16 Dec 2009, 10:22am
Climate and Weather
by admin

The Copenhagen Climate Challenge

A “Climate Challenge” letter [here] has been delivered to UN Sec Gen Ban Ki Moon. Signed by 149 scientists around the world, the letter requests that convincing evidence of global warming be produced prior to any massive alteration of the world economy:

We the undersigned, being qualified in climate-related scientific disciplines, challenge the UNFCCC and supporters of the United Nations Climate Change Conference to produce convincing OBSERVATIONAL EVIDENCE for their claims of dangerous human-caused global warming and other changes in climate. Projections of possible future scenarios from unproven computer models of climate are not acceptable substitutes for real world data obtained through unbiased and rigorous scientific investigation. …

It is not the responsibility of ‘climate realist’ scientists to prove that dangerous human-caused climate change is not happening. Rather, it is those who propose that it is, and promote the allocation of massive investments to solve the supposed ‘problem’, who have the obligation to convincingly demonstrate that recent climate change is not of mostly natural origin and, if we do nothing, catastrophic change will ensue. To date, this they have utterly failed to do.

One of the signers, Dr. Bob Zybach, Ph.D., forest scientist, President, NW Maps Co., and Program Manager, Oregon Websites and Watersheds Project, Inc. [here], was interviewed in reference to the “Climate Challenge” letter by the Meford Mail Tribune:

Ecologist criticizes ‘herd mentality’ on climate

By Paul Fattig, Medford Mail Tribune, December 16, 2009 [here]

If you ask Bob Zybach, he will tell you there is a global warming problem.

But the forest ecologist figures it is nothing more than hot air from scientists and politicians gathered in Copenhagen at the United Nations’ global warming conference.

“The bottom line is that the science on global warming is unsettled — there is no consensus on the science,” he said. “There is simply a hypothesis at this point. How about some proof?”

He took issue with a Dec. 3 article in the Mail Tribune which reported that the Society of Conservation Biology sent a letter to the prime minister of Denmark recommending 11 climate change policy principles be adopted at the conference. …

The society believes there is ample proof of human-caused climate change, from the growing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to rising temperatures worldwide.

Zybach disagrees. He was among 141 scientists from around the world, including former Oregon state climatologist George Taylor, who fired off a letter on Dec. 9 to Ban Ki Moon, secretary-general of United Nations, stressing they believe there are more questions than answers about global warming.

” … there is no sound reason to impose expensive and restrictive public policy decisions on the peoples of the Earth without first providing convincing evidence that human activities are causing dangerous climate change beyond that resulting from natural causes,” the letter stated.

“Before any precipitate action is taken, we must have solid observational data demonstrating that recent changes in climate differ substantially from changes observed in the past and are well in excess of normal variations caused by solar cycles, ocean currents, changes in the Earth’s orbital parameters and other natural phenomena,” it added.

It called for supporters of the U.N.’s Climate Change Conference to produce “convincing observational evidence” supporting their claims of dangerous human-caused global warming and other changes in climate.

Zybach, 61, who is based in Cottage Grove but began studying forests in Jackson and Josephine counties in the late 1980s, acknowledged that many scientists would concur with the society’s and DellaSala’s conclusion.

Zybach said he believes that’s the product of a “herd” mentality fueled by politics, which results in anyone questioning their views being vilified by the majority.

“Skeptics are supposed to be at the core of science, not on the fringe,” said Zybach who focused on the study of historical ecology while earning his doctorate’s degree at Oregon State University. His research was on the practice of woodland burning by American Indians and catastrophic wildfire patterns of Western Oregon. He is the program manager of the nonprofit Oregon Websites and Watersheds Project, Inc. which can be found at www.orww.org.

In particular, Zybach questioned the reliability of computer models to predict global warming.

“Nobody knows what the weather is going to be in five minutes,” he said. “So how can they accurately predict what it is going to be like in 50 or 100 years?”

His research also rejects claims that global temperatures in the past century are exceptions to the norm. It was much warmer 5,000 to 7,000 years ago, he said.

“We also know the 1930s was warmer and drier than the past 100 years,” he said. “Yet there was a lot less carbon dioxide in the air in the 1930s.”

In turn, it was cooler from the 1940s into the 1980s [despite increasing CO2], he said.

“The data just doesn’t support their assumption,” he continued. ” … We need to get away from science as politics or science as religion. We need to get back to scientific methodology.”

Zybach insisted he has no political ax to grind.

“I’m apolitical, staunchly so,” he said.

“We do have some real problems on this planet — infant mortality, overpopulation, wars,” he added. “We need to direct our resources at human misery, not at problems that don’t exist.”

16 Dec 2009, 1:02pm
by Bob Zybach

Thanks for printing this Mike. I think it is an important issue.

Astute readers might notice a reporter’s error on the 1930s quote. I used the example of the decade as being generally acknowledged as the warmest and driest of “the past 100 years,” not the “previous” 100 years.” I was talking about 1910 to 2009; not 1830 to 1929!

Other than that, I think Fattig did a thorough and accurate representation of the key points from a nearly one-hour interview.

16 Dec 2009, 1:37pm
by Mike

Bob, the “past to previous” change was mine. Sorry. I fixed it back. Frankly, though, I don’t think the sentence makes sense either way.

The 1930’s were the warmest decade since the Medieval Warm Period ~1250 years ago. During that era global temps were at least 1 degree C warmer than the 1930’s or now. Between the Medieval Warm Period and the present, the planet experienced the Little Ice Age.

Generally speaking, temperatures have been falling since the Climactic Optimum of ~6,000 years ago, when temps were 2 to 3 degrees C warmer than now.

For a great graphical display of global temperatures going back 400,000 years, please see Hockey stick observed in NOAA ice core data [here].

16 Dec 2009, 2:38pm
by Bob Zybach


The point I was making to Fattig was that CO2 levels raised dramatically AFTER WW II, at the same time that temperatures were going down. No cause and effect correlation between temperature and CO2; or at best an inverse one.

I was trying to show a more recent time period in which the models weren’t working, as well as times that are thousands of years in the past.

16 Dec 2009, 4:15pm
by admin

But have they really? Please check out Pre-industrial CO2 levels were about the same as today by Dr. Tim Ball [here].

The latest findings in historical landscape geography are that human beings have been burning landscapes across all continents (except Antarctica) for the entire Holocene. A vast quantity of carbon has been released via human agency, and not just recently. It may astound some readers to know that smog is a very ancient invention.

The proxies for CO2 have some problems. For instance, there is molecular migration of CO2 through ice, so that ice cores are not very precise or accurate measurement tools. We don’t really know what the atmospheric concentrations have been. It would be rash to assume they have been constant throughout the last 10,000 years, though.

You are correct that there has been no correlation of temperatures to CO2 levels. Correlation does not mean causation, but lack of correlation definitely implies no causative link.



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