Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW), depending upon your perspective, is either the worst scandal in the history of science (and quite possibly the largest financial and political scam in human history), or else it is the most urgent and compelling existential threat to the safety of humanity itself, and even the very future viability of our planetary environment, such is the polarized nature of the debate surrounding this particular geopolitical issue as it has evolved over the last 25 years.
Those who fall into the first category, so called “sceptics” of CAGW, are far more likely to consider that the alarm raised about prospective catastrophe from rising CO2 is a purely political ambit rather than sound science, and that (more tellingly) any and all abatement measures and “renewable” energy investments for allegedly “preventing” CAGW are, at best, an appalling misappropriation of taxpayers’ funds for the dubious distinction of absolutely no measurable benefit (and often even demonstrable harm) to the planetary environment. Many of these same naysayers would also contend that the fundamental ideology surrounding CAGW (whether intentionally or otherwise) has facilitated various global banking cartels (Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Bank of America, et.al.) and their cronies to engage in some of the most outrageous predatory and speculative practices, with bald-faced and unconscionable profiteering by creating what is, to all intents and purposes, an artificial multi-trillion dollar carbon credits market trading in an odourless, colourless, and largely intangible gas.
Additionally, there remains the perverse prospect of an even more lucrative bonanza in the offing for these predatory investment banking leviathans and other aligned hedge funds through trading in ‘carbon derivatives’, a “market” that would be nigh on impossible to monitor or even begin to appropriately regulate, and that would have the potential to actually destabilise the entire global economy if it were allowed to further propagate unobstructed.
If this were not sufficient cause for scepticism, the political regulatory efforts in Western democracies promoted by CAGW alarm have had the (possibly unintended) effect of completely (and some would say fatally) distorting global energy markets through artificial taxpayer subsidies of inefficient and non-viable technology (e.g. wind and solar) to the detriment of potentially more efficient and therefore financially responsible options for future energy generation (e.g. LNG, 3rd and 4th generation nuclear). These efforts run entirely contrary to the once highly valued and long established principles of due diligence and fiscal responsibility that should ideally underpin any considerations of economic feasibility in guiding these future energy generation strategies, not to mention actually jeopardizing the viability of many of our most vital present day industries (and thus further reducing employment security) at a time of increasing vulnerability in the global economic landscape.
Somewhat ironically, as is often the case in the law of unintended consequences, I would also argue that this very mal-investment effectively subverts and undermines a more widespread investment in these aforementioned, and even other as yet unexplored (or possibly even undreamt of) and likely even far more innovative and efficient future energy generation technologies by diverting our collective attention and substantial taxpayer subsidies to a blind alley of failed technologies that are not, and will never be, fit for purpose. To further drive home the futility of these alleged strategies, and the attendant opportunity cost wrought by such wasted investment, over the last 20-25 years or so, by conservative estimate over $U.S.1.25 Trillion and rising has been invested to produce energy generation from intermittent renewables (predominantly wind and solar) to provide less than 2% of global energy demands, with very little of that actually replacing fossil fuel based power generation to any meaningful degree, and with the mitigation of an insignificant amount of CO2, especially when compared to massive rises in emissions in China and India as they rapidly seek to industrialise.
Global Warming alarmists have, through word and deed, generally adhered to the irrational belief (or at least the pretence of this belief) that their sceptical opponents are either wilfully ignorant “deniers” of the impending catastrophe of rising CO2/Greenhouse gases, or alternatively that they are some kind of quasi-organized group in the pay of oil companies like Exxon, whose sole aim is to discredit what they contend are well-formulated scientific arguments and overwhelming consensus in favour of the urgent need for drastic reductions in CO2 emissions, which should be undertaken regardless of any probable adverse social or economic consequences these reductions might entail.
This “denier” imputation (replete with intensely prejudicial Nazi undertones, i.e. “holocaust denier”) is merely designed to stigmatise their opponents and stifle any rational debate from those sceptical of their evidence, and thereby to negate any need for the cautious implementation, or for that matter even any objective scrutiny, of the policies enacted in the name of supposed “Climate Change” mitigation. My personal experience suggests that neither of these baseless assertions has any foundation in fact whatsoever, regardless of whether the contentions of CAGW believers are eventually vindicated or not. In fact, it has been a notable personal observation that, more often than not, quite the opposite is true, with many environmental or “Green” organisations and even individual alarmist scientists by contrast being heavily funded and substantially subsidised by “Big Oil” as shown in the following link:
The Religious Nature of Global Warming Belief
Those sceptical of CAGW doctrine recognise what they deem to be the elements of fundamentalist or cult-like religious fervour and zeal prevalent in the belief system of many CAGW believers -a faith complete with its own pagan deity (“Gaia”), “original sin” (industrialisation and capitalism), “redemption” through “atonement and ritual” (carbon taxation, windmills and solar panels), “deliverance” to a “promised land” of “sinless harmony” (sustainable living in an eco-paradise), and “hellfire” and “damnation” for deviating from the faith (catastrophic warming, droughts and floods, tornados and cyclones, melting poles and rising sea levels, and various other putative tipping points to eco-catastrophe). It is therefore not surprising that it has evolved into a movement that utilizes many of the stock-standard evangelizing techniques, from the extensive use of deceptive terminology, to the presentation of ambiguous and/or cherry-picked “evidence” to support outlandish claims, through false representations of certainty and consensus, to the use of circular reasoning and logical fallacies, and to the attempted indoctrination of the un-educated and children (the former through glossy advertorials, and the latter through “Common core” curriculum indoctrination), while most especially demonstrating an extensive reliance on the most flagrant and unabashed fear mongering.
This notion of the cult-like status of this alarmist doctrine is further reinforced by the reliance on a hierarchical and often charismatic leadership (Al Gore, Rajendra Pauchiri, Michael “Hockey Stick” Mann), by the use of repetitive drills and mantras (“97% of scientists agree that …..”), and through severe consequences visited upon former acolytes or others for non-belief (Lennart Bengtsson and Bjorn Lomborg as the most recent examples). Like many a belief-based system, they utilise a broad call to “action” that is largely vague and unspecified (primarily in order to further entrench oneself within the group rather than achieving real goals with tangible benefits) used as justification for a doctrine upon which to base and structure one’s entire life (i.e. “sustainability”). Tellingly, there is also an extensive use of guilt-tripping and manipulation, with ultimatums in the form of impending tipping points and dire consequences for failing to act within a compressed time frame (“if we don’t act now the environment will collapse within 5 years” or “the Adelie penguins will die out if we don’t act now” or “mankind will become extinct, or be reduced to a few breeding pairs in Antarctica unless……”, etc). Plainly, there is a demonstrable need in these acolytes of the faith for some form of confessional or act of self-sacrifice to atone for our alleged sin. This is backed up by constant pleas for money and donations for “the cause”, the zealous recruitment of followers (“Earth Hour”, “Earth Day” and other sham exercises in community proselytising), and the policing of peers who seem to be at risk of deviating from the faith. All these various ingredients and techniques are present to a greater or lesser degree among those who proselytise about Global Warming as a dire threat to mankind, and their followers.
Troublingly, there also remains within CAGW alarmism’s belief structure a more than liberal dose of overt anti-humanism through the influence of the discredited doctrine of Malthusianism (the infamous “Limits to Growth” being the “holy book” on the subject), that skeptics would argue undermines any pretensions alarmists may have had to logical thought or pragmatic reasoning in dealing with any alleged anthropogenic catastrophe. Their belief system is further fed by a modicum of what some have termed “noble cause corruption”, by fulfilling a basic human need to be seen to be a saviour in any perceived crisis, which manifests itself even to the extent of wilfully ignoring the distinct possibility that such a “crisis” may not actually exist in reality. As a consequence of this need for unabashed adulation and/or martyrdom, these alarmists tend to also remain completely oblivious to the potential consequences of any actions they actually propose, as well as to the social upheaval and economic ruin likely to ensue from them, nor to the utter futility of most if not all of the supposed measures designed to address this putative (and some might suggest entirely speculative) warming.
In conclusion, were these reputedly scientific claims regarding the imminent danger of CAGW as solidly founded and as irrefutable as has been claimed, it would surely be no barrier to the desire for alarmists to engage in open and vigorous debate. To the contrary, such alleged certainty should have motivated alarmists and believers in CAGW to seek out the uncommitted and the sceptical at every turn to validate their theory, and thereby justify the enormous diversion of taxpayer funding allocated in its name. However, this has been notably absent in the approach of CAGW advocates, who serially hide behind alleged authority and bogus claims of consensus, imperiously suggesting that the science is settled even before any open debate has actually been had.
Is CO2 really the evil it is painted to be by those espousing CAGW alarmism?
CO2 remains the most unjustly vilified naturally occurring compound in our planetary environment, a gas which is not only an essential part of life, but the basic building block of the carbon cycle upon which all carbon-based life forms depend. At or below 200 ppm CO2 in our atmosphere, photosynthesis is greatly inhibited and all life on Earth would go into sharp decline, and below 180 ppm would rapidly cease to extinction. Some facts that strengthen this concept are as follows:
• CO2 is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. Plants absorb CO2 and emit oxygen (photosynthesis) as a waste product. Humans and animals breathe oxygen and emit CO2 (respiration) as a waste product. Carbon dioxide is a nutrient, not a pollutant, and all life– plants and animals alike– benefit from more of it. All life on Earth is carbon-based and CO2 is therefore an absolutely essential ingredient. When plant-growers want to stimulate plant growth, they introduce more carbon dioxide (in Greenhouses- 1000 ppm or more). A reduction of 20 ppm of CO2, assuming such a reduction were achievable, would reduce crop yields by 5-10% and place in jeopardy, either directly or indirectly, the staple food sources of many of the world’s most impoverished people.
• CO2 that goes into the atmosphere does not stay there, but continuously recycled by terrestrial plant life and earth’s oceans.
• Of the 186 billion tons of carbon from CO2 that enter the Earth’s atmosphere each year from all sources, only 6 billion tons are from human activity. Approximately 90 billion tons come from biologic activity in earth’s oceans and another 90 billion tons from such sources as volcanoes and decaying land plants. Anthropogenic CO2 from fossil fuel production has only been of sufficient quantity to influence global temperatures significantly since 1945, and for the first 30 years of that period temperatures exhibited a cooling until the mid 1970’s in spite of this alleged influence. Since 1997, 57% of the total cumulative anthropogenic emissions of CO2 since the Industrial Revolution have been released, and during that period no statistically significant warming has occurred, a period of more than 18 years of stable global temperatures contrary to theoretical expectations.
• At just under 400 parts per million CO2 is a minor constituent of the Earth’s atmosphere–less than 4/100ths of 1% of all gases present. Compared to former geologic times, the Earth’s current atmosphere is CO2-impoverished. In some geological periods, CO2 levels approached 20x the current concentration without leading to “runaway warming” or “tipping points” as predicted by the IPCC and global warming advocates.
• Even allowing for the “Greenhouse effect” as it is posited being correct, the absorption and down-welling radiation effect is a logarithmic relationship, with diminishing returns as concentration rises, the greatest impact occurring from 0-20 ppm, then from 20-40 ppm, etc. In the absence of speculative water vapour amplification (which has not been demonstrated to occur empirically in our planetary environment), the current rate of 3 ppm per year would cause a doubling in ~130 years time with a maximum influence on raising temperatures of ~ 1.2 deg C, over a time frame in which fossil fuels are likely to be rendered obsolete by technological advancement without any, or at least minimal, government intervention, and in particular in the absence of ill-conceived subsidies or nonsensical climate treaties between nations, nor in the form of punitive tax regimes or trading schemes of any persuasion.
• 98% of all free CO2 is already found in the oceans- i.e. the oceans contain 50 times the concentration of CO2 as the atmosphere.
• the air/sea gaseous equilibrium and Henry’s Law (the solubility of CO2 decreases with temperature rise, and vice versa) which determined the actual CO2 content in the atmosphere. Additional anthropogenic sources are minute in comparison, and there are other potential, largely unquantifiable sources contributing to rising CO2 levels since 1958 (when Mauna Loa observatory was established) including:
1. volcanic activity,
2. increased decay from biomass,
3. increased methanobacterial activity,
4. changes in oceanic eutrophication,
5. temperature changes in rivers
6. ocean outgassing due to rising temperature from whatever cause.
