Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Global Warming in 86 words

Having just concluded an exhaustive debate with a climate "skeptic" on Twitter, I just want to note down again the simple, solid, scientific steps to anthropogenic (man-made) global warming (AGW)

  1. The greenhouse effect is real, and is what keeps the Earth's average temperature at +15*C instead of -15*C. Geophysical fact.
  2. CO2 is a greenhouse gas. Textbook physical fact, like water freezes at 0*C.
  3. CO2 has increased by 41% since we started burning fossil fuels. Observed fact.
  4. A doubling of CO2 will, when things settle down, cause an increase of ~1*C in global temperatures. (physical calculation).
  5. This increase is expected to cause a 3*C+ increase in global temps due to positive feedbacks
That's it. It's as simple as that. 1-4 are scientific certainties, and I would dare to say that anyone who tries to debate them is a) a timewaster and b) is in denial.

I try not to debate with deniers, because it is a waste of time. I am happy to debate 5, because that is where the scientific debate is at. The consensus view is as above, around 3*C and the skeptic hypothesis is that climate sensitivity is low, about 0*C. This hypothesis is refutable, and should be debated briskly and universally, so that we can get the "skeptic" hypothesis out of the way and get on with decarbonising the world economy, and also reforesting the earth.

* I'm sorry, I know this causes offence, but denial is a psychiatric diagnosis, and I am a psychiatrist, so I am allowed to give this as my opinion, even though many "skeptics" believe it to be politically incorrect.  Pat Michaels is a major skeptic, and he says that people who deny that CO2 will cause warming are "nutters", which is worse than describing them as being in denial.


Anonymous said...

"I'm sorry, I know this causes offence, but denial is a psychiatric diagnosis.."

No need to apologize, the denier label is in no way offensive. It amazes me how many people actually think ‘denier’ is an offensive term. I don’t find it offensive in any way, in fact I welcome and enjoy being called a climate denier. For me its fun.

When someone calls me a denier, it tells me I’m getting under their skin and is causing them to question thier own alarmist faith. It tells me I'm on the right track, it encourages me, it means I’ve won. I like to win.

I know lots of climate deniers who feel the same way.

So go ahead, use the term freely.



weggis said...

Dear Klem
You just lost.

Chapman Baxter said...

what's happened to sea-level rise predictions for UK over the last 30 years?

I'm not arguing with AGW as I'm totally happy with the science. I live on the coast and there's very little mentioned these days... just interested...

DocRichard said...

Well said. People truly properly in denial never mind being told, because it confirms their belief that everyone is wrong except them.

Weggis: you are being bad. Stop it. But not as bad as what I just said. No offence meant klem.

Chapman: Whenever I want to know anything I go here:
and enter stuff in the search box.
I find this:
and this:
and others.

Somewhere there is a graph showing that the computer models are wrong. They underestimate sea level rise. I love telling skeptics that, they go all hopeful and then sad.

Sorry if I sound brusque, I've just been over on WUWT. Phew. That's all. Phew.

CIN said...

Nice summary. It's infuriating that some deny this, and others (those in power) don't want to risk losing votes or money by doing anything about it. I've linked to this from our latest blog post.

Chapman Baxter said...

Thanks Doc

I usually use Realclimate for my info but I hadn't heard much of sea-level rise in the last few years, particularly wrt the U.K. The skepticalscience site is also good and I'll be sure to use it again.

Cheers, keep up the good work

DocRichard said...

Thanks for the link. You have a nice looking blog there.
And thanks for the encouragement Chapman. I've just concluded a debate with another sceptic on Twitter, and am more convinced than ever that we should stop defending our position and start attacking their position.