Thursday, 30 October 2008

They predicted a cooling in the 70ies

As you've all noticed i haven't had much time lately to blog because of work-related reasons. And also because, even though this blog just started, it already did generate a lot of private mailing of people commenting on the things i write. Which pleases me because it seems this blog, as was the aim when starting it, is filling the hole there still was in the Dutch speaking part of the world.

One of the claims people sceptical towards climate science often repeat is the one that 'back in the 70ies they predicted a cooling' where the argument should suggest 'them' predict no matter what, as long as 'them' can claim the end of the world is near.

Besides the logical problems with the argument itself (scientifical knowledge accumulates, which can result in a paradigm shift) there's something even more problematic with the argument : it seems it simply isn't correct.

Peterson, Connolly & Fleck had a closer look at the publications made in the 70ies and presented the result of their investigation in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society Their conclusion leaves no doubt :
There was no scientific consensus in the 1970s that the Earth was headed into an imminent ice age. Indeed, the possibility of anthropogenic warming dominated the peer-reviewed literature even then.
Co-auther William Connolly runs an (excellent) blog called Stoat where the entire paper can be found (pdf). Simply a must read !

Saturday, 4 October 2008

the debate of the VP's : view on climate change

Even in Belgium, the US elections make front page news. This of course isn't a surprise, for US is the single most powerful country in the world.
This has implications for the climate topic too : US is the country consuming most oil in the world, both per capita as in total. Actually Belgium's consumption per capita is very high in the rankings too, but as Belgium only has a population of 10 million, the total consumption isn't all that high compared to US, a country consuming 25% of all oil in the world.

Because of this high level of consumption, the national climate policy of the US has an enormous impact on the entire globe. Therefore it's very intersting to see what the candidates in the vice presidential debate held earlier this week had to say about the subject :

Sarah Palin has been critised in the past for saying "I'm not one though who would attribute it to being man-made". In my opinion in the debate she's trying to express the same thought without actually saying it aloud. Miss palin is not able to convince me her policy would be about anything more than "oil, oil and more oil".

That there indeed are cyclical natural changes does not imply mankind has not any impact. Oddly, many people fail to be able to see this argument is a fallacy, and it's something you hear surprisingly often.

This video is the very first time i saw Biden speak, and he seems to have a more balanced view on the topic. But as said, i don't know anything about this man, as in Belgian media, Miss Palin runs away with all the attention. I'm not going to judge Mister Biden on this small video.

For me, the quote of the debate is this one by Sarah Palin :
we gotta become energy independent (...) as we rely more and more on other countries that don't care as much about the climate as we do.
Maybe it's just my sense of humour, but i had to laugh hearing those words coming out her mouth.

To finish two small yet interesting maps : the first one giving a quick overview of the oil consumption per capita.

and the second one giving a quick overview of the CO2 emissions (not just from oil) per capita :