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Climate Change Suddenly Looks a Lot Closer

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The problem with bad news on climate change is that it just keeps stacking up and up, and the media, inevitably, gets bored with what seems to be “more of the same”. This is probably why the Arctic ice pack story hasn’t got anything like the attention it deserved this week.

Sea ice in the Arctic has failed to re-form for the second consecutive winter…

The greatest fear is that an environmental “positive feedback” has kicked in, where global warming melts ice which in itself causes the seas to warm still further as more sunlight is absorbed by a dark ocean rather than being reflected by white ice….

Although sea levels are not affected by melting sea ice – which floats on the ocean – the Arctic ice cover is thought to be a key moderator of the northern hemisphere’s climate. It helps to stabilise the massive land glaciers and ice sheets of Greenland which have the capacity to raise sea levels dramatically.

If that isn’t scary enough for you, the killer line is on the end of the article – that this outcome is predicted by climate change models, but under those models it was not supposed to happen for “a few decades yet”.

I’ve joined the Green Party, got involved in other small ways with environmental work, with the thought that I was doing my bit to prevent catastrophe after I was dead. After reading and thinking about this story, however, I had a flash of a serious thought, for the first time, whether I should buy 10 acres in some carefully calculated spot (somewhere high up, but not likely to get too hot), build a bloody great wall around it, and learn how to get self-sufficient, fast.

I’ve read a bit around the fall of the Roman Empire. They didn’t believe it could happen either – at least not in their lifetimes.

But hey, I have had one tiny success. I’m often at the British Library, where they supply thick, clear plastic bags for people to carry supplies into the reading rooms, which can be easily checked by staff. Every evening, there are stacks of these scattered around the locker room and cloak room, where readers have dumped them. Many of these same readers come back the next day and pick up a pristine new one, although I’ve found by experience they can easily last for months.

So I left a comment in the appropriate box and yesterday got back an email:

Your suggestion of a notice encouraging readers to re-use their clear plastic bags, when using the Library, is very much appreciated. Your comments have been forwarded to the relevant section requesting a notice be placed in the cloak room. It is hoped that this will soon be in place.

Might have saved about one cube of ice there; a “drop in the ocean” is the phrase that comes to mind.

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About Natalie Bennett

Natalie blogs at Philobiblon, on books, history and all things feminist. In her public life she's the leader of the Green Party of England and Wales.
  • http://www.co2emissions.org.uk Hoggle

    Good article. The trouble with science is that it moves too slow. By the time it proves that climate change will destroy civilisation, the remaining people won’t have the time or inclination to read their publications – they’ll be too busy trying to find their next meal in a failing ecosystem.
    To avoid this consequence, we must not only stop emitting CO2, we must find a way to accelerate its extraction from the atmosphere.

  • http://philobiblion.blogspot.com Natalie Bennett

    Indeed, Hoggle. The nature of the scientific method is that “proof”, in the absolute sense, will only come at the point when we all suddenly realise the usefulness of flippers.

    From what I’ve heard a sensible framework is for one-third of the reduction in greenhouse gas emmission to come from energy saving (which is INCREDIBLY) easy, one third from using renewable energy such as solar and wind, and one third from carbon sequestration. Although I must admit to doubts about the last. The problem is that if you start storing huge quantities, you better be very, very sure it is not going to – ever – escape.

  • http://www.djradiohead.com DJRadiohead

    This is good stuff. The problem with most modern activism is the lack of action. There is a lot of talking and hot air (which can’t help with global warming a bit) and not a lot of doing.

    It’s good to see some doing rather than the bitching, moaning, and pretentious lecturing that so often attempts to pass for activism.

  • http://www.co2emissions.org.uk Hoggle

    It depends on your targets – Those adopted by Kyoto are like trying to avoid drowning by carrying a bucket. Efficiency through conversion to decentralised power generation might reduce emissions by 20% alone. Of course, the fastest way to do it would be to add the cost of extracting the CO2 from the atmosphere to the fuels at the point of consumption.
    But any government that did that too quickly would crash their economy. If that was done we would not be able to prepare for the consequences we can’t avoid.

  • http://www.thebluesmokeband.com Brian Sorrell

    Excellent job Natalie!

    I think that part of the problem with this discussion, as far as the mainstream media is concerned, is that most folks are caught in a false dilemma: that global warming is either a natural occurrence or that global warming is due to human-based influences. Thus pundits and commentators tend to fall into (false) opposing camps and lots of petty scrapping happens while little gets solved.

    There is sufficient evidence on both sides of the dilemma, which suggests to me that human influences have exacerbated natural phenomena. From my perspective, this reframes the question to something like “How do we regulate human behavior such that it will not exacerbate natural warming?”

