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Andrew Mason
Nov5-08, 11:00 AM
Sci Advisor
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Quote Quote by vanesch View Post
Indeed. What you write is the difference between what I like to call suggestive evidence (sure there is !) and conclusive proof, and what annoys me is that the first is presented as the second. There's a big difference between both on the scientific side. In the second case, it becomes almost ridiculous to contest the statement, while in the first case, a critical analysis is due, and by flipping too fast from the first to the second, one could make a big mistake and "lock it in".
I would agree with you that the anthropogenic global warming model has not been proven scientifically. The "consensus" of climate scientists does not mean it is proven. It may be generally correct but in need of refinement. Or it may be completely wrong and some other theory that has not yet been developed may provide the correct explanation. All I am saying is that to disprove it one needs proven facts that are inconsistent with the theory. If it is not disproven AND there is no plausible, rational alternative explanation that is consistent with all known facts, then it is the only explanation that scientists and governments can support.

So far, I do not see any other explanation that is consistent with the known facts.

For example:

1. the increase in CO2 is not caused by volcanos. Volcanos contribute only a few hundred megatonnes of CO2 a year - less than one percent of total global CO2 emissions. See this article.

2. The warming trend is not consistent with the solar cycles. See also:
this article.

I would say that the biggest problem facing "CO2 is the sole drive for AGW and this will lead to dramatic increases in temperature" as a definitive statement is that there is no ab initio model, purely based upon physically known facts (with no fitting parameters) that numerically predicts correctly all the main quantities involved.
I don't think the IPCC is saying that CO2 is the sole driving force for AGW. Scientists are merely saying that human emissions of CO2 contribute to global warming. There may be other significant factors and it may be even more complex that it appears.

But even if there were other significant factors and even if CO2 should turn out not to be the main cause of GW, the fact is that 30 GT of CO2 is being dumped into the atmosphere each year. How long do we continue mindlessly and wastefully burning fossil fuels and unecessarily adding new CO2 to the biosphere? For example, we know that a lot of this is taken up by the oceans. How long can this go on before the acidification of the oceans becomes a problem?