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Pielke Sr. Misinforms High School Students

Posted on 22 November 2011 by dana1981

On his blog, Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. recently wrote proudly of a question and answer session he held with local high school students in Colorado.  Educating students about climate science would indeed be a laudable enterprise, if done well.  Unfortunately, in his answers to the students' questions, Dr. Pielke rather grossly misinformed and misled them.  As we'll show in our analysis below, the problems with Dr. Pielke's answers were similar to those we identified during our own discourse with him - namely a cherrypicking of data, and an apparent desire to blame as much of global warming as possible on anything but CO2.

Question:

Is it true that the recent rise in Global Temperature is due to Carbon Dioxide [emissions]?

Pielke Answer:

The addition of CO2 to the atmosphere from human activities is a warming influence in terms of reducing the magnitude of heat lost to space over time. However, it is just one of a number of warming influences including from soot (black carbon), ozone, and other aerosol effects.

For those who want to read a summary of these other forcings (including cooling human effects), I recommend the National Academy of Science Report

National Research Council, 2005: Radiative forcing of climate change: Expanding the concept and addressing uncertainties. Committee on Radiative Forcing Effects on Climate Change, Climate Research Committee, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, Division on Earth and Life Studies, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 208 pp. 

What the Science Says:

At least Dr. Pielke has correctly explained the basic science of the increased greenhouse effect, but he has managed to simultaneously downplay the role of CO2 in the recent global warming.  As we showed during our discourse with Dr. Pielke, the CO2 contribution to the global surface warming over the past century is 0.64 to 1.28°C, with a best estimate of 0.79°C, compared to the observed 0.8°C observed surface warming. 

While it's certainly true that there are other forcings causing both warming and cooling, a more informative answer would have emphasized the dominant role of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the recent warming trend.  CO2 isn't just "a warming influence," it's the main warming driver.  Moreover, greenhouse gases will dominate even more in the future as we continue to increase their atmospheric levels by burning fossil fuels.

Question:

If not [CO2], what led to this change in temperature?

Pielke Answer:

In addition to these human climate forcings, natural climate forcings and feedbacks are also quite important. We need to consider these natural effects as clearly the climate is much more complex than is commonly reported by the media and even the IPCC. For example, the global average temperature anomalies are cooling! See

Highly Recommended Weblog Post By Bob Tisdale Titled “An Initial Look At The Hindcasts Of The NCAR CCSM4 Coupled Climate Model”

What the Science Says:

As noted in our previous answer, CO2 has indeed been the dominant cause of the change in surface temperature over the past century.  Dr. Pielke has once again failed to make this crucial point in his answer, instead choosing to tell these high school students that the media and IPCC are disregarding the complexity of 'natural effects' (without providing any evidence to support this assertion).  Dr. Pielke then repeats the cherrypicking-based myth that global temperatures are cooling (see Figure 1, and also here and here, where we have already disproven this myth repeatedly for Dr. Pielke), and links to Bob Tisdale's "skeptic" blog.

Why Dr. Pielke links an obscure blog rather than referencing peer-reviewed literature is a mystery, and a climate scientist should be able to do much better.   Dr. Pielke appears to be becoming a Tisdale cheerleader despite the fundamental flaws in Tisdale's weblog analyses. Additionally, Tisdale's blog doesn't even seem to support Pielke's false claim of cooling temperatures.

skeptics v realists v3

Figure 1: BEST land-only surface temperature data (green) with linear trends applied to the timeframes 1973 to 1980, 1980 to 1988, 1988 to 1995, 1995 to 2001, 1998 to 2005, 2002 to 2010 (blue), and 1973 to 2010 (red).  Created by Dana Nuccitelli.  Hat-tip to Skeptical Science contributor Sphaerica for identifying all of these "cooling trends."

Question:

If the human [population] continues to release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at this rate, or even at an increased rate, what do you predict the effects on the global temperature will be?

