Greenhouse gas levels reach record highs, nothing happens

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Scientists have warned that carbon dioxide and methane levels reached record highs in 2012, reports the World Meteorological Organization.

Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations were 141 percent above pre-industrial levels last year.

“As a result of this (increase in greenhouse gases), our climate is changing, our weather is more extreme, ice sheets and glaciers are melting and sea levels are rising,” said WMO secretary-general Michael Jarraud.

Yet the evidence suggests that weather has not gotten more extreme and that sea levels rises have been below United Nations estimates. Furthermore, arctic sea ice reached record levels this year despite much higher greenhouse gas concentrations.

Most importantly, according to skeptical scientists, global temperatures have not risen since 1998 despite findings that global greenhouse gas emissions 35.6 billion metric tons in in 2012 — a record high.

According to research from scientist Roger Pielke of the University of Colorado, hurricanes have not increased in frequency, intensity or normalized damage in the U.S. since 1900. Similarly, Tornadoes and tropical cyclones have also not become more intense or frequent since 1950 and 1970, respectfully.

U.S. floods have not increased in frequency or intensity since 1950, according to Pielke, and droughts have become shorter, less frequent, and smaller over the last century. Globally, floods have changed very little in the last 60 years.

“It is misleading and just plain incorrect to claim that disasters associated with hurricanes, tornadoes, floods or droughts have increased on climate timescales either in the United States or globally,” Pielke said in his testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

On a similar note, Dr. Bjorn Lomborg, the “skeptical environmentalist,” writes: “Historical analysis of wildfires around the world shows that since 1950 their numbers have decreased globally by 15%… The world has not seen a general increase in drought. A study published in Nature in November shows globally that ‘there has been little change in drought over the past 60 years.’”

The world panicked when failed presidential candidate and environmentalist Al Gore said that the “entire north polar ice cap will be gone in 5 years.” He predicted this in December 2008.

However, reports this year indicate that Arctic sea ice coverage was 29 percent greater in September of this year compared to the same time last year — with ice covering 533,000 square miles of ocean more than last year.

The south pole has also fared well, despite rising greenhouse gas emissions. Antarctic sea ice hit a 35-year record high in September — covering nearly 20 million square kilometers of ocean with ice. The previous sea ice coverage record was in 2012, meaning there have been two straight record high years.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data show the sea levels only rose 1.1 to 1.3 millimeters per year from 2005 to 2012. This is actually below the rate of sea level rise from 1954 to 2003.

UN officials hope to use record high greenhouse gas levels and claims of extreme weather to compel the international community to agree to a stronger climate agreement at the next round of major climate negotiations in 2015.

Delegates are already headed to Warsaw, Poland for another round of climate negotiations set for next week, but nothing substantive is expected to come out of this round of talks.

“As we head towards Warsaw for the latest round of climate negotiations, there is a real need for increased ambition by all countries: ambition which can take countries further and faster towards bridging the emissions gap and a sustainable future for all,” said Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“However, increased national ambition will not be enough to meet the scientific realities of climate change, which is one reason why a universal new agreement — able to catalyze international cooperation — is urgently needed by 2015,” she added.

A recent UN report found that global temperatures could rise by as much as 8.64 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions aren’t cut. However, global temperatures have been flat since 1998, and some scientists have even been going back to the theory that the earth was cooling.

“Attention in the public debate seems to be moving away from the 15-17 year ‘pause’ to the cooling since 2002,” writes Dr. Judith Curry, the chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology.

“There is a very good correlation of sunspots and climate,” writes Professor Cliff Ollier of the School of Earth and Environmental Studies at the University of Western Australia. “Solar cycles provide a basis for prediction. Solar Cycle 24 has started and we can expect serious cooling. Many think that political decisions about climate are based on scientific predictions but what politicians get are projections based on computer models.”

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