A scientist’s prayer:
“Lord, grant that my work increase knowledge and help other men.
Failing that, Lord, grant that it will not lead to man's destruction. Failing
that, Lord, grant that my article in Nature be published before the destruction
takes place.” – --Walker Percy, Love in the Ruins
A UK jury decides that threat of global warming justifies
breaking the law
Excerpt: The threat of global warming is so great that campaigners were justified in causing more than £35,000 worth of damage to a coal-fired power station, a jury decided yesterday. In a verdict that will have shocked ministers and energy companies the jury at Maidstone Crown Court cleared six Greenpeace activists of criminal damage. Jurors accepted defence arguments that the six had a "lawful excuse" to damage property at Kingsnorth power station in Kent to prevent even greater damage caused by climate change. The defence of "lawful excuse" under the Criminal Damage Act 1971 allows damage to be caused to property to prevent even greater damage such as breaking down the door of a burning house to tackle a fire. The not-guilty verdict, delivered after two days and greeted with cheers in the courtroom, raises the stakes for the most pressing issue on Britain's green agenda and could encourage further direct action
-- not only in Britain but elsewhere
SEPP Science Editorial #3 (9/13/08)
It’s become quite clear that the climate has not warmed for a decade, since 1998, the year of the strong El Nino. But what about the two decades before 1998? The iconic graph of global mean surface temperature of the IPCC seems to show a strong warming trend of 0.2 degC per decade (see Fig 4a of NIPCC report, based on the GISS analysis). But not so fast: The well-controlled US data show no such trend (NIPCC, Fig 4b). Tree-ring data (see “Hot Talk, Cold Science” Fig16), not subject to any local urban heating, show zero trends; ice core temperatures (NIPCC, Fig 2) show no warming either. The notorious Hockeystick proxy data mysteriously stop at 1980, just when things become interesting. But we have tropospheric temperature data from balloon-borne radiosondes and from microwave instruments in weather satellites. Both of these data sets show essentially no warming between 1979 and 1997. Climate models tell us that if greenhouse (GH) effects dominate, then the surface trend in the tropics should be about half that of the troposphere. And half of zero is zero. Hmm, maybe there has been no significant GH warming between 1979 and 1997 at all, then an upward jump in 1998, followed by slight cooling. A look at the satellite data (NIPCC, Fig 13) seems to suggest just that.
1. Shock Verdict: UK jury decides that threat of global warming justifies breaking the law: So it's now legal for CO2 hysterics to vandalize power plants?
2. Why big energy companies (and T. Boone) are pushing wind power – and Cap&Trade
3. Obama’s energy plans
4. How to comment on the EPA’s Proposed Rules on
regulating Carbon Dioxide:
5. UK vs EU on CO2 mitigation
6. Global Temperature and Atmospheric CO2 over Geologic Time:
7. Sea Level rise protection debate in Holland
NEWS YOU CAN USE
Perhaps McCain is backing away totally from cap-and-trade! The “Palin-Effect”?
McCain Surrogate Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN): Human Impact On Global Warming “Half A Percent”
Appearing on the Glenn Beck radio show, Pawlenty implied mandatory programs to reduce global warming emissions — like the cap-and-trade programs he has previously called for — would “wreck the economy” “But, in my view: you can argue that the world, the globe is warming as it always has for natural reasons. But I think the weight of the science indicates that at least so [it seems] to me — you could argue it’s half a percent or something more substantial — is caused by human behavior. . .. But, in the wake of this energy crisis, where people are struggling to pay the bills, that debate on cap and trade has fallen to the background for understandable reasons.”
Energy policy of candidates (by Ken Green, AEI)
Foreign Policy magazine (Sept 9) lists the “10 worst energy policies” of the candidates.
But in criticizing Obama, they don’t seem to understand how the SPR functions and its relation to oil security. Still – 9 out of 10 isn’t bad. Similarly, in criticizing McCain on oil drilling, they don’t seem to realize that the current oil price, set by OPEC decisions on current production, depends on how OPEC views future non-OPEC supply and world price.
