Monthly Archives: August 2014

Take a closer look at “global warmng” claims

The kind of stark dooms-day claims being made to be caused by global warming certainly gets a person’s attention (e.g. here)

But let’s take a closer look.

1. Stark danger Changes in climate and severe weather always pose a “danger.” This not something that can be controlled or eliminated. By using such an alarming claim the impression is give that we must act now so that the danger is avoided. This is what might be called a prejudicial conjecture. Certainly, action could be taken now but this in no way ensures that problems in the future will be avoided.  Indeed, the so called “benefits” of the USEPA’s recent CO2 emissions rules are so small as to be un-measurable.

2. Immorality – To claim inaction on climate now is some how “immoral” because there may be problems in the future is arbitrary. To pass such a moral judgment requires a uniform moral standard. What absolute moral standard is being used here? Is it moral to allow people to die (or be killed) today due to energy-poverty by taking action that will have no effect on preventing injuries due to future changes in  climate? It looks to me that we end up with worst of both worlds….more people die today (due to energy poverty from ineffective and costly regulatory actions) and they die in the future (energy poverty due to money wasted on actions that have no effect on future changes in climate that would happen regardless).

3. Choices The claim is made that “humanity” has to choose between one scenario (good) and another (bad). First, “humanity” is an abstract concept, a label used to refer to the totality of the humans on the earth. As an abstract concept, “humanity” does not “choose” anything. People choose. And people choose differently. On what basis or authority do the advocates of global warming (e.g. here) believe they alone speak for and decide for all “humanity”?  Is this simply government-speak for political expediency? (“We are here from the collective world governments (e.g. IPCC) to help you. Just do what we say.”) Such a claim of having universal knowledge of what all humans on the earth want or should do is nonsense. The global warming advocates can certainly have an opinion but to generalize it as a moral obligation to all humanity is a stretch too far. [In any case, the claim humanity must choose between A (good) and B (bad) is a false choice. There are many other possibilities here, including actions that do not involve ineffective regulations.]

4. Irreversible – global warming advocates claim that any and all long term changes in climate are irreversible. This may or may not be the case. But on what basis is the claim made that anything humans may do now will be able to reverse their alarming scenario? On what basis is the assumption that effects are reversible now, but will not be in the future? How do we know that effects can be reversed now? Doing something is not always better than doing nothing, especially if by doing something the problem is compounded further. Lastly, claims that future warming cannot be reversed assume that our understanding of science will progress no further than today and that there will be no further technological development between now and 50 or 100 years into the future. Is this realistic?

Indian Village Demands Real Electricity, not Greenpeace solar grid

“The residents of Dharnai are far from satisfied to see lights for the first time in 33 years, courtesy a solar-powered micro-grid set up by the environment watchdog Greenpeace India. They now want asli bijli (real electricity) from the government.”  click here

USEPA carbon dioxide emission rules to have an undetectable result

“Using a simple, publically-available, climate model emulator called MAGICC that was in part developed through support of the EPA, we ran the numbers as to how much future temperature rise would be averted by a complete adoption and adherence to the EPA’s new carbon dioxide restrictions*. “

“The answer? Less than two one-hundredths of a degree Celsius by the year 2100.”

“0.018°C to be exact.”

Click here for full article.

 

USEPA water maps set the stage for more regulation, federal control

Using GIS to map geography and water resources is not new. This has been done by the USGS for many years. But now such maps become even more important as UESEPA moves to regulate and control all US water resources via the Clean Water Act (CWA). Not sure about this?

Well, does anyone recall the Two-Forks dam project proposed by Denver Water? In 1990, USEPA administrator Reilly (not Browner as previously mentioned) used the veto power of CWA Section 404c to kill the project after many years of development. ( click here ) Two-Forks was the first of such unilateral vetos by EPA of a large water project. We can expect many more administrative vetos large and small to follow if USEPA continues down the path it is currently on with regard to CWA jurisdiction over-reach.

