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Climate

Paragon has been long concerned that governments and industry are not doing enough to address the clear signs of anthropogenic climate change.

However, while there is little doubt the burning of carbon fuels is driving rapidly accelerating anthropogenic climate change, Paragon has generated unexpected but highly compelling evidence showing that carbon soots, and not GHG, appear to be the dominant anthropogenic climate forcers driving the majority of observed climate change. 

Due to the growing empirical evidence, many other research groups have, or are now, implicating soot in different planetary warming roles as well, but all those researchers continue to maintain that CO2 and GHG are significant factors, as maintained by GHG warming theory.

However, as Paragon’s extensive analysis of peer-reviewed climate research shows, different types of climate forcers theoretically behave in different manners.  Therefore a specific theory will predict a distinct type, or “footprint”, of warming that should roughly be seen if the observed warming is actually occurring due to that theoretical forcer.  Therefore, the actual warming footprints being observed, along with other hard data being observed, can be used to show which climate forcers are driving observed anthropogenic change.

Paragon believes such analysis is critical to identifying effective government policies, regulation, incentives, and technology implementation programs to address observed climate change. 

Paragon’s extensive research of these climate forcing footprints and many other types of hard empirical historical temperature and weather data not only indicate soots are the primary culprit, but that same climate data & evidence consistently demonstrates and indicates that CO2 and GHG can not have had a material affect on the warming seen over the past 150 years.  These surprising yet undeniable conclusions were the product of Paragon’s comprehensive due-diligence-style review and analysis of new and old mainstream peer-reviewed climate science data, in conjunction with analysis of other relevant economic & technical data.   

The following provides some background on how Paragon’s research conclusions developed.

Paragon’s lead researcher Sam Bock has a strong background in particle physics and nuclear chemistry.  Having a degree in environmental science from Middlebury College, he has been concerned about and studying climate change issues since 1982. 

Alarmed and worried about the subtle changes he and others were seeing all around us, in 1993 he purchased a northern property near the Yukon border in northern British Columbia, Canada as a future refuge in the event that planetary warming continued to accelerate as rapidly as seen in the 1980s & 90s.  Since then Bock has personally witnessed many devastating effects of climate change on northern BC since making annual trips there beginning in 1993. 

In 1997, after seeing wide-spread rapidly accelerating damage to BC’s forests, Bock was further disturbed to read Wayne Grady’s book, The Quiet Limit of the World, a summary of the findings of a large team of scientists working aboard an ice-breaker in the Arctic.  Among many other things, they discovered that the waters there were warming far faster than predicted.

With change in the North happening far more quickly than predicted, Bock began to wonder whether something else could also be at play with the world’s climate.

Then in May 1998 he noticed that Montreal’s air pollution was thickest during the week, lowest on Sundays, and that the intensity of the pollution correlated with the intensity of scattered red light seen both during the day and most intensely at sunset.  He concluded that the daily fluctuations in red-light-scattering were therefore independent of the relatively fixed levels of GHG content in the atmosphere, which change very little from one day to another.  This made Bock wonder whether the fluctuating levels of particulate pollution might also be absorbing light and reflecting infra-red light (heat), thereby driving atmospheric temperatures up or down independently of any Green House Gas effect.  This was Bock’s first indication that something other than CO2 and GHG might also be contributing to climate change.

In 1999, Bock provided research and testimony on the detrimental effects of environmental pollution on the environment, food chain, and human health before the Canadian Government Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources.  That research and testimony helped convince the Senate Committee to pass a recommendation requiring the annual review of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.   This presentation of technical research was successful because it effectively demonstrated numerous technical issues related to environmental pollution in simpler terms the Senators could clearly understand.

Concerned about Canada’s and the world’s lack of action on climate change, later in 1999 Bock began Paragon’s intensive and in-depth research effort into climate science and new energy technology, in order to provide Canadian governments and business leaders with a comprehensive white paper to help them understand what was driving the extreme climate change being observed, and based on this, what technical, regulatory, and fiscal solutions are required to cost-effectively halt it. 

Ultimately Paragon’s in-depth technical analysis took more than 10 years to complete.  Most surprisingly, by 2003 Paragon’s due-diligence background research and analysis of existing climate science had assembled a growing collection of conflicting climate data that indicated something other than CO2 and GHG was also driving significant climate change. 

