Dog bites man

US delegates tried to water down the latest IPCC report:

US delegates in particular said references to “irreversible” climate change and impacts were imprecise.

They argued, for example, that the melting of glaciers or ice sheets — which could raise ocean levels by several meters (a dozen feet) — was not “irreversible” as ice could eventually reform.

And also the loss of species was not irreversible because new ones would evolve in a few million years.

And instead of saying that half of all species becoming extinct, the report should say that half of all species will be “just fine”.

Via Brandon Keim.

Comments

  1. #1 Rob
    November 17, 2007

    The IPCC is just like the liberal media that refuses to tell us how many school houses were painted in Iraq! Sure some species may die out, but does it tell us how well other ones like mosquitoes and malaria will end up?

  2. #2 troy
    November 17, 2007

    When will they get that its not about preserving other species or whether or not the world will ever fix itself. Its about preserving an equilibrium thats been very good to us. Since we don’t entirely understand that balance we should seek to maintain it until we do.

  3. #3 Scott
    November 17, 2007

    When Bush got arrested for drunk driving that time, I wonder if he told the judge, “Sure .20% of my blood was alcohol, but the other 99.8% was fine.”

  4. #4 BrianR
    November 17, 2007

    Troy says: “Its about preserving an equilibrium thats been very good to us.”

    Here here! This is the fundamental issue.

  5. #5 Jeff
    November 17, 2007

    The work that IPPC has done is really commendable. Objective science that’s advancing the argument. It’s encouraging to see the biodiversity people now following that game plan, with IUCN (World Conservation Union) this weekend convening people in France to create an ICCP-like organization to generate the research and reports to build a global discussion about the sixth mass extinction. I have a link to story on my frog blog. http://frogmatters.wordpress.com/2007/11/16/global-warming-squeezing-out-biodiversity-debate/

  6. #6 francesca
    November 17, 2007

    if its so serious then how come we just dont shut it all down….bring back the horse….limit use..go solar all the way!…why not….as humans we’re smart enough to build it smart enough to study it…smart enough to see damages…yet not smart enough to stop using all of it that damages….our air, our water…..it would be so quiet and peacefull….the air would smell good, I like the way the aamish live, enviromentally…theyre cool. I wish the world leaders werent so freakin greedy and wastful

  7. #7 Chris Tucker
    November 17, 2007

    Dear rest of the world:

    The current US Government is comprised of ideological morons and greedheads.

    Unfortunately, too may voters here in the US are also ideological morons who, for reasons that make sense only to other ideological morons, persist in voting against their own best interests.

    Really, we ARE going to try very hard to turn out the ideological morons in the White House and Congress next year.

    Thank you for your kind understanding. We don’t like this anymore than you do.

  8. #8 douglas clark
    November 18, 2007

    Tim,

    Just out of interest, I’ve quoted your threads a few times in ‘comments’ on other folks blogs. Whilst I know that is not as good as getting the blogger themselves to cite you, I just wondered if you even knew whether your ‘stuff’ was being used elsewhere. Obviously, in a good way.

  9. #9 IanP
    November 19, 2007

    I wondered why we don’t use carbon dioxide filled double glazing/insulation in our windows and wall voids for temperature control and energy saving. The IPCC seem to believe it is a very effective gas for insulating.

    We could separate CO2 from the atmosphere or just transfer it from the stacks of our coal fired power stations and fill window and wall voids in buildings. This would kill two birds with one stone – depletion of our atmospheric CO2 and mini geosequestration. A nasty problem solved by participation by every household (maybe tax concessions or home owner grants for every household to install sealed CO2 filled windows could be provided by the Greens when they get into Government).

    Unfortunately CO2 has a logarithmic heat filtering function so it may not work that well in the insulation industry (perhaps it doesn’t work that well on a larger scale either).

  10. #10 student_b
    November 19, 2007

    Hey IanP, great parody about the stupidity that are the anthropogenic climate change deniers.

  11. #11 Lance
    November 19, 2007

    If anything defines Deltoid it is the irony of people that blithely accept reports that claim a non existent “equilibrium climate” must be preserved, or we face loss of “half the species on earth”, whom then distort their faces and loudly mock the reasonable chaps that doubt these impossible statements.

    Bravo!

    Theatre of the bizarre indeed.

  12. #12 krusty
    November 19, 2007

    … whom then distort their faces …

    Or so says just another delusional grammar denialist.

  13. #13 dhogaza
    November 19, 2007

    Ahhh, looks like lyin’ lance is back.

    As convincing as always.

