John Abraham

Mon, 2013-09-16 22:22Guest
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John Abraham Slams Matt Ridley for Climate Denial Op-Ed in Wall Street Journal

This is a guest post by Dr. John Abraham, in response to a Wall Street Journal op-ed by British House of Lords member Matt Ridley.

How many climate errors in one article?

A recent error-filled opinion piece by Matt Ridley in the Wall Street Journal was so egregious that readers deserve a correction.  The article, “Dialing back the alarm on climate change”, was written by someone who has never researched anything in the field of climate change (literature search on September 14, 2013).  So what did Mr. Ridley have to say that makes a real scientist cringe? 

First, Mr. Ridley states that a forthcoming major climate change report (for which I was an expert reviewer) will lower the expected temperature rise we will experience in the future.  He also claims that the temperature rises will be beneficial. Since the report hasn’t been released yet, and reviewers promise confidentiality, my answer is based on available literature.  I can inform the readers that this isn’t necessarily the case.  What Mr. Ridley is focusing on is the lower bound of warming (the best case scenario for human society). What he doesn’t tell the readers is that regardless of which estimate of warming is correct, human society will be severely stressed.  Basically, he is arguing that the Earth may undergo a slow simmer whereas most scientists think it will be a faster boil.  Either way, the consequences are enormous.

Second, Mr. Ridley makes the unsubstantiated claim that warming of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit will result in “no net or ecological damage”. 

This claim could only be made by someone who is unfamiliar with climate science.  With a fraction of that warming, we are already seeing economic and ecological damage.  Among them are increased precipitation in some regions with consequent flooding, more severe drought in other regions, increased storms, heat waves, rising sea levels. 

Wed, 2013-08-28 10:20Brendan DeMelle
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Monckton Challenged To Put Up Or Shut Up By John Abraham

See update below: Monckton responded (sort of) and Abraham has a new letter back. See below the original post.

John Abraham, a Professor of Thermal Sciences at the University of St. Thomas and a Guardian Environment blogger, has challenged the loud-mouthed potty peerLord Christopher Monckton, to put his money where his mouth is. Abraham offers Monckton two bets to provide proof of his outlandish and wrong claims about global warming, with all proceeds headed for a “charity that deals with climate issues.”

Read Abraham's challenge letter below: 
  

Dear Mr. Monckton,

I understand that you’ve claimed Earth’s temperatures will likely decrease by 0.5 oC in two years, but most certainly by 2020.  Specifically, you stated this on a website:

Meanwhile, enjoy what warmth you can get. A math geek with a track-record of getting stuff right tells me we are in for 0.5 Cº of global cooling. It could happen in two years, but is very likely by 2020. His prediction is based on the behavior of the most obvious culprit in temperature change here on Earth – the Sun.”

Here is the link: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/08/27/the-200-months-of-the-pause/

I am calling your claim.  I challenge you to a $1000 bet on both.  Specifically,

Thu, 2012-08-23 12:09Brendan DeMelle
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Daily Kos Climate Change SOS Blogathon Features Wide Range of Climate Hawk Voices

Our friends over at Daily Kos are running an amazing Climate Change SOS Blogathon this week, featuring dozens of voices from the climate hawk community. Bill McKibben, Michael Mann, John Abraham, Rep. Ed Markey, A Siegel, Richard Heinberg, Heather Libby, Brad Johnson, Kelly Rigg and DeSmog's IT director Evan Leeson are just some of the many friends of DeSmog that are contributing posts throughout the week-long blogathon.

I jumped into the action as well, contributing a piece on Tuesday titled Breaking Up With Polluters To Save The Climate.

Greg Laden just posted a scary piece about the implications of sea level rise for future generations.

There is a lot of great content. I highly recommend heading over to Daily Kos to check it out. Here is a full run-down of the posts so far. Stay tuned to the Climate Change SOS Blogathon box at the bottom of most posts to keep up with the newer entries.

Tue, 2012-07-17 05:00Brendan DeMelle
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Scientists Tell US State Department Excluding Climate Impacts in Keystone XL Review 'Neither Wise nor Credible'

Ten of the nation’s top climate scientists penned a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today questioning why the State Department isn't considering the enormous climate change impacts of developing the Alberta tar sands in its review of the controversial Keystone XL export pipeline project

“At the moment, your department is planning to consider the effects of the pipeline on ‘recreation,’ ‘visual resources,’ and ‘noise,’ among other factors,” the scientists wrote. “Those are important—but omitting climate change from the considerations is neither wise nor credible.” 
 
The State Department is currently accepting comments on the scoping evaluation that will determine what environmental considerations will be included in the supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) required for the northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline.The public comment period ends July 30.
 
The department’s previous draft EIS downplayed the climate risks of Keystone XL, arguing that the Alberta tar sands would be developed with or without it, so therefore the Obama administration has no accountability for the additional global warming pollution that will result from burning dirty tar sands oil. 
 
Sun, 2012-05-20 14:29Guest
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A Scientist's Perspective: On Blogging, Comments … and Online Civil Discourse

This is a guest post authored by John Abraham, cross-posted with permission from the Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media.


A recent posting on The Yale Forum on Climate Change & the Media website linked to a very long piece regarding climate change by Christopher Monckton.

