Monday, September 30, 2013

IPCC Commentary Starting To Flow

First, this ridiculous, ridiculous story that has gotten press thanks to Yahoo.

A meteorologist who has covered weather for the Wall Street Journal tweeted that he has decided not to have children in order to leave a lighter carbon footprint, and is considering having a vasectomy.
He also vowed to stop flying after the world's recent climate-change report made him cry.

Uhm, wow.

Then, another story from Fox News. I can only imagine that it is on Fox because no one else would publish it, which is a shame, because the guy is absolutely a life-long ecologist, he's just committing what has become the mortal sin of "doubting."

"I've studied climate and its effects on life—all kinds of life ---for more than four decades, starting in 1968. Along the way, among other things, I developed a computer model of forests that in the 1990s we used to forecast the effects of climate on jack pine forests in Michigan that were the only habitat of the endangered Kirtland’s warbler.  A lot of effort was going into saving the bird’s habitat, and I wondered if, with global warming, it might all be in vain.
As a result I'm one of the reviewers of sections of the latest report on climate change and its impact by the United Nations-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the first part of which was released last week in the form of a general summary for policymakers.
I had some serious concerns about the sections of the much bigger report that I reviewed — which hasn't yet been released---and I have some of the same reservations about the document that was published last week.  
The report’s language appears to be sometimes coupled with a selective reading or oversimplification of the facts, so that the authors have "high confidence" in something that is not the whole story.  
My biggest concern about the climate report is that it presents a number of speculative, and sometimes incomplete, conclusions embedded in  language that gives them more scientific heft than they deserve. The report, in other words, is "scientific-sounding," rather than clearly settled and based on indisputable fact.  Established facts about the global environment exist less often in science than laymen usually think.

Having worked for decades on climate change and its possible effects on life, I come away from the just published "summary for policymakers" believing that it does not allow a scientist, let alone a policymaker, to decide that we are, or are not, creating a global warming.   
As a result, I foresee two dangers. One is that it will simply  intensify the political, ideological and, yes, moral debate that has erupted over who does and does not believe we are causing global warming, and thus move us even farther from the important scientific effort that the issue deserves.
The second danger may be even worse: it reinforces the belief that there is some kind of climate normality, usually characterized as existing earlier in the twentieth century or before the Industrial Revolution (but after the Little Ice Age, which lasted from approximately the mid-1400s to 1700) that is desirable, even necessary, for our species and for the ecology of the planet.
In fact, there has never been such a thing, which is one of the reasons that biological evolution and adaptation exist in the first place. "
Exactly the point I've been making for years.

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