• If we are in a global warming crisis today, even the most aggressive and costly proposals for limiting industrial carbon dioxide emissions and all other government proposals and taxes would have a negligible effect on global climate
• CO2 negates the effects of air pollution on plant growth and photosynthetic rates. It also helps plants resist diseases through promoting positive changes in plant physiology, anatomy and morphology.
• CO2 negates the effects of Ozone on plant growth
• CO2 enrichment increases crop yields, particularly of C3 plants (wheat, rice, etc) by ~40-60%, but to a lesser extent also C4 plants (maize, etc) by ~20%. It also enhances the quantity and potency of beneficial substances such as anti-oxidants and Vitamins within the plants themselves.
• CO2 promotes plant hormones that stimulate cell division, cell elongation and protein synthesis. It also promotes hydrophobic compounds such as fats, oils and waxes (lipids), which are a vital component of plant health.
• CO2 enrichment improves the water efficiency of plants and improves tolerance to water-stress where supply is less than optimal.
• CO2 enhances N2 fixation in legumes, which improves soil quality.
• CO2 enhances plant root production and mass, and enhances biotic activity within the root zone (rhizosphere).
• CO2 helps beneficial bacteria thrive which sequester carbon and help fix N2 in soils and anaerobic water environments. Earthworms also respond to CO2 enrichment through plant-mediated mechanisms and improve soil aeration, etc.
• CO2 enhances the production of the protein Gomalin by soil fungi, which improves the stability of soil aggregates and decreases potentially toxic elements to soil micro-organisms and plants.
• Rising atmospheric CO2 has significantly greened the Earth over the last 30 years as evidenced by Japan’s JAXA satellite observations, a significant negative feedback that has implications for increasing the sink for atmospheric CO2 to be removed from the atmosphere countering mankind’s emissions, in improving the overall efficiency of the water cycle, for the maintenance of soil integrity and improving plant growth and crop yields, etc.
CAGW: A case of systemic confirmation bias or merely botched messaging?
As the cause of Catastrophic Global Warming alarmism founders in the face of its inherent inconsistencies with respect to real world observations, it is timely to examine just what the motives of the purveyors of this doctrine may have been, and what mistakes have been made which have increasingly undermined the faith of the general public, while simultaneously strengthening the resolve, not to mention the credibility of their opponents.
If one were to assume for the moment, for the sake of argument, that CAGW is indeed a real and present danger to mankind, and that Greenhouse Gas Theory is soundly grounded “settled science”, then the tragedy is that climate scientists have completely mishandled the situation by committing an endless series of faux pas, exaggerations, misjudgments and transparent deceptions which have been repeatedly exposed by those dedicated to holding them to account, and therefore have only themselves to blame for failing utterly to persuade, let alone convince, the uncommitted of the validity of their warnings of imminent catastrophe.
In addition, the following seeks to explore some of the main points of contention re: CAGW, which have called into question this particular hypothesis and its claim to being at the vanguard against an urgent threat to the future viability of mankind:
The adverse publicity and damage to reputations caused by this scandal remains the most significant of many sceptic turning points that have mitigated against the broader acceptance of the doctrine of CAGW (Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming) as proposed by the IPCC, and most prominently by climate researchers James Hansen, Michael Mann, Phil Jones and the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia. The leaking of emails between many of these interconnected researchers in 2009, and again in 2011 by an unknown insider at the CRU, highlighted a culture of bullying, ostracising and marginalizing of dissenters, and vilification of scepticism among fellow Climate scientists. This stifling and ridiculing of inquiry was particularly evident whenever the validity or reliability of data upon which these scientists relied to base their assertions of alarm was called into question. Some of the more illuminating examples include:
- Enabling “groupthink”/manipulating and artificially aligning opinion –
#0714 Phil Jones – on finding authors for the IPCC AR4 report-
“Getting people we know and trust is vital, hence my comment about the tornadoes group.”
#4133 Johnathan Overpeck – IPCC review. Doing what is necessary for the IPCC
“Synthesis and Implications for Climate change combine ideas from the different time periods – it gives paleoclimate studies more of an unified feel, as if it were a real discipline rather than a bunch of people doing their own time-period thing. That’s necessary for IPCC, and necessary for the outside community to see as well. So I would vote for keeping the general order, but eliminating the overlap and inconsistencies in ways that seem most reasonable.”
- *Politicising science-
#2009 Keith Briffa – writing draft of paleo IPCC AR4 chapter-
“I note that my box on the lapse rates was completely and utterly ignored which may explain to some extent my reaction, but I also think the science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run.”
- Lack of objectivity/healthy skepticism-
#1656 Douglas Maraun – on how to react to skeptics.-
“How should we deal with flaws inside the climate community? I think, that “our” reaction on the errors found in Mike Mann’s work were not especially honest.”
#2009 Keith Briffa – draft of paleo IPCC AR4 chapter.
“I find myself in the strange position of being very skeptical of the quality of all present reconstructions, yet sounding like a pro greenhouse zealot here”
Kevin Trenberth –
“The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.” –
- Dubious Methodology-
#3234 Richard Alley “Taking the recent instrumental record and the tree-ring record and joining them yields a dramatic picture, with rather high confidence that recent times are anomalously warm. Taking strictly the tree-ring record and omitting the instrumental record yields a less-dramatic picture and a lower confidence that the recent temperatures are anomalous.”
Phil Jones– on cherrypicking how data from disparate sources were grafted together to give the most desired result to confirm the picture most persuasive to their conclusion-
“I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temperatures to each series for the last 20 years (i.e. from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.”
#4133 Johnathan Overpeck – IPCC review-
“..what Mike Mann continually fails to understand, and no amount of references will solve, is that there is practically no reliable tropical data for most of the time period, and without knowing the tropical sensitivity, we have no way of knowing how cold (or warm)the globe actually got.”
- Bullying journals/peer review system failure-
Michael Mann – part of Penn State’s renowned climate scientist Michael Mann’s apparent campaign to delegitimize the journal “Climate Research” and, by extension, any doubt over his side of the debate-
“Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal.”
Phil Jones – suggesting to Michael Mann the lengths Jones was prepared to go to in order to keep papers out of the IPCC report that exhibited evidence or conclusions contrary to the consensus-
“I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin [Trenberth] and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”
B) Michael Mann’s ‘Hockey Stick’-
This “landmark” study single-handedly overturned all prior foundation knowledge of natural climate cycles formulated in the decades previous to it, published in hundreds of peer-reviewed papers in the field of climate science research, and is in this reviewer’s opinion an example of politically motivated ideology attempting to bypass the basic tenets of objective science. Again, the Climategate emails tell the story better than any opinion piece could hope to, by showing quite succinctly that Dr Mann used his pre-eminent position in the field to manipulate the data in paleoclimate studies to conform to his predetermined result, in an attempt to remove (or at least mollify) the somewhat inconvenient “Medieval Warming Period”. This was in order to add legitimacy to his contention that modern late 20th century warming was anomalous and outside the natural climate variations that have been seen throughout the Holocene interglacial period. His peers were aware of the shortcomings of his methodology but appear to have fallen into line behind the study rather than insist via peer review on corrections to the paper, or modification of the data and/or conclusions. Climate Audit’s Steve McIntyre showed that the “Hockey stick” graph depended heavily on unreliable data, especially samples of tree rings from bristlecone pine trees, the growth patterns of which were often not responding to temperature at all. It was also shown to have depended on a statistical filter that over-weighted any samples showing sharp rises in the 20th century.
Below is a graphic representation of Oxygen 18 proxy data, which is more representative of the previous mainstream consensus regarding natural global climate cycles, prior to the advent of the Michael Mann “Hockey Stick”:
Those defending the various Hockey-stick graphs brought in a lake-sediment sample from Finland (Tiljander), which had to be turned upside down to show a temperature spike in the 20th century; they then added a sample of larch trees from Siberia that turned out to be affected by one tree that had grown faster in recent decades, perhaps because its neighbor had died, or else some other localised effect causing its growth to be an outlier from the general growth trend of the region. Recently, this Siberian larch data was finally corrected by the University of East Anglia’s Keith Briffa to remove all signs of hockey-stick upticks, showing that McIntyre’s criticisms were completely valid, even if they were not prepared to concede it publicly.
To quote from Climate Audit’s take on proceedings:
“As CA readers are aware, the “big news” of Mann et al 2008 was its claim to have got a Hockey Stick without Graybill’s bristlecone chronologies (camouflaged as a “no-dendro” reconstruction). CA readers are aware that this claim depended on their use of contaminated modern portion of the Tiljander sediments and that the original claims for a “validated” no-dendro reconstruction prior to 1500 fell apart, even though no retraction or corrigendum to the original Mann et al (PNAS 2008) has been issued. As we learned (from an inline comment by Gavin Schmidt in July 2010), Mann et al have conceded that these claims fell apart, but did so using a “trick” (TM- climate science.) Instead of acknowledging the false assertions at the journal in which the assertions were made (PNAS), they acknowledged the failure of the no-Tiljander no-bristlecone reconstructions deep in the Supplementary Information of a different paper (Mann et al, Science 2009) – a trick for which the term “Mike’s PNAS trick” is surely appropriate (though the term “Mike’s Science trick” also merits consideration.)”
Further information re: the debunking of this study can be found here:
Including evidence that much of the statistical significance of proxies used in Mann’s study were drawn from cherrypicking 12 larch trees in Yamal, Siberia, with one of those trees being an outlier (YAD061) that should have been discarded from the sample, since it skewed results disproportionately:
Also, witness the over 800 studies gathered here showing that the Medieval Warming Period was not only real, but it was global and of a similar, if not greater, magnitude than the modern Warming Period which can be found here:
Some examples of well-known climate researchers own words validating sceptical assertions regarding the motivation and methodological manipulation evident in this “landmark” study are found below:-
- Michael Mann
“It would be nice to try to “contain” the putative “Medieval Warm Period”.”
- #300 Bo Christiansen – on Hockey stick reconstructions
“All methods strongly underestimate the amplitude of low-frequency variability and trends. This means that it is almost impossible to conclude from reconstruction studies that the present period is warmer than any period in the reconstructed period.”
- #0886 Jan Esper on his own reconstruction – also hidden decline
And the curve will also show that the IPCC curve needs to be improved according to missing long-term declining trends/signals, which were removed (by dendrochronologists!) before Mann merged the local records together.
- #4007 Tim Osborne
“Also we have applied a completely artificial adjustment to the data after 1960, so they look closer to observed temperatures than the tree-ring data actually were”
- Tim Osborne #2347
“Also, we set all post-1960 values to missing in the MXD data set (due to decline), and the method will infill these, estimating them from the real temperatures – another way of “correcting” for the decline, though may be not defensible!”
- #3234 Richard Alley
“Unless the “divergence problem” can be confidently ascribed to some cause that was not active a millennium ago, then the comparison between tree rings from a millennium ago and instrumental records from the last decades does not seem to be justified, and the confidence level in the anomalous nature of the recent warmth is lowered.”
Finally, the Wegman Report into the validity of the now infamous ‘Hockey Stick’ paper included some of the following interesting and insightful observations:
In addition to debunking the methodology used in the ‘Hockey Stick’ global climate reconstruction paper, Wegman goes a step further in his report, attempting to answer why Mr. Mann’s mistakes were not exposed by his fellow climatologists. Instead, it fell to two outsiders, Messrs. McIntyre and McKitrick, to uncover the paper’s errors.
Wegman uses a technique called social-network analysis to examine the community of climate researchers. His conclusion is that the coterie of the most frequently published climatologists is so insular and close-knit that no effective independent review of the work of Mr. Mann is likely or possible.
“As analyzed in our social network,” Mr. Wegman writes, “there is a tightly knit group of individuals who passionately believe in their thesis.” He continues: “However, our perception is that this group has a self-reinforcing feedback mechanism and, moreover, the work has been sufficiently politicized that they can hardly reassess their public positions without losing credibility.”
He added: “However, it is immediately clear that the Mann, Rutherford, Jones, Osborn, Briffa, Bradley and Hughes form a clique, each interacting with all of the others. A clique is a fully connected subgraph, meaning everyone in the clique interacts with every one else in the clique”.