  14. #14 Jeff Harvey
    November 20, 2007

    Lance,

    Pu-lease. I would like to give you the benefit of the doubt, as some of your posts are thoughtful. The last one is an abomination. No-one is talking about an ‘equilibrium climate’ – this is an obfuscation that is so blatant that it makes a mockery of any kind of intellectual discourse. Its that, at immense spatial scales which are largely deterministic over short time scales, the climate is changing beyond what one expect short of some major forcing. The evidence that this forcing is anthropogenic is immense and still growing. The environmental consequences of AGW are still unclear, although from what we know about previous events they are likely to be significant, given two main factors: (i) the time scale involved, and (ii) the fact that natural ecosystems have already been seriously altered and reduced in their diversity through other anthropogenic forces. There is little doubt that climate change, when synergized with other anthropogenic changes across the biosphere, will have highly deleterious effects on ecological communities and biodiversity. One of the problems in assessing these effects is that they are not instantaneous but exhibit time lags that may vary in time between a few decades or even centuries. If habitat ‘x’ is lost, species ‘y’ do not become extinct right away, but exhibit a ‘relaxation’ towards a lower population threshold that may or may not be sustainable. This is what is going to happen to polar bears; once the Arctic pack ice disappears, there will still be wild bears around for a few decades at least, but their demographics will clearly show terminal decline. In the end, the only place we might find them is in zoos.

  15. #15 Lance
    November 21, 2007

    Jeff,

    You call my statement, critiquing Deltoid, an abomination. You say that “No one is talking about an ‘equilibrium climate’…” Well in fact my post was in direct response to BrianR quoting Troy, saying “Its (sic) about preserving an equilibrium that’s been very good to us.” So it would appear that at least two people were indeed talking about it.

    The other part of my statement was in regards to anthropogenic climate change resulting in the loss of “half of the species on earth”.

    Now take a minute to think about the depth and breadth of that statement. Look outside and then think about what it would actually take to eliminate fully half of the organisms you observe. Now extrapolate that to every ecosystem on the planet.

    Absurd is the only word that comes to mind. Can you honestly say that there exists data to strongly suggest that human produced CO2 is likely to bring about the exticntion of half the species on the planet?

    I think you and I agree on a great many things. We both agree that habitat loss caused by destructive human encroachment into more and more ecosystems is having profound and disastrous effects on the organisms in those ecosystems. We agree that while species loss is an inevitable consequence of evolutionary processes it is a worthwhile endeavor to limit the effects of human interaction with the environment, even if there is no demonstrable linkage between preserving those species and benefits to our own survival.

    I think as far as the natural world is concerned we only diverge when it comes to the issue of anthropogenic climate change.

    Your polar bear analysis is just wrong. Polar bears survived past periods of ice free arctic summers. Did they thrive? Who knows, but as a biologist I’m sure you know that one organism’s feast is usually another’s famine. That’s how natural selection works. The fact is that decreasing ice in the arctic, if indeed it continues which is far from a certainty, is not going to bring about the extinction of the polar bear.

    In fact I wondered why you wouldn’t know this. It doesn’t take much digging to find peer reviewed science that shows that the arctic experienced ice free summers recently in the geologic past and that obviously polar bears survived. Could it be that you are letting your political views cloud your scientific ones? I don’t mean that you are purposely lying (as other less savory resident posters are quick to claim), but that you may treat certain ideas with less scrutiny than you would reserve for ideas that conflict with your existing views.

    I am not immune to this phenomenon, as I am a human being (despite what some other Deltoid posters may contend). I just try to inspect scientific claims with equal weight even if I don’t personally like the implications.

    I fear this is why you and I won’t be able to come to agreement on this issue as it is now delineated. You are comfortable fitting AGW into your overall view that man must be constrained to preserve the natural world.

    I don’t see evidence that supports such constraint, at least as far as CO2 is concerned.

    This is a shame because it acts as a deterrent to us cooperating on the great deal of issues upon which we do agree.

  16. #16 Ian Forrester
    November 21, 2007

    Lance said: “Your polar bear analysis is just wrong. Polar bears survived past periods of ice free arctic summers”.

    Your comments are garbage on two counts. Firstly, real scientists (not the ones you like to think about, I can’t say “quote” cause you never do) are telling us that the last ice free period in the arctic was over a million years ago.

    http://www.nasa.gov/188912main_Abdalati-transcript.txt

    Secondly, if you really knew anything about polar bears you would know that they haven’t been around that long.

    Are you really as stupid as you act or are you being deliberately mis-leading?

