I’ve been browsing through your website and was wondering if you might be failing to read between the lines.
First, it is obvious that most oil companies and big businesses want climate change dead, and they have the money and media to insure its untimely demise. But oil companies and big businesses and the media are not claiming that climate change science is bad, only that mitigation is worse than climate change. Just as 20% of confused Americans responded in a poll several years ago that man was both created and evolved, a good percentage of Americans are torn between the dangers of climate change and mitigation. When you are struggling to feed a family and are told that mitigation is going to cost you much more than you can afford, then you must put the dangers of climate change out of your mind. You have to. That is why people like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and a host of other professional liars paid for by oil companies and big businesses are so successful. They understand the plight of these people and know their weaknesses. The poor people are desperately grasping for shreds of evidence that their choice is somehow miraculously the right one, even though they know in their gut that it is not. I believe that is why so many people come to you with “silly” questions, and you are disappointing them with correct answers that they can’t use. So they just go right back to the professional liars. Why has every Republican candidate for the Senate denied the seriousness of climate change or the existence of global warming? Because they want to be elected by the same people who come to you with “silly” questions and then return to the professional liars who make millions from oil companies and big businesses.
“It is interesting to note that, even though carbon dioxide is necessary for life on Earth to exist, there is precious little of it in Earth’s atmosphere. As of 2008, only 39 out of every 100,000 molecules of air were CO2, and it will take mankind’s CO2 emissions 5 more years to increase that number by 1, to 40.”
Whoa!!! My first reaction to”necessary for life on Earth” and “precious little of it” was alarm that the supply of this “life-saving gas” in Earth’s atmosphere had gotten so low, and that I had ought to see what I could do to raise it to where I could survive. In a pinch, I figured, I could always put a bag over my head.
But then I remembered what Kate had said about breathing in and breathing out. We use only the O2 that we breathe in to survive, but we don’t need the CO2 we breathe in to survive. Thank goodness! Then why did Dr. Spencer say there was so “precious little of it (that life-saving CO2 stuff)?”
Is Dr. Spencer playing games with me? Is he trying to make me believe that elevated levels of CO2 and CH4 are natural and no cause for alarm? Is he trying to convert me into a skeptic, or worse yet, a denier?
Wouldn’t it have been more appropriate for Dr Spencer to have written, “According to ice core samples, the level of CO2 in the past 650,000 years or so has never exceeded 280 ppmv. However, as of 2008, the level of CO2 in the atmosphere is now at 390 ppmv, and it will take mankind’s CO2 emissions 5 more years or so to increase that number by 10, to 400 ppmv?”
This statement contains the same essential information as the previous one and even more, but, as far as I can tell, it is devoid of covert opinions.
“It’s come to this: Climate-conscious policymakers are beginning to contemplate the possibility of playing God with the weather in the hope of slowing global warming.”
And how is that?
“For years it was considered downright wacky in official Washington to discuss geoengineering: altering the climate by reflecting sunlight back into the sky, sucking carbon dioxide from the air – or a host of other gee-whiz schemes. But in the past year the wacky has won a following, spurred in part by the recent collapse of climate legislation as well as by growing interest among private entrepreneurs and foreign officials.”
Wouldn’t mandating 60+ mpg cars and imposing alternative energy research taxes on gas guzzling SUVs and trucks accomplish much more faster than a bunch of wacky star-wars projects that will never make it off the drawing board?
“Maintaining atmospheric CO2 concentrations below a level of 450 ppmv that might be considered “dangerous”  necessitates rapid civilization collapse and unrealistically high rates of decarbonization. There are no plausible, thermodynamically supported solutions that avoid inflation rates less than 100% and lead to stabilized atmospheric CO2 concentrations within this century. It is only with very rapid decarbonization that current economic growth conditions can be sustained while keeping CO2 levels below 1000 ppmv by century’s end.”
The article pointed out by Rick above http://arxiv.org/pdf/1010.0428v1 raises some interesting issues. Do we continue to drive at full speed into the fog, or do we step back and think about what’s beyond our vision? Most climate change advocates and deniers neglect Peak Oil, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_oil, which is just over the horizon. According to Peak Oil theory, the easy half of most of the world’s oil and gas has been extracted from the ground, and the difficult and costly second half is awaiting increasing world energy demands. Dirty coal will be stepping in to fill the declining oil and gas gaps. Unless more research and development is done to clean up coal and identify, develop, and implement alternative renewable energy sources, we can expect even worse climate change problems, not to mention growing world stability issues related to declining oil and gas supplies. The best solution would be for all industrialized nations to immediately impose Alternative Energy Research and Development taxes on oil, gas, and coal, so replacement energy sources would be coming online as oil, gas, and coal phase out. Without that, the perils of climate change will pale in comparison to the perils of a collapsing world economy.
Kaitlin Alexander is a PhD student in climate science at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. She became interested in climate science as a teenager on the Canadian Prairies, and increasingly began to notice the discrepancies between scientific and public knowledge on climate change. She started writing this blog at age sixteen to help address this gap in public understanding, and it slowly evolved into a record of her research as a young climate scientist. Read more