“One of the interesting questions associated with the ‘Hockey Stick Controversy’ are the relationships among the authors and consequently how confident one can be in the peer review process. In particular, if there is a tight relationship among the authors and there are not a large number of individuals engaged in a particular topic area, then one may suspect that the peer review process does not fully vet papers before they are published. Indeed, a common practice among associate editors for scholarly journals is to look in the list of references for a submitted paper to see who else is writing in a given area and thus who might legitimately be called on to provide knowledgeable peer review. Of course, if a given discipline area is small and the authors in the area are tightly coupled, then this process is likely to turn up very sympathetic referees. These referees may have coauthored other papers with a given author. They may believe they know that author’s other writings well enough that errors can continue to propagate and indeed be reinforced.”
In the case of the Michael Mann’s “Hockey Stick” paper, Wegman and his team found the “clique” of gatekeepers to be no more than just 43 scientists, the majority of whom were wholly inter-dependent and inter-related.
Marcott et al (2013) attempted to resuscitate the zombie-like Hockey stick with one of it’s own, only to be shot down within weeks of publication by various sceptic blog sites who demonstrated fatal methodological errors that even the authors tacitly accepted in their concluding statements within the paper, when they stated: “[The] 20th-century portion of our paleotemperature stack is not statistically robust, cannot be considered representative of global temperature changes, and therefore is not the basis of any of our conclusions.” One wonders therefore why they bothered to publish if their statistical methodology was not robust enough to legitimise their conclusions. Yet another example of post-modern science in action.
C) Reliance on modeled data over observations-
Modelled data is demonstrably inferior to objective observations in most (if not all) instances in the various fields of science. This is because computer-modeled simulations rely on controlling and correctly quantifying all of the important parameters within a system. If the assumptions (i.e., values of various parameters) upon which a model is based are flawed or inaccurate, then the predictions or prognostications pursuant to that model are also likely to be erroneous- “Garbage In Garbage Out”. Even within a closed system, such as electrical circuitry for example, it is well known that modeling is only useful in directing hypotheses, and are not a substitute for experimental data and observations. Climate is a chaotic, stochastic, open system of far too great a complexity to model even with the most sophisticated supercomputer, and such important parameters as the influence of clouds are very poorly understood and essentially unquantifiable.
Even more egregious is the propensity of climate modelers to ignore any observations that deviate from the models predictions, or else they seek to apply convoluted rationalizations of these observations and then hindcast to retrofit the data. Needless to say such shifting of goal posts or back-adding parameters not modeled correctly does little to inspire confidence in the underlying theory, nor to be persuaded by its application to alarmist prognostications drawn from them. At time of writing, there is no scientific paper extant that shows that modern global warming is due to high climate sensitivity and positive water vapour feedback that does not rely on flawed computer modelling. This is especially important, given that the effect of CO2 as a “Greenhouse Gas” is logarithmic in nature (according to the GHG hypothesis), and thus there is no imminent or even likely “catastrophe” from slowly rising CO2 as diminishing returns occur at progressively higher concentration, unless there is actually significant amplification by water vapour causing a runaway positive feedback to enhance this otherwise minor effect. Observations tellingly suggest that this in fact is not occurring, and as such this theoretical amplification is merely speculative, failing among other things to take into account phase changes in the water cycle and cloud formation and albedo effects resultant from this effect.
The following graph shows the various global temperature databases compared to CO2 concentration rise:
The following link shows observations regarding the decline in atmospheric water vapour content (precipitable water) and relative and specific humidity contrary to modeled predictions:
Changes in OLR (Outgoing Long Wave Radiation) with water vapour content:
Changes in TSI and solar influences over the course of the last century showing clear increase in solar activity since the Maunder Minimum:
Further reading for more in depth perspectives can be found here:
D) Lack of data transparency, stifling /avoiding debate, FOI avoidance–
Climate scientist have, since the beginning of the global warming/climate change hysteria, steadfastly refused to debate prominent skeptics such as renowned atmospheric physicists such as Richard Lindzen, well regarded climatologists such as Roy Spencer, Judith Curry, etc. in what I regard as a most unscientific manner. They have instead sought to deride them (by branding them with ad hominems such as “failed”, “discredited”, “incompetent”, etc.), marginalize them, ostracize them, and most damningly by comparing them to Holocaust “deniers”, etc. Prominent mathematician, skeptical scientist and statistician, Steve McIntyre, has been principle in holding these scientists to account, particularly for poor statistical methodology through his “Climate Audit” blog. After his landmark debunking of Michael Mann’s original “Hockey Stick” paper (with Ross McKitrick- see above), climate scientists sought to hide their raw data from his scrutiny. In spite of repeated FOI requests, it eventually took more than 3 years to yield raw data in a manner that other fields of science would provide openly as a matter of course in justifying their conclusions. Some Climategate email quotes are enlightening as noted below:
- Phil Jones
“So, acceding to the request for this to do the review is setting a very dangerous precedent.”
- Michael Mann
“Personally, I wouldn’t send (Stephen McIntyre) anything. I have no idea what he’s up to, but you can be sure it falls into the “no good” category.”
- Phil Jones
“We also have a Data Protection Act, which I will hide behind.”
- Phil Jones
“Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith regarding the latest (IPCC) report? Keith will do likewise…Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? We will be getting Caspar to do likewise”
- Phil Jones
“Mike Mann refuses to talk to these people and I can understand why. They are just trying to find if we’ve done anything wrong.”
- Michael Mann
“In our discussion of possible participants in Bern…the last two on the list (with question marks) would be unwise choices because they are likely to cause conflict than to contribute to consensus and progress.”
E) Adjustments and unreliability of the global temperature record/ non-contiguousness, loss and poor siting of weather stations/UHI and altered land use –
Climate scientists who advocate alarmist views of CAGW discount the effects of Urban Heat Island Effect on the global temperature record, in spite of most long temperature records being found in and around urban areas (some of which have grown dramatically in size, density and population) or are located near or around airports. Urban areas can have a temperature gradient across its transect of up to 5 deg Celsius, an amount which is highly likely to be significant as an increasing proportion of the globe has become urbanized over the course of the 20th century. Urban areas become hotter due to restricted convection due to high-rise structures, an increase in highly reflective surfaces (eg. glass), increases in highly conductive surfaces (eg. metal), and a high concentration of heat producing machinery (such as air-conditioning and vehicles), among other reasons. All of these factors are independent of atmospheric CO2 concentration or the “greenhouse effect”. Not that the effects on temperature measurement due to altered land use are confined purely to urban areas, with widespread deforestation, land clearing, modern farming practices and other factors adding to the perceived warming as measured by adjacent weather stations.
Additionally, many weather stations are situated adjacent to airports, whose heat generating airliners and other machinery increase measured temperatures artificially, especially when comparing the technology and air traffic capacities of modern airports to those of 80 years ago. It is also estimated that over 80% of weather stations in the continental US (disproportionately over-represented in the global temperature record) are either sub-optimally or poorly sited. In addition, very few of these records are continuous or contiguous, with questionable adjustments progressively made to previous readings without any independent validation. Also, the switch from glass/mercury thermometers to digital/electronic thermometers has introduced a warming bias due to: 1) more instantaneous reaction to temperature fluctuations, 2) minimisation of human observer error, and 3) increased recording frequency compared with those measurements reliant upon some human observation, that therefore can cause significant discrepancies between these readings when done “side by side”. As eminent German meteorologist, Klaus Hager explains:
“For eight years I conducted parallel measurements at Lechfeld. The result was that compared to the glass thermometers, the electronic thermometers showed on average a temperature that was 0.9°C warmer. Thus we are comparing – even though we are measuring the temperature here – apples and oranges.”
See more at:
Compounding this further, there was a massive reduction in weather stations utilized in the GIStemp database in the 1990s, which some referred to as “The Great Dying” of weather stations in the GHCN database. Analysis of these weather stations culled from the data shows a lack of homogeneity in their selection where far greater numbers of coastal stations were retained, a greater loss of rural stations compared to urban ones, as well as a propensity to increased representation of those at lower latitudes (i.e. more equatorial) and also those at lower altitudes which had the potential to introduce biases into the data for which researchers may not have adequately corrected, as shown here:
Some other links of interest in highlighting the influence of adjustments on the global temperature record include:
F) Missing tropospheric hot spot
This is the signature phenomenon predicted by all the CAGW-based computer models simulating climate, based on Greenhouse Gas Theory which imply that CO2 concentration rises are the main driver of global temperature rises. This then leads, according to theory at least, to positive water vapour feedbacks which are the mechanism ultimately leading to catastrophic rises in temperature of between 3-6 deg C for doubling of atmospheric CO2. This is intrinsic and necessary as the basis for any surmised high climate sensitivity causing “catastrophic” temperature rise, as opposed to a low climate sensitivity of between 0.6-1.2 deg C with negative water cycle feedbacks due to phase changes of H2O, which seemingly fits better with the objective measurements of radiosondes, satellites, etc.
The general circulation models, as these computer simulations of global climate are termed, require that there should be a distinctive signature warming of the tropospheric layer of the atmosphere about 8km above the surface of the tropics, due to the predicted rise in water vapour which is the principal heat trapping “Greenhouse Gas”, which would thereby according to this theory magnify the effect of rising CO2 concentrations. Climate scientist, Steven Sherwood of UNSW attempted to resolve this conflict between predicted and observed temperature data in 2008, using homogenized temperature data by using wind shear data to create an artificially constructed hybrid “measurement” rather than rely on radio-sondes that had been calibrated to measure temperature accurately at various altitudes. If that wasn’t sufficiently bizarre, he then produced a graphic similar to the above where the zero temperature scale was coloured bright red/orange to appear hotter than it was to the untrained eye.
A further study in 2015 by the same Steven Sherwood with Nidhi Nishant, further ‘homogenizes’ temperature data with wind ‘vector’ data into a similar hybrid ‘measurement’, and then uses the statistical method of kriging to smooth and fill in ‘gaps’ in the data. This would seem to be highly suspect methodology given that the originator of kriging methodology, geoscientist/mathematician Prof. Danie Krige contends that kriging interpolation techniques should only be relied upon when using statistics from the same population group and only if adjusting results by a known constant. Kriging is therefore considered to be largely unsuitable for complex data in a mixture of population groups, such as those found within our planetary environment: such as over the land, over the oceans, or over the poles, for example, while similarly different latitudes, elevations, or atmospheric pressures should not be combined in this technique. This paper thus alleges to ‘find the hotspot’ through somewhat dubious techniques unsuited for the assigned task, yet even then the putative hotspot is at the wrong altitude (1-2km higher than models predict), doesn’t correlate with independent temperature data, and also shows significantly less stratospheric cooling than models suggest should be occurring.
According to theory, this mechanism is proposed to warm the tropics through LWR (Long Wave Radiation), allegedly backradiated to the surface in an enhanced fashion due to rising CO2 levels and then amplified through water vapour’s “greenhouse effect”. A contrary view, however, by Lindzen and Choi (2011) contends that this effect is prevented by alterations in low-level cloud cover reflecting more sunlight back to space, an example of a negative (and therefore not positive) feedback, which they claim to show overcomes any putative positive feedback from water vapour increase. This lack of a crucial expected observation casts doubt therefore on projections of >3 deg C of warming for a doubling of atmospheric CO2 from 280ppm to 560ppm. The lack of any statistically significant global warming for the last 16 years adds weight to sceptical contentions that this assertion must be fundamentally incorrect. The various observations databases compare to models in the following graphic and in the Douglas et al. paper:
G)Dubious Attribution of Ocean Warming-
Kevin Trenberth– “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.” –
Warming of the oceans has been a last gasp fall-back position for climate scientists unable to explain this “travesty” of heat missing from the global energy budget (over 70% “missing heat” according to calculations derived from flawed climate models) that should be present in the atmosphere. NZ Climatologist Kevin Trenberth claims that this heat (0.7 x 1022 Joules per year or 7,000 Quintillion joules) has found its way into the deep ocean below 2000m, in spite of there being no known demonstrable physical mechanism in existence to explain how heating the atmosphere (via GHG’s) can possibly warm the ocean to any significant depth, especially against the prevailing temperature gradient and beyond the barrier of the thermocline (200-1000m in the deep oceans), as well as against the grain of net loss of heat occuring thermodynamically from the oceans to the atmosphere, not vice versa. It is important to note that, on average over a 24hr period, the world’s oceans are 0.8 degC warmer at the interface between the surface and the atmosphere directly above it, thus the second law of thermodynamics dictates that net transfer of energy is from the warmer body (the ocean) to the colder body (the atmosphere), not vice versa as alarmists contend.
