Posts Tagged ‘Greenhouse Gases’

Al Gore

Al Gore contemplating how to "spin" the facts

The great bear of enviro-activism has poked his head out from a self-imposed hibernation. We haven’t heard from him in awhile, but Al Gore has a new op-ed piece in the New York Times. Not surprisingly, he minimizes the current climate data scandals, maintains support for the IPCC, and tries to obfuscate by marrying climate change activism with the necessity of energy independence. In other words, he “doubles down” on his support for the idea of, and the fight against, Manmade Catastrophic Global Warming — or Climate Change, if your prefer. (Plus, there are the requisite jabs at free-market capitalism and “showmen masquerading as political thinkers who package hatred and divisiveness as entertainment.”) This is, of course, not surprising.

I’d like to believe him when he says, “I, for one, genuinely wish that the climate crisis were an illusion.” But, I’m not so sure he is sincere. It depends how much of the phony science he actually believes. Still, Gore is so completely invested — time, money, power, reputation — in the Cause that he will go down fighting to the bitter end. It would take a man of incredible personal & professional integrity to admit he was wrong at this point and start working toward more sensible policies based on reasonable interpretations of real & verifiable data. But, I have no reason to believe that Al Gore is that man.

For those who somehow missed this news item from several days ago, hundreds of email messages & other documents (some as old as 13 years) from the UK’s University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit were “leaked” to the public. Though illegally obtained (i.e., hacked), they have so far proven to be genuine. The correspondence between prominent climate change activist scientists are quite enlightening and damaging to the global warming / climate change cause.

As Paul Driessen discusses in his recent article, “They reveal an unprecedented, systematic conspiracy to stifle discussion and debate, conceal and manipulate data, revise temperature trends that contradict predictions of dangerous warming, skew the peer-review process, pressure scientific journals and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to publish alarmist studies and exclude dissenting analyses, and avoid compliance with Freedom of Information requests.” Serious accusations, but Driessen gives examples in his piece.

Now, no one is saying that EVERY scientist pushing the pro-global warming agenda is involved in some giant conspiracy to grab power and make fortunes while destroying jobs, ruining the world economy, etc. Many (perhaps most?) have simply been duped by fellow scientists & politicians, pressured by idealogues, and/or are guilty of sloppy science. (For example, programming their computer models with certain cause-and-effect assumptions that have not actually been firmly established, or leaving out / glossing over certain inconvenient data.) And the skeptic should, as always, take care not to overstate the impact of any particular statement or finding that seems to favor his case or discredit his opponent’s. But, anyone with a modicum of intellectual honesty must admit that these current revelations, regardless of how or when they came out, cast doubt not only on the integrity of those directly involved in these particular communications but on the validity of the whole Gore-ite argument for catastrophic, man-made global warming / climate change.

There is an excellent “companion” article from Christopher Booker at the The Telegraph. After laying out the significance of exactly who is involved in the scandal (e.g., CRU Director Phil Jones, Penn State’s Michael “Hockey-stick” Mann, etc.) and what they did, Booker concludes “Our hopelessly compromised scientific establishment cannot be allowed to get away with a whitewash of what has become the greatest scientific scandal of our age.”

If you want to read more material that is not the typical alarmist propaganda, I recommend books by people like Christopher C. Horner, Roy W. Spencer, Patrick J. Michaels, and Steven J. Milloy. They explain what the scientific evidence really says and what the consequences of following the alarmist agenda will be for America and the world if people don’t wake up and STOP it!

I don’t want to get into the whole “global warming / climate change” topic TOO much now, because I am still planning a series of posts about it. But, I thought this article in Germany’s Der Spiegel was worth bringing up.

According to studies by the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research in Great Britain (known for being strongly pro-global warming), “the world grew warmer by 0.07 degrees Celsius from 1999 to 2008 and not by the 0.2 degrees Celsius assumed” by UN studies. After adjustments for “El Niño and La Niña, the resulting temperature trend is reduced to 0.0 degrees Celsius — in other words, a standstill.” How embarrassing! And somewhat ironic that these findings have been published so close to December’s UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

Climate Change "Standstill" Graphs

One very interesting concession is that “Even though the temperature standstill probably has no effect on the long-term warming trend, it does raise doubts about the predictive value of climate models….” For one thing, the validity of the whole “global average temperature” concept is questionable, given that the weather/climate system of the planet is so complex. Although there are over 500 weather stations in the global temperature-monitoring network (mostly erected in the past couple decades, as I recall), there are still blind-spots like the “Arctic hole”. So, our readings are, at best, incomplete.

As meteorologist Mojib Latif of the Leibniz Institute (and others) points out, “We have to explain to the public that greenhouse gases will not cause temperatures to keep rising from one record temperature to the next, but that they are still subject to natural fluctuations.” There are many natural factors — e.g., cyclic ocean currents, volcanic eruptions, solar activity, etc. — and scientists like Latif differ in opinion as to which has had the biggest affect on the recent stagnation. But, perhaps such candor is a sign of a corner being turned in the global warming / climate change debate?…

A group of researchers at the Max Planck Institute has come up with a new catalyst to produce methanol from methane that is not only relatively easy but cost-effective.

Energy-saving Powder

Methane is a hydrocarbon gas used to produce various industrial chemicals and is burned to release heat and to power vehicles and electrical generators. Transportation — usually within “natural gas” — and conversion of methane can be rather expensive and/or inefficient. Methane is also the chief source of “methanol”. Much like methane, methanol’s uses include the production of various chemicals and combustion as fuel. But, methanol is much easier to transport, which makes it preferable is some cases.

This new process to convert methane to methanol is less complex and bottom-line cheaper than the usual methods. While both methane and methanol have their plusses and minuses, figuring out cheaper and more efficient technologies is always a good thing. The Max Planck team is still working on a more large-scale application, but meanwhile they have made other discoveries that may result in additional catalytic advances.