Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Have I become a target of the Heartland Institute?

I may be flattering myself, but I may have become a target of the Heartland Institute. If you are not familiar with this prize group, they are one of the prime climate change denier organizations. If they really are targeting me then I am truly flattered.

I made some comments on a blog posting by Tom Donelson on a website called Texas GOP Vote pointing out many flaws in his claims. What happened? I got challenged to a debate by James Rust of the Heartland Institute. He wanted each of us to put up $10,000 for a two hour debate. The winner got to donate the money to his choice of charity.  I don't work for charity, and I certainly am not going to be crazy enough to pay $10,000 for every chance to debate a denier. With their stack of money I would go broke very quickly. Instead, I invited him to take up my $10,000 Global Warming Skeptic Challenge. So far, no submission from him. Funny, if it is as much of a sure thing as they claim, you would think it wouldn't be any trouble for them to prove their point. Well, what do you expect, after all.

Then, today, I received a comment from Russell Cook, also of the Heartland Institute. It seemed to me to be some kind of intimidating message. He wanted me to reveal what proof I had of my statements and he wanted to know if I had all of this clandestine information on skeptics. Really weird. What I find very interesting is that the Heartland Institute has someone on their staff (payroll?) with (according to their webpage) a job description that includes this statement:

He specializes in research of the origins of accusations leveled at skeptics and the associations of people surrounding it, most notably anti-skeptic book author Ross Gelbspan.
Really? They have a guy for the purpose of hunting down people that criticize deniers? And, he specializes in one author in particular? This really says an awful (emphasis on awful) lot about the Heartland Institute and Russell Cook.

Now, this blog is not about exposing deniers and criticizing them, no matter how much fun it is. This blog is to discuss the issues of global warming and highlight science on the subject. But, when something is put forward by groups of individuals it is reasonable to investigate the background of those individuals. It really is unfortunate that all the climate change deniers have what I would generously call questionable backgrounds. That is not the point of my postings, but it is relevant.

So, I have now been challenged by two individuals from the Heartland Institute within a matter of a couple of weeks. Why in the world do they feel so threatened by a little blogger like me? If this blog and my comments upset them so much, wait until they read my book. Boy, are they gonna be pissed!

Monday, April 28, 2014

New Book Has Been Published

My new book has been published as an ebook for Kindle on Amazon.com. Undeniable: Dialogues on Global Warming is in a debate format involving three friends along the same style that Galileo used when writing his books. One friend is an advocate of global warming, one is a denier and one goes back and forth. This format gave me the opportunity to present both sides of the argument and examine them critically. The premise of the book is that there is so much science supporting climate change that you don't need to be a scientist to prove it anymore, anyone can do it. I tried to make the conversation interesting and an easy read, but it is full of science.

Someone that believes in global warming doesn't really need to read this book. They already know it is real and don't need proof. Someone that doesn't believe in it won't read it. They are not interested in the facts and have rejected science. This book is principally written for those people that don't know what to believe and want to learn more.

I hope you read it. I hope you enjoy it. But, mostly, I hope you learn that global warming is real and a very serious problem that we need to address.

Christopher Keating

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Arctic Sea Ice and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation

The Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) is a naturally occurring 60-90 year cycle in sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic. This cycle consists of alternating cold and warm periods and has an influence on the climate in the region. A recent paper by Martin W. Miles, et al, examines the history of ice extent in the area and compares it to the AMO record. What they found is that ice extent in the region fluctuates in response to the changes in the AMO, resulting in periods of greater and lesser ice extent. They suggest that some of the unprecedented loss of sea ice in the recent decades can be tied to a warm cycle in the AMO.

I have no problem with this. I would expect there to be just such a naturally occurring cycle. But, I do not find this to be enough to explain what we have been witnessing, and the authors emphasize that this in only a part of the puzzle and there are other factors, including warming from manmade emissions, that are contributing to the ice loss.

Take a look at the ice anomaly for September 2012:

And the ice extent for the same month:

The Barents Sea is the area on the right, between Norway and the polar sea ice. With the North  Pole marked in both images, it is the area at about the 4-5 o'clock position. Comparing the two figures, we can see this region has experienced a great deal of sea ice since 1980. Can the AMO explain all of this loss? I would be not, but let's say that it is still under study.