The issues regarding the more likely fate of Trenberth’s so called missing heat can be found here:
Of note, the only reasonably accurate way to measure ocean heat content with any semblance of accuracy at all are via around 3,600 Argo buoys deployed over the global oceans (although data is only available for the relatively short period since 2003, and this equates to a coverage of one buoy per 20,000 km2), which have error margins individually of around 0.1 deg C, while unconvincingly claiming to be able to measure trends of the order of 0.01 to 0.04 deg C collectively. The vagaries of Argo buoy measurements are discussed here:
According to CAGW theory, GHG’s in the atmosphere “back-radiate” Long Wave Infrared (LWIR) radiation, which then supposedly warms the ocean. However it is a known, absolute scientific fact that this LWIR radiation can only “warm” the first few microns of the ocean surface layer (15/1000’s of 1mm- less than the width of a human hair), while shorter wavelengths (Short Wave, SWIR, UV and visible light) from the sun (and hence related to solar activity, not CO2) can penetrate to considerably lower depths (up to 200m for UV). LWIR, if it affects the ocean at all, is theoretically only through the mechanism of enhancing evaporation by breaking the surface tension of the ocean surface, thus releasing water vapour (and therefore latent heat) into the atmosphere- in other words enhance its cooling ability).
Increases in solar activity (i.e. the only input from above that can thermodynamically transfer net energy to the oceans) are therefore able to penetrate and permeate deeper into the ocean through the effects of Short Wave Infrared Radiation (SWIR) and Ultraviolet radiation (UV), and as such these are considerably more capable than LWIR to impact on deeper water warming due to their much greater penetration at depth (Note- Visible light can also penetrate, but it is not capable of generating significant thermal energy). It is also important to note that solar heating of the oceans also causes the surface waters to become denser, enhancing it’s ability to still further release heat to the atmosphere, while near surface warming from any alleged “Down-welling” LWIR causes the atmosphere near the surface to expand further (i.e. therefore becoming less dense) and to therefore rise away from the ocean:atmosphere interface, thereby making it even more difficult to transfer any of this near surface heating from the atmosphere to the ocean, even in the event this was thermodynamically possible, or even remotely significant in terms of magnitude given the relative heat capacities of the two media.
The only other possible mechanism seemingly of warming waters at this depth other than variations in solar activity would seem to be fluctuations in undersea volcanism and through other breeches in the ocean floor crust along tectonic plates, whose impact on heating oceans at depth is completely unquantifiable, but is highly likely to be at least somewhat significant in magnitude, and is also equally unlikely to be perfectly constant. This is but one of several significant uncertainties not accounted for by climate scientists in their perceptions of climate drivers and is discussed in more detail in the link below:
The following graph shows that short wavelengths, visible and UV penetrate the ocean, and not long wave infrared:
This graph shows wavelength versus depth.
This graph shows the absorption co-efficient.
A Problem of scale in the chain of causation?
The vast oceans of the planet have largely been ignored as having a great influence on climate, in all the politically motivated focus on minute changes in atmospheric CO2 supposedly due solely to anthropogenic sources. Water in the oceans are highly mobile, with 270 x the mass and thus 1,073x the heat content (270 x 3,993/1,005- *see below for relative heat content per unit mass) of the atmosphere.
That in and of itself implies that the oceans are in fact the main controller of our climate by virtue of three orders of magnitude greater heat capacity by mass, thereby storing far more solar energy than our atmosphere could possibly maintain. Our atmosphere is therefore seen to be but a small byproduct of the ocean, an outgassing as well as a medium of heat exchange between the oceans and space.
Water in our planetary oceans is the main distributor of heat around the planet via ocean currents. Overall, 2/3 of the Earth is covered by water at an average depth of 4km, and therefore the oceans receive 66% of the incident sunlight and heat. The monsoons come from the ocean, as does the rain which ends droughts.
In further support of this contention, it should be noted that the global distribution of warming trends around the planet (via the Berkeley Earth ‘BEST’ database) are highly concentrated at the interface between oceans and land, i.e. the areas within 50-100km of the ocean, while inland areas by contrast show largely flat (or even often negative) temperature trends over the last 70-80 years.
The data supporting these compelling arguments being a significant issue, and in contradicting the hypothesis of GHG warming of the oceans to any significant degree, as outlined below, is that the heating capacity of the ocean is ~3,300 x greater than the atmosphere per unit volume, and that the volume of the world’s oceans is so vast that there is insufficient atmosphere (and with insufficient variation in temperature) to be physically capable of increasing the global ocean temperatures by any measureable degree.
By way of giving an idea of the relative mathematical proportions, see below:
For every tonne (1000kg) of water per unit volume (1m3), there is ~ 1kg of air for the same volume (1kg of air to ~1.2m3)
Heat capacity of ocean water 3,993 J/kg/K*
Heat capacity of air 1,005 J/kg/K*
Therefore: 1kg Air (~1.2 cubic metre) needs 1,005 J of energy to increase 1 deg K (or C) to heat a little over 1 cubic metre of air.
While: 1000kg (1 tonne) of water (~1 cubic metre), therefore needs 3,993,000J of energy to increase temperature by 1 deg K(or C) to heat 1 cubic metre of seawater.
Mass of the Oceans: Approx. 1.384 x 10^21 KG.
Mass of the Atmosphere: Approx. 5.148 x 10^18 KG.
Ratio: ~270 to 1.
The oceans contain:
Approx. 1,500,000,000,000,000,000,000 Litres of water.
To heat it by a mere 1˚C, for example, requires:
Approx. 6,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 Joules of energy.
After taking into account the relative masses and heat capacities of air and water, the atmosphere would have to be heated to ~4,000 deg C to affect a ~1 deg C change in ocean temperature. Conversely, a less than 0.001 deg C change in ocean heat content can cause a 1 degree C rise in atmospheric temperature. This would tend to suggest that minute fluctuations in ocean temperatures are much more likely to influence significant atmospheric temperature rise, rather than vice versa as alarmists would seem to contend.
Such is the volume of water found in the world’s oceans, that the current energy generation capacity of the entire world (including the entirety of global coal, oil, nuclear, solar, wind, hydro, etc- 4.74 Exajoules in 2008) would take more than 12,660 years to heat the ocean by 1 deg C, even if that power was used directly (assuming for the sake of hypothetical argument that it was physically possible to do so, and with 100% efficiency of heat transfer in the first place, and also importantly allowing for no compensatory increase in heat loss from the ocean through evaporation, or from thermal expansion, etc. -otherwise the time frame would obviously be greatly extended far beyond even that), which stands in stark comparison to alarmist contentions of heating the oceans indirectly (and therefore at much lower thermodynamic efficiency) through the putative effects of CO2 emissions and purported LWIR “back radiation” (see calculation below).
Total world energy generation 2008- (Source: Wikipedia)
474 Exajoules (4.74×1020 J =132,000 TWh)
Total energy required to heat oceans 1 deg K (or C)
6,000,000 Exajoules (6×1024 J)
Therefore: 6,000,000 EJ/474 EJ pa = 12,600 years
H) Alarmist Behaviour/Bullying, etc-
The behaviour of leading climatologists and their propaganda websites, “Real Climate” and the inappropriately named “Skeptical Science”, has been a prime source of scepticism among non-committed, scientifically trained persons interested in validating the ideology of CAGW. This is particularly so for those from aligned fields such as the various earth sciences (particularly geology), engineering, astrophysics, etc. Instead of addressing sceptical concerns with data and observations, those prominent in the alarmist camp have systematically avoided debate and scrutiny of their work, ridiculed even polite inquiry, vilified dissenters, and even in some cases ruined academic careers. A particularly common tactic is to present sceptical arguments using various so called “strawmen” (i.e. putting forth the weakest possible versions of arguments in order to misrepresent opponents in a debate) in a vain attempt to shore up their belief system, to the point where climate science has veered dangerously close to politically motivated ideology and beyond to outright pseudo-religious zealotry. This culture of bullying is the antithesis of how objective science is meant to operate and, importantly, I would emphasize that this is irrespective of whether alarmist arguments are eventually borne out to be correct or not.
Furthermore, the pervasive use of imprecise nomenclature, such as the term “Climate Change” instead of the somewhat less nebulous term “Global Warming”, is particularly disappointing, being the stock in trade of the pseudo-scientist with a faulty paradigm to sell. Clearly, the use of such vague terminology embraces any and all possible outcomes in climate, from hotter to wetter to colder to drier to milder and so on. This conveniently removes the obstacle of falsifiability, giving no criteria by which a hypothesis can be disproved. This is further exacerbated by the curious stance adopted by climatologists in reversing the onus of proof in scientific discourse, in suggesting that opponents are obliged to disprove the CAGW hypothesis they are proposing and in invoking a dubious precautionary principle to justify “action” on climate change (even though global energy poverty would have more disastrous real consequences should global temperatures decline with dwindling solar activity predicted in the next 30 years than any perceived theoretical issue derived from a warmer world). Alarmists are also curiously lacking in detailed propositions as to what this “action” might realistically entail, since altering global weather in any material way is beyond the current technological capability of mankind, and reductions in emissions are most likely unachievable (as Kyoto demonstrates) with even with the most draconian of measures, as China and India develop exponentially toward pervasive industrialisation.
Arguments failing the standards and rules of logic, such as arguments of authority (belief based on the prevailing “expert” opinion, even though many well-known and reputable experts such as Judith Curry, Roy Spencer, John Christy and Richard Lindzen continue to dissent from the alarmist view) and arguments from ignorance (i.e. “we can’t explain the warming any other way so it must be CO2, and it must be anthropogenic”) have been used repeatedly, but as a consequence they fail to inspire confidence among the more discerning critics. These sorts of argument suggest that alarmists have very little hard evidence to support their contentions beyond faith and belief.
False attributions of consensus and certainty have been made since the beginning of the CAGW meme in the mid-1980’s, using such misrepresentations as the statement of “97% of scientists agree” which is made repeatedly in the press and by alarmists in defense of their cause. This much vaunted figure was actually garnered from a mere 2 question online survey, responded to by 3,125 people, of whom only 77 scientists’ answers were included in the calculation of the final percentage figure (i.e., 75 out of 77 in the affirmative for each question). The questions asked were so vague and disingenuous, not even mentioning CO2 or GHG’s specifically, that even many of the most hardened sceptics would have answered in the affirmative to both questions. The 31,000 PhD’s, physicists, earth scientists and prominent members of various scientific fields (including Nobel prize winners) who signed a petition stating plainly that there was no agreement as to the validity of CAGW alarmism was, by comparison, to carry little weight in the minds of the faithful.
*31,000+ scientists disavowing AGW, including over 9,000 Ph.D’s can be found here:
Also of interest, to counter the view that scepticism is embraced by a marginal or an insignificant minority:
*1350+ peer reviewed research papers supporting sceptical arguments
*100 eminent scientists including Nobel winners and IPCC lead authors contesting Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW-i.e., human caused and catastrophic) who wrote the U.N.
*Over 1000 scientists worldwide disavowing CAGW signed onto this US Senate report
*100 plus scientists rebuke Obama as ‘simply incorrect’ on global warming, March 30, 2009
[Note: Many of the scientists are current and former UN IPCC reviewers and some have reversed their views on man-made warming and are now skeptical. Also note Nobel Laureate for Physics Dr. Ivar Giaever signed. Giaever endorsed Obama for President in an October 29, 2008 letter. See:Portfolio.com]
*Sixteen Concerned Scientists: No Need to Panic About Global Warming: “There’s no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to ‘decarbonize’ the world’s economy”.
*Nobel Prize-winning physicist Ivar Giaever, elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and a supporter of President Obama in the last election, publicly resigned from the American Physical Society (APS) with a letter that begins: “I did not renew [my membership] because I cannot live with the [APS policy] statement: ‘The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.’ In the APS it is OK to discuss whether the mass of the proton changes over time and how a multi-universe behaves, but the evidence of global warming is incontrovertible?”
