James Hoggan's blog

The Big Chill: Counterintuitive Global Warming effects

Nature magazine has a chilling article in this issue tracking the enui that seems to be overtaking the Gulf Current.

It seems that as the ocean warms, it also becomes less active. Thus, the Gulf Stream might ultimately stop flowing north, while the once-icy Arctic waters will stop flowing south. This might be “Good for Canada” (see next post), as Newfoundland suffers less the effect of the Arctic backflow, but it could equally be devastating for much of Northern Europe, which depends on the warm Gulf waters to moderate its climate.

Mindless Media: A little climate change knowledge is a dangerous thing ...

A wonderfully reassuring headline appeared in Toronto’s National Post newspaper on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2005: Global Warming: Good for Canada.

This flat statement of fact was offered over a story by “Science writer Stephen Strauss,” who set about debunking an earlier story that had warned of the possibility of severe droughts changing the landscape on the Canadian prairie. Strauss had done a little extra work on the file and found that the full Nature magazine article had said, in Strauss’s words “These models predict that because of global warming, most of Western Canada is going to get wetter. A lot wetter.”

Skeptics, Debunkers and Deniers

What is characterized as “the climate change debate” has too often disintegrated into an argument over whether the world's climate is, indeed, changing, and too seldom featured an informed discussion over what the world's great powers should be doing about it.

This is a huge credit to those interest groups that have attacked the science behind climate change. Fashioning themselves “scientific skeptics,” these well-funded advocates have struck a righteous pose as debunkers - as guardians against the environmental Chicken Littles who have noticed that the sky, if not falling, is moving around in an unsettling way.

Fall Back: Putting the Lie to Daylight Savings Time

It appears, alas, that the Bush Administration’s single effort to address the Climate Change crisis is not just inadequate, but counterproductive. The vague gesture in question is the Bush proposal to extend daylight savings time three weeks later into the winter season, purportedly to shift the days’ available light toward evening, thereby preserving energy by reducing the need for electric light after school and work.

But in his new book, Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Savings Time, Tufts University Professor Michael Downing reports that Daylight Savings Time has never actually saved energy. On the contrary, people use more energy in the morning – getting up and preparing for work/school in the dark – and more in the evening, because they are much more likely to drive around to evening functions. Accordingly, the people most in favour of Daylight Savings Time tend to be sports organizations (especially golf courses), department stores (sales go up measurably during DST) and Big Energy.

Imagine: Which of those groups might have influence in the White House? 

Become an Instant Expert on Global Climate Change

New Scientist online offers this heavily linked and well-documented Climate Change overview.

''What we found was total (hurricane) energy had almost doubled in the last 30 years''

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher Kerry Emanuel provides a perfect example of why climate change deniers can still argue that there is scientific doubt about global warming. As reported in the Cape Cod Times Oct. 30, 2005, Emanuel tiptoes around the link between climate change and the unprecedented 23 “named” storms in this year's hurrican season, he does point – politely – in that direction. It's typical of the integrity – the absolute insistence on total scientific certainty – among those who agree that climate change is a concern. It also stands in contrast to the loose use of fact  that is epidemic in the other camp.


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