The latest up-to-date science on global warming by mattsteinglass
June 29, 2009, 1:21 am
Filed under: Environment

This is the summary of a report from a mainstream US Government research body formed by the Department of Energy.

We have examined the principal attempts to simulate the effects of increased atmospheric CO2 on climate. In doing so, we have limited our considerations to the direct climatic effects of steadily rising atmospheric concentrations of CO2 and have assumed a rate of CO2increase that would lead to a doubling of airborne concentrations by some time in the first half of the twenty-first century. As indicated in Chapter 2 of this report, such a rate is consistent with observations of CO2 increases in the recent past and with projections of its future sources and sinks. …When it is assumed that the CO2 content of the atmosphere is doubled and statistical thermal equilibrium is achieved, the more realistic of the modeling efforts predict a global surface warming of between 2°C and 3.5°C, with greater increases at high latitudes.

So there you go. Sounds about par for the course, right? Seems to fit the predictions you see in other studies, like that MIT study published in May that predicts global warming of 5.2 degrees Celsius by 2100, and so on. Probably a middle-of-the-road study from last December or so, eh?

Except in fact the above report dates from 1979. It’s called “Carbon Dioxide and Climate: A Scientific Assessment,” and it’s the report of the Carbon Dioxide Effects Research and Assessment Program, formed by James Schlesinger, who became the first Secretary of Energy after President Carter created the department in 1977. This is well before James Hansen delivered his celebrated warnings to Congress in the mid-1980s.

We’ve known about all this stuff for 30 years now. Everything one might have expected to occur based on the report has, in fact, happened in the subsequent 30 years. The scientific consensus has become overwhelming as the data and models become orders of magnitude more convincing and sophisticated. Yet there are still people wandering around arguing it’s not happening, and it’s taken us 3 decades to even begin to do anything about it. Talk about a procrastination problem.


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I literally gasped when I came to the section of your blog saying that study was from ’79.

Ran into a friend the other day who is very environmentally conscientious yet he was going on and on about some study he’d read that said even if we as a species didn’t exist, global warming would be occurring. I agreed that our planet’s temperature ebbs and flows….but reminded him that without our input this happens at a much, much slower rate.

It blows my mind that anyone would waste even a penny or a moment of precious time conducting a study with the intention of trying to disprove the obvious consequences of the way we are choosing to live.

Comment by Forrester McLeod

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