As well, this research effort showed that as far back as 1985 there were a few researchers that were looking at the possible warming effects of soot on snow and ice.  By 2002 there was a growing body of research dedicated to the effects of soot on climate.  In 2005 Mark Jacobson of Stanford University provided the first estimates that Black Carbon, one component of soot produced by the incomplete combustion of bio-mass, coal, diesel, and other fossil fuels, causes between 90-190 times the warming of equivalent units of CO2 (Jacobson, 2005).

Then in November 2005, Bock first saw the work of an innovative computer programmer who had used NASA GISS historic global temperature data to create global temperature maps.  These clearly and powerfully show distinct regional changes in temperatures around the world from one period to another. 

Paragon's analysis of these data maps was the first to indicate that the “global” warming was actually far more regional in nature, and not occurring in the more globally uniform manners as predicted by theoretical GHG models

Further analysis of these surprising temperature change maps indicated that longer term fluctuations in regional soot generation over time may be responsible for most of the observed regional warming and cooling effects seen around the globe over the past 150 years.  These findings are corroborated by a wide range of other historical weather and economic data, all of which were used to produce Paragon’s first draft research report in 2006. 

Both the wide range of data sources used in that initial comprehensive analysis, as well as all of the subsequent climate data from any research and/or study reviewed since, are consistent with warming and extreme weather events predicted by soot particulates in air pollution – from Asia, North America, Europe, and other highly polluted regions – but not necessarily by CO2 and the other anthropogenic Green House Gases.  

As importantly, despite a highly objective and rigorous search, Paragon has not found any evidence to support the theory that CO2 and the other anthropogenic Green House Gases are driving the observed climate change.

On the other hand, soot-based particulates (which are generated primarily from heavy oil & diesel burning, coal-fired power plants, natural gas flaring, and biomass pollution) cause multiple known  warming and atmospheric effects that appear to explain the extreme warming of certain polar and glacial regions not predicted by Green House Gas theory. 

This is supported by hundreds of peer-reviewed studies showing the effects of soot and other particulates on climate, the most critical of which are cited in Paragon’s research and analysis.

Most importantly, the analysis indicates an immediate need to entirely rethink the world’s collective approach to the climate change problem.

This website is committed to providing governments, industry, and consumers with the latest climate research, as well as other technical knowledge and resources to solve these serious climate problems.


Background:

News Bulletin:  What we now understand about climate science since 2007 has radically changed – yet few are even aware of this unexpected scientific data, or of the radically different conclusions drawn from it. 

Here’s why.  As we humans continue to collect new empirical or hard data for all types of scientific research, this new hard data can challenge our theoretically-based understandings of which factors causes which effects in our world.  As a result, our older “well-established” scientific understandings can change dramatically when new and unexpected empirical data is discovered.  

Such disruptive scientific data revelations have recently affected many major fields of research: including genetics & medical sciencetheoretical physics & chemistrypower plant engineering, and as it turn out, climate science.   (For a brief summary and additional information see The New Science.)

These disruptive advancements were not recognized sooner partly because the more entrenched any theory is in the collective public conscience –  like those of contemporary quantum mechanics or the anthropogenic GHG warming model – the greater the initial resistance to any new data showing otherwise. 

We shouldn’t be surprised – this resistance is a natural byproduct of human ego & economics – no one ever really wants to admit their logic-based intuition may have been flawed, and no one wants to lose their job or funding.

Further, such disruptive ideas and data often come from outside mainstream research circles, a product of thinking outside the box, and as such, take longer to be adopted. 

Entrepreneur and philanthropist Naveen Jain believes that the people “who will come up with creative solutions to solve the world’s biggest problems —  ecological devastation, global warming, the global debt crisis and distribution of dwindling natural resources, to name a few — will NOT be experts in their fields... but instead, individuals who approach challenges with a clean lens, bringing together diverse experiences, knowledge and opportunities.” 

As regards the new climate science, since there are so many people now diligently working on this serious problem, a constant flow of new and often contradictory evidence has been gradually emerging from hundreds of sources, from both inside and outside mainstream climate research circles. 

That hard empirical climate data shows we humans are definitely warming the world with byproducts from the burning of carbon fuels, but not for the reasons previously thought… and not, as it appears, primarily due to anthropogenic accumulations of CO2 and other GHG gases.

Instead, due to a long and continually growing list of difficult-to-refute scientific evidence and reasoning, it appears carbon-based particulate soots in air pollution are driving most, if not all, regional & global warming.  The same hard compelling evidence indicates that the gradual build-ups of CO2 and GHG gases are probably not yet causing any significant warming… but probably other effects.