As a practicing scientist, I recognize and value the role that The Yale Forum plays in furthering civil discussion on this topic. As a society, we have too few venues of this type where ideas can be discussed, solutions proposed, and our preconceptions challenged.

Commentary

It is not difficult to appreciate the dilemma faced by editors of sites like The Yale Forum when submissions such as that cited are offered, particularly when, as here, the respondent is addressing an earlier posting in which he or she was specifically named.

On the one hand, sites such as this want to encourage vigorous and candid debate. On the other, they must be mindful of the very extreme views taken by some participants in this discussion. Inclusion of the most extreme views may not advance the purpose of the site.

So, how does Monckton’s post fit into the category of extreme views? That, really, is the easy part.

Fri, 2012-04-13 11:13Guest
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49 Cliff Clavins Walk into a Bar and Talk Climate Change

This is a guest post from Dr. John Abraham

You could almost set your watch by it.  It has become a regular absurdity that a bunch of non-scientists try to tell the world that they know something the experts don’t. 

Those of us who watched that iconic television show called Cheers remember Cliff, the mailman.  He considered himself the expert on everything even though it was painfully obvious he knew very little about anything. 

Well we got our latest batch of Cliff Clavin wisdom this past week when 49 former staff members from NASA wrote a letter to NASA administrators decrying the work that the organization does on climate.  It makes one wonder what the thousands of current NASA employees think of their former colleagues. 

It is important to point out that the leader of this gang is none other than Harrison Schmitt, a well-known, and self-described “denier” of human-caused climate change.  While he trumpets his scientific expertise, none of it relates to climate. 


For those who follow the more extreme fringes of climate denialism, Harrison’s participation is not a surprise.  Approximately one year ago he claimed the arctic sea ice had recovered from its dramatic declines in preceding years.  That claim was false and it attracted the attention of the National Snow and Ice Data Center who had to tell us what we already knew… Harrison Schmitt didn’t know what he was talking about. 

Thu, 2010-08-05 09:52Richard Littlemore
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Monckton Watch: Lordly Phony Threatens Phony Suit

The British House of Lords has once again disavowed any association with the embarrassing Christopher Monckton, Third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, even as his Lordship has labored to earn even wider notoriety by threatening a lawsuit against yet another U.S. academic.

The Lordly disavowal came in response to a very funny letter of inquiry from the wonderful wiseacres at Friends of Gin and Tonic (temporarily the “Lords of Gin and Tonic” in faux tribute to the self-promoting Viscount).

Monckton himself launched the unconvincing legal threat against Scott Mandia, a professor at Suffolk County College in Seldon, New York. In addition to operating an excellent informational website on climate change, Prof. Mandia also runs his own blog, on which he had the impertinence to call out Monckton for his earlier ridiculous attacks on University of St. Thomas Professor John Abraham.

Tue, 2010-07-13 12:18Richard Littlemore
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Monckton exposes his rebuttal: So much blather; so little substance

The motor-mouth Monckton - which is to say, Christopher Walter, the Third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley - has authored a 48,000-word Response to John Abraham (attached). It is a breathless and libelous screed that can lead to only one certain conclusion: the good Lord doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

For those catching up, John Abraham is a professor at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, who some months ago released a detailed critique of an earlier Monckton presentation. Abraham found Monckton’s work sadly lacking. Monckton misquoted or mislabelled sources; he promoted positions that were unsupported in his material; he bobbled his math; he manipulated or inadvertently misrepresented graphical information and he arrived at conclusions that were, in Abraham’s own generally careful words, “absurd.”

Monckton is outraged (which appears to be a permanent condition - either outraged or outrageous). In a response that goes on for 99 tiresome pages, he calls Abraham a liar, and accuses him of bad faith, malice and academic dishonesty. The Viscount then insists that Abraham and his unversity atone for their sins by paying $110,000 in “damages” to a charity of Monckton’s own choosing. This is couched as some kind of libel action in the court of public opinion - the only court where Monckton dare step: he’d be laughed out of town (and found libel for costs) if he tried any of this nonsense before even the most sympathetic judge.

Tue, 2010-05-25 16:42Richard Littlemore
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Christopher Monckton: Lies, damn lies or staggering incompetence

John Abraham’s Critique Devastates the Florid Lord’s Denier Diatribe

Christopher Monckton, the self-celebrating Third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, toured Canada and the U.S. last year calling the world’s best climate scientists and activists “liars” for setting out their concerns about the dangers of climate change. In his presentations and his PowerPoints, Monckton was graceless and taunting in tone, making fun of Al Gore’s accent along with his science. The record now shows that Monckton was also wrong - and frankly, wrong is such a way that he himself must be found to be either a flagrant and shameless liar or the most incompetent compiler of information since church scholars gathered to argue for the flatness of the earth.

The new critique was assembled by John P. Abraham, an engineering professor at St. Thomas University in St. Paul Minnesota. A diligent - even painstaking - researcher, Abraham is also unreservedly respectful in his own presentation, giving Monckton the benefit of every doubt.

The facts, however, are less accommodating. As Prof. Abraham demonstrates time and again, Monckton has consistently misinterpreted, misrepresented or flat-out lied about his “evidence” arguing against the theory of human-induced global warming. He has mangled references, misrepresented findings, cobbled together unattributed graphs and staked his case to critically compromised scholars.

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