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By Andrew Holland on Mar 9, 2012 with 28 responses

Why Climate Change is a Matter of National Security

I may bring down the wrath of the internet with this essay – I know from experience that talking climate change in a public forum draws out all the trolls. A changing climate, however, is important enough that our national security planners are studying it closely. The Defense Department, the Intelligence Community, and the Department of Homeland Security are closely studying the effects of climate change, particularly how it will impact our security.

A Changing Climate

First, I will try to pre-empt some criticism from the anti-science crowd by saying that we simply cannot know the future. The climate is notoriously difficult to predict, and models are imperfect. But – climate change is not a matter of ‘belief’ – it is a matter of fact. The fact is that the earth is warming, and has been for at least a century. And, that warming is accelerating: the warmest decade on record was the 2000s, with each of the three decades previous to that warmer than the decade before. Further – it is unequivocal that this warming is being driven by man-made greenhouse gas emissions. I am not a scientist, so I will leave the rest of the explanation to NASA scientist Jim Hansen, who discussed the science of climate change in a recent TED speech.

I will not get into arguments about the science of climate change: I will leave that to the scientists. But, we should all agree that the science is conclusive enough that we cannot simply ignore it – or claim that it’s some sort of UN plot.

Pre-Emptive Doctrines

When national security planners look to prevent future threats to our security, they know that you cannot act with certainty: once you have 100% certainty, it is too late to act.

We have enough knowledge to know that climate change is potentially dangerous. It was Vice President Dick Cheney who first enunciated the “1% doctrine” in which the War on Terror empowered the U.S. government to say “Even if there’s just a 1 percent chance of the unimaginable coming due, act as if it is a certainty.” What we have now is at least 95% certainty from the science community, and yet you have many American politicians (including more than a few who supported Cheney’s pre-emptive doctrines) saying we cannot act because we do not have certainty.

International Threat

Once we move beyond the scientific debate, we do see that there are real threats to international stability and security from a changing climate. For example, changing patterns of glacier formation, precipitation, and snowmelt in the Himalayas will alter the river flows of the great East Asian rivers, upon which about 20% of humanity depends. Or, changing patterns of drought in Africa could further exacerbate problems of food security for millions in dry regions like the Sahel, pushing migrants across contested borders.

Finally, in a development that threatens the very existence of a nation, Kiribati, the country’s Cabinet endorsed a plan to buy nearly 6,000 acres of Fiji in order to move Kiribati’s population if a rising sea swallows their islands. In each of these cases, climate change acts as a threat multiplier: it’s not just that the effects of climate change (sea level rise, melting glaciers, drought, etc) that will be dangerous, but it’s how people living in the affected regions react. It is not difficult to foresee conflict emerging from any of these possibilities.

Domestic Threat

However, Americans and Europeans cannot afford to simply think that the dangers of climate change lie in the developing world. Our domestic security is threatened by the effects of climate change. The recent outbreak of tornadoes across the Midwest should remind us: living in a wealthy nation does not afford us protection from violent and unpredictable weather. Examples of threats include how rising sea levels threaten low-lying infrastructure across the Gulf Coast. Consistent droughts in the Southwest threaten the livelihoods of farmers and ranchers in the Southwest. Finally, in an area in which the science is most definitely not settled, more frequent or more dangerous hurricanes or tornadoes threaten vulnerable communities across the country. It would be a stretch to say that any of these examples threaten the narrowly defined ‘national security’ of the United States: we’re not likely to see civil conflict or state collapse here at home from violent weather. But, it should be clear that these could affect the security of individuals and communities across the country.

Forecasting Rapid Changes

One of the big problems about predicting the security affects of climate change is in the art of prediction itself. The IPCC consensus warming of an average one or two degrees Celsius increase over a multi-decade period is not that worrying. Instead, the possibility of rapid or dangerous non-linear changes in climate could cause widespread damage. These abrupt changes could manifest themselves in sudden changes in the Indian Ocean monsoon seasons – harming water supplies across all of India and Pakistan. Or a rapid collapse in tropical forest, due to altered moisture levels in the air. These changes are so dangerous simply because they are so difficult to predict. And – they are the most threatening to national security planners because rapid changes like this will inevitably cause reactions by people that could cause conflict.