McCain says he wants to build 45 more nuclear plants. Obama wants to keep the nuclear power option open but says that the United States should not build more reactors until the industry finds a safe way to dispose of commercial nuclear waste. He opposes dumping radioactive wastes at Nevada's Yucca Mountain. Note that according to the 1986 law, disposal is the exclusive responsibility of govt not industry. Also, note artful language: “ radioactive waste dump” vs “engineered disposal of spent reactor fuel.” It tells you something, doesn’t it?
Anthropogenic Global Warming Alarmism: A Corruption of Science: An open letter to members of the New England section of the American Physical Society, from Laurence I. Gould [Physics Department, University of Hartford; Chair (2004), New England Section of the American Physical Society]
On July 11, 2008, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) for greenhouse gases. The ANPR is part of EPA's response to the Supreme Court's ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA, which directed the agency to determine whether CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles endanger public health or welfare. The ANPR includes a comprehensive outline by EPA staff of the multitude of Clean Air Act programs that would be applied to CO2 and other greenhouse gases. The EPA staff draft sets forth program outlines and technical data ranging from new National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for states and localities to stringent new emission standards for cars, trucks, planes, trains, boats, refineries, manufacturing plants, heavy- and light-duty equipment, and even hotels, office buildings, and farms.
The ANPR was published in the Federal Register on July 30, 2008, with a 120-day comment period. Comments are due to EPA on or before November 28, 2008, and may be submitted by following the instructions located below. The full docket for the ANPR can found at http://www.regulations.gov/ under the docket designation EPA-HQ-OAR-2008-0318. As of July 30, there were 168 documents in the docket. The important documents are posted at http://www.uschamber.com/co2/default
and provides a less
burdensome way to participate in the ANPR commenting.
UNDER THE BOTTOM LINE
“Climate crisis' needs brain gain” BBC News. The most brilliant minds should be directed to solving Earth's greatest challenges, such as climate change, says Sir David King. The former UK chief scientist will use his presidential address at the British AAS Science Festival to call for a gear-change among innovative thinkers. He will suggest that less time and money is spent on endeavours such as space exploration and particle physics.
Sir David's remarks will be controversial because they are being made just as the UK is about to celebrate its participation in the Large Hadron Collider, the world's biggest physics experiment. "It's all very well to demonstrate that we can land a craft on Mars, it's all very well to discover whether or not there is a Higgs boson (a potential mass mechanism); but I would just suggest that we need to pull people towards perhaps the bigger challenges where the outcome for our civilisation is really crucial."
Chief among these challenges for Sir David is the issue of climate change. When he was the government's top scientist, he made the famous remark that the threat from climate change was bigger than the threat posed by terrorism.
By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor
Thursday, 11 September 2008
The threat of global warming is so great that campaigners were justified in causing more than £35,000 worth of damage to a coal-fired power station, a jury decided yesterday. In a verdict that will have shocked ministers and energy companies the jury at Maidstone Crown Court cleared six Greenpeace activists of criminal damage.
Jurors accepted defence arguments that the six had a "lawful excuse" to damage property at Kingsnorth power station in Kent to prevent even greater damage caused by climate change. The defence of "lawful excuse" under the Criminal Damage Act 1971 allows damage to be caused to property to prevent even greater damage such as breaking down the door of a burning house to tackle a fire.
The not-guilty verdict, delivered after two days and greeted with cheers in the courtroom, raises the stakes for the most pressing issue on Britain's green agenda and could encourage further direct action.
Kingsnorth was the centre for mass protests by climate camp activists last month. Last year, three protesters managed to paint Gordon Brown's name on the plant's chimney. Their handiwork cost £35,000 to remove.
