(Reuters) — Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, in danger of losing his 2012 Republican primary front-runner status, [said] on Wednesday he would not place restrictions on carbon emissions if elected….
“Do I think the world’s getting hotter? Yeah, I don’t know that but I think that it is,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s mostly caused by humans.”
“What I’m not willing to do is spend trillions of dollars on something I don’t know the answer to.”
It’s Romney’s new slogan: “Vote for me. Why? I don’t know!”
Romney’s position is melting faster than the Arctic ice. Last month he said, “I think it’s important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may well be significant contributors to the climate change and global warming that you’re seeing.”
Hmm, does that mean Sen. James Inhofe (R-OIL) was right when he said Romney was “a little mushy on environmental issues”? Here’s a video in honor of Mushy Mitt’s new know-nothing strategy:
Let’s review what we know — our ever-strengthening scientific understanding — which includes the “settled fact” that the earth is warming.
The evidence that the world’s getting hotter from multiple independent lines of observation is so strong that back in 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded, “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal” — and that word was signed off on by every member government, including the Bush administration and China and Saudi Arabia. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences concluded its 2010 review of climate science, saying it is a “settled fact” that “the Earth system is warming.”
So we know it is warming.
As for the role of humans, the IPCC also concluded:
“Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.”
Last year, Time magazine reported on a comprehensive new review paper of “100 peer-reviewed post-IPCC studies” in an article titled, “Report: The Case for Global Warming Stronger Than Ever” noting:
By looking at a wide range of observations from all over the world, the Met Office study concludes that the fingerprint of human influence on climate is stronger than ever. “We can say with a very high significance level that the effects we see in the climate cannot be attributed to any other forcings [factors that push the climate in one direction or another],” says study co-author Gabriele Hegerl of the University of Edinburgh.
Indeed, many if not most climate scientists would go as far or farther. NASA scientist Gavin Schmidt was asked on RealClimate: “What percentage of global warming is due to human causes vs. natural causes?” His answer is straightforward:
Over the last 40 or so years, natural drivers would have caused cooling, and so the warming there has been is caused by a combination of human drivers and some degree of internal variability. I would judge the maximum amplitude of the internal variability to be roughly 0.1 deg C over that time period, and so given the warming of ~0.5 deg C, I’d say somewhere between 80 to 120% of the warming. Slightly larger range if you want a large range for the internal stuff.
Absent the increasing GHGs, we probably would have cooled, since
- We’ve had a couple of big volcanoes.
- We’re just coming off “the deepest solar minimum in nearly a century.”.
- The underlying long-term trend had been cooling (see Human-caused Arctic warming overtakes 2,000 years of natural cooling, “seminal” study finds, see figure below).
The more important point is that the rapid increase in the human-driven component of the forcing are increasingly dwarfing the small, slow natural forcings, rendering them increasingly irrelevant (see “Humans boosting CO2 14,000 times faster than nature, overwhelming slow negative feedbacks“). In the Anthropocene Epoch, humankind’s destiny is in its hands.
Consider two DotEarth posts on “Andrew A. Lacis, the NASA climatologist whose 2005 critique of the United Nations climate panel was embraced by bloggers seeking to cast doubt on human-driven climate change” (Part I and Part II).
Lacis had commented on the Fourth Assessment, “There is no scientific merit to be found in the Executive Summary.” The deniers got all hot cool and bothered, writing, “Remember, this guy is mainstream, not a sceptic.” After pointing out the IPCC authors’ response, “Rejected. [Executive Summary] summarizes Ch 9, which is based on the peer reviewed literature,” WattsUp wrote, “Simply astonishing. This is a consensus?”
Then Lacis explained exactly what he meant:
Human-induced warming of the climate system is established fact….
My earlier criticism had been that the IPCC AR4 report was equivocating in not stating clearly and forcefully enough that human-induced warming of the climate system is established fact, and not something to be labeled as “very likely” at the 90 percent probability level.
The bottom line is that CO2 is absolutely, positively, and without question, the single most important greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. It acts very much like a control knob that determines the overall strength of the Earth’s greenhouse effect. Failure to control atmospheric CO2 is a bad way to run a business, and a surefire ticket to climatic disaster.
Doh! He thought the IPCC ‘consensus’ was some watered down, least-common denominator piece of wishy-washiness that understates our scientific understanding, which it is.
Of course, if the IPCC’s findings are watered down, then someone who doesn’t even accept those findings — like Mushy Mitt — just doesn’t know what he is talking about.
- How carbon dioxide controls earth’s temperature; NASA’s Lacis: “There is no viable alternative to counteract global warming except through direct human effort to reduce the atmospheric CO2 level.”
- NASA: “We conclude that global temperature continued to rise rapidly in the past decade” and “there has been no reduction in the global warming trend of 0.15–0.20°C/decade that began in the late 1970s.”