Finally – to end on a pessimistic note – it is extremely unlikely that we can simply change our energy policy today and all will be fixed. There is a temptation to say “if only the Senate could pass the Graham-Kerry-Lieberman climate policy act then all would be solved.” Unfortunately, the climate system is largely ‘locked-in’ for the next 30-40 years. As Robert Rapier recently posted, shutting down all coal plants today would only lead to .2 degrees less warming. That means that addressing climate change is not simply a matter of deploying new energy sources or buying more efficient light bulbs. It will require a ‘whole of government’ focus that directs actions towards mitigating emissions, building resilience into domestic infrastructure, financing adaptation, and planning to respond to disasters. This is not as simple as a one-step process; it will require decades of concerted national and international action. But – we have to start somewhere.

  1. By Mike Haseler on March 9, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    In the European heat wave of 2003 … a staggering 23,000 people died of the heat. Each winter in the UK 23,000 die of the cold. That is equivalent to 2.3million over the next century.

    Yes climate is a matter of national security! It literally destroys nations. In the 1690s during a period known as the Maunder Minimum there was intense cold in Scotland with year round snow on the hills and it is estimated a quarter of the population died. To try to rejuvenate the flagging economy, the country invested in a scheme in Panama known as the Darien Scheme. The project was guided by someone who had lived in the area and knew it to be a good area.

    However it was a complete disaster. The natives refused to trade, there was illness. The nearest climatic records are in Mexico, and they show that this decade was an unprecedented period of floods, rain and other extreme climate.

    It is therefore likely that the same climatic effects that killed a quarter of Scots also wrecked the Darien scheme into which most of Scotland’s remaining money had been poured. Soon afterwards Scotland was forced to join with England.

    Yes climate effects national security. But as there have been no increase in climate extremes during the period of rising CO2, there is absolutely no reason to believe that the 1C of warming that real science suggests will be caused by a doubling will have much effect. Particularly as it will happen very slowly … almost imperceptibly. In contrast urban heating is larger and has occurred faster.

    So, yes climate effects national security. But global warming … NO!

    And just because I know it will scare the pants of those hysterics who went along with globa lwarming hysteria, let me point out that scientists are suggesting we could be entering a new maunder minimum.

    This is a serious problem, potentially a major threat to national security … and the worst of it is that because we have idiots running climate science who have their head in the sand as they bow down to worship the global warming god … they haven’t a clue what is really happening with the climate.

    AND NEITHER DOES ANYONE WHO LISTENS TO THEM!

    (PS. just to reassure people, our modern fossil fuel economy should cope much better with a period of extreme cold. Well at least I hope it will)

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    • By Bruce Jones on March 9, 2012 at 3:49 pm

      Wish you were right about “there is absolutely no reason to believe that the 1C of warming that real science suggests will be caused by a doubling will have much effect.”. The actual expectation from a doubled CO2 is 3C – we’ve already had .8C with less than half a doubling ((392-280)/280 = .4), and there is still a significant energy imbalance.  And if you look at the paleoclimate data, we need to keep the CO2 below 350ppm.  As the article says, “The climate is notoriously difficult to predict” – so we need to determine how much risk we are willing to take in allowing the temperature to exceed a “manageable” increase.

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    • By Andrew Holland on March 9, 2012 at 3:54 pm

      Thanks Mike – Glad you posted. This is an important point: climate change as a national security issue doesn’t have to be greens vs. the oil men. Security planners look at what has happened, and what could happen, then how to deal with it.

      But – I wonder what makes you say “Particularly as it will happen very slowly…almost imperceptibly.” Isn’t that a pretty dangerous assumption to make? What happens if it we have a dramatic, unpredicted change – like you mention in Scotland (My ancestors!) or as happened with the abrupt desertification of the Sahara 11,000 years ago (link). These sorts of abrupt, nonlinear changes are much more dangerous to security – and they need to be looked at.  

