanks Lionel. Unfortunately, J Douglas Swallow has admitted that he is deliberately trying to annoy me, which has left me with little choice but to blacklist both of the accounts and email addresses he has used today..

        Martin Lack

        9 September 2013 at 17:15

        • No worries, that does not prevent him reading about how to correct his cognitive errors though I would think.

          Lionel A

          9 September 2013 at 17:26

        • You may like to think that, Lionel. However, I think his personal recent history suggests his cognitive errors are located within that portion of his intellectual retina occupied by the ideological nerve connected to his cerebrum.

          Martin Lack

          9 September 2013 at 17:36

  8. Martin; you say this: “Peat decomposition in boreal forests is accelerating.” without knowing this, I assume:

    Arctic treeline advance not as fast as previously believed
    Carey Restino | The Arctic Sounder | Mar 18, 2012

    http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/arctic-treeline-advance-not-fast-previously-believed

    How much peat decomposition is taking place in Russia when they have winters like this?
    Why Russia’s Cold Snap Is So Deadly
    Marc Lallanilla
    Date: 20 December 2012 Time: 05:32 PM ET
    If any nation on Earth is accustomed to dealing with a harsh winter, it would be Russia. But from the farthest reaches of Siberia to downtown Moscow, the Russian people are being pummeled by a winter so brutal it’s shattering cold-weather records across the continent — and it’s only December.

    http://www.livescience.com/25737-russia-cold-snap.html

     
    Early 2012 European cold wave – As of February 11, 2012 at least 590 people died during a cold snap with temperatures falling below −35 °C (−31 °F) in some regions.[3] Ukraine is the worst hit, with over 100 deaths related to the cold.[4]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_wave

    John Swallow

    9 September 2013 at 15:19

    • As proof that I can handle facts, Doug, I will let this comment stand. However, you do not seem to be able handle the fact that your carefully cherry-picked evidence is rendered inconsequential by the following:

      All the evidence indicates that (1) the last decade was the warmest in the instrumental record; (2) current warmth is unprecedented since the last Ice Age; (3) weird weather events of all kinds are becoming more frequent and more severe; and (4) more hot records are being broken than cold ones.

      All of these things were predicted by climate scientists using our basic understanding of physics; and none of them can be explained unless anthropogenic CO2 is the primary cause.

      Martin Lack

      9 September 2013 at 15:53


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