Pielke Answer:

Since the CO2 effect is but one of a number of first order climate influences, as discussed above, I have concluded we know much less about the future climate than is claimed by the IPCC and the media.  This does not mean we should not be concerned as to how much CO2 we insert into the atmosphere, but the claims that we know its effect on the climate is very much overstated, in my view.

What the Science Says:

Dr. Pielke has failed to even answer the question in this case, which is quite simple.  If CO2 emissions continue to rise, their warming effect will continue to rise as well.  Instead Dr. Pielke has once again chosen to downplay the role of CO2 in climate change.  If Dr. Pielke's goal is to achieve greenhouse gas emissions reductions, as he suggests in his answer and has previously confirmed in his discussions with Skeptical Science, telling a group of high school students that the role of CO2 is overstated is the wrong way to achieve this goal.  In fact, as we demonstrated to Dr. Pielke, the warming effects of CO2 are quite well understood.

Additionally, this is the second answer in which Dr. Pielke has effectively equated the IPCC and media, which is rather insulting to the IPCC.  Moreover, the IPCC does not conduct original research, but rather summarizes the most up-to-date research.  It's not the IPCC's confidence about future climate change, it's Dr. Pielke's peers'.

Question:

The melting of the polar ice caps and glaciers worldwide has the world significantly alarmed. Can the melting of these formations be contributed to Global Warming?

Pielke Answer:

Melting is a response to warming. However, not all glaciers and ice caps are melting. While the Arctic ice, for example, has been decreasing in areal extent; see

http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seaice.anomaly.arctic.png

Antarctic sea ice coverage has not; see

http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seaice.anomaly.antarctic.png

What the Science Says:

This may be Dr. Pielke's worst answer of them all, and a red herring. Firstly, it's well worth noting that by admitting that the planet is warming, Dr. Pielke has contradicted his previous false assertion of cooling temperatures.

More importantly, while technically true that Antarctic sea ice extent has not declined, Dr. Pielke has failed to explain the reasons behind the Antarctic sea ice stability, and the fact that the Arctic sea ice decline (a.k.a. "Death Spiral") is far more rapid than the very slight Antarctic sea ice increase (which is not statistically significant) (Figure 2).   

global sea ice extent

Figure 2: National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) Antarctic, Arctic, and global (sum of the two) sea ice extents with linear trends.  The data is smoothed with a 12-month running average.

Dr. Pielke's answer gives the false impression that melting glaciers and ice caps are not a major concern, which could not be further from the truth.  The decline in Arctic ice volume is even more rapid and concerning than the decline in extent - ice is three dimensional, after all.  Loss of Arctic ice is also of great concern because of the resulting amplification effect - reflective ice giving way to dark oceans, causing more absorption of radiation and accelerated warming.  

Additionally, Dr. Pielke has failed to discuss the rapid decline of land-based ice, which contributes to sea level rise.  The mass of the Antarctic ice sheet, especially the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) is declining.  And he has neglected to mention that despite the slight increase in Antarctic sea ice extent, the Southern Ocean is warming - faster than the global trend, in fact.  Then of course there's the rapid decline of the Greenland ice sheet, and the decline of glaciers around the globe (Figure 3).


Figure 3: Cumulative mass balance curves for the mean of all glaciers and 30 'reference' glaciers (WGMS 2008).

Dr. Pielke has depicted a far-too-rosy picture in his answer to this question, to say the least.  This sort of answer is one we would expect from the likes of Christopher Monckton, not a climate scientist, and especially not in response to a question from a student trying to learn about climate change impacts.

Question:

In your scientific opinion, does Global Warming exist?

Pielke Answer:

Global warming is an oversimplification of the actual behavior of the climate system. See, for example, my weblog post on this topic at

http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2011/04/14/climate-science-myths-and-misconceptions-%e2%80%93-post-2-on-the-metric-of-global-warming/

Finally, in terms of climate metrics, I encourage your class to research yourselves from [original] data what is the current status of these metrics. You would be surprised how many of them do not follow the behavior predicted by the multi-decadal global climate model predictions, and being reported in the news.

