A Summary of Climate Change Theory & A Skeptic’s Questions
A change in temperature is a change in climate. We worry about man-made climate change if a temperature change will last decades or centuries and if the change will disfigure the environment.
The physical basics of climate change say that “atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are rising, carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, and it absorbs and re-radiates longwave radiation downwards. The radiation is trapped (or at least delayed) meaning that there is more of it around and hence temperatures go up.”14
Solar energy which would normally go out into space is kept inside earth’s weather system by the presence of carbon dioxide.
Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, especially water, “trap some of the heat we receive from the sun and prevent it from bouncing back into space.”15
How much can increased atmospheric carbon dioxide be expected to warm the earth? If the atmosphere is sensitive, it will heat a lot. If insensitive, new carbon dioxide will have limited effect. Climate change proponents argue that the atmosphere is sensitive and we must phase out use of fossil fuels.
The opponents agree with all of the science described here, but think the atmosphere is not sensitive to increased carbon dioxide, meaning that carbon dioxide emissions will not have a profound impact on water and clouds and the greenhouse effect. Skeptics believe other factors, like the sun and the ocean, are predominant in the creation of weather and temperature.
We know from the historical record that “the climate changes all the time, in different and unpredictable”16 ways.
Earth’s temperature changes constantly. The range of temperatures in the chart above is approximately 6.5 degrees Fahrenheit over the last 10,000 years. The chart shows temperatures in Greenland fluctuating between negative 29 degrees Celsius to negative 32.5 degrees Celsius. Do they prove climate change real? Yes, climate change is real and constant. Is “manmade” carbon dioxide causing climate change? In all of the 10,000 years shown in the chart, which goes back in time from the year 1855, man played no role in the change of temperature or the carbon dioxide level. The climate changes with or without man’s presence.
Which raises profound questions. Is the addition or subtraction of carbon dioxide the consequential factor in the creation of global temperature? Is air with added carbon dioxide the “greatest threat facing humankind today”?17 Or, if we take action to reduce carbon dioxide, will we simply close “a window in a house with no walls”?18
Pre-industrial carbon dioxide was 280 parts-per-million (ppm). Current carbon dioxide is 400 ppm.
Our current carbon dioxide level is “near to an all-time low as assessed against the geological record.”19 Using a 550 million-year timeframe, the “earth currently exists in a state of carbon dioxide starvation.”20 Carbon dioxide is increasing, but compared to history it’s abnormally low.
Sea levels have been rising due to the climate but “sea levels have been rising steadily at the same rate for at least the last 700 years.”21 Sea levels have risen about 130 meters – equal to a 30-story building — in our current interglacial, beginning 12,000 years ago.22
Sea levels for the past twenty years have risen 3.2 millimeters a year, according to the University of Colorado.23 They are rising a foot-a-century. The width of a laptop screen.
Ice at the poles is also a critical measure of temperature trends. Ice cover in Antarctica in 2014 was greater than any in the satellite record started in the late 1970s. NASA says sea ice cover in Antarctica has grown 1.5 percent a decade for several decades and was 7.7 million square miles at its maximum in 2014.24
Ice cover in the arctic is at or near lows in the satellite record. The National Snow and Ice Data Center reports three million square miles of arctic ice in July 2016. The poles are moving in opposite directions, but the arctic is shrinking faster (21,000 square miles a year) than the Antarctic is growing (7,300 square miles a year).
The key figure in dangerous manmade global warming is temperature change. Temperatures have warmed 0.7 degrees Centigrade in the twentieth century.25 Other sources say the increase is slightly higher or about 0.8°C or 1.4°F.26 The increase is small enough to be almost “undetectable” for human observers. The Met Office calls the increase 0.8° C in the last 150 years.27 “But the great bulk of it—0.5°C out of the 0.8°C—occurred during the last quarter of the twentieth century.”
The increase in temperature stopped about eighteen years ago.28 The rapid upward movement of temperature at the end of the 20th Century created a factual basis for concern, but not an alarming concern in view of the historic temperature record.
“We actually live in a cold epoch,” according to Ian Plimer, emeritus professor of earth sciences at the University of Melbourne and professor of mining geology at the University of Adelaide. “Ice is a rare rock and has been on Earth for less than twenty per cent of its history.”29
Warming of one degree centigrade since the Little Ice Age is also “entirely unalarming in rate and magnitude”, said Robert Carter, Emeritus Fellow and Science Policy Advisor at the Institute of Public Affairs, science adviser at the Science and Public Policy Institute and chief science adviser for the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC), “when compared with other similar natural warmings that occurred over the preceding 10,000 years.”30
“Plotted in the same scale as a standard outdoor home thermometer,” said Anthony Watts, Retired American Meteorology Society certified television meteorologist, “the change of the last 130 years is hardly even visible.”31
Carbon dioxide is not the only factor in the creation of temperature.
