19 July 2010

A Nobel Prize Physicist Questions the Climate Dogma

Robert B. Laughlin Nobel Prize Physics 1998
Climate science is not a deep mystery that is only open to a few persons who have devoted their lifetimes to the topic. To understand climate science one must use the same type of reasoning, and the same type of tools, which scientists and technological / technical investigators in dozens of fields routinely utilise. Far from being glowing untouchables, climate scientists are justly vulnerable to a wide range of criticisms and judgments from persons with a wide range of backgrounds.

Here is one critical look at modern climate science by a 1998 Nobel Prize winner in Physics, Robert B. Laughlin:
Earth scientists tend to be ultraconservative when it comes to the future, presumably because the scientific ethic forbids mixing speculation with fact, and go to extraordinary lengths to prove by means of measurement that the globe is warming now, the ocean is acidifying now, fossil fuel is being exhausted now, and so forth, even though these things are self-evident in geologic time. The unhappy result is more and more data but less and less understanding—a common problem in science but an especially acute problem in climatology. In such situations it’s essential to weigh facts more strongly if they are simple, and use this practice to sweep away confusion whenever you can.

The sea’s immense capacity to store carbon dioxide is one of the simple things with which you can reliably orient yourself. It’s a junior-high-school science-fair project. Leave a glass of distilled water on the counter overnight, and by the next morning it will have become slightly acid, due to the absorption of carbon dioxide from the air. It hasn’t absorbed much—about the amount stored in an equal volume of air—so this effect alone will not sequester much carbon. But drop a piece of limestone in the water, thereby emulating the presence of carbonate rocks at the bottom of the sea, and you will find the next morning that the water becomes slightly alkaline, and the amount of carbon dissolved in the water is now 60 times greater than it was before. After tinkering a bit to figure out where this carbon came from, you eventually discover that half came from the limestone and half came from the air. It all has to do with the marvelous (and elementary) chemistry of bicarbonate salts. You also find that the alkalinity of the water matches that of seawater, as does the carbon dioxide carrying capacity. Thus we learn that the oceans have dissolved in them, in the form of bicarbonate ion, 40 times more carbon than the atmosphere contains, a total of 30 trillion tons, or 30 times the world’s coal reserves.

...A local beach a short drive from my home is backed by cliffs about 100 feet high that expose alternating layers of sandstone, mudstone, and aggregate, perhaps seven layers in all. You can tell without having attended a single geology class that these layers were formed by the action of water, the most likely candidate being the nearby ocean, especially in light of the fossilized clamshells entombed in some of the layers. Yet there they are high and dry, integrated into the rolling hills beyond, as though they were the sliced edge of a huge layer cake.

...The continents have moved up and down over the course of geologic time a greater distance than the sea is deep. We know this because the total thickness of sedimentary rock in some places exceeds four kilometers... now the oceans have been thoroughly surveyed, and oil technologies such as echo stratigraphy and deep drilling routinely find sedimentary rock layers 10 to 15 kilometers thick. The most sensational example of such thicknesses is the Grand Canyon, which required a three-kilometer uplift from sea level to be cut by the Colorado River, and which forms, together with Utah’s Escalante Staircase, a total sedimentary mass 10 kilometers thick.

...The geologic record as we know it thus suggests that climate is a profoundly grander thing than energy. Energy procurement is a matter of engineering and keeping the lights on under circumstances that are likely to get more difficult as time progresses. Climate change, by contrast, is a matter of geologic time, something that the earth routinely does on its own without asking anyone’s permission or explaining itself. The earth doesn’t include the potentially catastrophic effects on civilization in its planning. Far from being responsible for damaging the earth’s climate, civilization might not be able to forestall any of these terrible changes once the earth has decided to make them. Were the earth determined to freeze Canada again, for example, it’s difficult to imagine doing anything except selling your real estate in Canada. If it decides to melt Greenland, it might be best to unload your property in Bangladesh. The geologic record suggests that climate ought not to concern us too much when we’re gazing into the energy future, not because it’s unimportant, but because it’s beyond our power to control. _AmericanScholar_via_ClimateDepot

The scandal emanating from the University of East Anglia's Hadley Climate Research Unit -- popularly referred to as "ClimateGate" -- should have disabused more intelligent observers of any delusions they may have held about the honesty, scrupulousness, good faith, or scientific openness and integrity of several individuals high in the IPCC scientific hierarchy.

