Carbon dioxide(CO²) emissions since 1820, Rosling visualization

February 23, 2014

Monthly average atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration at Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii (CDIAC)

Monthly average atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration at Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii (CDIAC)

Gee, while we’re exploring Hans Rosling‘s and Gapminder’s videos at Vimeo, let’s take a look at the animated chart showing CO² emissions since 1820.

Anything we can learn there?

What did we learn?

  • CO² emissions from humans rose a lot after the start of the industrial revolution
  • When nations industrialize, CO² output rises dramatically (But, what’s with Brunei? Flaring of oil wells?)

What else?

More:

Use this quiz to introduce subjects such as global health, the effects of HIV, population growth and carbon dioxide emissions, or as starting point to discuss what development is. What do the indicators in these quizzes say about the world?

Gapminder quiz on global development: “About the Quiz/Teacher’s guide Use this quiz to introduce subjects such as global health, the effects of HIV, population growth and carbon dioxide emissions, or as starting point to discuss what development is. What do the indicators in these quizzes say about the world?”


Hans Rosling says “Don’t Panic!” Defusing the population bomb?

February 23, 2014

Yes, that famous Rosling guy with the bouncing bubble, animated charts from TEDS.

TEDS star Hans Rosling, not in over his head.

TEDS star Hans Rosling, not in over his head.

Why not panic?  Rosling’s group, Gapminder, explains:

The world might not be as bad as you might believe!

Don’t Panic – is a one-hour long documentary produced by Wingspan Productions and broadcasted on BBC on the 7th of November 2013.

The visualizations are based on original graphics and stories by Gapminder and the underlaying data-sources are listed here.
Hans’s — “All time favorite graph”, is an animating bubble chart which you can interact with online here and download offline here.

Hans presents some results from our UK Ignorance Survey described here.

Director & Producer; Dan Hillman, Executive Producer: Archie Baron. ©Wingspan Productions for BBC, 2013.    A DVD version of this film is available to order from Wingspan Productions.

Alas, we can’t embed the film.  You must view the video — for free — at the Gapminder site, here.


One more time: Basic climate science with Bill Nye

July 4, 2013

What year is this? 2013?

Shouldn’t the Sputnik Revolution in science education have obviated the need for this video, like 30 years ago?

One more time, the basics of climate change/global warming, with Bill Nye the Science Guy explaining; from the ClimateRealityProject.org:

climate change, CO2, global warming, science, Bill Nye, environmental protection, Clean Air, Air Pollution

More:

Newsweek, March 4, 1957,

Cover of Newsweek Magazine, from March 4, 1957; notice this concern about U.S. science competency came seven months before Sputnik was launched by the Soviet Union. Science deniers then delayed action until after the Soviets demonstrated clearly that the U.S. was behind. (Image from Computer History.org)


Annals of global warming: NASA data show warming continues through 2012

January 16, 2013

This is a press release from NASA, presented here for the record, text unedited except for formatting where necessary, and the deletion of the press office phone numbers (I hope that’s not necessary, but earnest information seekers have links to get the information they seek).  Images are inserted from other, related NASA sites.

Steve Cole
Headquarters, Washington
stephen.e.cole@nasa.gov

Leslie McCarthy
Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York
leslie.m.mccarthy@nasa.gov

Jan. 15, 2013

RELEASE : 13-021

NASA Finds 2012 Sustained Long-Term Climate Warming Trend

WASHINGTON — NASA scientists say 2012 was the ninth warmest of any year since 1880, continuing a long-term trend of rising global temperatures. With the exception of 1998, the nine warmest years in the 132-year record all have occurred since 2000, with 2010 and 2005 ranking as the hottest years on record.

NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York, which monitors global surface temperatures on an ongoing basis, released an updated analysis Tuesday that compares temperatures around the globe in 2012 to the average global temperature from the mid-20th century. The comparison shows how Earth continues to experience warmer temperatures than several decades ago.

[Caption to video] NASA’s analysis of Earth’s surface temperature found that 2012 ranked as the ninth-warmest year since 1880. NASA scientists at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) compare the average global temperature each year to the average from 1951 to 1980. This 30-year period provides a baseline from which to measure the warming Earth has experienced due to increasing atmospheric levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. While 2012 was the ninth-warmest year on record, all 10 of the warmest years in the GISS analysis have occurred since 1998, continuing a trend of temperatures well above the mid-20th century average. The record dates back to 1880 because that is when there were enough meteorological stations around the world to provide global temperature data.
Data source: NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
Visualization credit: NASA Goddard’s Scientific Visualization Studio

› Download this video and related materials in HD formats

The average temperature in 2012 was about 58.3 degrees Fahrenheit (14.6 Celsius), which is 1.0 F (0.6 C) warmer than the mid-20th century baseline. The average global temperature has risen about 1.4 degrees F (0.8 C) since 1880, according to the new analysis.