    I think that the topic stated in that sort of way allows that neither side of the false dilemma has to lose face (which so important in the MSM), and some positive discussion might finally start.

    Optimistically, I see this starting to happen. Now, is it too late??

  • sal m

    how does evidence on both sides of the dilemma suggest that human influences have exacerbated natural phenomena?

    why is the science that indicates that a drastic climate change is coming any more reliable than the science that indicates contrary findings?

    what accounts for the past climactic shifts that the planet has undergone before man walked the earth and/or had these behaviors that are supposed to be able to impact this shift?

    i find it hard to believe that science can predict any cataclysmic climate changes when it can’t even accurately predict the weather.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    So far with climate change, we’ve been dealing with the boiling frog syndrome. You put the frog in cool to medium water in a pot and light a slow fire underneath. The frog never realizes as it warms up, that it is cooking to death – till it is too late.

  • http://philobiblion.blogspot.com Natalie Bennett

    Sal, when you have consensus among experts in the field, when the climate is behaving in just the way the models are predicting, when you see the end-point of those models, can you afford not to believe?

    The difference between now and previous “natural” climate change is that then it usually happened over tens or hundreds of thousands of years, so ecosystems had time to adjust. Now this is happening over decades…

    And predicting the weather at any one minute in time is actually a great deal more complicated than looking at say ocean temperature and what it is likely to be in ten years’ time, because the influences are much greater.

  • http://www.thebluesmokeband.com Brian Sorrell

    how does evidence on both sides of the dilemma suggest that human influences have exacerbated natural phenomena?

    What I want to say is that the media spin on this issue seems to play one set of data against another set of data. My suggestion is that there is plenty of evidence that, over long periods of time, there have been changes in the climate without human influence. There is also plenty of evidence that shows that recent changes in the climate have been very rapid compared to prior periods of change. All of this taken together suggests that there are many influences on climate change, and that human action is one of those influences — possibly (likely) a significant influence.

    why is the science that indicates that a drastic climate change is coming any more reliable than the science that indicates contrary findings?

    This is exactly the false dilemma that I’m talking about. See how you shut the discussion off by asking the question in this way? (That’s a rhetorical question, so don’t just answer “No”.)

    i find it hard to believe that science can predict any cataclysmic climate changes when it can’t even accurately predict the weather.

    Even if you were correct in your assertion that weather prediction is not accurate, the failure of one scientific model does not imply the failure of all other scientific models. But then, your assessment of weather prediction is indeed wrong. So even if we allowed the logical gaff, your point would not stand.

  • http://www.djradiohead.com DJRadiohead

    But then, your assessment of weather prediction is indeed wrong.

    Forgive me for getting off on a bit of a tangent in an otherwise larger debate but weather forecasting does indeed still leave a lot to be desired.

    when you have consensus among experts in the field, when the climate is behaving in just the way the models are predicting, when you see the end-point of those models, can you afford not to believe?

    Can you afford not to be skeptical? Consider how many times the experts agreed and the experts proved wrong over time. I use the word skeptical because I do not think we should ignore the experts, either. There has to be a balance. I think this is what Brian alludes to in his comments. We should not rush to judgment or to action and we should not fail to be aware of mounting data.

  • http://philobiblion.blogspot.com Natalie Bennett

    But there is now data, a vast amount of data, that is all pointing one way. Hell, you can even feel it – in the heat of summer, in the disturbed winter weather.

    Nine of the past ten years have been the world’s hottest on record, and the odd one out was in the decade before that.

    That, with extremely solid data on rising ocean temperatures, on melting icecaps, on ecological change, with species living in places previously too cold for them – what more do you want?

  • http://www.djradiohead.com DJRadiohead

    Nine of the past 10 years is not that large a snapshot in the grand scheme of things and I am not sure how confident I am in our ability to truly know temperature data from 500 years ago let alone 5,000 years ago.

    I think we can do better by our environment and should. I also think maintaining some degree of skepticism and an open mind that we still might not know what the blue hell we are talking about is in order in light of everything we don’t know. For all the data we have in hand there is still so much we do not have. Does that mean we should not take steps to put to use the knowledge we have gained? Certainly not. Remaining skeptical so as not to create new problems with our solutions to this one seems reasonable.

    As for it all pointing one direction, I submit the current climate for presenting data suggesting other possibilities is not hospitable. Are we getting the answers we are looking for or are we getting the truth?

    I am glad to hear you took some action in addition to writing your column here. I think that is awesome.

  • http://philobiblion.blogspot.com Natalie Bennett

    The climate for alternative ideas not hospitable? Huh? With George Bush and the oil lobby running around begging someone, anyone, to come up with an “alternative” view.