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    • By Eugene Hamptons on March 10, 2012 at 10:56 am

      Calling people anti-science if they aren’t suckered into believing climate is man made is like calling the tool who believe it is man made anti-intellect.  Fact is, the Science community is evenly split on the subject. Climate change always happens, it is not man made. That is how governments get tools to support cap and trade and carbon credits… the new world currency.

      The serious problem is media malpractice on the topic and tool like this “reporter” who have small minds but big mouths.

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      • By Cadie on March 10, 2012 at 4:13 pm

        Really?  As best I can tell 95% of better of climate scientists and those in related fields agree that humans are the primary driver of the climate shift we are now seeing.  That is not much of an even split.  

        http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/06/04/1003187107.abstract

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      • By fran_b__ on March 10, 2012 at 11:49 pm

        Calling people anti-science if they aren’t suckered into believing climate is man made is like calling the tool who believe it is man made anti-intellect.

        Nonsense. Putting your petitio principii “suckered” aside, you’re anti-science if you don’t respond to scientific claims with scientific claims. The deniers respond with illiterate long debunked and thus trolling counter-claims such as we have already seen on this page.

        I strongly recommend that those who want to think and learn review these debunked claims here: http://www.skepticalscience.com.

         Fact is, the Science community is evenly split on the subject.

        Not even close. Amongst publishing climate scientists, as Oreskes shows, it is 97%-3%.

        Climate change always happens, it is not man made.

        Non sequitur. Climate change does always happen. Recently, it has been man made. My car warms up every morning. That does not mean that if it begins heating rapidly after this has already occurred that something anomalous to which I should pay attention is not occurring. How fast it heats, from what base and in what circumstances is salient. In the case of the current anomaly, it matters whether it takes place over millions of years or dozens.

         

         

         

         

         

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      • By Chris on March 12, 2012 at 7:59 am

        Agreed, Eugene…  The person that wrote this article said the trolls would come out because of it.  I think the author has done quite a bit of trolling himself.  The ‘global warming’ hoax is a means to collect taxes, and that’s all it was meant to do.  I wish more people would realize that. 

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    • By Cow on March 12, 2012 at 11:50 am

      As illustrated in the chart of Ice Core data from the Soviet Station Vostok in Antarctica, CO2 concentrations in earth’s atmosphere move with temperature. Both temperatures and CO2 have been on the increase for 18,000 years. Interestingly, CO2 lags an average of about 800 years behind the temperature changes– confirming that CO2 is not a primary driver of the temperature changes.

       

      The idea that man-made pollution is responsible for global warming is not supported by historical fact. The period known as the Holocene Maximum is a good example– so-named because it was the hottest period in human history. The interesting thing is this period occurred approximately 7500 to 4000 years B.P. (before present)– long before humans invented industrial pollution.

       

      If global warming is caused by CO2 in the atmosphere then does CO2 also cause increased sun activity too?

      This chart adapted after Nigel Calder  illustrates that variations insun activity are generally proportional to both variations in atmospheric CO2and atmospheric temperature (Figure 3).

      Put another way, rising Earth temperatures and increasing CO2 are “effects” and our own sun the “cause”.

       

      http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/ice_ages.html

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    • By Tim on March 13, 2012 at 1:39 am

      Mike is totally right, global warming is a multi billion dollar lie spread to make certain people very rich, it is the lie that they have pulled over our eyes. 

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  2. By Bruce Jones on March 9, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Right on.  Thanks for the clear explanation!  Getting some sort of “fee and dividend” legislation (which Hansen supports) would be a good start.  We need get our citizens mobilized to lobby Congress next year to get the legislation passed.  Hopefully, over time, more people will understand the magnitude of the problem and we can take bolder steps.

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  3. By Michael A. Lewis, PhD on March 9, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    Trolls? Anti-science crowd?

    Was it really necessary to front load this piece with pejoratives? What are you afraid of?

