Gina the Minor

Nova suspects governments worldwide are corrupt, secretly working together in order to fool everyone into thinking the planet is warming.

So to prove the climatologists all wrong, here’s the unbiased “science” as described by Australia’s richest person, mining heiress Gina Rinehart.

Rinehart is firmly against a carbon tax as expressed in her article, however there is not one bit of science listed there to support her case.

Nova suggests that ten scientific arguments was left out of the article, however if you read the article, there is NO reference to the science whatsoever, nor will you come close to finding any scientific publication by Gina Rinehart. If you google for Gina Rinehart and some of the scientific terms specific to climate science mention in the ten arguments, there is no other mention of this aside from Nova’s blog. How very strange!

Not that it matters much. From Gina, Nova, Plimer or Carter – it’s the same old arguments repeated time and time again without bothering to address previous critique.

CO2 Has Been Higher

Nova says Gina says:

1. The atmosphere currently has <0.04% CO2, in former times it was up to 30%.  Six of the six great ice ages formed at a time when atmospheric carbon dioxide was far higher than now. Clearly, this did not drive warming.

This has already been addressed in a post directed towards Nova:

In order to understand the apparent disparity between past temperature and levels of atmospheric CO2 we must appreciate that CO2 is not the only driver of climate. Other drivers of past climate change include variations in solar output, continental drift, orbital variations (known as Milankovitch cycles), volcanism, and ocean variability. Any conclusions that we draw from a perceived lack of correlation in the climate record between atmospheric CO2 and global temperatures must take into account these factors.

Although in addition to the above important comments, I’ll add that JoGina has not disclosed where she thinks these six points in time are. We are simply left to guess. Looking at her ice core graph shows CO2 levels much lower for the past 420,000 years. Other ice core data shows that the CO2 levels for the past 800,000 years was generally below 280 ppm. Other science shows it is higher now than for the past 2.1 million years.

Her argument does seem perilously close to that of Ian Plimer, who says “five of the six great ice ages were at times when carbon dioxide was far higher than at present. In past times of high carbon dioxide up to 1,000 times higher than at present, there was no runaway greenhouse …”. But Ian Plimer (who is a director of 3 mining companies – detect a theme?) also has trouble keeping track of CO2 levels having contracted himself many times before (see point 91 of a critique of his book) can’t seem to agree with himself on CO2 levels.

The Climate Changed Before

JoGina points out the obvious, that the past has been different, however they fail to realise the significance.

Nova says Gina says:

2. For 80% of past geological time, planet Earth has been warmer than today, with far more CO2 in the atmosphere. Clearly, this warming was neither irreversible nor catastrophic.

A few points:

  • As pointed out in the previous point, CO2 is not the only driver affecting climate.
  • For 99.9945% of the past geological time, homo sapiens did not exist. We evolved from homo ancestors that date back to about 2 million years to become homo sapiens around 250,000 years ago. We have only flourished during the last few thousand years, during a relatively stable climate.
  • Of all the species that ever lived, about 99.9% is now extinct.
  • During times of rapid climate change there are greater numbers of extinctions.

Modern humans are relatively fresh to this planet and very fortunate to have a relative stable climate that has allowed us to populate most parts. The warmer temperatures that are expect in the future will change the animal and plant life in more rapids ways than we’ve experienced in our human existence. The crops and animals, and the ecosystems that support them may not cope in a warmer environment and may not be capable of feeding 7 billion people.

CO2 Warms the Planet

Nova says Gina says:

3. At times in the past (Carboniferous, Cretaceous, Eocene) the Earth experienced sudden injections of CO2 into the atmosphere. In response, the planet warmed slightly but less than daily changes we experience now and not in an irreversible or catastrophic way.

First JoGina, thanks for accepting that an injection of CO2 into the atmosphere caused the warming!! Now onto the problems with the rest of JoGina’s statement.

Strawman #1. Daily changes occur now that are many times greater than the long term global warming expected. It is not daily changes that scientists are concerned about, it’s the long term change that affects climate.

Strawman #2. The change in temperature may be reversible. The dinosaurs may argue that the change in plant and animal species would probably not be reversible.

Nova says Gina says:

4. Ice cores from Antarctica show that atmospheric CO2 increases around 800 years after natural events of warming i.e. natural warming drives carbon dioxide emissions, not the inverse.

Climate scientists also realise Temperature initially drove the CO2 level, which then caused further warming. We know that CO2 lags Temperature rise during the interglacials, and we know it causes warming. That’s why it’s called a positive feedback.