The plan to build a successor to the power station is likely to be the first of a new generation of coal-fired plants. As coal produces more of the carbon emissions causing climate change than any other fuel, campaigners claim that a new station would be a disastrous setback in the battle against global warming, and send out a negative signal to the rest of the world about how serious Britain really is about tackling the climate threat.
But the proposals, from the energy giant EON, are firmly backed by the Business Secretary, John Hutton, and the Energy minister, Malcolm Wicks. Some members of the Cabinet are thought to be unhappy about them, including the Foreign Secretary, David Milliband, and the Environment Secretary, Hilary Ben. Mr. Brown is likely to have the final say on the matter later this year.
During the eight-day trial, the world's leading climate scientist, Professor James Hansen of NASA, who had flown from American to give evidence, appealed to the Prime Minister personally to "take a leadership role" in cancelling the plan and scrapping the idea of a coal-fired future for Britain. Last December he wrote to Mr Brown with a similar appeal. At the trial, he called for an moratorium on all coal-fired power stations, and his hour-long testimony about the gravity of the climate danger, which painted a bleak picture, was listened to intently by the jury of nine women and three men.
Professor Hansen, who first alerted the world to the global warming threat in June 1988 with testimony to a US senate committee in Washington, and who last year said the earth was in "imminent peril" from the warming atmosphere, asserted that emissions of CO2 from Kings-north would damage property through the effects of the climate change they would help to cause.
He was one of several leading public figures who gave evidence for the defence, including Zac Goldsmith, the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Richmond Park and director of the Ecologist magazine, who similarly told the jury that in his opinion, direct action could be justified in the minds of many people if it was intended to prevent larger crimes being committed.
The acquittal was the second time in a decade that the "lawful excuse" defence has been successfully used by Greenpeace activists. In 1999, 28 Greenpeace campaigners led Lord Melchett, who was director at the time, were cleared of criminal damage after trashing an experimental field of GM crops in Norfolk. In each case the damage was not disputed the point at issue was the motive.
The court heard how, dressed in orange boiler suits and white hard hats bearing the Greenpeace logo, the six-strong group arrived at the site at 6.30am on 8 October. Armed with bags containing abseiling gear, five of them scaled the chimney while Mr Hewke waited below to liaise between the climbers and police.
The climbers had planned to paint "Gordon, bin it" in huge letters on the side of the chimney, but although they succeeded in temporarily shutting the station, they only got as far as painting the word "Gordon" on the chimney before they descended, having been threatened with a High Court injunction. Removing the graffiti cost E.ON £35,000, the court heard.
During the trial the defendants said they had acted lawfully, owing to an honestly held belief that their attempt to stop emissions from Kingsnorth would prevent further damage to properties worldwide caused by global warming. Their aim, they said, was to rein back CO2 emissions and bring urgent pressure to bear on the Government and E.ON to changes policies. They insisted their action had caused the minimum amount of damage necessary to close the plant down and constituted a "proportionate response" to the increasing environmental threat.
Speaking outside court after being cleared yesterday, Mr Stewart said: "This is a huge blow for ministers and their plans for new coal-fired power stations. It wasn't only us in the dock, it was the coal-fired generation as well. After this verdict, the only people left in Britain who think new coal is a good idea are John Hutton and Malcolm Wicks. It's time the Prime Minister stepped in, showed some leadership and embraced the clean energy future for Britain."
He added: "This verdict marks a tipping point for the climate change movement. When a jury of normal people say it is legitimate for a direct action group to shut down a coal-fired power station because of the harm it does to our planet, then where does that leave Government energy policy? We have the clean technologies at hand to power our economy. It's time we turned to them instead of coal."
Ms Hall said: "The jury heard from the most distinguished climate scientist in the world. How could they ignore his warnings and reject his leading scientific arguments?
