Saturday, December 19, 2009

Copenhagen - Total Failure or 'Essential Beginning?

Looking forward to reading the Sunday's tomorrow. Let's hope its not all just the pre-written 'space filler' usually served up around Christmas. Let's hope there's some serious commentary about the Copenhagen summit. Because we've seen nothing of any substance so far. Just politicians and 'summit goers' justifying their existence. As things stand at the moment, my annual award for 'Optimist of the Year' goes to Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations for his positive interpretation of the summit as an 'essential beginning'. What we need to know is whether it was a total failure, or whether something genuinely positive emerged from a meeting which involved 45,000 people flying into Denmark, from all over the world, at a cost of over £100 million and a massive carbon footprint. Hopefully, a day's reflection will enable some in-depth commentary to have been written.

Must admit I'm not sure what I was expecting. I certainly did not expect an agreement which would satisfy those who are rather dismissively described as 'warmists'. But I did expect more than we got - which was a non-binding 'agreement', prepared by the US, refined in discussion with China, India, Brazil and South Africa, and accepted by most attendees because there was nothing else on offer - and because they could not go home without any agreement at all. I'm not even clear about any timetable or scale of any emissions reduction. And we have no idea of how much money has to be handed over to developing countries as compensation for not following the same climate destroying path that developed countries have followed.

At Copenhagen, the UK may have been excluded from the real action, but as we approach the General Election, all parties will need to respond to climate change in their manifestos. And its not going to be easy - because of the catastrophic fiddling of the data that's been going on. Personally, I don't think it makes that much difference whether one believes our climate is warming as a natural phenomenon, or as a result of man's activities. The reality is that a significant rise in sea levels would cause such dramatic social disruption across the world that we had better do all we can to limit it. I believe that my generation (as with all previous generations) has a moral responsibility to leave the world in as good a nick as we found it. I suppose this puts me on the 'warmists' side of the debate. Worryingly, an increasing number of those I talk to disagree, and take a different view. And governments cannot take the sort of actions being talked about against a background of public scepticism. The scientists of the world need to start developing some communication skills. Dismissing 'deniers' as ar*****s is just not good enough. I wonder what Geoffrey Lean will have to say in tomorrow's Telegraph.


comble said...

Frankly, the whole thing is a joke and to top it off President Obama arrived back on the East Coast of the USA with a snow-storm in progress. Washington DC, Arlington, Fairfax county - the whole of the Washington DC metro area is snowed under. This is the worst snow storm before Christmas for many years. It's a white-out here, I know, because I live/work here (live in Arlington, work in Fairfax); my mother is in hospital (acute rehab) in Arlington, and on my way back from seeing her last night there were several accidents involving other vehicles on Columbia Pike and on South Jefferson Street off Columbia Pike, I live up a short hill on South Jefferson from Columbia Pike - just on that short hill there were two cars that had a 'coming together', one of which was shunted into metal railings, luckily no one on the pavement/sidewalk where one of the cars spun off.

We are in a cool down period, but hey, according to press releases and biased pieces of paper waved in the air at Copenhagen we are still in a warm up period - then explain the heavy snow falls outside my window, the worse I have seen for several years.

National Reagan Airport in Arlington is apparently having serious problems, it is very dangerous to be driving outside.

Incidently, I have taken a look at some of the data that the UN has been spoon fed - the data is highly suspect. Temperature readings from locations that were orginally rural but became urbanized so the temperatures are naturally going to be higher in urbanized areas. I lived in Chicago for several years as cold as Chicago got in winter, it was colder outside Chicago (in the rural areas west of Chicago). Chicago has just faced a big snowstrom, the remnants of which are hitting the East Coast and putting down snow outside my window! The way we heard it from the global warming facists, we will have droughts and agriculture will be wiped out. Funny, as we are growing more than ever, and had a very wet summer last year, and quite a bit of rain this year thank you. Now we are having lots of snow with school sports shut down, airports under severe stress, etc.

Glyn Davies said...

comble - Pleased everyone is ok. I'm not really following the rate of temperature change, but it seems that there hasn't been an increase over the period since 1998. This is a very short period and I don't know if its significant. But the scientists have to explain it, not hide it. And by the way, its enough to freeze the ears of a brass monkey here tonight. Not sure that proves anything though.

comble said...

Glyn> I live just a short walk away from Leesburg Pike shopping area - it's deserted, the huge parking lots are empty. The odd snow plough pick-up truck is there. For retail to be shut down on the last Saturday before Christmas kind of says something. Americans are huge shoppers. But the weather (and more importantly the roads) are in terrible shape for shopping. Unless one is within walking distance of an underground metro "tube" then there's not much hope of doing major shopping today. It's very cold too. So the snow is going to be around for a while. The snow plough trucks will end up piling it on the sidewalks and people on foot will be forced to walk in the road.

Bonetired said...

Statistics Glyn ... pure statistics. In the same way that when tossing a coin you can have a run of (say) 6 tails on the trot, there can be variations in an upward trend. In the former case given enough samples the trend will always be towards 50:50 (and the more samples the closer to 50:50 the trend will become). There will be variations in the upward global warming (and humans will always spot the abnormalities - its our nature!) but the trend will always be upwards .....

comble gobble gobble said...

Glyn> I live almost on top of an open shopping mall – the shops and parking lots are deserted apart from the odd stuck car and pick-up trucks spreading salt and clearing snow from parking spaces. Apparently its this way over all the DC metro area – shops closed, streets deserted of traffic – and this being the last Saturday before Christmas – there are people outside in the street, I can see them, they are having fun in the snow!

JB said...

