Climate Change: Not What You Think

From 2005 to July 2014, the Climate Change Now Initiative was a part of Melton Engineering Services Austin. MESA revenues supported the Initiative. During this period, our CEO Bruce Melton created over 400 reports interpreting peer reviewed climate literature into plain English, published over 50 articles on climate science discoveries in the popular press, filmed and produced two documentaries, and numerous shorts, wrote, designed and published a book on 42 unknown but fundamental climate discoveries and wrote composed and recorded 36 songs. The band (Climate Change of course) scores our films with their rock, blues and folk music written to climate issue lyrics. The band says it’s “data rich” music.

We present our reporting to the public at venues ranging from South by Southwest Eco to Austin Community College.  Our most widely read article was on on December 26, 2013 and had 4,700 Facebook Likes.

Our president (Melton) is the Climate Change Chair of the Lonestar Chapter of the (Texas State) Sierra Club. We work with and comment to program managers, individuals and committees amending climate policy from the National Sierra Club to EPA to The Austin Climate Plan.

Our message is that public perception, popular reporting, suggested and implemented proposed policy and climate change consensus organizations are a generation behind current climate science. Not only are impacts and future projections worse (largely because of a generation of delay), but the solutions are far, far easier than understood by the public, the media, policy makers and the climate science consensus.

Our primary research involves the Texas Drought and how climate change has modified the hydrologic cycle. More rain across Central Texas has resulted in, counter intuitively, less runoff. Bigger rain events spaced farther apart are most likely allowing deeper drying so that when it does rain, more soaks in and less runs off.

Climate change is not what the media, our weather reporters and our leaders tell us it is. The climate science consensus, institutions like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the National Climate Assessment, regular and consistently underestimate the speed and severity of climate change.

Such an outrageous statement as the above must be backed up by fact: in 2007, the IPCC stated that Antarctic would not begin losing ice until after 2100. The 2013 IPCC report said that, not only has Antarctica begun to lose ice, but this loss has almost caught up with Greenland’s. The important part of this discussion is that the academic literature has been reporting on Antarctic ice loss as big as or larger than what the IPCC consensus reports today, since the mid-1990s.

The challenge with a consensus is getting everyone to agree on what to say. We all know that two experts in a room trying to create a consensus statement results in compromise because it is generally unlikely that those two experts will agree on everything. With the IPCC and other high level national and international consensus organizations with hundreds and even thousands of scientists, the compromising creates significant underestimation.

In the early 1990s when Melton was doing his research is when he first became aware of the great disconnection between the public, our leaders, the media and raw climate science peer review literature. By just after the turn of the century, the disconnection became so profound that Melton started writing about what the climate literature was actually saying—compared to what the media was telling us.

The media was confused. They had big business, industry and the fossil fuel industrial complex telling them climate scientists were wrong, that they cheated and lied and that because there were uncertainties, all of climate science must be invalid. So the media, in what they say is “all fairness,” reported both sides of this supposed controversy, even though 97 percent of climate scientists agreed.

The results are this grand mess that we are in today, where normal citizens can see the changes happening all around us, but our leaders and the fossil fuel industrial complex first deny it is real, then tell us it is natural or that it will be good for us. All the while telling us that the solutions will ruin our economies.

The most mind boggling thing of all is that the solutions will be little different every year than what we as a global community have spent on the solutions to toilet pollution over the last century. To fix climate change for a generation by removing 50 ppm CO2 from our atmosphere will cost about what the U.S. spent alone on health care from 2000 to 2004.

The mission of the Climate Change Now Initiative is to transmit this knowledge, and much, much more, to the public through climate science outreach. Our flagship