    “It is unequivocal that this warming is being driven by man-made greenhouse gas emissions.”

    Yes, it’s obvious you are not a scientist. Nothing in science is unequivocal. There is no theory so embedded in concrete that it cannot benefit from research, verification and hypothesis testing. 

    It is not at all established to the point of certainty that observed climate variation is driven solely by  anthropogenic greenhouse gases. Quite the contrary. The body of evidence contradicting the AGW hypothesis is growing rapidly. But then, one must read the literature to be aware of this fact. 

    The fact that the security establishment looks at climate variation as a potential threat is inconsequential. To them, everything is a threat. That’s their job.It had no bearing whatsoever on the science of climate variation.  

     

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    • By fran_b__ on March 10, 2012 at 11:59 pm

      Was it really necessary to front load this piece with pejoratives?

      If the shoe fits …

      You quote:

      “It is unequivocal that this warming is being driven by man-made greenhouse gas emissions.”

      then declare:

      it’s obvious you are not a scientist. Nothing in science is unequivocal. There is no theory so embedded in concrete that it cannot benefit from research, verification and hypothesis testing. 

      You’re mixing up two things. There is currently no credible challenge to the causal link between increases in atmospheric concentrations of GHGs and rising global temperature. No other theory of the temperature rise fits the data we have. So it is unequivocal. That doesn’t mean that further research can serve no purpose. Until such research can present an alternative theory that better fits the data than rising GHGs however, the science is unequivocal, much as we have unequivocal evidence of the link between pathogens and disease.

      The body of evidence contradicting the AGW hypothesis is growing rapidly. But then, one must read the literature to be aware of this fact. 

      Those of us who follow the literature know that this is not the case. There is no body of evidence contradicting the IPCC position on this matter. None.

       

       

       

       

       

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  4. By Eugene Hamptons on March 10, 2012 at 10:59 am

    By calling people anti-science if they aren’t suckered into believing climate is man made is like calling the tool who believe it is man made anti-intellect.  Fact is, the Science community is evenly split on the subject. Climate change always happens, it is not man made. That is how governments get tools to support cap and trade and carbon credits… the new world currency. Fact.

    The serious problem is media malpractice on the topic and tool like this “reporter” who have small minds but big mouths.

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  5. By Roy Wagner on March 10, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    The Climate on this planet changes, Fact

    Are we the cause uncertain, Fact

    Are we helping the situation with current policy No, Fact

    If temperature rises  passes a certain point the Earth we live on will  change into a World we cannot live on, Fact

    Are we preventing or preparing for this NO, Fact

    Quit bitching about why and deal with the, Facts

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    • By fran_b__ on March 11, 2012 at 12:06 am

      The Climate on this planet changes, Fact; Are we the cause uncertain, Fact

      That’s not a fact at all. It’s a claim, and there’s inadequate support for it. To rely on it would be as disastrous as believing that one could drive through busy intersections against the red light at speed merely because one could not declare what the outcome would be with absolute certainty. We are certain enough to make not acting to mitigate anthropgenic emissions of GHGs utterly reckless conduct.

      We make most decisions in our lives with far less certainty than this. We encourage our kids to study hard in school, encourage them to eat a healthy diet, work hard at our jobs, choose our life partners with care and so forth, even though nobody can know that these decisions will pay off with anything like the certainty attaching to climate science or the related public policy.

       

       

       

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  6. By Al Gore on March 10, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Meanwhile occupywallstreet’s list of demands did not include climate change crisis because of Y2Kyoto’s “Carbon Stock Trading Markets” and Obama had not mentioned any crisis in his last two state of the union addresses. So as the world walked away from climate change crisis, what did the millions of people in the global scientific community do in response? Nothing could be worse than a climate crisis. Nothing! They had kids too? Exaggeration perhaps?

    Only a comet hit could have been worse than a climate crisis and if climate change had been real “science”, the hundreds of thousands of scientists would have been acting like it was a real crisis. Exaggeration trumped consensus and real planet lovers were glad, not disappointed a crisis was averted for whatever reason.

