Ocean acidification: How much is too much?

Over at Skeptical Science we (Doug Mackie, Christina McGraw, and Keith Hunter) have started a long series (18 parts) about ocean acidification (Introduction , 1, 2). We all deride blog science. Blog science is what happens when people try to get a complex message across in 800 words or less. Real science takes time to explain. There is too much et voila in writing about climate change in general and ocean acidification in particular. Denialists have not touched ocean acidification because they don’t understand it. The chemistry is very subtle and even posts on normally reliable blogs like Skeptical Science have made errors.

A local Dunedin denier sent me ‘proof’ that ocean acidification was not real and even if it was then it wasn’t a problem. The ‘proof’ was a document published by the SPPI. The document was previously ‘published’ (cough) in Energy and Environment. Really, they very best argument the denialists have is “acid means pH less than 7 but ocean pH is greater than 7 so there is therefore no acidification”.

In this document (which I am not linking to because they don’t need the traffic) 5 of the 12 points for policy makers are variations on the pH greater than 7 argument. At first I puzzled at this: Do they really think policy makers are so dumb they won’t notice the same thing said 5 ways? Then I remembered Don Brash and had to concede the point. Yes, many policy makers are that dumb. (6 more points in the summary for policy makers are variations of ‘the gravy train’ meme and the last point says that measurements to date agree with IPCC projections – while mangling the terminology).

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Treadgold gets it (nearly, but for $30bn) right

Don’t get too excited, but I agree with Richard Treadgold when he says of the gazetting of a ’50 by 2050′ emissions target by the New Zealand government that:

Noting that 39 years remain in which to achieve these so-called “reductions”, the gazetting strikes us as primarily a marketing exercise rather than a sincere attempt to influence the climate.

Full of hope and joy at this unwonted sagacity I read on to where Treadgold complains about a lack of references:

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Carter and Beck: partners in misconduct

Jim Renwick’s review of Bob Carter’s book, Climate – The Counter Consensus, reminded me that I have long promised provide a detailed explanation of why EG Beck – lauded by Bob Carter and Bryan Leyland – is a fraud. So here, connecting the two, is a syllogism (*):

  1. EG Beck is a fraud.
  2. Bob Carter pretends to believe EG Beck, therefore…
  3. Bob Carter misconducts himself before Parliament.

(*) Yes. I know it is not really a syllogism – much less a Barbara – I have studied philosophy you know.

Here I will show 1 and 2 to be true, leading to 3 (that Bob Carter has been ‘misconducting’ himself and is therefore in contempt of Parliament). You will have seen some of this before but, as it never bothers the deniers to recycle text, I feel no guilt in using a partial retread.

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No turning back by Fed Farmers heroes

This, from Don Nicolson, president of Federated Farmers, appropriately titled In denial over denial, slipped under the radar last week while I was watching the ACT car crash.

Recently Climate Change Minister Dr Nick Smith added another target — a 50 percent reduction below 1990 levels by 2050. When these targets are missed I doubt reporters will be doorstepping octogenarian ex-cabinet ministers for a ‘please explain’.

I agree that the targets will probably be missed. And I too would like to be able to ask the hard questions in 2050. But the explanation is not too hard to find. Farmers, amongst others, get free credits with no incentive to reduce emissions. Idiot/Savant at No Right Turn has done the legwork here, here, and here . Don Nicolson continues:

There is one way to get emissions 73 percent below current levels and that’s to turn the clock back to 1946. A time when there were 1.7 million New Zealanders, fewer motor vehicles and overseas travel was by flying boat or ocean liner. Let’s focus on what we can control — efficient resource use.

I agree that more efficient resource use is required Don. Furthermore I am delighted to infer from your comments that no goad or incentive is required and that purest altruism will drive farmers towards that efficiency. As Charlie Pedersen, previous president of Federated Farmers, said: You are all climate change heroes.

Gathering nuts in May: The Business Roundtable and the Toxic Avenger

Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report this morning suggested that ousted ACT party leader and climate denialist Rodney Hide may be given some bauble of office at the Business Roundtable. But is he qualified? Can Rodney be the auctioneer to sell off Christchurch? Can Rodney’s ‘toxic’ brand fit with that of the BRT when it comes to climate change? You might very well think it does.

Submissions have just closed for the 2011 Review of the Emissions Trading Scheme. (This review was built into the 2002 Act to prepare for the 2012 end of the Kyoto commitment period). Counting the 2008 Select Committee , the 2009 Review Select Committee , and the 2009 Review of the review Select Committee , this is the 4th time in 3 years that the overall ETS has been looked at (plus a couple of Select Committees looking at components of the ETS: eg Forestry ). If they keep asking the question again and again maybe they will get the answer they want.

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