The Durban Air is Warmed by Platitudes

I have not written much so far about the UN Climate Change Conference at Durban because, from what I have been able to follow in the press, in truth not much is happening there. No doubt the Durban air is warmed by platitudes, but platitudes will never solve the problem of the continuing warming of the atmosphere. Continue reading

Eating the seed corn

When a man is starving he will eat the seed corn on which next year’s harvest depends, because if he does not eat he will not see next year. Next year will, he hopes and prays, take care of itself; something may turn up but if he does not eat the seed corn, death is certain. Continue reading

Climate Change Deniers – why am I wrong?

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction,Newtontold us. With climate change writingNewton’s law does not invariably apply. I know that sometimes when I post some ideas about climate change, someone else posts on this blog some ideas which are opposite, but not necessarily equal. That is the fine thing about climate change writing. The opposite views are not necessarily equal. Continue reading

The Eleven Year Solar Cycle and the Saucepan Test

The sun waxes and wanes, or rather emits marginally more ultraviolet radiation at some times than it does at others. It seems that there is a cycle for the sun every eleven or so years. Some stages of the cycle are described as “quiet” and others are more energy intensive and it seems that during the quiet stages the sun emits less UV radiation which has an effect upon our weather, but not our climate.

Ultra violet light is absorbed in the upper atmosphere the stratosphere actually) by ozone (mostly) which is layered there. When there is less UV light the ozone layer has less energy to absorb (light is after all energy) and having less energy to absorb the upper stratosphere becomes cooler. This affects precipitation and air oscillations, and according to some research by the UK Met Office, creates colder than usual winters when the UV radiation is low.

Does this affect global warming? I cannot see how it can; the fact that the amount of radiation striking the atmosphere of the sun varies does not necessarily affect the radiation escaping from the earth’s atmosphere.

I remember watching my sister heat a saucepan of milk on a gas hob when i was very young. If she turned up the gas the milk heated quickly but if she lowered the gas the milk still heated but more slowly. In fact virtually any heat from the hob would keep the milk hot until she took it off the hob.

If you heat a saucepan of milk and vary the temperature in doing so as long as the temperature of the water is less than the temperature of the heat source the water gets hotter. It seems to me that the temperature (radiation) striking the atmosphere will always be hotter than the atmosphere whether the sun’s radiation increases or decreases over an eleven year cycle. If the sun’s radiation ever reached levels that were such that the heat from the sun striking the atmosphere was less than the heat in the atmosphere then the effect of global warming would be reduced. However, if that happened we would all be in trouble.

What happens when the solar radiation waxes and wanes is that the atmosphere heats up relatively more quickly and relatively more slowly; that is all; it still heats up.

It is helpful to think of this “saucepan effect” when being faced with arguments, which you certainly will hear from climate change deniers that the eleven year solar cycle explains why climate change is not happening.

Giving the EPA more powers does not threaten the Constitution

Some folks in the United States of America are getting upset about measures which are proposed to give the Environmental Protection Agency (the EPA) more authority to grant permits and regulation greenhouse gas emissions. It is claimed that not only would these measures bring an end to economic activity as we know it, but that they would also threaten the constitutional separation of powers. Continue reading

The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation

The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation claims that policies to curb climate change “would destroy jobs and impose trillions of dollars in costs”. These are odd claims to make for an organisation for stewardship of creation.

Policies to curb climate change are of only two kinds. Continue reading

The Climate Change Debate

There is always a debate about climate change. Sometimes the debate is loud and vigorous. At other times the debate is hard to hear above the alarums and excursions that are part of our lives in a rapidly changing economic world. There are two separate questions to the climate change debate. Traditionally these two questions are expressed simply for mass consumption in the press, radio and television as:-

  1. Is the climate changing at all?
  2. If it is changing what are the causes of the change? Continue reading