    And if you are worried about the timeframe, there was a study that went back 1,200 years, using a wide range of techniques.

  • fos

    Im waiting for my beach-front in Missouri.

  • fos

    What the heck, 14,15, and 16. How did this happen. Im flooded out.

  • http://www.thebluesmokeband.com Brian Sorrell

    There’s more to evidence of global warming than simply “knowing temperature data”. There is plenty of geologic and fossil data, for example, that yields insights into how things have changed over time.

    I think that it’s pretty clear that human actions have an influence on large-scale climate patterns. Personally, I don’t feel that the extent of that effect changes whether we should take action to lessen the effect. We should make changes. Big changes. My point is that we should recognize, at the same time, that there is more going on than just human consumption.

    Or how about if I put it this way: we should allow the topic to remain as incredibly complicated as it clearly is, and at the same time, recognize that human actions contribute to the problem — and that’s something in our control.

    I just find that polarizing the issue is dangerous because, much as in US politics, the false debate ends up overshadowing the significance of the problem.

  • http://jpsgoddamnblog.blogspot.com JP

    Thanks for posting this, it needs the exposure since our current leadership has its head buried in the sand.

  • http://www.co2emissions.org.uk Hoggle

    I would like to point out that most politicians – including (at least in his words if not in his actions) the imbecile in the whitehouse, now accept that the science is incontravertible, and the IPCC’s next report will underline that fact. The only areas of scientific doubt that remain are around the speed of the impact and it’s exact nature. The regular presentation of the topic as bi-polar is a media manufactured debate and does not represent the views of the scientific community accurately.
    The debate is now, almost wholly, under the heading “What can we do to avoid the destruction of civilisation”. No-one who has actually studied the topic for any length of time now denies that climate change has the potential to cause such destruction, nor that it is happening.
    Even the arch-denier, Bjorn Lomborg, restricts himself to claiming that the money to alleviate the dangers would be better spent on other, more immediate issues – a tacit admission that it is an issue that will have to be dealt with eventually.

    I invite you all to join a more general discussion on the politics of climate change

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    And Hoggle swallows the whole goldfish without having to chew. Good job.

    The idea that there’s unanimity on this issue among scientists is absolutely laughable. The numbers of climatologists who question the idea of human agency is enormous and growing, and there’s still a substantial body who question the entire theory of global warming and the models on which it is based.

    And the idea that global warming will lead to ‘the destruction of civilization’ is just ridiculous.

    This is a case of those who support the theory operating on the belief that if they shout loud enough and deny the existence of reality strongly enough then people will stop pointing out the flaws in their theory.

    That’s not the way scientific discourse works and as a technique it demonstrates that the global warming supporters are scientifically bankrupt and are relying on political bully tactics to push their agenda.

    Dave

  • http://philobiblion.blogspot.com Natalie Bennett

    Can you quote some of these scientists Dave, and the reputable journals they’ve been published in?

    As for the collapse of civilisation – well a 2m rise in sea levels is going to wipe out a majority of the world’s major cities. Might be a bit of impact on civilisation there, just for starters.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Can you quote some of these scientists Dave, and the reputable journals they’ve been published in?

    Of course I can, but I’m working on a whole article about it, so I’ll hold off on doing it right here and now. We’re talking journals like Science Daily, the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Research News and others.

    As for the collapse of civilisation – well a 2m rise in sea levels is going to wipe out a majority of the world’s major cities. Might be a bit of impact on civilisation there, just for starters.

    You may have misread your figures there. The predicted rise in sea levels at the most generous is more like 1m over the next century, and more typical estimates are in the 10cm range – and even that is a considerable acceleration over the 2.5cm rise of the last century. There is some concern for Tuvalu and some of the other sea-level islands, but the whole flooded cities scenario is unrealistic.

    DAve

  • http://philobiblion.blogspot.com Natalie Bennett

    Tuvalu is indeed facing the effects, as this article demonstrates. And 1m over the coming century is what is generally predicted, as in this article, with more to come after that. Beyond that you’ve looking at 2m in the span of some decades.

    One metre will make one hell of a difference, particularly combined with more extreme weather conditions – more hurricanes and stronger hurricanes etc.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    1m is serious, but it’s something that can be dealt with. Coastal cities around the world were able to deal with that much higher sea levels in the last warming period with much less sophisticated technology than we have today. The sea levels in the period prior to 1200ad were considerably higher than are projected for the next century and people survived.

    Remember the Netherlands has functioned fine with 25% of its land area below sea level for over a thousand years.

