Lack of Environment

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

Comfortably numb is no good

with 12 comments

Most of those that deny the nature of reality are not doing so because they are being paid to do it (or even because they are willfully blind); they have just been duped by the Merchants of Doubt that say:
“Anthropogenic CO2 is not the cause of the climate change we are now witnessing; and
anyone who says otherwise is just trying to restrict your freedom and/or spoil your fun!”

It really is that simple.  However, the hallucinatory drugs we have been taking will not work much longer.  It is time to wake up and deal with the uncomfortable, numbing, reality that our stupidity has now begun to irreversibly change the Earth’s climate.  Therefore the only question left to answer is:
Just how bad does it have to get before we all start trying to do something about it?

So then, how can we know for certain that CO2 is the main cause of the problem? Well, try this graph :

The graph above (available on the Wikipedia website) demonstrates that cyclical solar activity (variation in total solar irradiance (TSI), sunspots or anything else) cannot explain ongoing warming of the last 150 years. However, as Patrice Ayme pointed out in 2009, it does explain why the warming that has occurred – and is occurring – has not been consistent (also due to the cooling effects of other industrial pollutants, volcanic eruptions, etc.).  In other words, global warming did not stop in 1998 (etc).

So will people now please stop saying things that are not true?

TSI may be more than 1 kW per square metre (which is an awful lot of energy but, be fair, the Earth has grown accustomed to being bombarded by it). However, what the Earth is struggling to cope with is the comparatively recent and sudden reduction in outgoing long-wave radiation caused by atmospheric CO2. This change may be small by comparison with TSI but it is still an order of magnitude greater than the change that brought the Earth out of the last Ice Age. This is why the Earth is warming up faster than it did then. Furthermore, now that the melting of terrestrial ice is accelerating; sea level rise will now do the same.

The longer we ignore what is happening the harder it will be to stop, mitigate and/or adapt.
Unfortunately, we cannot press CTRL+ALT+DEL to re-boot the system. Therefore, perhaps it is time we visited the Control Panel / Task Manager to stop the process that is in danger of crashing the computer?

12 Responses

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  1. Two (or was it three😉 ) very powerful graphs.

    Paul Handover

    3 September 2012 at 05:35

    • Thanks Paul. I should have credited Patrice with putting me onto the first graph (and Pendantry for the Pink Floyd video). However, the second (animated) graph is a favourite of mine (a.k.a. ‘Going Down the Up Escalator’) from the Skeptical Science website.

      Martin Lack

      3 September 2012 at 08:23

  2. Yes Martin, I think you should have credited me, and given the link to the original essay for at least two reasons:
    1) First it’s my idea, and nobody’s else. I observed that the slowing down in warming after 1998 could be largely attributed to the sun, and the graph proves it. That means that I can be the source of powerful new ideas. If I can produce one, somewhere, maybe I have more, some where else. We are in an age of people who copy and link, rather than think on their own. Obama’s campaign 4 years ago was pretty much out of my sites, without any attributions, and one cannot hope anything good out of just aping stuff.
    2) My original essay has other powerful ideas and observations, especially about Antarctica, which, there again, I have seen nowhere else. To this day.

    I am not searching for fame. However I do care about people thinking deeper. Be it only for the sake of my baby daughter, and therefore, if you take something from my site, please have the courtesy to link to it.

    Patrice Ayme

    3 September 2012 at 13:26

    • Dear Patrice, I am glad to hear you are not searching for fame as that would be a bit strange for someone who (albeit understandably) operates in the blogosphere under an anonymous alias. Whilst I am indeed grateful to you having directed me to your old post on this subject in the first place, I would be surprised if you were the first to connect the last solar cycle with the apparent hiatus in warming since 1998. However, I would be perfectly happy for you to prove me wrong. Furthermore, in addition to linking to Wikipedia – and your old post – I am happy to admit that I had not made the connection myself before reading your post. Given that I am not in the habit of trying to take credit for other people’s ideas, I trust you will be content with my hereby acknowledging that you have helped to enlighten me.

      Martin Lack

      3 September 2012 at 14:52

    • Thanks for responding to my email, Patrice. As indicated in my reply, I have now amended the original text of this post to acknowledge that, in addition to having long been convinced that global warming is not due the Sun, it was reading your 2009 post that helped me to appreciate the apparent link between declining TSI and the hiatus in warming after 1998.

      Martin Lack

      4 September 2012 at 10:27

  3. Something I find almost more informative than the contents of each succeeding report on global warming is the fact that every one, at some point, informs us that the preceding report had “underestimated” the speed and severity with which global warming is transforming our home.

    It is my own opinion that we are now at the beginning of a planetary state shift. As the states of local systems shift with increasing rapidity, the cumulative changes will trigger a ripple effect. Nearby or adjacent systems will be increasingly impacted and consequently forced into a new state more rapidly.

    It’s becoming a runaway, cascading chain reaction; like some organic Rube Goldberg machine, which produces a desolate rock, unfit for human habitation, as its function.

    As time passes and no action is taken to mitigate global warming, more feedback loops are activated. Any day I expect to hear that huge volumes of methane have been abruptly released from the depths of the oceans or the melting permafrost, or the thermohaline circulation has been significantly altered.

    I think we’ve crossed the Rubicon. As I suggested in my comments at Transition Times, the catastrophes are inevitable. Our best hope now is to batten down the hatches and prepare so some of us can survive them. I’m not saying we should just give up. I’m suggesting we need to reconsider our objectives.

    That’s not to suggest that we shouldn’t continue to fight for a cessation of fossil fuel use. We can still possibly soften the blow a bit. But we will get hit. Really hard.

    Richard William Posner

    6 September 2012 at 02:26

    • Thanks Richard. The analogy of an approaching asteroid (used by James Hansen) is a good one. The longer we wait to send up a rocket to blow it off course and/or fragment it; the greater the risk of collateral damage. Sadly, I agree with you, it is now too late to think we could prevent impact and remain unaffected; we are now well into damage-limitation territory.

      Martin Lack

      6 September 2012 at 09:56

  4. […] Monday, I highlighted the fact that the Earth receives an enormous amount of energy from the Sun.  Then, […]

  5. This tremendous thickness is a build up of snow accumulated over many centuries. Because the temperature increase from Greenhouse effects is 4-5 times greater in Antarctica, this region makes an ideal location for research, especially into the Greenhouse Effect. Antarctica is one of the most beautiful places has to offer us.

    antarctica tours

    8 May 2013 at 04:19

    • I cannot see the relevance of this comment so it may be spam. However, if it is not spam, then I am grateful for the reminder that the last time Antarctica was ice free was about 35 million years ago when, consequently, sea level was 75 metres higher than today. With CO2 over 400ppm, this is the new climate state to which we are now headed.

      Martin Lack

      8 May 2013 at 07:27

  6. […] Climate scientists are therefore not changing their story to accommodate inconvenient new data. Only climate change sceptics do that. The only implausible science on offer today is that which seeks to explain all the data without acknowledging that CO2 is the main driver. Sure, CO2 does not explain everything but, you cannot explain all the data unless the primacy of CO2 is accepted. […]

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