You report no increase since 1998 and your'e quite right. It is not a short period though because the 'hockey stick' so favoured of Gore and his allies flicks upwards over some 25 years. You can't have it both ways.

In the circumstances I cannot condone Brown giving away £1.5 bn., so desparately needed here. Arte we insane?

comble said...

It's kind of funny. There's the UN with its press releases claiming this is the warmest decade on record and there's the East Coast of the USA with its worst snow-storm this decade, and perhaps the worst pre-Christmas snow-storm on record. Last winter was pretty cold, this one is turning out to be very cold. It's pretty clear, the UN is selling a packet of horse manure and the much of the world believes the lies. Global Warming science is anything but - their models did not predict the cooling down or this bitterly cold winter. Why? Perhaps because the raw data was faulty - temperature readings from those locations were originally rural but are now urbanized areas and extrapolating from that data was a HUGE mistake. Russia is complaining that the raw data taken from their Siberian locations was selective and give a false picture of weather changes in Siberia to suit the global warming alarmists.

"Super-Saturday shopping" or whatever 'they' call it here (USA) is a washout in the DC metro area, and perhaps along much of the rest of the East Coast from Virginia up to New York and beyond.

Just up the street from me is a big shopping area - and it has been deserted all day. The driving conditions are so bad that it is positively dangerous to attempt to drive. Can anyone imagine the scene? What should be the busiest day of shopping is a washout, with shops closed and people marooned in their own homes. There are some pretty big snow plough trucks here, but the amount of snow has largely defeated them. Perhaps tomorrow when the forecast predicts clearer weather the snow trucks will get on top of things and the roads will be cleared of snow and ice. Meanwhile, I have witnessed several car accidents with cars unable to stop on hills hitting other cars, one of which went into the railings near my apartment building, luckily there were not pedestrians on the sidewalk or they would have suffered death or very serious injuries.

Anonymous said...

Suggest you look at things like the Keeling Curve, this shows that Cold Periods in earths climate are associated with low CO2 levels, while warm periods are associated with high CO2 levels.

I've got a feeling that the UK is going to get much colder not warmer, mainly due to the North Atlantic Conveyor switching off.

We also have a period of low Sunspot activity which also causes cooling of the earths atmosphere.

I think the reason why we had such a bad summer is the fact that the Gulf Stream didn't migrate to northern latitudes this year (or for the previous two years) but remained over the UK depositing so much rain.

And finally, like Bonetired stated, it's all statistics. Just because it's cold this week, doesn't disprove global warming

Glyn Davies said...

Bonetired - In general I agree, but the trend does not always have to be upwards. Through our history there have been downwards trends as well. At present, I accept (because most scientists are telling us) that the trend remains upwards, and we shuld be trying to limit the impact of change, becaus eof the massive international disruption it would cause.

JB - I was never a believer in the hockey stick theory either. The time period of warming we are looking at is measured in hundreds of years. And you need to remember that the Prime Minister is promising British money when he will probably no longer be Prime Minister!

comble said...

Well, just heard it on the radio in the DC metro area. It's officially confirmed that the snow fall for DC and Baltimore for December (c/o the snow-storm that just hit us) is the highest on record. Even beat some wicked snow-storm 'back when'.

As far as CO2 levels go - anon is wrong on several accounts. The earth has been a lot hotter than it is now prior to a single factory being built. So if it’s man-made CO2 how come the Romans had vineyards around 1000 AD?

As to CO2 levels - man is obviously a minor contributor given that CO2 levels have been higher before, yes you have guessed it, before man built a single factory.

Then there's Le Chatelier's principle - greenhouse farmers make a big use of it even though most of them have never heard of "Le Chatelier". Basically it goes like this, move the equilibrium one way (e.g. "to the left"); the system will attempt to move in the equilibrium to the right. It's a simple theorem which happens to work. More CO2 in the greenhouse, more plant growth which absorbs the extra CO2. More CO2 in the atmosphere, we will have more plant growth - hence more cereal crops.

The snow falls in DC have little to do with the Gulf of Mexico - we are a lot closer to the Gulf of Mexico than the UK - and anyway, the Midwest also had a pretty hard snow storm.

The fact is, we are now in a cooling down period as evidenced by the snow storms hitting Europe and separately in the USA - the most recent one being this weekend and it is the worst on record for December - more snow was dumped this w/e than has ever been dumped in December on DC and Baltimore since records began.

CO2 (and SOx) are produced in bountiful amounts without man having to contribute any at all. Volcanic vents under the sea being one HUGE source.

Some elemental chemistry for you, take carbonate based rock, e.g., calcium carbonate - heat it up and guess what's released? Ahhh, CO2, and the Earth has vast amounts of trapped CO2 in, e.g., Calcium Carbonate. Whenever a rock layer rich in carbonate thermally decomposes, vast quantities of CO2 are generated, VAST quantities.

If, for example, the 'ring of fire' warms up, we will have vast CO2 pumped into the atmosphere.

But we are in a cooling down period - the so called hockey curve is based on biased data, some of the 'awkward data' was left out. But the curve looks cool on UN press releases.

comble said...

"More CO2 in the greenhouse, more plant growth which absorbs the extra CO2. More CO2 in the atmosphere, we will have more plant growth - hence more cereal crops."

... and hence the Romans growing grapes in vineyards in merry England some 1,000 years ago and guess what: before the industrial revolution, and before man built a car factory or a ship yard or a nuke power station.

When CO2 levels rise, more plant growth. Incidentally, there were forests growing in what we now call the polar regions - yes, a long time before we built that car factory, that ship yard and that ... after all, y is Russia et al so interested in drilling for oil north of Russia? For there to be oil, there must have been previous 'heavy duty' plant growth, and man was not around, lest not building that car factory ...