IPCC more certain about global warming


The fifth IPCC report, just published, repeats what the previous four have said, only with more certainty.  The world’s climate scientists, of which the IPCC is representative, are essentially certain humans are causing the planet to warm up through greenhouse gas emissions.

 Read a summary at The Conversation.

Sydney’s Daily Telegraph reports that the IPCC’s Working Group 2 report has included south-east Australia in a list of hot-spots that will be particularly badly affected by warming.

According to the the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO), the oceans are becoming more acidic at the fastest rate in 300m years, an indication they are absorbing carbon dioxide from greenhouse gas emissions. Given that two-thirds of the world is covered by ocean, this is significant detail. IPSO warn of mass species extinctions

Another study says the world is racing towards a tipping point (varying from place to place, but on average in 2047) where every year will be hotter than the current averages, and from which temperatures will never return to the present “normal”.


Leave a comment »

Has there been a “warming pause” since 1997?

The upcoming IPCC report is likely to show a slower rate of warming in the last 15 years than in the previous 15. That’s not disputed by anyone. But is that proof that warming has “stopped”, as the sceptics would like you to believe?

No, for the following reasons:

Around 1997-98, the pacific decadal oscillation, which produces El Ninos and La Ninas, moved from a warm period (producing frequent El Ninos) to a cool period (with cooler, wet La Ninas).  The decadal pacific oscillation is always going to produce a wave-like pattern of rising and falling temperatures, but the long-term trend is upwards. To pick only a “down” period is simply bad science – or deliberately misleading.

The production of aerosol pollutants, such as soot in the atmosphere, seems to have a cooling effect, estimated to be as high as 1C, which may be masking temperature rises.

Most (90 per cent) of the extra heat caused by the greenhouse effect goes into the oceans. When you factor in ocean temperatures, warming hasn’t slowed since 1998. Looking only at atmosphereric temperatures is thus misleading.

The bottom line? Most scientists still believe human-generated greenhouse gases are warming the planet at an alarming rate.

More, as always, at Skeptical Science.

Leave a comment »

Election result may be good for Greens

Election may be good for Greens.

This election was, on the face of it, was bad for the Greens. Their primary vote fell from 11 per cent to 8 per cent. They have lost the balance of power in both the house and probably the senate (depending how the various independents vote).

Yet, strangely, this might all turn out to be good news for the Greens.

My sense is the Greens “core vote” held up but they lost dissaffected voters from the last two elections who had seen the Greens as a protest vote.

Holding the balance of power sounded good for the Greens, giving them a seat at the policy negotiating table. But as a junior partner is a supposedly Labor-Greens government (as right-wing pundits described it) the Green became linked in public perception with an unpopular and muddled Labor government. This time, voters protested against the Greens, not through them.

They coped flak from all sides. From the green purists for selling out and from the right for all the usual reasons, including the carbon tax.

Then Labor itself rounded on them, trying to pin the blame on them for their own disastrous flip-flopping on climate policy.

As the Liberal Democrats have found in the UK, being a junior partner in government can be a poisoned chalice. You are compromised yet without real power.

The Greens might be better off out of the sordid business of deal making and power sharing. They won’t be able to influence policy directly, but they will be freed up to focus on setting out their own agenda and values.

Freed from the shennanigans of a hung parliament, the Greens have space to reflect and refocus on their core message.

Which brings us to the second part of the equation. That core message. Successful political movements have a clear core message, or narrative (or in advertising speak, a brand proposition). You can say what they are about in a single sentence.

The Greens core narrative is: we must protect the environment. The more people agree with this proposition, the more likely they are to vote Green.

I think the Greens have allowed themselves to be distracted by social issues such as gay marriage and asylum policy. This has diluted their core narrative.

I’m not saying the Greens should have no social policies, but they must talk about the environment – and in particular climate change – more, and social issues less. They must argue that the environment is more than a “single issue” and that a healthy environment is the basis for everything else. They must persuade more people to take the environment seriously.

If they can do that, their vote will recover and continue to grow.

Leave a comment »

Little Green Guide (the blog) is back

After a bit of a break I’m returning to this blog and should be posting fortnight or so on Australian and global environmental issues.

The Little Green Guide book is no longer on sale but the complete text remains available on this website.

The book was conceived with Planet Ark as a pocket-sized handbook for large corporate orders, such as part of a Christmas or membership package to staff/customers. Please contact me if you are interested in a large order (above 10,000) of a revised and updated edition.

Leave a comment »

Scientists takes sceptics to court

There’s an interesting test case in the Canadian courts from a climate scientist suing the National Post newspaper for publishing climate sceptic articles that he claims contain “grossly irresponsible falsehoods”.

Leave a comment »

I’ve moved

You can follow my blog at Ecoisms.com.au

You can buy the book The Little Green Guide at EcoShop.com.au

You can read the guide online at EcoDirectory.com.au

Leave a comment »

Ecoisms: Kevin Rudd’s a serial killer?

US television reporter Erin Burnett has labelled Kevin Rudd a “serial killer” over Australia’s culling of feral camels.

Continue reading: Kevin Rudd’s a serial killer?

Leave a comment »