Climate News Roundup

Panel Sees Problems in Ethanol ProductionNew York Times. “Greater cultivation of crops to produce ethanol could harm water quality and leave some regions of the country with water shortages, a panel of experts is reporting.” The full National Research Council report, “Water Implications of Biofuels Production in the United States,” is available online.

We’re Carboholics. Make Us Stop.Washington Post. Op-Ed calling for carbon regulations by David Crane, CEO of NRG Energy Inc., a wholesale power generator serving 19 million households with total greenhouse gas emissions exceeding Norway’s:

Global warming should be at the top of Congress’s agenda — because action by this Congress will turn the tide of climate change around the world. Never before have we faced the prospect of fundamentally damaging our global ecosystem by the day-to-day activities of each and every one of us. A cap-and-trade system is the place to start. America must act now to protect our future.

Row erupts over risk to polar bearsThe Guardian. “The global warming sceptic Bjorn Lomborg, has sparked fresh debate about the dangers of increasing temperatures with new claims that polar bears are not on the brink of collapse and are more threatened by hunting than by climate change.” We’ve already debunked “Bear” Lomborg on this claim, but it’s good to see the British media take this nonsense on:

Last night Lomborg was accused of the same misuse of statistics which he levels at other scientists, environmental groups and the media.

Dr Andrew Derocher, chairman of the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group, said Lomborg’s book was based on outdated statistics because the group had published an updated report in 2006, which showed that of 19 populations five were declining, five were stable and two were increasing; and for the remaining six there was not enough data to judge.

Derocher said data from before the Eighties was considered ‘very questionable’, that hunting was considered a ‘minor concern in some populations’, and that the decision by the IUCN to classify polar bears as ‘vulnerable’ was based on the unanimous advice of his committee of 20 members from the five ‘polar bear nations’ in the Arctic, including the only previous dissenter, a scientist quoted by Lomborg in his book.

Derocher, a professor in biological sciences at the University of Alberta in Canada, also criticised the idea that polar bears can adapt to the sort of life lived by the brown bear because they need to eat vast numbers of seals, which are also threatened by the changing ice. ‘The changes of sea ice are evident to local people living in the north,’ he said. ‘Over the last 25 years that I’ve worked in the Arctic the changes are astounding. Polar bears are adaptable, but there are limits to this.’

Derocher said the author had not tried to contact him: ‘Lomborg choosing not to ask for accurate information or using outdated information reflects a lack of scholarship.’

4 Responses to Climate News Roundup

  1. Ron says:

    Here’s another bit of climate news you may want to include today –

    ONE of the world’s foremost meteorologists has called the theory that helped Al Gore share the Nobel Peace Prize “ridiculous” and the product of “people who don’t understand how the atmosphere works”.

    Dr William Gray, a pioneer in the science of seasonal hurricane forecasts, told a packed lecture hall at the University of North Carolina that humans were not responsible for the warming of the earth.

    His comments came on the same day that the Nobel committee honoured Mr Gore for his work in support of the link between humans and global warming.

    “We’re brainwashing our children,” said Dr Gray, 78, a long-time professor at Colorado State University. “They’re going to the Gore movie [An Inconvenient Truth] and being fed all this. It’s ridiculous.”

    At his first appearance since the award was announced in Oslo, Mr Gore said: “We have to quickly find a way to change the world’s consciousness about exactly what we’re facing.”

    Mr Gore shared the Nobel prize with the United Nations climate panel for their work in helping to galvanise international action against global warming.

    But Dr Gray, whose annual forecasts of the number of tropical storms and hurricanes are widely publicised, said a natural cycle of ocean water temperatures – related to the amount of salt in ocean water – was responsible for the global warming that he acknowledges has taken place.

    However, he said, that same cycle meant a period of cooling would begin soon and last for several years.

    “We’ll look back on all of this in 10 or 15 years and realise how foolish it was,” Dr Gray said.

    During his speech to a crowd of about 300 that included meteorology students and a host of professional meteorologists, Dr Gray also said those who had linked global warming to the increased number of hurricanes in recent years were in error.

    He cited statistics showing there were 101 hurricanes from 1900 to 1949, in a period of cooler global temperatures, compared to 83 from 1957 to 2006 when the earth warmed.

    “The human impact on the atmosphere is simply too small to have a major effect on global temperatures,” Dr Gray said.

    He said his beliefs had made him an outsider in popular science.

    “It bothers me that my fellow scientists are not speaking out against something they know is wrong,” he said. “But they also know that they’d never get any grants if they spoke out. I don’t care about grants.”

  2. Dean Grodzins says:

    Not knowing Dr Gray, I must admit he sounds like one of those types–you meet them in every scientific and academic field–who do brilliant work for a while, and then spend the rest of their long careers belittling the work of all those who discover anything new. Louis Agassiz of Harvard, the guy who figured out the geologic impact of glaciers but who ended his career as the last major scientist to oppose Darwinism, is a classic example.

  3. Joe says:

    Sorry, Gray is now a certifiable nut!
    He told the Post, “Gore believed in global warming almost as much as Hitler believed there was something wrong with the Jews.”
    He is not part of the serious discussion.

  4. Ronald says:

    I saw him on c-span once talking about hurricanes and weather. I really don’t think he could have explained the difference between weather and climate. I tell most people this. Weather is like in a baseball game, I can’t tell you which batter is going to get a hit or which pitcher will get a strikeout on which at bat. Over a years time though, I could be reasonably close to how many strikeouts,hits and homeruns there are in a season, something close to the year before. If they made the baseball 5 percent more lively, there probably would be more home runs.
    He made the comment that these climate guys can’t figure out what the weather is going to be in a week, how can they know what the climate will be.