Nova states this argument in her handbook as if it somehow is an argument against AGW, and goes further to assert that because CO2 warms, it can’t warm much because you would otherwise get a runaway effect. She continues to misrepresent the science and mislead her readers even though her arguments have been found misleading.

When I pressed Nova for her calculations to support her assertion, she banned me from her forums. Instead of engaging in the debate, Nova found she didn’t have the answer to support her argument, simply because there was no science to support her position.

Local vs Global – Nova Gets Confused Again

Nova says Gina says:

5.Over the last 120,000 years, there have been 25 periods of warming where temperature rose by up to 8 deg C. These were not driven by human emissions, were natural and were neither irreversible nor catastrophic.

This is simply incorrect, but at least it displays JoGina’s lack of climate science knowledge. JoGina is confusing LOCAL temperature proxies with GLOBAL temperature.

Although JoGina don’t mention where they get the data for this claim, the best guess is that they are looking at the local temperature from ice core data and simply assume the rest of the planet also changed by the same amount. The science however, suggests that for a number of reasons the polar regions are more sensitive to change. Polar amplification would mean that the change in temperature in the poles is about double that of the global average.

There is no evidence to support their claim that the planet encountered 25 periods of warming up to 8 degrees over the last 120,000 years.

More Strawman Arguments

Nova says Gina says:

6.Sea level rose 130 metres between 12,000 and 6,000 years ago and temperatures were at a maximum 6,000 years ago. For the last 6,000 years we have been cooling with intermittent warm periods (Minoan, Roman, Medieval, Modern). In the first three warming periods, it was far warmer than now, sea level did not rise and such warmings clearly were not a result of atmospheric carbon dioxide increases. The Modern Warming commenced 300 years ago.

Nova still hasn’t provided evidence to show that the MWP was warmer than today and she continues to promote this blogger-science nonsense. Peer-reviewed science shows that there is much uncertainty in determining past temperature. Holocene reconstructions show roughly how the temperature might have looked over the past 12,000 years. More recent proxies show the past 2,000 years. None show exactly what the temperature was, nor does any proxy agree 100% with any other. This is what science has to deal with, reducing the uncertainty. So it’s surprising that JoGina reports with 100% certainty that these past times were warmer than today, but then given that she’s in denial about today’s temperature – perhaps we can understand her reasoning.

JoGina also produce two strawman arguments. None of those periods had CO2 levels of today’s 390 ppm so the known forcing (see in JoGina’s article they talk about the certainty of the 1.2 C direct effect of CO2) is greater today, and still increasing. Whatever might have caused warming in previous periods is certainly not the same as the greenhouse gases (GHG) causing today’s warming. The GHG acting today will continue to act on this planet for centuries to come – but in comparison scientists don’t know exactly what caused previous warming/cooling or their magnitude. The sea level rise we are concern about is that which occurs from having a continued warming force.

1998 – The Cherry Picking Continues

Nova says Gina says:

6. … It has not been demonstrated which part of this warming is natural and which part is of human origin, and since 1998 the Earth has been cooling despite a rapid rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide.

The IPCC report quite plainly laid out the difference between man-made and natural forcings even if JoGina is unaware.

JoGina cherry picked 1998 because it showed cooling from this date onward; well for a while at least. Looking at the entire dataset shows long term warming with a sharp spike in 1998 cause by an unusually large El Nino. Now the long term trend is starting to dominate again (as discussed before).

Other Stuff Also Influences Surface Temps

Nova says Gina says:

7. Since thermometer measurements were first being taken the Earth has warmed (1860-1880), cooled (1880-1910), warmed (1910-1940), cooled (1940-1977), warmed (1977-1998) and cooled (1998-present). Humans really started to emit carbon dioxide from 1940, and the two earlier warmings were at the same rate as the 1977-1998 warming. Hence it has not been shown that there is a human influence on warming. At present, carbon dioxide emissions are increasing yet we are cooling.

No one says the warming rate is unique, however the forces that act to create previous warmings are studied and shown not to be causing the current warming.

JoGina says humans started emitting CO2 from 1940, here’s the full picture. JoGina forgets that there are many causes of surface temperature change. The climate responds to solar changes (cycles and longer term changes), aerosols, albedo changes as well as greenhouse gases.

As CO2 levels climb, so too does it’s forcing amount, which will continue to add warming for hundreds of years to come. The change in temperature is felt in long term changes. JoGina’s habit of cherry picking short term periods means the short term variation will cloud the result and you find just about any rate you want – which is exactly why JoGina uses this method.

