Friday, March 26, 2010

"Earth Hour"

I was watching "Bones" earlier this evening and I saw a commercial (cast with cute little children, natch) that implores the viewer to "stand up for climate change solutions" (or something like that) and turn out your lights for an hour. So, I went to their web site and this caught my eye:

New economic modelling indicates the world has just five years to initiate a low carbon industrial revolution before runaway climate change becomes almost inevitable. But it can be done, and the long term benefits will be enormous.

I clicked on the link to learn about this economic (note, not "climate") model. It took me to a WWF advocacy publication that restates the contention that the world has "just five years" but does not document how that conclusion was reached!  I guess they assumed no one would check. Regardless, consider this:  From the results of an economic model, how could you possibly determine whether "runaway climate change" will occur in five years!?

It appears this is yet another example of fear-mongering.  We have heard these global warming "deadlines" before, starting in 1989 in The Miami Herald. Here is a screen capture from their archive (click to enlarge):
"Wiped off the face of the earth!  Exodus of Eco-Refugees! Chaos!" all by year 2000. Do you remember any of that? I don't.

These ten year deadlines have been coming more or less regularly since then. Remember, the "tipping point" theme in the media a few years ago? Take NASA's Dr. Hansen for example, news services
updated 5:17 p.m. CT, Thurs., Sept . 14, 2006
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A leading U.S. climate researcher says the world has a 10-year window of opportunity to take decisive action on global warming and avert catastrophe.
NASA scientist James Hansen, widely considered the doyen of American climate researchers, said governments must adopt an alternative scenario to keep carbon dioxide emission growth in check and limit the increase in global temperatures to 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit).
“I think we have a very brief window of opportunity to deal with climate change ... no longer than a decade, at the most,” Hansen said Wednesday at the Climate Change Research Conference in California’s state capital.

A year later (2007), NASA gave us another ten year deadline.

The same in 2008. Death Spiral! proclaimed the headline.

How many of these deadlines have to pass before people in general and the media in particular realize this is nonsense? As the previous posting explains, we can't forecast the climate 90 days into the future, let alone 5 years (or more) into the future.

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