What the Science Says:

It's difficult to come up with an answer to "does global warming exist?" other than "yes," but somehow Dr. Pielke has managed.  Instead, Dr. Pielke directs the students to a blog post in which he argues that ocean heat content (OHC) should be the metric by which global warming is measured.  However, Dr. Pielke fails to mention that OHC and total global heat content have been increasing as well (Figure 3), and thus even by his preferred measure, the answer is still undeniably "yes."

warming

Figure 3: Total Global Heat Content (data from Church et al. 2011)

Rather than correctly answer the question, Dr. Pielke chooses to push one of his pet arguments (using OHC to monitor global warming) instead.  How is this an appropriate way to educate students?

Additionally, contrary to Dr. Pielke's final assertion in this answer, climate models do simulate most climate metrics well when they include all forcings, such as volcanism, for example.  See Domingues et al. (2008):

"On average, the decadal variability of the climate models with volcanic forcing now agrees approximately with the observations, but the modelled multi-decadal trends are smaller than observed."

Also see a new paper by Fyfe et al. (2011).

Pielke Chooses MythInformation Over Information

Overall, Dr. Pielke's answers to these high school students' questions are nothing to be proud of.  Rather than providing straightforward scientific answers, Dr. Pielke has chosen to misinform these students with a number of his pet climate myths (that global warming has magically stopped, that it's mostly caused by anything but CO2, that it's not an urgent concern, and that OHC should be the global warming metric). 

At the very least Dr. Pielke could have explained the mainstream scientific answers to these questions, and then explained why his opinions differ; instead he only provided his outlying views.  We can only hope that these students are not relying on Dr. Pielke as their sole source of climate science information, or they will have been woefully misinformed.  Dr. Pielke should be embarassed to provide such answers to impressionable students, and has done them a disservice.

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Comments

Comments 1 to 35:

  1. Figure 2 y-axis seems incorrectly labeled -- anomalies are not in the 10M sq km range.
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    Response:

    [dana1981] You're right, that should say "extent", not "anomaly".  I'll correct that tonight.

  2. Al Gore's book (actuallly written by a team of scientists under his direction) Says 43% of warming is attributable to CO2. It's the largest single influence, but less than half.

    Figure 2 is meaningless without some context. Does a 20 gigaton decline in glacier mass represent a loss of 1%, 30% or something in between.
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  3. I'm sure Dr. Pielke saw his answers as promoting nuance and a do-it-yourself encouragement to engage in scientific thinking.
    But when you're asked straight questions about whether global warming is happening and you don't answer "Yes," that's obfuscation.
    When you recommend unscientific and statistically backwards criticisms of climate models, that's promoting anti-science in place of the real deal. Likewise, his claim about cooling is anti-science (unscientific, statistically backwards). He might as well have recommended a Duane Gish book as reading material to a question about evolution and said that there are no beneficial mutations.

    I've become very disappointed the more closely I watch credentialed scientists of the "skeptical" camp lately. Spencer, Curry, and Pielke all seem to be retreating from genuine scientific thinking and literature at an alarming pace, leaving their real skepticism at the door. They're going in the Lindzen direction.
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  4. WheelsOC,

    Good observations.
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  5. Hi SteveFunk @2,

    Sorry to read that you are not disturbed by Pielke's antics.

    This post is about Dr. Pielke misinforming impressionable high school students, not Al Gore. Please stop trying to obfuscate and distract people from Pielke's misinformation. Thanks.
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  6. SteveFunk @2 - I assume you're referring to Figure 3, not Figure 2. Figure 3 is in units of meters of water equivalent (m w.e.), not gigatons. For further details on global glacier mass decline, I recommend the World Glacer Monitoring Service, from which Figure 3 came.

    I suspect you're misinterpreting Al Gore's book. By our calculations, CO2 is responsible for approximately 48% of the net positive radiative forcing, which may be the figure you're referencing. This is not the same as the amount of warming due to CO2.
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  7. Dana @6,

    Steve was probably referring to a claim that was trumpeted by "skeptics" on the internet back in late 2009 that "Al Gore admits that the majority of global warming that occurred until 2001 was not primarily caused by CO2". The number quoted there is 40%. Either way those data are 10 years old now, and yes the amount of net positive radiative forcing is not the same as the amount of warming.