    Dave

  • http://www.co2emission.org.uk Hoggle

    If I can quote from the ethical guidelines of the ACS:
    B. Ethical Obligations of Authors
    1. An author’s central obligation is to present an accurate account of the research performed as well as an objective discussion of its significance.

    and
    12. The authors should reveal to the editor any potential conflict of interest, e.g., a consulting or financial interest in a company, that might be affected by publication of the results contained in a manuscript.

    I look forward to your posting a link to the article here so that we may read it and discover how this conspiracy has been achieved in the face of such intense scrutiny by an antagonistic opposition funded by the richest corporations in the world.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Ok, Hoggle, just for you, here’s the ACS Article. Take particular note of the comment in the last paragraph about being war of ‘environmental zealots’.

    Dave

  • troll

    Dave – the authors of the five year old report based on ten year old data that you cite say:

    *we have at least 25 years in which to sharpen our understanding of climate and seek valid predictions, without contributing to serious climate change*

    so now we have 20 years left – have we come closer to understanding what’s going on – ?

    are our predictions improving – ?

    troll

  • Dave Nalle

    From what I’ve seen, troll, in the last 5 years what we’ve been seeing is more and more evidence suggesting that human causation and human ability to change global warming are both less credible, and massive evidence that the simplistic warming model is unrealistic. There’s a reason why more and more experts are referring to what’s happening as global climate change rather than global warming.

    Dave

  • troll

    Dave – I look forward to your post presenting the data…though I’m not as interested in the question of ‘human cause’ as in whether or not there are things that humans can do now to influence the trend

    troll

  • http://www.co2emission.org.uk Hoggle

    I read the article, and it repeats all of the refuted arguments of climate sceptics the world over. Perhaps the financing from Exxon (see Sourcewatch article on The Heartland Institute) skewed their impartiality, but even giving them the benefit of the doubt on that, the arguments are decidedly vague and shaky.

    I have written a long breakdown of their logical fallacies but there’s no space here for such detail.

    This does the trick, and a long hard look at wikipedia will also enlighten you.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    I’ve already read the Wikipedia article, and it’s amusing. It’s controlled by a group of the aforementiioned environmental fanatics, so it can’t be seen as impartial. As for refuting their science, you can call it refutation if you like, but for me refutation involved proof not theory and not repeated denial of the conclusions based on nothing more than them not agreeing with the dominant theory.

    And that’s what the climate change argument comes down to, an argument between two (or more) different theories, none of them absoltutely provable.

    Dave

  • Forwarder

    Source-Cnbc, Washington post, AP news wire, New York Times…

    WASHINGTON – A senior official at the White House Council on Environmental Quality has resigned, days after a newspaper reported he changed some government reports to downplay links between greenhouse gas emissions and global warming by changing scientific data that say a change is definate, to one that reads that it is doubtful.

    Philip Cooney, the council’s chief of staff and a former energy industry lobbyist, resigned on Friday, two days after The New York Times reported he edited some descriptions of climate research in a way that cast doubt on links between greenhouse gas emissions and rising temperatures.

  • Forwarder

    Source USA today…White House defends editing of climate reports
    By Dan Vergano, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON — The White House on Wednesday defended the actions of one of its key staffers who’s publicly accused of editing government reports to downplay the link between “greenhouse” gases and global warming.
    But some scientists reacted angrily. It’s “par for the course from the administration, in terms of interfering with science for political ends,” said Luke Warren of the Union of Concerned Scientists, which has criticized the Bush administration’s science policies.

    The New York Times reported Wednesday that Philip Cooney, chief of staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, changed descriptions of climate research approved by government scientists.

    The Times said that Cooney, a lawyer and former lobbyist with the American Petroleum Institute, made notes on drafts of reports issued in 2002 and 2003, removing or adjusting language on climate research.

    Some of the changes were as subtle as adding the words “significant and fundamental” before the word “uncertainties,” the Times reported. In one section, he crossed out a paragraph describing the projected reduction of glaciers and snowpack, the newspaper said.

    White House spokesman Scott McClellan said in a press briefing that Cooney’s editing was part of a broad review by 15 federal agencies, including policy people like Cooney as well as scientists. “Everybody who is involved in these issues should have input in these reports, and that’s all this is,” he says.

    Climate change has been controversial for the Bush administration since 2001, when it withdrew support for the Kyoto Protocol, a global pact to curb greenhouse-gas emissions. The administration questioned the cost and scientific merit of planned constraints.

    “Scientists are best equipped to inform the public about climate science, not White House lawyers,” says Naomi Oreskes of the University of California, San Diego. “People have a right to know the truth about climate science and the scientific consensus on the seriousness of this problem,” she says.

