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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

IS GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE REAL? (Part 2)

The following is largely excerpted from Chapter 5 of SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Planet Earth.
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When I started this chapter I asked Jeeves, what is the definition of global climate change? Jeeves responded by citing the Nature Conservancy:

Global climate change simply refers to an increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere. Scientists believe that several greenhouse gases are causing this increase. The primary one is carbon dioxide.”

Change meant increase, and carbon dioxide was the only gas mentioned. Turns out that water vapor is said to be 65% the cause of the Greenhouse Effect, with CO2 only 33% responsible. Methane is hardly ever addressed. It should be understood, of course, that greenhouse gases are necessary. Without them, the average temperature on our globe would be roughly minus 20°C (or 4°F, remembering that ice freezes at 32°F).

However, today, Jeeves has retired. One of the financial partners of Kona Blue Water Farms, Garrett Greuner, helped found and sold Jeeves, ran for Governor of California and went on to Yoga Works. Ask (www.ask.com) has replaced Jeeves.

There are two dominant global climate warming organizations:

o In 1988 the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), as endorsed by the national science academies of the G8 nations. The IPCC does not actually do any research, it only monitors, assesses and organizes the work.

o As we, the United States, contribute more than our fair share of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, Congress in 1990, created a parallel, but cooperative, program involving 13 federal agencies. Since 2002, called the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (USCCSP), a sum of $20 billion has been spent over the past decade and a half on global climate change.

Many other centers, institutes and universities do the actual research, but they all feed into the above two.

There is some annoying byplay between the IPCC and the USCCSP, as in 2006, the latter displayed online the draft of the 2007 IPCC Fourth Assessment Report to gain world comments without previously informing the IPCC. The reason, so it is said, had something to do with the Bush White House being critical of the workings of this world organization, particularly its conclusions. One specific issue was that the report would be indicating that if carbon dioxide doubles, the global temperature will rise exactly 3 °C (5.4 F°). A U.S. government scientist speculated that this tactic by his employer now allows lobby groups to hijack the whole thing. Obviously, into 2007, the most powerful country in the world still had philosophical doubts about the significance of global warming.

If you simply ask me whether global climate warming is occurring, my answer a year or two ago might have been, hmmm, I’m not sure, yet, but probably. Today, my reply would be YES, absolutely! In the early 1990’s The National Academy of Sciences, American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society could not support the reality of this change. Even Thomas Karl, director of the National Climate Change Center (NCCC), was uncertain. Today, all four, with Karl still director of NCCC, are now stoutly of the opinion that the world is warming.
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Tropical Storm Gustav, now at 70 MPH, is passing through western Haiti and should skirt westward, just south of Cuba. It is possible that Gustav could attain Category 5 hurricane status in a few days when it enters the Gulf of Mexico. The current predicted track is towards Louisiana, meaning that all those oil platforms (which represent 25% of domestic production) could be threatened. Tropical Depression Julio is at 30 MPH and should dissipate in the southwest region of the U.S., dumping a good amount of rain.
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Reflecting concern about Gustav, oil prices went up to $116.75. The DJI edged up 27 to 11,413.
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