By Clive Francis
We all now appear to be talking about greenhouse gases, global warming and climate change as three interchangeable and emotive subjects; the three being held equally and indiscriminately as the reprehensible consequence of burning fossil fuels. I suggest that the three subjects are all entirely different and utterly separate. Moreover, these three subjects are now being used conjointly and emotively to vilify carbon dioxide and fossil fuels to justify supposedly remedial actions which sane inspection tells us are quite unjustifiable, hopelessly expensive and some plainly quite unachievable.
There has been an undeniable increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide over the last decade. This increase can be made to look huge or miniscule according to your espoused point of view – depending on whether you calculate the rise as a percentage increase or expressed as a fraction of the Earth’s atmosphere. However, in spite of this increase, coupled with the direst warnings complete with complex computer based predictions, the Earth’s temperature has obdurately refused to rise over the last 11 years – in fact it has fallen.
Over geological time, atmospheric carbon dioxide content has been for long periods far higher than at present. The only proven correlation in geological history between the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the Earth’s surface temperature is that the periodic rises in atmospheric carbon dioxide content have followed rises in global temperature and not the other way round.
Yes, the climate is changing but it has always done so. It has changed throughout Earth’s geological history and continues to change as a result of a number of variables such as the Earth’s wandering axis of spin, the sun’s varying output, solar wind and the solar system’s galactic traverse.
Ice ages, warming periods, glaciation and deglaciation have been the geological history of this Earth. Moreover, local climates change as a result of altering oceanic currents, varying weather patterns, volcanic activity plus deglaciation since the last ice age, etc. Forces are involved which are far more powerful than man’s puny input.
Yes, you may carefully select particular trends over very small periods of history to justify particular points of view and the alarmists are very skilful at doing this. However you just cannot buck the facts of geological history. The alarmists, those who actually believe and the bandwagon opportunists as well, have been ruthless in the pursuit of their religion. They have played on every fear and every emotion to great effect. Sadly, science, fact and common sense had been trampled in the rush.
In the past 100 years or so the scientific consensus has twice held that the earth was definitely cooling (1895-1930 and then 1968-75) and forecast that a catastrophic ice age was approaching.
Scientific consensus has also held on two occasions the contrary view that, instead of cooling, the Earth was dangerously warming up (1930-60 and 1981-now) to the imminent destruction of coral reefs and polar bears. Mankind has been blamed in each of these four separate alarms and thus mankind must do something about it. What a cavalcade of bandwagons these dire warnings have engendered.
Grapes were once grown in Britain as far north as Newcastle, crops and cattle were once raised in Greenland and the Thames has frozen over on occasions. The very same scientists who were forecasting in the 1970s the imminent disaster of the approaching new ice age are now forecasting doom by global warming. What a myriad of businesses this new religion of climate change has spawned and what a bandwagon on which to advance both careers and profit. En passant, an entirely new concept has been created – that of policy based evidence making.
The thinning of the polar ice caps has not just started to happen – it has been going on constantly but irregularly since the last ice age. The Earth’s polar regions have had ice caps for only about 20% of the Earth’s geological history. To parade precariously poised and puzzled polar bears as being the consequence of man’s burning of fossil fuels is political gimmickry of a low order — yet it sells, and how!
Yes, the Arctic ice is thinning but do we hear at the same time about the contemporaneous extension and thickening of the Antarctic ice? Why are some populations of polar bears actually increasing?
If it were not so serious it would be profoundly funny to witness the very building block of life, carbon dioxide, vilified as a pollutant. Nitrous oxide, nitric oxide, sulphur dioxide, the fluorocarbons and the particulates of combustion are all pollutants and do damage. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant; it is an essential part of all life on Earth. Furthermore, atmospheric carbon dioxide is but 0.0001% of the carbon dioxide held in the Earth’s oceans, rock, terrestrial structure, soil and life itself.
There is no notional greenhouse surrounding us. The Earth has an atmosphere composed of a number of gases, some of which absorb and impede heat re-radiated from the Earth but others do not. The atmosphere contains two main absorbers and retainers of Earth’s radiated heat – water vapour and carbon dioxide. Water vapour accounts for some 70% of the retention whilst carbon dioxide accounts for less than 10%, with methane and ozone accounting for nearly all the rest. I.e. by far the largest culprit in so-called global warming is water vapour but do we hear anything about that?
Without these heat-retaining gases Earth’s surface temperature would be some minus 18°C and life, as we know it, could not exist. It is more accurate and meaningful to describe the atmosphere as a sweater round the earth, protecting us from the cold, rather than a greenhouse intent on boiling us and doing us harm.
To ascribe modern climate change to one single variable (carbon dioxide) or, more correctly, a small proportion of one variable (i.e. human produced carbon dioxide) is not science, for it requires abandoning all we know about planet Earth, the sun, our galaxy and the cosmos.
The Kyoto agreement has fallen apart, whilst the Russians for a long time resolutely refused to join it. That is until they belatedly realised just how much money they could make out of the EU with carbon trades. They have made billions out of these trades, to which you and I have contributed involuntarily, without needing to modify their emissions by one puff.
The disaster of chopping down and burning of carbon-absorbing rainforests in order to grow biofuels has added measurable amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere – never mind the immorality of diverting agricultural output for us to drive our cars whilst many in the world are starving. This gives an inkling of the degree of human idiocy involved in trying to interfere with the natural change of Earth’s climate.
In a bid to outdo the EU in idiocy Britain has exceeded the bounds of sanity by passing the Climate Change Act thereby hobbling any attempt to produce a rational energy policy for this country. Britain stands alone in the world in legislating such folly into law. When the lights start to go out in Britain will you blame it on climate change or the Climate Change Act? No other country in the world has embodied into its statute book such a specific and powerful legal prescription for the destruction of its own industrial base.
Meanwhile, the City of London is enjoying the joke tremendously whilst trading Carbon Credits enthusiastically and profitably. This form of trading is an unedifying up-to-the-minute, state-of-the-art, revival of the mediaeval practice of selling indulgences. If you made this up who would believe you?
What a wonderful self-sustaining activity this global warming delusion has generated. We now have a whole new and expensive Government Department, that of Energy and Climate Change, which has brought new lustre and dimension to the term “tilting at windmills”
I pity the party in power when the public arrives at the full realisation of how completely misled it has been by its own Government and how many trillions of their money had been wasted (accompanied by falling standards of living) in vainly trying to pursue the deluded folly of stemming naturally occurring climate change. The two concepts of King Canute and the Flat Earth Society spring to mind. I can just imagine the wrath that will be visited on the party in power when the full realisation sets in.
To summarise: scares may come and scares may go but there is no universally accepted evidence that the burning of fossil fuels and the consequent production of carbon dioxide has anything whatsoever to do with climate change or even temporary global warming.
In ending may I commend and acknowledge valuable help from Nigel Lawson’s book “An Appeal to Reason – A Cool Look at Global Warming”: Professor Ian Plimer’s book “Heaven and Earth – Global Warming: the Missing Science”: Christopher Booker’s “The Real Global Warming Disaster.”
I fear that “climate change” has simply become a Convenient Untruth; now being peddled to conceal a hopelessly delayed and utterly inept energy policy for Britain.
“Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early 21st century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally average temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree and on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a rollback of the industrial age”
– Professor Richard Linden of MIT.
“Global warming is largely a natural phenomenon. The world is wasting stupendous amounts of money on trying to fix something that cannot be fixed”
– Doctor David Bellamy, Lecturer in Botany and wildlife broadcaster.
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