*Eminent Prof. Hal Lewis resigns from the American Physical Society, writing:“The appallingly tendentious APS statement on Climate Change was apparently written in a hurry by a few people over lunch, and is certainly not representative of the talents of APS members as I have long known them. So a few of us petitioned the Council to reconsider it. One of the outstanding marks of (in)distinction in the Statement was the poison word incontrovertible, which describes few items in physics, certainly not this one. In response APS appointed a secret committee that never met, never troubled to speak to any skeptics, yet endorsed the Statement in its entirety. (They did admit that the tone was a bit strong, but amazingly kept the poison word incontrovertible to describe the evidence, a position supported by no one.) In the end, the Council kept the original statement, word for word, but approved a far longer “explanatory” screed, admitting that there were uncertainties, but brushing them aside to give blanket approval to the original. The original Statement, which still stands as the APS position, also contains what I consider pompous and asinine advice to all world governments, as if the APS were master of the universe. It is not, and I am embarrassed that our leaders seem to think it is. This is not fun and games, these are serious matters involving vast fractions of our national substance, and the reputation of the Society as a scientific society is at stake.”from: NoTricksZone by Pierre Gosselin http://notrickszone.com/
*One of the fathers of Germany’s modern green movement, Professor Dr. Fritz Vahrenholt, a social democrat and green activist, decided to author a climate science skeptical book together with geologist/paleontologist Dr. Sebastian Lüning. Vahrenholt’s skepticism started when he was asked to review an IPCC report on renewable energy. He found hundreds of errors. When he pointed them out, IPCC officials simply brushed them aside. Stunned, he asked himself, “Is this the way they approached the climate assessment reports?”
Dr. Vahrenholt decided to do some digging. His colleague Dr. Lüning also gave him a copy of Andrew Montford’s “The Hockey Stick Illusion”. He was horrified by the evidence of sloppiness and deception he found therein. Well-connected to Hoffmann & Campe, he and Lüning decided to write the book, “Die kalte Sonne” [The Cold Sun], which cites 800 sources and has over 80 charts and figures and examines and summarizes the latest science. Its conclusion: the so called “Climate catastrophe” is called off. The science was over-hyped.
*Dr.Lawrence Solomon, once a believer in AGW, realized belatedly, that he was wrong, because he found out that there were too many eminent Professors who were skeptics. He decided to write a book, titled: “The Deniers” and he explained that he was sad about the enormous corruption among the doomsday “scientists”, especially when they were in the management of institutions like universities and weather-departments.
*Like Professor Emeritus Robert Tennekens, a Dutch professor in meteorology, who after a 10-year stint lecturing in the U.S. was asked to lead the Dutch meteorological department in the Bilt, Holland. After noting the corrupt way his staff were following the I.P.C.C.’s computer-modeling, he tried to stamp this out,only to find that many of his staff and colleagues had powerful friends in the then Dutch government, and so he was sacked from his job as a consequence.
*Professor David Bellamy, the well known and renowned British Botanist was also sacked from his position when he decided to speak out against the AGW propagandising on the B.B.C. It is clearly anathema to scientific principles, and tantamount to corruption, when honest people dare to speak out for the truth (as they perceive it) only to suffer from the loss of their job/career though a healthy difference of opinion.
The list goes on, of experts in their respective fields, whether Murry Salby, Bob Carter, Ian Plimer, Nils Axel Morner, et al. who have suffered loss of tenure, loss of income, vilification, derision and/or abuse, or have endured being systematically ostracised and marginalised in their professions due to their failure to toe the party line and fall in with consensus views on CAGW. How many of their fellow scientists have been intimidated into silence by this dogmatic insistence upon unquestioning devotion to the alarmist doctrine? This is, in fact, an entirely unhealthy state for science to have found itself, let alone for it to flourish, as unfettered scepticism is the single key ingredient in scientific rigour and accountability, not to mention that the overriding motivation in any scientific endeavour should always be directed to the relentless search for the truth, rather than subservience to a politicised or activist narrative.
I) Historical Perspective-
In further support of sceptical opinion regarding the lack of validity of the CAGW hypothesis, it is similarly plain from cursory examination of the Vostok ice cores from Antarctica:
and also from examining the data from the Greenland GISP2 Ice Core analyses:
in concert with independent proxy data from around the globe, that the temperature since the last glacial period ~11,000 years ago has varied widely naturally over the entire Holocene interglacial period till the present day, without any possible influence from anthropogenic activity. Clear peaks coinciding most recently with the known Minoan Warming Period (3,300 yrs BP, i.e. Before Present), the later Roman Warming Period (2,150 yrs BP) and finally the Medieval Warming Period (1,100 yrs BP) have preceded the current rise in temperature, which might be termed the Modern Warming Period (150yrs BP till present), for the sake of convenience.
The early Holocene, called the Holocene Climate Optimum, was a period of atmospheric temperatures well in excess (probably between 2 and 6 deg C) of those found today, yet this cannot be attributed to human activity or to CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, nor to any other known effect that climate computer models can simulate or attribute. Also, within the early Holocene the world’s oceans were probably 0.7°C warmer on average than today 8,000 BP, and more regionally, Northern Hemisphere ocean temperatures between 9,000 BP and 7,000 BP were likely around 2.5°C+/-0.4°C warmer than the late 20th Century (Rosenthal et al, 2013). There were also very clear and quite rapid swings in temperature with periods with cooling of the poles, increased tropical aridity and major atmospheric circulation changes notable during the periods 9,000 to 8,000, 6,000 to 5,000, and 4,200 to 3,800 BP, these cooling periods are in addition to the aforesaid warming periods mentioned previously, as well in the intervals between abrupt cooling phases (Mayewski, et al.- Quaternary Research 62 (2004) 243-255). These unexplained climate changes were often very rapid in onset and independent of CO2 variability, thereby calling into question the idea of a stable, non-fluctuating global climate as proposed by Mann et al in his (in)famous “Hockey Stick” paper.
In addition to warming the northern oceans, the Earth’s precession cycle also moves the Inter-tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). The ITCZ is a zone of warm rising air and high precipitation. This zone follows the sun, so when the Earth was closest to sun in the northern summer 10,000 BP, the ITCZ was farther north and the Northern Hemisphere tropics received more rain. Currently the ITCZ is roughly centered on the equator (5.3°S to 7.2°N). In Africa, as everywhere over land, it moves a lot from summer to winter. However, it stays south of the Sahel, at about 15°N. This process contributed to the Sahara region becoming a desert roughly 5,000 BP as the ITCZ moved south, as opposed to the grasslands and lakes found in the region in the early Holocene. An et al. have also found that the peak monsoon precipitation event moved from northern China 10,000 BP to Southern China by 3,000 BP. This suggests that China has been getting progressively cooler and drier over the last 10,000 years.
Climate and climate change are long term processes. Looking long term, it is clear the Earth, and especially the Northern Hemisphere, is cooler today than 7,000 BP and over this particular time frame we are in a cooling trend. A pictorial representation of the climate of the last 18,000 years is found here:
For those who suggest that Greenland ice core proxies may not be representative of a global temperature trend, they are in good agreement with Vostok ice cores (in Antarctica at the opposite pole) across the last 120,000 years as shown below:
Further back in the geological record, the case for CO2 induced warming, as opposed to the other way around (i.e: a rise in CO2 occurring as a result of temperature rise), has poor correlation. When looking at longer term lower resolution ice core data, (Note- trends are likely more valid here than actual ppm correlation which is likely to be underestimated by the methodology), and that shows that rises in temperature are poorly correlated as a consequence of CO2 rise, but CO2 rise is more closely correlated (with an 800 year lag) to temperature rise, implying increases in CO2 as the result of temperature rise are due to outgassing from oceans (with possible additive increases in plate tectonics) rather than as a causation and “driver” as CAGW doctrine implies. Just one further “inconvenient truth” as an example of this is that, at the end of the Eemian interglacial, temperature fell steadily for thousands of years before CO2 levels fell at all. The argument that a small warming at the start of an interglacial causes a CO2 release which causes a large warming is one that has been tested and found entirely wanting. An excellent essay on the topic is found here:
Ice cores in fact consistently demonstrate this 800 year lag in CO2 rise following temperature, which can be seen in this analysis here:
While the Pliocene was 3-4 degrees warmer than present, with CO2 levels at 450ppm, a wider view finds all variations of warming and cooling unrelated to CO2 measurements. The Eocene-Oligocene transition, for example, was marked by the Antarctic ice sheet forming (or at least expanding) rapidly. CO2 level was around 750-800 ppm. The expanding qualifier was added because some experts consider the Antarctic ice sheet actually formed much earlier when the CO2 level was even higher at 1000-1050 ppm. The growth of this Antarctic ice sheet caused average Oligocene global sea level to be about 180 feet lower than mean Eocene values. The ice sheet reduced in size (and sea levels rose) but didn’t disappear during a warm period in the late Oligocene when the CO2 level was around 550 ppm (but reducing slowly to the Miocene transition). Another glacial period marked the transition from the Oligocene to the Miocene. CO2 levels declined towards today’s level (or lower) in the Miocene despite the fact that the Miocene was significantly warmer than the Oligocene. So therefore: high CO2 correlated with warmth, high CO2 correlated with ice age development, low CO2 correlated with warmth, low CO2 correlated with ice age development.
In further evidentiary support of this lack of correlation between CO2 levels and global temperatures, in the graph below CO2 levels are compared to Temperature over the last 600 million years, with the grey shaded area showing the zone of uncertainty for CO2 levels in prehistory:
The work of Murry Salby is highly illuminating in this regard, showing that there is no correlation between CO2 and temperature at all despite a perfect match in the computer models, there is in fact a perfect correlation between CO2 and the integral of temperature. This fact provides compelling evidence that CO2 rise is a consequence, not cause of temperature rise. As immediate temperature changes in the thin atmosphere are proportional in the first order to sunlight intensity, the integral of temperature is total incident radiation and as most falls on the ocean, corresponds to warming, specifically of the oceans. Additionally, the fact that 98% of the CO2 is in the oceans and thus a prima facie causation for CO2 rise, utilising equilibrium and Henry’s law as the mechanism of exchange.
As a consequence, CO2 as a primary driver of climate has very little evidence to recommend it, with the exception of merely the correlation of rising atmospheric CO2 (as measured at Mauna Loa observatory near Hawaii, observations dating only since 1958) with global temperature rise. This rise in temperature has increased at precisely the same rate since the Dalton solar minimum prior to 1880 (in spite of admissions by alarmists that CO2 emissions by man were only significant enough to influence climate after 1945) up until 1998, when global average temperature levelled off considerably against predictions, making even that correlation somewhat tenuous. In an effort to confirm the theory of CO2 as a driver of temperature, Antarctic Law Dome Ice Core data, which is inherently of low resolution (and underestimation of real values) compared to modern readings, was grafted onto the modern record to form an exponential curve, seemingly validating anthropogenic causation and correlation with temperature. This grafting of low resolution ice core data with high resolution modern observational data is not justifiable scientifically, and has been dissected in the article found here:
This indefensible action in grafting together incompatible data in such a fashion, as shown in this analysis, is made somewhat more questionable by details of 90,000 readings of atmospheric CO2 taken directly since 1812, which confirm readings taken globally of wide variability and up to above 450ppm, all the higher readings of which were discarded as invalid, in a case of confirmation bias and curve fitting to give a preordained result. When other methodologies with higher resolution and greater accuracy are superimposed, however, a different (though admittedly incomplete) picture emerges of possibly much greater CO2 variability than is claimed, and a startling lack of correlation between CO2 and temperature.
Crucially, if CO2 rise beyond 400ppm is to be seriously considered as a problem likely to adversely affect global climate and potentially the future prosperity of our society, one must first establish whether a warmer global climate would necessarily negate or compromise the flourishing of human civilization. In spite of many unsubstantiated claims to the contrary, the warmest periods in the Holocene interglacial have uniformly been those in which civilization has thrived, whereas colder intervals have been marked by disastrous impacts on the health and viability of various natural ecosystems, and human cultures, societies and empires. Researchers have, for example, identified five episodes over the past 6,000 years when dramatic changes occurred in Egypt’s mammalian community, three of which coincided with extreme environmental changes as the climate shifted to more arid conditions. These colder, drying periods also coincided with upheaval in Egyptian society, such as the collapse of the Old Kingdom around 4,000 years ago and the fall of the New Kingdom about 3,000 years ago. There were three large pulses of aridification as Egypt went from a wetter to a drier climate, starting with the end of the African Humid Period 5,500 years ago when the monsoons shifted to the south. At the same time, human population densities were increasing, and competition for space along the Nile Valley would have had a large impact on both animal and human populations.
