Earlier this week I posted my comments pertaining to President Obama's remarks about climate change in his Inaugural Address. I wanted to follow up because of the amount of controversy my comments generated.
From Facebook, email, and other comments we have the following typical comment.
You are simply wrong on this issue, and it is irresponsible and dangerous for someone in your position of trust to mislead the public into believing that there is more uncertainty with regard to AGW than there is.
One, since deleted, predicted I would be responsible for the "deaths of thousands" and ended with a sarcastic "congratulations" because I do not believe storms have increased and believe that, when netted out, global warming will be a small problem. Not a non-problem, but a small problem. I see nothing that indicates catastrophic global warming is imminent and I believe that adaptation and mitigation make far more sense than trillion dollar (literally) schemes to decarbonize the atmosphere and put in 'green' energy.
I dislike the idea of "consensus" in science. Science is about what can be proven. That said, I would like to provide some wisdom from scientists that believe -- more than I do -- that global warming is a problem that needs action.
Let's start with environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg in today's Wall Street Journal. The following are direct quotes:
Historical analysis of wildfires around the world shows that since 1950 their numbers have decreased globally by 15%. Estimates published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences show that even with global warming proceeding uninterrupted, the level of wildfires will continue to decline until around midcentury and won't resume on the level of 1950—the worst for fire—before the end of the century...
Claiming that droughts are a consequence of global warming is also wrong. The world has not seen a general increase in drought...
As for one of the favorites of alarmism, hurricanes in recent years don't indicate that storms are getting worse. Measured by total energy (Accumulated Cyclone Energy), hurricane activity is at a low not encountered since the 1970s. The U.S. is currently experiencing the longest absence of severe landfall hurricanes in over a century—the last Category 3 or stronger storm was Wilma, more than seven years ago.
If these sound familiar, these were the same points as in my original posting. But, you might say, "I'd like more evidence." Fair enough.
Here is what the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said on November 28:
It is premature to conclude that human activities--and particularly greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming--have already had a detectable impact on Atlantic hurricane activity.
Here is Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr's, updated graph of normalized (adjusted for inflation and national wealth) hurricane losses in the United States:
The IPCC SREX report (see original post at top link) says,
"Long-term trends in normalized economic disaster losses cannot be reliably attributed to natural or anthropogenic climate change."
A draft of the (due in April) forthcoming IPCC summary report was leaked about a month ago and it says about the same thing: No indication, so far, of increased disasters due to climate change. I am not going to quote those sections because it is a draft and might change before the final version is released.
I could go on but, as I said in the original posting, President Obama's remarks were not justified by the science. Might the science change in the future? Sure. But, current science does not support worsening storms, droughts or wildfires.
Finally, there is the issue of whether earth's temperatures are rising. They are not. For simplicity, here is a composite of the four primary indices (HADCRUT, NASA GIS, RSS, and UAH) since 1990. You can verify the graph below by clicking here.
So, there you have it. Between the original posting and this update you should have a pretty good idea of the state of the science in this regard.
Addition: Please see my exchange with Pam Knox in the comments below. I've added the annotated graph to help you follow the questions I am asking.