Oceanic weather patterns influence temperature. They include the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, and the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation.32
Garth W. Paltridge, emeritus professor and honorary research fellow at the Institute of Antarctic and Southern Oceans Studies, hypothesizes that “internal ocean behavior could be a major cause of the warming over the past half-century.”33
The planets also influence temperature.
The earth itself has “natural cycles that span tens of thousands of years including changes affected by Earth’s tilt (a 41,000-year cycle), eccentricity (100,000-year cycle) and precession (20,000-year cycle).”34
Astronomer Milutin Milankovitch has argued that the earth’s tilt, eccentricity, and precession profoundly influence glaciation35 – the rise and fall of global ice.
Glaciers, including ice at the poles, play a major role in temperature. Ice expands and temperature falls. Ice retreats and temperature rises.
The glaciers are especially influenced in their decline or growth by sun patterns. “The major factor in long term glacial growth and retreat is summer insolation (the amount of incoming solar radiation).”36
The possible disappearance of sun spots today has led to speculation that “the most likely climatic trend over the next several decades is one of significant cooling rather than warming,” said Professor Carter, former head of the School of Earth Sciences at James Cook University.37
A lot of influences make weather. Ocean-weather patterns, variations in the earth’s astronomical patterns, the sun’s intensity, the level of carbon dioxide, and its interaction with water in the formation of clouds, all factor into the creation of temperature.
If the earth does warm quickly, the concern is that we will have “fast-rising seas, failing crops, melting ice caps, permanent droughts, worse epidemics and mass extinctions.”38
We could allegedly reach catastrophic tipping points. Burning oil, gas, and coal may lead to “sea level rise, ice sheet melting, torrential rains, drought, hurricanes, and any other severe weather event.”39
In 2001 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) “predicted a huge and rapid rise”40 in temperatures of up to up to six degrees in this century. After the warming life on earth would be “wiped out”. “Millions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable.”41
Huge fire balls will smash into cities. They explode with the power of atomic bombs. Flash floods wreak havoc. “Life on earth ends in apocalyptic storms.”42
The seas rise 100 meters. Water covers the land.
This sounds frightening, and it will be devastating if true, but the climate models scientists invented to see the future have undone the credibility of the scientists predicting doom.43
We have had “37 consecutive years of documented, systematic model failure.”44 “The failure of the models … need to be acknowledged”45 but the proponents refuse to admit their error.
“The current generation of general circulation climate models (GCMs) are unable to make accurate projections of climate even ten years ahead, let alone the 100-year period,” said Mr. Carter, the former earth sciences professor.46
If the theory of dangerous manmade global warming predicts the future, and if weather models prove scientists cannot predict the future, then the alarmist theory about a dangerous future has been disproved as a scientific hypothesis. You cannot reasonably champion a scientific theory when your own work proves you do not have the expertise to make the claim. (Please see the chart: “Climate Models Fails to Predict Warming Trends”.)
An overwhelming majority of climate scientists confidently predicted global warming would accelerate but “there has been no further warming at all”47 since approximately the year 2000.
The scientific models prove above all else our ignorance, said Mr. Paltridge of the Institute of Antarctic and Southern Oceans Studies. “The chances of proving—proving in the hard scientific sense—that change of climate over the next century will be large enough to be disastrous are virtually nil.”48
Dr. Roy Spencer, who runs the University of Alabama at Huntsville global temperature data, said climate models have so far “failed miserably”.49
There are benefits to warming if the warming trend returns. We may end up embracing warming as a precursor of abundant wildlife and human comfort.
The cold kills 20 times as many people as hot weather, according to an international study analyzing 74 million deaths in 384 locations across 13 countries.50
If we follow the lead of the advocates of alarm, there will be “dire economic implications of trying to cease the use of fossil fuels.”51 Poverty is the most successful and dangerous human disease. Fossil fuels are the primary medicine we use to fight poverty.
I think of those persons, for example, who burn manure to stay warm and cook their food. Fumes from this burning are “the major source of indoor pollution in the developing world and is reckoned to cause at least a million deaths a year.”52 Electricity and natural gas would solve this problem. Both require the creation of carbon dioxide emissions.
The increase of carbon dioxide caused by burning fossil fuels has made the earth “observably greener”.53 Carbon dioxide is the basic plant food. Carbon dioxide is the key to photosynthesis, the process plants use to live and grow. Carbon dioxide is like oxygen for plants.
Our attitude toward carbon dioxide should begin by recognizing that “the biggest health risk in the world today, particularly of course in the developing world, is poverty.”54 Fossil fuels play a huge role, perhaps the primary role, in the war against poverty.