These colder, drier intervals have also previously led to the demise of the nearby Hittite empire in Anatolia (modern day Turkey) at this same time (A 2013 study of data from coastal sites in Cyprus and Syria showed evidence that a 300-year drought began around the beginning of the twelfth century B.C., coinciding with the Late Bronze Age collapse. A drought of this magnitude would have caused crop failures and widespread famine, as well as trade disruption across the Ancient Near East), while it was also likely a highly significant factor in the decline and fall of the Roman Empire and the subsequent period known as the Dark Ages in Europe in the period from around 400-800 A.D. In the Late Antique Little Ice Age (536 A.D to 630 A.D), this coincided with the establishment of the Justinian plague, the collapse of the Sasanian Empire, large scale migrations from the Asian steppe and Arabian Peninsula due to inhospitable climate conditions for subsistence, the spread of Slavic-speaking peoples across Eurasia, and to various political upheavals in China.
This generally colder climate era was followed by the relative prosperity of the Medieval Warming Period, which saw the treelines in the north of Siberia and the Northwest Territories of Canada tend much further north of their current northernmost limits, and at much higher altitudes also, suggesting a more benign and generally warmer climate within the Arctic circle conducive to promoting growth of these trees, many species of which are quite temperature sensitive (e.g Siberian larch). This era also included the Norse colonisation of Greenland, from around 980 A.D to 1430 A.D, and it also saw grapes grown several hundred kilometres north in England from there present northernmost limits, and figs and olives were grown routinely in regions that would now be unsuitable to sustain them. Not that this era was universally beneficial to all regions of the globe, given that this era also saw episodes of extreme aridity in what is now California, and in much of the Western half of North America, including two epic megadroughts lasting well over a century in this region in ~800-950 A.D and again in ~1050-1200 A.D. By contrast Lake Eyre, an inland “lake” in Australia that usually tends to be totally free from water for the majority of the time, appears in sediment studies to have been far more consistently completely filled with water and therefore teeming with wildlife throughout this period compared to its infrequent latter day periodicity.
When this era dwindled, it once again led to gradual global cooling which culminated in the lead up and aftermath of the Maunder solar minimum, a period known as “The Little Ice Age”. This era of generally declining temperatures and more frequent episodes of harsh cold for the Northen Hemisphere was arguably the coldest sustained period since the last glacial period 11,000 years BP, and this mini-Ice Age contributed to such inauspicious events as the Black Death, the Great Irish Frost of 1740 and the French Revolution, and which in addition significantly influenced the course of the Napoleonic Wars and the American War of Independence.
All of these events were conspicuously influenced at various times by the unduly harsh, colder climate in the Northern Hemisphere during this era, and this in turn directly influenced the general populace in these areas through greater privation from poor crop yields (due to shorter growing seasons, frost damage, crop failure, etc.), increased sickness and disease, and more prevalent drought and famine, which cumulatively led to a significant decline in European (and quite likely global) population due to increased death rates during this period of highly adverse weather conditions. Even in the Southern Hemisphere, where the greater proportion is covered by vast oceans which serve to ameliorate the effects of colder global temperatures, the classical period of Mayan civilisation may have been forced into inexorable and precipitous decline by naturally derived climate change through prolonged and severe drought during the period leading up to the Medieval Warming Period prior to 900 A.D, then recovering somewhat during somewhat more the benevolent climate in the Medieval Warming Period, only then to succumb to the double blow of Spanish conquest and the more extreme climate associated with the Little Ice Age in the late 17th Century.
Almost certainly the coldness of the global climate, felt most acutely in Northern Europe, was at least one driving factor in motivating the Age of Discovery in the 17th and 18th Century, as European nations ventured across the oceans, seeking to establish trade routes to obtain various exotic foods and goods from these more temperate and tropical outposts. Europeans (particularly the Irish) also sought to resettle many of their number in these far flung regions, in spite of the dangers and hardships involved, due in some measure to more palatable climates compared to the inhospitable conditions found at home.
Also of note and contrary to alarmist contention, episodes of extreme weather such as severe storms, cyclones, tornadoes and the like have not significantly increased in number and severity. As global temperature have no doubt climbed to some degree naturally throughout the 20th Century, one might theoretically expect an increase in severity due to increasing kinetic energy and sea surface temperatures accompanying any warming, regardless of its causation. This seems to have been offset due to a lessening of the temperature gradient between the poles and the equator, and the reduced likelihood and frequency of extremely cold air masses admixing with extremely warm air masses to create intense storms. The only demonstrable difference seen as a result of extreme weather in the modern era is that greater population density leads to greater monetary loss (offset somewhat if calculated as a percentage of GDP) from any episodes of climate disruption, and being made more conspicuous by greater and more forensic media coverage. This contributes to a siege mentality among the general populace when they are confronted with even “normal” climate events, which are perceived rather than realistically founded weather “extremes”.
J) Putative Solutions-
Finally, when analyzing the merit of a particularly contentious argument of the magnitude of CAGW, and the validity of the science that lies behind it, one must also make a non-partisan appraisal of the proposed solutions to the alleged crisis, in order to assess whether there is a rational approach being advocated that is congruent with the level of alarm and urgency suggested by advocates. Unfortunately, this is where CAGW is most vulnerable to criticism since the “solutions” propose to pursue technology that fails the most cursory examination.
a) Wind and Solar energy generation:
Wind and solar power are given prominence as supposed large scale, base load alternatives to efficient fossil fuels like natural gas, oil and coal. Both technologies suffer from their irredeemable intermittency that intrinsically makes them unsuitable for the provision of 24/7 base load power. They also introduce unwanted and dangerous instability into power grids, in both voltage and generated power, while delivering often a fraction of their capacity factors (~15-20% on average, and note that averages say nothing of the predictable delivery of power at a given moment in time- an important concept where these modes of generation fail hopelessly).
All power distribution systems need to be able to cope with varying load, and in most cases this is supplied by “spinning reserve”, that can be brought on stream very quickly. Thus, one needs a constant power input, from coal, or hydro, or nuclear in order to maintain the spinning reserve to keep pace with load changes, and maintain the frequency at 50Hz (60Hz in US territories). The frequency is very important, not only as a time signal, but because for example a lot of medical equipment relies on that frequency for its operational accuracy.
In the case of solar and wind, we have another variable supply, which adds another level of complication on an inverse square law basis. Solar and wind produce a Direct Current output that must be converted to Alternating Current at the right frequency and in sync with the main supply frequency. The main supply is, of course, used as a reference signal, but what happens to wind and solar supply, when that signal is not present?
One also cannot merely compare costs 1:1 between base supply and the add-on supply (even then the costs are far higher than fossil fuel equivalents), because one always need that base supply to provide the reference frequency and to cover for diurnal and seasonal supply shortfalls. One must always keep this spinning reserve going, so that it can respond to sudden peaks in demand. So those costs must be considered on both sides of the equation, but seldom if ever are factored in by renewables advocates, nor by the government regulatory agencies reputedly responsible for determining the cost-effectiveness and viability of this technology. As such these government instrumentalities have failed in their duty of care to the taxpayers in not showing due diligence in transitioning from efficient and low cost predictable sources to highly expensive and dangerously intermittent and unreliable sources. To make matters worse, wind and solar do not allow societies in any way to eliminate more than an insignificant amount of their base infrastructure (including the provision of coal fired or natural gas base load) in spite of the massive capital investment made in these renewable plants all around the world.
These “renewables” are thus inherently reliant on fossil fuel back up of the same nameplate MW capacity (e.g. nat. gas, coal or nuclear) and they are prohibitively expensive (as a consequence of their inefficiency, cost of manufacture and infrastructure gold-plating) to the point of rendering the industries and commercial interests reliant upon them increasingly uncompetitive and uneconomic.
A list of just some of the more prominent American renewable companies to have gone bankrupt, or are on the verge appears below, with the estimated taxpayer subsidy losses in brackets:
Solyndra ($535 million)
SunPower ($1.2 billion)
First Solar ($1.46 billion)
Fisker Automotive ($529 million)
Abound Solar ($400 million)
A123 Systems ($279 million)
Johnson Controls ($299 million)
Brightsource ($1.6 billion)
*As of December, 2015, some 120+ large solar companies had closed their doors or gone bankrupt in the last 5 years, and Spain’s flagship solar company, Abengoa, was on the verge of the biggest bankruptcy in Spain’s corporate history at $US 29.6 Billion in losses (though some reports set the figure as upwards of $US 60 Billion).
The government subsidies used to artificially prop up this ineffective and impractical technology have been systematically misappropriated, and they have failed in their alleged task of making most if not all of these ventures competitive or at least viable. It has failed to garner the expected technological innovation required to allow large scale storage of any power generated, nor to scale up these facilities to a level sufficient to provide more than an expensive token percentage of our overall power needs without importing it from elsewhere.
In addition, neither wind or solar can truly be considered renewable, they have far shorter life spans than advertised (10-15yrs -not 25-30yrs- compared to coal fired power stations at 50yrs+) and are a looming toxic burden on the environment, exemplified by rare earth metals mining required for the magnetos used in wind turbines (lifespan 10-15yrs with diminishing power yields after 4-5yrs), or the highly toxic and carcinogenic substances (Arsenides, Lead, Cadmium, Chromium VI, Sulphur Hexafluoride, Thiourea, CCl4, SiCl4, Selenium Hydride, Germane, etc) required in the manufacture of photovoltaic solar panels (Note- over 4 tonnes of toxic waste and chemicals is required for every tonne of photovoltaic material manufactured) and the upcoming issue of their disposal en masse at the end of their life within the next decade. While not necessarily more toxic than alternative modes of generation, they are neither as “clean” nor as “renewable” as pretended by advocates.
In my travels I found this quote regarding just how much CO2 was generated in the manufacture of the average wind turbine. Read it and weep:
“So what’s the carbon foot print of a wind turbine with 45 tons of rebar & 481m3 of concrete?
Its carbon footprint is massive – try 241.85 tons of CO2.
Here’s the breakdown of the CO2 numbers.
To create a 1,000 Kg of pig iron, you start with 1,800 Kg of iron ore, 900 Kg of coking coal 450 Kg of limestone. The blast furnace consumes 4,500 Kg of air. The temperature at the core of the blast furnace reaches nearly 1,600 degrees C (about 3,000 degrees F).
The pig iron is then transferred to the basic oxygen furnace to make steel.
1,350 Kg of CO2 is emitted per 1,000 Kg pig iron produced.
A further 1,460 Kg CO2 is emitted per 1,000 Kg of Steel produced so all up 2,810 Kg CO2 is emitted.
45 tons of rebar (steel) are required so that equals 126.45 tons of CO2 are emitted.
To create a 1,000 Kg of Portland cement, Calcium carbonate (60%), silicon (20%), aluminium (10%), iron (10%) and very small amounts of other ingredients are heated in a large kiln to over 1,500 degrees C to convert the raw materials into clinker. The clinker is then interground with other ingredients to produce the final cement product. When cement is mixed with water, sand and gravel forms the rock-like mass know as concrete.
An average of 927 Kg of CO2 is emitted per 1,000 Kg of Portland cement. On average, concrete has 10% cement, with the balance being gravel (41%), sand (25%), water (18%) and air (6%). One cubic metre of concrete weighs approx. 2,400 Kg so approx. 240 Kg of CO2 is emitted for every cubic metre.
481m3 of concrete are required so that equals 115.4 tons of CO2 are emitted.
Now I have not included the emissions of the mining of the raw materials or the transportation of the fabricated materials to the turbine site so the emission calculation above would be on the low end at best.
The average towering wind turbine being installed around beautiful Australia right now is over 80 metres in height (nearly the same height as the pylons on the Sydney Harbour Bridge). The rotor assembly for one turbine – that’s the blades and hub – weighs over 22,000 Kg and the nacelle, which contains the generator components, weighs over 52,000 Kg.
All this stands on a concrete base constructed from 45,000 Kg of reinforcing rebar which also contains over 481 cubic metres of concrete (that’s over 481,000 litres of concrete – about 20% of the volume of an Olympic swimming pool).