Scientists emphasize that weather patterns always will cause fluctuations in average temperature from year to year, but the continued increase in greenhouse gas levels in Earth’s atmosphere assures a long-term rise in global temperatures. Each successive year will not necessarily be warmer than the year before, but on the current course of greenhouse gas increases, scientists expect each successive decade to be warmer than the previous decade.

“One more year of numbers isn’t in itself significant,” GISS climatologist Gavin Schmidt said. “What matters is this decade is warmer than the last decade, and that decade was warmer than the decade before. The planet is warming. The reason it’s warming is because we are pumping increasing amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.”

Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that traps heat and largely controls Earth’s climate. It occurs naturally and also is emitted by the burning of fossil fuels for energy. Driven by increasing man-made emissions, the level of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere has been rising consistently for decades.

The carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere was about 285 parts per million in 1880, the first year in the GISS temperature record. By 1960, the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration, measured at NOAA’s Mauna Loa Observatory, was about 315 parts per million. Today, that measurement exceeds 390 parts per million.

NASA map, global temperature anomalies averaged from 2008 to 2012 - Goddard Institute for Space Studies

This map represents global temperature anomalies averaged from 2008 through 2012. Data source: NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies Visualization credit: NASA Goddard’s Scientific Visualization Studio

› Larger image
› Larger image (tif)
› Color bar scale (png)

While the globe experienced relatively warm temperatures in 2012, the continental U.S. endured its warmest year on record by far, according to NOAA, the official keeper of U.S. weather records.

“The U.S. temperatures in the summer of 2012 are an example of a new trend of outlying seasonal extremes that are warmer than the hottest seasonal temperatures of the mid-20th century,” GISS director James E. Hansen said. “The climate dice are now loaded. Some seasons still will be cooler than the long-term average, but the perceptive person should notice that the frequency of unusually warm extremes is increasing. It is the extremes that have the most impact on people and other life on the planet.”

The temperature analysis produced at GISS is compiled from weather data from more than 1,000 meteorological stations around the world, satellite observations of sea-surface temperature, and Antarctic research station measurements. A publicly available computer program is used to calculate the difference between surface temperature in a given month and the average temperature for the same place during 1951 to 1980. This three-decade period functions as a baseline for the analysis. The last year that experienced cooler temperatures than the 1951 to 1980 average was 1976.

The GISS temperature record is one of several global temperature analyses, along with those produced by the Met Office Hadley Centre in the United Kingdom and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. These three primary records use slightly different methods, but overall, their trends show close agreement.

For images related to the data, visit:

http://go.nasa.gov/10wqITW

- end -

Related Links [from NASA]

› Goddard Institute for Space Studies GISTEMP Analysis
› Science Summary of NASA’s 2012 Temperature Analysis (pdf)
› NOAA State of the Climate Global Analysis: 2012
› Slides for Jan. 15 media teleconference (pdf)
› Download related multimedia in broadcast-suitable HD formats

More, and resources:


New Symphony of Science: “This Earth is the one we have to care about”

November 15, 2012

Symphony of Science:  Highest and best use of Autotune — does putting stuff to music make for better editing?  (Great question in the 100th anniversary year of Woody Guthrie‘s birth, yes?)

Al Gore as the climate change denialists fear him most, approachable, concise, powerful images, and in tune:

Interesting coincidence that this was released the same day California inaugurated its auction of carbon credits in its own cap-and-trade attempt to control carbon dioxide releases.

(Woody Guthrie’s reputation has nothing to fear from Al Gore; which is okay, considering they’re probably on the same side of most issues.)

More:

World Greenhouse Gas Emissions 2005, by usage or industry - World Resources Institute

World Resources Institute chart showing origins of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, in 2005. Click image for a legible version.


What were scientists saying about global warming in 1971?

November 3, 2011

What did scientists know and say about climate change and global warming in the 1970s?  I keep running into claims by modern climate change denialists that scientists in the 1970s firmly predicted a pending ice age.  This is usually posited to establish that scientists are fools, and that concerns about warming now are probably displaced because the same scientists were in error 40  years ago.