We are spending big money on climate change. “The current re-direction of global funds in the name of climate change is of the order of a billion dollars a day.”5 Climate change has also been called a “trillion-dollar industry”. Renewable-energy investment is $359 billion annually.56
The corridors of power in big science are filled with true believers zealously advocating for the adoption of the dangerous manmade global warming theory; referred too here as the alarmist movement. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the primary vehicle of alarmists, is “the expression of the beliefs of a small circle of scientists and interested lobbyists who, against all evidence, have convinced themselves that humans are having a dramatic effect on the Earth’s climate,” said Dr. Willie Soon, a researcher with the Solar and Steller Physics Division of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.57
You have read that 97 per cent of scientists have attained a consensus agreeing that half of the global warming since 1950 has been caused by human emissions of carbon dioxide. Legates et al. checked the scientific papers on climate to verify the 97% consensus. They found “0.5 per cent of the abstracts of 11,944 scientific papers on climate-related topics published over the 21 years from 1991-2011 had explicitly stated an opinion that more than half of the global warming since 1950 had been caused by human emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases.”58
When a ratio of 1-of-200 papers say dangerous manmade global warming is real, but the media says 97 of 100 scientists support the theory, then if scientific papers are the library of scientific knowledge, the 97 percent consensus figure is a hoax. Big Media has probably manufactured a fake fact.
The important figures in the field should be contacted and questioned so that we know the true state of opinion. Disagreement is much wider than reported.
31,487 U.S. scientists “have publicly signed a statement that they consider the dangerous manmade global warming hypothesis inconsistent with the evidence.”59 (See the Global Warming Petition Project.) If there are more than 30,000 scientists who question the dangerous manmade global warming theory, how many support it? How can we even start a meaningful conversation without having these elementary questions answered?
We don’t have basic facts about the judgments of leading practitioners. What if only 10 percent of climate physicists and weather experts are hardcore advocates of dangerous manmade global warming and all the rest is media bias?
Nigel Lawson, the British politician and author, says “the overwhelming majority of scientists in climate and related fields, therefore, remain commendably open to the possibility that some other influence—such as the sun—may be the true primum mobile of the Earth’s climate.”60
“The IPCC asserts against all evidence that the sun has little influence on climate change,” said Dr. Soon, the aerospace engineer. A total of 41 persons worked on an IPCC chapter on the sun. Only one was an expert on solar physics. Dr. Soon said their work is “shot through with critical errors and serious misrepresentations.”61
The media has reported literally hundreds of events and trends caused by global warming; presumably many of them attested by scientists. One famous list has 883 entries of changes caused by global warming.
In that list climate change has caused: alligators in the Thames, animals to head for the hills, the reduction of avalanches, increased avalanches, beetle infestation, confused birds, blood contamination, cave paintings to be threatened, lost clownfish, the earth crumbling, the earth dying, the earth warming, the earth’s light dimming, the earth pushed past the point of no return, the earth slowing down, the earth spinning faster, the earth exploding, the earth turning upside down, deafness in fish, lopsidedness in fish, glacial earthquakes, the balding of hedgehogs, indigestion, Italy to be robbed of pasta, a Maple syrup shortage, the speed up of ocean waves, oyster herpes, alteration of penguin sex lives, rabid bats, sexual promiscuity, sour grapes, traffic jams, a truffle shortage, the doubling of water bills, and witchcraft executions. And 850 other things.
The editor of the list stopped adding entries in 2012.
“Starting it (the list) was based on the naïve assumption that the rate of appearances would decline as opposing evidence accumulated, but the reverse happened. That’s the difference between science and religion. It was taking over my life, which I did not want to end as a garbage collector. There have since been hundreds more claims of an increasingly ludicrous nature.”
The likelihood is that the content of carbon dioxide in our air today has had no influence on the occurrence of this list of bad or unusual things. Who will pay for attaching all the ills of the world to dangerous manmade global warming?
Dangerous manmade global warming theory “risks destroying, perhaps for centuries to come, the unique and hard-won reputation for honesty which is the basis of society’s respect for scientific endeavor.”62
The U.N. panel on climate change will not acknowledge the powerful non-carbon dioxide factors which create weather because they are “financially and ideologically dependent upon coming to a single, aprioristic viewpoint, regardless of the objective truth.”63 What we have done by creating the panel is “create a monster that ignores the truth.”
If dangerous manmade global warming is falsified, the proponents will lose everything: Money, job, reputation, meaning. The only thing they will recover is truth and honesty.
There is good reason to believe both truth and honesty have lost their place among hardcore alarmist scientists, which we cover in detail in part two — Climate Change: Data is a Travesty.
Thanks for carrying the post to Watts Up With That – the world’s most viewed site on global warming and climate change.