Just a note to folks in these sections. The blocks written in this file are assumptive of the affirmative defending the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature study which was published in 2012. You are encouraged to defend other studies, but the blocks below will make reference to these cards as a vehicle for the blocks below.
The Berkeley Earth Project’s report indicates that anthropogenic CO2 is the driving force of global warming since the 1800s. Even skeptics can’t disprove their findings
Drum, 2012 (Kevin, “Berkeley Earth Project Says Carbon Dioxide is Causing Global Warming,” Mother Jones, July 30, 2012)
I promised to link to Richard Muller's latest climate change paper from the Berkeley BEST group when it was posted on Monday, and it's now Monday. So here it is. Previous BEST papers have confirmed dramatic global warming over the past century, and the new paper is mostly an attempt to figure out what caused the warming. The answer, unsurprisngly to most of us, is human activity:
Many of the changes in land-surface temperature follow a simple linear combination of volcanic forcing (based on estimates of stratospheric sulfate injection) and an anthropogenic term represented here by the logarithm of the CO2 concentration....When we included solar forcing we found that the solar variability record assumed by the IPCC did not contribute significantly to the fit of historic temperature.
....After accounting for volcanic and anthropogenic effects, the residual variability in land-surface temperature is observed to closely mirror and for slower changes slightly lead variations in the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation Index. This is consistent with both the land and North Atlantic responding [to] the same unknown process....Though non-trivial, this number is small compared to the anthropogenic changes that appear to have occurred during the last century.
In English, this means that (a) volcanoes cause short-term spikes in the climate record, (b) changes in solar activity have virtually no effect, and (c) periodic oscillation in North Atlantic sea temperatures accounts for some of the variability we see in the temperature record. However, the primary cause of warming since 1800 is anthropogenic. That is to say: humans did it. Carbon dioxide has produced virtually all of the warming that we see around us today, at the rate of about 3.1 degrees C for every doubling of atmospheric CO2. The chart below shows the close match between CO2 levels, volcanic activity, and surface temperature.
This is pretty much the same result produced by the IPCC and the consensus of every climate scientist working today. The skeptics dived into the data, crunched it in an entirely different way, and came up with the same result: Global warming is real and human activity causes it.
Earth’s energy imbalance key test – no models needed, can calculate precisely the impact CO2 has on warming.
Hansen et. Al, 2012(James, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Columbia University Earth Institute, and Pushker Kharechaa, Makiko Satoa, Frank Ackermanb, Paul J. Heartyc, Ove Hoegh-Guldbergd, Shi-Ling Hsue, Fred Kruegerf, Camille Parmesang, Stefan Rahmstorfh, Johan Rockstromi, Eelco J. Rohlingj, Jeffrey Sachsk, Pete Smithl, Konrad Steffenm, Lise Van Susterenn, Karina von Schuckmanno, James C. Zachosp; “Scientific Case for Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change to Protect Young People and Nature,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, March 23, 2012, http://arxiv.org/abs/1110.1365v3)
At a time of climate stability, Earth radiates as much energy to space as it absorbs from sunlight. Today Earth is out of balance because increasing atmospheric gases such as CO2 reduce Earth's heat radiation to space, causing an energy imbalance, more energy coming in than going out. This imbalance causes Earth to warm and move back toward energy balance, but warming and restoration of energy balance are slowed by Earth's thermal inertia, due mainly to the ocean.
The immediate planetary energy imbalance caused by a CO2 increase can be calculated precisely. The radiation physics is rigorously understood and does not require a climate model. But the ongoing energy imbalance is reduced by the fact that Earth has already warmed 0.8°C, thus increasing heat radiation to space. The imbalance is also affected by other factors that alter climate, such as changes of solar irradiance, the reflectivity of Earth's surface, and aerosols.
Determination of the state of Earth's climate therefore requires measuring the energy imbalance. This is a challenge, because the imbalance is expected to be only about 1 W/m2 or less, so accuracy approaching 0.1 W/m2 is needed. The most promising approach is to measure the rate of changing heat content of the ocean, atmosphere, land, and ice (33).
Observed Energy Imbalance. Nations of the world have launched a cooperative program to measure changing ocean heat content, distributing more than 3000 Argo floats around the world ocean, with each float repeatedly lowering an instrument package to a depth of 2 km and back (34). Ocean coverage by floats reached 90% by 2005 (34) , with the gaps mainly in sea ice regions, yielding the potential for an accurate energy balance assessment, provided that several systematic measurement biases exposed in the past decade are minimized (35, 36).
Analysis of the Argo data yields a heat gain in the ocean's upper 2000 m of 0.41 W/m2 averaged over Earth's surface during 2005-2010 (37). Smaller contributions to planetary energy imbalance are from heat gain by the deeper ocean (+0.10 W/m2), energy used in net melting of ice (+0.05 W/m2), and energy taken up by warming continents (+0.02 W/m2). Data sources for these estimates and uncertainties are provided elsewhere (33). The resulting net planetary energy imbalance for the six years 2005-2010 is +0.58 ±0.15 W/m2.