  • http://www.co2emission.org.uk Hoggle

    Refutation involves pointing out logical flaws, which is easy to do when hardly any climate sceptics are scientists and those that are use the argument “the environment changes naturally, therefore all environmental change is natural”

    As for wikipedia being controlled by fanatics, it is controlled by all its readers – that’s the point. The only things that remain on articles about contraversial topics such as this are those things that everyone, fanatic and irrational alike, cannot find a way to disprove.

    And I’m proud to call myself a fan of the environment. I support it whole-heartedly. I am surprised you class yourself as its opponent.

  • http://philobiblion.blogspot.com Natalie Bennett

    And Dave, one more thought. If I’m wrong (not sadly that I think there’s a very high risk of that) what will be the outcome? A cleanier, healthier human society (fewer pollution deaths, fitter humans due to more walking and cycling etc), new technologies developed (wind, solar etc), more self-sufficient societies (fewer “food-miles”, more sustainable farming). If you are wrong? … the end of the world as we know it. (Which who knows, might end up fine in the end, but I don’t fancy going through the process.)

  • Turbo_Glide

    I must be confused, maybe delusional, maybe even senile at my age but I do have eyes, can still read, use a tape measure and see that over the years that I used to get 11 to 14 ft of snow at my mountain cabin, and now I only get 1 ft in the worst of winter. I smell the pollution from the big city a good 200 miles away and over 3 mountain ranges. In other locations that I’ve lived and visited it’s the same story. Correct me if I’m wrong but that sure seems a trend to me. So I did the next simple step and started checking records anywhere I could find them. Not being a scientist or government flunky I think I’m entitled to say what I’ve found.
    Facts and records in Canada, Europe and northern Asia point to global warming / climate change to the extent to which has not been seen [recently] in 1200 to 1500 yrs. Records in many libraries, traditional passing of information and many other sources tell of warming to catastrophic levels approximately every 12,000 / 12,500 yrs. Ice layers in Greenland, Himalayas and Northern Canada sure do point to substantiating this very clearly.
    The earth is warming up at a slightly speedy rate not seen in 12,000 yrs. Icecaps are loosing ice built up of over 64,000 yrs. and some places 100,000 yrs. Even Inuit in Northern Canada and scientists checking Antarctica have confirmed the same. Now I don’t know what you would call that but I sure seem to think there’s something to it. So I really don’t care what newspapers, governments or TV say, I’d rather be smart enough to be prepared whatever the case may be.
    Don’t take my word for it; open your eyes or get off your ass and check.
    Oops, I wasn’t supposed to say? Must have slipped. 😉

    coder / fishnet / PhD, MD, QC
    Proud to be Canadian

  • http://www.co2emission.org.uk Hoggle

    This discussion
    dissects and refutes the fallacious solar forcing arguments recycled (at least he is recycling something) above. It also goes into some detail about the reasns for lag between co2 and temperature at different times.

    Neither phenomenon has any bearing on the validity of the scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming

  • http://philobiblion.blogspot.com Natalie Bennett

    Thanks Turbo-Glide for a powerful personal account!

  • http://www.co2emission.org.uk Hoggle

    and, at the risk of overdoing the evidence…

    This shows the degree of correlation between temperature and CO2, CH4 and insolation.

    [Actually Hoggle, you wouldn’t be overdoing anything if you made your links active… Thank you. Comments Editor]

  • http://www.co2emission.org.uk Hoggle

    Sorry – wasn’t sure how – most forms filter out HTML.

    Testing…
    Another CO2 Temperature Plot

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Comments #28 and #35 provide me with the guidance I need. That is to say, the weather has been warming up (even though I seem to be cooling down) and the issue is not in finger pointing, but where do we go from here.

    It may be that we can’t influence the weather as much as we think we can, or that we can’t alter our behavior sufficiently to alter the influences we may be creating on the climate.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    To #35. Can you be sure that your low snowfall is the result of warming rather than a reduction in precipitation? The precipitation pattern changed dramatically this winter. The US east coast got lots and lots, with record amounts of snow late into the year. We’re talking a foot of snow in Virginia in February, which is virtually unheard of.

    Down here in Texas, like in Canada, our precipitation was low, but we had the most hard freezes we’ve had in a decade. That would suggest the opposite of global warming, but as I’m sure you’re aware one year does not a trend make.

    troll: Dave – I look forward to your post presenting the data…though I’m not as interested in the question of ‘human cause’ as in whether or not there are things that humans can do now to influence the trend

    The thing is that if humans don’t have the ability to cause a climate shift, then they may not have enough invluence in the environment to stop one either. Or even worse, they may have enough of an influence to help the ball get rolling, but not nearly enough to stop it once nature takes over.

