21 September 2019
Straight Talk From an Expert on Climate Change
Posted by Dan Satterfield
This is why Katherine Hayhoe got the UN Champion of the Earth Award this month. She deserved it. This is how you communicate science.
From her Twitter feed on August 23rd:
And the response when Dr. Hayhoe posts things like this:
…and the truth of the matter is that those who claim it is not real are not basing their opinion on fact or evidence. It’s based on FEAR:
Science does not care how afraid you are to accept the truth. Nor does it care in the least how much it will inconvenience you or raise your tax bill. It is simply (as Richard Feynman put it) “what we do to keep from lying to ourselves.”
So, if true, why not try to get China and India to curb pollutants? The USA has reduced emissions during the last several decades.
China and India are moving rapidly toward a clean energy economy. China installs more green energy every year than the USA has in the last decade. It’s worth keeping in mind that most of the co2 in the atmosphere now is not from China or India, but western countries and chief among them is the USA. None the less, it’s a global problem that must be solved and because one country does not respond is no excuse for not doing as much as possible. The carbon footprint of the USA is far far higher per capita than China or India. So really a straw man argument.
What about the thermodynamics of Earth? Climate is a byproduct of multiple systems, yet there is a set equilibrium between matter and energy. For temps to rise, they would need to fall elsewhere. For the entire earth to heat, the energy to produce the phenomenon would have to come from elsewhere in the system.
Usually, on Earth, when one portion warms, another cools—like high and low pressure systems, polar areas. In fact, around the Arctic, melting and freezing extremes offset each in the ice pack around the pole. When it is extreme near Russia, it is milder near Canada.
(Part of this comment makes accusations which are against the comment policy and were removed.)
This is a variation on an old argument about the second law of thermodynamics. What you are forgetting is that the heat does NOT have to come from somewhere else in the system. It comes from the sun outside of the system. Only 3 things impact Earths’s temperature outside of internal natural oscillations. 1. Incoming solar radiation. 2. Albedo of the planet (how much gets immediately reflected and adds no heat) and 3. The level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
With none the Earth would according to Stefan Boltzman law be around 255K instead of 288K. The oceans would freeze! The natural GHG effect keeps the planet around 30C warmer than it would be at our distance from the sun. You were probably taught the Earth was just the right distance from the Sun in elementary school, but you were told wrong!
The rest of the argument is covered here and I usually just link to it since it is so common. http://rabett.blogspot.com/2017/10/an-evergreen-of-denial-is-that-colder.html
I might point out that the IPCC experts and others spend many hours studying atmospheric thermodynamics. I had a hard course as an undergrad even and it was immediately obvious that your argument was wrong based on that course alone.