Friday, September 23, 2011

Climate change

I had some other things I was going to work on today.  However, there are a few things that I need to get out first so you get a blog post.

Dave MacDonald is running for the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario (PCPO) in Kitchener Centre.  Dave was a weather man for the local CTV station for a number of years. He is not a meterologist, but after talking about the weather for 40 years, you would expect him to have picked up a few things.

So it was surprising when at the debate on Wednesday night when he stated "There’s still a lot of controversy over what the cause of climate change is."  MacDonald then went on to state “If there is some component of it that is man-made, then I’m all in favour of trying to reduce carbon emissions and that sort of thing."  If I understand him correctly that even if a small part of the global climate change has to do with things being man made he wants something to be done about it.  However, MacDonald does not feel that anything needs to be done, and according to him there are 1000s scientists that deny global climate change.  I have phoned his campaign office and am waiting a response.

I put out a request on twitter for science papers that support MacDonald's belief.  I got two responses both linked to articles marked commentary in the National Post.

The first article, written by Lawerence Solomon, lists a bunch of scientists that have dismissed concerns about climate change.  If you look at the research of the named scientists, only one has done research in climate, Reid Bryson.  Bryson died at the age of 88 in 2008.  None of the other scientists researched weather or climate, and the youngest was born in 1937.  There is no linked papers or statements on what exactly these scientists believe. Some believe earth is not warming, some say it is but just natural forces, some say that poverty is a bigger concern than anthromorphogenic climate change.

The second article, again written by Lawerence Solomon is entitled "Science is now settled". Which implies the debate is over.  Solomon claims that due to a paper in Nature by CERN that the sun is responsible for cloud formation and the sole contributor to earth's warming.  I looked up that paper in Nature it is entitled "Role of sulphuric acid, ammonia and galactic cosmic rays in atmospheric aerosol nucleation" by Kirkby et al. (Kirkby, J. et alNature 476, 429-433 (2011). I don't have access to Nature on my home computer and am guessing most of my readers don't either (you can go to your local university library and read it if you want).  There is a discussion of the paper on Nature news which is accessible.  The gist of the paper is that cosmic rays can interact with aerosols in the atmosphere and enhance the formation of nano sized particles.  The particles are "way too small to seed clouds".  I find this quote by Kirkby to be very illuminating "At the moment, it actually says nothing about a possible cosmic-ray effect on clouds and climate, but it's a very important first step,"   This is preliminary research, and they are continuing to ask and attempt to answer questions.

These are the papers that Global warming deniers are clinging too.  They call themselves skeptics, but too me a skeptic looks at the facts and asks questions not just cling to beliefs.  The deniers are also fond of the moving the goalposts.  This is the logical fallacy in which evidence presented in response to a specific claim is dismissed and some other (often greater) evidence is demanded.

I am still looking for decent scientific papers (that have not been rescinded).  I also have a few other questions for Dave if he ever calls me back.

1 comment:

Gina said...

Thanks for writing this and investigating these claim further. We need the public to learn how to listen to well-informed individuals, instead of those spouting propaganda during elections. I have no clue how to do this - but it is necessary for use all to step up and hold our public figures accountable for the words they speak.