I was name dropped in his recent journal as someone who just doesn't listen to the "facts" that he poses, so I thought I'd demonstrate that yes, actually, I do. In fact, I've read Kajm's journals for a long time now. They're a handy guide to the biased, distorted fairy tales coming out of the skeptic movement and make excellent debate practice.
MYTH 1: The mild warming over the 20th century is well within natural variations recorded in the last millenium. The reported warming trend is up to twice what it should read as due to the uneven distribution of data collection methods concentrated in urban areas.
FACT: Science is well aware of the "urban heat island" effect and already accounts for it. However, further studies into their effects find no significant impact on overall climate data:
Here's a paper from 1990 already identifying it as a potential issue:
MYTH 2: The "hockey stick" graph is the "poster boy" of the AGW movement, has been proven flawed and therefore proves fault with the science of Anthropogenic Climate Change itself. It ignores significant climate changes throughout relatively recent history, and ignores that average global temperature has been steadily rising since the 17th century. From 1940-1970, temperatures actually dropped and lead to the "global cooling scare."
FACT: The "hockey stick" is a reading the media latched onto before it was ever thoroughly reviewed and tested. It is not touted by anyone in the scientific community as significant evidence for Anthropogenic Climate Change, but one of only many readings that have varied with the location of the study and available tools. Regardless of other variation, however, all research very consistently demonstrates an unprecedented temperature rise beginning in the 1900's.
The most detailed available data shows that temperature has been rising and falling on a regular basis, but recent trends demonstrate a rise more extreme than the last on every "cycle." To the untrained eye, it would look like the Earth keeps "cooling" again, but the evidence clearly points to an overall increase in the average global mean.
MYTH 3: There is no proof that CO2 is the main driver of global warming. Ice cores dated over thousands of years demonstrate that CO2 levels change more after temperature shifts, not before. Sediment analysis confirms that CO2 levels rise in response to natural warming. There is solid evidence that temperatures rise and fall through solar radiation, orbital and galactic influences.
FACT: climate can most certainly shift without the help of greenhouse gases, and over time, gradual natural climate change can create conditions where greenhouse gases increase. Evidence is still clear that CO2 contributes to warming; once raised "naturally" it would compound and prolong natural trends to favor warming. The same ice core research plainly demonstrates that warming can also come directly from a spike in greenhouse gases; many different things can influence the climate in more than one way. Simply put, a warming climate creates more CO2, *and* more CO2 creates a warming climate. A fire produces heat, but heat can also produce a fire. Few things in nature are strictly only either a cause or an effect. Partnerships are more common.
MYTH 4: CO2 is touted as the main cause of climate change, but is one of only several minor greenhouse gases, which together account for less than 25% of the greenhouse effect.
FACT: ....Wait...did you just acknowledge that greenhouse gases influence a full quarter of climate change, and you think that's insignificant? I...are you crazy?
Sorry, I'll go back to my cold indifference. I just...wow. 25% is HUGE when we're talking about a global change.
Water vapor is a normal, natural part of a "greenhouse effect," indeed, but on its own, it accounts for only brief, steady and consistent changes as it cycles through the atmosphere and returns to the surface through condensation. Other changes to atmospheric content significantly compound these processes, and an increase in temperature will also increase the amount of H2O in the atmosphere. This is not something scientists ignore; this is fundamental to climate science, including Anthropogenic Climate Change. By increasing CO2 and other greenhouse gases, we encourage increased concentrations of water in the air. It "accounts" for most of the warming trend because of, not instead of, other greenhouse gases.
MYTH 5: Sunspots can be correlated closely with average earth temperatures, including the Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Period, which proves that current warming trends can be attributed in large part to solar activity.
FACT: Solar activity may have contributed to the so-called "little ice age" and "medeival warm period," but these were temporary phenomenon unrelated to any current observed changes. There has in fact been no observed increase in solar radiation output for the past thirty years, since we have been equipped to measure it first-hand, nor evidence for an increase in solar radiation immediately before that period.
MYTH 6: There is no proof that man-made CO2 causes global warming.
In a 1996 report by the UN on global warming, two statements were deleted from the final draft approved and accepted by a panel of scientists. Here they are:
1) "None of the studies cited above has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed climate changes to increases in greenhouse gases."
2) "No study to date has positively attributed all or part of the climate change to man–made causes"
Fact: Other arguments I've presented here should cover this, and why cite a 1992 report? Research into the subject has grown exponentially since, in frequency, in technology and in results, which continue to overwhelmingly support human CO2 emissions as having an important impact, regardless of the institutional, cultural, government or financial background of the researchers. Scientists who have no incentive to agree on this issue agree on this issue because their own personal research supports it, as would your own if you actually conducted such research.
MYTH 7: CO2 is not a pollutant. It is a natural part of our atmosphere and necessary for plant growth. Therefore, it makes no sense to regulate it.
FACT: anything added to an environment can be a pollutant, no matter how "natural." Mud runoff from construction can devastate sensitive aquatic ecosystems not accustomed to it. An excess of nutrients in soil is as deadly to plant life as a lack thereof. CO2 is naturally added to the atmosphere by animal life and filtered back out by plant life, but human activity has negatively impacted many dense plant populations (such as tropical forest) while increasing animal life (methane-producing cattle) in addition to the CO2 produced by technology. This is an imbalance directly caused by ourselves and would be in our best interest to curb over the next few decades through more efficient technology and fair regulation.
