Discussion Central

Expand all | Collapse all

Climate Change Myths

  • 1.  Climate Change Myths

    Posted 07-28-2018 22:51

    Because the theory upon which anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is based is so rock solid, because the valid available pertinent data is consistent with the theory, and because no science based challenge to the reality of AGW has ever succeeded, those who reject the very clear reality of AGW must resort to the use of what are best called myths.  I would like to explore these myths and I invite others to do so also.

    Myth #01 - Global Cooling

    Those who reject the reality of AGW  claim that in the 1970s there was a consensus among climate professionals that the Earth would soon be cooling.  Solar irradiance was expected to decline and when that happened in the past the Earth cooled.  About 10% of climate professionals held that view.  See https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/2008BAMS2370.1   Most of the rest understood, as most of us now know, that the greenhouse gas increase would overwhelm the reduction of solar irradiance, and the Earth would warm.

    I am sure that even those who reject the readily observable reality of AGW know that 10% is not a consensus.

    Neil Yeoman, PE, FAIChE

  • 2.  RE: Climate Change Myths

    Posted 07-30-2018 09:50
    Thanks for starting this discussion, Neil. This myth is so pervasive that I believed it myself at one time. But after reading a book about James Hansen I looked up the scientific literature of that time, and what I found was in general agreement with your post. And those few who did believe that the world was about to cool were generally more worried about sulfur pollution as a global coolant than about solar irradiation. In 1971 NASA researchers Rasool and Schneider published a paper in Science to the effect that sulfur pollution could potentially trigger an ice age. Shortly after publishing, they found an error in their model, and when they corrected the error, the model predicted global warming.

    Alex De Visscher
    Concordia University
    Montreal QC

  • 3.  RE: Climate Change Myths

    Posted 08-01-2018 15:53
    It's going to be a tremendous battle -- and one which science is likely going to lose (just like trying to change the political economics of corn based ethanol, in adjoining discussion).

    Here's an article that illustrates the momentum, philosophy, and actual necessity of continuing use of carbon:

    One of Chris Cline's justifications for hell bent mining of coal is the old global cooling myth.  His mind will not be changed.

    William Stuble PE
    Cora WY

  • 4.  RE: Climate Change Myths

    Posted 08-02-2018 09:10
    Re August 1 posting by William Stuble:
        Yes, doing what is needed to save humanity, and much of the rest of the animal kingdom, from the expected horrors of global warming, is, indeed, a tremendous challenge, and it cannot be done without significant inconvenience, disruption, and difficult change.  It is all a matter of how much of all this the current population is willing to endure to protect humanity's future.   I suppose it is a function of whether or not one has children, grandchildren, and/or great grandchildren, and whether or not one likes them.
        Chris Cline's attitude, actions, and clout  is only a small portion of the many problems those who seek to save humanity will need to address.
        Neil Yeoman, PE , FAIChE

  • 5.  RE: Climate Change Myths

    Posted 7 days ago
    In my studied opinion, we are not going to be able to convince the masses that we should turn to a greener future if that future involves a devastating change to every aspect of their lives, shorter lifespans, economic hardships, etc. Many people will profess their support of various causes as long as they are insulated from the hardships or costs. If you need hard proof of this I can supply volumes for you. My belief is that we can chart a course that will allow us to move to a greener future without these dire side effects and the public will follow it.

    For the last couple decades I have worked with various groups trying to solve the "chicken and egg conundrum," how to build a network of new green service stations across a nation without a large number of green vehicles to make use of them and the converse, a large fleet of vehicles without convenient places to refuel. I believe we have finally found a way to do this by relying on the need for storage of renewable electrical energy to economically justify the build-out of facilities even without a single vehicle making use of them. And then following up with a slight modification to these storage facilities to dispense the storage media into fuel cell powered automobiles. Using "homeless" renewable energy available at 2.5 cents per KWh we can provide fuel at a price of $2.33/gal (GEG). This would also allow further expansion of renewable electrical power systems without destabilizing our electrical grids.

    The logistics would fit into the existing pipelines, fuel trucks and filling stations already in place. The big oil companies are already experts in the handling of hydrogen and we have developed technology that can store and transport this hydrogen inserted into liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOHC) that would allow it to be transported within these existing facilities with only minor modifications. Transported in this way the hydrogen would be condensed in volume as if it were compressed to 10,000 psi but instead be stored at 1 atm. Handling safety would be on the order of diesel fuel, significantly better than gasoline, thus it could be dispensed near populated areas without any additional concern. Including big oil in the process would avoid a battle with entrenched powerful political forces.

    From what I see as evident on this forum and many others as well, global warming proponents seem to think that it is a lack of knowledge by their opponents that limits progress. While there may be some of this, I believe a larger factor is best illustrated with an analogy. Suppose you come across a person with a baseball bat and you note it has your initials carved into it. You assert ownership of said bat since it obviously has your initials carved into it and the holder can easily see the initials. However just before demanding that the person hand over what is obviously your bat, you have insulted them with pejorative name calling and informed them that when the bat is in your hands you will use it to inflict serious bodily harm to them. Would you be surprised if they don't hand it over immediately? Would you be surprised if they claim they know somebody else with the same initials and therefore it is their bat, not yours? Etc, etc.

    I have played the game long enough to know that we should do the really hard work of trying to forge a win-win because if we go for a win-lose, it is incredibly easy for the opposition to push the whole mess into a rather grand lose-lose scenario. Been there, done that on both sides, have the scars to prove it.