But, what about the rest of the Arctic Ocean? There is significant loss all around the North Pole and this cannot be explained by the AMO. So, before we get all excited that maybe the loss of the Arctic sea ice is just a naturally occurring event, we can already see that it may be contributing to the recent loss, but it cannot explain for all of it. After all, we never saw the level get this low in previous warm cycles. And, the current loss began during a cool cycle. Clearly, there is more to the ice loss than the AMO.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Update on NIPCC

So, I've been reading the reports posted by NIPCC and it has been very interesting. Not because I have seen anything worth reading, but because of the massive amount of writing they put out there. Unfortunately, from what I can tell so far, none of it is scientifically valid and you don't have to go far to find out why. Check this list of Lead Authors/Editors from their latest report on Biological Impacts:

Idso, Craig D.
Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change

Idso, Sherwood B.
Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change

Carter, Robert M.
Emeritus Fellow
Institute of Public Affairs

Singer, S. Fred
Science and Environmental Policy Project

If you are at all familiar with the climate wars you will recognize at least two of those names. Craig Idso and Fred Singer are two of the most notorious climate change deniers and are funded by The Heartland Institute. To be thorough, let me say that The Heartland Institute is the same group of people that promoted that cigarette smoking was harmless and CFCs are harmless to the environment. Today, they are promoting the idea that second-hand smoke is harmless.

Sherwood Idso is Craig Idso's father and the president of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, a well-known climate change denier organization. Robert Carter rounds it out. He is also a well-known climate change misinformer.

When you look at the credentials and track-history of the people in charge of the report you really know everything needed about the report itself. This is a group of people who are professional climate change deniers and it is well documented that each of them has engaged in disinformation on the topic.

I will comment on some of the specifics of their report, but they have cranked out thousands of pages and it is not possible for me to spend the time needed to debunk it all. Which, of course, is their objective. But, I will do what I can.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Texas GOP and Climate Mythology Claims

I dearly love my home state of Texas and feel privileged to live here. Unfortunately, when you have a population of over 26 million there are going to be those individuals you wish lived somewhere else. One such example is Tom Donelson, who writes for the blog Texas GOP Vote. The saving grace is that he may not actually live in Texas. He is a real estate agent in Iowa (at least his link says he is) who apparently thinks he is smarter than all of the climate scientists in the world combined.

The issue I have with Mr. Donelson is the work he does as a climate change denier. Why this issue has become a rallying cry for the GOP is beyond me. I am certainly not a liberal, but I have no problem with following the scientific evidence to where it leads me. So, why do Republicans like Mr. Donelson deny climate change science and then make every effort to convince other people that climate change isn't real?

Mr. Donelson wrote a blog entry, The Mythology of Climate Change, where he makes many of the same tried and false claims that climate change deniers keep making. I have engaged in a couple of responses with him on his claims. It is clear that neither will ever convince the other to change their minds. Mr. Donelson cannot change my mind because he is not presenting any credible, valid scientific evidence. In fact, several of his claims are just plain false. If he could provide credible scientific evidence to support his claims I would have to follow the scientific evidence and change my opinion. But, like I said, there is no such evidence. I have been reading and working in this field for over 30 years and have read thousands of papers and articles on the subject. I have met with leaders in the field and leading dissenters and been able to discuss the issues first hand with them. The conclusion is always the same: The amount of scientific evidence on climate change is so large that it is incontrovertible that climate change is real and is being caused by human activities.

So, Mr. Donelson will not be able change my mind until such a time that he can show me scientific evidence to the contrary. At the same time, I will never be able to change Mr. Donelson's mind. He has bought into the myth of climate change denial. He ignores any scientific evidence to the contrary and has abandoned logic. All I can provide is scientific evidence and logic, so anything I say or do will be fruitless.

However, I might not be able to change Mr. Donelson, but I hope I can prevent someone else from becoming like him.

So, the fight continues.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Where are we going with the environment?

Climate change is not the only thing affecting the environment. Some of the other issues we have been forced to address in the past are acid rain, ozone depletion, pesticides and even over-fishing. We humans have managed to make a mess of the environment and its is going to take some real effort to make things better.

Earth Day is one of those things we do to help bring attention to the situation. Earth Day this year falls on April 22 and events are planned worldwide.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has 25 sites in the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network for the purpose of in-depth studying of various ecologies around the world. The ecologies include diverse regions to provide a picture of the planet. Places located within the U.S. include such places as acid rain lakes in the Adirondacks, the Arctic in northern Alaska, the Pacific Ocean off the U.S. West Coast, the desert region around Phoenix, Arizona and river basins in Wisconsin. NSF held an annual mini-symposium on February 21 of this year to discuss where these ecologies are going.