I worked in air pollution studies way back then.  That’s not how I remember it at all.  I remember great, good-natured debates between Ph.Ds in the Department of Biology at the University of Utah, and other scientists from other institutions passing through and working in the field with us.  Greenhouse effect was very well understood even back then, and the discussions were on the nature of just how much human pollution would affect climate, and in which way.

Savvy scientists then well understood that there were two competing trends in air pollution:  Greenhouse gases and particulates and aerosols.  Greenhouse gases would warm the climate, but they were offset by particulates and aerosols that reflect solar radiation back into space before warming can occur.  At least, back then, the particulates and aerosols counteracted the greenhouse gases.

Not fresh air - EPA photo

Not fresh air - EPA photo

Looking for something else I took off my shelf a book we used as a text in air pollution courses in the 1970s, Whatever Happened to Fresh Air? by Michael Treshow.  Treshow taught at Utah.  He was deeply involved in several research projects on air pollution.  He was also a great conversationalist and competitive tennis player.  His book was a good text, but he intended it to be read by lay people, especially policy makers, also.  It’s easy to fathom, intentionally.

Here, below, is what Treshow wrote in the early pages about carbon dioxide as an air pollutant, in sketching the global problems of air pollution.  Notice that, while he makes note of the predictions of what would happen with uncontrolled particulate and aerosol pollution, he gives the science straight up, telling what pollution can do, depending on local circumstances and global circumstances.  Treshow notes the research that the denialists cite now, but he explains enough of the science so that any reasonable person should be able to see that, if one form of pollution is controlled and another is not, the effects might be different.

Michael Treshow:

Over the past several million years, the earth’s animal and plant life have reached a workable equilibrium in sharing this atmosphere and keeping the oxygen and carbon dioxide concentrations in balance.  But man, by burning fossil fuels (particularly coal) at an accelerated rate and by removing vegetation at the prodigious rate of 11 acres per second in the U.S., may be upsetting this equilibrium.  Many scientists believe this carbon dioxide build-up is one of the major threats to man’s environment.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is occasionally regarded as an air pollutant for this reason, even though it is a natural and essential component of the atmosphere.  Certainly the present concentrations are not dangerous; but what would happen if the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere should increase appreciably?  What hazards would be imposed?

An increase in carbon dioxide would benefit the green plants since they need it for photosynthesis.  But what effect would it have on man and animals?  Or on the physical environment?  The main hazard lies in the effect that carbon dioxide has in absorbing the infrared radiation which normally radiates from the earth back to the atmosphere.  If the carbon dioxide content of the lower atmosphere were to increase, it would prevent the infrared heat absorbed by the earth from the sun from reradiating into the atmosphere.  Heat energy would accumulate and cause a general increase in the earth’s temperature.  Such an increase in temperature, often called the “greenhouse effect,” could cause the ice caps to melt, raising the level of the oceans and flooding most of the world’s major cities.

It is awesome to realize that sea level is actually rising.  It is now 300 feet above what it was 18,000 years ago, and is reportedly rising nearly nine inches higher each century.  Beaches are being wasted away and tides lap ever closer to the steps of coastal homes.  But is the displacement of our beaches more closely related to increasing carbon dioxide concentrations or to the normal warming process between ice ages?

Not everyone agrees that carbon dioxide is to blame.  Concentrations vary greatly around the world.  Near urban areas, where fossil fuels are burned, concentrations are high; over forested areas, where plants are rapidly removing the gas, they are low.  Concentrations also vary with the height above the ground, the latitude, whether over the ocean or land and even with the time of day and season of the year.  All of these variables make it difficult to agree on a reasonable average carbon dioxide concentration.

Despite some disagreement, it is generally conceded that carbon dioxide has been added to the atmosphere at an alarming rate during the past century.  Actual measurements show that between 1857 and 1956, carbon dioxide concentrations increased from an average of 0.0293 to 0.0319 percent; 360 X [10 to the 9th] tons of carbon dioxide have been added to the atmosphere by man during this period.  Upwards of a trillion tons will be added by the year 2000.  Such  a tremendous release of carbon dioxide would increase the atmospheric concentrations appreciably unless some mechanism is available to absorb the surplus and to maintain equilibrium.