From James Hansen: Good news from the UK: the Kingsnorth Six were acquitted by a Crown Court jury. They were members of a group of 23 Greenpeace volunteers who had attempted to shut down the Kingsnorth coal-fired power plant, specifically the six were the ones painting the smokestack with "Gordon Bin It" when interrupted by the police. Their defense was 'lawful excuse', that they were protecting property of greater value (the Earth!) from the impact of climate change. We will need our Mercedes-driving lawyer friends to tell us if the verdict has greater significance -- but the jurors were common people, not politicians. It was an impressive show -- judge and lawyers with their white wigs -- hopefully it has an impact.
Written testimony that I submitted for the case, at http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/20080910_Kingsnorth.pdf
is a bit long. The "Summary Facts" are below. The main point, that the government, the utility, and the fossil fuel industry, were aware of the facts but continued to ignore them are more generally valid worldwide. It raises the question of whether the right people are on trial.
These summary facts were known by the UK government, by the utility EON, by the fossil fuel industry, and by the defendants at the time of their actions in 2007:
(1) Tipping Points: the climate system is dangerously close to tipping points that could have disastrous consequences for young people, life and property, and general well-being on the planet that will be inherited from today's elders.
(2) Coal's Dominant Role: Coal is the fossil fuel most responsible for excess CO2 in the air today, and coal reserves contain much more potential CO2 than do oil or gas. Coal is the fossil fuel that is most susceptible to either (a) having the CO2 captured and sequestered if coal is used in power plants, or (b) leaving the coal in the ground, instead emphasizing use of cleaner fuels and energy efficiency.
(3) Recognized Responsibilities: The UK is one of the nations most responsible for human-made CO2 in the air today, indeed, on a per capita basis it is the most responsible of all nations that are major emitters of CO2. This fact is recognized by developing countries, making it implausible that they would consider altering their plans for coal use if the UK plans to continue to rely on coal-fired power.
(4) Recognized Impacts of Climate Change: The UK government, EON, and the fossil fuel industry were aware of the likely impacts of continuation of coal emissions, specifically impacts on future sea level, extinctions of animal and plant species, and regional climate effects, i.e., they were all aware that their actions would contribute to these adverse impacts, leaving a more impoverished planet for today's young people and the unborn.
(5) Greenwash: Governments, utilities, and the fossil fuel industry have presented public faces acknowledging the importance of climate change and claiming that they are taking appropriate actions. Yet the facts, as shown in this document, contradict their claims. Construction of new coal-fired power plants makes it unrealistic to hope for the prompt phase-out of coal emissions and thus makes it practically impossible to avert climate disasters for today's young people and future generations.
Recognition of these basic facts by the defendants, realization that the facts were also known by the government, utility, and fossil fuel industry, and realization that the actions needed to protect life and property of the present and future generations were not being taken undoubtedly played a role in the decision of the defendants to act as they did.
So it's now legal in the UK for CO2 hysterics to vandalize power plants? Even if the science says that CO2 is not a pollutant and knocks all of Hansen’s arguments into a cocked hat.
2. WIND POWER FUELS GAS CONSUMPTION
By EDGAR GÄRTNER, WSJ on-line, September 11, 2008
Following Russia's invasion of Georgia, a vital link between Europe and the energy resources of Central Asia, energy security is back at the top of Europe's agenda. For years now, many Europeans thought that a major part of their future energy security might come from wind turbines and solar panels. Industry, too, has suggested that this may be the case:
At this summer's World Petroleum Congress in Madrid, most major oil and gas companies presented new plans for big renewable energy projects. But this renewables push, particularly when it comes to wind, is probably just a very clever short-term business strategy that will not improve Europe's geopolitical situation. Wind turbines generate electricity very irregularly, because the wind itself is inconsistent. Therefore wind turbines always need backup power from fossil fuels to keep the electricity grid in balance. Gas turbines are the best way to do this. They are able to respond quickly and push power production when wind generators stop suddenly. They can be turned on and off almost instantly, whereas traditional coal-fired plants need to be maintained in a very inefficient standby mode if they are to respond to large fluctuations in power demand.