Off course, there is bad news. Things are changing and not many of the changes are for the better. Some of these environments will take hundreds of years to recover from the damage done to them. The good news is that some of them are recovering. We are making a difference in some areas. Acid rain is a good example. We have managed to make some significant improvement here since the 1990s.

This is something we need to focus on when we discuss climate change. The climate is changing due to our actions. But, we can change the way we do business and maybe reverse some of the damage. At least, we can work to slow down the rate of change.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Fukishima Radiation Clouds the Topic

I made a presentation yesterday, April 11, about the Arctic sea ice and showed how the extent of sea ice has dramatically decreased over the last 30 years. After the talk a guy in the audience came to talk to me and ask some questions. His claim was that the radiation from Fukushima was responsible for the melting of the Arctic sea ice and he wanted to know what I thought of that.

First, the Fukushima disaster occurred after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The sea ice extent has been declining since at least 1980, long before the earthquake ever occurred. But, here's the bigger issue, the amount of radiation released from Fukushima is trivial on the global scale. If you are outside of the Fukishima exclusion zone the level of radiation falls way below background radiation levels.

He asked me if I would feel comfortable swimming off the coast of Washington state and I told him I would have no fear at all, at least not due to any radiation. The plume of radiation that is working its way across the Pacific Ocean is harmless and may even be undetectable by the time it gets to Washington. No monitors have even detected it yet.

I asked the guy if he knew anyone that smokes. He admitted that he does. I pointed out to him that the amount of radiation he gets every year from smoking a pack a day is more than four times the average total dose as a result of the Three Mile Island accident. A pack a day of cigarettes provides about as much radiation as a mammogram. Yet, he wasn't concerned about this radiation. He wasn't concerned that the radiation from his cigarettes is greater than the amount of radiation he was blaming for the melting ice caps.

This is an example of the problem we have educating the public. This guy made two assumptions, neither of which has any credibility: the radiation from Fukushima was enormously larger than the reality; and this radiation could melt the polar ice cap. He then used these two bad assumptions to come up with an invalid explanation for an observed event in an attempt to find a conclusion to support his beliefs.

Ultimately, the problem was he did not want to believe in global warming. When presented with incontrovertible evidence of what is going on, he wanted to deny global warming so much he came up with a completely unrealistic alternative explanation.

The easy, and obvious, explanation for the observed melting of the Arctic Ocean is global warming. The evidence is overwhelming. And yet, when confronted with something that challenged his beliefs, he rejected all of that evidence and created this fantasy that allowed him to maintain the beliefs he wanted to keep.

And, that is the moral of the story. So many people have reached the conclusion they want to believe in and no matter the evidence, they will continue to believe in them. And, if necessary, they will invent illogical and unrealistic scenarios to allow them to continue the way they are.

Its an uphill fight.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


The IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, came out with a report recently about the consequences of climate change and it wasn't a very pretty picture.

The Nonintergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the denier arm of The Heartland Institute, came out with a rebuttal report that, as you might expect, painted a very different picture.

I have been reading both of these reports and will make a posting about them shortly.

Keep a look out.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Undeniable: Dialogues on Global Warming

I have been engaged in finishing my new book on global warming and am nearly finished. I plan on publishing it late this month or early next month. I am pleased with the way it is developing. I have put an updated excerpt on the page devoted to the book. Take a look and share your thoughts with the rest of us.

Good reading!

Is there ANY scientific evidence against climate change?

I have put my money where my mouth is in the past. I made the $10,000 Global Warming Skeptic Challenge where I said that I would pay $10,000 to anyone proving, via the scientific method, that man made climate change is not real. So far, there has not been any takers. Lots of people have looked at the challenge, but apparently the deniers aren't as sure of themselves as they claim to be.

Well, I have also stated that there is no scientific evidence refuting the conclusion that man made emissions are responsible for, at least, the majority of climate change, and is most like responsible for all of it. So, I am now making a new challenge to climate change deniers - the $1000 Scientific Evidence Challenge. I will pay $1000 to the first person to show there is any scientific evidence that refutes the conclusion of man made climate change.