Extensive measurements suggest that carbon dioxide concentrations near the earth’s surface have increased about 10 percent since 1900.  During this same time, fossil fuel consumption increased about 15 percent.  This is a remarkably, close, meaningful relationship.  The 5 percent difference is readily accounted for, since this much would be absorbed by the ocean or by rocks and living organisms, particularly plants, which absorb much of the surplus carbon dioxide.  In fact, green plants probably have the capacity to absorb and utilize far more carbon dioxide than man is likely to release.

Calculations presented by Gordon MacDonald of the University of California at Santa Barbara show that a 10 percent increase in the total carbon dioxide content theoretically should cause an increase of 0.4° F in the average temperature of the earth.  Although the carbon dioxide content is being increased about 0.06 percent each year by the combustion of fossil fuels, no temperature increase has been demonstrated.  Rather, the average temperature appears to be decreasing.  During the past 25 years, when the addition of carbon dioxide has been most rapid, the average temperature has dropped half a degree.

This temperature drop has been thought to result from the increase in the amount of submicron sized particulates which remain suspended in the atmosphere. These aerosols obstruct the entrance of the sun’s heat and light rays, thereby disrupting the earth’s energy balance.  The effect is one of less heat and lower temperatures.  Dr. William E. Cobb of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency predicts the possibility of another ice age.

Whatever Happened to Fresh Air, Michael Treshow, University of Utah Press, 1971, pp. 3-6.

What changed since then?  The Clean Air Act provided the legal drive to clean particulates and aerosols out of the air.  Alas, we did not then have good controls for greenhouse gases.  The success of the Clean Air Act, and similar laws worldwide, rather left the pollution field open for greenhouse gases.  Without pollution to offset the effects of GHG, warming became the stronger trend.

I think Treshow was quite prescient back then.  His work is still accurate, when we adjust for the events of history that came after he wrote the book.


Annals of global warming: Records from Mauna Loa show continuing rise in atmospheric CO2

March 26, 2011

NOAA's Mauna Loa Observatory, NOAA photo, 1982, Cmdr. John Bortniak

NOAA's Mauna Loa Observatory, from NOAA At the Ends of the Earth Collection, 1982 NOAA photo by Commander John Bortniak

John Adams observed, and Ronald Reagan was fond of quoting, “Facts are stubborn things . . .”

Here are the facts on atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2):

 

Monthly CO2 levels since 1960, Mauna Loa Observatory (Scripps Inst of Oceanography)

Mauna Loa Observatory, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD (University of Calfornia-San Diego); CO2 concentrations in parts per million (ppm)

As described at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography site:

Description:
Monthly average atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration versus time at Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii (20°N, 156°W) where CO2 concentration is in parts per million in the mole fraction (p.p.m.). The curve is a fit to the data based on a stiff spline plus a 4 harmonic fit to the seasonal cycle with a linear gain factor.

Data from Scripps CO2 Program.

For perspective, here’s a chart from Scripps that shows why there is concern over current levels of CO2:

CO2 over the past 420,000 years - Scripps Institution of Oceanography

CO2 over the past 420,000 years - Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Resources, More:


Is global warming/climate change a problem? Get the facts

March 15, 2011

Want solid information on climate change (global warming) and the problems it poses?

Several opportunities present themselves, from the National Academies of Science, America’s premiere science advisory group:

America’s Climate Choices Final Report in Review

The final report of the America’s Climate Choices suite of studies is in the final stages of peer review and will be released this Spring.  An official release date will be announced as soon as possible.  The report is authored by the Committee on America’s Climate Choices, which was responsible for providing overall direction, coordination, and integration of the America’s Climate Choices activities.

Related Activities at The National Academies

warming_world_cover
Warming World, a publication from the National Academies of Science

“Warming World: Impacts by Degree” Explains Findings of NRC Report

Emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels have ushered in a new epoch, beginning to be called the Anthropocene, during which human activities will largely determine the evolution of Earth’s climate. That’s one of the main conclusions from Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts over Decades to Millennia (NRC, 2011) an expert consensus report released last July and published this year.  Now a new 36-page booklet based on the report, “Warming World: Impacts by Degree” is available to help policymakers, students, and the general public better understand the report’s important conclusions.

The report concludes that, because carbon dioxide is so long-lived in the atmosphere, increases in this gas can effectively lock the Earth and many future generations in a range of impacts, some of which could be severe. Therefore, emission reduction choices made today matter in determining impacts that will be experienced not just over the next few decades, but also into the coming centuries and millennia.  Policy choices can be informed by recent advances in climate science that show the relationships among increasing carbon dioxide, global warming, related physical changes, and resulting impacts. The report identifies (and quantifies when possible) expected impacts per degree of warming, including those on streamflow, wildfires, crop productivity, the frequency of very hot summers, and sea-level rise and its associated risks and vulnerabilities.

