The Power of Branding

This last week we saw the power of branding in the political arena.  By rebranding anthorpogenic global warming as “climate change,” alarmists are able to say things like this (this is White House spokesman Robert Gibbs commenting on recent very cold weather)

Gibbs: “I think that one only has to step outside here or visit where I used to work in Chicago to understand that climate change, and the record temperature that climate change is likely causing, is with us….I would say that eve in places that are used to getting very cold weather, record cold…our weather patterns have been affected by change in our climate”

Wow, I guess its all about the science.  Except for the following problem:  no living human being has suggested any credible mechanism by which CO2 can cause climate change without the intermediate step of warming.  CO2 causes warming, which in turn might or might not cause more, say, severe storms.  But there is no evidence of CO2 causing more temperature volatility  (particularly extremes to the cold side) and even those who have suggested that global warming might lead to more volatility would be forced to admit, if they are being honest, that this is more volatility around a higher mean, such that there still should not be a lot more record lows.

  • hunter

    They hype machine is running out of steam pretty quickly.
    I only hope it wrecks the careers of Gibbs, Hansen, Mann, Obama, Gore, Jones, etc. etc. etc. really really well.
    I hope that ‘global warming’ becomes the punch line of jokes around the world for decades to come, when the joke is about pompous, officious, self-declared geniuses.

  • JP

    I’ve always argued the opposite. That is, a warming planet (anthropogenic or otherwise) would result in less volatile temp patterns. In that scenario, the mid latitudes would warm, as well as the polar source regions. With the source regions warming, the polar and artic air masses would modify (warm), and the mechanism that transports them equatorward (the polar jet) would weaken. The result would be mild winters, hot summers, less severe weather in the spring, and perhaps more droughts. Regionally, the changes in precipitation would grow dramatically, as the subttropical jet would transport moist tropical air into the mountains; but, the strengthening of the Hadley Cell would prevent much of that moisture from forming large thunderstorm complexes outside of the higher elevations.

    This is pretty much what occured in Europe and North America during the Medieval Warm Period. In the tropics themselves changes in ENSO would determine rainfall distribution. But, sea surface temps in the tropics are tied to incoming solar radiation and not the air above (in fact, the opposite is true). We do know that during the MWP severe droughts affected South America, East Africa and the Saharas.

  • Angus S-F

    Warren,

    I certainly wouldn’t baldly state that CO2 causes warming, since over the temperature records changes in CO2 levels have historically lagged BEHIND temperature changes by some 800 years. This means CO2 levels are changed by temperature swings rather than causing them. This makes sense since warming the surfaces of the world’s oceans would tend to decrease their CO2-carrying-capacity, and this would be a slow process due to the buffering effects of the specific heat capacity of these large bodies of water.

    It’s looking more and more like most climate change can be pegged to changes in solar output, either directly through additional warming or indirectly as decreases in solar output allow more cosmic rays to reach the atmosphere, causing increased cloud nucleation and therefore increasing the earth’s albedo and reflecting more solar radiation.

  • Bryan

    Angus S-F

    Don’t mistake Warren’s oft repeated point that CO2 causes warming for a belief on his part that CO2 is the primary driver of climate, or even a belief that CO2 causes a really signifigant amount of warming.

  • ruralcounsel

    Gibbs is proving to be an incredible embarrassment. He is inarticulate, unclear, and not even a good liar, which is generally a primary requirement for that job. And given who his boss is, he has to lie a lot. Even with the supine press corp he has to handle.

    And with anything substantive, like climate issues, he comes across as a total doofus.

    His inability to dodge questions without seeming to dodge them is killing his professional credibility. POTUS would be well advised to can him.

  • baxman

    Wow. I agree that’s a pretty terribly quote. As far as I know not even Jim Hansen would claim that warming causes cooler temperatures. That’s just silly. And certainly any scientist worth his salt knows that attributing any particular weather event to climate is dicey at best.

    Angus S-F:
    “It’s looking more and more like most climate change can be pegged to changes in solar output”
    Doesn’t it bother you that there’s not really any actual evidence to show that cosmic rays affect climate? Unless you know about some data that I haven’t heard about. And what about the problem that the forcing due to solar variation is only like +/-0.2W/m^2, not enough to explain the observed temperature variations? Also the fact that we’re supposedly in a solar minimum right now (http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/SolarCycle/), so things should be looking much cooler if direct solar forcing were an adequate explanation. On the other hand, when you factor in CO2 and other greenhouse gases, it becomes much easier to explain the paleoclimatic record, and the recent warmness despite solar output being low. That seems pretty convincing to me. More convincing than a hypothesized cosmic ray effect which, if so large and significant, should be relatively easy to measure in some way.