Support for the AGW Theory – or Not …

AGW Supporters

The Marketing of IPCC Messages

The IPCC – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change enjoys huge support that mankind is causing dangerous global warming aka the AGW – Anthropogenic Global Warming Theory. Promotion of their messages is mostly done by other organisations, advocates and AGW believers, many of whom tend to use the successive series of IPCC Assessment Reports (ARs) as a kind of bible and reference source.

In one sense the IPCC could be described as a huge lobby group at the head of 195 member countries. It delivers its increasingly dramatic Summaries for Policy Makers in the ARs to its member representatives and from there it branches out to each respective country’s citizenry, via their various governmental and scientific institutions. It’s then taken up by the media and an unseen army of advocates and other supporters.

Undoubtedly the success of the IPCCs AGW Theory so far has a lot to do with an ever willing media eager for alarming or sensation seeking headlines, but that’s not the whole of it.

A great deal of continuing support comes from ardent environmental movements and activists, including some of the scientists themselves. More than a few of the latter are not above a bit of chicanery in order to further the cause, for example refusing to hand over raw scientific data to non-IPCC aligned scientists for independent review.

Any information found about foreboding climate change is likely to have its roots in one of the IPCCs ARs. It’s fairly common for AGW believers to use cherry picked or exaggerated data taken to ridiculous heights like this nonsense, “Modern climate change is dominated by human influences, which are now large enough to exceed the bounds of natural variability”.

Man-made greenhouse gas contributions compared to the vastness of the planetary system are so small that it’s lost in the noise. Extravagant stuff like this seems to be left unchallenged except for the so-called skeptics and deniers. The reasoning being that the more alarmed the public becomes, the more they’ll agitate their respective governments into action on climate change.

Indeed two researchers have verified it is exactly what is happening in the climate change debate. The following link goes to the Abstract of their research paper, but it needs to be pointed out the authors did NOT advocate lying as several anti-AGW people have gleefully asserted. They’re just saying it does happen and discuss why it happens.
Read more: Information Manipulation and Climate Agreements

Conversely, any comment or statement that challenges the validity of the AGW Theory is immediately attacked, often in a derogatory or even hostile fashion – and sometimes for good reason. Let’s not kid ourselves that telling lies is exclusive to just one side.

How IPCC Messages are Controlled

An important part of the IPCCs success story is how it’s army of scientific institutions, advocates and supporters of the AGW Theory stay “on message”. And a big part of that is the control the IPCC exerts over what get’s released into the public domain. It’s rare for any scientist associated with the IPCC to make any public remark or participate in any public debate. Many have actually resigned because of it including some of the past Lead Authors of the various IPCCs ARs. Those who do are more likely to be defending an issue such as Michael Mann and his infamous “hockey stick”.

As well, many scientists who work for major governmental organisations are constrained from making public comment. Why do these places not let their scientists speak for themselves? Possibly two reasons – one being that the messages stays consistent as already discussed, but more worryingly could it be because scientists may go “off message” and actually disagree with something?

In 2004 it was reported that scientists working for Australia’s CSIRO – Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, were being gagged on what scientific advice could be provided about the then government’s marine conservation plans. They were also gagged regarding their views towards climate change and the Kyoto Accord.

One scientist in 2009 was actually ‘punished’ for delivering a conference paper that criticised the governments proposed emissions trading scheme. One wonders if the CSIRO is as autonomous as it should be and whether the politics of the day, at least in Australia is what’s driving scientific research – not to find facts but to find something useful to the government of the day.
Read more: Gagged CSIRO scientist resigns

The Politics of IPCC Messages

The IPCC today enjoys such eminence and authority as the world’s leader in matters relating to climate change that their “science” reports are most likely being accepted without question by the different member’s governments and their scientific institutions, thus the public at large.

As mentioned in a previous article there have been concerns raised when Australia’s CSIRO did not or could not produce any empirical evidence when questioned about the state of climate change by an Australian Senator MP. One wonders whether they have been doing their own fact checking or just accepting what’s been told to them based just on the paperwork.

Yet people who have looked into the IPCC ARs with an open and enquiring mind i.e. the non-converted, have noted exaggerations and political overtones. And this is before it gets into the hands of their more passionate supporters. Some of it is quite “out there” already and it gets increasingly exaggerated with the release of each new AR.

There is an underlying lack of credibility in that the IPCC reports are only based on records back to the beginning of the Industrial Age. Accordingly they do not attempt to put late 20th century climatic events into context against past events i.e. before 150 years ago. At best it is misleading but worse is their reliance on computer outputs. One is reminded of the adage “Garbage In – Garbage Out” relating to data that gets fed into the machines.

In any case none of this would probably matter if the IPCC were autonomously science driven instead of political by nature. Bear in mind that its core staff are bureaucrats rather than scientists. Any bureaucratic organisation is intrinsically political but if there’s any doubt the IPCC is political in nature rather than scientific, one only has to observe that it has 195 member countries.

What scientific organisation has non-scientific “members” other than perhaps patrons or the like? Though there have been claims that many of them are getting top heavy with non-scientist bureaucratic administration staff.

Notwithstanding, serious claims have been made of protracted negotiations taking place between the IPCC and it’s “membership” regarding what can, cannot or should not be included into successive ARs. True science does not involve discussion as to what goes into a scientific paper – just the actual facts.
Read more: How politics clouds the climate change debate

The bare truth is that we are getting neither the REAL nor the WHOLE science from the IPCC and it’s highly unlikely we are getting it from our own governments. What we are getting is a polluted mish-mash of what is politically acceptable to the IPCCs member countries.

Scientific Organisation Support

Under normal circumstances scientists and scientific organisations investigate and produce the science then let the end-user decide what to do with it.

That is not necessarily the case with the climate change issue. Many of them are taking it further and actively forcing the AGW Theory into the public arena together with all their assumptions, theory and logic, which are presented as facts based only on a sprinkling of empirical evidence.

That may sound a bit far-fetched as something a far right-wing climate denier might say, but this writer’s research suggests there’s a reasonably high degree of probability that it’s true. Many notable scientists and famous institutions have become so involved on the issue of AGW that they have diverged away from purely scientific research into environmental activism.

Some might say, “Well that’s okay. They’re alerting us to the danger”.

But they are doing more than that. There are instances where some have not even been entirely truthful in the pursuit of getting the AGW Theory accepted. Some of it is undoubtedly manipulated, no doubt due to cause noblesse i.e. misrepresenting the truth for what’s believed to be a greater good.

The bottom line is that much of the scientific debate on what’s really happening with the warming of the Earth and what we should be expecting for our grandchildren, is not getting through to the average person.

The UK Royal Society

In 2001 Lord Robert May, a former government adviser was appointed as President to the Royal Society in the UK. He helped publish a statement titled ’17 National Academies Endorse Kyoto’ in Science magazine that there was a scientific consensus on the danger of global warming. Apparently this was in response to resistance to the Kyoto Treaty by the USA and Australia. For those who support AGW it may have been a welcome incident, but it shocked many scientists because it was based on the political process of consensus rather than proven science that has survived rigorous testing by independent scientists – which it has not yet done.
Read more: Science –17 National Academies Endorse Kyoto

In 2006 Mr Bob Ward of the UK Royal Society wrote a threatening letter to the oil company ESSO (UK) with a view to have them cut or reduce funding for organisations that expressed anti-AGW statements. This was a blatant attempt to stop public discussion on the global warming issue and earned a sharp rebuke from the US Marshall Institute which said it part, “… That such a call comes from such a venerable scientific society is disturbing and should raise concerns worldwide about the intentions of those seeking to silence honest debate and discussion …………. – climate change”.
Read more: US Marshall Institute – Response to the Royal Society’s Letter

The Royal Society was subsequently widely condemned but it didn’t stop them or other notables from allegedly writing similar letters. USA Senators Rockefeller and Snowe wrote to the Exxon oil company. In Australia a Labour shadow minister Kelvin Thomson wrote to a number of leading Australian companies citing Al Gore’s film and the Royal Society UK letter.

Notwithstanding the criticism, the Royal Society UK didn’t curb it’s meddling into political affairs on climate change issues. Just one week before the 31st G8 Summit meeting in Scotland, they released an alarmist statement about human-caused global warming containing the signatures of 12 other national science academies.

Despite protests by the USA and Russian Academies of Science they did the same thing in 2007 and 2008 just prior to G8 Summits, and in 2009 just in time for the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference.
Read more: UK Climate Science Statement

On 29th October 2008 the Royal Society held a presentation to the Scottish Parliament titled “The IPCC Fourth (2007) Assessment Report and global climate change”. Of itself this sort of education is what one would expect them to be doing. However a look at the key points of the presentation gives every indication they just quoted directly from the IPCC report. And again, going by the listed key points, there does not appear to have been any of their own empirical evidence produced. Like Australia’s CSIRO it appears they’ve just taken the IPCC at their word. If true, how worrisome is that?
Read more: The IPCC Fourth Assessment Report and global climate change

US National Academy of Sciences

In 2008 Richard Lindzen published a paper detailing the way in which this organisation had been infiltrated by environmental activists. Among other claims he says that for over 20 years there had been a “back door” by which they could get elected through the administrative process. They did not even need to be actual scientists. And once they gained membership they gained a veto power over the election of anyone who did not support their AGW views. And so it grew.

Furthermore, appointment to Executive positions became relatively swift. Some have apparently gone on onto other institutions that now hold views similar to those of the UK Royal Society.
Read more: Climate Science: Is it currently designed to answer questions?

At first blush it may all seem to be a lot of ado about nothing special but bear in mind that this sort of thing swings academic thinking from an impartial middle ground over to a one sided and activist view. Alarmist statements being released around the world to the press are being politically contrived, is nearly always biased and often allegedly based on pseudo – read junk science.

But it doesn’t stop there. On top of this mess many scientists who are members of various scientific and other organisations have complained that they have not even been consulted prior to the release of their organisations alarmist statements to the media.
Read more:
CBS News –
Physicists Stick to Warming Claim Post-ClimateGate

Universities

Then of course there are all sorts of well known universities ready to lend a helping hand. An example of almost zealot like behaviour belongs to at least one of these in Australia. It even offers a free online course in how to respond to climate change sceptics and deniers. One can assume it’s free so as to gain a wider audience for its one-sided views. For an institution of this nature charged with a moral responsibility to disseminate balanced research information to behave in this manner is reprehensible.
Read more: Making Sense of Climate Science Denial

Of course though there are other universities around the world supporting the AGW Theory. Many, many of them. And why would that be a surprise? Because these are places which practice and rely on theory and logic in problem solving i.e. academic thinking as opposed to practical thinking. There’s nothing wrong with that of course. Without the visionaries we would probably still be living in caves but academic thinking has to be balance-checked with reality to make sure ideas will work – something that isn’t happening in the climate change issue.

Support by Authority Figures

The amount of support for the AGW Theory is so pervasive that a large number of famous or notable “authority figures” have taken up the cause to promote global warming. The power of endorsement by an authority figure should not be under-estimated. When a famous or well known scientific figure like a past Presidential Candidate or (say) a Nobel Prize winner says something it will generally be believed because there’s a perception of credibility. The same usually applies for scientific institutions, the pronouncements from whom the general public are likely to accept without question.

Unfortunately an unthinking public also tend to listen to endorsements by famous people such as royalty, pop stars, movie stars and even TV stars who parrot the IPCC line. Few have even a limited scientific knowledge, if any. Obviously it must work because there are suckers who just accept at face value what they are being told.
Read more: Climate Hypocrites and the Media that Love Them

Just in the UK alone, the BBC, commercial television, major newspapers, the Royal Society, the Chief Scientist, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of London, David Attenborough, numerous eminent organisations and even Prince Charles all avow a climate alarmist view. In the face of such authority figures there it’s a very bad career move for independent scientists to go against the “established view” within the UK (See Source 1).

As you would expect, governments rely heavily on their leading science authorities for dispassionate advice on science issues. However it’s probably worthwhile to question what sort of information they’re looking for. If a country is a member of the IPCC then it’s reasonable to assume that non-conforming or opposing advice about their policies would be welcomed – like what happened in the CSIRO as discussed above.

Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’

Al Gore’s documentary film, ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ in 2006 was hugely successful in raising public awareness and alarm of dangerous global warming across the world and which sparked environmentalist activism. The film grossed about $50 million worldwide at the box office, won Oscars and other film awards and helped Al Gore win a share of a Nobel Peace Prize.

In 2007 a school governor tried to block screening of the film in more than 3,500 secondary schools in England and Wales. A London High Court Judge ruled it contained nine key scientific errors saying that the errors had arisen, “in the context of alarmism and exaggeration”, but allowed the screenings provided it be shown with guidance notes to prevent political indoctrination.

At the time the film’s distributor warned , “If the vast majority of the world’s scientists are right, we have just ten years to avert a major catastrophe that could send our entire planet into a tail-spin of epic destruction involving extreme weather, floods, droughts, epidemics and killer heat waves beyond anything we have ever experienced.”

It is now 10 years later and the ‘tail spin of epic destruction’ has not eventuated. And it wasn’t the world’s scientists per sé who made the prediction. It all traces back to a select group of scientists who instigated the birth of the IPCC, as well as those scientists who contributed scientific papers. There was also a small group of bureaucrats with a clearly defined mission statement focusing only on proving that mankind was responsible for the increased global warming.

Since then the nine key errors have been the subject of intense debate. Unbelievably, AGW supporters have tried to play down the errors saying they felt vindicated by the film and that there were “only a handful of errors”. Others actually went on the attack saying climate change could be even more severe:
Read more: Ice melt, sea level rise and superstorms: evidence from paleoclimate data, climate modeling, and modern observations that 2 °C global warming could be dangerous

In any case much of what Al Gore said was just plain BS. His claims of retreating glaciers, polar ice melting, mountain snow melting, lakes drying up and coral reefs bleaching may relate directly to rises in temperature, but it’s a bit of a stretch of extend that to mankind being the cause. That little bit is still very much a scientific theory as opposed to a proven scientific fact. Independent scientists continue to attack the film such as this one:
Read more: Falsehoods in Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth

Michael Mann and the Hockey Stick

Possibly the most effective in terms of alerting the world to the issue of global warming would have to be Michael Mann and his infamous “hockey stick”. He is a US climatologist and geophysicist who has received multiple honours and awards. In 1998 he co-authored a paper reconstructing hemispherical climate for the past 600 years. In 1999 he extended the graph back to 1000 years. The resulting graph was so named because the line drawn representing the temperatures resembled a hockey stick i.e. it had a handle and a sharp upward curve at the base.

The IPCC not only adopted the “hockey stick” but included Mr Mann as one of the eight Lead Authors of one of the chapters in the IPCCs Third Assessment Report in which the graph was featured prominently. They also acknowledged him publically as contributing the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize awarded jointly to the IPCC and Mr Al Gore.

On the other hand it created something of a furore within scientific circles and attracted strong criticism from independent scientists. Except for diehard AGW theorists, especially after Al Gore based his defamed documentary film in part on the “hockey stick”. Today it’s being seen for what it is – manipulated and highly exaggerated. Yet Mr Mann continues to this day defending it.
Read more: Judith Curry – IPCC TAR and the hockey stick

Climate Denier and Sceptic Rebuttals

If there’s one thing that can be counted on, it’s the single-minded obsession of so many of the AGW Theory supporters. Maybe some of it is due to the herd instinct – jumping on the train so to speak on the assumption that if there’s a scientific consensus then it must be true?

Whatever the case, there’s no shortage of people willing to react almost religiously, even emotionally to any suggestion that dangerous global warming is not being caused by mankind. The way in which they respond can be marked by the use of the same stale phrases instead of a well reasoned rebuttal.

This is an actual brain-washed response by an AGW believer to an article published on an online climate change discussion forum not so long ago. Attributes that are commonly used in anti-AGW rebuttals are underlined:

You do realise that your only source is a professional AGW denier with no expertise in climate science? Documents showed that Prof. Robert M. Carter was paid a monthly fee of US$1,667 by the Heartland Institute, an American conservative and libertarian public policy think tank, as part of their efforts to discredit AGW. The article, while superficially convincing, is riddled with factual and logical errors. It isn’t science; it’s propaganda.

The reality, of course, is that there is widespread consensus among climate scientists that AGW is real and dangerous. Those attempting to discredit it, such as Prof. Carter, are overwhelmingly driven by political and financial, rather than scientific, motives.

Common Responses to Climate Deniers

Ignore the Question – Discredit the Author

The point of the question tends to get ignored and/or an attempt is made to discredit the referenced source used by the author. Their replies may be articulate, bombastic, inflammatory, argumentative, pompous or verbose and the information on the source is often exaggerated or otherwise incorrect to some degree.

Consensus

Dismissive statements such as ‘there is a scientific consensus’ or ‘the science is settled’ or similar consensual remarks are used. This demonstrates a lack of understanding what a scientific consensus actually is. It is far from being ‘settled’. The life expectancy of a consensus is only until any evidence is produced that can disprove it.

In the climate change debate the so-called consensus is just an agreement (for the time being) to accept that the AGW theory must be true – nothing more. It is not a scientific fact and it’s not cast in stone. Even Einstein’s Theory of Relativity is not cast in stone.
Read more: Anthropogenic Global Warming Theory

Bias

A statement is made that a reference source has or is being paid by the fossil fuel industry, or some other group with a vested anti-AGW interest.

Let’s be realistic. The issue of climate change is thick with people on both sides who get paid to research different aspects of climate change – and just about every other branch of science. It’s the natural order of things and is one means by which scientists can earn their daily bread. But it doesn’t mean the points they make are any less valid. On the contrary they’ll generally have expertise in one or more scientific fields, or at least have some kind of expertise valuable enough for someone to pay for it.

The idea of course is to discredit the source as being biased and therefore the information would be perverted or misrepresentative. It’s implication is insulting to those with good moral fibre, though it’s possible it may in some cases be true. But at the end of the day it is up to the individual who uses the information to double check it as much as possible before using it.

Think Tanks

A think tank is an institute or organization that does research and advocates on particular issues such as social, political, economical, military, climate change and other topics.

This is similar to ‘Bias’ above except that the referenced source works for a ‘think tank’ so therefore the implication is that the information is biased or manipulated in some way.

Again it’s a potential insult to those who work in such places. Think tanks are invaluable as they provide insight into all aspects that affect our daily lives. They are a fine example of a democratic culture in that real or potential problems can be revealed ‘warts and all’ with freedom of speech. And importantly with regard to climate change they help to provide a balance in the public debate.

Some think tanks on opposite sides include The Heartland Institute and TTMap. Pretty much all think tanks receive funding from industry sources and those that keep providing good, factual and reliable material will obviously retain their funding. What the end-user does with that information is another matter.

However getting paid for delivering a service does not automatically mean either side lacks integrity, though of course some might. Having said that, it still does not mean any points they make are not worthy of consideration. So once again it comes down to the individual who wants to use such information to double check it before using it.

Labelling

He/she is a ‘climate skeptic’ or ‘climate denier’ as if this label should somehow put that individual on the outer rings of society. They’re usually attributed to an independent non-alarmist scientist or researcher but can also be used to belittle anyone who challenges the AGW Theory.

Any climate alarmist who dismisses someone as a skeptic is just plain laughable. A true skeptic is a free thinker who holds a middle opinion – neither for or against. For example if someone tells you something then you might believe it. Or you might suspect that some or all of it may not be true. That makes you skeptical. Same for climate change skeptics except you get the label as if you are someone who should be ignored.

To not be a sceptic of (an) hypothesis that you are testing
is
the rudest of scientific errors, for it means that you
are committed to a particular outcome: that’s faith, not science.
Professor Robert M. Carter:
Climate: The Counter Consensus 2010

Actually, all good scientists are skeptics when testing a hypothesis, or a denier if they can disprove it. At least they should because that is their job i.e. to research and find scientific facts, and prove or disprove scientific hypotheses and/or theories regardless of the outcome.

Calling someone who refutes all or any part of the AGW Theory a ‘climate denier’ is meant to be a put down, as if it’s something contemptible. Yet it is an essential part of good science to keep tugging away at solutions that have been put forward and to look for faults. It’s a standard process by which real scientific facts can eventually be uncovered.

It is only after a scientific hypothesis survives rigorous testing that it begins to earn the right to be called a scientific theory. If it fails this testing then the usual procedure is for everyone to go back and try again, but at least this time they know what didn’t work.

At the end of the day the AGW Theory should not be called a scientific theory at all because there is still much disagreement going on about it. There is no real consensus such as the AGW supporters would like the public to believe. There is ample evidence to show that a significant number of scientists worldwide do not agree wholly with it i.e. they are either skeptics or deniers. So it should really be regarded as the AGW Hypothesis.

Endorsements

This is citing of notable figures such as Nobel Prize winners or members of an esteemed scientific institute, or someone who has (say) political or religious power. The use of some kind of authority figure stands in stark contrast to what real science is all about i.e. establishing proof of something whatever the outcome happens to be. Unfortunately many such people and organisations connected with the climate change issue have since lost credibility, veering away from purely science into the arena of politics.

It’s not unknown for venerable persons or organisations to do something questionable. For example, many prominent scientific organisations have been openly displaying political motives for several years now. In the main, what we are receiving from several leading scientific establishments are the politicised views and opinions of those in charge. And they are usually framed as being unquestionably correct rather than sticking to the real scientific facts as they are stand.

Online Trolls

Of all the people who support the AGW Theory, the worst behaved would probably be online trolls. These are people who inhabit multimedia or online discussion forums ever alert for questioning or dissenting comments on the AGW Theory. Their rebuttals are generally characterised by a refusal to concede anything and they usually use one or more of the methods discussed above.

AGW Non-Supporters

The IPCC is generally regarded as the world’s leading authority on global warming. Despite their claims that melting of polar ice-caps and so on is evidence of mankind being responsible only affirms that the planet is warming up – not what’s causing it. And their computer models can only offer projections – not predictions. Furthermore the output of their computers depends upon a lot of calculated guess-work data that’s fed into it.

Notwithstanding what the AGW supporters say, none of these things actually fit the definition of “empirical evidence” that proves humans are causing global warming aka the AGW Theory. Thus two of four primary platforms upon which the AGW Theory rests are not valid. The other two relate to temperature measurements and an alleged scientific consensus which will be discussed separately.

Independent Scientist Contributions to Climate Research

Unlike some or maybe even all scientists who are connected or linked with the IPCC, there are independent scientists who conduct their own research without restraints or directions into the observed global warming in the late 20th century. They don’t necessarily deny that the Earth is warming up. Mostly it’s about what is behind it. For example there is still a lot of science about the natural warming ‘envelope’ of the Earth that is not yet known for certain.

Thousands of scientists have written letters, authored and submitted scientific papers and used the media in various ways to challenge different aspects of the AGW theory. These are highly qualified professional people, experts in their respective fields who have raised doubts.

So why are these scientists not getting the same attention as statements from the AGW believers? Are the independent scientists simply being dissident or do they really have something to complain about? And if they do, then why aren’t they making more noise?

This article attempts below to discuss some of the ways in which they are prevented from getting their messages out into the public domain.

Marginalisation of Independent Scientists

It’s common for any anyone who questions or submits an opposing view to the AGW Theory to be quickly stamped down by powerful people and/or institutions and even have their career threatened. Scientists can find their funds withdrawn, their work criticised and anyone can be labelled as a paid puppet for industry.

As an example, in 2006 a US Representative questioned Michael Mann about public funding for his infamous “hockey stick”. He was immediately condemned by the National Academy of Sciences, the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union. As we will see below this is a typical kind of response by IPCC supporters to deflect attention away from uncomfortable questions.
Read more: Climate of Fear: Global Warming Alarmists Intimidate Dissenting Scientists into Silence

Lack of Scientific Co-Operation

There is no lack of claims from scientists of being blocked to prevent independent reviews of published papers in support of the AGW Theory. In this example a scientist is refused certain data in order to conduct his own review of a scientific paper.
Read more: Climate Audit – We Have 25 Years Invested in This Work…

Funding for Independent Scientists

Scientists like everyone else need to make a living. To do that they need funds, grants or donations to the institutions they work for i.e. they have to go where the money is. Unfortunately many scientific institutions and universities have become top heavy with administration and as such they are subject to political pressures.

For those scientists who would like to be able to research into causes for global warming other than mankind, it often means working in fields or organisations that do not provide for it – or allow it. So they either have to work somewhere that’s not their first choice and do the research in their own time, or else wait until they retire.

So where is the money that is attracting more scientists per ratio of available fields of research? Arguably there’s more money available for AGW related research. Let’s pause for a second and not start shouting hysterically and pointing at the oil companies. Bear with it …

Both sides rely on industry and donations. And certainly there is a lot of money being spent by the fossil fuel industry and other vested interest groups. But the AGW supporters arguably get all or most of widespread governmental support, at least from those that are members of the IPCC.

In Australia at least two States have committed to renewable energy infrastructure which affirms their acceptance and commitment to the Kyoto Accord and the AGW Theory. Research will be going on into ways how it may be improved for example what to do when there is no wind or sun.

Other signatory countries are likely doing much the same and spending huge amounts of money doing it. They’re not going to like being told the AGW Theory is invalid. And they certainly aren’t going to be interested in funding money for scientific research that could tell their voters they’ve been misled – are they?

It would be interesting to measure world wide anti-AGW funds up against the huge amounts being spent on research and sustainability by the various governments, renewable energy, smart grid (power) energy and desalination industries supporting AGW for starters.
Read more: Top countries and trends in climate change research: a report for #COP21

Challenging the Junk Science

Let’s not be fooled. Junk science is rampant right throughout the climate change issue on both sides, and most of it does seem to be coming from the alarmist side of the debate. Take for instance the rubbish claim by the IPCC of increased tropical storms. It just doesn’t stand up under proper scientific scrutiny. And a simple Google search across various topics usually predominates with alarmist topics.

So the hard part for independent scientists is in trying to get their messages through to the general public against the tide of alarmist propagation and even more junk science.
Read more: Climate Skeptics turn tables on ‘attribution’ studies – Ask: Is ‘global warming’ causing a decrease in ‘extreme weather’ events?

To some that wouldn’t be any surprise since much of the junk science arguably stems from the very IPCC ARs so beloved by the scientific illiterate AGW supporters.

However, in the face of fierce competition independent scientists keep challenging the AGW Theory and it’s alleged ramifications. They do it because that’s what scientists are supposed to do i.e. review and test hypotheses.

But … it doesn’t seem to make much difference and the theory continues to live on. However the IPCC and it’s scientific supporters could stop all this fuss and bother in an instant:

publish empirical and verifiable evidence not based on just theory or logic or computer models
… and allow independent scientists access to the raw data.

That they DO NOT or WILL NOT is indicative that they CAN NOT.

Sources:
1. Professor Robert M. Carter – Climate: A Counter Consensus 2010
2. Paul Caruso – How to Cure a Climate Change Denier
3. Links contained throughout text.

The Confusion & Deceit of Climate Change

With all the dissent following the announcement by the USA President Mr Trump to withdraw from the Paris Climate Change Agreement, it’s timely to make some salient points to the non-biased followers of the climate change issue.

Pronouncements by the world’s leading authority the IPCC – Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change, may not be as accurate or as diligently honest as they profess to be.

There can be no doubt that the Earth is currently on a warming trend, but it’s far from being scientifically accepted across the board that it will continue unabated, or that human activity is to blame, or even that greenhouse gases including CO2 are the prime threat to human life as we know it.

Limiting the Scope of Temperature Predictions

Meteorology today is by no means a perfected science. That is not a critical reflection because the subject is so profoundly complex. But even with all the technology and information available today, meteorologists cannot always get it right.  There is a reason why you will not see weather forecasts usually no further than (say) a week ahead in the newspapers or broadcasts. There are just too many vagaries in the planet’s weather processes. Determination of near-future weather relies to some degree on what meteorological events can be observed today in real time, and outside of that it comes down to skilled deduction – read educated guesswork.

Fig SPM.4 from AR5 – IPCC Fifth Assessment Report of 2014, Summary for Policymakers. It shows temperature rises around 2ºC to 3ºC for a low emission scenario by 2100, and temperatures up to 11.7ºC with a high emission scenario out to 2100.

  So … if they can’t consistently get it right for a month or even two weeks ahead, then how are we to believe the IPCC when they give us such forbidding global temperature projections for (say) two or 12 or even 83 years from now?

Certainly they can put up what blinkered ardent followers and others who can’t think outside the box might consider a good case, but leaving aside the question of mankind’s activities for a moment there’s also the planet’s natural climate trends to consider – something the IPCC doesn’t seem to give a lot of thought to.

They do at least recognise it in AR5 which was their last report stating, “Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external forcings such as modulations of the solar cycles, volcanic eruptions, and persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use.”  They also say there is “High Confidence” in the (existence of) uncertainties of interlinked human and natural systems. But then they go on to emphasis just the human aspects.
See:
IPCC Summary for Policy Makers 2014

Dr Judith Curry is an eminent American climatologist and author who challenges the IPCC about their failings to address the “Uncertainty Monster” when projecting future climate trends. During an interview on 6th February 2017 she talks about how the IPCC processes have robbed (non IPCC aligned ) scientists opportunities to explore natural climate change. Among other points of interest she noted the failure of their climate models to address the pre-1950 natural climate variation saying, “If science can’t explain climate shifts pre 1950, how can we trust today’s climate models?” 
Read more:
WUWT – Dr. Judith Curry on climate science’s fatal flaw – the failure to explore and understand uncertainty.

Pros & Cons of Atmospheric CO2  Concentrations

It’s highly likely one of the IPCC’s (and many of their advocates) officially unstated aims is to frighten us, the people of the world into agitating our respective governments to take action to reduce greenhouse emissions. That may sound like a true sceptic’s view but there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that “cause noblesse” i.e. delivering untruths for what they believe to be for the greater good, continues to happen. A classic case was Senator Al Gore with his, “An Inconvenient Truth” in his 2006 documentary.

Yet even if it isn’t, the wording in the Assessment Reports are getting more and more alarmist. Among many other claims they say CO2 levels are rising at a rapid rate.

Currently the content of CO2 in the atmosphere is 406 ppm – parts per million. According to the IPCC an excess of greenhouse gases created by mankind including CO2 has tripped a natural climate warming trend into a higher gear, thus making the planet approx 1ºC warmer since about 1850.  If the IPCC is correct then CO2 levels are projected to reach around 500 ppm by 2050 which would probably make the Earth an extra 1ºC to 2ºC warmer – albeit in particular places and especially at the poles.

One global warming supporter is Nicola Jones who is a freelance journalist with a background in Chemistry and Oceanography. In a refreshing argument for the global warmers, Jones explains why the content of future carbon in the atmosphere should be kept below 400 ppm in an article published 26th January 2017.  At face value and assuming what she says is factually correct then she makes some very good points, particularly in relation to ancient levels of CO2 and it’s relationship to temperatures at the time, that have been overlooked or ignored by climate deniers. 
Read more:
How the World Passed a Carbon Threshold and Why It Matters

On the other hand there’s Malcolm Roberts, a Senator elected in 2016 to represent the State of Queensland in Australia. The Senator was annoyed that because of poorly researched climate policies, people have lost jobs, paid higher taxes, wasted opportunities, lost businesses and fritted away scarce resources, and that billions of dollars had been wasted on mothballed white elephants such as useless desalination plants. In September 2016 the Senator challenged the Australian leading scientific organisation, the CSIRO to present its case on climate change.

Australia’s CSIRO is highly respected and it supports the global warming theory. The Senator’s findings with the assistance of two well known climate sceptics were that, “the CSIRO had no empirical evidence proving carbon dioxide from human activity affects climate, and that their presentation contradicted the empirical climate evidence”. Basically what they are saying is that the CSIRO is simply “rubber stamping” everything it’s being told about climate change without checking for themselves, and relying on theory and logic rather than proven facts.
Read more:
Senator Malcolm Roberts – On Climate, CSIRO Lacks Empirical Proof

Cherry Picking Temperature Records

 Instrument Records

The earliest temperature measuring instruments didn’t appear until the 16th century but it wasn’t until 1714 that the first reliable thermometer using the Fahrenheit scale appeared. Not until 1860 was it thought there were enough observation sites around the world to begin measuring global temperatures.

Unfortunately the IPCC only uses instrumental records back to 1850. This gives them a mere 167 years of meteorological data out of a climate scale of tens of thousands of years to prove their theory of AGW – Anthropogenic Global Warming.

By over-emphasising the trivially short instrument record, and greatly under-emphasising the varied changes that exist in geological records … the IPCC signals its failure to comprehend that climate change is as much a geological phenomenon as it is a meteorological one.
Prof. Robert M Carter – Climate: The Counter Consensus, 2010

Geological Proxy Data Ignored

Scientists have been able to study the ancient history of the Earth’s climate using geological data aka proxy data e.g. tree rings, ice-cores, lake and ocean sediment, tree and fossil pollens.

Written human records are also used. Paleoclimatologists are skilled scientists who work on the climate of past ages using proxy data such as historical records, journals and diaries, newspaper reports, ship’s logs, farm yields and so on.
Read more:
IEDRO – Paleo Proxy Data: What Is It?

The grey shaded areas indicate the range of uncertainty above and below the solid black line representing the annual calculated temperatures back to about 1760. Note how the range of uncertainty gets narrower with the gradual introduction of new technologies such as thermometers, weather balloons and satellites over time.

Proxy data however is not entirely accurate. They leave large “error bars” or “percentages of uncertainty” which basically comes down to skilled but highly educated guesses. At worst, such proxy data at least provides a starting point towards what the climate was at a given time e.g. warm or cold, warming or cooling, the rate of the warming or cooling and so on.

Weather and climate are both driven by the same processes and there is no real point in time where one can separate them. Both are driven basically by the movement of heat between the land, oceans and atmosphere and it happens in time frames that can run from seconds to millions of years. As well, there are many other physical, chemical and biological processes also happening which affect the planet to a more or lesser degree.

So at what point can we measure climate as opposed to weather?

Misuse of Climate Measurements

People generally accept the word “normal” to mean what is usual. Therefore the term Climate Normal would ordinarily be considered to mean what might be expected or is usual.  But in meteorology it means an average measurement of weather conditions that have actually occurred over a particular period.

In 1935 the WMO – World Meteorological Organization’s conference in Warsaw agreed on a “Standard Normal” aka Climate Normal system  by which climate could be measured over time. The basic idea was to have a benchmark against which past, recent, current or future meteorological conditions could be measured, and to provide a historic context to them e.g. to an recent extreme weather event.

Climate Normals are produced at local, national and global levels and they represent a 30-year average of meteorological data. This period was decided because statisticians believe 30 numbers gives them a reliable mean or average, but it’s not compulsory.  Each Climate Normal is assigned one data point which might be used (say) for plotting temperatures on a graph.  Each data point is calculated as an arithmetic average for the 30-year period being analysed.  The first Climate Normal was set for 1901-30, followed by 1931-60 then 1961-90. The WMO will not analyse the currently running Climate Normal until the end of 2020. Records prior to 1900 are not generally considered to be reliable.
Read more:
WMO – The Role of Climatological Normals in a Changing Climate.

In 2011 the WMO introduced a second tier of Climate Normals ostensibly to account for the “rapid pace of climate change” which provides for measurements of current temperatures.  The new tier retains the 30-year period but is updated every 10 years instead of 30 years e.g. 1961-90, 1971-2000 and 1981-2010 (which is the current baseline period) used by the WMO.
Read more: WMO – New Two-Tier approach on “climate normals”.

Changing the Message

Some scientists have calculated 30-year and 20-year climate normals by going back to 1850 which gives them even more data points. However there are those who believe the early temperature records should not be used. Among other concerns there is no real guarantee that temperature readings were always observed under similar conditions, or that some temperature extremes may have been recorded pre-1910 using non-standard equipment and that they could be location specific, or that other warmer or cooler data may not even have been entered into the database.

To confuse the issue even further there are other systems of measuring temperature being used. “Period Averages” allows analysis of a minimum period of 10 years and 20 year graphs are fairly common. “Normals” are used for any period as long as it’s three consecutive 10-year periods. Another is the “Hinge Fit” used by the NOAA -National Centers for Environmental Information.  On top of everything, the use of the terms “climate normal” and “normal” are often misused by people who don’t fully understand them.

Using the Tier 2 Climate Normal and other systems can no doubt be justified, but they can have unfortunate side effects. They can cause confusion for non-scientists and lend themselves to bias or flat out deception. The following highlights one common type of deception used by the IPCC.

Below:  Typical Climate Normal graph showing “anomalies”
i.e. departures in degrees either above or below the
mean temperature average for a selected period.
 Approx 160 year graph from around  1880 to 2007 showing anomalies up to 0.7ºC below the average before about 1980, and up to 0.8ºC above the average by about 2010.    This is typical of an IPCC graph with no historic context provided.
Graphs like these are commonly used to demonstrate an “unprecedented” temperature spike in the late 20th century.
2000 year graph providing historic context to the late 20th century temperature spike.    It shows a warmer period during the MWP – Medieval Warm Period at almost 0.6ºC above the mean average followed by the LIA – Little Ice Age during the 1600s.    This was followed by rising temperatures to about 0.4ºC by year 2000. At that time the temperature was believed to have been cooler than during the MWP by the researchers.
Graphs showing temperature rises in historic context do not look quite so alarming.

Note that the difference between the size of the anomalies between the first and second graph is due to the selection of different Climate Normal to use as a baseline. It’s a common enough practice by those with lesser integrity.

Of course there are other ways to misrepresent Climate Normal (anomaly) type data on graphs. For instance once might select a different baseline period that has a hotter or cooler mean average temperature thus making the anomalies higher (warmer) or lower (cooler) on a graph. 

Jo Nova is an Australian  Bachelor of Science, author and blogger on the science, funding and politics of climate change. For three years she was an Associate Lecturer on Science Communication at the Australian National University. In a light-hearted manner she discusses some of the methods that are actually used to misrepresent climate change.
Read more: Jo Nova – How to make climate graphs look scary — a reply to XKCD

In recent years there has been much brouhaha in the USA about a perceived global warming pause and even a possible cooling trend. It’s not surprising then that some presenters have probably been cherry-picking the data and building anomaly graphs to prove their case.

What it all boils down to is that deception abounds and non-scientists should be careful of any presenter today who shows a temperature graph purporting to prove excessive warming or cooling.

As we’ve seen, climate changes occur naturally in time intervals of thousands of years. And despite claims by climate warming advocates that the late 20th century warming spike is unprecedented, non-aligned IPCC scientists have shown by using geological proxy data, temperatures similar to those recorded at the end of the 20th century have occurred since the emergence of mankind or at least very near to it.

One example is the CET – Central England Temperature. This is considered to be a reliable source of regional data for Central England.  Many believe it is also a reliable proxy dataset for analysing past climate in Europe and also the North Atlantic. The CET shows at least two warming spikes over just a few years since around 1820. Both were of shorter duration to the one which occurred at the end of the 1900s. Yet the people in that region have flourished apparently without the calamitous climatic events which the IPCC is predicting about to happen to us.
Read more:
Met Office Hadley Centre – CET (HadCET) Dataset

Bill Whittle is an American conservative blogger who, among other things discusses climate change issues.  In this short video he discusses several of the issues mentioned here about how we are being deceived by only getting part of the story, whether the sciences is real, plus some other issues not known about by this writer:
Watch video: Bill Nye – The Science Lie

Do We Change Our Economic Policies?

Using the WMO Climate Normal system provides only three full climate data points on which to plot a hypothetical graph of global temperatures. The Tier 2 climate normal system provides up to 11 data points based on 10 yearly intervals but as mentioned these tend to be misused.  Yet no matter what system is used for representing alleged dangerous global warming, there is still only 167 years of recorded temperature data available, some of which is not considered reliable.

That’s not much on which to base changing a countries entire economic policies. And yet we have one State in Australia soon to be followed by another, that is currently implementing a policy to replace it’s baseline energy system to renewable energies and decommissioning it’s coal fired power-plants. It’s already experienced huge blackouts when storms damaged the renewable systems infrastructure and they had no backup system, other than to ask another State for help.

“Oh but it’s okay” they say, “we’ve fixed the problems and it won’t happen again” they say.

Yeah right ….

Ultimately, basing policies on just 160 years or so of climate records at the least must be considered a bit short sighted.  In fact it’s more about idealism than practicality.  It certainly cannot help anyone make accurate judgements whether the climate is going to continue trending up or down instead of just assume it will happen. And it’s pointless to keep throwing so much money at something with no real scientific resolution after almost 30 years, and which might eventually be a non-problem anyway.

Are We Prepared for a Catastrophic Event?

On the face of it the outlook for the World populations is bleak, but not necessarily from climate change.  The real issue is about the actions now being taken by collective countries to solve what may turn out to be a non-event, and who are being led by an ideal driven organisation that bases its opinions on theory and logic rather than practical science and procedures.  So much money is being wasted to try and prevent something that may very well happen anyway – or not, with or without additional greenhouse gases.

But unfortunately something even worse could happen. The climate warming trend could potentially reverse course into an even more disastrous cooling trend – don’t laugh just yet.

At the moment the Earth is in an Interglacial Period i.e. between alternating ice ages. Based on previous Milankovitch cycles the onset of thousands of years decline into another Ice Age is overdue. One of the triggers is when summer temperatures in the northern hemisphere fail to rise above freezing for years, snowfall doesn’t melt and compresses then turns into ice sheets over time.

Some scientists are even suggesting the current AGW greenhouse effect is preventing that onset.  As silly as that may seem now, consider that the last real Ice Age finished about 12,000 years ago when mankind was in it’s infancy, and that Interglacial periods have historically lasted about 10,000 years. Is it as far fetched as the Earth being round or that mankind would walk on the moon?

Right now there’s probably no one looking into how the massive loss of grain growing farms in the Northern Hemisphere can be substituted to prevent famine … just in case the world needs because of some catastrophic disaster (let’s say a meteor strike or super volcano?)

In any case farms are being bought out now anyway due to continuing urban sprawl so hopefully somebody is starting to look into it.  Or maybe we should have more scientists looking into ways of reducing famine in places like Somalia instead of meeting obligations of funding research in global warming.

Recommendations

Billions of dollars is spent annually to the false god of the AGW hypothesis.  If the people of the Earth are to make any headway into the issue of climate change, either warming or cooling then thought might be given to the following:

1. The IPCC should be disbanded or reconstituted into a purely scientific organisation because:

  •  It’s staff is entirely bureaucratic. As such it’s political by nature and subject to political manoeuvring. It’s member countries have too much input into the final Assessment Reports.
  • There’s every indication that it has been corrupted as a result of “cause noblesse” i.e. not being truthful for what it believes is to the greater good.
  • It’s scope of research was limited to just the instrumental meteorological records right from the start. No real regard is given to natural climate processes.
  • It does not consult geological proxy data in order to determine any historic context against what’s happening now, or whether alarming the world as it has, is justified.
  • It assumed right from the start that mankind was responsible for global warming without using proper scientific proof procedures.
  • It’s primary focus continues to be related just to mankind’s activities in relation to it’s effect on climate.

2. Ideally, a purely scientific organisation needs to be raised to monitor and try to determine the possible future of the Earth’s climate and if possible:

  • should remain under the charter of the UN and World Meteorological Office;
  • be autonomous to the extent that it should not be influenced by the desires of individual countries i.e. no member countries;
  • issue a scientific paper every 10 years as to the state of research in climate activities over the previous decade based on 30-year Climate Normals;
  • any and all scientific theories and papers to undergo proper scientific testing and approbation prior to public release; and
  • research better ways of investigating earlier warning and response system for climatic disasters.

In the meantime, let’s take the pressure of the world’s scientists to do what they know best without political meddling, hindrance, misinformation or manipulation. Let’s be really sure that when they do say something, that we can actually trust it – unlike now with so much disparagement going on between the two sides of the issue i.e. alarmists and sceptics.

Sources:

1. Climate: The Counter Consensus, Prof. Robert M. Carter 2010

Alternative Greenhouse Gas Theory

The 33°C Greenhouse “Envelope”

This subject was previously included in the previous post: “Errors in CO² Emissions?”  It attracted sufficient interest to require that it should have it’s own post.

So … there’s all this talk about CO² emissions being at the heart of the problem and causing so much angst between alarmists and sceptics, but what if CO² isn’t even relevant?

Scientists mostly agree that without GHG the global average temperature of the Earth would be about -19°C and that a natural 33°C “envelope” of warming GHG brings it up to around 14°C or so.  What they don’t agree on is the cause of this natural warming. There are at least two separate theories. One that discusses GHG radiation and the other a gravito-thermal greenhouse effect or to put it more simply – greenhouse gases vs natural processes.

The 33°C Arrhenius Radiative Greenhouse Effect
(Greenhouse Gases)

Don’t let the title put you off.  It just means the greenhouse theory used by the IPCC and in their computer climate models . It’s probable that most scientists agree that elements of different radiative gases including CO² are trapped in the atmosphere and re-radiate heat back to Earth thus causing a cycle of continual warming of the planet.

An example of the 33°C Arrhenius Radiative Greenhouse Effect theory. NB: Natural “feedback” cooling effects not shown here.

But it’s important to understand that the 33°C envelope is not just all warming as is commonly expressed as shown in the example.  It is really the end result of roughly 50/50 warming AND cooling effects i.e. a combination of both natural climate forcing (heating) and feedback (cooling) systems. This has been known for a long time and supported for example in scientific papers by Messrs Manabe and Strickler in 1964 and Dick Lindzen’s paper in 1990.

In any case,  if the Arrhenius theory is correct, then mankind obviously must be responsible to some extent – although arguably not to the levels we are being led to believe. That viewpoint also applies to the possibly exaggerated future consequences of increased global warming.

But given that the planet is subject to both warming and cooling influences, shouldn’t the warming of less than 1°C over the last 150 years or so alleged to have been caused by mankind, also be reduced to about 0.05°C?

The 33°C Gravito-Thermal Greenhouse Effect
(Natural Processes)

Other scientists follow the Gravito-Thermal theory which began in 1738 when Daniel Bernoulli learned how to understand air pressure at a molecular level. Some problems were further explained in the 1850s by Maxwell  who found it wasn’t necessary to track every molecule but just the distribution of them e.g. how the microscopic connected to the macroscopic. Albert Einstein did some work on related Kinetic Theory in 1907. In 1976 the final version of a 241 page supporting document the US Standard Atmosphere was published.

One of the adherents to the Gravito-Thermal theory was a leading Physicist Richard Feynmann (decd 1988). He said the greenhouse effect that warms the Earth is due solely to the effects of gravity, atmospheric mass, pressure, density, and heat capacities, and not due to any “trapped” radiating elements of greenhouse gases. And not just the 33°C “envelope” but constantly. 
Read More:
Principa Scientific International: Physicist Richard Feynman Discredits Greenhouse Gas Theory

Was he a crackpot?  Not likely. He was a Nobel  Prize winner in Physics in 1965 along with several other awards. He and allegedly hundreds of rocket and atmospheric scientists, physicists and aeronautical engineers were involved in formulating the US Standard Atmosphere. It provides the means to determine the temperature, pressure and density at any altitude. It’s used for example in aviation applications and in application of this theory.

Nowadays, the “33°C Maxwell/Clausius/Carnot/Feynman Gravito-Thermal Radiation Effect” aka gravitational forcing theory maintains that the generally accepted greenhouse radiative gases version confuses “cause with effect” in the Earth’s warming processes.  In other words they say the gravito-thermal processes comes before any radiation from greenhouse gases.
Read More: The Hockey Schtick Dec 2014: Why Atmospheric Temperature is a Linear Function of Mass & Gravity, and Not Influenced by Greenhouse Gas Concentrations  

The world’s scientists don’t seem to be even able to agree on how the Earth is warmed naturally let alone that mankind’s activities are responsible for additional warming.  Only one 33°C “envelope” warming theory can be correct.   Surely it’s impossible to determine human effects if you don’t know the natural patterns or causes.  And we apparently don’t …

Sources: 

1. Climate: The Counter Consensus, Professor Robert M. Carter 2010.
2. IPCC Fifth Assessment Report 2014
3. Other Links as indicated in the text.

Errors in CO² Emissions?

Is the Climate Change CO² Science Right?

A section of this post dealing with an alternative theory on how the Earth warms and cools naturally by re-radiating greenhouse gases was originally included in this post.  It attracted sufficient interest to warrant it’s own post here: Alternative Greenhouse Theory.

Science has historically not always got it right despite any “overwhelming proof” in their day.

For almost three decades the IPCC and its advocates have been saying that their scientists are right in declaring human kind responsible for causing dangerous global warming aka AGW – Anthropogenic Global Warming.   Not proven, but so near that they agree it IS indeed right. So right in fact that they are squandering literally trillions of dollars around the world still trying to prove it. They believe implicitly that excess CO² greenhouse gases (GHG) produced by mankind are warming the planet higher than natural processes.

According to climate alarm sceptics which include thousands of eminent scientists among them, they believe there is sufficient evidence to at least cast some doubts on the accuracy of many of the IPCC pronouncements, if not throw out the case for AGW completely.

The question is – could the IPCC actually be right?  This article will take a look at just a few of the disputed issues that relate to CO² emissions.

The Current Warming Trend

The mainstay of the IPCC argument is that mankind is responsible for the late 20th century warming trend.  But it’s important to understand that there is a natural warming phase going on right now anyway.

As we know, the planet goes through cyclical periods of warming and cooling. The Earth is currently on a natural warming trend following on from the last Little Ice Age.  Hypothetically, how long this warming cycle  would  have lasted without mankind’s contributions is anybody’s guess.

A Caution About Global Averages

The term “global average” is often used in public discussions of climate change to demonstrate negative trends such as rising global temperatures or the amounts of global CO² in the atmosphere.  But at the end of the day it is merely a statistical figure usually based on different specimens of different data from several different sources. Data is collected and manipulated in any number of legitimate methods by different people with different statistician skills to produce different outcomes – just select the one that suits your argument best.

Images from IPCC Summary for Policy Makers AR5 showing a 0.8°C global surface temperature rise since 1850 and a 0.2mm global rise in sea levels since 1900

The IPCC in their Fifth Assessment Report of 2014 (AR5) continuously mentions global averages  in respect of temperatures, CO² emissions, sea level rises, precipitation and so on.

To be fair they do acknowledge that temperatures etc at any given region may experience more, or less, or no effects of increased global warming in the future.  But it’s a passing sentence and you need to actually read the document rather than just skim through it. It really ought to be flagged more prominently.

But of course temperatures vary widely around the Earth depending on time of year, latitude, ocean and wind currents,   For example, the coldest inhabited place on Earth is arguably the village of Oymyakon in Russia where it can reach -45ºC, and the hottest inhabited is probably Death Valley in California USA where it can get up 56.7ºC.

Whether people could actually live independently of outside sources in places like these is another story. But in general, any given place will usually have a hotter or colder climate than the stated global average.

But let’s get back to the overuse of global averages … professional writers know that the written word (and diagrams etc) are often interpreted differently depending on the reader or their level of focus at the time of reading.

It’s not likely to be stretching things too far to say that the constant use by alarmists in using global average figures can lend itself to misconceptions in some lesser educated or inattentive people that it is going to get hotter where they actually live – or that extreme weather events are going to happen in their own region.

The bottom line is that if a media presentation keeps blathering about global averages and how negative it’s going to be, and which does not relate it to your geographical region then please let me suggest you turn it off. Such stuff is neither scientific or even sensible and is more about devotion to an quasi-religious eco-alarmism … or headline seeking.

Uncertainty Errors in CO² Emission Calculations

Scientists generally refer to an “error bar” or “uncertainty range” where an exact figure is not known.

So let’s take a common method of measuring an unknown distance by asking a group of people to give a visual distance estimate and call it a range of uncertainty or as in science, an error bar.  Now remove the highest and lowest distances and what’s left is your error bar or range.  Somewhere within that range the real distance should be located – hopefully. Now either centre or else average out between the highest and lowest to find what you hope is close to the real distance or to provide a baseline point.

Average atmospheric CO2 concentrations measured in the 19th and 20th century. Encircled are the values used by Callendar (1958). Redrawn after Fonselius et al. (1956).

In a very basic sense this is how scientists originally estimated the pre-industrial levels of CO² in the atmosphere as being 280 ppm. And that’s ignoring the many scientifically recorded measurements taken during the 19th and 20th centuries which indicated higher readings. And so it’s been used during pre-industrial times and then accepted by the IPCC when it first formed.

Obviously the methodology was more calculated than that but the principles were most likely basically the same.  But let’s stick with 280 ppm because it at least provides a kind of baseline.

If we assume the GHG theory as being correct, there can be little argument that humans have contributed to the current estimate of about 400 ppm of  CO² in our atmosphere.  Nor do scientists necessarily argue that CO² is at the very least a mild GHG – though of course there is diligent argument whether it is more than that.

Yet doubts have been cast on the previously accepted levels. Examination of glacier data has often been used to determine the levels of CO² concentrations in the atmosphere during the pre-industrial era, and they are also used for important calculations in climate change research.   For example, Messrs Jaworowski, Segalstad & Hisdal in their 1992 paper discussed this in their paper, “Atmospheric CO2 and Global Warming – A Critical Review, 2nd Revised Edition 1992″.

The report is believed to be the first critical review of CO² trapped in air bubbles in glaciers.   It reveals several errors in methodology and incorrect scientific assumptions which question the very validity of the AGW hypothesis. Some of the issues discussed include:

  • the subjective manner in which the value of 290 (sic) ppm was originally decided;
  • the siting of some of the observatories near volcanic activity and the methods used to edit the results;
  • the instrumentation and methods used to record historic thermometer temperatures; and
  • a new discovery of liquid found still trapped in air bubbles in ice under -73C that can significantly enrich or deplete CO² compared to an original atmosphere.
The projections of man-made climate change through burning of fossil carbon fuels (coal, gas, oil) to CO² gas are based mainly on interpretations of measured CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere and in glacier ice. These measurements and interpretations are subject to serious uncertainties…
Jaworowski et.al 1992

The Uncertainty Range of Volcano Effects

There have been some very big volcanic eruptions in recent decades causing all sorts of problems spewing out volcanic dust and CO². Major fractures, hot springs and geysers also vent CO². Over the last 10,000 years or so there have been around 1500 land volcanoes active.

The Kilauyea Volcano in Hawaii

Let’s take just one example. The Kilauyea Volcano in Hawaii has been active for a long time erupting on average about once per three years or so and is among the most watched in the world. Until recently it was thought to be emitting around 2,800 tons of CO² per day. In 2001 it was thought to be more accurately amended to 8,800 tons/CO2/day. In 2008 the USGS – the US Geological Survey changed it again to 4,000 tons/CO²/day.  That all makes for an uncertainty error bar of between 100% to 300%.

But compared to land volcanoes, not so much is known about sub-sea volcanoes which make up the majority on the planet. There are literally  thousands of them. CO² is the most common gas found in their volcanic hydro-thermals but rarely is it found in liquid form as well.

White smoking vents at the Champagne sub-sea volcano

In 2006 the Champagne volcanic site in the Mariana Trench was found to be discharging a 103°C gas rich fluid and droplets at less then 4°C of mainly liquid CO2 were also discovered. The hot fluid at a molecular level of 2.7 moles/kg of CO² was the highest ever reported. The droplets contained 98% CO². All of this CO² was being absorbed into the ocean before it had risen less than 200m. This site alone is estimated to be contributing 0.1% of the “global carbon flux” i.e. from all natural sources being sent into the atmosphere – and that’s a lot.

An example of a “global carbon flux”

See: Submarine venting of liquid carbon dioxide on a Mariana Arc volcano

Following the Champagne discovery there have been suggestions that perhaps sub-sea volcanoes may be contributing more to the global carbon flux than previously realized.  With so much uncertainty on volcanoes generally and other forcing (CO² adding) agents, how can the IPCC be so certain on the extent of mankind’s contributions of CO² compared to natural sources?

The bottom line is they can’t really know.  Very little of it is yet known. They are forced to make calculated, educated guesses and produce results that include error bars of uncertainty about accuracy. And the ranges of those error bars are also under attack by sceptics.

CO2 “Residence” Time in the Atmosphere

As of 2010 there was an estimated  780Gt of CO² of which about 210 Gt (25%) was believed to be exchanged between the oceans and land “sinks” e.g. plants etc. So how long does the remainder stay up there?

The IPCC estimates the “residence time” i.e. the time that CO² elements remain in the atmosphere before being reabsorbed or emitted to space is anywhere between 5 and 200 years or more. That’s quite a error bar range of uncertainty.  I have read where one alarmist advocate stated that the rates of absorption of CO² into the Earth varied widely depending on how it’s being absorbed e.g. by the oceans, land or sea biota.  Maybe that is possible.
See also: Working Group I: The Scientific Basis: https://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/tar/wg1/016.htm

IPCC AR5 2014 CO2 residence time chart

Other non-IPCC aligned scientists generally estimate a CO² residence time of between 5 to 10 years.

And the observed decrease in the radioactive carbon 14C in the atmosphere following the cessation of atmospheric nuclear testing in 1963 has confirmed the half life of CO² in the atmosphere at less than 10 years.  Incidentally, the 14C radioactive element can also be present naturally.
Source: Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide

Unfortunately the IPCC tends to rely on a longer residence time in their computer models which consistently produce a higher global average temperature result by a given time e.g. 2020.
Also read:
Don Aitkin – How Long Does Carbon Dioxide Remain in the Atmosphere.

So if the non-IPCC aligned scientists and educated others are right, then the future temperatures following the currently observed trend is going to be more likely correct?

COMMENTS INVITED

Both the sceptic and alarmist sides of the climate change debate are prone to making exaggerated and implausible claims. So much so that it’s sometimes difficult to find the real truth about the alleged dangerous global warming being caused by humans aka AGW.

This site is about trying to find that truth.  However, these pages may at first appear to be on the sceptic side – but that is not entirely true. Information in support of AGW that can be proven from sources outside the IPCC will be accepted.

The information here is believed to be correct at time of writing. Comments to the contrary which can prove otherwise are welcome.   Only comments from rational people who can discuss AGW issues dispassionately and with common courtesy will be considered.

Sources: 

1. Climate: The Counter Consensus, Professor Robert M. Carter 2010.
2. IPCC Fifth Assessment Report 2014
3. Other Links as indicated in the text.

Is the IPCC Biased?

For those new to this blog the IPCC – Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change is the world’s leader in promoting the theory that mankind is dangerously warming the globe aka AGW – Anthropogenic Global Warming. It wouldn’t be too much to say it even has a monopoly on it.

It is ultimately from them that international governments are being badgered to adopt emission control targets via means of the UNFCCC – United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change treaty.

But the accusation of bias by the IPCC regarding AGW has been raised many times by climate sceptics.  This example provides more insight into how the IPCC is operating:
Bias and the IPCC Report – Accentuate the Negative

It’s hard to say the IPCC is not biased.  There is a suite of prima facie evidence that it is, and I will cover this point in some future post for readers to judge for themselves. However I am sure there must be people with good moral ethics in there. But I also think it’s highly likely there are people that should perhaps be scrutinized a bit more closely. I’ll just leave it at that for now.

The IPCC Mandate

Aside from the people who actually work inside the IPCC, I do believe that as an organisation it has no other choice than to be biased on the issue of AGW because of the mandate that was given to them at the time of their inception:

to focus only on man-made contributions to dangerous global warming – AGW.

This quote comes from the IPCC’s own website here:
https://www.ipcc.ch/organization/organization_history.shtml

quote:
…to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.
/unquote.

and again:
https://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch1s1-6.html

quote:
…The WMO and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) established the IPCC in 1988 with the assigned role of assessing the scientific, technical and socioeconomic information relevant for understanding the risk of human-induced climate change.
/unquote.

IPCC Approach to Climate Change

This is where the whole approach of the IPCC has been flawed:

  1. They focused only on mankind contributions instead of “in the round”, and also only since the beginnings of the industrial age – an insignificant amount of climate time.  It seems illogical that any kind of solution to a problem can be solved by looking at just a part of it.
  2. They were entirely wrong in accepting an unproven theory in the first place and then set about validating it to the world, instead of the other way around.

This back-to-front approach came about because a group of scientists agreed beforehand that AGW was the problem. It’s understood this took place at a UN sponsored conference in Austria in 1985.  They believed that even a small change such as additional CO2 being added to the natural greenhouse gas processes could trigger runaway greenhouse global warming.

Consensus or Arrogance?

It’s a valid theory and certainly worthy of further investigation, but unfortunately they didn’t set about to prove it in a proper accepted scientific method,  which includes getting their theory validated by their world peers.  If they had, it would never have got off the ground because it still hasn’t been proved  almost 30 years later.

They believed the evidence was so convincing even though not proven, that it could be accepted by consensus as an established fact. That was the single biggest mistake in this whole saga of climate change debates in assuming that consensus and science can co-exist. It was to send the world into an expensive and fruitless tail-spin for decades and which still continues.

In any event, in the eyes of those original scientists their own research was sufficient to accept the premise of AGW.  It was decided right there to set up an organisation (now the IPCC) to validate and promote the theory to the world. They wanted to get everyone on board to rein in mankind’s greenhouse gas emissions and in particular CO2 as being the major one. And they did an exceedingly good job of it so that today the IPCC has the first and final say to all things related to climate science – as opposed to an opinion as seen by many other non-IPCC aligned scientific peers.

How AGW Was Sold

The marketing effort by the IPCC was exemplary. Their big ticket items in selling the idea of AGW to the masses were “scientific consensus” and versions of the infamous “hockey stick”. Both of these have since been proven wrong.

To get the idea to governments and other scientists, the IPCC releases progressive  Assessment Reports (ARs), that progressively labelled mankind more and more as being responsible. They didn’t appear to make any real attempt at consideration of any other cause. Usually any counter-argument in the ARs if any, apparently gets drowned out in the Summaries of their reports. And some believe there is an over-emphasis on the negative items.

The heart of the real problem with the IPCC is that they are political by nature – not scientific. It was deliberately formed as such. Among other duties they were tasked to take submissions from scientists across their various fields, then rewrite them so that they could be more easily read by the masses.  This is where other less-noble aspects of human behaviour can potentially come into play and because of that, should be studied carefully.  It doesn’t appear that’s what has been happening.

For example the text of the 2nd AR was allegedly altered to give more support to AGW, the perpetrators probably being motivated by “noble cause”.  Questions began to be raised about the effectiveness of the “peer review” processes used by the IPCC.

With all this in mind one wonders why so many international governments and scientific organizations have also come on board in the AGW blame game?

It’s probably not so hard to understand why Governments have come on board. There continues to be considerable interest in the well being of the planet since about the 1960s. The outpourings of the IPCC received tremendous publicity as would be expected from a headline hungry media.

And it doesn’t appear to be particularly hard to sway a politicians viewpoint if there is sufficient noise coming from their electorates in support of an issue. It’s disgusting when the strength of politicians is measured by how much he/she sways in the breeze. Yes … it is a cynical view but I’ve watched successive governments at least in Australia, change their approach to the issue depending on whether they’re either in power or in opposition.

As regarding actual scientific organisations that have come on board with the IPCC, if I were the head of a scientific organisation of a country that becomes a member of a certain institution,  I would be thinking deeply about the ramifications of bucking my own government with counter or controversial viewpoints. This would be especially so if the available science coming out from that institution seemed logical and conclusive enough. It’s just human psychology at work.

Source: Climate: The Counter Consensus, 2010 Professor Robert M. Carter

The Limitations of Climate Science

As a generalisation it would be fairly safe to say we tend to trust those who have expertise in a given field or topic to guide us. So when  some individual scientist pops up in the media somewhere to tell us something, then we’ll often tend to listen and take heed of any warning/s.  It’s what mankind has always done – for example the tribal witch doctor, ancient Greeks and oracles.

The power to sway the beliefs of the masses can be especially stronger today when it comes via multimedia and even more so if the information comes from a notable scientist or scientific organisation(s), or else ostensibly connected in some way to scientific research.

Yet you will often see TV media presenters bringing climate “experts” onto their show in an apparent effort to give some credibility or background information to a particular subject i.e. melting of the polar ice caps, glaciers retreating and so on.

Have you ever wondered about these people when they are so definite about mankind causing climate change? Have you ever wondered how much of the information is from their own expertise and how much is what they’ve learned from someone else? Are they really passing on real proven scientific facts or just what they believe to be true from information provided by someone else?

Or do you just accept what they are telling you?

The Scope of Scientific Research

To date despite the claims to the contrary, the efforts of the best scientists in the world have yet to find a definitive pointer that identifies mankind as the actual cause of dangerous global warming.

The subjects under scientific research are many but basically there are just a few categories from which most scientific fields branch. Each of these encompass a variety of disciplines and sub-disciplines, and can even branch further after that. The three main categories are:

1. Physical Sciences – studies of inanimate objects e.g. physics, chemistry, computers, engineering;
2. Earth & Space Sciences – studies of the natural processes of the Earth and space e.g. meteorology, geology, oceanography, atmosphere, solar system;
3. Life Sciences – studies of living organisms e.g. biology, anatomy.

The average person on the street might be forgiven for thinking that climate change scientists are primarily meteorologists or climatologists plus perhaps some others with supporting expertise.  But that would be only partially right.

The subjects relating to climate change actually diverge into more than 100 scientific sub-disciplines, the elements of which can be exceptionally intricate, highly complicated and intertwined.  Just changing one of the many data inputs e.g. the output chemistry of sub-sea volcanoes to a climate change puzzle can flow-on to incorrect or at least misleading changes in the final solution. And the answer will still be a “best probable” result – not fact.

No matter how acclaimed a meteorologist, climatologist, physicist, chemist or any other individual scientist may be, they will generally only have a partial knowledge or exposure if any, to other sciences that affect climate change.

At most there may be a handful of scientists that have mastery of two or three scientific disciplines such as Professor Robert M. Carter (decd) who was a qualified palaeontogist, stratigrapher and marine geologist.  Yet even if a scientist does have expertise in two or more of the climate change elements, he/she still needs to find and use data from other sources to cover the gaps in his/her own knowledge. Such data may in turn only be a “best probable” solution as opposed to fact(s) as will be explained further below.

Alternatively a scientist may collaborate with others from different scientific fields but at some point they will likely need to use other scientific “best probable” results, or use a form of scientific calculation where the data to be input is not known for example Bayesian Reasoning theorem – read educated guesswork.

It must therefore be obvious that there can be no such thing as an “expert” simply because no one can fully comprehend the entirely of it all.

This doesn’t stop the media, in particular the TV media in regularly presenting interviewees as experts to lend credibility to their show. But anyone who claims or admits to being an expert in climate change is either kidding themselves, egocentric or is being deceitful.

The bottom line is that when a supposed expert fronts up in the media – watch it guardedly or else switch the channel.   At the end of the day everyone, including the scientists themselves are basically amateurs when a topic is outside their own field of expertise – even if they are an educated amateur.

But having someone with at least some scientific background involved in climate change discussions has got to be far more preferable than pulling celebrities into the debate. These people despite their best intentions, are simply promoting their own views and muddying the waters for the public to make a realistic conclusion in their own minds.

So WHO Are The Climate Change Scientists?

Basically there are three different groups of scientists who look into the issue of climate change, and by extension mankind’s role in creating dangerous global warming:

Group 1 Scientists

  • are experts in various weather sciences such as meteorology, atmospheric physics, chemistry and computer modelling;
  • tend to study climate change over shorter periods of time i.e. the last 150 years of recorded temperatures;
  • have expertise in how weather generates and ultimately how climate is formed; and
  • are arguably the loudest in generating alarm about AGW and the warming of the planet.

Group 2 Scientists

  • are experts in geological earth sciences and in use of proxy data over long periods of time e.g. rock formations, fossils, ice core data, tree rings;
  • they look at climate history as it relates to climate today; and
  • generally see no real cause for alarm when comparing current climate with past climate.

Group 3 Scientists

  • are experts in enabling disciplines such as mathematics or statistics.

Bayesian Reasoning

Bayesian reasoning is widely used in science where some but not all the information is known.  It’s an important technique for statistics and especially in mathematics but it does not produce factual evidence.

At its simplest level it goes something like this:
1. a bag is filled with red and green apples,
2. three people are blindfolded and told to pull out an apple from the bag,
3. each pulls out a red apple.

The logical conclusion is that the bag must be full of red apples. This may be accompanied by an indication regarding confidence on the degree of probability e.g. 95% confidence that the bag is full of red apples.

In other words, “If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, then it must be a duck”!

Obviously the methodology is much more complicated but the logic remains pretty much the same. The theorem is widely used and is perhaps an acceptable scientific method in some circumstances, but what matters most is how the resulting answer was and is still being  treated as scientific fact.

In the example of the apples, if one were to loudly and unreservedly claim that the bag is full of red apples then that would be at best simply wrong, or at worst underhanded.

Yet this  sort of thing is exactly what is happening on both sides of the AGW – Anthropogenic Global Warming debate.  This Propaganda v. Science image shows an alarmist claim at left with a sceptic response at right.  Neither side yet understands that if you lie about something you will eventually be found out and lose credibility to your cause.

A classic example of misleading propaganda is the infamous Hockey Stick diagram produced in 1988 by pro-AGW scientists Mann, Bradley and Hughes. In that case they cobbled actual thermometer temperature records to the foot of estimations of temperatures calculated from proxy data over the past 1000 years and then extrapolated global warming out to the year 2000.  Then it was promulgated with a 95% high probabilty in being correct. In this case one of the major flaws in statistical calculations was to add real temperature records to assessed or calculated historical records using proxy data.

The Real Argument About AGW

For a scientist to formulate a reasonable hypothesis about AGW he/she would need to have some level of familiarity in all three groups – something which is nigh impossible. It’s therefore not surprising that there are differences between the various scientists and scientific fields using different “best probable” data so it should never be said that the science is “settled”. 

It isn’t. Not unequivocally – even though the IPCC offers what some might consider to be reasonable answers. Ultimately  the theory of AGW is still based on circumstantial evidence including calculated probabilities.

Apart from that all three groups of scientists generally DO agree that the Earth’s climate has always changed, that human emissions affect local climates e.g. urban areas and have a summed potential to affect climate globally, and that carbon dioxide is a mild greenhouse house – note the word “mild”.

The real argument then is not about whether the Earth is heating up, but about how relevant is AGW when considered against natural climate change processes.

Source: Climate: The Counter Consensus 2010, Professor Robert M. Carter.

The Hockey Stick Controversy

The Climate Change Hockey Stick
Was it AGW or not?

If ever there was a single “trigger” to galvanise the average citizens of the world to accept the theory on humans causing dangerous global warming, then it would have to be the Mann, Bradley and Hughes – MBH “hockey stick” schematic diagram.

The Hockey Stick Diagram

MBH constructed their first diagram from AD 1200 to 1900 by looking at 183 tree ring records from across the Northern Hemisphere on the assumption that the width of each ring was related to temperature as the tree grew.  There was some scientific fact to this. They then added actual thermometer records to project temperatures from 1900 to 2100.  Mann et al later reconstructed the hockey stick extending it back to AD 1000.

Figure 1: Michael Mann’s hockey stick schematic diagram

The diagram was originally published in Nature in 1998, revised and published again in 1999 in Geophysical Research Letters.  Mann went on to become one of the Lead Authors of the IPCC Third Assessment Report in 2001 in which an updated hockey stick diagram featured prominently. It also appeared in subsequent IPCC Assessment Reports in some form.

The IPCC Third Assessment Report of 2001 also included a comment that the 1990s was the warmest period during the preceding 1000 years, even though there was abundant evidence to the contrary.  Statements like these and the use of the hockey stick diagram, which by now was being severely questioned, became central to the promotion of AGW by the alarmist cause that humans were causing dangerous climate change.

Figure 2: The Hockey Stick as published in the IPCC First Assessment Report – Summary for Policy Makers 2001

This hockey stick diagram shown at Fig. 2 was constructed using tree rings, coral, ice cores and historical records.  The red line is a “smoothed” 50-year average. The grey lines indicates the degree of uncertainties i.e. a fudge factor which is up to 5% – give or take.  From 1860 to 2000 the line is averaged annually because of more certainty in the data and now including actual thermometer records. From 2000 to 2100 shows 6 computer model “baseline” scenarios which allegedly do not take into account current or future greenhouse emissions.

Understandably the hockey stick immediately attracted attention on both sides of the debate. At least 14 separate reconstructions were done by other scientists. They could use whatever collection of proxy measurement data sets they desired, but apparently were required to only use the proxy data sets provided by the IPCC. Similar results to Mann’s et al were produced leading to an assertion that burning of fossil fuels was causing immediate and drastic heating of the planet.

Climate sceptics proceeded to analyse it to death, from every conceivable angle. Some problems were immediately noticed:

1. That the temperatures on the “shaft” showed a fairly even temperature range from AD 1000 to 1900 (prior to industrialisation), unlike “normal” climate fluctuations e.g. compare Fig 1 & 2 over 1,000 years against Fig 3 over 2000 years, both of which represent primarily tree ring calculations.

Figure 3: Southern Hemisphere tree ring records with an even temperature range and no dramatic changes.

2. That the “blade” showing temperatures rising at such an alarming fast rate just begged to be double checked, especially since other records such as quality spelotherms (mineral deposits in caves) and tree ring data from the Southern Hemisphere hadn’t shown any similar temperature rise at in the late 20th century. This appeared to negate any global warming allegations.

3. Statistician trained scientists noted a basic flaw in statistical compilation in that assumed measurements from proxy data e.g. tree rings had been combined with actual thermometer records in the same diagram and used to draw an alleged scientific conclusion. Additionally there was doubt about the conditions under which those thermometer records may have been taken and may not be standardised.

Despite the claims from non-aligned IPCC scientists, other computer modelled hockey stick versions started appearing, not a few of which were highly exaggerated such as used by Al Gore in his “An Inconvenient Truth”.

Thus the dogma of AGW – Anthropogenic Global Warming started becoming widely accepted by the lay public. Anyone who did not believe in AGW were dubbed as “denialist” or “sceptic” and world opinion turned against those seeking better answers.

Any scientist labelled as such began to be stonewalled when trying to gain access to raw data from which to do further research, including as I understand it data about the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age. If it could be proved that the temperature during the MWP was the same or higher than today it would negate the statement that the 1990s where the warmest in the last 1000 years.

I will explore this further in a later post.

Source:

Climate: The Counter Consensus, Professor Robert M. Carter 2010.

Greenhouse Gases – A Perspective

We’re always hearing about greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide (CO2) and how they are causing warming of the Earth that will be dangerous to life on the planet.

But is it all rhetoric?

What this post is about, is to try and put some perspective on the issue of carbon dioxide, and whether or not it is the big bad demon or not that alarmists are saying it is.

A “Normal” Climate

Our atmosphere is made up of molecules of which about 99% is radiatively inactive. Greenhouse gases make up the remaining 1%.  Under ideal “normal” circumstances suitable for life, the combined greenhouse gases increase the Earth’s temperature from a theoretical -19⁰C to an average of around +15⁰C i.e. 34⁰C of warming.

Example of a “balanced” greenhouse system.

Typical estimates of the proportions of the greenhouse warming gases are around 78% water vapour, 20% carbon dioxide and around 2% from methane, nitrous oxide and other minor compounds. However estimates of the amount of water vapour can differ significantly from 60% less to 88% higher than 78%.

Source: “Climate: The Counter Consensus” by Prof. Robert M. Carter 2010

 What exactly are Greenhouse Gases?

Greenhouse gases absorb infra-red thermal radiation and hold the heat for a period of time in the atmosphere before being eventually re-absorbed back into the Earth or escapes into space.  It’s like a blanket that effectively keeps heat trapped near to the Earth.

Low vapour = higher CO2 levels = higher temperatures. High vapour = lower CO2 levels = lower temperatures.

The more important ones are water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and ozone, in decreasing order of effectiveness mainly because of their concentrations.

Source: “Energy & Environment Vol 16 No 6 2005” by Jack Barrett
http://warwickhughes.com/papers/barrett_ee05.pdf

The Kyoto Protocol recognizes six greenhouse gases. The numbers in brackets are the IPCC’s estimate of the warming potential of each compound compared to carbon dioxide e.g. methane has 21 times warming effect than 1 part of carbon dioxide:

  • CO2 – carbon dioxide(1)
  • methane (21),
  • nitrous oxide (310),
  • hydroflurocarbons (140 to 1,700),
  • perflurocarbons (6,500 to 9,200) and sulphur hexafluoride (23,00).

On the surface it makes CO2 look positively benign and might be the sort of thing a sceptic could say, except that the non-CO2 gases are only in very small percentages as to be almost negligible by comparison.

But you might notice the most prominent agent of water vapour is missing from the IPCC list. They say it is a “feedback” not a “forcing” agent and that it only lasts in the atmosphere for a few days as opposed to CO2, which they say lasts for more than 100 years. Therefore they don’t use it for the purpose of arguing the AGW – human caused warming case.

Feedback and Forcing Agents

Estimates taken from ice cores in Antarctica and Greenland up to 1 million years ago.

It’s a given scientific fact that the Earth’s global temperatures throughout its history has ranged widely from hot to cold.   At any given time when the temperature was fairly steady, the atmosphere has been “balanced” i.e. the incoming energy from the sun was equalled by outgoing energy in some form from the Earth.

Then along came forcing or feedback agents to tip the balance and warm or cool the Earth respectively. The various cycles of warming and cooling has continued from the beginning, mostly due to how far the Earth orbits around the Sun.

Forcing agents created by mankind according to the IPCC

Forcing Agents: These can be external e.g. the Sun, or internal e.g. material which absorbs heat such as aerosol dust from natural sources such as volcanoes or human sources such as aerosol spray cans, CO2 – carbon dioxide emissions and so on. According to the IPCC, CO2 is believed to account for the majority of the radiative forcing that keeps the greenhouse effect going.

See also : https://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/co2-temperature.html

Feedback Agents: These can change the effects of Forcing either positively and/or negatively. For example an increase in temperature causes more evaporation which causes higher temperatures, but at the same time creates more low clouds which reflect solar radiation back into space and rains to cause cooling.

An agreed scientific fact is that water vapour is not a forcing agent in its own right. It requires a rise in temperature to first create evaporation and more clouds. This causes an initial and temporary increase in temperature, but as the warm air rises, cooler air is sucked in from surrounding regions.

It then it becomes a feedback agent. The tops of clouds reflect incoming energy from the sun. The warm vaporous air is cooled in the upper altitudes and condenses. Rainfall then cools the earth.  Cooler air under these clouds are drawn away to other warmer areas.

Water Vapour

Even though water vapour is the most dominant in its ability to absorb heat, the IPCC does not include it as a greenhouse gas as previously mentioned. So let’s look at why they should include it in their calculations.

There is considerable overlap in absorption qualities between water vapour and other greenhouse gases.

The CO2 absorption rate increases 1.5% in the absence of other greenhouse gases which causes temperature to rise. But when put together with other greenhouse gases its absorption rate drops down to 0.5%. In other words it’s much less effective in taking up heat.

Water vapour has about 5 times the ability to absorb heat as CO2, however the cooling effect mainly happens in the first 100m of the atmosphere, and gets less and less effective in comparison to CO2 as altitude increases.

Trade winds are classic examples of air moving from colder to warmer areas.

Yet even if water vapour only lasts in the atmosphere for a few days, there is always rain happening somewhere on the planet every day. Cumulatively it must have at least some contributing cooling effect on a regional, if not global scale?

Further, with the water vapour in the higher altitudes being almost ineffective in absorbing heat,  it would be expected that more CO2 would have a greater effect on atmospheric warming. But this does not seem to be occurring in spite of the predictions of most GCMs.

So the real question is whether water vapour is a more powerful forcing or cooling agent?  And if so, by how much?

The question of climate feedback systems is a highly complex subject. Scientists don’t yet know all the feedback systems that affect climate and maybe never will. It’s one of the reasons why computer modelling might be considered unreliable by some.

With all the uncertainty about feedback effects, not to mention outright scientific disagreements, it has to be wondered for example if this overlap of absorption rates has been built into the computer modelling on which the IPCC relies and which must give cause for some scepticism.

See also: http://appinsys.com/globalwarming/GW_5GH_GreenhouseGas.htm

Health Effects of CO2

 The level of CO2 in our atmosphere is at 0.04% (?)  which today is about 400 ppm (parts per million). The level considered safe is 600 ppm for indoors.

In low concentrations e.g. less than 1% there is little noticeable effect. Inside a building without a fresh air supply then 1% (10,000 ppm) of CO2, some occupants might feel drowsy.

It usually needs to be over 2% or so before most people become aware of it without something to alert them e.g. some form of smell. An acid condition of the blood “acidosis” may form after several hours at that level. At 5% the breathing rate doubles and above that level it becomes toxic. Prolonged exposure creates various noticeable symptoms, which if left untreated can cause unconsciousness and even death.

However it should be understood that adding a given amount of CO2 to a contained space correspondingly reduces the amount of oxygen available. Any health issues as a result of exposure to CO2 could likely be as much due to a lack of oxygen as to the CO2.

Source: InspectAPedia article, “Toxicity of Carbon Dioxide Gas Exposure, CO2 Poisoning Symptoms, Carbon Dioxide Exposure Limits”. http://inspectapedia.com/hazmat/Carbon_Dioxide_Hazards.php

How Much CO2 Is Up There?

Estimations about how much CO2 is present in the atmosphere are up to 780 Gt of total carbon.  About 7 Gt is estimated to be added each year from all sources, of which the IPCC argues about 3.5 Gt (half) is man-made.  Since pre-industrial times the total amount has risen from about 280 ppm – parts per million to 400 ppm.

You may remember the IPCC believes CO2 stays up there for about 100 years, but there are other scientific calculations based on carbon isotope evidence and a much shorter time that the CO2 stays up there i.e. five to 10 years. They suggest that only four to five percent – about 0.05 Gt  of the total 780 Gt is derived from fossil fuel burning.

Source: http://www.co2web.info/ESEF3VO2.pdf
Note: The whole paper is an interesting read but page 13 lists the scientists who have published shorter “residence” time of CO2 in the atmosphere.

But even if that is not true or even near it, if we use the IPCC figure of 3.5 Gt per year being added each year because of humans, it’s still only 0.45% of the total carbon count. (780 Gt divided by 3.5 Gt).  In other words, 99.55% of greenhouse gases has nothing to do with human CO2 emissions, and the remaining 0.45% just happens to be equivalent to the 0.1⁰C warming which other non-IPCC aligned scientists have come up with.

See also:
 1. http://folk.uio.no/tomvs/esef/ESEFVO1.pdf
2.  http://donaitkin.com/the-matter-of-attribution-curry-vs-schmidt/

Another relationship between water vapour and carbon dioxide

Despite how much water vapour dominates the greenhouse gases as a primary factor, and the IPCCs own estimations about how much CO2 is actually being added each year to the total atmospheric content, carbon dioxide still remains the centre of attention.

One of the reasons would have to be the continued focus of the IPCC on promoting AGW – Anthropogenic Global Warming instead of looking at the whole of the climatic systems. Until they are removed as the leading authority on climate change and the matter placed back into the hands of actual scientists, the matter will continue to be political.

IPCC and Climate Alarm

How Climate Alarms Started

Updated 22 Feb 2017.
A fake image by climate sceptics of a Time magazine cover purporting global cooling from the 1940s has been identified and removed.

Curiosity about AGW – Anthropogenic Global Warming has been around for millennia. Even ancient Greeks debated whether cutting down forests would bring more or less rainfall. It was in 1859 that an English scientist first supposed that water vapour and CO2 – carbon dioxide trapped heat in the atmosphere. The idea was expanded in 1896 by a Swedish scientist who said that burning of fossil fuels such as coal added CO2 to the atmosphere and would raise the temperature of the Earth.

In the 1930s it was assessed that the US and North Atlantic regions had warmed significantly. In the 1950s some scientists started looking further into the possibility of AGW. In 1960 a young scientist established that the temperature was rising year by year.

An idealistic “new-age”, greenish mood began in the 1960s with young people protesting environment damage and smashing things to “save the planet”. Environmentalism picked up steam in the 1970s. Apparently some scientists started raising the stakes saying that dust and smog were clogging the atmosphere, blocking sunlight and cooling the world. Their analysis of Northern Hemisphere statistics alleged a cooling trend had begun in the 1940s.  It seems that most of these types of claims were media based.

The age of computer modelling had begun.  International programs began to assemble data. Expeditions across polar ice caps to retrieve ice cores started. Swamps were tested. Tree rings were analysed. By 1979 instead of cooling, computer models consistently showed a trend towards severe global warming. It was thought the planet was probably going to warm by about 3 degrees Celsius.

A study of the Greenland ice cores showed that large and sudden temperature changes had happened in the past, though these are now thought to be more regional than global. A new theory emerged that it only takes a small “trigger” to induce a catastrophic change to the global climate e.g. a change in the composition of the atmosphere.

Things suddenly started to look more serious regarding human survival. In 1985 the UN sponsored a meeting of scientists in Austria who concluded that increased greenhouse gases could cause nasty global temperature rises.  Some scientists such as Swedish activist and meteorologist Bert Bolin began agitating for something to be done to save the planet from greenhouse gases. Influential and rich businessmen such as Maurice Strong were involved.

By 1988 public concern at the time was rising including for example the hole in the ozone layer in Antarctica and how it might ultimately affect the worlds climate systems.

The IPCC

A number of people were eventually appointed to map out a framework for some kind of organisation to look into the matter and by 1988 the IPCC – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was created by the United Nations with the support of the United States.

Structure: It was deliberately framed as a political and bureaucratic organisation rather than scientists to control the research.
Purpose: Its stated purpose was to prepare reports based on available scientific information or assessments on all aspects of climate change and its impacts, with a view of formulating realistic response strategies.

IPCC comes under the UNEP – United Nations Environment Programme and the WMO – World Meteorological Office. It has direct input into the UNFCC – United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change which is an international treaty for stabilizing world greenhouse gas emissions

Mandate: On the surface it all sounds very noble, but the IPCCs mandate went on. It was not to study climate change in the round, or to look at natural as well as man-made influences on climate. It was to specifically find and report on any human impact on climate, and thereby make a scientific case for the adoption of national and international policies that would supposedly reduce that impact.”
See: http://climatechangereconsidered.org/abouttheipcc/

This is where I believe the whole system was flawed from the beginning. They zeroed in on only one potential cause of an observed change of global temperatures measured only over the last 150 years or so, some recordings of which might be considered dubious. By doing so and by continuing to do so they are unrealistically funnelling everyone’s focus into an area which may – or may not – be the real cause of the problem, if one actually exists.

Today the IPCC is a massive organisation but the leadership only has a small bureau of 34 people. These people are bureaucratic public servants not scientists themselves as such. The Panel itself has 195 members which meet every year and consists of representatives from various countries, usually government representatives but again, not necessarily scientists. The whole organisation by its structure and nature is bureaucratic and political, not scientific.

Given that the focus was now drawn to AGW, governments around the world started seeking advice to which the IPCC responded with various reports. Thousands of non-paid scientists from various scientific disciplines around the world were also drawn into it and contributed voluntarily as authors, contributors and reviewers, which they still do.

From these, the IPCC prepares:
Summary for Policy Makers: A guide for governments which converts the sometimes highly technical scientific writings into more easily understood language.
Assessment Reports: Published every five to seven years, the last one was the Fifth Assessment Report published in 2014.
Earth Summits: Such as those held at Rio de Janeiro, Kyoto, Bali, Bonn and Copenhagen between 1992 and 2009. These are also political by nature so of course any agreements between nations can be difficult to reach. In fact the Copenhagen Earth Summit is considered by many to have been a complete flop.

Growth of the IPCC

The IPCC stated making a name for itself with its first Assessment Report (AR) in 1990 which clearly stated that human activity was likely to be the cause of unprecedented global warming. Subsequent ARs have all highlighted mankind’s culpability and each new report has successively been more alarmist that the previous one.

In 1995 the IPCC allowed the convening lead author, activist Ben Santer to rewrite a section of Chapter 8 – Detection of Climate Change and Attribution of Causes in the Second Assessment Report. It was done in alarmist terms which said that “the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate”.

This is allegedly a complete opposite to what was actually stated in the conclusion to Chapter 8 by the scientific authors.   Santer declared he was only responding to comments on the draft from various governments, scientists and NGOs.

The world’s press, ever keen for alarmist sensation picked up on the theory of AGW. Politicians responding to media and public pressure picked up on it. It was picked up by the NGOs of environmentalist movements and by idealists. Over time, the world began to just accept anything the IPCC said as totally true – without question. The focal point for all things climate change related was now well and truly on AGW.

The IPCC today holds the esteemed position of being the world’s leading authority on climate change, yet technically it should only be on issues related to the potential of AGW activities.  Its summaries and reports of scientific papers are being read by governments, environmental and scientific organizations all around the world. Many regard these papers as the ultimate truth and use it to justify expenditure on reducing “dangerous greenhouse emissions”. Whether we actually need to do so for global warming is still debatable but it would be nice to reduce smog.

That by itself probably wouldn’t be too much of a worry if there were equally notable organisations to provide transparent, steadying, counter views by those who are looking at world’s climate systems as a whole. But any scientist or organization brave enough to put a hand up risks the incurring the wrath of the whole of the alarmist system, including public media and commentary which simply swamps any voice of dissent.

IPCC – Bias?

The material coming out from the IPCC is undeniably slanted towards AGW. They don’t try to deny it. There is little effort made to try and find other solutions. So is the IPCC biased? Technically yes though remember they still operate within their mandate. But let’s explore just a few examples that might point to it.

In 2010 the Dutch Government stated that the IPCC had a “tendency to single out the most important negative impacts of climate change” in its summaries to policymakers. Apparently they do highlight the positive aspects but they get drowned out by the negatives and mentioned less in the summary.

In 2014 a Dutch professor Richard Tol resigned from the Climate Panel because he believed the consequences of climate change were being systematically over-estimated and alleged it was more concerned with the environment lobby than the science.

Also in 2014 Dr Robert Stavins was a Co-Coordinating Author for AR5 – the IPCCs Fifth Assessment Report. He said that under IPCC rules, the dissent of one country is sufficient to grind the entire approval process to a halt unless and until that country can be appeased. As an example he said that during group deliberations, the assembled government representatives would only approve the text if certain “controversial” items were removed i.e. read uncomfortable for any single government. About 75% of the text was removed.

He went on to say, “I fully understand that the government representatives were seeking to meet their own responsibilities toward their respective governments by upholding their countries’ interests, but in some cases this turned out to be problematic for the scientific integrity of the IPCC Summary for Policymakers.”
You can read the full text here: http://www.robertstavinsblog.org/2014/04/25/is-the-ipcc-government-approval-process-broken-2/

Bottom line is that the IPCC is a by its nature a political body that must be considered  biased towards AGW. As such it is not only flawed in its approach to the problem of global warming, but unsuitable for use in its role as the leading authority for climate change advice to world governments on how to shape their environmental policies.

How Could It Happen?

Why is it that an organization tasked to focus on only one potential aspect of a potential global warming threat can become the ultimate accepted authority on all things relating to it?

Here are some theories based on known facts …

Environmental alarms about global climate change began to surface at a time when environmental sentiment was fashionable. Bucket loads of money started to become available in all sorts of ways to those who promoted the cause. There was superb marketing by the IPCC and a host of influential people willing to further the cause of AGW in some form or other. The idealistic took up the call. There was and continues to be strong coverage by an ever willing media for anything alarming or sensational.

Politicians and the bureaucrats who advised them simply didn’t have the scientific education or even enough scientific smarts to tell the difference between the actual scientific reports and the manufactured ones. They relied on what they were told. The same can be said of the general public who can be highly susceptible to political or media spin.

I believe that ordinary citizens by and large, habitually accept whatever information is presented by the media, at least in Australia. I know that’s a very general statement but unfortunately we still tend to trust the media to be factual.

And that can be at any level of our society. There was a prime example last year when an Australian Prime Minister reacted to a TV media news story by almost immediately calling for a Royal Commission. It was a gross knee-jerk reaction without checking further into the matter.

As the IPCC became the leading authority of climate change, then alarmist predictions multiplied. Few challenged them because they were coming from such august bodies, institutions and scientists regardless of their field.

The situation was made worse because the IPCC then and now still rely on computer modelling on just the last 150 years or so, an insignificant amount of time in climate time scales.

Let’s not forget that the use of computers to find solutions ultimately depends on the data that’s fed into it. There has undoubtedly been a temperature rise since industrialization but I wonder what the result would be compared to the last (say) 100,000 years if we take the Milankovich cycles into consideration?

By 2000 governments started to create policies to stop AGW, probably one of the most common ones to date is some kind of carbon emissions trading scheme which penalises those who emit dangerous gases.

By 2005 the number of climate sceptics prepared to start speaking out increased. By 2009 several pillars of support for AGW had started to fall, which will be examined in later posts. Two of the most striking perhaps was a finding by a High Court Judge in the UK who found 9 major errors in Al Gore’s, “An Inconvenient Truth”.

And in December 2009 an incident now known as Climate Gate surfaced with the news that the Climate Research Unit – CRU had been doctoring emails. This may have been blown way out of proportion by selective fact picking, but we’ll look at this again in due course. But when mud is thrown some of it sticks.

Scientists are human beings like the rest of us. There can be no doubt there are people on both sides of the debate that have been corrupted to some degree. The issue can provide funding for programmes, institutions and university departments, and also bring fame and influence. Today it has become evident that there has and continues to be a lack of scientific discipline and moral scruples by individual scientists as to what the true focus of science should be – to discover facts.

Regarding the IPCC – it is not my intention to cast felonious aspersions on the IPCC or to those that work within it or connected to it.   And at the end of the day, some of the material they receive from scientist sources must surely be either inaccurate or misleading. I am sure most of those people act in good faith and believe what they are doing is for the good of mankind.

But for reasons discussed above it’s why I have included them as being an untrustworthy source to cite in any debate about the actual cause(s) of global warming.

Sources:

1.    Book “Climate: The Counter Consensus” by sceptic Professor Robert M. Carter
2.    The Discovery of Global Warming: http://history.aip.org/climate/summary.htm
3. An Economic View of the Environment: http://www.robertstavinsblog.org/2014/04/25/is-the-ipcc-government-approval-process-broken-2/

 

 

Road Blocks to Sensible Discussion

Human Beliefs That Prevent Reasonable Debate

Before we start to get into the nitty gritties to various aspects of the climate change, it will be helpful to have some understanding of human belief systems e.g. how people think about things and how they behave when their core beliefs are disputed.

Sometimes it’s just not possible for two people or groups on opposite sides of an argument to get together and come up with a solution. Every individual to a more or less degree may not or will not compromise because of their inherent beliefs, often even when the opponent’s view is true or provable. They just don’t want to listen.

Beliefs

All humans have  beliefs which are basically concepts that we hold to be true. They might be  based on science or faith or both. We start to develop them from birth and use them to “see” the world and make sense of where we belong.

It’s against these that we judge everything happening around us. They also shape our thoughts and help us mentally cope with issues that are too big for us to comprehend in full e.g. religion, an afterlife, the universe and so on.

But there’s a downside.  Strong beliefs can cause bias and a strong desire to defend or even promote what we believe in. Some will even tell a little (or big) lie, exaggerate or engage in selective arguments to convince others.

Beliefs can and often are linked to emotions. Control of emotions is deep seated and not controlled intellectually so if someone threatens one of our beliefs we can often react negatively. It’s how heated arguments can develop even over the most simplest of things.  Intellect does not control the emotions but emotions can sometimes overrule intellect.

In some cases the belief in something is so strong that it’s felt to be necessary to change the “wrong” beliefs of others, even if that means using force – for their own good.

These sorts of behaviours  can come into play at any level of a given society from individuals to groups e.g. political parties or neighbourly disputes and can be a real stumbling block when it comes to sitting down and having a rational debate about an issue.

I’ll deal with a few further below and how they relate to climate change.

Tribalism

Whether we are consciously aware of it or not we are all affected to some degree by tribalism.  It’s imprinted in our DNA from about 2 million years ago when the beginnings of mankind first started walking around on two legs. Your best chance of survival then was to “belong” to a group. Even today we still feel the pull of tribalism, the most common being that of family.

Basically tribalism can be anything where everyone in the group has some kind of shared relationship, values or beliefs. We mostly don’t have tribes as such anymore.  Today it’s more subtle expressing itself as belonging to a country, a city, suburb or neighbourhood, a religion, a political party or a sports club for example.

Most of us have an inherent compulsion to defend our “tribe” in some form and to some degree. This can lead to a sinister side of tribalism – gang members, cults and causes. Too often there is a biased “us” and “them” attitude and a tendency to reject “outside” views.  In prehistoric times it meant treating strangers with suspicion or hostility.

To varying degrees people who “belong” to a group will defend their views, sometimes quite heatedly or even violently. Classic examples are the football riots we sometimes see on TV when the rioters side loses a match.

With climate change there are two “sides” of belief (believers and non-believers) which can attract the more ardent about the issue. A quick glance on an internet discussion forum or panel on TV can show how advocates on each side reacting negatively when an opponent questions what they hold to be true. And unfortunately each side will often treat opposing views with suspicion instead of considering if it has merit.

The Herd Instinct

Most of us usually don’t want to stick our necks out. Nor do we normally want to shoulder the responsibility for other people. Have you ever joined any kind of club? How many people do you see sticking their hands up when it comes time to change Committee Members?  There are some who do it as a kind of duty but it’s unusual to find someone who willingly becomes the leader year after year after year.

When I was a soldier I was taught in a Leadership Course that born natural leaders are extremely rare.  Few people actually aspire to be leaders. Many end up being a leader by circumstance. Nearly all are shaped by their own life history and character or maybe in pursuit of status or money rather than any innate characteristic.  They become good or bad leaders. Bottom line is that people generally want to be led – to let someone else carry the responsibility.

So how does this relate to climate change?

I would hazard that at some primal level we are happy enough to just listen to our leaders and for them to run things.  Consider how many people actually regularly attend Local Council meetings?

Apart from politics, today we are being led by numerous doyens of our respective allegedly scientific societies that AGW – Anthropogenic Global Warming is a fact and that we must do something about it to save the planet and thus our way of life. There are highly educated people – scientists, meteorologists – all sorts of people.  And not just a few either.  There’s hundreds if not thousands of them.  And there’s been some pretty convincing computer modelling.  Even governments around the world are accepting it. TV programs constantly tell us it’s a problem …

So it must be true – right? …

I mean who in their right mind would go against that!

So we start to ignore those people bleating from the sidelines that some or all of it is untrue. There’s got to be something wrong with them right?

Except that our leaders each have their own beliefs and all too often, depending on the strength of those beliefs that if you go looking for something, you’ll inevitably find it.  Consider too that historically the doyens of the day have been wrong before. And they could be wrong again at least on some of the issue of climate change.

And we should not summarily disregard an opposing viewpoint.

Resistance to Change

Another human trait I learned about during my military career was that humans dislike change. Once someone has made their mind up it’s often very  hard to shift them.  This can apply not only to individuals but also to groups e.g. a political party.  If an individual or group have been actively  supporting (say) the alarmist side of climate change, then to change their view can result in loss of face.

In political parties, their opponents will castigate them for “back flipping” and the fallout could be loss of confidence in a “wobbly” government.

First Impressions

First impressions are powerful. Whenever we meet, see or learn something new your first impression is going to be the one most likely to stick.  It can sometimes be hard to shift even if it can be proved wrong later.

In my case I watched Senator Al Gores video, “An Inconvenient Truth”. I was instantly a convert to the alarmist cause and was delighted to be able to find and watch his supplemental video.

It wasn’t until many years later that I found out by chance surfing on the internet that the video was found to be full of untruths by a High Court Judge in London. That’s when I started to question things. I wondered that if this fellow of such renown could be so wrong, could there be others?

I know of other people who simply laid the fault at Senator Gore’s door but not the alarmist cause itself. Sometimes we should think a little deeper than just at surface level.  Too often we are seeing both parties of the Australian Government sticking to obviously failed policies, because the loss of face would be too much to bear.

Apocalypse

Mankind has forever been fascinated by the prospect of Armageddon – apocalypse – catastrophilia – the end of the world as we know it.  The Four Horsemen and the Apocalypse is carried in the New Testament of the Bible.

The human psyche is understandably drawn to any subject that threatens our continued existence attracts continued existence.

It must be said that the issue of Climate Change certainly catches more than its share of space in the public domain.  Books and movies attract blockbuster crowds even today. At some level it is essentially about causing changes to the Earth that threatens the way we live.

Doomsday pronouncements are nothing new. As recently as 1972 a 170-page book titled, “Blueprint for Survival” was published by respected environmentalists of the day propounding a comparable imminent catastrophe. It sold highly and in the opening pages listed 38 of Britain’s most honoured scientists, economists and environmentalists who endorsed it plus 18 Professors, two Nobel Laureats and seven Fellows of the Royal Society. Pretty impressive stuff. Doomsday was going to be sometime after the year 2000. By that time hydrocarbon fuel sources and a whole host of metals would be exhausted. There would also be extensive deserts.

Kind of sound familiar?

The cause? It was not global warming.  It was all about over-population.

Conclusion

It’s not hard to see how people and even governments (after all they are made up of individual people) can be emotionally attached when it comes to the issue of AGW.  Unfortunately it can get in the way of intellectual debate.

Politicians are the LAST people who should be making decisions on climate change and making policies such as Carbon Trading because of the potentially False God of AGW. They are not only prone to their own individual beliefs but also those of the shrillest advocates in their electorates.

It’s my belief that the only way that the issue can be solved  at least in Australia, is for a Royal Commission to be held where evidence has to be presented under oath, and only the actual facts are considered under proper Rules of Evidence.