“The Environmental Protection Agency secretly drafted highly detailed maps of waterways in all 50 states while pushing a controversial plan to expand regulatory power over streams and wetlands, according to a top House Republican who suspects the maps are a blueprint for when it’s time to pull the trigger.” click here

epa_watermaps

Nitrification control effect on nitrifying microorganisms

Wang H, Proctor C, Edwards M, Pryor M, Santo Domingo JW, Ryu H, Camper AK, Olson, Pruden A. Microbial community response to chlorine conversion in a chloraminated drinking water distribution system. Environ Sci Technol. 2014 Aug 13.

Temporary conversion to chlorine (i.e., “chlorine burn”) is a common approach to controlling nitrification in chloraminated drinking water distribution systems, yet its effectiveness and mode(s) of action are not fully understood. This study characterized occurrence of nitrifying populations before, during and after a chlorine burn at 46 sites in a chloraminated distribution system with varying pipe materials and levels of observed nitrification. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction analysis of gene markers present in nitrifying populations indicated higher frequency of detection of ammonia oxidizing bacteria (AOB) (72% of sites) relative to ammonia oxidizing archaea (AOA) (28% of sites). Nitrospira nitrite oxidizing bacteria (NOB) were detected at 45% of sites, while presence of Nitrobacter NOB could not be confirmed at any of the sites. During the chlorine burn, the numbers of AOA, AOB, and Nitrospira greatly reduced (i.e., 0.8-2.4 log). However, rapid and continued regrowth of AOB and Nitrospira were observed along with nitrite production in the bulk water within four months after the chlorine burn, and nitrification outbreaks appeared to worsen 6-18 months later, even after adopting a twice annual burn program. Although high throughput sequencing of 16S rRNA genes revealed a distinct community shift and higher diversity index during the chlorine burn, it steadily returned towards a condition more similar to pre-burn than burn stage. Significant factors associated with nitrifier and microbial community composition included water age and sampling location type, but not pipe material. Overall, these results indicate that there is limited long-term effect of chlorine burns on nitrifying populations and the broader microbial community.

Click here for full paper (fee).

Setting the record straight on “climate change” arguments

Claim: Ice core data shows CO2 controls temperature.

Response: CO2 levels in ice cores lag temperatures by 800+ years. The cause cannot follow the effect. Indeed, CO2 lags temperature on all timescales. Temperature changes drive CO2 levels. [At an epistemological level, ice core data cannot “show” anything other than what it is, ice core data. An interpreter of the data is necessary. And every interpreter has underlying assumptions.]

Claim: Other forces, like El Nino/La Nina, volcanoes and solar irradiance cannot alone explain all of the variability we’ve observed. Therefore, global temperature change cannot be understood without taking greenhouse gas emissions into account.

Response: Judith Curry has addressed this claim here.

[But even so, this is a logical fallacy known as ad ignorantum, an argument from ignorance. Just because something is not known does not make something else true.]

Claim: Florida is facing an impending disaster from sea level rise.

Response: Global sea levels naturally fluctuate. The rise in sea level has decelerated over the past 8,000 years, decelerated over the 20th century, decelerated 31% since 2002 and decelerated 44% since 2004 to less than 7 inches per century. There is no evidence of an acceleration of sea level rise. There is no evidence of any effect of mankind on sea levels. Indeed, rising sea levels in particular areas relate to land subsidence.

[This false thinking commits the fallacy of composition, piecing together an argument regarding the “whole” (global climate causing sea level rise) from a few fragments of specifics (in this case modeling results).]

Mathematician Kurt Gödel’s incompleteness theorems suggest that no matter how much climate mathematical modeling one does of the parts, it cannot reproduce the “whole.” The “whole” is always much more than what the sum of “parts” suggest. And in this case the global climate is much, much more than what any mathematical modeling of the parts suggest, and always will be. Observational science gives us an idea of physical state of the “whole.” Mathematical modeling cannot do this. And this is why observational science should be preferred and supplemented with modeling rather than the other way around (where only modeling is considered).

The Global Warming War

The full-length documentary film festival preview available here [password is 4festival] (source: The Hockey Schtick)