The rules are simple and are the same as for the $10,000 challenge:

1. I will award $1,000 of my own money to anyone that can show there is valid scientific evidence indicating man made global warming is not real. It doesn't have to prove man made global warming is not real, it just needs to be valid scientific evidence against it.;

2. There is no entry fee;

3. You must be 18 years old or older to enter;

4. Entries do not have to be original, they only need to be first;

5. I am the final judge of all entries but will provide my comments on why any entry fails to meet the prove the point.

Simple, right? In fact, if you listen to the skeptics I will have to be writing a check within a day or two because they all claim 'the science isn't settled.' Fine! Prove it! Are you telling me you wouldn't like to take $1000 from someone that advocates global warming is real?

This is not a joke and it isn't a bluff. If someone can provide any valid scientific evidence that anthropogenic climate change is not real, then I will write them a check.

But, I am sure my money is safe. I would not have made this challenge if I didn't already know the answer.  The scientific evidence for global warming is overwhelming and the only way you can believe otherwise is if you reject science.

Any takers?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Fox News Bias Bash Bias Bash

NBC News did a special report Sunday, 'Ann Curry Reports: Our Year of Extremes - Did Climate Change Just Hit Home?'

Fox News has hated any kind of reporting supporting climate change. This well done piece by NBC News (not usually one of my favorite news sources) apparently made Fox News go into some kind of fit because they did a 'Bias Bash' piece with Cal Thomas that is simply laughable.

Right off the bat, Mr. Thomas begins by calling climate change a 'cult'. Immediately, we can see that Mr. Thomas and Fox News are not interested in having any kind of 'debate' that climate change skeptics keep saying they want.

The next point is to quote Dr. Leslie Woodcock, a professor emeritus at the University of Manchester. He is a physicist in the School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science. Really? If I wanted to make a refute climate change I would have found me a climatologist. What was that you said? You can't find one the says climate change isn't real? Maybe that is because its real. At least, Dr. Woodcock is a real scientist.

Dr. Woodcock's objection to global warming is that 'Water is a much more powerful greenhouse gas and there is 20 times more of it in our atmosphere'. This is a really perfect example of how the climate change deniers use false arguments and half truths to deceive people. What he says is true, but incomplete. Obviously, what he is trying to say is that climate change is invalid because water vapor is the cause of global warming, not CO2. And, there is the lie.

Yes, water vapor is a better greenhouse gas than CO2. But, that isn't the cause of the warming, its a result. What happens is that the CO2 causes the temperature to rise. The amount of water vapor in the atmosphere is directly connected to the temperature, so as the temperature increases the amount of water vapor also increases. Water vapor then causes the temperature to go up even more.So, yes, water vapor is a potent greenhouse gas, but the reason water vapor is increasing is because CO2 is causing the temperature to increase in the first place. Without something to cause the temperature to rise in the first place, the amount of water vapor would not increase.

Next, Mr. Thomas brings out the case of Dr. Richard Tol. Dr. Tol is a professor of economics and an expert on climate change. He was a member of the IPCC and gained fame when he refused to sign the IPCC report, claiming it was alarmist. He claims he has since been subject to a smear campaign from a certain individual as a result of his actions. Mr. Thomas cites this as evidence that climate change science is a 'cult.'

If, in fact, Dr. Tol is being subjected to a smear campaign as a result of his stand on the IPCC report I agree that it is an unethical, and possibly illegal, action. But, I don't have all the facts and I am not willing to claim his allegations are true. I certainly hope not.

But, that does not mean anything regarding the validity of climate change science. In fact, Dr. Tol himself stands by the science. He has stated that he considers the science sound, he just disagrees with the resulting scenario painted out in the IPCC report. That fact that one person involved with the report disagrees with the results predicted in the IPCC report does not, in any way, invalidate the science of climate change. But, it makes a good headline for the deniers. And, of course, Mr. Thomas reports this as if every person supporting climate change science is involved in some grand conspiracy to persecute Dr. Tol. That is an obvious false statement. Yet another one on the part of Cal Thomas.

Then, Mr. Thomas goes into 'big government,' something most of us don't care for. His implication is that the only reason we have climate change science supporting the notion of global warming is because 'big government' wants to control more of our lives. So, by denying climate change you are a hero in the fight against 'big government.' This entire position of Mr. Thomas is simply silly. Climate change science is multi-national and is supported by every scientific agency of any size throughout the world. If 'big government' had that kind of reach it wouldn't need to fake climate change science, it could just go out and do what it wanted to do.