    Natalie B: one more thought. If I’m wrong (not sadly that I think there’s a very high risk of that) what will be the outcome? A cleanier, healthier human society (fewer pollution deaths, fitter humans due to more walking and cycling etc), new technologies developed (wind, solar etc), more self-sufficient societies (fewer “food-miles”, more sustainable farming).

    Which is why I support most of the same ecological measures you likely do, but not for the same reasons. More efficient vehicles and pursuit of alternative energy are just as valid for conservation and economic reasons and even national security reasons, so as you say, why not do them since they only benefit us. Where I draw the line is things like Kyoto which harm the US and do nothing at all to help the worldwide environment.

    Dave

  • Bliffle

    “White House spokesman Scott McClellan said in a press briefing that Cooney’s editing was part of a broad review by 15 federal agencies, including policy people like Cooney as well as scientists. “Everybody who is involved in these issues should have input in these reports, and that’s all this is,” he says”

    No, he’s wrong. The report is issued over the names of the scientists as representing their thoughts and conclusions. Thus, tampering by outsiders is deceitful.

  • Jet in Columbus

    Bliffle, the comments #31 & 32 were inspired after I saw a report about it on CNN (judged a decidedly leftist network by some but not by me) and after some further googling I found the resulting reports to be most disturbing, that the White House would actually edit scientific reports to suit their own needs, leaving the original author’s name to give the altered documents credibility.

    Sort of what Bush did during his State of the Union address concerning the fictious Weapons of Mass Destruction, and the reports of their purchase of nuclear fuel from somewhere vaguely in “Africa” I should think.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Jet, there was no vagueness about where the nuclear fuel was coming from. Iraq has purchased yellowcake from Niger before and the sources clearly said Niger and Bush also said Niger. Nothing vague about it because Bush had every reason to believe it at the time mhe said it.

    And, of course, we now know that the WMD program was not fictitious at all, much though some choose to deny the increasingly overwhelming evidence.

    Dave

  • Jet in Columbus

    If you look at his transcript, he says it’s from “Africa”, it was only disclosed later that it was from Niger.
    And pulllllllllllease bring on this overwhelming evidence. Where are these rockets, and WMD’s and where are they reported? I want to see photos!

  • Jet in Columbus

    Ah the truth is only a google away… I quote from the BBC…

    “Doubts about a claim that Iraq had tried to buy uranium from the African state of Niger were aired 10 months before Mr Bush included the allegation in his key State of the Union address this year, a CIA official has told the BBC.
    On Tuesday, the White House for the first time officially acknowledged that the Niger claim was wrong and suggested it should not have been used in the president’s State of the Union speech in January.
    But the CIA official has said that a former US diplomat had already established the claim was false in March 2002 – and that the information had been passed on to government departments, including the White House, well before Mr Bush mentioned it in the speech.
    Both President Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair mentioned the claim, based on British intelligence, that Iraq was trying to get uranium from Niger as part of its attempt to build a nuclear weapons programme.
    Mr Blair is under fire from British MPs about the credibility of a dossier of evidence, which set out his case for war.
    And in the US, increasing doubts are being raised about the American use of intelligence. ”

    WHITE HOUSE FOR THE FIRST TIME (and probably the last)OFFICIALLY ACKNOWLEDGED THAT THE NIGER CLAIM WAS WRONG!!!

  • http://www.co2emission.org.uk Hoggle

    The details of the ‘Yellowcake Forgery’ can be found here

    specifically the Butler report:
    Conclusion 499. We conclude that, on the basis of the intelligence assessments at the time, covering both Niger and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the statements on Iraqi attempts to buy uranium from Africa in the Government’s dossier, and by the Prime Minister in the House of Commons, were well-founded. By extension, we conclude also that the statement in President Bush’s State of the Union Address of 28 January 2003 that: “The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa” was well-founded.

    and

    Conclusion 503. From our examination of the intelligence and other material on Iraqi attempts to buy uranium from Africa, we have concluded that:

    a. It is accepted by all parties that Iraqi officials visited Niger in 1999.
    b. The British Government had intelligence from several different sources indicating that this visit was for the purpose of acquiring uranium. Since uranium constitutes almost three-quarters of Niger’s exports, the intelligence was credible.
    c. The evidence was not conclusive that Iraq actually purchased, as opposed to having sought, uranium, and the British Government did not claim this.
    d. The forged documents were not available to the British Government at the time its assessment was made, and so the fact of the forgery does not undermine it.
    Although sources other than the Niger documents are mentioned, no evidence of this is advanced.

  • http://www.co2emission.org.uk Hoggle

    But of course, Wikipedia is controlled by vested interests and cannot be seen as authoritative :)

  • Jet in Columbus

    Which is why it’s well documented that thw White House was forced to admit they were wrong…

  • http://www.co2emission.org.uk Hoggle

    You appear to have misread the report.