JoGina Don’t Multiply

This is not a request to stop breeding, just an observation. Nova says Gina says:

8. The IPCC states that 97% of carbon dioxide emissions are natural and only 3% are human. It has not been scientifically shown how the 3% contribution can drive global warming when the 97% does not.

All atmospheric CO2 drives the climate. The change from a pre-industrial amount of 280 ppm to 390 ppm has been caused by adding around 3% more CO2 to the atmosphere each year; surely JoGina has heard of compound interest?

I’m not sure whether JoGina really are stupid enough not to work this out, or whether they’re simply stupid enough to think the public can’t work it out.

An Oldie But .. Still Ignorant

Nova says Gina says:

9. There is no science-based argument for CO2 being the dominant greenhouse gas; instead, CO2 is a minor greenhouse component whose effect is greatly overshadowed by that of water vapour.

This is one of the oldest denialist arguments about that has been discussed ad-nauseum.

http://www.skepticalscience.com/water-vapor-greenhouse-gas.htm

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/04/water-vapour-feedback-or-forcing/

JoGina make no attempt to answer the criticism; instead they just keep repeat the old denialist lines.

Still No Science

Finally Nova says Gina says:

10. To get carbon dioxide, a plant food, into perspective, for every one carbon dioxide molecule of human origin there are 32 of natural origin in a total of 88,000 other molecules. It has yet to be shown that this one molecule in 88,000 drives climate change and there is only information to the contrary because no past climate changes (which were larger and more rapid than anything we measure today) were driven by carbon dioxide, certainly not human induced, and what we measure today is within variability.

CO2 is more than plant food.

In 1859 Tyndall had demonstrated that the CO2 molecule traps and re-emits heat even if JoGina can’t accept it.

I agree, no past changes were cause by human induced CO2 emissions, simply because this is the first time human have emitted CO2 into the atmosphere in large quantities, enough to increase the it by 40%.

4 More Repeated Arguments

Nova says:

Further you may wish to consider the scientist and mathematician, Dr David Evans …

Why? I like the words of Professor Andy Pitman who said … “I won’t debate people who don’t believe in gravity.”

It’s good advice and considering David Evans is Jo Nova’s partner and the man behind the four major points in Nova’s handbook, none of which Nova wants to debate when confronted with criticism or a request for science to back up their claim.

Still David has none-the-less copped some attention. http://www.skepticalscience.com/david-evans-understanding-goes-cold.html

According to both Joanne Nova and David Evans, the following graph shows a cooling trend, even though you and I might perceive the line to go upwards. 😉

What’s Nova Real Motivation?

Nova says:

Here in the last city on Earth still-living-the-boom-days (Perth, West Australia) we are so used to the mining boom people forget that investors have the world to pick from. Gina warns the next boom has started, investors are already moving to Africa.

Mining investment. Circle complete.

I’ll stick to climate science by climate scientists rather than a mining magnate repeating old denialist claims via a web-blogger site.

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3 Responses to “Gina the Minor”

  1. Nick Says:

    Don’t you know Billionaires Know Best,you insolent puppy?!

    Seriously,Gina will be furious when she gets around to discovering what a steaming load of bullshit ‘Nova’ has gotten her to deliver.

  2. Daveo Says:

    Some of the NovaGina arguments are so obviously poor that they lose credibility for even suggesting them.

    Then again I just said NoVagina.

  3. Lotharsson Says:

    Further you may wish to consider the scientist and mathematician, Dr David Evans …

    Is he actually a scientist, or is this a blatant misrepresentation?

    His recent denialist screed “The Skeptics Case” touts his “six degrees, including an Electrical Engineering Ph.D. from Stanford”. If he was a research scientist he would presumably have a science Ph.D. – and would be touting it too. I’m betting he does not – it certainly doesn’t appear here [PDF] where he is portrayed as a mathematician and engineer and lists six degrees. The closest academic credential he cites is a B.Sc. in Applied Mathematics and Physics, which doesn’t qualify one to do scientific research. His lack of scientific research is demonstrated by his publication record which consists of two papers in signal processing – nowhere near climate science.

    He has in the past been (self-?)touted as a “top rocket scientist”, but that appears to be false too – or at a minimum to be relying on an idiosyncratic definition of the term – which, as John Mashey’s comment points out seems to go against the usual understanding of the term and will mislead many people.

    That said, AFAIK Nova isn’t a research scientist either. She has a B.Sc. in biology and a Graduate Certificate in Science Communication.

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