Thank you most sincerely for your response last month to my April 2009 Breaking News column in Ndaba. I wish more of our readers would express their views and exchange ideas. I fear though that objectivity may be on thin ice here (pun unintended) because we both, by our own admission, engage for ethical reasons in what is clearly an emotionally-charged conflict of ideals. We clearly have some common purpose at the outset: We are both greatly concerned about progressive harm to ecology and species; and we agree that global warming and dynamic climate change are real. Let’s take it from there. What I say is that there is nothing historically unusual about current global temperatures. Global warming and global cooling are periodic. They are perfectly natural peaks and valleys in cycles driven primarily by the Sun. There are no data to support the hypothesis that greenhouse gases, whether human-related or not, drive climate fluctuations. This is a story of how an unsubstantiated theory of climate, a model, became political ideology.
To clarify, AGW stands for Anthropogenic Global Warming (meaning, increase in the mean temperature of Earth as a result primarily of human activities), CO2 is carbon dioxide, and IPCC is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
In view of the constraints of this forum, my initial response won’t attempt to address in detail the main points in your letter, although I must admit to being completely baffled by your statement that my argument “fails totally on one salient point: only a tiny minority – 1 in 1000 – of scientific publications on global warming dispute the influence of human activities in affecting climate change.” Even if Dr Schultze’s figures were correct, and notwithstanding that I dispute them, how would that invalidate my general argument? Science is not about consensus, and I mentioned the fact that those against the motion appeared for once to be in the majority only as a sociological curiosity. Certainly, history shows that opposition to ruling paradigms consists invariably of extremely small minorities with limited chance for expression, and the reasons for this I should think are fairly obvious. That we in this case find numerically more substantial opposition than previously is borne out by even the most cursory scan of the broader literature (journals are notoriously standard-model-biased). In my view, the best single reference on the quality of opposition to AGW is The Deniers—the world-renowned scientists who stood up against global warming hysteria, political persecution, and fraud by Lawrence Solomon (2008).
Be that as it may, global temperature patterns; the demise of polar bears; the effect of greenhouse gases; the proportion of publications expressing doubt about carbon-driven AGW; that “the end justifies the means”; and the personal culpability of Al Gore in misleading the public and governments, could all be exhaustively debated with copious references to the literature on both sides. We simply don’t have the space to do that here. In your letter you invoke the authority of respected scientists, so I prefer in my response to let other prominent role-players in the AGW saga express it in their own words. What I suggest is that we let the facts fall where they will, irrespective of any model or ideology. That way we can avoid a preconceived outcome.
In my view, before we even start to make predictions for the planet, we need good data to base them on. A crucial misrepresentation on plots of climate data is the selective positioning of the trend line and base line for plots (your illustration falls into this trap). If the curve commences from the previous low point for temperature (the Little Ice Age), for example, then the trend is obviously upwards. If, by comparison, the plot commences from say the peak of the Medieval Warm Period, when temperatures were considerably warmer than they are now, then the trend is equally obviously downwards. A recent paper by two eminent climatologists details the inaccuracies and massaging of IPCC’s global temperature measurements, like those supporting the graph in your letter and conclusions drawn from it. I urge you to look at it:
There are many complex issues that might sidetrack us, so let’s tackle the fundamental principle of the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) movement first. The rest can follow in due time. The question I seek to answer here is “What do these particular experts in the field of climatology feel about the hypothesis that human production of atmospheric carbon or greenhouse gases in general measurably leads to increases in global temperatures and influences weather patterns to the extent that we are experiencing or are about to experience catastrophic overheating?”I believe this question correctly addresses the philosophy behind the IPCC-driven mission, and the essence of the Kyoto protocol and Copenhagen road map.
Arno Arrak, author of the book What Warming? Satellite view of global climate change; he was a nuclear chemist on NASA’s Apollo programme: “In 2007 we got some serious cooling while climate models using carbon dioxide theory insisted on relentless warming at the same time. If a theory predicts warming and we get cooling that theory as a scientific theory has failed and must be abandoned.”
Professor John Christy, lead author, IPCC; awarded NASA’s medal for exceptional scientific achievement in 1991; received a special award from the American Meteorological Society for fundamentally advancing our ability to measure climate: “I’ve often heard it said that there is consensus of thousands of scientists on the global warming issue, and that humans are causing a catastrophic change to the climate system. Well, I am one scientist—and there are many—who thinks that this is simply not true.”
Lord Lawson of Blaby, former British Chancellor of the Exchequer and Secretary for Energy: “We had a very thorough enquiry and took evidence from a whole lot of people expert in this area. What surprised me was how weak and uncertain the science was. In fact there are more and more thoughtful people…some of them openly saying, ‘hang on, wait a minute, this simply doesn’t add up.’”
Canadian environmentalist Patrick Moore , co-founder of Greenpeace: “I don’t even like to call it the environmental movement any more because it really is a political activist movement, and they have become hugely influential at a global level… These days if you are sceptical of the litany around climate change, you’re suddenly as if you’re like a holocaust denier.”
Nigel Calder, author and former editor of New Scientist: “They (the IPCC) came out with the first big report which predicted climatic disaster as a result of global warming. I remember…the total disregard of all climate science up till that time, including, incidentally, the role of the Sun, which had been discussed at a conference of the Royal Society just a few months previously.”
