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[Phys-l] Hobson on AGW (was Re: Prof. Hal Lewis resigns from APS)

I'd like to commend to everyone's attention two excellent pieces by Art Hobson in the current (November) issue of The Physics Teacher:

1. His response to a letter criticizing his article in the January issue of TPT

It seems to me that the last paragraph of his letter summarizes the simple and compelling case that AGW skeptics twist themselves in knots trying to avoid:

"The sudden atmospheric CO2 spike during only the past two centuries is unprecedented in at least 800,000 years of alternating ice ages and interglacials. This spike is of undeniably human origin; so far as I know, even climate skeptics agree with this statement. The natural greenhouse effect undeniably warms Earth’s surface by 33 degrees C, and CO2 is known to be the second strongest greenhouse gas, after water vapor. There’s every reason to think that this CO2 spike is responsible for the temperature increase, and indeed nobody has proposed a plausible alternative mechanism. Common sense, simple models, and all of the computer models predict that the CO2 spike should cause a few-degree increase in the greenhouse effect. That’s exactly what’s been happening. Indeed, climate skeptics need to answer the obvious question: Why wouldn’t you expect that high CO2 levels are causing high temperatures?"

2. His article "Global Warming: Lessons from Ozone Depletion"

This is the remarkable success story of the Ozone/CFC episode due to actions that the world, led by the U.S., took on the basis of much more tentative science than we have in the case of AGW.

John Mallinckrodt
Cal Poly Pomona