This positive energy imbalance in 2005-2010 demonstrates that the effect of solar variability on climate is much less than the effect of human-made greenhouse gases. If the sun were the dominant forcing, the planet would have a negative energy balance in 2005-2010, when solar irradiance was at its lowest level in the period of accurate data, i.e., since the 1970s (38). Even though much of the greenhouse gas forcing has been expended in causing observed 0.8°C global warming, the residual positive forcing overwhelms the negative solar forcing, yielding a net planetary energy imbalance +0.58 ±0.15 W/m2. Earth's energy imbalance averaged over the 11-year cycle of solar variability should be larger than the measured +0.58 W/m2 at solar minimum. The mean imbalance averaged over the solar cycle is estimated to be +0.75 ±0.25 W/m2 (33).
It’s not too late – even if emissions peak after 2014 it’s possible to stabilize the climate longterm
Huntingford et al, 2012 (Chris, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Benson Lane, and Jason A Lowe 2 , Laila K Gohar 2 , Niel H A Bowerman 3 , Myles R Allen 3,4 , Sarah C B Raper 5 and Stephen M Smith 6 “The link between a global 2C warming threshold and emissions in years 2020, 2050 and beyond,” Environmental Research Letters, March 26, 2012)
We relate year 2020 and 2050 emissions to attributes of potential future emissions trajectories and associated probabilities of exceeding the 2C threshold of global warming since pre-industrial times. For prescribed long-term future ﬂoor and contemporary baseline emissions, supplying values for 2020 and 2050 emissions determines the year of peak emissions, subsequent decarbonization rate and probability of staying below two degrees of warming out to year 2500.
To remain below 2C in global warming, emissions must peak and soon, followed by signiﬁcant rates of decarbonization. Our analysis has encapsulated uncertainty in aspects of the Earth system, thereby generating probabilistic estimates. Across all simulations, we ﬁnd the slowest rate of decarbonizationconsistent with a 50% chance of exceeding 2C to be slightly below 3% per annum, where this corresponds to the speciﬁc case of emissions peaking by year 2014 (so in fact deviation from business-as-usual would have to have already started) and a zero emissions ﬂoor. For later peaking, a non-zero emissions ﬂoor, a higher certainty of remaining below the 2C threshold, or any combination of these, then higher reduction rates are required. The difﬁculty of implementing higher decarbonization rates cannot be underestimated. Le Quere et al (2009) and others note the continuing strong correlation between global domestic product (GDP) and emissions.
Warming is a force multiplier - makes all political problems worse
Scheffran et al, May 2012 (Jurgen, Research Group Climate Change and Security, Institute of Geography and KlimaCampus, University of Hamburg; and Michael Brzoska, Jasmin Kominek, P. Michael Link, Janpeter Schilling; “Climate Change and Violent Conflict,” Science, May 2012)
Since the 1990s, there has been an extensive scientific debate on how the scarcity of natural resources affects violence and armed conflict (29, 30). More recently, conflict studies pay attention to the vulnerability of natural and social systems to climate impacts (31). Vulnerability can be broken downinto three factors: (i) exposure to climate change, (ii) sensitivity to climate change, and (iii) adaptive capacity (32). The last two can be affected by conflict. Many of the world’s poorest people are exposed to various risks to life, health, and well-being. If climate change adds to these risks, it can increase humanitarian crises and aggravate existing conflicts without directly causing them.
The question is whether human development, resilience, and adaptive capacity can compensate for increasing exposure and sensitivity to climate change. In previous decades, humanitarian aid, development assistance, and wealth per capita have increased (33), which has contributed to areduction of global poverty as a possible driver of conflict. International efforts to prevent and manage conflicts have also been strengthened, and the number of armed conflicts has declined since the end of the Cold War (34). In recent years, however, this trend slowed down or is being reversed. While the number of democratic states has grown over the past half-century, the number of fragile states with weak institutions has also increased (35).
If the debate on the securitization of climate change provokes military responses and other extraordinary measures, this could reinforce the likelihood of violent conflict. Main aspects of security concern include interventions in fragile states, the securing of borders (e.g., against disaster refugees), and access to resources (e.g., in the Mediterranean or Arctic region) [see (36)]. Other responses to climate change may also become causes of conflict, including bioenergy (as producers compete for land and food-related resources), nuclear power (which can lead to nuclear weapons proliferation), or geoengineering (through disagreements between states). Thus, there is a need for conflict-sensitive mitigation and adaptation strategies that contain conflict and contribute to cooperation via effective institutional frameworks, conflict management, and governance mechanisms.
The balance between political and social factors and climate change could shift when the global temperature reaches levels that have been unprecedented in human history. There is reason to believe that such a change might overwhelm adaptive capacities and response mechanisms of both social and natural systems and thus lead to “tipping points” toward societal instability and an increased likelihood of violent conflict (37).