    Concerning the glacier mass balance numbers in Fig.3, they have continued to decline since 2005 when the graph terminates. Between 2005 and 2009 they lost another 3 metres water equivalent.

    None of this challenges the fact that Dr. Pielke grossly distorted and misrepresented the facts thereby misinforming students.
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  8. Dana,

    I'm curious to see if Pielke is going to try and spin this on his blog, or even worse, at a misinformation site like WUWT. Wouldn't that be ironic....The easy and honourable thing for Pielke to do would be to admit error, revise his response to the high school in question and apologize.

    I am also very curious to know whether his interactions with the high school was done on his own initiative or was it done as part of the Interdisciplinary Education and Outreach programs run by CIRES ( Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences)? Pielke is currently affiliated with CIRES. I would argue that his misinformation exercise is not consistent with their mission statement (in addition to that of NOAA, CIRES is a joint institute of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of Colorado at Boulder):

    "Our goal is to support exemplary science education at all levels, encourage curiosity and understanding about our environment, and to bring our research to bear as a resource in service of societal needs, including education."

    In my opinion, his responses to the students represent the very antithesis of education or public service.
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  9. Dana, great post but here's a little nitpick:

    "that it's caused by anything but CO2" in the second last paragraph really should be "that the primary cause is anything but CO2".

    In no way does Pielke totally ignore CO2 as the original line suggests.
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  10. On the first read-through, Question #2 is adequately answered.
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  11. Apirate - what is your evidence that the world is cooling? That seems counter to everything we know, and what we know is more than Pielke acknowledges.
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  12. pirate#10: Except for this blatant fiction:

    the global average temperature anomalies are cooling!

    Anomalies don't cool. Even so, it is fiction: See the animated gif of temp anomaly trends (figure 1 here) and the BEST summary thread. Or just use the Curry phrasing: there is no scientific basis for saying that global average temperature anomalies are cooling.
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  13. I had, up to this point, reserved some respect for Pielke, based on his scientific credentials, and the fact that a contrarian forces everyone to up their game - and climate science is too important to not be researched with our top scientists "A" game.

    However, the goal when teaching students is to increase their critical thinking skills. Trying to wash their brains in a given ideology is NOT critical thinking. These students are worse off than they were before Pielke spoke, based on the information presented here. He appears to have bent many, many facts in order to present a very incomplete picture of what we know, as a species, about global warming.

    Shame on you Dr. Pielke.
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  14. 10, Pirate,

    Pielke's answer to question 2 includes this total and complete falsehood:
    For example, the global average temperature anomalies are cooling!
    Beyond this, he puts unnecessary emphasis (as he always seems to do) on natural climate forcings.

    But beyond this and more importantly he mentions feedbacks in the same breath (and after) natural climate forcings as if they have nothing to do with CO2, even though those feedbacks are primarily in direct response to the CO2 forcing!

    When speaking to high school students, one would expect a scientist (or a science teacher) to be a little more clear and honest about the current state of the science, rather than twisting the presentation to put forth a personal position.
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  15. 10, Pirate,

    I think communicating the science properly to children is hugely important. There is no excuse for any sort of miscommunication.

    This applies as much to climate science as it would to, for instance, intelligent design versus evolution. One is faith, the other is science. It is absolutely necessary that children be taught the science, as it is currently understood, rather than a communicator's personal beliefs.
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  16. The question 2 was formulated badly, as the consequence of wrong answer to q1 (if they've been asked in that order): student was seeking the primary cause of GW, because CO2 was suggested as negative.
    If the answer to q1 was: "CO2 - 48% forcing", then q2 would be redundant.
    And Pielke happily continues his theory of "climate complexity", "multitude of natural causes" blah blah. Deja vu classical denial attitude: obfuscate the simple outcome with confusing fringe factors of which general public has little knowledge.
    I think Pielke sounded more reasonable when he was discussing his points here on SkS. However this school interview shows that, assuming Pielke is just 'skeptic', not an intentional liar, he is also a very bad teacher, concentrating on talking his minute details while not paying attention that his audience gets the wrong message. Such person should not be allowed to teach kids.
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  17. "Firstly, it's well worth nothing" should be 'Firstly, it's well worth noting'. Freudian slip (i.e. thinking Pielke's comments on ice melt were "worth nothing")?