Order free copies of the booklet at http://dels.nas.edu/materials/booklets/warming-world.


Report Sets Research Agenda to Study Earth’s Past Climate

Without a reduction in emissions, by the end of this century atmospheric carbon dioxide could reach levels that Earth has not experienced for more than 30 million years. Critical insights into how Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, and ecosystems would function in this high carbon dioxide environment are contained in the records of Earth’s geological past, concludes Understanding Earth’s Deep Past: Lessons for Our Climate Future, a National Research Council report from the Board on Earth Sciences that was released on March 1, 2011.

“Ancient rocks and sediments hold the only records of major, and at times rapid, transitions across climate states and offer the potential for a much better understanding of the long-term impact of climate change,” said Isabel Montañez, chair of the committee that wrote the report and a professor in the department of geology at the University of California, Davis. The research could also yield information on the tipping points for climate change–the threshold of greenhouse gas accumulation in the atmosphere at which abrupt climate change will occur.

The report sets out a research agenda for an improved understanding of Earth system processes during the transition to a warmer world. High-priority research initiatives include gaining a better understanding of the sensitivity of climate to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide, the amount of sea-level rise as the ice sheets melt, and the resilience of ecosystems to climate change.


Webinar on Transportation and Climate Change

On Thursday, March 24 from 2:00-3:00 p.m., the National Academies Transportation Research Board will host the first of a 2-part webinar series that looks the threats of climate change to transportation facilities and operations and at resources for adapting. The cost of the webinar is $109 (the webinars are free to employees of TRB sponsors). To sign up and/or to learn more, please visit http://www.trb.org/ElectronicSessions/Blurbs/164935.aspx.

Also, you can always check out the website for the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate (BASC), a joint project of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council.


Global warming on other planets? Don’t be a dumb bunny

May 18, 2010

Do you weary, as I do, of global warming disbelievers* who say, with a straight face, that global warming is no problem on Earth because other planets in our solar system are also warming?

I mean, they say it as if there were a connection, as if it meant anything — does it weary you?

Eli Rabett is doing the hard-but-necessary academic task of combing through the official responses EPA scientists gave to comments on their proposals to regulate greenhouse gases.  Such regulations must be published in the Federal Register, and upon publication they must be open to public comment for a while, usually at least 30 days.

Ain’t our democratic republic wonderful?  Agencies are required to answer the comments, even stupid comments, even stupid comments from political hacks bent on making political points instead of shining light.

And, Eli has teased out EPA’s responses to the claims that warming on Earth is no problem because there is warming on other planets, so we can blame warming on God or the Sun, and do nothing.

Um, EPA doesn’t think so.  Read it here, at Eli’s burrow.

(I’ll wager Eli is one who knows his burro from a burrow.)

_____________

*  “Disbelievers?”  Still searching for a word to substitute for “denialist” which doesn’t offend the denialists, but doesn’t let them off the hook for being silly, either.


Killer CO2 cloud – the story climate change “skeptics” hope you won’t read

October 14, 2009

From Neat-o-rama: Grazing cattle killed in the 1986 Lake Nyos disaster (Image Credit: Water Encyclopedia)

From Neat-o-rama: Grazing cattle killed in the 1986 Lake Nyos disaster (Image Credit: Water Encyclopedia)

It’s not even secret.  But those propagandists who run advertising claiming that carbon dioxide is natural and, therefore, harmless, hope against hope that you don’t know the true history, that you’ve never heard of Cameroon, that you don’t know about volcanic emissions, and that you forgot the story of the killer CO2 cloud of 1986.

Read it here, “Cameroon:  The Lake of Death.”

More information:

Lake Nyos, in Cameroon, shortly after the 1986 killer CO2 cloud.  Image from Neat-o-rama.

Lake Nyos, in Cameroon, shortly after the 1986 killer CO2 cloud. Image from Neat-o-rama.

Help make a cloud of witnesses:

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl


Insurance experts: Get ready for climate change now

July 12, 2009

Climate change denialism is an astounding ball of contradictions and conundrums.

For example, while most denialists claim to be free-market devotees, they pointedly ignore market indications that climate change is real, aggravated by human actions (and inaction), and that humans can do anything about it.

