Why I love climate change

A guest post.

When I picked up my grandson from football on Saturday he was sopping wet.? I commiserated but his cheerful response was, ?at least it?s warm, Pop?.

And, so it was indeed, unusually warm and pleasant for the middle of May.? No heaters running, no heat pumps chewing through electricity, no open fires polluting the still evenings.? It got me thinking about the gains of climate change.? There is so much doom and negativity around global warming but what about the gains?

The biggie to love is the greening of the earth.? ?The greening over the past 33 years reported in this study is equivalent to adding a green continent about two-times the size of mainland USA (18 million km2), and has the ability to fundamentally change the cycling of water and carbon in the climate system,? says the lead author?of a study by 32 scientists published in Nature Climate Change in 2016.? ??

Ranga Myneni of Boston University in 2017 measured 30 years of rapidly increasing CO2 as producing a 14% increase in vegetation.? I love that such an increase will feed a lot of hungry people and make the world a more pleasant place.

Back in 1908 Svante Arrhenius, a Nobel laureate and the father of the greenhouse theory, predicted something like this would happen. ?By the influence of the increasing percentage of carbonic acid in the atmosphere, we may hope to enjoy ages with more equable and better climates,? he wrote. The earth, he predicted, ?will bring forth much more abundant crops than at present, for the benefit of rapidly propagating mankind?.?? Now, there is a climate prediction that has proven correct!!

Even the Sahara is blooming with higher rainfall and more CO2.? National Geographic reported rapid greening back in 2009 and huge positive change for the peoples of Chad, Burkino Faso, Niger, Mali and the Sahel.? That is some of the poorest regions on the planet.? I love that they are better able to feed themselves.

There is good news for those who are affected by wild fires and droughts.

Those advocating more droughts are backing off. A 2016 study from the University of California, Irvine and the University of Washington shows that water conserved by plants under high CO2 conditions compensates for much of the effect of warmer temperatures, retaining more water on land than predicted in commonly used?drought?assessments.? Estimates of increased droughts even by ardent climate change enthusiasts are being scaled down as reality kicks in.

I love the fact that the IPCC found no trend at all in flood activity or severity. ?Trends in local events like hail and thunderstorms were also inconclusive. ?As for droughts, the IPCC noted that its previous conclusions about increasing trends were overstated and that ?the compelling arguments both for and against a significant increase in the land area experiencing drought has hampered global assessment.??Data for tornado activity in the U.S. shows tornadoes occur no more frequently now than in the past and that the number of strong tornadoes (F3 and above) has actually decreased.? Having experienced a tornado close up, I love that people are seeing fewer of these monsters.

Hurricanes are not becoming more frequent. The IPCC notes in its most recent scientific assessment that there are ?[n]o robust trends in annual numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes counts have been identified over the past 100 years in the North Atlantic basin,? and that there are ?no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency.?

Scientist Roger Pielke Jnr graphs these natural events and I love to see the trend lines running down, not up.

We have friends living north of Moose Jaw in Saskatchewan who suffer under snow for several months of the year. A study published this year in the journal?Climate Change, led by Princeton University researcher Karin van der Wiel, predicts that as global temperatures increase Canadians will gain between 5 and 25 mild days per year in most parts of the country.? That increases our friends? chances of a good wheat crop and less days stranded in their house.? They are excited and I love to see their enthusiasm.

I love it that polar bear numbers are increasing despite the ice cap in the north shrinking.? Research by Dr Susan Crockford claims they are better fed and looking sleek.? I love it that earlier claims of polar bears disappearing and dying from hunger is now disproven especially countering that drivel peddled by Gore.

The change to renewable energy sources is cleaning up our atmosphere.? Travellers will recall flying through the gunge layer into Los Angeles or battling the sooty air in Taipei, choking in London on those still winter days.? Even the eye watering days in Shanghai and Guangzhou seem to be lessening.? I love breathing the cleaner, safer air.

I love it that the earlier predictions of rising temperatures and the associated problems seem further away than ever. ??Professor John Christy gave evidence to a congressional hearing in the USA in 2016 pointing out that the early projections of rapid warming were too pessimistic and, even allowing for their re-adjustment, they are giving us greater breathing space to prepare for any negative outcomes.? His graph is shown.

Of course there is plenty of debate about these figures.? The earlier claimants are not going to easily agree they got it wrong.? That is why I love Secretary Pruitt?s plan to create a Red and Green team so that competing and conflicting scientific claims to be tested, re-tested and where possible agreement reached. It may well be that such an exercise will find the tenuous linkages between higher CO2 levels and warming simply do not exist.

It seems the one time claims of a 97% consensus around warming and its causes ? always a dubious factor to claim in science ? is now abandoned or at least questioned more rigorously.? I love that the truth usually bubbles to the top.

I love it that sea level rise is not as bad as we first thought making mitigation possible in economic terms and in reasonable timeframes.? We haven?t been flooded by refugees from Tuvalu and the Maldives are still above the tide.? Projections of the Stature of Liberty being waist deep in water now seem rather overblown and stimulating scepticism not alarm.

Judith Curry, one of the most respected climate change scientists agrees that generally levels continue to rise at about the same rate as they have done since the end of the last ice age and no hard evidence exists that the rate of increase has changed or that it corresponds in any way to rising CO2 levels.

Indeed, the rate of sea level change according to a series of studies by Holgate, Woodworth, Dean and Watson ? all sea level experts – was found to be larger in the early part of last century (2.03 ? 0.35 mm/yr 1904?1953), in comparison with the latter part (1.45 ? 0.34 mm/yr 1954?2003).

I love it that there will be fewer deaths from winter cold.? Following an international study analyzing over 74 million deaths in 384 locations across 13 countries, the Lancet, in 2015, said cold weather kills 20 times as many people as hot weather.

Of course there are costs associated with climate change.? Some will be significant. The impacts, both good and bad, like climate change itself are difficult to assess and after nearly 50 years of study and predictions following the rise in temperatures in the 1960?s most of the negative effects are still only forecasts and forebodings.? They are yet to happen.? Like the doomsday claims made on the first Earth Day in 1970 some will simply never occur and technological advances will snuff out some others.? Indeed if we applied as much effort and enthusiasm to finding scientific and technological solutions to the slowly rising temperatures and sea levels as we do to scaremongering and speculating we would all have little to worry about.

There is room to add a little positivity to a narrative that is mostly gloomy and frightening.