    I believe you have said in the past that you are a graduate student (in science no less), I can only hope that none of your committee read your rantings.

  17. #17 Lance
    November 21, 2007

    Ian,

    I shouldn’t even bother to reply to your bad faith, insult laced, filth but I’m feeling generous so here goes…

    If you would even bother to make a google search for studies that show an ice free arctic ocean you would find amongst them Roger Pielke Sr.’s fine blog post with no less than 9 such peer reviewed articles listed.

    You appear to prefer your data pre-screened to match your political tastes. You criticize me for not annotating sources for my claim of an ice free arctic. In your response you provide a link to what appears to be a transcript of a radio program called “Straight From the Scientist’s Mouth”.

    You would appear to be talking from another orifice.

  18. #18 dhogaza
    November 21, 2007

    Are you really as stupid as you act or are you being deliberately mis-leading?

    My guess is the problem is selective reading. The inaccuracies regarding polar bears are common in the denialist blogosphere, and after all sound reasonable enough unless you actually know that “the arctic experienced ice free summers recently in the geologic past” is incorrect.

    Remember that Lance thinks that Climate Audit is a credible source of scientific information, while publications quoting real climate scientists are “dubious sources of information”.

    So I suspect he only reads things that only support his presupposition that climate science is fraudulent.

  19. #19 Lance
    November 21, 2007

    dhogaza,

    I read all the climate science articles and studies that I can, regardless of their conclusions or authors. Unfortunately not all are available without charge so I make no claim to having read them all.

    I especially enjoy reading the ones that purport to show a physical basis for claims that CO2 will raise temps to the degree advertised in the IPCC reports. They are rather sparse and heavily dependent on climate models. This is perhaps the most damaging aspect of the literature to AGW proponents. These studies are nothing like the “mountain of solid scientific evidence” that climate catastrophists, like you, often claim underpins AGW.

    Your smear of Climate Audit belies your ignorance of its purpose. While Steve McIntyre and Ross McKittrick have published scientific articles relating to climate science the purpose of the site is to audit important studies in climate science to verify their methodological and statistical validity, a purpose that no reasonable person could be against.

  20. #20 JB
    November 21, 2007

    lance said: “Now take a minute to think about the depth and breadth of that statement. Look outside and then think about what it would actually take to eliminate fully half of the organisms you observe. Now extrapolate that to every ecosystem on the planet.”

    The vast majority of the organisms that would disappear are ones that you and I have never seen. Indeed, biologists have never even seen a very large number of them.

    The vast majority of the species on earth (an estimated 1/2 – 2/3) live in tropical rain forests, so all that is required to eliminate them wholesale is to destroy their rain forest habitat.

    So, it is virtually impossible to imagine merely by looking out the window where you live what the disappearance of 1/2 the species on earth would look like — or mean.

    I suspect that most of us would never be able to tell the difference. The dogs, cats, cows, horses, pine trees, and most of the other animals and plants that we see on a regular basis would undoubtedly still be there.

    Of course, that would not mean that there was no difference — and loss of half the species on earth could have impacts on the remaining life on earth that you and I can not imagine.

  21. #21 Lance
    November 21, 2007

    JB,

    The commonly held idea that rain forests contain millions of specialized and yet undocumented species was challenged by an eight-year National Science Foundation funded study.

    Here is a quote from an article article about the study.

    “The estimate, which lowers the number of species from approximately 31 million to between four and six million, is based on the finding that insects specialize their feeding not on individual species of plants, but on genera and even families of plants. In ‘bringing some reality’ to estimates of world biodiversity, the study allows scientists to get a better handle on how fast species are being lost, said University of Minnesota plant biologist George Weiblen, the principal plant expert on the research team. The work will be published in the April 25 issue of Nature.”

    As I said in my last reply to Jeff harvey, I am very concerned about species loss from something we can agree is a threat, land use. E.O Wilson also identifies this as the primary threat to the vulnerable species of the world.

    Unfortunately vast swathes of the rain forest are being cleared to plant crops for “alternative fuels”. This is where your irrational emphasis on CO2 actually motivates the destruction of rain forests.

  22. #22 dhogaza
    November 21, 2007

    I especially enjoy reading the ones that purport to show a physical basis for claims that CO2 will raise temps to the degree advertised in the IPCC reports. They are rather sparse and heavily dependent on climate models. This is perhaps the most damaging aspect of the literature to AGW proponents. These studies are nothing like the “mountain of solid scientific evidence” that climate catastrophists, like you, often claim underpins AGW.

    Nothing but an unsupported argument from personal authority from someone who does not work in the field and who has repeatedly shown little knowledge of science.