    Has anyone tried to bring this commentary on Pielke's misrepresentations to the attention of the school (or CIRES)?
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  18. apirate@10 "Question #2 is adequately answered."

    Question 2 isn't answered at all. There would have been just as much information content if he had replaced "natural forcings" with "pixie dust". Except that if he had said "pixie dust", it would have been obvious that he had no answer. It's just another case of handwaving, making it sound as if he had something important and constructive to say while actually doing nothing but avoiding the question.

    ...and to throw in the bit about "the temperature anomalies are cooling" is a shameful attempt to pretend that nothing is happening anyway - there isn't anything that needs explaining!

    In my experience, anyone that answers a question with something that amounts to "it's so complex I can't explain it here" is usually either trying to cover up their lack of knowledge, or knows something that they don't want you to know. Either way, don't trust them.
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  19. Readers,

    Dr. Pielke just does not get it, period. He seems unable to differentiate between what he perceives to be disinformation, and truth and facts.

    Only today Dr. Pielke has posted a defamatory and disparaging article on his blog on an article written by respected scientist (Dr. Somerville) and lauded writer (Ms. Hassol). Perhaps he is trying to distract people from the main post above? Who know the best form of defence is offence?

    Pielke writes:
    "The authors use a disinformation approach to present their view"

    Absolute nonsense. First, they are not using "disinformation" (i.e., deliberately spreading intentionally false or inaccurate information). Second, he provides no evidence whatsoever other than his own opinion to substantiate that assertion. Third, Dr. Pielke is accusing them of "disinformation" when Dr. Pielke is in fact the one who has been shown yet again in the main post above to be guilty of misrepresenting/distorting facts and data. It is abundantly clear who is really engaging in disinformation....

    He also essentially accuses Somerville and Hassol of lying when he says:
    "They deliberately confuse this statement."

    Dr. Pielke concludes:
    "It is an example of a set of individuals using an article (not an op-ed) in a professional science journal to promote their particular views on policy"

    Somerville and Hassol are speaking to the problem of communicating climate science, their piece is titled "Communicating the science of climate change". Dr. Pielke likes to pay the game of falsely accusing others who do not agree with his views as being disparaging towards him. Well that is exactly what Dr. Pielke is doing to Somerville and Hassol-- a clear double standard on Dr. Pielke's part. Additionally, Dr. Pielke is the one touting an opinion piece in the EOS newspaper as a peer-reviewed paper to the house of Representatives to push his own agenda; so another double standard by Dr. Pielke.

    This is enough, Dr. Pielke cannot expect to go around ridiculing his colleagues at will and now making unsubstantiated and defamatory accusations against his colleagues without being held accountable. Whose server does Dr. Pielke's blog reside on? I certainly hope that he is not launching these attacks from a server residing at a respected institution such as CIRES.

    PS: This is not the first time that the Pielkes have had a go at Ms. Hassol, the last time it was Pielke's son.
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  20. Pielke's comments in the blog post Albatross links @19 are classic psychological projection. I particularly liked this part:
    "The fundamental error made by the authors (as with the Sherwood article that I posted on last week), is their assumption of the dominance of added CO2 and a few other greenhouse gases in climate change."
    Ironic since one of the fundamental errors made by Pielke is his assumption that greenhouse gases don't have a dominant influence over climate change.
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  21. Pielke said
    However, it is just one of a number of warming influences including from soot (black carbon), ozone, and other aerosol effects.