Each turbine blade is made of glass fibre reinforced plastics, (GRP), i.e. glass fibre reinforced polyester or epoxy and on average each turbine blade weighs around 7,000 Kg each.
Each turbine has three blades so there’s 21,000 Kgs of GRP and each blade can be as long as 50 metres.
A typical wind farm of 20 turbines can extend over 101 hectares of land (1.01 Km2).
Each and every wind turbine has a magnet made of a metal called neodymium. There are 2,500 Kg of it in each of the behemoths that have just gone up around Australia.
The mining and refining of neodymium is so dirty and toxic – involving repeated boiling in acid, with radioactive thorium as a waste product – that only one country does it – China.
All this for an intermittent highly unreliable energy source.
And I haven’t even considered the manufacture of the thousands of pylons and tens of thousands of kilometres of transmission wire needed to get the power to the grid. And what about the land space needed to house thousands of these bird chomping death machines?
You see, renewables like wind turbines will incur far more carbon dioxide emissions in their manufacture and installation than what their operational life will ever save.“
Also, in case that weren’t sufficient to dissuade one from the folly of the wind farm pipe dream, as wind turbines age, their efficiency declines due to, among other things, aerodynamic blade deformation, gearbox and component wear and stresses, reducing to only about 50- 60% efficiency compared to the new turbines, requiring significant reinvestment at high cost for premature replacement relative to fossil fuel based power generators. Wind power requires enormous areas of often arable land for wind farms, requires intensive forest and land clearing, needs copious transmission lines, uses huge amounts of steel and concrete in construction, and kills enormous numbers of bats and birdlife (est. 200-670 bats/turbine/year, 110-330 birds/turbine/year) especially vulnerable birds of prey (many of whom are endangered) such as various species of eagles, vultures and other migratory and seabirds. In addition wind farms also dramatically alter local weather and microclimates by raising the surrounding temperatures by up to 1 deg C, changing local wind speeds, altering local atmospheric moisture content and increasing localised fog, as well as acting as visual blots upon often pristine landscapes, and sources of unacceptable levels of noise pollution (both audible and infrasonic), with as yet unexamined potential for adverse health effects to those persons living nearby. Recent preliminary studies, for example, suggest that low frequency sound exposure from wind turbines can potentially damage the acoustic mechanisms of young healthy volunteers, with even relatively short term exposure.
b) Electric vehicles:
Electric vehicles had been subject to few, if any, comprehensive analyses until recently, but a 2012 Norwegian University of Science and Technology study of EV’s showed that most, if not all, caused insufficient emission reductions over their lifetime to offset the emissions burden increases during their manufacture and use, hence no significant net gain is actually achieved. This is particularly due to the requirement to use electricity which is, currently and for the foreseeable future at least, primarily sourced from coal or other fossil fuel fired power stations, thereby making any CO2 emission “savings” more illusory than real. See the link following for the findings of this study:
-including this interesting graph showing equivalent emissions of EV’s throughout their life cycle:
Among the more sinister aspects of the CAGW doctrine has been that of subsidizing, mandating production and the use of biofuels, purportedly to replace fossil fuels. This policy is particularly anathema to those who would seek to alleviate poverty, hunger and disease among those living in the poorest “third world” nations. On first principles alone, the very idea of using food staples such as corn (maize) for fuel for motor vehicles, in a world where hunger is still an ever present threat to a significant proportion of the planetary population, would seem objectively to be a monstrous act of malfeasance, willful neglect or both. On latest estimates, up to 40% of current US maize production has been diverted to generate biofuel, with the yield grown to fuel one SUV for a month reputedly equivalent to that needed to feed one 3rd world child for up to one year.
In addition to this, diversion of arable land in these countries to grow crops for fuel rather than food has obvious potential for contribution to worsening hunger through reducing local food production capacity, while the effect of these subsidized crops on contributing to producing higher global food commodity prices have been shown in several studies (Pimentel and Patzek 2006, Godfray et al. 2010, De Hoyos and Medvedev 2009, etc). This ultimately most acutely impacts on the poorest and most marginal people, who direct the greatest portion of their earning capacity (up to 80% in some instances) to food. As a consequence of these effects, biofuels have possibly contributed to hundreds of thousands of deaths per annum already to date, with the promise of many more to follow should this practice continue unchallenged.
These valid concerns still fail to consider the entirety of the environmental impact resulting from biofuel generation. From rainforest destruction in SE Asia to plant Palm Oil plantations, to large scale sugar cane field burning in Brazil, to increased ground Ozone from ethanol fuels, there are a multitude of environmental concerns to be considered, even aside the potential human impacts described above. Biofuels from sugar cane, in the third world at least, leads to large increases in emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) such as formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, 1,3 butadiene, benzene and PAN, as well as large increases of carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, sulphur dioxide, etc over conventional fuel generation. This does not include the fertilizer inputs and fossil fuel expended in transport requirements, or the methane plumes caused by phosphate and nitrogen-rich fertilizers.
3) Carbon Taxation/ETS/Carbon Credits and Derivatives-
It defies comprehension that any sane and intelligent person could believe that Western governments are motivated to expropriate billions of dollars from taxpayers in directly or indirectly taxing “carbon” emissions primarily out of concern for the environment. It also beggars belief that billions of dollars extorted from these same humble working people in order to subsidize renewable energy is being used by large multinational corporations, such as General Electric, because of their philanthropy and level of concern over global temperature rise. And certainly, one would need to be completely disconnected from reality if one were to believe that the enthusiasm shown by investment bankers for carbon markets (and trading in carbon credits and derivatives) was out of a belated sense of civic and environmental responsibility, rather than the opportunity for gross and criminal theft of unearned money from honest and diligent people, and an opportunity to line their already overloaded pockets without the tawdry requisite of actually earning it.
Yet this is precisely what our political masters across the Western world and CAGW acolytes everywhere for the last 20 years would have us believe. Such little detail has been advanced to public scrutiny as to exactly how such a “free market” approach (Note- only in a strictly Orwellian sense could this market be termed “free”) would operate, precisely what safeguards would be in place to prevent widespread fraud, and what forms of governance would be required and enacted to protect the prudence required of such enterprises. One would have to be extremely naïve not to comprehend the wide-reaching opportunities for malfeasance and fraud that are likely to be vast and potentially calamitous to our economic wellbeing. Just some examples of the perverse incentives involved include the forced requisitioning of farmland from the poor in Uganda to plant trees for carbon offsets (simultaneously depriving the vulnerable of livelihood and the means to grow food), dodgy Australian “entrepreneurs” buying pristine South American forest from vulnerable indigenous natives for pennies to disenfranchise them (in true neo-colonialist fashion), and the purchase of prime grazing/farmland in Australia to allow it to lie un-utilized to become a wild and overgrown bushfire hazard (rebadged as “virgin bushland”). The broad overview of such issues are seen and discussed here:
Not only is trading in a commodity that is a best described as a colourless, odourless, and some would argue innocuous, trace atmospheric gas that is a prerequisite of life on the planet fraught with problems of a philosophical and of a practical nature, but also there is the thorny dilemma of facilitating the movement of vast sums of unaccounted for money directly to the UN and its various subordinate organisations, with little if any transparency or oversight from independent bodies representing the interests of the general population. This stealth robbery is being conducted in plain sight, with the tacit approval of all Western governments, and without the slightest word of objection from a docile and complicit mainstream media, who have long since abrogated their responsibility to protect the general public from such dishonesty and deception.
1. Analysis of the motivation for the belief in CAGW demonstrates that there are issues over and above that of controlling or mitigating against a changing climate (assuming that were even possible) are influencing “the science” of global warming- that being:
(a) as a means of achieving prestige, fame and large financial grants for a backwater, fringe area of science which would otherwise be nearly anonymous,
(b) as a pretext for the establishment of mechanisms for unprecedented global political control, particularly by the UN and its subsidiary organisations,
(c) as a financial bonanza (and as a possible hedge against global financial collapse) to facilitate the transfer of unearned billions or trillions of $ from the taxpayer to the elite, and from the very poor to the obscenely wealthy,
(d) as a means of global population control through the propagation of poverty, disease and premature death in the “3rd world”,
(e) as a vanity project that takes advantage of Western narcissism and self-absorption in pursuit of an alleged “noble cause”, which is neither noble nor altruistic in reality.
2. The perceived threat of Global Warming has become a religious belief system that is self-reinforcing, unfalsifiable and immune to logic.
3. Confirmation bias among alarmist researchers in the area of climate is endemic. Many of the most prominent of these researchers demonstrably lack scientific objectivity, and have formed self-reinforcing cliques of like-minded people, who then rely on their perceived authority to stifle dissent, as evidenced particularly by the content of the “Climategate” emails.
4. There is no true consensus among scientists in the area of Global Warming. The fake “consensus” is maintained by endless repetition (“97% of scientists say …..”), statistical chicanery (Cook et al., 2013), or unscientific surveys (Doran and Zimmerman, 2009) of a small number of hand selected “experts”, where questions are neither specific nor remotely pertinent to the belief or otherwise in the underlying theory of CAGW. This is, in my opinion, overt deception and utter misrepresentation. Scientific organisations, such as the Royal Society or the American Physical Society, further reinforce this false perception of consensus by speaking for the majority of their members in Mission statements as though their members were a completely unified group, and all in total and complete agreement with CAGW theory, when in fact there is no such unified position among individuals within these organisations.
5. There has been a disturbing trend in the last 3 decades toward the emergence of the scientist as activist. This unfortunately thus abandons the very foundations and principles of the scientific method (particularly that of objectivity, which is completely incompatible with activism) that should underpin good research methodology, and therefore the ultimate validity of a particular hypothesis or theory.
6. There is a lack of transparency in the methodology of alterations to data, or adequate justifications for said adjustments. Inconvenient data is conveniently altered, “homogenised” or otherwise filtered statistically to reinforce the desired result (whether this is consciously through fraud or unconsciously through entrained biases is entirely irrelevant). Data that is altered so significantly can no longer be said to be actual data, as it is merely an artificial construct reflective of the mindset of the scientists who have altered it. Similarly, the concept of “global average temperature” prior to the advent of satellites is completely unsustainable, being entirely an artificial construct rather than an actual measurement, or even a close approximation of one.
7. Alarmists have serially avoided debate beyond the circle of their fellow believers, so as to reinforce their hypothesis without the tawdry requisite of having to defend the inconsistencies with observations, the gap between theory and reality, or even to consider the potential harm wrought by the supposed “solutions” that are advised. They have also repeatedly made the blanket assertion that the time for debate is over before a truly open and comprehensive debate has even been had, and that “the science” is settled when it is in fact anything but settled, as the endlessly shifting goal posts and the movable feasts of predictions that don’t come true continue unabated.
8. The bullying of dissenters, who risk not only loss of tenure and reputation, but also the total loss of employment opportunities and therefore risking great financial disadvantage compared to their peers. Their marginalisation within the workplace, and within scientific circles in general for speaking out, not to mention the torrents of abuse directed at them by activists (and sadly often colleagues) that they must endure should they hold a contrary or sceptical opinion, is an entirely unhealthy and completely unacceptable situation for objective and genuine scientists to find themselves in (even if they are eventually found to be in error), especially if they are purely motivated to find the truth, which should be the sole and ultimate goal of any scientist worthy of the name.
9. Computer modelling, upon which most (if not all) of CAGW theory relies, cannot be considered as “evidence”. Unaltered and unexpurgated observations and empiricism, on the other hand, should trump any virtual reality constructed by computer simulations of these same real world observations (no matter how allegedly sophisticated), not the other way around. The parameters of such computer simulations should be altered to conform to the dictates of observations, rather than observations altered to conform to the expectations and projections of these simulations.
10. Surface temperature measurements, even unadjusted ones, are contaminated by UHI, poor siting issues, lack of continuity and quality control issues that render pre-satellite global temperature reconstructions useless. UHI is a real and significant issue due to the magnitude of effects in urban areas where long term thermometer records are concentrated, but also is a misnomer in that it is not merely confined to urban areas, as altered vegetation from land clearing for agriculture, widespread deforestation and the concentration of thermometers at townships and around rural airstrips, etc also have distinct influence on temperatures as they are measured at these locations.