    Even if you weren’t a proven liar, this argument would hold no water.

    Unfortunately vast swathes of the rain forest are being cleared to plant crops for “alternative fuels”. This is where your irrational emphasis on CO2 actually motivates the destruction of rain forests.

    Yet another falsehood. Brazil’s emphasis on biofuel was originally motivated by a desire to free herself from dependence on expensive foreign oil.

    Regardless, even if you were right, stupid decisions based on climate science don’t discredit the science itself.

  23. #23 Ian Forrester
    November 21, 2007

    So Lance, you would rather believe the blathering on a web fictiousite which tries to argue support for a fraudulent map. Seems to me that the majority of what is found on that web site is of a similar character.

    You also said: “I especially enjoy reading the ones that purport to show a physical basis for claims that CO2 will raise temps to the degree advertised in the IPCC reports. They are rather sparse and heavily dependent on climate models. This is perhaps the most damaging aspect of the literature to AGW proponents. These studies are nothing like the “mountain of solid scientific evidence” that climate catastrophists, like you, often claim underpins AGW”.

    If you had really read any of the genuine science you would know that the effects of CO2 on temperatures were discussed about 100 years ago. The values given by Arrhenius are not too far off the most recent ones. I assume that you do know that there were no super computers back then and no GCM’s just some basic physics and chemistry. Please do not advertise the fact that you are a scientist, you will give the real ones a bad name.

  24. #24 JB
    November 21, 2007

    Lance, that is a link to nowhere.

    and your statement that “This is where your irrational emphasis on CO2 actually motivates the destruction of rain forests” comes right out of left field.

    By the way, I’ve seen on another blog where you get your science (Junk Science) and I am not impressed.

  25. #25 Jeff
    November 21, 2007

    I perhaps was a littly too rosy in talking about that French summit on biodiversity that was going to ramp up an IPCC like group about what’s happening to plant and animal life. A grim story just came out about the French meeting about IMoSEB: http://frogmatters.wordpress.com/2007/11/22/biodiversitys-equivalent-to-ipcc-gets-grim-news-report/

  26. #26 Lance
    November 21, 2007

    dhogaza,

    More puerile name calling I see.

    Ian Forrester,

    Arrhenius’ crude calculations are based on many improper assumptions and leave out many relevant factors. It is only by happenstance that they are even of the same order of magnitude as the predictions of GCMs (which suffer from their own massive shortcomings).

    I would be happy to discuss the physics of radiative balance, convection, conduction etc. with you if that was really your intent. It obviously isn’t.

    You indulge in the same disreputable techniques of personal attack as dhogaza. This alone disqualifies you from honest consideration when it comes to matters of scientific discourse.

    If my arguments are flawed then by all means show me the flaws, but attacking me personally reveals only the baseness of your motivation.

    This type of petty assault is unfortunately the currency of the realm here at Deltoid.

  27. #27 Ian Forrester
    November 21, 2007

    Lance said: “Arrhenius’ crude calculations are based on many improper assumptions and leave out many relevant factors. It is only by happenstance that they are even of the same order of magnitude as the predictions of GCMs.”

    And just who are you quoting for this misinformation? Don’t tell me “Ångström”, because he was the one making the errors, not Arrhenius. I hope it is not one of your favorite AGW denier sites. Please tell us where you get this information which is putting all the science of AGW into dispute.

    I hope that your thesis is not in chemistry or physics, that would be very embarrassing for you.

  28. #28 z
    November 21, 2007

    The problem is that the closest thing the earth has shown to an ‘equilibrium climate’ over the various epochs has 1500 ppm CO2 in the atmosphere and is 8 degrees C warmer than it is now. We’ve been lucky that the Carboniferous era buried a lot of that carbon for us over 100 million years. I’m not sure why you’d want to undo the good work of our little green friends by digging it up and putting it back into the air over a century.

    To plagiarize a good summary:

    “1) The climate stability human civilizations have seen is unusual.

    2) The climate can change rapidly and perhaps disastrously, and has done so many times in history.

    3) Small changes in climate had real impacts on civilizations.

    In short, climate history shows that we have to respect the climate system, and not take its services for granted.” http://www.rideforclimate.com/climate/climatepast.php

    Or, more succintly,

    “As Wallace Broecker likes to say, the Earth’s climate system is ‘an angry beast’ and one that we should not be poking with sticks” http://www.daviesand.com/Choices/Precautionary_Planning/Closer_Look/index.html

  29. #29 dhogaza
    November 21, 2007

    If my arguments are flawed then by all means show me the flaws

    Your argument is … “I’ve read the papers, and I’ve laughed at them, therefore thousands of climate scientists are wrong, and I’m right!”

