Saturday, December 10, 2016

What Can We Do? What Must We Do?

Let's compare two scientific studies, one seized upon the climate deniers and another by climate scientists.  The climate denier uses a study (not yet published) showing that some of what looks like increasing sea level is actually land subsidence. These results look good, local overuse of underground water has lowered coastal land causing seawater to rise locally.
At least for the Chesapeake region, Houston-Galveston, Texas area, Santa Clara Valley, California and other places around the globe, the primary cause of seawater intrusions is not rising oceans – but land subsidence due to groundwater withdrawal from subsurface shale and sandstone formations.
He fails to mention Florida, New Orleans, or the Arctic Coast in Alaska.

Now let's look at a climate change article.
In a massive new study published Wednesday in the influential journal Nature, no less than 50 authors from around the world document a so-called climate system “feedback” that, they say, could make global warming considerably worse over the coming decades.
 That feedback involves the planet’s soils, which are a massive repository of carbon due to the plants and roots that have grown and died in them, in many cases over vast time periods (plants pull in carbon from the air through photosynthesis and use it to fuel their growth). It has long been feared that as warming increases, the microorganisms living in these soils would respond by very naturally upping their rate of respiration, a process that in turn releases carbon dioxide or methane, leading greenhouse gases.
It’s this concern that the new study validates.
This new study, led by Yale University and conducted by researchers at thirty different institutions, is based on 49 empirical studies over twenty years examining soil carbon emissions from various points around the world, including, notably, the Arctic regions where soils have been warming rapidly. The data were then extrapolated for the globe, projecting a probable release of 55 Billion tons of carbon (converting to 200 billion tons of CO2) by Calendar Year 2050—the equivalent of adding an entire United States economy to the global warming picture, or 17% more global emissions than had been previously projected for that time frame if we continue on our current course. This type of “positive feedback"—positive meaning forward, not in a “good” way—would accelerate the planet’s warming into unprecedented levels: 
Now let's compare the two both great example of scientific research.   The research on land subsidence as an explanation for sea level increases is good, but he only mentions a few examples.  In fact it's a good explanation for some instances, but in fact the evidence for a dramatic increase in sea level doesn't depend on a few examples of land subsidence.  The author of this article concludes
The solution therefore is not to continue trying to control Earth’s climate – an impossible, economy-busting task that would further impede fossil fuel use, economic development, job creation, and human health and welfare. The solution requires reducing groundwater removal in these coastal areas. 
But is that conclusion warranted planet wide?  He provides no evidence of that, only for a few sea shores, and that can't be denied.  But how about the rest of the planet?  His evidence is called cherry picking, supplying one small piece of actual evidence and drawing a conclusion far beyond what the evidence shows.

So how about the other study?  The implications of that study are staggering, planet wide.  It can't be minimized by an accusation of "cherry picking".  Their conclusion is one arrived at by many studies by climate scientists, we must immediately act if only to minimize the impact of warming.  Every study by a climate change denier looks at this or that, but never overall, planetary.  The conclusion by climate change scientist's research is that we must act as soon as possible.  Anything else means dire consequences for all of us.