11. Surface temperature measurements have also been directly influenced by the switch from glass/mercury thermometers to electronic/digital recording of temperature, which some recent studies (e.g Klaus Hager) suggest could give rise to variations (when compared side to side) of between 0.5 -0.9 deg C of increase in temperature recorded, artificially introducing a further warming bias into the alleged latter day rising temperature trend, notwithstanding the other potential warming biases introduced by human adjustments to the record itself.
12. CO2 is an unjustly and gratuitously maligned, yet absolutely vital trace gas within our Earth environment, whose influence on global temperature has never been empirically demonstrated to occur within a planetary atmosphere. If in the unlikely event that CO2 is indeed responsible for some or all of the warming noted since 1880, the beneficial effects of this warming have been completely ignored in favour of fanciful speculation about runaway warming and tipping points to catastrophe that have no precedent within the historical or geological record. The benefits of CO2 on increasing crop yields in both C3 and C4 plants, on plant metabolic processes and growth and overall health, but also in improving plant resistance to disease are largely undervalued, whilst also the effect of CO2 in the promotion of drought resistance/resilience and in improving of nitrogen fixation are completely ignored or significantly downplayed by alarmists obsessed with vilifying a compound which is in every sense the “staff of life” for carbon based life forms.
13. CO2 has at times been up to 20x or more than the current atmospheric concentration of 400 ppm within the geological record without any eco-catastrophe resulting from this far higher level being at all evident. Quite the contrary, ecosystems that supported the largest animal species that ever walked the planet thrived for millions of years in an atmosphere far higher by an order of magnitude than the present day, relatively CO2 deprived atmosphere that we currently enjoy. Rising CO2 clearly follows temperature rise rather than vice versa in the geological record, as expected by Henry’s Law governing the gaseous exchange of CO2 that rises proportionately to temperature at the ocean/atmosphere interface.
14. CO2 concentration and its effect upon temperature, in the absence of H2O amplification, is a logarithmic relationship. This putative water amplification (see 15 below) has never been demonstrated to occur, and therefore even if one accepts that CO2 causes temperature to rise mildly – the effect on temperature attenuates over time. There is therefore NO urgency for transition from fossil fuels on this basis, no impending disaster or catastrophe or eco-apocalypse, in which case there is NO need to ruin the economies of the Western democracies, no need to promote energy poverty and deprivation, no justification for causing needless suffering, privation or harm to those in otherwise affluent economies but on low, fixed incomes or pensions and having to choose between eating or staying warm and/or cool. The onus of proof upon alarmists must therefore be extremely high to justify the harm likely to be wrought in the name of mitigating CO2 emissions when people’s lives are threatened by unjustified fear-mongering, and undue haste where none is actually required.
15. The hypothesis of CAGW relies upon “catastrophic warming” caused not by CO2 alone, but through the agency of enhanced water vapour amplification, the most important “greenhouse gas” of all, responsible for around 95% of the so called “greenhouse effect”. This alleged amplification requires that there should be a distinctive signature warming of the tropospheric layer of the atmosphere about 8km above the surface of the tropics, due to the predicted rise in water vapour enhancing the effect of rising CO2 concentration (which conveniently ignores the phase changing ability of H2O, not to mention the immensity of the global water cycle). The presence of this “tropospheric hotspot” is central and therefore absolutely essential to the CAGW hypothesis, and it is completely absent from actual observations, in spite of some researchers using a hybridised “measurement” of wind shear instead of actual temperature measurements by weather balloons (the latter of which are calibrated for accurate temperature monitoring), plus some deceptive colour schematics in subsequent diagrams drawn from this “data” (Sherwood, 2008-see above), or by using highly dubious and patently unsuitable statistical methods (Sherwood and Nishant, 2015) to attempt to demonstrate something that clearly isn’t there in reality. In short, no water amplification = no catastrophe.
16. 70% of the planet’s surface is ocean water. The oceans on our water planet are incredibly vast and deep, and down-welling long wave infra-red radiation (DWLWIR) cannot penetrate beyond the surface interface down to a mere 15 microns in depth. This putative down-welling radiation, alleged to be the mechanism of CO2’s “greenhouse effect”, cannot therefore warm the oceans when they are free to evaporatively cool by releasing heat via both latent heat of vaporisation and in the breaking of the bond of surface tension of the ocean’s “skin”, both of which thereby facilitating heat transfer from the ocean to the sky, not vice versa. Short wave infrared radiation, on the other hand, from fluctuations in the spectrum of the radiant output of the sun, can and does penetrate deeper into the oceans, and can therefore cause a significant rise in ocean temperature (in the surface layers at least), but this has nothing whatsoever to do with rises or otherwise in atmospheric CO2, nor to the influence of mankind and his activities.
17. The differing heat capacities of the oceans and the atmosphere, and the respective volumes involved, mean that minor fluctuations in atmospheric temperature make no significant difference to ocean temperatures, BUT tiny discrepancies in ocean temperatures, caused by fluctuations in solar activity (plus possibly variations in plate tectonics and volcanism), can easily influence atmospheric temperatures to a far greater degree.
18. Across the entire Holocene interglacial period over the last 11,000 years, wide variation in climate and temperature has occurred completely independent of variation in CO2, let alone the influence of mankind and his activities. The early Holocene, called the Holocene Climate Optimum, for example was a period of atmospheric temperatures well in excess (possibly between 2 and 6 deg C) of those found today. Also, within the early Holocene period the world’s oceans were likely up to 0.7°C warmer on average than today 8,000 Before Present (BP), and more regionally, Northern Hemisphere ocean temperatures between 9,000 BP and 7,000 BP were likely around 2.5°C+/-0.4°C warmer than the late 20th Century (Rosenthal et al, 2013). There were also very clear and quite rapid swings in temperature with periods with cooling of the poles, increased tropical aridity and major atmospheric circulation changes notable during the periods 9,000 to 8,000, 6,000 to 5,000, and 4,200 to 3,800 BP (Mayewski, et al.- Quaternary Research 62 (2004) 243-255). More recently, there were very clear peaks in global temperature coinciding with the so called Minoan Warming Period (3,300-3,100 yrs BP), the later Roman Warming Period (2,150-2,000 yrs BP) and finally the Medieval Warming Period (1,100 -1,000 yrs BP), which have preceded the current rise in temperature, which might be termed, for convenience, the Modern Warming Period (150yrs BP till present) with each of the former peaks and troughs in global temperature being entirely unrelated to CO2 variability, and of a similar or even possibly more extreme variability than we are currently experiencing. Therefore wide variations in climate are actually the norm, and are almost entirely independent of any possible influence from any anthropogenic causation. Nothing occurring in our global climate in recent decades is in any way unusual, unprecedented or beyond the norm, except in the most myopic view of antiquity.
19. All historical evidence shows that these warmer times throughout history were universally beneficial for human civilisation, with bountiful harvests, improved living standards, reduction in disease and privation, and the flourishing of not only local communities but nation states and the expansion of Empires. Conversely, sudden shifts in climate to colder and more generally more arid conditions often led to collapse of civilisations and much suffering, disease and increasing conflict. The modern experience should thus be no different, other than our technological advantages that help reduce any alleged ill-effects relatively easily, with the sole proviso that energy is not made to be at such a premium that the populace cannot afford to avail itself of these advantages. Prosperity is therefore our best defence against a changing climate, no matter what the cause.
20. The technological “solutions” proposed by the political classes to take “action” against “Climate Change” are completely impractical and unworkable in their present form, or for the foreseeable future. They neither reduce CO2 emissions in any meaningful way (just transfer it from generation to manufacture, and the need for large scale deforestation and fossil fuel backup), nor do they suit the provision of 24/7 base load power supply absolutely necessary to provide a properly functioning civilised society, especially a technologically advanced one. To rely significantly on “renewable energy” from wind and solar is to pay a premium for little actual provision, to make no meaningful reduction in reliance on fossil fuels, and to unnecessarily destabilise the electrical grid through intractable issues of intermittency. Wind and solar, in addition, are neither truly renewable nor environmentally responsible, and require vast tracts of land clearance in the case of the former, and are both a looming toxic burden on the environment due to their relatively short longevity before requiring replacement. If anything, this blind alley of previously discarded and irredeemably inefficient technology is actually delaying the search for truly efficient and effective, energy dense technological alternatives to fossil fuels by applying subsidies to guide investment into areas of wind power and solar research that can never provide energy generating solutions that are in any way fit for purpose.
Do these facts and the various points of uncertainty noted above necessarily rule out an anthropogenic influence on climate, or a role for Carbon Dioxide in increasing global temperatures? No it does not, at least at this point in time, but I would suggest that the case for “catastrophic” temperature rise and climate “tipping points” is extremely weak (verging on completely disproven), and that current observations (at best) suggest a low climate sensitivity of the order of 1.0-1.5 deg C for a doubling of CO2 from 280 to 560ppm. It is conceivable that these low sensitivity figures may even be revised downward if feedbacks are negative rather than positive, as data from satellites (especially the RSS and UAH data which are the most trustworthy) becomes available over a more extended time frame to allow greater levels of certainty. Unfortunately, the surface station data, such that it is, is so sketchy, inconsistent, heterogeneous and brief, while being tampered with, modified, contaminated, altered or tortured until very little reliable data remains upon which to draw any definitive conclusions.
Similarly, the science behind the effects of radiative gases on our atmosphere is as yet rudimentary, with many of the foundation claims made by AGW theory remaining as yet without any conclusive basis in empirical fact. It is as yet unproven, and indeed highly unlikely, that the surface of the Earth could only be heated to an average temperature of -18C (255K) by the sun alone in the absence of radiative gases, when oceans trap the vast majority of incoming solar radiation.
It has also not been shown that surface incident LWIR can heat or slow the cooling rate of water free to evaporatively cool, for the reasons clearly enunciated above. It also has been clearly shown above that, contrary to AGW theory, all photons do not have the same heating effect on liquid water regardless of frequency.
If AGW is to be taken with unquestioning faith, then altering the radiative gas concentration in the atmosphere would have no effect whatsoever on radiative subsidence and thereby the speed of vertical tropospheric circulation in the atmosphere (see below). It has not even been shown conclusively that LWIR in the 15 micron band being emitted by CO2 in the atmosphere is primarily due to absorption and re-emission of 15 micron LWIR emitted from the surface materials of the Earth, while it remains highly contentious that the hemispherical emissivity for LWIR from liquid water is over 0.9.
Some scientists, as I have alluded above, have indeed suggested that radiative gases like CO2 have an unmodelled but vital role in driving vertical tropospheric convective circulation, and are therefore responsible for enhancing heat transfer into the upper atmosphere from below rather than merely “trapping” it. In addition to this, CO2 has a well known stratospheric radiative cooling effect, facilitating energy loss into space at this altitude.
Clearly, CO2 possibly has several important theoretical (at least one of which is essentially proven) roles in actually cooling the atmosphere, in addition to (and possibly outweighing) any putative heating effects in the lower atmosphere, where the phase changes of the water cycle and convective heat transfer predominates below the tropopause in any case. The interaction between water vapour and radiative gases, and their involvement in adiabatic and diabatic processes facilitating LWIR losses into space remains poorly understood and essentially unquantified.
Solar influences, thought by mainstream climate science to be essentially a constant in relative terms (as measured by TSI– “total solar irradiance”), may have as yet unexpected influence due to fluctuations within the various components of TSI across its spectrum on such aspects as ozone formation and destruction (via extreme UV), modulating the latitudinal positions and orientations of the jet streams (meridional versus zonal), and variations in cloudiness and cloud distribution and type due to cosmic ray modulation influenced by solar electromagnetic fluctuations. The homogenisation of solar influences into TSI would increasingly seem to be a naive oversimplification that underestimates the complexity of the Earth/solar interaction, especially given the selective absorption of various wavelengths within it by 70% of the planetary surface.
In short, the climate system of our atmosphere is inherently so complex in its multiplicity of interactions as to render it unable to be modelled by the most sophisticated computer simulation. Thus, relying on those self same computer models, which are therefore highly flawed by extension, is clearly unsustainable. Until such time as a sufficient understanding of how our atmosphere and climate system operates becomes evident, and a better comprehension of all the natural influences on past climate variations from non-anthropogenic causes prevails, then it is incumbent upon all climate scientists to be measured in their prognostications, honest in their conclusions and with regard to defining error bars and uncertainties in the data, and transparent and open in allowing scrutiny of their work for independent evaluation, including importantly by those who do not share their beliefs and are skeptical of their conclusions.