A proliferation of windmills, then, can become a windfall for gas sellers. Just look at the cases of Spain and Germany, Europe's leading producers of wind power. By the end of 2007 Spain had 14,700 megawatts (MW) of installed wind capacity, according to Enagás, which manages the national gas network, producing 8.7% of the country's total power supplies. Most of these wind generators are located in scarcely populated areas, while the power consumption is concentrated in big cities with their many air-conditioned buildings. The peak load of the Spanish power grid is thus in the hot summer months —but this is precisely the time of year when there usually isn't much wind. For this reason, more and more gas turbines are being installed near consumers in the suburbs of Spain's cities. Only last year, Spanish power providers added 6,400 MW of gas-turbine power capacity, taking the total installed capacity of gas turbines to 21,000 MW. Natural gas has become the main source of electricity generation in Spain, and according to Enagás, 99.8% of the gas used in Spain is imported. Most of this comes via pipeline from Algeria, but the import of liquid natural gas (LNG) by ships will increase.
In Germany, more than 20,000 wind turbines with a total capacity of 21,400 MW are now "embellishing" landscapes. Wind power's share of total electricity generation has risen in line with that of natural gas since 1990. Germany's gas consumption for power generation more than doubled between 1990 and 2007, and now represents 11.7% of the country's total power generation. The country imported 83% of its natural gas supplies. Today part of the wind power backup in Germany is still done by old coal-fired plants. But the Greens and even parts of the governing Christian and Social Democratic parties are fervently opposed to the construction of new coal plants. So many old power stations will probably be replaced by gas turbines.
The green opponents of new coal-fired plants are nowadays the most dependable allies of the big gas companies such as Gazprom, Shell or BP. Most European countries force consumers to subsidize electricity from wind power. This makes "renewables" a very safe investment compared with other energy businesses, where swings in commodity prices can be large. As Europe's big integrated oil and gas companies—such as Shell, BP and Total—invest more and more in LNG, they invest more and more in LNG, they are also lobbying hard for a world-wide carbon-emissions trading system that would further increase the advantage of gas over coal.
In the U.S. the same thing is happening. The problem for the natural gas industry in the U.S. is that gas is still relatively inexpensive compared with market prices elsewhere in the world. There are no facilities for LNG export. This may explain why Shell, BP, Chevron and T. Boone Pickens are investing in wind power. It's a clever strategy to add value to their gas assets by boosting demand. These gas players can afford to lose money on wind power in the short term to reap huge profits in the long term. In fact, this was the strategy first implemented by Ken Lay of Enron in 1990s. Enron was the power and gas company that started the first large-scale manufacturing of wind power in the U.S. It also brought up the ideas for a cap-and-trade system, to increase the competitive edge of gas over coal.
Wind power is clearly not reducing the dependence on imported fuel, contrary to the frequent claims of its proponents. In fact the experience from Germany and Spain shows that it is increasing the dependence of imported natural gas. And that's not energy security.
Mr. Gärtner is a specialized writer on energy and chemicals issues based in Frankfurt.
3. OBAMA ON ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT
How do Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.) differ on energy and the environment? The National Journal compared and contrasted the two presidential candidates. Below is a summary of Obama's positions on energy and the environment.
o Obama backs ambitious legislation to cut U.S. global-warming pollution 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
o Under his cap-and-trade proposal, the federal government would auction greenhouse-gas emission "credits" to companies that want to continue to pollute.
o Money from the auction would be used to develop clean-energy technologies, increase efficiency and underwrite the labor costs of transitioning to new technologies.
o Obama wants to keep the nuclear power option open but says that the United States should not build more reactors until the industry finds a safe way to dispose of commercial nuclear waste.
o He opposes dumping radioactive wastes at Nevada's Yucca Mountain.
o Obama reversed his anti-drilling position to support oil exploration along the southeastern coast and Florida shores.
o He favors proposals to require oil companies to use existing drilling leases, and calls for selling 70 million barrels of oil stockpiled in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
o He would impose tougher controls on oil speculation, end tax breaks for the oil and gas industry, impose a "windfall profits" tax on multinational oil companies and enact tougher fuel-economy standards on new cars and trucks.
o Obama would require power companies to generate one-quarter of their electricity from solar, wind or other sustainable sources by 2025.
o He also favors ambitious efficiency goals for new and existing buildings.
