Climate Change: The Facts
Edited by Alan Moran
Climate Change: The Facts was released in 2015, paid for and published by the Institute of Public Affairs, which does sound all good and wonderful as being an unbiased champion for the public good type of organization.
However, even with just a little research it becomes obvious that the “facts” and/or opinions of this book are suspect of having a strong bias.
The Institute of Public Affairs is a right-wing, corporate funded think tank based in Melbourne Australia according to sourcewatch.org. The political views of the IPA shares many similar views with the current Republican party in the USA. The IPA pushes for privatization and deregulation; attacks unions and non-government organizations; supports the assimilation of indigenous people and refutes science involved with environmental issues such as climate change.
The IPA is funded by:
Major Australian mining companies – BHP-Billiton (has 13 coal operations in Australia and operates Petroleum assets in the United States, Australia, United Kingdom, Trinidad and Tobago and Pakistan.) and Western Mining Corporation;
Pesticides/Genetically modified organisms: Monsanto; and
A range of other companies including communications company Telstra, Clough Engineering, Visy, and News Limited;
Tobacco companies – Philip Morris (Nahan) and British American Tobacco
Oil and gas companies: Caltex, Esso Australia (a subsidiary of Exxon) and Shell and Woodside Petroleum; and fifteen major companies in the electricity industry;
Forestry: Gunns, the largest logging company in Tasmania; among others.
IPA started to get interested in environmental issues around 1989. The IPA campaigned against the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, promoted the use of genetically engineered crops and defended the logging of native forests.
In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, IPA Executive Director John Roskam confirmed the IPA’s key role in supporting Australian climate skeptics. ‘”Of all the serious skeptics in Australia, we have helped and supported just about all of them in their work one way or another,” he says, listing some prominent figures on the local circuit. “Ian Plimer – we launched his book – Bob Carter, Jo Nova, William Kininmonth”.
Climate Change: The Facts is basically a collection of opinions of 21 climate skeptics funded by those that have financial interests or ties to the fossil fuel industry. This book represents a small collection of comments and opinions that don’t even amount to much of a ripple in an ocean compared to the tidal wave of cited 9200 scientific publications findings of peer reviewed documents of the latest IPCC report about climate change (Fifth Assessment Report (AR5)).
The credentials of some of the contributors of the book include known affiliations to global warming denier groups in the USA with ties to the fossil fuel industry (such as the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation).
Some highlights from the Climate Change: The Facts edited by Alan Moran
Ian Plimer is the director of multiple mineral exploration and mining companies in Australia, in his chapter on the science and politics of climate change made said:
“Despite the increase in industrial CO2 emissions there has been no increase in global atmospheric temperature in the last 18 years”, thus human driven climate change should be rejected.
Ian Plimer claims that since the rapid rise of surface temperature has paused during the last 15 years that somehow discredits all the other climate change evidence and the longer more powerful term trend when looking at global surface temperature charts on a larger scale than just last dozen or so years, which clearly still point upwards towards increasing global warming.
Also keep in mind that surface temperature is not that large of a sample size when talking about the earth, it is however the easiest to measure because that is where the humans live; however, as 72% of the planet’s surface of the planet is covered in ocean that is where about 3/4 of the measurements should also be taken if not more. Additional measurements of both air and water surface temperature are needed in the ocean because various depths of the ocean absorb and retain heat at different rates.
Published in the journal Science 1 November 2013: (Vol. 342 no. 6158 pp. 617-621) research shows that “the middle depths of the Pacific ocean, between about 1,500 and 3,300 feet deep, have warmed 15 times faster in the past 60 years than at any time during the past 10,000 years”.
Thankfully the oceans are absorbing a substantial amount of heat or the atmospheric temperature would obviously be much warmer.
Human caused warming factors are just one of several contributors to the overall global temperature equation, there are also natural cooling forces that have occurred during recent times that also need to be added which include: a lull in sunspots activity, El Ninos and dust plumes from volcanoes has also tempered the amount of warming seen in the last 15 years.
It follows that if the oceans continue to warm and can act as large heat absorbers lowering the rate of atmosphere temperature rise that may temporarily buffer some of the negative affects of global warming until eventually they will reach a point where some of that heat will likely be transferred back to the atmosphere.
One direct contradiction to Ian Plimer claims is from NASA about global surface temperatures.
“The 10 warmest years in the instrumental record, with the exception of 1998, have now occurred since 2000.” This trend continues a long-term warming of the planet, according to an analysis of surface temperature measurements by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) in New York.
Ian Plimer also says that “the Maldives are rising since 1970 not sinking and has in fact become higher by 70 centimeters”. He sites no sources or documentation. He also says that Darwin proved that as sea level rises coral grows faster to keep up with the rise. He insinuates that those living on island nations at low elevations above sea level should not be concerned.
NASA sea level satellite data has been collected since 1993
CSIRO coastal tide gauge data goes back to 1870 the trend is quite obvious.
Sea level rise according to NASA is a cause for concern?
Global sea level rose about 17 centimeters (6.7 inches) in the last century. The rate in the last decade, however, is nearly double that of the last century
Church, J. A. and N.J. White (2006), A 20th century acceleration in global sea level rise, Geophysical Research Letters, 33, L01602, doi:10.1029/2005GL024826.
The Maldives in the Indian Ocean is made up of 26 atolls that have an average elevation of only 5 feet (1.5 meters) making it the lowest-elevation country on the planet. Rising sea levels combined with a strong storm or tidal surge could easy flood the country making it uninhabitable creating 345,000 environmental refugees seeking to immediately immigrate to other countries.
Besides the Maldives there are several other island nations and populated areas at risk: Kiribati, Seychelles, Torres Strait Islands, Tegua, Solomon Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Carteret Islands, Tuvalu, and Bangladesh. The latter is most worrisome as Bangladesh is located in South Asia and is home to 156 million people and is already experiencing floods that cover about a quarter of the country every year.
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/islands-threatened-by-climate-change-2012-10?op=1#ixzz3a45phkMh
On the subject of Ocean Alkalinity
According to Ian Plimer the pH of the oceans has remained constant for thousands of millions of years, during warm times, cold times and times of high CO2. He says that chemical reactions between natural glasses and minerals in basalt cause water and rock to swap chemicals which buffer any changes in pH.
According to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the pH of surface ocean waters has fallen (become more acid) by 0.1 pH units. Since the pH scale, like the Richter scale, is logarithmic, this change represents approximately a 25 percent increase in acidity.
Ocean acidification is another problem associated with higher concentrations of carbon dioxide. The ocean absorbs about a quarter of the CO2 released into the atmosphere every year, so as atmospheric CO2 levels increase, so do the levels in the ocean. Increases in carbonic acid occur when CO2 is mixed with water (H2O + CO2 -> H2CO3). The reaction is spontaneous when water is mixed with air. Increases in carbonic acid puts shell-forming animals including corals, oysters, shrimp, lobster, many planktonic organisms, and even some fish species at risk.
Climate Change: The Facts Book Review (end of Part 1)
According to a book overview by Barns and Noble “Ian Plimer draws on the geological record to dismiss the possibility that human emissions of carbon dioxide will lead to catastrophic consequences for the planet.”. Personally I feel he presented no such facts.
EV of the Year Judge at EV.com, independent green journalist, photographer, author and sustainability activist that has published over 1000 articles. Mr Burridge’s travels have taken him to over 30 countries and 300+ major cities. He is originally from the USA, but has been residing in Australia for the last seven years. Connect to Ken Burridge on: Twitter, facebook, Google+, Linked in or website