Letter: In response to ‘Reasons’
In “…Reasons to Question Manmade Warming,” from Jan. 5, the first supposed “reason” is the effect of clouds. An article in the December 2017 issue of Scientific American summarizes years of observations, measurements, calculations and modeling of clouds. It concludes that overall, changes in cloud coverage, type and location will actually increase global warming, but only slightly, compared to calculations without those details. A major factor is observable by anyone who gets up early. Cloudy, calm mornings are warmer than clear, calm mornings. Clouds hold the land’s heat in, both day and night. That offsets the obvious reduction in daytime sunshine. Additionally, some of that sunshine is absorbed in the clouds, not reflected.
The current increase in global average temperatures corresponds reasonably with Svante Arrhenius’ 1896 calculation of the effects of CO2. This is not something dreamed up by Al Gore and perpetuated by the “deep state.” The X-Files are fiction, though apparently effective indoctrination in anti-government paranoia.
The latest climate models are based on centuries of observations and decades of calculations by conscientious researchers. They include the Earth’s wobbling axis and orbit which caused the ice ages, and the effects of soot, volcanoes, moisture, land and sea mass, etc. A brief visualization of the relative contributions is available at https://youtu.be/E7kMr2OYKSU. When factors have been excluded from global models, subsidiary studies have shown that the global results are insensitive to the inputs. The IPCC models probably minimize future warming because they neglect some additive feedbacks such as the release of CO2 and methane from melting permafrost.
So, greenhouse gas emissions, mostly from fossil fuels, cause warming, drought, melting and sea level rise, eventually resulting in trillions of dollars of property damage worldwide. All greenhouse gas emitters, myself included, should be contributing to offset these damages. That’s the “social cost” of emissions. The cost used by Obama was in the middle of the range of calculations. It should probably be near the top, which would add over 200 percent to the wholesale cost of most fossil fuels. If we did that, the clean energy conversion would be done in a decade.