The IPCC and its inner circle have used just about every dirty trick and dishonest device known to journalism, public relations, and propaganda. See "AmazonGate" for another example. The orthodoxy of climate catastrophe has all the markings of a quasi-criminal scam. All you need to do once you wise up to that fact, is to "follow the money." Who is racking up frequent flier miles and big martini and massage expense accounts, writing jet exhaust on the atmosphere the entire world around? Who stands to gain from the $mega-billion cap and trade scams being pushed by most European countries and Obama Pelosi? Not a pretty picture.

If you believe in "climate change" (isn't the climate ALWAYS changing?), you may want to clear the cobwebs of that part of your brain and begin to exercise your own judgment -- rather than letting the sleazes and scam artists do it for you.

More: Here is a look at the environmental devastation that is being caused by climate hysterics such as the IPCC and those who take them seriously. h/t Climate Depot

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Blogger Milan said...

The recent article Robert Laughlin wrote about climate change (“What the Earth Knows,”

19 July 2010) perpetuates a dangerous fallacy – namely, that anything that doesn’t

imperil the Earth as a whole cannot imperil humanity. Unfortunately, there is good

reason to think that climate change is an exception. It cannot cease the yearly orbit of

the Earth around the sun, but it could well undermine the stable climatic conditions

that have accompanied the rise of human civilization during the past 10,000 years. By

pointing at the robustness of the planet as a reason not to worry about climate change,

your article commits an error comparable to seeing a baby driving around on a bulldozer

and saying: “There’s no need to worry, that bulldozer will be just fine.”

The Earth will be fine, but for the sake of humanity we need to end our dependence on

fossil fuels and move to energy sources that will last forever and which will not

destabilize the climate upon which we depend.

Milan Ilnyckyj
Editor, BuryCoal.com

I have elaborated on these thoughts at:


Monday, 19 July, 2010  
Blogger gtg723y said...

Milan, I am not sure of your educational background so this is not intended to be condescending just informative. The earth is a very large thermodynamic system, and its working fluid is water and water vapor, over 90% of earths greenhouse effect comes from water vapor, another 5% comes from the ozone layer which not only traps in heat but filters out dangerous radiation. The other 5% comes from our atmosphere which is 4% CO2. The CO2 in our atmosphere has only risen around 1% in the last century. Therefore you are trying to argue that that a 1% increase from 3% to 4% of 5% is going to cause the catastrophic warming of a thermodynamic system as large as the earth.

I would now like to take the oportunity to inform you that the polar caps on mars were recently shrinking in the north polar region as quickly as the north pole ice on Earth was retreating, also the ice at the southern pole of both planets was growing at the same rate, Mars has an atmosphere of 100% CO2, no magnetosphere, and is half the size of the earth, there fore it is a safe assumption that the suns influence on our climate is so large that anything we do should be considered minuscule, it would be arrogant to assume otherwise. Remember CO2 makes up .2% of the greenhouse effect and is not the only variable changing. Sorry but a gang of cold hard facts just murdered a very flawed hypothosis.

Tuesday, 20 July, 2010  
Blogger Milan said...

I have been corresponding with Dr. Laughlin about his article.

The back-and-forth is at:


Wednesday, 21 July, 2010  
Blogger al fin said...

Big wind and big solar are "solutions" which will end up being far worse than coal, gas, or oil.

Nuclear is the only non-fossil form of energy that is viable on a large scale now.

Eventually enhanced geothermal and microbial biomass for liquid fuels and co-generation will be viable.

Anyone who promotes big wind and big solar at this time is certifiable.

Thursday, 29 July, 2010  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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