Archive for Friday, December 1, 2017

Letter to the editor: Climate action

December 1, 2017


To the editor:

Last week I went for a bike ride on the trails by the river — a beautiful and protected place to ride on that day with a strong warm wind from the south. There were many people on bikes and on foot enjoying the woods. The trail was smooth and fast. No deer that day. On the way back, on the trail on the levee, I came upon a small snake wriggling across the trail. It was really quite pretty and graceful. How nice. What a sweet representation of nature.

No, it wasn’t nice at all! This was Nov. 24, and the snake should be sleeping in a comfy spot underground. What on Earth, on this lovely and fragile Earth, was going on? Oh, of course, this was global warming. It’s not a just matter of numbers. The forest by the Kaw River is changing, and the creatures who reside there can like it or lump it. Nearly all climate scientists say Earth is changing and not for the better. But who is causing this drastic and frightening change? Oh. Yes. I know.

Surely something is being done about this evolving tragedy. Surely the people in charge, our congressmen and women, our president, our ... secretary of the interior? Head of the EPA? So who else is there? Who can speak up? Who can demand a rational national policy that might, just might, save the earth as we know it for my grandchildren and great grandchildren?

You guessed it! Please DO SOMETHING!


Bob Smith 2 months, 3 weeks ago

A warm spell in November causes CAPS LOCK TO STICK!

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Warm spell? What is your definition of a spell? Mine is a couple of days, not most of the month.

Ken Lassman 2 months, 3 weeks ago

John Christy has been on the wrong side of the truth for decades, Bob, and this time is no different. For the last time he misrepresented the truth, I recommend the in-depth critique available here:

While Mr. Christy's viewpoint is well beyond the pale of the scientific community's perspective on what's going on with our climate, there have been some excellent updates on what the latest research is showing. I recommend the following three as great places to educate yourself:

Scott Burkhart 2 months, 3 weeks ago

"Nearly all climate scientists...." Yeah, that's how it's done. Take a vote and call it science. I call this the "consensus" argument. Notwithstanding other members of the scientific community, granted not "climate scientists," that say the books have been cooked, they call into question the scientific method used to come to the outlandish conclusions on CO2, point to faulty and inaccurate models, and then are vilified because they are not in the club. And then here comes Ken Lassman with his links to the club in order to bolster his argument.

Ken Lassman 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Club? What criteria do you use when you are looking at "consensus?" The scientific community, climate scientists included, spend most of their time reviewing each other's work, looking for chinks of unproven assumptions, faulty logic, data that does not stand up to statistically valid analyses, or is not reproducible or is inconsistent with other datasets. The reports that I link to are the results of those processes, Scott, as opposed to your past offerings which are rejected by the community using exactly the same criteria that the consensus reports are reviewed with and accepted.

As I recall, you have said that you won't accept the conclusions of anything that is counter to what you believe. Thanks for being upfront on what your criteria are, Scott.

Scott Burkhart 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Scientific results are not a result of consensus. Like I said, other scientists, not climatologists, have called into question the models, conclusions, testing, and results. Additionally, like I said, if you aren't on board with the climate change proponents, the "club," you are ridiculed and attacked. I give you your own attempts to impugn Christy.

Ken Lassman 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Scott says: "Scientific results are not a result of consensus." You are exactly right, Scott, which is why I am challenging your version of what scientific consensus means. The peer scientists in the field don't just line up and vote for their favorite peer like you are depicting what the climatological community is doing; they probe the data collection, the analyses and the conclusions for missteps, assumptions that are not backed up and analyses that are not reproducible or counter to what other datasets are indicating. Peer review is not a popularity contest; it's a concentrated attack that looks for chinks in the case presented, based on how well the research uses the scientific method.

That's why I provided a peer critique of Christy's work to show precisely why it is NOT a "popularity contest," rather a review by two peer scientists showing exactly why Christy's conclusions are found wanting. But you ignored that critique because it does not meet YOUR criteria for critiquing the research: does it agree with my position or not? Show me where Schmidt and Rasmussen's critique of Christy are off-base based on the scientific method and I'll be happy to have that discussion. Otherwise, just fess up that your criticism is based on ideology, not science.

Steve Hicks 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Golly, BS, does the editorial's headline about "climate-change-fairy-tale" make you suspect your source may be less than objectively factual ?

That is, if you value objective factuality.

If you don't, what value are your comments and links for anyone who does ?

Chris Golledge 2 months, 3 weeks ago

So, what you are saying is that you will believe anything, as long as they are saying something you want to hear.

Richard Heckler 2 months, 3 weeks ago

From the Union of Concerned Scientists:

Extreme Weather and Climate Change

GLOBAL WARMINGGLOBAL WARMING IMPACTS Infographic: Extreme Weather and Climate Change

Strong scientific evidence links climate change with increasing heat waves, coastal flooding, and other extreme weather events. Extreme weather and climate change

What's the connection between global warming and extreme weather? When it comes to heat waves and coastal flooding, the scientific evidence is clear: Human-caused climate change is increasing these extreme weather events.

Other forms of severe weather are also closely linked to climate change, including a rise in extreme precipitation events in some regions and increasingly severe droughts in others.

The effect of climate change on tornadoes and hurricanes is an active area of research. Scientific confidence with observed data is currently low, though the underlying mechanisms of climate change are expected to play a role.


The Extreme Weather & Climate Change infographic is based on an evaluation of the Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX), an authoritative 2012 assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Learn more about the methodology and assumptions behind the infographic.

Richard Heckler 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Then again I would be fine with 38 degree nights and 78 degree days 365 days a year,

This would allow for some veggie growth yet keep the mosquitos and chiggers at bay.

Bob Smith 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Yelling "DO SOMETHING" without having a course of action in mind is the same as throwing rocks at the sky during a lunar eclipse to frighten away the giant dragon that is eating the moon.

Ken Lassman 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I can flesh out that "do something" statement for you, Bob:

-Pass meaningful federal carbon fee and dividend legislation that will put a brake on carbon emissions for our country and stimulate low carbon economies around the world, which is critical for stemming climate change since the bulk of carbon emission growth will be taking place in other countries;

-Reaffirm the Paris Accords, which don't impose from the outside any carbon emission goals, rather, set up a framework where countries decide their own goals, ask for reports and periodically encourage those goals to be improved, i.e. lower emission goals further over time. Every country except the US has agreed to this, and it is shameful that Trump has ignored the majority of our citizens wishes and pulled out.

-Stop the ridiculous massive fossil fuel subsidies and leave the current incentives alone for renewables which are scheduled to taper off by 2020 but are needed to optimize the growth of this fledgling industry. This is particularly important for Kansans who could benefit from further job growth in both the solar and wind fields, which we are blessed with.

-Create financial incentives that will allow utilities to make money weatherizing and improving energy efficiency in residential, commercial and industrial sectors, which they are reluctant to do because if they do, they sell less energy and make less money. Since this is a publicly controlled monopoly, it only makes sense to create this condition where the public benefits while maintaining profit margins for the utilities.

Let me know if you want me to give you more "SOMETHING" to do, Bob--I'd be happy to oblige.

Bob Smith 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Pie in the sky greenie weenie wish list, Ken.

Ken Lassman 2 months, 3 weeks ago

More efficient energy use is the opposite of weenie, Bob; it's the most bang for the buck investment-wise of any of the investments, nuclear, fossil fuel and renewables included. As usual, your knee-jerk response just shows your ignorance on the topic.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Only reason it's pie in the sky is because of the greedy people you put in to DC. The rest of the world are working on sustainable energy, but the oil people can't figure out how to profit, so we are stuck with them.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months, 3 weeks ago

We've been trying to do something, but the followers of GREED keep getting in the way.

Bob Summers 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Maybe if this emotionally hypersensitive bike rider didn't use a car or live in a house with gas heat and electricity or have children that use natural resources the planet could be saved?

Paul Beyer 2 months, 3 weeks ago

With your spouse on the front seat doing all the pedaling and your feet not even close to the pedals.

Ken Lassman 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Joe, things are indeed changing--it's not just your imagination. I remember ice skating as a kid around here in late November. But it's not just the anecdotal local evidence that the science behind climate change depends on; it's the physics of atmospheric chemistry that is well understood and the lack of any alternative mechanisms other than greenhouse gases released through human activities and interacting with the earth's energy balance systems that is so compelling. It does not depend on just one line of evidence, i.e. global sea and land temperature monitoring systems, as the evidence continues to pour in from those monitoring sea level, ocean heat content, ocean acidity, species poleward migration, pole ice cap and glacier masses, the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, and on and on.

The conclusions of the scientific community are well established and the arguments are over. The debate has now shifted to one of adaptation and mitigation. Mitigation means what we can do to change the level of greenhouse emissions to mitigate the severity of changes that will occur in the future if we continue emitting so much; and adaptation is about preparing for the changes that are already baked into the earth's climate systems by what has already been emitted. Both topics are critical to all other topics in our politics and economies and the longer we deny it, the harder it will be to adapt.

Bob Summers 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I remember reports of the last glacial period in north America 10,000 years or so ago.

Man it was cold.

I bet it took forever to get a diesel engine started.

Heck, I remember back in the 70's the conclusions of the scientific community were well established and north America was going to experience another glacial period in the early 2000's.

Wonder what happened?

Must have gotten those diesel engines started and raised co2 levels.

Ken Lassman 2 months, 3 weeks ago

You're so right, Bob: 9880 years to get started to be exact, thanks to Rudolph Diesel.

Gary Stussie 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Just got back from Alaska. Toured Glacier Bay National Park. Informative to note that 250 years ago Glacier Bay was all glacier and no bay. A river of Ice roughly 100 miles long and thousands of feet thick occupied the entire bay. The glacier has been retreating since 1750. by 1879 you had to travel 40 miles up the bay to reach the glacier. Today it is 65 miles up Glacier Bay.

Clearly Climate Change is happening (as it has forever). What I continue to question is human contribution to climate change ... not too many internal combustion engines in early 1800!]

Ken Lassman 2 months, 3 weeks ago

What would it take to convince you that human activities that release geologically sequestered gases at a rate faster than the earth can reabsorb them has changed the atmospheric chemistry in a way that it is trapping enough solar energy to raise water and air temperatures? One good place to start is to look at all the variables in our global temperatures:

Gary Stussie 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I am convinced. Just not convinced that US paying hundreds of millions of dollars to other countries with no firm commitments is anything but a feel good measure.

Interestingly enough, an number of climatologists believe that a lack of serious volcanic activity between 1920 and 1960 is a significant contributor to global warming in the last part of the 20th century... Volcanoes emit sulfate aerosols which reflect incoming sunlight, cooling the planet. A large volcanic eruption such as the Pinatubo eruption in 1991 can have a global cooling effect of 0.1°–0.3°C for several years (Robock 1994, Zielinski 2000).

Appear small volcano events (Bali last week) contribute CO2 to the global warming problem. Overall they are thought to contribute about 1/100th the total CO2 load in the atmosphere.

Ken Lassman 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Other countries are also putting hundreds of millions of dollars into that same Green Climate Fund, which not only includes developed countries like Japan and France, but also countries like Mexico, Vietnam and Indonesia. The benefits of creating a climate insurance fund as well as investment monies for developing sustainable energy sources in developing countries are very likely to reap benefits in our country too if we choose to develop our role as a leader in the renewables sector.

So volcanoes don't provide near the cooling effect (or warming for that matter) to counteract the impact of human activity. Check out the bloomberg link above for more details on that topic. They actually are thought to contribute about 1/100th the amount of HUMAN CO2 load, not total CO2 load into the atmosphere.

Josh Berg 2 months, 3 weeks ago

New headline, "Lawrence man upset that he got to enjoy a nice day and go on a bike ride."

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