Look at the insurance industry.  I’ve noted often that, here in Texas, we pay higher premiums on home insurance because climate change has produced worse weather, which costs insurance companies a lot.  Insurance company actuaries are paid to predict the future, reliably.  If they fail, insurance companies die quickly.

The “market” girds itself to fight climate change that governments are not going to move fast enough to prevent.  This will cost you a lot of money.

A good place to go for information about climate change and how it affects is the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories, a group that studies the future and is no longer limited (if it ever was) to nuclear future issues.

Insurance in a Climate of Change, The Greening of Insurance in a Warming World, is loaded with information about insurance industry calculations of what the future is, and how insurance companies might and should react to the changes.

How relevant are weather-related natural disasters for insurers, and is there any evidence that the situation is worsening?

Globally, we are seeing about $80 billion/year in weather-related economic losses, of which $20 billion (about a quarter) are insured. This is like a “9/11″ every year. Weather-related losses represent about 90% of all natural disaster losses, and the data I just cited do not include an enormous amount of aggregate losses from small-scale or gradual, non-catastrophic events (e.g., lightning, soil subsidence, gradual sea-level rise).

Inflation-adjusted economic losses from catastrophic events rose by 8-fold between the 1960s and 1990s and insured losses by 17-fold. Losses are increasing faster than insurance premiums. The insured share of total losses has increased dramatically in recent decades, and variability is increasing (a key trouble sign for risk-wary insurers). Weather-related catastrophes have clearly visible adverse effects on insurance prices, and availability. Of particular concern are the so-called “emerging markets” (developing countries and economies in transition”, which already have $375 billion per year in insurance premiums (about 12% of the global market at present, but rising). They are significantly more vulnerable to climate change than are industrialized countries. Emerging markets are the center of growth for the industry, yet they are also the center of vulnerability.

Increased exposures are surely influenced—and no doubt heavily in some areas—by rising demographic and socioeconomic exposures. Yet, the rise in losses has outpaced population, economic growth, and insurance penetration. The science of “attribution analysis” is still in primitive stages, and thus we cannot yet quantify the relative roles of global climate change and terrestrial human activities. Some have prematurely jumped to the conclusion [PDF] that demographic trends explain the entire rise in observed losses. In the year 2005, three independent refereed <!– –>scientific articles drew linkages between hurricane trends and climate change.

Denialists claim weather stations are badly-placed, and so we need not worry about climate change since warming can’t accurately be measured — never mind the worldwide rise in temperatures of atmosphere and oceans.   Denialists claim that the greenhouse effect cannot be blamed on carbon dioxide emissions since carbon dioxide is such a small proportion of the gases in the atmosphere, apparently wholly unaware of the greenhouse effect in atmospheric gases, or unaware that only a thin pane of glass makes a greenhouse work.  Denialists claim that polar bears do not decline precipitously, yet, so all wildlife will be unaffected – nevermind the dramatic shifts in migration patterns of birds and migrating mammals, and the dramatic shift in the arrival of spring.  Denialists claim that Boston Harbor has survived 300 years of human development, so all harbors can survive any increase in ocean levels, nevermind the pending disasters of islands sinking out of site and destroying entire nations in the South Pacific, and never mind the drownings in Bengla Desh at every cyclone.

Most denialists rent apaartments or own homes.  Denying the insurance increases will be more difficult, though I fully expect Anthony Watts and Co. will deny that the insurance company actions and studies of global warming are warranted or accurate.

Is there any good news in all of this?

By all means. Insurers need to look no farther than their roots as founders of the original fire departments, early advocates for building codes and fire safety, etc. That is to say that insurers’ history is all about risk management and loss prevention. The same thinking can apply in the case of climate change. Just as insurers fought fire risks through encouraging fire safety, better modeling, and fire suppression, so too can they be part of the climate change solution. This can take many forms, ranging from providing new insurance products (e.g., for carbon trading or energy savings insurance [PDF]), to promoting energy-efficient and renewable technologies [PDF] that also help prevent everyday losses, to engaging in the broader policy discussion on climate change. Insurers can also be part of improving the underlying science of climate change, modeling, and impacts assessment. We maintain an extensive compilation of examples of how leading insurers are stepping into the arena in a constructive manner.

Alas, there is no insurance against the dithering of climate change denialists.

Go, with all thy internet getting, get thee wisdom.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,155 other followers

%d bloggers like this: