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GLOBAL"WARMING·AND

CLIMATE CHANGE

Believers, deniers, and doubters view the SCIENTIFIC FORECAST from different angles
STEPHEN K. RITTER, C&EN WASHINGTON

WHETHER OR NOT global wanning stem­ 1950. And there is agreement that the CO 2 The assessment stipulates that "most
ming from human activities is occurring is increase is largely the result ofemissions ofthe observed increase in global
developing into the great scientific debate of from burning fossil fuels. Another piece of temperature since-the mid-20th f'"",1"11"Tli"
our time. Ifit's true, the larger questions are data that everyone agrees with is that the very likely due to the observed increase
what the climate consequences will be and global average temperature has risen since anthropogenic greenhouse gas cOrlCelt1tr~~­
whether or not there is anything anyone can 1850~ when reliable instrument tempera­ tions." For IPCC, ''very likely" means
do about it. ture measurements began, with most ofthe than 90% statistical certainty.
Policymakers meeting in Copenhagen - warming occurring since 1970. On the other hand, ifIPCC's 90%
justwrapped up two weeks ofdiscussions But here the cordial agreements stop. At ment were viewed from a different
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driven by those questions. At C&EN BREAKDOWN the heart ofthe global-warm~ it would read that there is a 10% liklelitloqld
press time, they had failed to agree Satellite images ing debate is whether that that the current warming trend might
on an international treatyto control show the sudden warming is the direct result from natural climate variability. And
collapse ofthe
greenhouse gas emissions in an Larsen B Ice Shelf, ofincreasing anthropogenic is a vocal minority ofclimate scientists,
effort to stave off global wanning in Antarctica, from CO 2 levels or whether it is along with a collection ofother SClcentlst$
while preserving current standards Jan. 31 to March 7, simply part ofEarth's natural andnonscientists and the organizations
ofliving. An underlying cause that 2002 (from left). A climate variability. that support them, who are rallying
total of 3,250 km 2 of
seems to be holding everything up is the shelf collapsed. . On the one hand is the ma­ eJ; to stand behind that 10%.
a renewed upwelling ofuncertainty jority opinion disseminated Some ofthese antagonists have been
in the science behind the debate. in peer-:reviewed reports labeled "climate-change deniers" .
Mainstream climate scientists over the past 20 years by they believe the current warming pelrlO(lJS
maintain that man-made global wanning is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate .one ofEarth's natural temperature
happening. BUt a few global-warming skep­ Change (IPCC), an entity established and that the cliniate system is insemiiti"tt
tics argue that there is still a lot ofguess­ bythe United Nations Environmental to huinanity's greenhouse gas erniss:lon.s1
work in how those scientists came to that Program and the World Meteorological and atmospheric pollutants. Another
conclusion. Organization. IPCC;'s fourth assessment, group, growing in number, doesn't nece
At the root ofthe for-and-against argu­ "Climate Change 2007," concludes that sarily disagree with IPCC's findings on
ments is a lot ofgood science---,-science ''warming ofthe climate system is . - global warming
that is still unfolding. There is no question
that Earth's atmospheric carbon dioxide
unequivocal, as is now evident from
observations ofincreases in global
Ii I
MORE-ONLINE doubts that it
be attributed to
concentration has increased since the average air and oceantemperatures, wide­ ·. 1 thropogenic effects.
Industrial Revolution began in the late spread melting ofsnow and ice, and rising .One co'mmon thread pulling this
1700s, with most ofthe rise coming since global average sea level." tingent ofdeniers and doubters to~~etl1eI1

WWW_CEN-ONLlNE.ORG 11 DECEMBER 21. 2009


ACS Publications

High quality. High impact.

DMsio~1~~~~~~~H~~1~l~~ ~<Ml ·
is that they take exception to the notion
that there is a "consensus" agreement on
the science-that the science is settled and
human-caused global warming is a fore­
• f ... .J..
gone conclusion.
.Leading the charge ofthese global­
Prpud;" rtners S!rx!~9 ,~,h", ~r.ldYl,i~" warming antagonists is the Nongovern­

'i communitv p~:~f3e£ 'researcher~ mental International Panel on Climate


Change (NIPCC), which issued the non­
educators, an·d readers via both the peer-reviewed report "Climate Change
Reconsidered" in June. NIPCC is an inter­
electronic and-print editions of the national coalition ofscientists-with 35
participants relative to the 2,500 partici­
pants in IPCC's 2007 assessment-con­
vened to provide a "second opinion" on the
scientific evidence available on the causes
and consequences ofclimate change, says
atmospheric physicist S. Fred Singer, who
organized and led the NIPCC effort. Singer
is president ofthe Science & Environmen­
tal Policy Project, a public policy institute
based in Arlington, Va. The NIPCC report
was published by the Heartland Institute, a
Chicago-based public policy organization.
Global-warming theory is valid in
principle, Singer says, and no one doubts
CO 2 's role as a greenhouse gas. "The only
contentious aspect ofthe IPCC assessment
is attribution-what is the cause ofglobal
warming and climate change," Singer ex­
plains. ''We have looked at everybit of data
that IPCC has brought forth, and we see no
credible evidence for human-caused global
warming. None."

THE SKEPTICS suggest that some key


studies excluded from the IPCC assessment
after peer review, and research published
since the 2007 assessment's cutoff date,
would compromise IPCC's conclusions.
The NIPCC report states that because
IPCC's climate models, which are used to
study past climate change and to provide
estimates offuture climate trends, are im­
perfect, they must be wrong and therefore
should be discarded in favor ofthe idea that
natural climate variability rules.
In addition, NIPCC and its supporters
suggest that trying to control CO 2emis­
sions will be too expensive and will raise
energy costs, causing disproportionate .
hardship for people living on the world's
social and economic fringes. The ultimate
point ofthat argument is that ifEarth's cli­
mate system is driven mostly by nature and
is not influenced by humankind, there isn't
a lot that anyone can do to control it, de­
spite best intentions. NIPCC further points
out that extra CO2 and a little extra warmth
might not be so bad after all because it will

WWW.C EN-O NLINE. ORG 12 DE CEMBER 21. 200 9


~ help increase plant ofinfrared radiation that it redirects back toward space. VaI1atlleG
OVERSHOOTING Warming trends ~ growth-which IPCC that cause this energy balance to change and affect the global
calculated by 22 climate models (range ~ also projects. Such age temperature are called forcings because they force the
shown by vertical bars) used by IPCC ~ increases, NIPCC ature up or down. Forcings include changes in the sun's bn;ght:ne:fs
overshoot actual measurements from ~ says, will in turn boost and other influences that operate on roughly n-year and longer
selected surface and satellite data § forestry and agricul­ length cycles; aerosols and particulate matter originating from
sets. Global-warming skeptics say this ~ ture, leading to an oceans, volcanic eruptions, and man-made air pollution (C&EN,
observation indicates that IPCC models 8 .improvement in gross Aug. 24, page 26); and changes in the amount ofheat-trapping ­
aren't yet perfected and suggests IPCC's domestic products greenhouse gases such as CO 2 in the atmosphere.
long-term predictions on global warming and standards ofliving · Ofall the fotcings, CO 2 is key for anthropogenic global warm­
are too high. throughout the world. ing because it's the only variable that is changing bya significant
Singer says IPCC amount. Atmospheric CO 2 has increased from about 280 ppm in
Temperature trend. °C per decade
is an organization 1750 to nearly 390 ppm today. IPCC says this amount far exceeds
0.30 established andrun the natural range of 180-300 ppm as measured iIi the air bubbles
by national govern­ ofice cores covering the past 800,000 years, a period spanning
ments, not scientists, the past six ice ages. Also ofnote is that the rate of CO2 growth
and as such, its as­ counts for about 55% ofthe estimated amount ofman-made CO 2
sessments should be emissions, which means that nature is currently sequestering
viewed as political about halfofthe CO 2 that people generate. But based on a recent
0.10 f-L..-------~I11!!!!!"'~---i findings, not scien­ ocean study, Earth's capacity to naturally sequester CO 2 appears
tific findings. Indeed, be decreasing (C&EN, Nov. 23, page 9).
0.05 IPCC has been taken
to task by all sides for GREENHOUSE GASES are mostly transparent to incoming UV
0.00 '---'----_---I.._ _...l...-_---'­_ _--'---'
1979­ 1984- 1989- 1994­ 1999­ allowing government and visible light, but they hold back the outgoing IR-like the
2008 2008 2008 2008 2008 representatives to ofa greenhouse. Adding anthropogenic CO2 to natural amounts
Years fine-tune the scien­ of CO2 already in the atmosphere is making Earth's greenhouse
tific conclusions of blanket slightly thicker. Theoretically, with all other variables re­
its assessment reports after the peer review process.
Global-warming antagonists charge that the point ofthis gerry­
mandering is to artificially demonstrate and build support for an­
thropogenic global-warming theory and the UN's ulterior motive
ofrationing fossil-fuel-based energy. In the same vein, climate­
change protagonists charge that NIPCC takes its contrarian view
.JDURNAL DF
solely because it is indirectly financed by the oil and gas industry
and other business and conservative political interests.
The climate debate is b€coming ever more contentious as both
'

sides ratchet up efforts to discredit each other in order to influence


CHEMICALEDUCATION
public opinion. The most recent episode came in late November,
when e-mail messages exchanged between prominent climate
pubs.acs.org/jchemeduc
scientists were purloined and posted on the Internet. Some ofthe
selected messages suggest that the scientists have been taking
measures in recent years to exert tighter control over the peer re­
view process ofsome climate journals (see page 7).
The scientists who wrote the e-mails say they have little choice
but to take such steps because a few researchers persist in submit­
ting papers with flawed arguments or that lack sufficient data to
support the conclusions. Despite the peer review system, they say,
a few ofthese papers have been published in what some climate
scientists have labeled ((activist journals."
The skeptics counter that the ((climategate" e-mails prove IPCC
and leading climate scientists have evolved from being brokers of
scientific information on climate science to being gatekeepers of
information, preventing some valid but contradictory data from
coming to light.
"It's a closed cooperative," Singer says. "Ifyou have a different
view, you can't get into that closed circle. NIPCC was established
to break up that monopoly."
Climate theory is built on the assumption that Earth maintains
a balance between incoming solar energy in the form ofultraviolet
and visible light that it absorbs and the amount ofheat in the form

WWW.CEN-ONLINE.ORG
13 DECEMBER 21, 2009
ACS Publications
. High quality. High impact.
.---------------------------------------------------------------~z
www.acs.org z
«
HOCKEY STICK A plot of average Departure from 1961-90 average, °C ~
...J
temperature across the Northern W
«
:c
Hemisphere (top) used by IPCC in its S2
~
2001 assessment, dubbed the "hockey
o>­
stick" because of its shape, was
~
decried by global-warming skeptics
ACS leads the as hiding the Medieval Warm Period
6:=
::>
o<..)

way in Chemical (950-1250) and Little Ice Age (1400­


1700) and overemphasizing warming
Engineering in the late 1900s. Data from tree rings,
corals, ice cores, and historical records 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 2000
are shown in blue, Year
...: . - & - '­ and thermometer Departure from 1961-90 average, °C
readings are in red; 0.8
uncertainties in the 0.6
data are in gray. 0.4
The hockey stick 0.2
data have since
o -
been substantiated -0.2 ~~\l~~~1\1~~~IiitJ?~
with similar
-0.4 HI M1!J fiIp,~'p<:,~
-0.6
temperature -0.8
reconstructions -1.0
-1.2 '-'---'~...........~..........~..o...L-~-.....-I.~~"-'-'~..........~_...L...o~~~
..........

by other groups 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 2000
(bottom). Year

maining steady, this increase in CO 2 traps do. Water vapor is a key component ofthe
more heat and increases the global average models, but it's factored in as a feedback,
temperature. rather than a forcing. Feedbacks are physi­
The amount ofwarming directly caused cal processes that change in response to
by the extra CO 2 is relatively weak, though. a temperature change and sub~equently
By definition, CO 2 has a global-warming amplify or diminish the effects offoicings.
potential of 1 per molecule over 100 years For water vapor, when the temperature
and serves as a standard bywhich to com­ goes up or down, its concentration quickly
pare other gases; for example, the global adjusts to increase or decrease the trapping
warming potential is 25 for CH4, 298 for ofheat.
N2 0, and 22,800 for SF6, according-to Ozone is another important compo­
IPCC. Diatomic gases such as nitrogen and nent ofthe atmosphere, but because it is
oxygen, which make up most ofthe atmo­ not evenly dispersed and is short-lived,
sphere, weakly absorb IR radiation, so they being constantly created and destroyed
are not counted as greenhouse gases. But in the atmosphere, it doesn't have an as­
these gases do contribute to physical and signed global-warming potential either.
chemical interactions in the atmosphere, Ozone filters UV light and contributes to
which can impact climate. cooling in the stratosphere, which is locat­
ed more than 20 km above Earth's surface.
WATER VAPOR is by far the most abun­ It also functions as a greenhouse gas and
dant and influential greenhouse gas. Its contributes to warming in the troposphere
concentration depends on the vagaries 6-20 km above the surface.
ofair temperature-warm air holds more Aerosols, the forcings with the most un­
moisture and cooler air is drier-and it certainty in their effects, are a suspension
soaks up most ofthe IR heat emanating offine particulate matter or droplets arising
from Earth's surface. But water vapor is not from volcanic emissions, smoke, oceanic
considered a forcing. Nor is it assigned a haze, and air pollution. Some aerosols form
global:-warmingpotential, because it has a directly, but others form during oxidation
relatively short residence time of about 10 processes in the atmosphere. For example,
days in the atmosphere, compared with a sulfur dioxide and other sulfur compounds
century or longer for CO 2 , originating from burning fossil fuels and
Visit www.pubs.acs.org Some global-warming antagonists as­ from volcanoes and phytoplankton are
for more information sert that climate models can't be accurate converted into sulfate aerosols in the at­
ifthey don't include water vapor. But they mosphere by hydroxyl radicals and other

WWW.CEN·ONLlNE.ORG 14 DECEMBER 21, 2009


"To those who say today's warming is natural variation, the

natural forcings are actually pushing us in the wrong direction:' ,

oxidants. Ozone also generates hydroxyl radicals that contribute to terpreted climate sensitivity. NIPCC sci~ntists assert it might
aerosol formation. be possible that positive feedbacks to CO2forcing are extremely
Climate scientists know that aerosols exert an overall cooling small, nonexistent, or offset by negative feedbacks so that
influence on climate-a negative forcing-by scattering incoming forcings unrelated to anthropogenic CO 2are actually causing
light and playing a role in forming and dissipating clouds. But they observed warming. They suggest that a climate sensitivity of 0.6
have had difficulties in adequately accounting for aerosol effects or less is more realistic.
on greenhouse gases in climate models. It's fitting that the simplest measurement ofthe ~limate
Water in the form ofclouds is also difficult to parameterize in debate~terriperature-is fraught with controversy. There isn't
models because cloud formation is dynamic and clouds have a one giant thermometer that is consulted to obtain global average
fleeting existence. Clouds are the,most uncertain feedback to plug temperature. Rather, thousands ofmeasurements are taken
into models because they give rise to both positive and negative in­ day around the globe from monitoring stations on land, buoys
fluences: Low clouds primarily prevent surface heat from escaping ships at sea, weather balloons, and satellites. The data are
into space, and high clouds reflect incoming sunlight. together by different climate research groups to create running
Overall, watervap6r and clouds are responsible for about 60% sets ofglobal average temperatures.
ofthe greenhouse effect, followed by CO2at about 26%~ and then Global-warming antagonists say that the surface teIl[lp€:!rat:ur(~,
smaller contributions from CH4, 0 3, and other gases. In the absence in the most popular data sets are skewed,bywhat is called the
ofnatural greenhouse warming, Earth's average temperature would urban heat island effect, whereby buildings, pavement, and
be about -18°C (0 OF), essentially a frozen planet. The natural heat-retaining or heat-reflecting artifacts located near monitor­
greenhouse effect wanns Earth by some 33°C, to about 15 °C (59 OF). ing stations inflate temperature values. They assert that using
biased data confuses the analysis ofthe current warming trend
THE COMBINED FORCINGS and feedbacks stemming from leads climate models to overestimate future warming.
Earth's current oceanic, continental, and atmospheric makeup are To prove that case, retired television meteorologist Anthony
the cause and effect that moderate Earth's energy balance. As de­
scribed in the 2007 IPCC report, the global energy balance is about
240 watts per m 2. The combination offorcings arising from anthro­
pogenic effects, including increases in greenhouse gas emissions
minus decreases from aerosols, totals 1.6 W/m2. '
IPCC has concluded that that extra bit ofenergy, coupled with
ensuing net positive feedbacks, has nudged up the global average
temperature. As laid out in the 2007 assessment, warming during
the 100-year period from 1906 to 2005 caused a global average tem­
perature increase of0.74 DC, to about 16°C (61°F).
Climate scientists rely on the measured temperature data to set
up a framework for using models to predict future trends. One of
thekey inputs to the framework is a measure known as "climate
sensitivity," which is the change in global average temperature
in response to the combination offorcings and consequent feed­
backs. Climate sensitivity is gauged by the global temperature
change after a doubling ofatmospheric CO 2concentration. As­
suming all other forcings and feedbacks remain constant, a dou­
bling of CO 2will lead to a 1 °C rise in temperature.
Deciding on what climate sensitivity value to plug into models
is crucial to predicting future trends. Overall negative feedbacks,
or low climate sensitivity, mean that man-made global warming
would likely be indistinguishable from natural climate variabil­
ity. But ifthe feedbacks are sufficiently positive-a high climate
sensitivity-then human-caused global warming would not only
be visible but also potentially catastrophic.
Weighing all the evidence, IPCC projects a sensitivity in the
range of 2.0 to 4.5 DC, with a most likely value ofabout 3°C. That
range is given because ofthe uncertainties in the strength ofthe
feedbacks, but the sensitivity is unlikely to be less than 105°C, ac­
cording to IPCC. These values also roughly correspond to the tem­ American'Ohemical Society
perature increase IPCC projects will occur between now and 2100.
The NIPCC report claims that IPCC has completelymisin­

WWW.CEN-ONLlNE.ORG 15 DECEMBER 21, 2009


has led a grassroots effort to visually part of a group ofclimate scientists who compiled by several groups, including
u.s. weather-monitoring stations. run the website "RealClimate," which atmospheric scientist John R. Christy and
who curates the blog "Watts Up provides news and commentary on global meteorologist Roy W. Spencer ofthe Earth
That?" which provides information warming and climate change. System Science Center at the University
commentary on climate change and When a bias is noted in the long-tenn ofAlabama, Huntsville (UAH) , who were
topics, targeted the 1,220 stations in temperature record for a site, Mann says, the first to use satellite data to track global
U.S. Historical Climate Network, a part the data are not used or corrected to ac­ average temperatures.
the U.S.'s system of about 9,000 weather count for the problem. Much ofthe work to Christy, the UAH center's director,
estimate global surface temperature chang­ explainsthat satellite measurements are
Watts notes that ofthe roughly 1,070 es has been devoted to teasing out these based on detecting microwaves emitted
checked so far, 91% ofthem fail urban heat island effects, Mann adds. There by oxygen molecules in the troposphere.
National Weather Service's require~ are different ways to do it, he says, but basi­ The intensity ofthose microwaves relates
ofbeing located 30 meters or more cally scientists compare weather stations in directly to the temperature ofthe O 2 mole­
from an artificial heat source such the same region to estimate what the tem­ cules and, when mathematically converted
bU:lldlmg or parking lot. Watts says his perature bias is for an individual station. with an algorithm, serves as a thermometer
is to complete the survey and provide a IPCC examined the urban heat island for the atmosphere. Although it's proxy
analysis ofthe temperature trend
....... 'La.J.J' ........ effect in the 2007 assessment and con­ data, rather than a direct temperature
from the stations. His preliminary cluded that it might indeed have impacts reading, the UAH team has verified the
a~s:es~;m(~nt indicates that many ofthe sta­ on local temperature readings. But IPCC accuracy ofthe measurements by compari­
show artificially high ~emperatures. determined that the errant heating has a son with weather balloon data.
initial report was published in March by negligible influence on long-term global
Heartland Institute, and a final report average temperature measurements ofless SATELLITE DATA are collected nearly
~XT)ecitedin 2010, he notes. than 0.006 °C per decade over land and has uniformly around the globe, unlike surface
Once a firm believer in CO 2 -induced no effect over the oceans. data for which there are gaps in monitor­
bal warming, Watts says he is now less '~ou can eliminate urban stations from ing remote land and ocean regions, Christy
"No doubt global warming has a data set or ignore land and look only at notes. And atmospheric data remove any
bias from heat island effects. So Christy
and a few scientists believe the satellite
data could provide a better measure of
temperature change than surface data.
But other climate scientists aren't
convinced because the algorithm used to
convert microwave readings requires mak­
ing assumptions that increase the uncer­
tainties in the temperature measurements.
Like surface measurements, the satellite
data need correcting, and the Christy­
Spencer data have needed to be adjusted
several times. The satellite instrument
readings are affected by heat from sunlight
in day/night cycles, satellite orbital drift
GOOD AND THE BAD Weather station placement can lead to a bias in temperature and orbital decay over time, and coordina­
rel3ldirulsthat, if not properly accounted for, can skew current trends and thus climate model tion of multiple satellites to ensure instru­
nrt\iPI"ti(\nc: A classic Stevenson screen station (white box) with a mercury thermometer
ments are calibrated and the measure­
if., is properly sited (left). but a newer electronic temperature sensor in
if.• is too close to a building, exhaust fans. and an asphalt parking lot (right). ments are made consistently.
In the end, absolute values oftempera­
ture are not what scientists are after anyway,
but rather trends in warming or cooling
odl::UITe(1," Watts says. "But what is the ocean data, and you still get a similar warm­ over time. There's an approximately 0.13 °C
cause ofthe observed temperature ing trend as you do with the corrected warming per decade reflected in the UAH
data," Mann says. "So the argument that the atmospheric data set for 1979-2008, Christy
The bias in temperature readings is a urban heat island effect somehow contami­ notes, comparedwith 0.17 °C warming per
-known problem to climate scientists, nates our ability to estimate global surface decade for the most popular surface mea­
for older monitoring stations 10­ temperatures just doesn't hold water." surements over the same period.
where urban centers have sprung up That explanation still hasn't satisfied Although global-warming skeptics
them, notes geophysicist Michael global-warming antagonists, some of would disagree, Mann says, statistically
director ofPennsylvania State whom are suggesting that surface tem­ there really isn't a discrepancy between
Tni'ITAl""it-,,,s Earth System Science Center. perature measurements be abandoned in the surface data and the satellite data, and
one ofthe scientists whose e-mails favor ofatmospheric measurements. Their there is no reason to throw out the surface
flagged in the climategate dustup, is rationale is made possible by satellite data record. "For the past 30 years, the satellite

WWW.C EN-ONLINE.ORG 16 DECEMBER 21. 2009.


data actually validate the surface tempera­ sediment cores, and instrument readings antagonists such as Singer pbint to these
ture trend for warming," Mann points out. are cobbled together to give a reasonable features ~s proofthat past temperatures
"What's more important about the surface estimate ofpast temperatures, he explains. and CO 2 levels have been higher and
record, though, is we can reliably go much Even then, these temperature "reconstruc­ than today, indicating that natural vari­
further back in time." tions" reliably go back only about 2,000 ability is the norm in climate change and
Besides taking atmospheric data, Chris­ years, Mann says. that the impact ofhuman activities is not
ty's research involves developing data sets Several unique features in this tem­ discernable-that there is weak or no an­
to explore trends in surface temperatures. perature record are hot spots for the thropogenic warming.
Specifically, he islooking beyond urban climate-change debate. Global-warming , For example, the Medieval Warm
heat island effects at how land-use changes
stemming from agriculture and urbaniza­
tion affect temperature. One ofhis key find­
ings is that data from Alabama, California,
and Africa show that the recent increases
in global average surface temperatures are
related to higher nighttime readings. '
For example, in California's San Joaquin
Valley, one ofthe U.S.'s most productive
farming regions, the daytime temperature
has increased little over the past 100 years,
Christy says. But the nighttime tempera­
tures ofthe valley are now about 4'oC higher
than a century ago. Meanwhile, in the Sierra
Nevada Mouiltain foothills to the east, the
daytime and nighttime temperatures have
essentially been static over the past century.
Christy says the shift in natural dry,
brown scrub to irrigated green fields in the
San Joaquin Valley and other large farm­
ing regions means less heat is absorbed,
and it provides a cooling effect on daytime
temperatures: In contrast, the addition~l
moisture in the ground holds in heat that '
is released at night, leading to the warmer
nighttime readings. This is riot a heat island
effect, Christy proposes, nor is it fully re­
lated to heat radiating back into space and
being trapped by CO 2 • "In some areas, the
observed warming is more consistent with
land-use change than our understanding of
greenhouse gas effects," he believes. '
Christy thinks a better approach in com­
piling surface data for modeling could be • Active Pharmaceutical
to use only the daytime high temperatures, Ingredients
rather than the daily low and high tem­ Customs • Excipients
peratures, to eliminate the possible bias in Regulations
• Controlled Substances
nighttime readings. Christy acknowledges
that most climate scientists don't agree • Research, Scale-Up and
with his methods or conclusions; although Production Quantities
he was an IPCC lead author for its 2001
assessment, not all ofthe data he submit­
ted to IPCC for the 2007 assessment were
included, he says.

WHEN LOOKING AT longer term tempera­


ture trends, climate scientists must rely
on historical records and proxy data from
a variety ofsources, an area where Mann
has focused his research efforts. Combina­
tions of data from ice cores, tree rings, sea

WWW,CEN-ONUNE,ORG 17 DECEMBER 21. 2009


peaked from about 950 to 1250, was a A climate conundrum related to these cade ago and have even extended it to the
marked by higher solar activity, fewer historical temperature swings is the infa­ past 2,000 years."
or volcanic eruptions to create cooling mous "hockey stick" graph used in IPCC's Global-warming antagonists, carrying
~r'OS()lS, and warming impacts from oscil­ 2001 assessment. The graph, which depicts the banner ofnatural climate variability,
ocean-atmosphere Circulation pat­ one ofMann's temperature reconstruc­ still say that the temperature fluctuation
such as the E1 Nifio-Southern Oscil­ tions, shows muted warming and cooling from the Medieval Warm Period to the
in the tropical South Pacific that oc­ over the Medieval Warm Period and Little Little Ice Age is clear evidence that nature
every few years, Mann says. Patterns Ice Age because the temperatures are aver­ rules when it comes to climate change.
as EI Nifio redistribute heat already in aged over the entire Northern Hemisphere They add that the current warming isn't
oceans and are not directly related to and not localized to Europe, where most being caused by anthropogenic CO 2 but is
warming or cooling. people lived during those periods. Global­ instead simply a continuation of Earth's
The Medieval Warm Period climate warming skeptics say the graph makes it recovery from the Little Ice Age.
-:lln1.... 1TI~ hraffected mostly the NorthAtlan­ look as though the anomalies didn't exist. That is a bit misleading, Mann says.
region, and at its height, the average The graph also shows a sudden upturn in "Suggesting that Earth recovers from
teDlpe:rature in the Northern Hemisphere, temperature in the late 1900S attributed to climate changes implies that the climate
qel)enruDlgOn the climate data set viewed, rising CO2 concentrations so that the over­ system works in a completely different way
about 0.3 °C above average. In some all graph looks like the profile ofa hockey than we know it does based on physics," he
the temperature rise was about the stick l'ying on its side. observes. "The climate doesn't rebound. It
as or exceeded the comparable 0.8 °C IPCC chose to feature Mann's recon­ isn't like a spring that someone pulls and
today. But as Mann's and other tem­ struction over other similar data sets in its lets go. The primary changes are due to the
..-.1,:"• .,1-1,,.,,. reconstructions show, the global 2001 summary report for policymakers to response to forcings.
temperature remained below the show that it's warmer now than it has been "Ifnatural variability was primarilyrul­
global average (Science 2009,326, over the past 1,000 years. Some skeptical ingwhatwe see today, we would still be in
scientists pointed out errors in Mann's the Little Ice Age," Mann continues. 'We
and coworkers' descriptions ofthe data should have seen cooling in the past few
AN ATTEMPT to shoot down this evi­ sets used, which Mann confirmed and an­ decades because solar output has dropped
the NIPCC report presents data
nounced in a published correction. Mean­ offand there have been relatively more vol­
suggest temperatures during the Me­
while, other skeptics took it a step further canic eruptions. To those who saytoday's
Warm Periodwere actually higher
and claimed there were actual flaws in the warming is natural variation, the natural
those reported in the IPCC report and
statistical methods used to combine the forcings are actually pushing us in the
than today. NIPCC also notes that
data to make the reconstruction. Global­ wrong direction."
and other paleoclimate data at some
warming antagonists seized the opportu­
sites spread across all seven continents
nity to assert that the graph was an effort to LOOKING AT climate features during
substantiate that the Medieval Warm hoodwink the public by showing a warming the past century provides additional hot
was global in its reach and supports trend that was not real, which led to a con­ spots for the climate debate. For example,
climate variability thesis. gressional inquiry. the higher solar output in the earlY-20th
"It wasn'tjust a regional effect-that's Mann's data held up to scrutinyby a Na­ century contributed to a warm stretch in
ap~;olllteJlynot true," notes geographer Craig tional Academy ofSciences review panel, the 1930s. But as the solar output waned,
Idso, founder and chairman ofthe Center which "acquitted" the data but made spe­ temperatures cooled in the late 1940S and
the StudyofCarbon Dioxide & Global cific suggestions on how scientists should then remained steady for several decades,
'-".L~:;U.L<::',",. in Tempe,Ariz., and coauthor ofthe improve temperature reconstructions. even though the post-World War II era was
report, along with Singer. Now, 10 years later, Mann reports that his a time marked by industrial development,
"This is a key part ofthe battle in the original finding has been confirmed byoth­ more cars, and a rapid rise in CO2 levels.
debate," Idso says. "Ifwe can show er data sets his group has generated and by NIPCC and global-warming critics point
the temperature varies naturally with more than a dozen independent estimates to a lack ofCO2 -temperature correlation
influence from greenhouse gases, using different arrays of data and different to discount IPCC's pro-anthropogenic as­
the current warm period is nothing statistical methods (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. sessments. 'With IPCC, sometimes you get
than the recurrence ofthe natural USA 2008, 105, 13252). Yet the hockey stick a CO2 -temperature correlation, and some­
Clllmare-cmm2'e cycle." graph is labeled as disingenuous in the times you don't," Singer says. "IPCC and
After the Medieval Warm Period came NIPCC report. others try to skip over or explain that prob­
alc()oling··ottperiod known as the Little "It was unfortunate that some contrar­ lem away. But you can't do that. For global­
Age, which hit its nadir between 1400 ian circles made it seem as ifthe entire warming theory to be completely valid, that
1700. The temperature dip-as low edifice ofclimate change rested on our one correlation has to be present at all times."
-0.7 °C below average-stemmed from reconstruction data set," Mann says. "We IPCC points out that during the 1945-75
solar activity and increased volcanic still have the same conclusion from a de- period, CO 2 -forced warming was coun­
with cooling effects from ocean­
atIltlos.ph,ere oscillations. Like the Medieval
Period, it was oflimited scope in the
l'forth1ern Hemisphere and not global in
"If you have enough arbitrary parameters,

according to IPCC. you can make any model work:'

WWW.CEN-ONLlNE.ORG 18 DECEMBER 21. 2009


tered by lower solar activity, the geological record and see time
emissions from volcanoes, and intervals where it was warmer or
an increase in particulates and cooler than it is today," Mann
atmospheric aerosols generated "No one is disputing that." For
from increased fossil-fuel emis­ , ample, the early Cretaceous
sions. Some climate scientists 10'0 million years ago, whendino­
have suggested that when pollu­ saurs roamed Earth, was certainly
tion regulations and improved substantially warmer than today,
technology reined in man-made and CO2 levels were substantially
emissions and the air began to higher, he notes. "But that doesn't
clear in the late 1970s, CO2 forc­ contradict the fact that we are
ing again emerged on top, leading increasing greenhouse gas
to the current warming trend trations today at a faster rate than
that has accelerated as CO2 levels Earth has ever seen to our lmowl­
continue to rise. The "global dim­
edge and that the temperature
ming" caused by aerosols and par­
. THE MERITS AND DEMERITS OF C02 other changes that are taking
ticulates is the basis ofone ofthe
Pea plants grow bigger and faster (top) under higher are happening at a far greater rate,
proposed geoengineering tech­ C02 conditions-current global concentration is Mann adds.
nologies to offset global warming 390 ppm-as do lobsters and some other sea dwellers. Beyond current temperature'
(C&EN, Nov. 23, page 28). But other creatures, like the pencil urchin (bottom), observations, global-warming
During the past 20 years, sever­ suffer devastating effects in acidified water stemming antagonists are seizing on the
al events point to natural climate from high CO~ conditions. perature discrepancies proposed
variability's influence on tem-' by Christy and others as proof
perature, but overall the warming that IPCC's projections of
trend due to rising CO 2 levels is future climate-based on models
now unmistakable, IPCCsays. using the possibly biased nata-are
For example, warming stopped faulty. For example, Christy has
in 1991-93, when the eruption shown that the IPCC model aver­
ofMount Pinatubo, in the Phil­ age temperature-IPCC's best
ippines, spewed out massive guess-has been increasing
amounts ofsulfur compounds. 0.25 °C per decade over the past
These compounds formed aero­ years, which is significantly
sols and drove down the average than several measured data sets,
global temperature about 0.2 °C. 400 ppm 2,850 ppm including UAH's satellite value
The volcano erupted at the begin­ ofabout 0.13 °C per decade. The
ning ofan El Nino warming event, which coolest year since 2000 because it included measured data fall outside the range of
offset some ofthe volcano's cooling ef­ El Nino's cooling phase, known as La Nina. model projections. '
fects. The ensuing El Nino in 1998, dubbed IIi addition, every year from 2001 to 2008 "That means the IPCC models are
the "El Nino ofthe Century," made that is among the top 10 warmest years in the estimatingwhat is actually happening,
the hottest year ever recorded (although in historical record. which indicates that the models are
some data sets, 2005 was warmer), with a . Temperatures never increase or decrease ing too much heat and the climate "PT'''lT''U_
global average temperature that was 0.5 °C in a smooth, linear fashion, Mann says, ity is set too high," Christy says. It also
above the modem average. but yield a jagged pattern. Mann and other gests that IPCC's long-range tenlperatlLlrEi
climate scientists caution that it's difficult predictions could be too hot, he adds.
SINCE 1998, temperatures have lev­ to make much sense ofclimate change by While Christy spends his time Illulling
eled off, even as CO2 concentrations have looking at time frames as short as 10 years over temperature data, Spencer, his UAH
continued to rise at a faster rate, leading because the shorter the trend, the more it colleague, is trying to better understand
to a "climate canard," often referenced in is dominated by natural variability noise. the intricacies ofclimate sensitivity. IPC
climate-change discussions, that global Looking further back, the linear 2s-year concludes that the effect Ofanl:hn~p()genil:
warming has stopped. Global-warming an­ trend from a data set generated by NASA's CO 2 on temperature, even though it is a
tagonists say it's yet another example ofthe Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) small forcing, gets magnified by positive
CO2 -temperature correlation falling apart. at Columbia University shows global tem­ feedback, Spencer says. "That's where a
But Mann points out that by cherry:-pick­ peratures rising 0.19 °C per decade, Mann nority ofus disagree. We think that
. ing data, recent temperatures could appear says. That trend matches IPCC's model es­ change is the result offairly strong .
to be warming or cooling. Scanning the 10­ timate ofanthropogenic warming, he adds. forcings operating on a fairly insensitive
year trend from 1998 to 2007, it looks like And measurements taken in recent weeks by climate system," he adds.
temperatures are cooling because 1998 was climate research centers worldwide indicate To explain, Spencer says that he thinks
an uncharacteristically warm year. But tak­ that 2009 will be one ofthe warmest years . climate modelers have been mil;inlteI1Jre·t~
ing the 10 years from 1999 to 2008, there is on record, at about 0.4 °C above average. ing cause and effect when it comes to
a warming trend, even though 2008 was the "We Can always go back far enough into clouds and temperatures vary together in

WWW.CEN-ONLlNE.ORG 19 DECEMBER 21. 2009


climate system. He says modelers tend A new negative PDOphase might be UAR's Christy notes. Warming from solar
associate decreasing cloud cover after getting started, Spencer says. Ifcooler tem­ variability or other known natural factors
~armingwith positive cloud feedback­ peratures prevail in the coming 30 years, will not yield this characteristic pattern,
~arming causing a cloud decrease to let the trend might verify his hypothesis, only sustained anthropogenic greenhouse
more sunlight. In reality, he thinks it is which has not been published but is in the gas effects, ChriSty says.
decrease in clouds caused by natural, process ofbeing vetted by the climate sci­ But in the measured satellite and bal­
fluctuations in global ocean-atmo­ ence community. loon temperature data, collected from two
circulation patterns that mostly Based on his work and studies by a few altitude ranges-the lower troposphere
the warming-a natural forcing. other groups, it looks like net negative from sea level to about 10 km, and the lower
"Ifyou make that misinterpretation~ feedbacks can operate on year-to-year time~ stratosphere above 15 km-''we find that
skews the rest ofthe analysis into man­ scales, Spencer says. But on the long term, it the warming is the same or a little less in the
global warming-it gives the illusion might be that net positive feedbacks prevail. atmosphere than at the surface," Christy
the climate system is much more There is only one Earth to observe and says. "This discrepancy has caused a lot of
tive than it really is," Spencer says. test with climate models, and attempts to consternation because it's another example
climate system is less sensitive, this do so are severely limited by humanity's showing that the models are retaining too
that the extra CO 2 pumped into relatively short existence and the inherent much heat." Singer is more emphatic, stating
atmosphere is not enough to cause all complexity ofthe global climate system. that the mismatch "clearly falsifies the hy­
observed warming over the past 100 That is why IPCC's 2007 assessment was pothesis ofanthropogenic global warming."
u""n-" __ ""'TT11 natural mechanism must also
P based on 18 different models that made dif­
involved." ferent assumptions-and provided a range THE REAL TEST,however, is running mod­
Spencer's candidate is the Pacific Dec­ ofresults. els over a modem 100-year period with and
Oscillation (PDO), an ocean-atmo­ Climate modelers tend to spend much without anthropogenic effects included
circulation pattern similar to and oftheir time checking the models, which and then comparing the results with the ob­
irlt.lue:nce~d by EI Nino but occurring in the are based on differential equations with few served data. IPCC modelers carried out this
Pacific Ocean and running on a 60­ to manyvariables, to confirm iflarge-scale test for the 2007 assessment. When they
cycle. During PDO's positive phase, features work properly. For example, they left out anthropogenic effects, the models
western Pacific cools, the eastern must make sure that ocean currents go the failed to match the observed temperature
warms, and land in North America right way and that it rains and snows where trend. When the simulations included the
during the negative phase, the op­ it should. There are problematic areas in anthropogenic forcings and feedbacks, the
occurs. which models still don't work well, such as observations matched quite well, making it
For instance, PDO was positive from predicting Indian monsoons correctly, the reasonable to assume the model projections
t1915to 1945, when there was a global­ NIPCC report notes. But it does not dis­ for future temperature trends are valid.
~.rm:ingtrend, Spencer says. PDO went . count the models from being "good enough "That really shows that the only way
neE~ati11e from 1945 to 1977, when global to be useful," Mann says. we can explain the current warming trend
tc::1rnperaltu:res were cooler, and went posi­ One success is modeling the climate is through human impacts," Mann points
again in 1978, which was the onset of change stemming from the 1991 eruption of out. ''With the low sensitivity proposed by
current warming period. Mount Pinatubo. The eruption spewed sul­ NIPCC and others, there is no other way to
fates into the atmosphere, and the result­ explain the swings in climate that we know
ELTING OF Arctic ice provides evidence ing aerosols led to cooling for about three have happened."
this on-off cycle, Spencer claims. In late years, which was enough time for water va­ Singer retorts that although IPCC claims
the Northwest Passage in the Arctic por to equilibrate to cooler sea-surface tem­ to be able to reproduce the 20th-century
opened, a rare event that allows peratures. IPCC's modelers have been able temperature history using the models,
to travel the relatively short distance to accurately simulate the decrease in water "the only way they can do it is by arbitrarily
betwe~en the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. vapor in line with satellite observations choosing parameters to make it work-it's
sn,pnl~prpoints out that the Northwest Pas­ and match the global temperature decrease a curve-fitting exercise," Singer says. "If
also opened in 1939 and 1940,just as that occurred, a good sign that the feedback you have enough arbitrary parameters, you
previous PDO positive phase was com­ parameters are accurate and that climate can make any model work. The problem
to an end. sensitivity is set about right, Mann says. with that is people wh0 claim models agree
Because CO2 concentrations in the On the other hand, NIPCC points to one with observations at some point have to go
were lower, Spencer suggests anthro­ climate "fingerprint" that suggests a dis­ back and change the parameters when new
warming could not have caused crepancybetween IPCC model projections scientific details emerge in order to keep
melting back then, when Arctic tem­ and reality. IPCC climate models predict the models in agreement."
tures were nearly as warm as they are that the lower part ofthe troposphere in For example, Singer points to a recent
He also suggests the current warming the tropics should be warming at a rate study by atmospheric chemist Drew T.
be caused by the same effect. Spencer that is 1.3 times faster than at ground level, Shindell and colleagues of NASA's GISS
e$t:lmaltes that the PDO effect can explain
70%, or 0.5 °C, ofthe 0.74 °C 'global
wtIrming observed during the past century
that anthropogenic CO 2 is responsible
"Unfortunately, the data now show us that

