Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Climate Change Denial: The Tipping Point?

A layer of greenhouse gases – primarily water vapor, and including much smaller amounts of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide – act as a thermal blanket for the Earth, absorbing heat and warming the surface to a life-supporting average of 59 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius).

We have yet to comment on Climate Change, and a few Climate Change Deniers may finally see the light as a new report from the Climate Desk at The Atlantic by Tim McDonnell, "We're Screwed: 11,000 Years' Worth of Climate Data Prove It," pounds the final nail into the deniers' coffin:

"New research takes the deepest dive ever into historic climate records.
Average global temperature over the last ~2,000 years. Note the massive uptick on the far right side. (Science)
"Back in 1999 Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann released the climate change movement's most potent symbol: The 'hockey stick,' a line graph of global temperature over the last 1,500 years that shows an unmistakable, massive uptick in the twentieth century when humans began to dump large amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. It's among the most compelling bits of proof out there that human beings are behind global warming, and as such has become a target on Mann's back for climate denialists looking to draw a bead on scientists.

"Now it's gotten a makeover: A study published in Science reconstructs global temperatures further back than ever before -- a full 11,300 years. The new analysis finds that the only problem with Mann's hockey stick was that its handle was about 9,000 years too short.

Marcott's team used ocean records to reconstruct global climate further back in time than ever before. (Science)
"To be clear, the study finds that temperatures in about a fifth of this historical period were higher than they are today. But the key, said lead author Shaun Marcott of Oregon State University, is that temperatures are shooting through the roof faster than we've ever seen.

"'What we found is that temperatures increased in the last hundred years as much as they had cooled in the last six or seven thousand,' he said. 'In other words, the rate of change is much greater than anything we've seen in the whole Holocene,' referring to the current geologic time period, which began around 11,500 years ago.

"Previous historic climate reconstructions typically extended no further back than 2,000 years, roughly as far back as you can go by examining climate indicators from tree rings, as Mann did. To dig even deeper, Marcott's team looked at objects collected from more than 70 sites worldwide, primarily fossilized ocean shells that have been unearthed by oceanographers. Existing research has shown that certain chemical tracers in the shells link directly to temperature at the time they were created; by studying oxygen isotopes in the fossilized plankton shown below, for example, scientists can deduce that it formed its shell at a time when Greenland was fully without ice. Marcott's task was to compile enough such samples to represent the whole planet over his chosen timeframe.

Fossilized ocean organisms like this plankton,the size of a grain of sand, keep a chemical snapshot of the climate at the time they first formed their calcium-carbonate shells. (Jennifer McKay, Oregon State)
"'There's been a lot of work that's gone into the calibrations, so we can be dead certain [the shells] are recording the temperature we think they're recording,' he said.

"Today's study should help debunk the common climate change denial argument that recent warming is simply part of a long-term natural trend. Indeed, Marcott says, the earth should be nearing the bottom of a several-thousand year cool-off (the end-point of the rainbow arc in (B) above), if natural factors like solar variability were the sole driving factors. Instead, temperatures are rising rapidly.

"Mann himself, who literally wrote the book on attacks on climate scientists, said in an email to Climate Desk that he was 'certain that professional climate change deniers will attack the study and the authors, in an effort to discredit this important work,' especially given the close ties between the two scientists' research. 'It will therefore be looked at as a threat to vested interests who continue to deny that human-changed climate change is a reality.'

"Marcott admitted he was apprehensive about charging into the fully-mobilized troll army, but said he was grateful scientists like Mann had 'gone through hell' before him to build a support network for harassed climate scientists.

"'When Michael came along there was a lot more skepticism about global warming, but the public has come a long way,' he said. 'I'm curious to see how the skeptics are going to take this paper.'"

The opponents of Climate Change, both the Conservative Sheeplets and their political leaders, have been especially vocal about denying that change has even occured - or if it has, that it has occured because of "natural causes" such as volcano eruptions, ocean currents, earth orbital changes, or solar variations.  But their violent reaction to the fact that the earth may have even reached the "tipping point" of no return is because Climate Change is due to human factors, causes that can be laid on the feet of big business in its rush for profits, no matter what the cause is to humankind...from's take on the causes of Climate Change:

"Human Causes of Climate Change
"It has been demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that the climate is changing due to man-made greenhouse gases. We are already committed to future substantial change over the next 30 years and change is likely to accelerate over the rest of the 21st century.
"The Met Office, Hadley Centre, UK
"The Hadley Centre holds an unique position in the world of climate science. No other single body has a comparable breadth of climate change science and modelling, or has made the same contribution to global climate science and current knowledge."
"Independent Review 2007
"There is strong evidence that the warming of the Earth over the last half-century has been caused largely by human activity, such as the burning of fossil fuels and changes in land use, including agriculture and deforestation."
"The Royal Society 2010
"The Industrial Revolution in the 19th century saw the large-scale use of fossil fuels for industrial activities. Fossil fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas supply most of the energy needed to run vehicles, generate electricity for industries and households. The energy sector is responsible for about ¾ of the carbon dioxide emissions, 1/5 of the methane emissions and a large quantity of nitrous oxide.

"Carbon dioxide is undoubtedly, the most important greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. Changes in land use pattern, deforestation, land clearing, agriculture, and other activities have all led to a rise in the emission of carbon dioxide. Methane is another important greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. It is released from animals such as dairy cows, goats, pigs, buffaloes, camels, horses and sheep Methane is also emitted during the process of oil drilling, coal mining, leaking gas pipelines, landfills and waste dumps.

"The certainty of global warming can be seen through some of the natural phenomenon like the effect on crops and extreme weather conditions around the world. It is especially clear in the dramatic change of the polar caps, i.e. the Arctic ice cap is shrinking and the Antarctica ice shelf is melting.

"Main Contributors and Causes of Climate Change
"According to the UK Government the main contributors of man made causes of climate change in the UK are:
"* 4% of carbon emissions come from industrial processes
"* 7% come from agriculture – for example methane emissions from livestock and manure, and nitrous oxide emissions from chemical fertilisers
"21% carbon emissions from transport

"65% come from the use of fuel to generate energy (excluding transport)
"About 40% of carbon emissions in the UK are the result of decisions taken directly by individuals. The biggest sources of emissions for most people are likely to be:
"* energy use in the home (the main use is heating)
"* driving a car
"* air travel
"There other elements of people's homes that contribute to climate change indirectly. Everything, from furniture to computers, from clothes to carpets, all use energy when it is produced and transported – and this causes carbon emissions to be released."

What will happen when the general populace finally gets it: not only have the Conservatives' masters, the corporations and multi-corporations caused Climate Change, they have denied it until we reached the tipping point, a delay that might have been put to better use by preventing said tipping point.  Did this delay lead to the end of the world, or did it "merely" lead to worldwide famine, disease, and death?

Will the Climate Change deniers and their benefactors and spokesman be run down on the streets and hung from the lampposts for causing, then denying Climate Change?  Even after  Conservatism is finally criminalized, we may be powerless to stop the People from exacting their revenge from the corporate officers and their shills.


"If you are afraid of loneliness, do not marry."

Anton Chekhov