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  7. By tennie davis on March 10, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    Andrew, starting your opinion piece by name calling, does not facilitate a convincing argument. But I am suprised you left out “denier”.

    Since you are not a scientist, allow me to explain somthing to you about science, listen carfully.

    Science is not a popularity contest. Science is not about consensus, It is about the never ending search for truth,however inconvenient the truth may be.When science supposedly, comes to a consensus, along with the rest of the sheep, it simply becomes a religion.

    If you watermelons want to continue with your misguided mission to “save the planet”, do it on your own time, with your own money.Keep your filthy hands out of my pockets.

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    • By fran_b__ on March 11, 2012 at 12:18 am

      Science is not a popularity contest. Science is not about consensus, It is about the never ending search for truth,however inconvenient the truth may be.

      You attempt to win by equivocation. Scientific hypotheses that are seen as sound become working theory. These theories become the starting point for most research. If someone shows that accepted theory is flawed, then the theory is modified, more work taking account of a new hypothesis is done and a new theory emerges. Science is not randomised data seeking but a structured process in which both the methods for specifying and gathering salient data and the inference-making processes are the subject of review, precisely so that work can eventually eliminate that which is untenable.

      If you watermelons want to continue with your misguided mission to “save the planet”, do it on your own time, with your own money.Keep your filthy hands out of my pockets.

      And here we see the real reason for your objection. You have neither a grasp of science nor any interest in acquiring it. You object culturally to the consequences of accepting the scientific understanding of the physics of the industrial-era climate anomaly. You know that simply saying you don’t like the conclusions would make you seem ignorant and self-serving, and so you copy and paste specious scientistic talking points from those with a vested interest in opposing public policy.

      This is the method of all deniers, whether it has been on smoking, the ozone layer and CFCs, HIV and AIDS or as in this case, climate change.

       

       

       

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      • By AR_VA on March 12, 2012 at 7:48 am

        How do you explain the Medieval Warm Period from 900 to 1300 AD? How does that fit in to your “understanding of the physics of the, um, PRE industrial-era climate anomaly?”

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        • By Andrew Holland on March 12, 2012 at 8:24 am

          I was waiting for the Medieval Warm Period to be mentioned! Its always coming somewhere down the line in these threads!

          If you read my article, I pretty clearly state that it doesn’t really matter what is forcing climate change. We’re in for a good deal of warming, if current trends continue. And – there’s a good chance that trends will increase. I’m not going into all the science here, because that’s not my role. My role is to look at threats (note – not a threat is by definition not certain: it is a factor of risk and probability) and help to define a path to react to the threats.

          If you choose to simply ignore a threat, that is a choice. But – the American public usually has very little patience for its leaders when they ignore threats, and then that threat comes to pass. Was it pre-ordained that 4 planes would be used a guided missiles against American targets? No – but the 9/11 report showed that those threats were ignored. This is a slower-burning fuse (maybe!) but no less of a threat. 

          Thanks guys for reading and the debate – but let’s move on from the science and discuss threats, probabilities, and options. 

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        • By Fran Barlow on March 14, 2012 at 3:28 am

          How do you explain the Medieval Warm Period from 900 to 1300 AD? (sic)

          I don’t need to explain the “mediaeval warm period”. Firstly the so called MWP was not a global phenomenon — so whatever combination of factors drove a slightly warmer climate in Western Europe, and perhaps parts of the North Atlantic close tell us little useful about the contemporary warming, which, unlike that localised climate anomaly, is clearly explained. There is no escaping the reality that in energy budget terms, our planet is becoming warmer — we are retaining more incoming radiation than we are emitting to space — and the primary driver of this is the build up of anthropogenic GHGs.

          I would add that if you concede that it is possible for sustained warming to occur in as heavily populated a region was the North Atlantic without human contribution then you ought to be even more concerned now that it is clear that all of our contemporary global warming is of human origin. If whatever combination of factors drove this warming were to interact with the human signal to climate, the results would be more disastrous yet. That would imply an even more aggressive public policy stance than even most of those at government level imply might suffice since our downside risk would be even greater.