    One specific report was proven to be a forgery, but evidence from other sources was available to the UK when they made their conclusion, and not the forgery. Their conclusion was supportable at the time. It may have been wrong, but it was not ‘wrong’ when it was made.

    I make no comment about the 45 minute claim, whcih is a whole other can of smelly worms.

  • Jet in Columbus

    According to many sources, it was a lot more than just one report that got altered my friend.

  • http://www.co2emission.org.uk Hoggle

    Please tell me some of your sources. Links would be nice.

    Something other than newspaper speculation or accusations of pressure groups is needed, if it is to qualify as evidence.

  • Dave Nalle

    Two points about the yellowcake forgery issue.

    First, it was not forged by the Bush administration, but received by them third hand from sources they had no reason not to believe.

    Second, it was highly believable because in the past on three separate occasions the Iraqi government HAD bought yellowcake from Niger.

    Dave

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    The world climate may or may not be changing, but the climate at BC hasn’t. Nigh every article turns into a debate over the Iraq war.

    For a change of pace, I suggest, as I have previously, that the danger we face is either from sudden climate change – like those mammoths found whole and frozen with food in their stomachs – or from cooking like frogs in a pot – unaware that the climate is killing us until it actually does.

  • Jet in Columbus

    Okay, so what you’re saying Hoggle is that any FACTS reported in any newspaper that don’t support the Bush position is opinion-typical

    Okay, Dave-where IS the yellow cake??? Why hasn’t it been found? You’d think the White House would have if splashed all over the front pages and screamed from every pulpet from Jetty Falwell to Rush Limbaugh, to Dave Nalle’s right-wing pulpits.

    This site’s political wing makes Fox New’s “Fair and balanced” reporting look like the CBS Evening News in comparison! If you were to print out every political post on this site and stacked the pages neatly on your desk, they’d fall off the right side (and hopefully in to the waste basket)

    Why?

    For God’s sake-Dave Nalle is the political editor of this site! Read any five-Hell any Two of his posts or comments and you can see that anyone even slightly right of center politically has a snowball’s chance in hell here…

    Insults, personal attacks that have nothing to do with this post/string to follow…

  • http://philobiblion.blogspot.com Natalie Bennett

    From today’s Guardian:

    “Half of Greenland and vast areas of Antarctica are destined to melt if global warming continues at the same pace until the end of the century, scientists warned yesterday. Their research shows that the loss of so much ice will trigger dramatic rises in sea levels, ultimately swamping low-lying regions of Essex, Lincolnshire and Norfolk and threatening the flood defences of cities such as London, Liverpool and Bristol. The last time so much ice was lost from the poles – in a period between ice ages 129,000 years ago – global sea levels rose by four to six metres.

    Experts believe many coastal regions would suffer long before sea levels rose significantly, because even a minor rise will make storm surges more devastating and increase the risk of flooding. A rise of one metre would in effect close the port of London as the Thames barrier would need to be raised for 300 days a year to protect the city, according to one scientist.”

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Natalie, the real isssue in the Guardian article is not how many metres the sea might rise – that’s a foegone conclusion in the wake of the ice melting – but when?

    If it is later than three weeks from now, no action will be taken to abate or prevent it…. That, apparently, is human nature.

  • Jet in Columbus

    Actually, Natalie, until sea water actually laps at the steps leading up to the front door of the Bush White House, any reports and facts concerning global warming-no matter how scientific-will be considered opinion, and most likely altered to reflect that point.

    You’ve written a very good article, consise and to the point, too bad it won’t be taken seriously…

  • http://www.co2emission.org.uk Hoggle

    Jet said:

    Okay, so what you’re saying Hoggle is that any FACTS reported in any newspaper that don’t support the Bush position is opinion-typical

    I said

    Something other than newspaper speculation or accusations of pressure groups is needed, if it is to qualify as evidence.

    So, no, that’s not even close to what I’m saying. You made a claim to have multiple sources, and I asked you to back that claim up, specifying that it would be a waste of time to produce such secondary sources.

    However, a newspaper article that publishes first-hand evidence, such as the downing street memo, is perfectly valid. Articles that make unsubstantiated claims are worse than useless for getting at the facts.

  • Jet in Columbus

    I believe the subject is Global warming?

    But I did love your pretty highlighting!

    Again…
    until sea water actually laps at the steps leading up to the front door of the Bush White House, any reports and facts concerning global warming-no matter how scientific-will be considered opinion, and most likely will be altered to reflect that point.

    It’d be so wonderful to stay on topic!

  • Jet in Columbus

    Top climatologist accuses US of trying to gag him
    · 12:57 30 January 2006
    · NewScientist.com news service
    NewScientist.com staff and AF
    NASA’s top climate scientist has accused the Bush administration of trying to stop him from speaking out after he called for swift cuts in emissions of the greenhouse gases linked to global warming in a recent lecture.
    James Hansen, director of the US space agency’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said that officials at NASA headquarters had ordered the public affairs staff to review his forthcoming lectures, papers, postings on the Goddard website and requests for media interviews, the New York Times reported on Sunday.
    “They feel their job is to be this censor of information going out to the public,” said Hansen, who told the paper he would ignore the restrictions.
    Dean Acosta, deputy assistant administrator for public affairs at NASA, denied that there was any effort to silence Hansen. “That’s not the way we operate here at NASA,” Acosta said. “We promote openness and we speak with the facts.”
    Acosta said that government scientists were free to discuss scientific findings but that policy statements should be left to policy makers and appointed spokesmen. “This is not about any individual or any issue like global warming,” he said. “It’s about coordination.”
    Different planet
    Hansen has been issuing about the long-term threat of greenhouse gas emissions since 1988, and has had run-ins with various US politicians.
    He said that “efforts to quiet him” had begun in a series of calls after a lecture he gave on December 6, 2005, at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. In this talk he said that significant emission cuts could be achieved with existing technologies, but that without leadership by the US, climate change would eventually leave the Earth “a different planet”.
    US administration policy is to use voluntary measures to slow, but not reverse, the growth of emissions.
    “After that speech and the release of data by Dr Hansen on December 15 showing that 2005 was probably the warmest year in at least a century, officials at the headquarters of the space agency repeatedly phoned public affairs officers, who relayed the warning to Dr Hansen that there would be ‘dire consequences’ if such statements continued, those officers and Dr Hansen said in interviews,” the Times reported.
    Hansen said “it would be irresponsible not to speak out, particularly because NASA’s mission statement includes the phrase ‘to understand and protect our home planet'”.
    Hansen’s supervisor, Franco Einaudi, is reported as saying there had been no official “order or pressure to say shut Jim up”. However, he added: “That doesn’t mean I like this kind of pressure being applied.”

  • http://www.booklinker.blogspot.com Deano

    It’s not just isolated with climate and global warming science. It’s popped up at NASA as well…

    “A BUSH presidential appointee to NASA told a web designer for the research agency that he would have to go through the site and stick the words ‘theory’ before every reference to the big bang.

    George Deutsch, 24, a man whose qualifications include being a 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign worker, was seen by Bush as the ideal man as his appointed spinner to NASA.”

    It continues…

    “He said that the Big Bang is not a proven fact it is just opinion. “It is not NASA’s place, nor should it be to make a declaration such as this about the existence of the universe that discounts intelligent design by a creator. This is more than a science issue, it is a religious issue. And I would hate to think that young people would only be getting one-half of this debate from NASA,” he wrote.”

    Here is the original article; http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=29502 (sorry I have no idea how to make the link active…)

    [The next time you’re logged into blogger, create a new post with a link in it. Click HTML View and you’ll see how it’s done. Comments Editor]

  • http://www.co2emissions.org.uk Hoggle

    Yes, the topic got derailed when you dangled the bait for David in post #43 :)

    [Alas only basic html is allowed and I don’t think it’s possible to demonstrate it here as MT will always try to make anything between arrowheads active. Comments Editor]

    I think the recent spate of articles concerning US states and cities ignoring the whitehouse on global heating (warming sounds so benign – James Lovelock uses heating and I think I will too) shows that Bush is increasingly isolated and marginalised in this fight for survival.

    See here

  • http://www.co2emissions.org.uk Hoggle

    Hmmm – except that the preview is not accurate, darnit.

    right click on my examples and view source to find out how it’s done.

  • http://www.arcticrefuge.org Chad Kister

    Climate change is indeed immensely startling, as I reveal in my newest book, Arctic Melting. But in addition to showing the horrific climate change crisis that we face, Arctic Melting also shows how we can meet all of the world’s energy needs through efficiency, wind and solar.

    Rather than focusing solely on the problem that we face, we should instead also focus on the solutions, and all of the other problems that will be solved as we switch to renewable energy to solve the climate change crisis, such as coal mine destruction, acid mine drainage, acid rain, mercury and particulate pollution and the adverse effects of oil development and petrol smog, all of which would be solved as we switch our energy to efficiency, wind and solar.

    We must make this the central organizing principal of our governments and institutions, and if it is not, we should use the courts and have mass demonstrations to demand that it is.

    I feel especially compelled to take action as a U.S. citizen, as I am aware and apalled by the fact that with 4 percent of the world’s population, we emit 25 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.

    Chad Kister
    Athens, Ohio (United States)