Alternative transportation fuels:
o Obama backs federal ethanol mandates and seeks greater federal support for making ethanol from nonfood crops.
o He supports development of coal-to-oil technologies, although he now says that all new fuels should have to meet a national low-carbon standard.
Source: "Obama on Energy and the Environment,"
in "Where They Stand," National Journal, Aug 30, 2008. http://www.nationaljournal.com/njmagazine/nj_20080830_3632.php
4. HOW TO COMMENT ON THE EPA’S PROPOSED RULES ON REGULATING CARBON DIOXIDE:
I imagine that most of you are aware that EPA is considering whether to regulate carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act, and has declared in advance of that decision that they have begun the period of time known in federal legalese as the Advanced Notice for Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR). So right now is the opportunity for anyone in the public to submit comments that will be collected by the agency and analyzed and addressed. The EPA expects more comments on this proposed rule than any other in the history of the CAA. So without question they will receive thousands of comments from folks on all sides of the issue, and it is vitally important that the perspectives from sound science, sound economics, limited and constitutional government, and freedom be heard.
Below are some basic guidelines should you wish to submit
your own views. The deadline is Nov. 28. If EPA decides to regulate CO2 under
the CAA, almost nothing will be off-limits from the regulatory powers they have
with no legislative, executive or judicial constraints. So be heard! --
· Email: a-and-r-Docket@epa.gov (Note your e-mail address will be included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet)
· Fax: 202-566-9744
· Mail: Air and Radiation Docket and Information Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode: 2822T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460.
· Online: Go here <http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=DocumentDetail&o=09000064806a0cfd> and click on the yellow bubble next to Add Comments.
*** Comments must
be received on or by November 28, 2008 and direct your comments to Docket ID
Suggested Topics to Address:
Other things to know:
EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online at www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected through www.regulations.gov or e-mail.
The www.regulations.gov website is an anonymous access system, which means EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment. If you send an e-mail comment directly to EPA without going through www.regulations.gov, your e-mail address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet.
For additional information about EPA's public docket visit the EPA Docket Center homepage at http://www.epa.gov/epahome/dockets.htm.
5. UK vs EU
Richard North, EU Referendum, 4 September 2008
Excerpt: Thus, the UK government is in an impossible position. If it conforms with EU policy imperatives and keeps climate change on top of the agenda there will, within a matter of years, be an "energy crunch". The lights will go out. The only way that can be avoided is if the government decides, as a very clear and measured policy decision, to reject EU rules and contravene its provisions on state aid.
This sets the stage for a massive and unavoidable confrontation between the British government and the EU. If this current government ducks the confrontation, then it will be visited on the successor government - presumably led by Mr Cameron - which will have the added urgency of power cuts being that much closer.
Altogether, the conflict between the EU's obsession with
climate change and the national interest of the UK, in needing to maintain
continuous and affordable energy supplies, looks like it could become the
defining issue in our relationship with the EU. And, when the people - to say
nothing of their elected representatives - are forced to choose between
membership and keeping the lights on, it is not difficult to predict where
sentiment will lie.
6. GLOBAL TEMPERATURE AND ATMOSPHERIC CO2 OVER GEOLOGIC TIME: GEOLOGIST’S POINT OF VIEW-
Excerpt: If humans are in fact altering Earth's climate with our cars, electrical powerplants, and factories these changes must be larger than the natural climate variability in order to be measurable. So far the signal of a discernible human contribution to global climate change has not emerged from this natural variability or background noise. [...] In the last 600 million years of Earth's history only the Carboniferous Period and our present age, the Quaternary Period, have witnessed CO2 levels less than 400 ppm.
