Tuesday, December 1, 2009

CO2, Climate Sensitivity and Politics

I'd like to respond to a comment made following the Hide the Decline post. Garret Seine states:

I think we need to stay very focused on one item, CO2. All the justification for control hinges on CO2 driving global warming. No one has been able to truly establish that there is a link and the fraudsters efforts are going up in smoke.

The justification for catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is not simply CO2, but the presence of positive feedbacks triggered by CO2.

Carbon dioxide has risen, and my understanding of the science is that through analysis of isotopes, it is possible to demonstrate that this rise is indeed caused by the burning of fossil fuels. However, the simple rise of this trace greenhouse gas would not be a problem without a significant positive feedback acting to significantly increase atmospheric water vapor content. It is this claim of a "climate sensitivity" to CO2 that drives fears of catastrophic warming.

The scientific work of Lindzen and others challenges the intensity and even the direction of these feedbacks. That these challenges have not been disproven, nor even seriously considered, should cause scientists to question the alarmist scenarios. The lack of candor and reasonable humility amongst promoters of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is evidence that too many people have too much invested in catastrophe to maintain an objective perspective on this subject.

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