Monthly Archives: July 2007

Part 5 of 5:  The Only Explanation Left

This is the final installment of a five-part series by Bill Chameides on How We Know Humans Cause Global Warming.

1. A 175-year-old Puzzle
2. What Chemistry Tells Us
3. Causes of Past Climate Change
4. The Medieval Warming Period
5. The Only Explanation Left

Compared to 100 years ago, the temperature of the atmosphere is warmer. No one disputes that. And no one disputes that an extra source of heat must be causing it – that’s a basic law of physics. But how do we know that the source of the heat is increasing levels of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels and deforestation?

So far in this series I’ve described how the relationship between atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and global warming was discovered, how carbon isotopes prove that rising CO2 concentrations are from the burning of fossil fuels, and how the orbital shifts that cause ice ages cannot explain our recent warming.

That certainly suggests that global warming is caused by increased CO2 from burning fossil fuels, but how can we be sure?

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Posted in Basic Science of Global Warming / Read 22 Responses

Swindles in the “The Great Global Warming Swindle”

The author of today’s post, Lisa Moore, is a scientist in the Climate and Air Program.

In March of this year, British TV Channel 4 aired a 72-minute diatribe called "The Great Global Warming Swindle". The program is filled with old data, data taken out of context, data misattributed, and general misinformation, and at the time it aired we thought it not worth responding to.

But people keep mentioning it, so here are the program’s main arguments and why they’re wrong. Now the next time someone brings this up, you’ll have the facts to give them.

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Posted in News / Read 8 Responses

How much coal does the U.S. have?

The author of today’s post, Jeffery Greenblatt, Ph.D., is an expert on low-carbon energy technologies at Environmental Defense.

The U.S. may be short on oil and gas reserves, but the one energy source we thought we had in abundance was coal – enough to last 250 years at current consumption levels. Or so we thought.

A few weeks ago, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released a new report saying that U.S. coal reserves may last only another 100 years, or even less. That’s a big difference. How did we get this so wrong, and what are the implications for U.S. energy policy going forward?

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Posted in Energy / Read 1 Response

Global Warming and the Ozone Hole

Many people have asked me whether global warming and the ozone hole are related. The short answer is "no". The long answer starts with "tangentially". Here’s the scoop.

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Posted in News / Read 4 Responses

Climate News: Solar Excuses, Stormy Reefs and Drying Ponds

The author of today’s post, Lisa Moore, is a scientist in the Climate and Air Program.

This week’s scientific journals brought three interesting stories about climate change. The first is a sneak peek at an upcoming paper about global warming and the Sun. The second talks about an unexpected environmental benefit of hurricanes, and the third reports that climate change is drying up important biodiversity hotspots in the Arctic.

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Posted in News / Read 5 Responses

Are you going to the LiveEarth concert?

Tomorrow’s Live Earth concert is expected to be quite the happening. Do you think it will help the fight against climate change? Are you planning to go? If you do go, post your experiences here!

Posted in News / Read 7 Responses