          One last thing you might consider. The black death which occurred at the end of the period you spoke of wiped out perhaps a qarter of the human population. Lands that had been cleared returned to forest and dendrochronology shows a decline in atmospheric CO2. This was correlated with a cooling trend which signalled the end of the “MWP” and by the middle of the millennium, a couple of significant minima. You might like to reflect on that.

          I appreciate, Mr Holland that you want to look at policy options rather than the science — which really is beyond serious demur — but the reality is that those who oppose public policy (like the correspondent above)  are using junk science arguments to avoid confronting these challenges.

          By 2050 there will be 9bn and possibly 10bn people on the planet. Even a tiny disruption to ecosystem services (eg the availability of coastal land for residence, water, agriculture, transport etc) will be disastrous for humanity as a whole. Unseasonal rains and unavailability at the right time of crop water too would spur significant human displacement and inevitably, serious conflicts and suffering. So too will heat waves and the movement of disease vector fauna such as mosquitos into regions where humans have hitherto not experienced them.

          It seems certain that we will get at least the 2degC by 2100. Short of some fancy geo-engineered global dimming (following Crutzen for example) we simply have too much in the pipeline to stop it. The question is whether we can stop 4degC and the associated catastrophe that would trigger in major population and food producing centres of the planet.

           

           

           

           

           

           

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  8. By Al Gore on March 11, 2012 at 7:42 am

     

     

    How could climate change be “REAL”, when climate change “crisis” wasn’t real and exaggeration of “crisis” trumps any and all scientific consensus? You couldn’t have a little tiny catastrophic climate crisis because and only a comet hit could have been worse than a climate crisis. And if it were a real “crisis”, the millions of people involved in the global scientific community would have been marching in the streets to save their children too. The global scientific community didn’t act like it was the crisis they said it was. Exaggeration is not a crime; it’s a research opportunity of a worst case scenario of an assumed to be real crisis. That’s why almost all climate change research was into effects, not causes. Look it up.

    These lab coat consultant’s milked this consultant’s wet dream of climate change science for 26 years of needless panic and made fear mongering neocons out of progressivists. Bush laughed as we and the criminal scientists condemned billions of children to a CO2 demise.

     

    Climate change scientists have done to science what abusive priests did for religion. Oh, and science; thanks for the pesticides too.

     

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  9. By CO2 on March 12, 2012 at 3:26 am

    All links so far are worthless.  Both sides arguments are driven by their huge biases. Please post at least one good study that takes into account mother earth’s responses to a rising climate.

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  10. By DRJJJ on March 12, 2012 at 11:48 am

    Lower the National freeway speed limit to 62.5 mph/100 kilometers 50 states max! We’d all still  be driving almost 70, just not 80+!! It’s instant, proven, cheap, fair, saves oil and lives!

    Read any MPG forum regarding MPG above 65 or so-massive/compelling evidence! Also, plenty of data from the last time we did it! When MPG falls like a rock above 60, emssions spike!! NO BRAINER/KISS! Conservative Engineer!

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  11. By Cow on March 12, 2012 at 11:52 am

    As illustrated in the chart of Ice Core data from the Soviet Station Vostok in Antarctica, CO2 concentrations in earth’s atmosphere move with temperature. Both temperatures and CO2 have been on the increase for 18,000 years. Interestingly, CO2 lags an average of about 800 years behindthe temperature changes– confirming that CO2 is not a primary driver of the temperature changes.

     

    The idea that man-made pollution is responsible for global warming is not supported by historical fact. The period known as the Holocene Maximum is a good example– so-named because it was the hottest period in human history. The interesting thing is this period occurred approximately 7500 to 4000 years B.P. (before present)– long before humans invented industrial pollution.

     

    If global warming is caused by CO2 in the atmosphere then does CO2 also cause increased sun activity too?

    This chart adapted after Nigel Calder  illustrates that variations insun activity are generally proportional to both variations in atmospheric CO2and atmospheric temperature (Figure 3).