the other 30%, or about 0.2 °C. we have underestimated the climate crisis:'

WWW.CEN-ONLlNE.ORG 20 DECEMBER 21, 2009


that sheds new light on aerosol effects. 5 assess the science and disseminate

They found that methane interactions CO2 conce~tration, ppm ~
findings."
<.l
with hydroxyl radicals and other oxi­ 400 ~ For Penn State's Mann, one ofthe
dants during aerosol formation increase 380 -- MaunaIce-core data ~ few scientists C&EN talked to who
Loa air
methane's global-warming potential by measurements ~ acknowledged scrutinizing the
20-40% (C&EN, Nov. 2,page 13). 360 ; report: "It was disappointing to see
The implications ofthe study are that ~ that it is nothing other than a regur­
CH4 in combination with other minor
340
g
gitation ofa number ofcontrarian
forcings such as CO and volatile organic 320 o myths about climate change. Beyond
~
compounds add up to nearly equal CO 2 ~ the editorialized comments, it
as a forcing, Shindell says. He adds that 5
misrepresents the science."
the study suggests that by controlling uj For UAH's Christy, who says he
280
sulfate emissions to prevent aerosol for­ ~ not participate in or read the NIPCC
mation and clean up the air, we are inad­ 1880 1900 1920 1940 1960 1980 2000 ~ report, he recognizes that human
vertently increasing global warming by Year activities are contributing to climate
reducing the cooling effects ofthe aero­ ON THE RISE Global atmospheric C02 change. But he urges caution in evalu
sols and increasing the impact ofCH4 • concentration has risen since the Industrial atingwhat to do about model projec­
The Shindell study seemingly would Revolution began in the late 1700s-more tions, and he has provided expert tes­
lead to alterations in climate models, rapidly since 1950-and currently is about timonyto congressional committees
Singer points out, and in order to keep the 390 ppm, the highest level in at least 800,000 to that effect, telling them that
models in agreement with past tempera­ years, based on Antarctica ice-core data (no tion to control CO 2 emissions
ture observations, some other parame­ data available for the period 1954-58). expensive and not have any slgJmn.CaIlt
ters would have to be arbitrarily adjusted. effect on global warming.
"Thatjust doesn't wash," he says. "It really doesn't matter what the
As climate change has taken the scientif­ we have underestimated the climate crisis." mate sensitivity is, proposals for cOltltrolljinJt
ic spotlight, new papers on climate change The report concludes that "global CO2 CO2 or geoengineering to increase aerosols
are coming out every week in top-tierjour­ emissions must peak and then decline to cool the planet will not put much ofa
nals such as Science and Nature. They almost rapidly within the next five to 10 years for dent at all into whatever is going to uall-' I-'"u, I
exclusively support IPCC's assessment of the world to have a reasonable chance of Christy says. He adds that it would only
anthropogenic global warming. avoiding the very worst impacts ofclimate advantage people living in developing
A team of 26 climate scientists issued an change." tries and impoverished regions ofthe U.S.
independent, non-peer-reviewed report, Some scientists had already projected and otherWestern countries. Yet, Christy
"The Copenhagen Diagnosis," late last that IPCC was too conservative in its warn­ says, aborting the control ofCO2 emissions
month to summarize recent findings that ings. For example, leading climate modeler should be no excuse for reducing environ­
have been reported since the cutoffdate for James E. Hansen, a climate physicist at mental protection. "We shouldn't undo the
IPCC's 2007 report. This unofficial IPCC GISS, has projected that ifatmospheric good things that have been done to clean
update is designed to tide over policymak­ CO 2 levels reach about 450 ppm, which air and water. More should be done, espe­
ers until the next assessment wraps up in is on pace to happen in the next 25 years, cially in developing countries," he says.
2013. It was timed to come out just ahead of Earth could reach a "tipping point" at Climatologist Michael Hulme ofthe
the Copenhagen climate conference. which warming exacerbated by strong University ofEast Anglia, in England,
Mann, one ofthe new report's authors, positive feedbacks will disrupt climate for comments that the scientific evidence
says it confirms IPCC's 2007 assessment centuries, with the harshest result being a backing the basic idea ofhuman activity
that anthropogenic global warming is possible s'e a-Ievel rise oftens ofmeters. changing the global climate system is now
unequivocal and notes that warming by overwhelming, even ifthere are still gaps
2100 could exceed earlier projections. It DESPITE THE scientific evidence laid out in knowledge and scientific predictions
further concludes that global ice sheets are by IPCC and mainstream climate scientists, future consequences are uncertain.
melting faster than predicted and that sea­ it's difficult for them to rebut NIPCC's "It is vital that we understand the many
level rise, due to expansion ofthe warming analysis and the claims ofglobal-warming valid reasons for disagreeing about global
oceans and the melting ice, is expected to skeptics. Most climate scientists don't even warming and climate change," Hulme
be higher than previously forecast. One try, and in fact many climate scientists on ''We must recognize that they are rooted
reason for the discrepancy could be that both sides ofthe debate admit that they . different political, national, or!~arJtiz~lti(mall1
climate models used in the 2007 assess­ haven't bothered to read NIPCC's report, as religious, and intellectual cultures-our
ment included fast feedbacks such as water itjust repeats what they already know. different ways ofseeing the world.
vapor but omitted slow feedbacks such as According to IPCC's information and "But we must not hide behind the dan­
melting ice and changing vegetation pat­ communications officer, Carola Traverso gerously false premise that consensus
terns, the report notes. Saibante,IPCC has not officially evaluated science leads to consensus politics. In the
As climate physicist and report coauthor NIPCC's report and doesn't plan to. IPCC end;politics will always trump science.
Stefan Rahmstorf ofGermany's Potsdam appears to be keeping its head down and Making constructive use ofthe idea of
Institute for Climate Impact Research put it, working on it next assessment. As Traver­ climate change means that we need better
"Unfortunately, the data now showus that so Saibante says, "IPCC's role is only to politics, not merelybetter science." _