MYTH 8: There is no scientific or statistical evidence whatsoever that supports such claims on a global scale (that climate change will increase storm activity). Regional variations may occur. Growing insurance and infrastructure repair costs, particularly in coastal areas, are sometimes claimed to be the result of increasing frequency and severity of storms, whereas in reality they are a function of increasing population density, escalating development value, and ever more media reporting.
FACT: the effects of greenhouse gases on hurricanes aren't perfectly understood. That the media exaggerates them does not reflect on the scientific community, which is more concerned with subtle long-term environmental effects than the natural disasters laymen find it easier to grasp and form opinions over.
MYTH 9: Glaciers have been receding and growing cyclically for hundreds of years. Recent glacier melting is a consequence of coming out of the very cool period of the Little Ice Age. Ice shelves have been breaking off for centuries. Scientists know of at least 33 periods of glaciers growing and then retreating. It's normal. Besides, changes to glacier's extent is dependent as much on precipitation as on temperature.
FACT: The "Little Ice Age" was was scarcely a flash in the pan in geological time and would not account for the glacial activity referred to here. Glaciers are, in fact, melting at unprecedented rates not accounted for by natural "cycles."
MYTH 10: There has been no warming in the polar ice caps since 2005. Current temperatures are the same as in 1943. The peninsula of Antarctica is getting warmer, while the main Antarctic continent is actually cooling. Ice cap thicknesses in both Greenland and Antarctica are increasing.
FACT: This is an argument that debunks itself, since the above description paints a clear picture of sea ice *retreating* - thinning on the outskirts of frozen environments and thickening within, where existing layers of thicker, older ice provide some (but not absolute) resistance.
Imaging you have a dome of ice, several feet in the center, only an inch at its edges, and you very, very slowly increase the temperature. What will melt first? The entire thing, at the same rate? Imagine you also increase the humidity around it, re-creating natural precipitation. What will this do when it condenses on the surface of the ice? Freeze into more layers of frost - thicker at the center.
You can also think of how an Igloo works. The interior is comfortably warm, but this doesn't destroy the structure because the thick blocks melt slowly enough to re-freeze.
BONUS MYTH 11: Science often "flip flops" and twists around on things, so obviously it can't be trusted. Science even thought there was a "global cooling" scare at one point.
FACT: people have been studying climate change for decades now, across the world, with increasingly effective technology and research methods. "Global Cooling" was more a media concoction than anything the scientific community ever jumped on board with, and the fact that science evolves and corrects itself over time should be evidence in favor of its reliability, not the opposite. Data has consistently supported Global Warming since before anyone on the news ever uttered the words "global cooling" at all, and the earliest *scientific* predictions about Global Warming have come to fruition. The dramatic doomsday scenarios painted by the media are even less relevant to science than the political bastardizations of real environmental issues.
BONUS MYTH 12: Anthropogenic Climate Change is just something Al Gore stirred up. He's obviously using it as a political platform, and that obviously makes it a huge hoax.
FACT: Anthropogenic Climate Change would be as strong a science with or without Al Gore. I personally wouldn't even know that he had an opinion on the subject if climate change deniers didn't keep insisting that I must worship him. I don't know of any scientist who even has Gore on their personal radar. Whether or not a politician gets science wrong should not be relevant to any discussion about the validity of science itself. Science is bigger than politics. The science in support of Anthropogenic Climate Change comes from every country with a scientific community at all. America and its politics are a small and trivial issue in the grand scheme of real scientific consensus.
Many solutions to AGW proposed by people in the political world are, indeed, for their own personal gain. They are not the solutions scientists would support. Many would even further damage the environment, such as biofuel from corn, and energy farms that would require more deforestation to set up. Many environmental issues are inarguably twisted by powerful people to control others, but that doesn't make those issues themselves imaginary. Politicians and businesses also use racial tension, poverty and natural disasters to get what they want. None of those things are mere stories they have manufactured. Anyone who professes to believe in truth and reason should draw a hard, firm line between what scientific consensus says and what non-scientists yak about in government offices and news rooms. Science is the true victim here.
-------------P.S: That a few climate skeptics have "won" something as valueless as "blog awards" only demonstrates their opinionated bias. A laughable anti-feminism blog and many other dubious, unscientific, right-wing sites were also nominated with relatively few objective, properly sourced scientific journals.
You regularly mention your "scientific background in geology" to convince others you know what you're talking about. However, you show no sign of having conducted actual, original field research or experimentation relevant to the issue that supports your stance. You have a piece of paper saying you made it through a series of college classes in a scientific subject? Good for you. So do innumerable scientologists, fortune tellers, young-earth creationists and morally bankrupt placebo salesmen. I've never claimed to have an established scientific career myself, so this should be an easy advantage over me, shouldn't it? If you have superior experience to support your claims, why just echo other people's blogs? By all means, show us your original work, Mr. Geology.
Kajm, and people like him, have even openly admitted that human factors can affect the climate; it seems like their entire argument is simply that they don't want anyone to care about those factors. They don't like any kind of legislation in place to cap emissions or conserve natural resources because they see it as part of someone else's "agenda," even though those things have clear benefits for all parties involved. Even if global warming literally weren't happening by any means, even natural ones, there would still be substantial reason to control pollution as fiercely as anyone is currently advocating. The environmental and economic benefits to regulating waste are abundant with or without the issue or climate change.
I post all this not even to argue with these kinds of people, but to simply provide information to those who actually wish to learn, rather than blindly believe whatever the television tells them.