Then, Mr. Thomas pulls out the tried, and proven false, claim that there hasn't been any 'real' warming in more than a dozen years. Again, this is a totally false claim the deniers like to pull out. Let's look at the facts. First, nine of the ten warmest years ever recorded have occurred since the year 2000, including the hottest three years on record. But, more importantly, the deniers such as Cal Thomas take the air temperature and claim it represents global warming. The word 'global' in global warming means the entire planet. Ocean temperatures have been going up dramatically over the last 50 years and this fact is typically ignored by people such as Mr. Thomas. It would not fit their program if they included it. It also wouldn't fit their program to mention it takes about 4 times as much heat to warm a given mass of water as it takes to warm the same mass of air. When you include rising ocean temperatures, it is very clear that global warming has been continuing at an alarming rate.

Mr. Thomas' next claim is that Newsweek ran an article in the 1970s that 'proved' global cooling was coming. This is a true, but misleading statement. It is true that Newsweek ran a cover story in 1975 that global cooling was on the way. But, it is a false statement that this was the consensus claim among climate scientists. What the news media decides to run is out of the hands of scientists. And, the fact that the news media reports something doesn't make it true. It is a false argument to clam that, because Newsweek ran an article, climate change science is invalid. This is yet another way the climate change deniers try to deceive people.

One of Mr. Thomas' final statements is one of my favorite lies, and yes, it is a lie. He states that science is never settled and is being constantly revised. No, Mr. Thomas, this is just not true. Science is constantly being refined and constantly being made more accurate. To state that science is constantly being revised means we routinely come in and throw out everything we stated before. Again, let me state that this is a lie. We learn more and that leads to an improvement of what we understand, but what we learn must support what we already know. We are not going to come in and say that Newton's law of gravity is wrong and throw it out. We might come in and say there is some factor we didn't know about before that needs to be included. But, science at this point has been thoroughly tested. What we know may be incomplete, but is unlikely to be completely wrong and it is a lie for Mr. Thomas to say we can ignore climate science because we might come out at some time in the future and realize the science is all wrong. That is simply not going to happen. The science is way too sound.

Mr. Thomas finishes by stating this isn't settled science and it isn't even 'real science' according to the detractors, but those deniers don't get interviewed by the media. In fact, one of the biggest problems we have is that the deniers are interviewed in the media as if they are equally credible. People then point at the one denier as evidence and ignore the thousands of scientists that claim climate change is real.

In summary, Cal Thomas did a hatchet job on the NBC documentary. He did not produce any single piece of evidence to refute the claims made in the show, yet he claims it isn't 'real science.' The fact is, the science really is settled and the only way you can deny climate change is to deny science. Mr. Thomas at least succeeded in proving that point.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Unpleasantly Honest Statements From Exxon

Exxon released its report on how climate change will affect its business on Monday, March 31, 2014. You can read it here. I found it to be brutally honest. Since we are talking about one of the largest companies in the world, the bottom line is what it is all about and the bottom line of this report is that climate change will not affect its business much. This is something I have been saying for a long time. Very simply, a higher standard of living depends on energy and Exxon is in the business of providing energy.

There are those people that want to talk about going to an agrarian society where things are much simpler and energy consumption is much lower. That sounds fine, unless you live in a third-world country and you would like to move up from a life of poverty to something more comfortable. That will require energy to accomplish, and lots of it.

To put it in perspective, the U.S. has a population of about 300 million people. The world population is about 7 billion. That means there are 23 people living outside of the U.S. for every person in it. China alone has about 7 times has many people as we do. China and India together have one-half of the world's people, about ten times as many people as in the U.S. How badly do these people want to improve their standard of living? Do an Internet search for images of 'China, air pollution' and see what you get. It is so bad in China that they even sell bottled air for people to breath. You might ask, 'Why in the world would someone put up with that?' and the answer is very simple - jobs.

China is a stunning example of what people will do for employment. They will live in an environment that will kill them and their families tomorrow in exchange for a higher standard of living today. In case you were wondering, it will only get worse. China and India have plans to open a new coal-fired power plant every week for the next 35 years.

So, are Exxon's assets at risk?

Not a chance.