    I thought that the net effect of aerosols was that of cooling.Also a recent study by Natalie Mahowald,suggests that we may be underestimating the cooling effect of those aersols:
    http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/Nov11/mahowaldClimate.html
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  22. Dana1981@ #6 and Albatross at #7.

    I was looking at page 47 of "Our Choice." The sources of Global warming are given as 43.1% CO2, 26.7% methane, 7.8% halocarbons, 6.7% CO & VOC's, 3.8% nitrous oxide, and 11.9% black carbon. Original source was Drew T. Shindell etc in Science magazine.
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  23. Pirate:

    On the first read-through, Question #2 is adequately answered.

    Interesting comment. The phrase "first read-though" implies that others are forthcoming, which in turn implies that your viewpoint may change as you learn or understand more.

    Which makes me wonder: If your first read-through doesn't represent your final, informed take on Pielke's answer, why waste your time and ours by reporting it here? Especially given that you could've done a second read-through in the time it took you to post your comment? Better yet, you could have researched his outrageous claim that "the global average temperature anomalies are cooling." Wouldn't that have been a better use of your time?

    As a science teacher, you should know that "sounds good to me!" isn't a legitimate argument.
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  24. Dana,

    What I find particularly disingenuous on Pielke's part is that in discussion here with SkS, we demonstrated (with links to the scientific literature) that "CO2 and a few other greenhouse gases" account for 72.3% of the positive forcing in 2010 (Skeie et al. 2011), with 47% of the positive radiative forcing from CO2 alone and well over 50% of the observed warming from CO2 alone. Even Dr. Pielke's own calculations, when corrected for arithmetic and double accounting errors, show that CO2, CH4 and other long-lived GHGs accounted for 56% of the positive radiative forcing back in 2001.

    So yes, "CO2 and a few other greenhouse gases" are indeed currently the dominant positive radiative forcing. Somerville and Hassol are correct, and Pielke is wrong. Unfortunately, that has not stopped Dr. Pielke is still propagating an error that he is well aware is wrong and using it to imply that Somerville and Hassol are lying. He owes them an apology for slandering them and should remove that post.
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  25. tmac57 @21 - aerosols have both warming and cooling effects, but you're correct that the net effect is in the cooling direction. That's why I don't particularly like parsing out just the positive radiative forcings, because it ignores the fact that although aerosols and black carbon have a significant positive forcing, it's smaller than their combined negative forcing, so on the whole they actually have a cooling effect. Frankly it just serves to downplay the magnitude of the warming effects of greenhouse gases.

    And yet even through this arguably flawed methodology, as Albatross notes @24, greenhouse gases are still responsible for well over 50% of the net positive forcing.
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  26. SteveFunk:


    I was looking at page 47 of "Our Choice." The sources of Global warming are given as 43.1% CO2, 26.7% methane, 7.8% halocarbons, 6.7% CO & VOC's, 3.8% nitrous oxide, and 11.9% black carbon.


    Gore's book identifies these compounds as "the six kinds of air pollution that trap heat and raise temperatures." As such, the figures seem to refer to the volume of emissions. It would be a mistake to conclude from this that CO2 is responsible for roughly 40 percent of observed warming, as though every 1 percent of CO2 accounted for an equivalent 1 percent of warming.

    You may want to read CO2 is not the only driver of climate.
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  27. Steve @2 and 22,

    You seem confused regarding the context in which the relative radiative forcing of the agents is being discussed (one can look at the relative contribution of CO2 to all positive forcings, or as Shindell et al. did, the relative contribution of CO2 to forcing from LLGHGs, CH4 and BC, or the relative contribution of CO2 to the net anthropogenic forcings etc.). I would suggest reading Skeie et al. (2011) and this post here at SkS.

    Can you please state if you agree or disagree with Pielke's misinforming these students. I get the impression that you are not concerned that he misled students. Thanks.
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  28. re Albatross, #27
    Question #1, not misleading IMHO.
    Questions 2, 3 and 4, probably misleading.
    Question 5, too nuanced, possibly misleading, but in some ways not too much different from what Bill McKibben is saying--we are in for a time of global wierding, which in some places will be manifested as cold, heavy precipitation.
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    Response:

    [DB] The prudent reader would be wise to see Bob Loblaw's response to this here for deeper insight to question #2.