So what are these problematic particulate soots?

Soots are dirty unburnt particles of hydrocarbon that are initially released into the atmosphere as a result of the incomplete combustion of dirtier carbon fuels.  These particles ultimately fall out of the atmosphere.  Most of us living in cities have seen these substances gradually collect on our window sills.  CO2 on the other hand is an invisible gas (that floats) accumulating in the atmosphere, usually until it is reabsorbed by the solar-driven process of photosynthesis – to  produce new forms of plants and life (by combining sunlight, minerals, water, CO2, and nitrogen), or, absorbed by the oceans – to eventually form shells, rocks, or other carbonates & compounds. 

So if soots are causing most warming and CO2 and GHG gases are not, why is this the case, how can it be explained, and how does it affect the way we fight climate change?  

The following is a brief introduction into just a few of the many climate science issues reviewed in Paragon’s latest draft of its full climate research & data analysis.


Since 1895 its has been widely hypothesized that a gradually building excess accumulation of CO2 and GHG gases would cause atmospheric warming driving climate change, and that this would create a relatively uniform type of global warming that is most extreme in the polar regions.  

However the basic tenants of this early GHG warming model (which have survived until today) were developed prior to our modern understanding of the electromagnetic spectrum, or even our most basic understandings of sub-atomic physics, which only began to emerge in 1911 with  Rutherford’s model of the atom.  Further, many of science’s newer, most important understandings regarding the powerful effects of the sun’s light / radiation on various atmospheric particles were not available to climate theorists and researchers until as recently as 2006. 

As our research shows, the non-inclusion of significant physical and chemical factors in contemporary GHG theory has led to the development of a significantly flawed climate theory.

More problematically for that theory: the world as a whole has not warmed as much as predicted by GHG models; the Arctic has warmed far more than predicted; while most of the Antarctic has actually cooled (except for those regions on the peninsula subjected to unusually high levels of soot pollution, some of which is generated by scientific research centers).

The observed weather data do not remotely fit the theoretically projected results, either as relates to regions affected, or temperatures.    

The extent of these discrepancies is clearly laid out by a study by Stephen Schwartz of the Brookhaven National Laboratory, Robert Charlson of the University of Washington, and their colleagues, which was published in the Journal of Climate, on May, 2010.  As stated in that paper, “according to current best estimates of climate sensitivity, the amount of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases added to Earth's atmosphere since humanity began burning fossil fuels on a significant scale during the industrial period would be expected to result in a mean global temperature rise of 3.8 degrees Fahrenheit.  That is well more than the 1.4 degrees F. increase that has been observed for this time span.”  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100119112050.htm

And Schwartz’s numbers do not include the warming now known to be generated by Black and Brown Carbon soots (based on new laboratory testing evidence of the warming generated by sunlight’s absorption by those compounds.)   In a 2008 study, world renown IPCC report editor and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego atmospheric scientist V. Ramanathan, and his colleague University of Iowa chemical engineer Greg Carmichael, said that soot and other forms of black carbon could have as much as 60 percent of the current global warming effect of carbon dioxide, more than that of any greenhouse gas besides CO2. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080323210225.htm

So what does this mean? Stanford’s Jacobson estimated in 2001 that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are responsible for roughly 46.6% of the total anthropogenic GHG warming observed then.  Taking Schwartz’s figures, this is approximately 1.75 degrees.   Further taking 60% of that number to determine the estimated soot-generated warming globally gives another 1.05 degrees of warming.  Adding 1.05 to 3.8 indicates we should be seeing 4.85 degrees F. of warming if GHG theory is correct.

Schwartz & Charlson et al go on to state that “The new analysis attributes the reasons for the discrepancy between projected and actual temperature increase to a possible mix of two major factors: Earth's climate may be less sensitive to rising greenhouse gases than currently assumed and/or reflection of sunlight by haze particles in the atmosphere may be offsetting some of the expected warming.”

The latter dimming/cooling idea has been around since the early 1980’s when dimming by polluted haze was first discovered by Israeli agricultural researchers.  Since then it has been postulated by many climate scientists that the “dimming” caused by air pollution, is the result of a blocking & reflection of incoming sunlight, thereby artificially cooling those polluted regions, and masking the full affects of GHG temperature rises in those regions. 

However if this were truly the case (per this still-accepted rationale) the most pristine unpolluted regions of the world should be feeling greater temperature rises over time as CO2 has climbed, and the most polluted parts should be warming at somewhat slower rate.  But the new global maps of actual historical temperature data prove that the opposite is actually happening. 