WW W.C EN-ONLlNE .O RG 21 DE CEMBER 21. 200 9


CONCENTRATES

EVONIK TO JETTISON TWO COMPANIES EYE

ONCHEMICAL HOLDINGS
Industries says it will transition
RENEWABLE POLYMERS

an all-chemical company by
; f"t, ".1 +- ; 'nf"r.
Two firms are taking steps to add new materials to the renewable poly­
slPirlllirlg offits energy and real estate hold­
mers lexicon. Boston-based Novomer is working with Eastman Kodak
. Plans are under way to seek partners
energy businesses and to launch the
to develop the carbon dioxide-based polymer polypropylene carbonate
estate operations as a publicly traded (PPC) for packaging applications. Novomer was founded on the research
Evonik's chemical business, which of Cornell University chemistry professor Geoffrey W. Coates to make
iIl-clludc~s the former Degussa, alreadyac­ polymers out of carbon dioxide. The company is launching an $800,000
for about 75% ofthe company's project, funded in part by the New York State Energy Research & Develop­
In 2008, private equity firm CVC ment Authority, to manufacture pilot-scale quantities of PPC at a Kodak
Partners bought a 25% stake in specialty chemical facility in Rochester, N.Y. Novomer plans on making
-MV enough PPC resins and films to allow potential customers to test them
in packaging applications. PPC is made by polymerizing propylene oxide
with carbon dioxide using a proprietary catalyst. Separately, Braskem
MITSUBISHI FREEZES has initiated a five-year project with Danish enzymes manufacturer
PLANT EXPANSION Novozymes to work on a new sugarcane-based route to polypropylene.
Braskem has already synthesized polypropylene from sugar-based etha­
Mi1tsuibisJli Rayon says it has suspended a nol; it is constructing a 200,000-metric-ton-per-year plant, scheduled for
,ooo-metric-ton-per-year methyl meth­ completion next year, to make polyethylene from ethanol.-AHT
expansion in Thailand because
df r'e£?:[llat,orvuncertainties. Earlier this
the Supreme Administrative Court
ordered a halt to 53 construc­
... UU,HCU.'\.I, LANXESS SCALES
plant. Finally, the firm plans to increase
projects in the Map Ta Phut industrial BACK ON ASSETS ....
fiber pulp capacity to 260,000 metric tons
because companies in the park had annually in Lenzing, Austria. -MSR
ftallldlLlerltlyobtained operating permits Lanxess has sold its 55% stake in a hydra­
projects being built could have a nega­ zine hydrate plant in Weifang Industry
environmental impact. Map Ta Phut Park, in Shandong province, China, to its ASHLAND SELLS ROSINS
one ofAsia's largest chemical industry partner, Weifang Yaxing Group. Terms of AND TERPENES
-JFT the deal have not been disclosed. Lanxess
had physically relocated the 12,ooo-met­ Specialty chemical firm Ashland will sell
ric-ton-per-year plant from a site in Texas. Hercules Specialty Resins, a refined wood
SENSIENT OPENS The company will continue to make hy­ rosin and natural wood terpenes business,
NEW FACILITIES drazine hydrate at a plant in Leverkusen, to Canadian private equity firm TorQuest
Germany. Additionally, Lanxess has sold Partners for $75 million. Ashland expects
and fragrance maker Sensient Tech­ the infrastructure and supporting services the specialty resins business to book rev­
1l-01og1J~S has opened new operations in at its Bushy Park, S.C., site to private equity enues this year ofabout $85 million. The
and Costa Rica to develop products firm Cooper River Partners for $10 million. transfer will include 200 employees and a
local markets. In China, the firm added Lanxess' rubber chemicals unit has signed manufacturing facility in Brunswick, Ga.,
four-story office, laboratory, and manu­ a long-term lease With Cooper River to op­ part ofAshland's acquisition of specialty
tlactUriIlg building (shown) and separate erate at the site.-AHT chemical maker Hercules in 2008 for $3.3
1lI"aj~alt1cebuilding in Guangzhou, as well billion. The new company will go back to
a technical center in Shanghai. The firm using its former name, Pinova. -MV
opened a new laboratory in Alajuela, ... BUT LENZING
Rica, to serve food and beverage IS BEEFING UP
q:us1tom,ers.-MSR SOLVAY SEEKS REST OF
Austria-based cellulosic fiber maker Lenz­ THAILAND'S VINYTHAI
ing plans to spend $175 million next year
to increase production at its European and Solvay has launched a tender offer worth
Asian sites. First, a debottlenecking project roughly $uo million for the 50% ofViny­
will increase rayon capacity at the firm's thai, a Thai producer of chlor-alkali and
Indonesia plant by 18,000 metric tons per polyvinyl chloride, that it doesn't already
year to 230,000 metric tons. Lenzing will own. Solvay says it wants to support the
. also up capacity at its Heiligenkreuz, Aus­ development ofVinythai, including its
tria, lyocell fiber plant by 10,000 metric $240 million project to build an epichloro­
tons per year to 60,000 metric tons and hydrin plant that uses glycerin, rather than
will remodel its Grimsby, England, lyocell petrochemicals, as a raw material. Solvay

WWW.CEN-ONLINE.ORG 22 DECEMBER 21. 2009