  29. 28, Steve,

    How can you not see his response to #1 as misleading? He clearly is saying, by nuanced implication, that there are so many factors in warming that CO2 is minor and nothing to really worry about.

    How can that not be seen as misleading?
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  30. -snip-

    I am concerned more about the -snip- spirit of this lecture. "Don't you kids worry about your CO2 emissions" harms their future to be mislead about potential danger.
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    Moderator Response: [Albatross] Inflammatory text removed.
  31. rpauli @30,

    I understand that you must be vexed by this, but please do not go there. That is not what is going on here, period. Watts and his followers might be compelled to try and make the bizarre connection between Mann and what happened with the Penn State football coach. But we do not have to invent reasons to find fault, we have science and facts on our side. So please stick to the facts at hand.

    It was not a lecture, he was answering some questions emailed to him by high school students at a school in Colorado. We do not know in what capacity Pielke was acting when he chose to mislead the students, nor do we know which school he chose to mislead.
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  32. Pielke is correct: "The addition of CO2 to the atmosphere from human activities is a warming influence in terms of reducing the magnitude of heat lost to space over time. However, it is just one of a number of warming influences including from soot (black carbon), ozone, and other aerosol effects."

    Where he fails (whether deliberately or stupidly) is in making explicit that the other warming influences are the result of the same processes of burning fuel.

    CO2 is the initial driver of climate change, but it is not the main tipping point. The main tipping point is the contributions of the effects of CO2 triggers, like melting ice and permafrost methane release.

    Most neglected is the effect of NOx precursors creating ozone, which is killing vegetation around the globe. The loss of the CO2 sink of plant live is already leading (anyone see it?) to the rise in the rate of CO2 increase in the atmosphere.

    http://witsendnj.blogspot.com/2011/11/dodging-bullets.html
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  33. Thanks for your analysis of the science. It is most important.

    I humbly request you reconsider publishing my analogy: what if a scientist answers email questions from HS students about drinking and driving - and opines that a small amount of alcohol blood level is OK - imprecise science there would be harmful.
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  34. rpauli @33,

    Your analogy, although interesting ethically, is incorrect. Encouraging to drink driving is illegal, while 'skeptic' opinion about AGW is perfectly legal, and even boasted by some as an example of democracy, or first amendment in Pielke's country, rights of commons or other 'noble priviledge'. Unfortunately for you, law and ethics are totally different things.

    The anology similar to yours, would be: what if Tony Abbott in Australia after June 2012, starts talking to mining magnates: "don't pay those carbon taxes, this taxation is a big scam based on a lie, it's OK if you don't pay it". I'm sure Tony is very keen on that but not silly enough to actually say that (after June 2012) and say good-buy his career and possibly his freedom. Same applies to Pielke and your analogy: he's not silly enough to publicly promote illegal behaviour.
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  35. I wonder if Pielke would think that it would be quite acceptable for me to urinate and defecate in my or any other street. Or maybe his street or front yard. Could I just throw my rubbish anywhere I liked? Say out in the same street. Surely as I am only some miniscule proportion of any large group this would not matter? There is no linkage proved with my waste and any disease or annoyance. So if we all did this and put billions of tonnes of this waste into the environment it has absolutely no harmful effect!
    My body waste and rubbish are very nutritious foods for all sorts of living things such as plants and bacteria and will neatly add to productive food for all!
    In the middle ages people used to throw their rubbish into the street and waste ran down the gutters. It did them no harm in fact they flourished along with rats and other benign native animals. They even grew grapes in Scotland!
    We just do not need sanitation or clean water as it costs far too much. Anyway nature or providence will take care of it.
    There is no evidence that all this expenditure will make an iota of difference!
    All these people worried about 'pollution' are just anally retentive. They have a secret agenda for world domination by regulating our lack of anal retention.
    Bert
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