There has historically been much more CO2 in our atmosphere than exists today. For example, during the Jurassic Period (200 mya), average CO2 concentrations were about 1800 ppm or about 4.7 times higher than today. The highest concentrations of CO2 during all of the Paleozoic Era occurred during the Cambrian Period, nearly 7000 ppm -- about 18 times higher than today. The Carboniferous Period and the Ordovician Period were the only geological periods during the Paleozoic Era when global temperatures were as low as they are today. To the consternation of global warming proponents, the Late Ordovician Period was also an Ice Age while at the same time CO2 concentrations then were nearly 12 times higher than today-- 4400 ppm.
About 15,000-16,000 years ago, sea-level was 130-140 m below its present position. For the past 500,000 years it has been lower than today about 90% of the time. These major changes coincide with the latest Ice Age, the later half of the last 1.65 million years of geological time, represents the last 10,000 years when most of the ice sheets have melted. Sea-level falls coincide with periods of glaciation whereas the rises occur during interglacials -- the warmer times between ice advances, like the present day. The onset of the Ice Age began about 40 million years when surface waters in the southern oceans suddenly cooled and the deep ocean basins quickly filled with water ~10°C cooler than before that sank because of its increased density. By about 15 million years ago, the Antarctic Icecap had formed, accelerating production of cold waters. About 65 million years ago, sea-level fell by as much as 50 m, probably associated with expansion of the icecap in Antarctica. This might have caused the Mediterranean Sea to dry up over ~1,000 years, producing vast salt deposits, preserved in the sediments of the sea floor.
About 5 million years ago there followed a brief warming trend and sea-level rose again leaving shallow marine sediments inland of modern coastlines around much of the world. Fossil floras and faunas show that climates were generally warmer than today -- Iceland had a temperate climate; southern England was subtropical. Let us take a case of geological period when the climate was very close to the current climate. Carboniferous period: Life was at its full bloom at the age of Carboniferous period (360 MM years -300 MM years).Insects, plants, dinos and many species evolved at this time. It is associated with all the green forest correlatable to present coal deposits. Climate of this period matched today’s climate. Similarities with our Present World Average global temperatures in the Early Carboniferous Period were hot- approximately 20° C (68° F). However, cooling during the Middle Carboniferous reduced average global temperatures to about 12° C (54° F). This is comparable to the average global temperature on Earth today! Similarly, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the Early Carboniferous Period were approximately 1500 ppm (parts per million), but by the Middle Carboniferous had declined to about 350 ppm -- comparable to average CO2 concentrations today! Earth’s atmosphere today contains about 380 ppm CO2 (0.038%). Compared to former geologic times, our present atmosphere, like the Late Carboniferous atmosphere, is CO2- impoverished! In the last 600 million years of Earth's history only the Carboniferous Period and our present age, the Quaternary Period, have witnessed CO2 levels less than 400 ppm. Global Temperature and Atmospheric CO2 over Geologic Time There has historically been much more CO2 in our atmosphere than exists today. For example, during the Jurassic Period (200 mya), average CO2 concentrations were about 1800 ppm or about 4.7 times higher than today. The highest concentrations of CO2 during all of the Paleozoic Era occurred during the Cambrian Period, nearly 7000 ppm -- about 18 times higher than today. The Carboniferous Period and the Ordovician Period were the only geological periods during the Paleozoic Era when global temperatures were as low as they are today. To the consternation of global warming proponents, the Late Ordovician Period was also an Ice Age while at the same time CO2 concentrations then were nearly 12 times higher than today-- 4400 ppm. According to greenhouse theory, Earth should have been exceedingly hot. Instead, global temperatures were no warmer than today. Clearly, other factors besides atmospheric carbon influence earth temperatures and global warming. I will be presenting what is written on the rocks and what is the opinion. Our Future Written in Stone Today the Earth warms up and