    You really read Junk Science?

  30. #30 JB
    November 21, 2007

    Lance,

    I found that article you linked to and it does not contradict what I wrote above, namely that between 1/2 – 2/3 of all species live in tropical rain-forests and that 50% of species might disappear if the rain-forest disappears. Furthermore, nowhere did I state that the loss of the rain-forest would be due exclusively to climate change — something that you pulled out of left field (or a somewhat darker place).

    About 2 million species have been identified worldwide to date and about 35% of those were found in the tropics.

    Even if one accepts the above 4-6 million etsimate for the total number of species from a single study done on insects in a single rain forest, it does not take much to understand that it is highly probable that many many more species are going to be found in the tropics.

    It does also not require much imagination to see that it is quite likely that this will change the relative percentages as they stand now — and make the tropical species a larger percent of the whole.

    The simple fact of the matter is, it is not easy to count bugs and plants in the rain forest so it will come as no surprise (at least not to me) if they have been under-counted (perhaps seriously so) relative to those species found elsewhere.

    For kicks, let’s assume that there are a total of 5 million species on earth (right in the middle of the 4-6 million estimate provided by the study). That means 3 million have not yet been identified.

    So, what fraction of those not yet identified (3 million, assuming 5 million total) would have to be found in the tropics to make my statement “an estimated 1/2 – 2/3″ correct?

    60%.

    In other words, just slightly more than half of the species found in the future need to be found in the tropics to make my statement true.

    You may find that untenable, but I’d bet I have good company among biologists who know something about this (Jeff?)

    I’d guess that that to say that “60% of all species found in the future will be found in the tropics” is on the low end of what will actually transpire — if the species are not gone before we have a chance to find them, that is.

    Finally, Lance you did not address the main point of my first post: that looking out your window need not necessarily tell you anything about what is happening in the world as a whole. Indeed, it’s a very poor way to obtain knowledge about the world — except perhaps about today’s weather.

  31. #31 luminous beauty
    November 21, 2007

    Lance,

    Arrhenius’s discovery was simply that the down-welling IR radiation from CO2 would increase as the log of atmospheric fraction. His actual values were just a first approximation. the core of his finding has been experimentally confirmed by actual measurements of down-welling IR radiation in the upper atmosphere.

    The central problem with Arrhenius’ calculation of climate sensitivity was modeling the earth as a blackbox. It’s not. It has time variable albedo changes and time variable circulation (humidity, temperature, wind, pressure and precipitation) changes whirling about in a wild dance in the lower troposphere. We call it weather.

    In order to get a true average value for the whole globe requires making a model, a map of all those swirling changes. One of sufficient temporal and spacial resolution to be able to plug real world values into and get a reasonably accurate picture of global averages.

    We can do this. It gives us a value of ~1.7C for doubling of CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere considered alone, and ~3.0C including feedbacks.

    We are getting better and better at modeling the climate. We’ve dissected the science to a degree we can even make some general projections. You aren’t saying anything that would improve the effort. Just bloviating about the sacredness of your profession of ‘SKEPTICISMISM’
    (shazamm!)

  32. #33 dhogaza
    November 21, 2007

    As an illustration of my point that when it comes to species extinction, looking out the window is not be an accurate measure of the world as a whole…

    I almost posted something similar earlier.

    If one’s knowledge of the natural world comes from looking out one’s urban window in North America, one will be convinced that God has an inordinate love for pigeons, cats, dogs, rats, house sparrows and starlings.

    Rather than beetles.

    Obviously, no matter what level of global warming we see by 2100, those species who have adapted to our urban environment are likely to do well, which means …

    squat.

    When you look at the rest of the ecosphere.

  33. #34 dhogaza
    November 21, 2007

    This is where your irrational emphasis on CO2 actually motivates the destruction of rain forests.

    Further proof that Lance simply parrots denialist bullshit.

    It echoes Lomborg …

  34. #35 Eli Rabett
    November 22, 2007

    Actually, a zeroth order model that leaves out details but emphasizes the major factor does get things right, as Ahrrenius did. As you keep adding details you learn other things (distribution of the warming, etc) but the central driving force remains about as strong. This is a common thing with scientific models.

  35. #36 Laser Potato
    November 30, 2007

    “This is where your irrational emphasis on CO2 actually motivates the destruction of rain forests.”
    Um…you realize the destruction of the rainforests is primarily for CATTLE farms, don’t you???

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