    Put another way, rising Earth temperatures and increasing CO2 are “effects” and our own sun the “cause”.

     

    http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/ice_ages.html

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  12. By Ron Russman on March 12, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    If it walks like duck and quacks like a duck, don’t call it a kitty cat.  Our magnificent planet could haul off and wipe us out.  I want to see people talking about strategies for handling extreme weather.  let’s face it, we like to pretend that  we are “Modern”.  I’ve been hearing that stuff since I was a kid–believed it.  We are still pretty much just camping out.  The next big wind puts us on an insurance spread sheet and that works for the survivors. Smokey the puppy left with the tornado or maybe worse.  Our infrastructure sucks in the face of forces which we are apparently pretending won’t get us even when well studied scientist show mathematical arguements to the contrary.  We let our food distribution system poison us, our energy distribution concepts haven’t changed much in the 40 some years I’ve watched them, we still burn fossel fuels when all the energy we need is in the wind, which would actually slow down a tiny bit.  I think its about worshiping money and rich people who make decisions for us because they know how to make money, oh yeah, their house can stand a bigger kick than yours can–wanna bet?  Guess where they got the money from.

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  13. By Ed Reid on March 18, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Climate and climate change cannot properly be discussed in a national context, since there is no “national climate”. The climate of the earth is a global climate and must be discussed as such. Seventeen COPs (and counting) have demonstrated that such a discussion is fraught with difficulty.

    There is no state, regional or national law which could have a significant impact on global climate, despite the fondest wishes of Henry Waxman, Edward Markey, John Kerry, Joseph Lieberman, Barbara Boxer et al.

    Interestingly, despite the $billions in expenditures for decades of analysis, there is: no single, concrete goal expressed in percentage of emissions reduction, or maximum atmospheric concentration; no plan to achieve that goal; and, no commonly accepted timeline for accomplishing the non-existent common goal. What we have, as a result of our collective efforts over more than three decades, is a “wish” that the globe not warm too much. 

    Some believe that the atmospheric concentration of CO2 must not be allowed to exceed 450 ppm. Others believe that the atmospheric concentration must be reduced to 350 ppm. Still others believe a reduction back to the pre-industrial level of 270 ppm is essential.  Some believe that current global annual CO2 emissions must be reduced by half to halt the AGW, while others believe that CO2 emissions must be eliminated to achieve that result. Some believe that animal husbandry must cease globally to achieve control. Others believe population controls are essential, though they steadfastly refuse to discuss methods of achieving the reductions they believe are essential. Still others believe that wealth redistribution is a critical element of the overall solution. Some believe only an overarching global government could possibly achieve what is required.

    I, on the other hand, am still searching for the pony. :-)   

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  14. By Anne Hicks on June 1, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    What a great article

    Hello and thank you for this article. So-called environmentally induced migration is multi-level problem. According to Essam El-Hinnawi definition form 1985 environmental refugees as those people who have been forced to leave their traditional habitat, temporarily or permanently, because of a marked environmental disruption (natural or triggered by people) that jeopardised their existence and/or seriously affected the quality of their life. The fundamental distinction between `environmental migrants` and `environmental refugees` is a standpoint of contemporsry studies in EDPs.

    According to Bogumil Terminski it seems reasonable to distinguish the general category of environmental migrants from the more specific (subordinate to it) category of environmental refugees.

    Environmental migrants, therefore, are persons making a short-lived, cyclical, or longerterm change of residence, of a voluntary or forced character, due to specific environmental factors. Environmental refugees form a specific type of environmental migrant.

    Environmental refugees, therefore, are persons compelled to spontaneous, short-lived, cyclical, or longer-term changes of residence due to sudden or gradually worsening changes in environmental factors important to their living, which may be of either a short-term or an irreversible character.

    According to Norman Myers environmental refugees are “people who can no longer gain a secure livelihood in their homelands because of drought, soil erosion, desertification, deforestation and other environmental problems, together with associated problems of population pressures and profound poverty”.

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