cools down in cycles. Geologic history reveals similar cycles were operative during the Carboniferous Period. Warming episodes caused by the periodic favorable coincidence of solar maximums and the cyclic variations of Earth's orbit around the sun are responsible for our warm but temporary interglacial vacation from the Pleistocene Ice Age, a cold period in Earth's recent past which began about 2 million years ago and ended (at least temporarily) about 10,000 years ago. And just as our current world has warmed, and our atmosphere has increased in moisture and CO2 since the glaciers began retreating 18,000 years ago, so the Carboniferous Ice Age witnessed brief periods of warming and CO2-enrichment.Following the Carboniferous Period, earth witnessed predominantly desert-like conditions, accompanied by one or more major periods of species extinctions. CO2 levels began to rise during this time because there was less erosion of the land and therefore reduced opportunity for chemical reaction of CO2 with freshly exposed minerals. Also, there was significantly less plant life growing in the proper swamplands to sequester CO2 through photosynthesis and rapid burial. It wasn't until Pangea began breaking up in the that climates became moist once again. Carbon dioxide existed then at average concentrations of about 1200 ppm, but have since declined. Today, at 380 ppm our atmosphere is CO2-impoverished, although environmentalists, certain political groups, and the news media would have us believe otherwise. What will our climate be like in the future? That is the question scientists are asking and seeking answers to right now. The causes of "global warming" and climate change are today being popularly described in terms of human activities. However, climate change is something that happens constantly on its own. If humans are in fact altering Earth's climate with our cars, electrical powerplants, and factories these changes must be larger than the natural climate variability in order to be measurable. So far the signal of a discernible human contribution to global climate change has not emerged from this natural variability or background noise. Understanding Earth's geologic and climate past is important for understanding why our present Earth is the way it is, and what Earth may look like in the future. The geologic information locked up in the rocks and coal seams of the Carboniferous Period are like a history book waiting to be opened. What we know so far, is merely an introduction. It falls on the next generation of geologists, climatologists, biologists, and curious others to continue the exploration and discovery of Earth's dynamic history-- a fascinating and surprising tale, written in stone.
7. THE DUTCH DELTA COMMISSION PLANS TO PROTECT AGAINST FUTURE SEA LEVEL RISE
But their plans and exorbitant costs are based on extreme SL values projected by Stefan Rahmstorf (Potsdam, Germany). Here are comments submitted by SEPP:
Mr R is wrong on EVERY count.
a) Let me start with an item that's easy to check. He says that Gore's figure for sea level rise (20 foot = 600 cm) is correct and agrees ("decken sich") with IPCC . NOT TRUE. It is about 15 times the published IPCC value!
b) Rahmstorf has just published a truly worthless paper [Science 2007]. His sea level figure is several times that of the IPCC. Here is what I wrote in a review*: "Recently, Stefan Rahmstorf  has published a top-down approach to SL rise prediction that exceeds the current IPCC estimates about threefold. He assumes simply that rate of rise is proportional to temperature. There is no theoretical basis to support this assumption -- and indeed, it is contradicted by observational evidence: SL rise continued at the same rate even when the climate was cooling from 1940 to 1975. As my former teacher Nobelist Wolfgang Pauli once said when confronted with a similar silliness: “This theory is worthless; it isn't even wrong.”
James Hansen has published  even more extreme estimates of future SL rise nearly 15 times the mean IPCC value and 30 times that of Singer. His estimate is based on speculation about the short-term fate of polar ice sheets, assuming a sudden collapse and melting. He and Rahmstorf may be considered as contrarians. It is ironic that they and others have attacked the IPCC as being too conservative [Phil Soc 2007]. Yet actual SL observations may prove their extreme estimates to be wrong within just a few years."----------------------------------
* NIPCC Report "Nature, Not Human Activity, Controls the Climate" , which responds to the claims of the UN-IPCC. http://www.sepp.org/publications/NIPCC_final.pdf