As Paragon’s research points out, the analyses of global and regional temperature data and many other historical weather records show that the most polluted regions are warming very rapidly, and that soots, the unburnt carbon compounds from the incomplete combustion of carbon fuels, are the primary culprit. 

Science continues to add to our new understanding of the extent of soots affects on warming.  In 2006 it was learned that instead of reflecting light back to space, as previously believed, Brown Carbon soots actually absorb incoming high-energy UV light, instead of reflecting it, causing dimming and atmospheric warming, not cooling.   

Soots also cause very powerful warming effects in many other ways, both in the atmosphere, and on land, snow, and ice as well, particularly when subject to 24 hour sunlight during polar summers.

Paragon’s research reviews and explains the multiple ways in which soots are being shown to drive planetary warming and extreme weather events.  That analysis of actual empirical temperature data also compellingly shows why GHG theory can not explain the warming being seen, as the distinct “footprints” of the warming observed don’t match the predicted footprint of GHG theory.  Therefore world governments need to adopt new strategies and technologies, as soot is easily reduced or eliminated with scrubbing technologies or new energy technologies. 

However, as is also discussed in Paragon’s research, the highly toxic radioactive and heavy metal pollution produced in those combustion processes that produce soots are not easily collected by scrubbers, or safely stored within scrubbing agents, and as such, remain an equally or more serious issue associated with the continued use of “clean” coal or heavy oil as fuels.

The good news is that most soot falls out of the atmosphere quite rapidly. 

The bad news is that soots can cause powerful, immediate, and far more extreme weather events, warming, and melting than that predicted for GHG.

The video directly below, which was generated by assembling daily satellite images, shows the enormous extent of Asian soot pollution affecting the Pacific Basin, the Arctic,  North America, and elsewhere downwind of this pollution.  Incredibly, as dirty as the air looks in these September-November 2009 satellite images, by then that air was already much cleaner as compared to the even greater pollution levels generated just two years earlier in 2007, prior to China's start-up of 90 new 1000 MW power plants in 2008, which replaced almost half of the very old, antiquated, and smaller "Mom & Pop"coal plants (100MW or less) in China.  These old plants, which numbered in the hundreds, made up 30% of China's electricity output and generated 80-90% of China' coal-fired soot output.  This highly polluting and inefficient electricity generating capacity consumed 2-3 times more coal and generated 20x more soot than the new plants brought on line.  Paragon's research indicates that approximately 30-50% of China's coal soot pollution was eliminated that year, possibly dropping world soot output levels by as much as 15-25%.  The Arctic summer sea-ice melt, which had hit a record in summer 2007 with the extent of the pollution that year,  was very significantly reduced by more than 30% in the summer of 2008.  World temperatures plummeted as well in 2008-2009. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/02/19/january-2008-4-sources-say-globally-cooler-in-the-past-12-months/ 

Paragon's research indicates this temperature drop was also affected by the drop in world economic activity. 

To better imagine the soot output capable of being generated by Asia, further consider that the video below contains satellite images taken while China and the rest of the world were in the middle of the Great Recession.

North America's soot generation is significant as well, as indicated in other satellite photos in Paragon's research.

And as the world economy has slowly recovered since 2009, and to a large extent soot levels with it in those economic regions, so have world temperatures, as well as the extent of the summer Arctic sea-ice melting since then, as seen in the second link below.

Link to sea-ice meting record.

Extreme weather events, warming, and melting, along with increased toxic pollution, are the reality in many of the most highly polluted regions of the world (which includes the Arctic, as is explained in our research).  And it’s causing climate and health havoc in those areas, as well as collateral effects on other areas “down wind” or “down climate” from the offending regions, unfortunately with many of those regions that are most affected being in the Arctic.

Fortunately for humankind and the planet, it appears that inexpensive non-polluting energy technologies, either available now or within a few years, are going to solve both the soot and related heavy metal pollution problems, and go a long way to solving two more problems, those of fuel & power shortages, and, world poverty.  These developments appear to have come just in time.   For additional information see The New Science.

The following educational video was produced by a US environmental group concerned about soot's effects on Climate Change. It provides a good primer of the many effects of soot on climate change and health.  (However as evident, this group is still unaware of the new of science related to Brown Carbon, or of the research analysis done by Stephen Schwartz of the Brookhaven National Laboratory, and/or other analyses like Paragon's, which show that the warming as predicted by GHG theory doesn't appear to be happening.) 

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