    Larry Bagzis
    Bagzis Innoventions
    Allentown PA

  • 6.  RE: Climate Change Myths

    Posted 3 days ago
    Re September 11 posting by Larry Bagzis:

    Larry is right that the American public will never except a movement away from the use of fossil fuels to energy sources that do not produce carbon dioxide if doing so creates excessive turmoil. He is also right that if handled properly by responsible enlightened governments internationally cooperating it can be done without overly stressing the general population. The problem, however, is not the general population but the special interests that would be affected by a rational approach to dealing with this problem. Although if done right the overall economic situation would not materially deteriorate there would of necessity be some transfers of focus causing some area of business to become less profitable. Not surprisingly, those areas of business are resisting the necessary changes and they are doing so in large part by appealing to the political forces to which they have in the past been contributing. The problem then escalates to include both the businesses that would become less profitable if I rational approach were taken and the political forces that oppose the rational approach to satisfy the people who fund them. Exacerbating this are the people who are loyal to those political forces and are unwilling to open their minds to the realities facing us and, thus, will also resist doing the right thing. This kind of problem is not limited to those on the political right. Any careful study of the situation would lead to the conclusion that at least in the relatively short term there is a need to maximize the use of nuclear energy something which large portions of the political left continue to oppose.

    We have a real problem that goes well beyond technology.

    Neil Yeoman, PE, FAIChE

    Sent from my iPhone

  • 7.  RE: Climate Change Myths

    Posted 08-13-2018 08:40
    I would like to ask a related question - not arguing with the myths, but sometimes science becomes uni-directional and misses other things that may be going on simultaneously.  One of these was the "global dimming" effect specifically documented in the months after 9/11 (2001) when air traffic was grounded for an extended period of time.   They measured as much as 1 degree temperature changes in some areas of the US which they attributed to loss of air traffic if I am remembering the report correctly.
    Does anyone have any figures on projections, as air traffic increases, for the way we are inadvertently "countering" our impact on the warming effect?  Do we know if the experts are including this in their projections ?

    C M Walker BS
    Greenville SC


  • 8.  RE: Climate Change Myths

    Posted 08-13-2018 18:20
      |   view attached

    You put me on a search for the effect of contrails. I don't like cherry-picking so what follows is an honest attempt to figure this out. I'm sure many more links/papers can be found.

    Satellite images of contrails



    Article that concludes that contrails will increase global warming

    Reducing the climate change impacts of aviation by restricting cruise altitudes, 2005: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/72ff/544af4589ff2539e4f3a22a632c92a49cbfc.pdf - "Clouds affect the atmosphere near the surface in two opposing ways: by reducing the amount of earth-emitted radiation escaping to space, and by increasing the amount of solar radiation reflected. For contrails, and other high cloud, the effect is larger for the outgoing terrestrial radiation, resulting in a warming at the surface. As a result, contrails have the potential to influence climate on a global or regional scale."

    Article that seems inconclusive

    https://www.wired.com/2011/03/contrails-climate/ - " … solar energy reaching the surface may be reduced, resulting in surface cooling. They also reduce the terrestrial energy losses of the planet, resulting in a warming."

    An article on the Heartland Institute (climate change skeptic organization) on measures to prevent global cooling

    https://www.heartland.org/news-opinion/news/saving-humanity-from-catastrophic-global-cooling-a-task-for-geo-engineering - includes a suggestion to intentionally increase cirrus ice crystals, referencing the effect of contrails, i.e., "… creating a major GH effect and possibly even some detectable warming at the Earth's surface."

    Here's a site that argues contrails will cause global dimming, e.g., "Goodbye sunshine":


    I'm curious about your comment that temperatures were cooler months after 9/11, i.e., "... 'global dimming' effect specifically documented in the months after 9/11 (2001) when air traffic was grounded for an extended period of time. They measured as much as 1 degree temperature changes in some areas of the US which they attributed to loss of air traffic ..." Since the U.S. is northern hemisphere, do you think the report was stating that temperatures were abnormally cooler in the fall and winter of 2001-2002? To look into that possibility, I looked at four major U.S. airports and downloaded data for the months October through March for nine year periods surrounding the months immediately following September 2001. See my analysis attached, standard deviations allowing some semblance of significance.

    Thomas Rehm PE, CCPSC, CSP
    TERehm Consulting LLC
    Humble TX


  • 9.  RE: Climate Change Myths

    Posted 08-14-2018 00:43
    Hi, Constanze.  I flew from LA to Dulles on 9/17/2001 (less than a week after the attacks) and back on 9/20/2001.  Air traffic wasn't grounded for a significant amount of time, not even at an airport serving one of the cities that were attacked, let alone around the globe.  There was a brief period of slower traffic in the US.

    The answer to the larger question of whether climate scientists are looking into the effects of contrails on climate change is yes.  This is an area of active research.  Those who are interested might want to read about a possible difference between the climate impact of conventional jet fuel blended with biofuel vs. conventional jet fuel:  https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2601/nasa-test-jet-biofuel-may-reduce-climate-warming-clouds/  This website has a nice overview of the impact of contrails on climate.  It points out that the contrails might have a far larger warming effect than the greenhouse gas emissions from fuel burned by aircraft.

    -Kirsten (a self-proclaimed non-expert on climate/climate science)

    Kirsten Rosselot
    Process Profiles
    Calabasas, CAUnited States