Climate Change, Umm, Alarmism?

Yup, we\’re all gonna dieeeeee!

One of the world\’s leading climate scientists warns today that the EU and its international partners must urgently rethink targets for cutting carbon dioxide in the atmosphere because of fears they have grossly underestimated the scale of the problem.

In a startling reappraisal of the threat, James Hansen, head of the Nasa Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, calls for a sharp reduction in C02 limits.

Hansen says the EU target of 550 parts per million of C02 – the most stringent in the world – should be slashed to 350ppm. He argues the cut is needed if "humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilisation developed". A final version of the paper Hansen co-authored with eight other climate scientists, is posted today on the Archive website. Instead of using theoretical models to estimate the sensitivity of the climate, his team turned to evidence from the Earth\’s history, which they say gives a much more accurate picture.

Interesting to note that 350 ppm is actually lower than the current concentration: we thus need to have negative carbon usage. Good luck with that on any short to medium term basis.

But the major point here is about climate sensitivity. How much temperature rise do we get from a doubling of CO2 levels? That in turn depends upon whether we have positive feedbacks or negative ones.

Well, OK, we know that we have both positive and negative: what\’s the overall effect though?

Hansen here is assuming highly positive feedbacks.

Other climate scientists are not so sure. Like James Annan for example. (I think that paper had a great deal of difficulty getting published. You\’ll need to scroll around those archives to get the full story).

Just a note to the gorbal wormening enthusiasts: we\’re supposed to be dealing with the scientific consensus, remember, not the results of one outlying paper that no one has had a chance to read yet.

10 thoughts on “Climate Change, Umm, Alarmism?”

  1. If “humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilisation developed”

    That’s a big if… The problem is we don’t know what the world will be like in the future – this scares the deep conservatives of the green movement. Anti-change is the mantra.

  2. Didn’t humans first evolve from apes somewhere in Africa, where it’s nice and hot? Aren’t the oldest civilisations in hot or warm countries (India, Mali, Turkey etc)? Don’t more people live in the tropics where it’s nice and warm that at the North or the South Pole? etc etc.

  3. Sorry but we do know what the world will be like in the future, read the science, the future is pretty clear, drinking water shortages, food shortages, energy shortages, land shortages, resources shortages and lots of humans competing for the scraps from a terminally ill planet.

  4. “Hansen is slightly unhinged IMO”

    He goes on about court jesters; I thought traditionally the court jester was the one man at court who was permitted to tell the truth, holding up the mirror to people everyone else would ordinarily not dare to criticise.

  5. Who the hell “wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilisation developed”? Not me, that’s for sure. The very definition of civilisation involves change.

    Oh, and Declan Waugh, don’t talk such utter bloody nonsense. There’s no such thing as a finite resource in any meaningful sense. The doomsayers have been wrong since Malthus, and they will continue to be wrong. You’d think the likes of Paul Ehrlich and Lester Brown would have had the decency to slink off in embarrassment, but they blithely continue to beclown themselves. There is seldom a more amusing (and sobering) experience than reading the writings of those who claimed to be able to predict the future, during the time for which the predictions were forecast. Ehrlich and the other gloomy sods are the Jeremiah-like flipside of the loons who said we’d all be zipping about in flying cars by now. All those famines that swept the US, the exhaustion of strategic minerals, yada, yada, yada. None of it happened. As Yogi Berra said, “prediction is very hard, especially about the future.”

  6. I always thought theoretical models were like statistics. You can find one to support anything. However, we have this guy skipping most of the work and cutting right to the point…. The sky is falling!

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