Professor Patrick Michaels, Department of Environmental Science, University of Virginia: “Anyone who says that CO2 is responsible for most of the warming of the 20th century hasn’t looked at the basic numbers.”
Dr Tim Ball, professor of climatology at the University of Winnipeg: “The analogy I use is that my car is not running very well, so I ignore the engine, which is the Sun, and I’m going to ignore the transmission, which is water vapour, and I’m going to be looking at one nut on the right rear wheel, which is the human-produced CO2. The science is that bad. When people say you don’t believe in global warming, I say no, I believe in global warming, but I don’t believe that human CO2 is causing that warming. In the post-war years, when industry and the economies of the world really got going and human production of CO2 just soared, the global temperature was going down. In other words, the facts don’t fit the theory.”
Professor Syun-Ichi Akasofu, Director, International Arctic Research Centre, Alaska: “CO2 began to rise exponentially in about 1940, but temperature began to decrease (in) 1940 and continued to about 1975. So this is the opposite relation, when CO2 is increasing rapidly, but yet temperature is decreasing— then we cannot say the CO2 and the temperature go together.”
Professor Tim Ball, University of Winnipeg: “If you take CO2 as a percentage of all the gases in the atmosphere…it’s about 0.054%. It’s an incredibly small portion. And then you take the percentage that humans are supposedly adding, which is the focus of all the concern, and it gets even smaller. The atmosphere is made up of a multitude of gases, a small percentage of them we call greenhouse gases, and of that very small percentage, 95% is water vapour, the most important greenhouse gas.”
Professor Richard Lindzen, M.I.T.: “Every textbook on meteorology is telling you the main source of weather disturbances is the temperature differences between tropics and the poles. And we’re told, in a warmer world, this difference gets less. Now that would tell you, you will have less storminess, less variability…”
Professor Frederick Singer, First Director, US National Weather Satellite Service. “All the models, every one of them, calculate that the warming should be faster as you go up from the surface into the atmosphere. In fact, the maximum warming over the equator should take place at an altitude of about 10km.”
Professor John Christy, lead author, IPCC: “What we found consistently was that in a great part of the planet, the bulk of the atmosphere was not warming as much as the surface…that’s a real head-scratcher for us…the theory says that if the surface warms, the upper atmosphere should warm rapidly. The rise in temperature of that part of the atmosphere is really not very dramatic and really does not match the theory that climate models are expressing.”
Professor Richard Lindzen, IPCC; Massachusetts Institute of Technology: “If it’s greenhouse warming, you get more warming in the middle of the troposphere, the first 10 to 12 km of the Earth’s atmosphere, than you do at the surface…having to do with how the greenhouse works. That data gives you a handle on the fact that what we’re seeing is warming that is probably not due to greenhouse gases.”
Professor Frederick Singer: “The observations do not show an increase with altitude. So in a sense you can say the hypothesis of man-made global warming is falsified by the evidence.”
Dr Ian Clark, Arctic paleoclimatologist, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa: “If we look at climate in the geological timeframe, we would never suspect CO2 as a major climate driver. We can’t say CO2 will drive climate. It never did in the past. When we look at climate on long scales, we’re looking for geological material that actually records climate. If we take an ice sample for example, we use isotopes to reconstruct temperature, but the atmosphere that’s imprisoned in the ice we liberate and then we look at the CO2 content. … So, here we are looking at the ice core record from Vostok … we see temperature going up from early time to later time at a very key interval when we came out of a-glaciation … and then we see CO2 coming up. CO2 lags behind that increase, it’s got about an 800 year lag, so temperature is leading CO2 by about 800 years. CO2 cannot be causing temperature changes. It’s a product of temperature, it is following temperature changes.”
Professor Frederick Singer: “So obviously CO2 is not the cause of that warming, in fact we can say that the warming produced the CO2.”
Professor Tim Ball: “The ice core record goes to the very heart of the problem we have here. They said that if CO2 increases in the atmosphere…then the temperature will go up. But the ice core record shows exactly the opposite. So the fundamental assumption of the whole theory of climate change due to humans is shown to be wrong.”
Dr Ian Clark, University of Ottawa: “Solar activity over the last … several hundred years correlates very nicely on a decadal basis with sea ice and arctic temperatures.”
Professor Phillip Stott, University of London: “As every school child knows from their geography textbooks, the oceans and the atmosphere exchange carbon dioxide. When the oceans warm up, they release CO2 into the atmosphere, and when they cool down again, they take in the CO2 and they store it.”
Professor Nir Shaviv, Institute of Physics, Hebrew University of Jerusalem: “A few years ago, if you would ask me, I would tell you it’s CO2. Why? Because like everyone else in the public, I listened to what the media had to say. There were periods in the Earth’s history when we had … ten times as much CO2 as we have today, and if CO2 has an effect on climate, then you should see it in the temperature reconstruction. There’s no direct evidence that links 20th century global warming to anthropogenic greenhouse gases.”
To conclude this first exchange of thoughts, I emphasise that the ice core records show that temperature leads CO2, effectively ruling out anthropogenic carbon emissions as a driver of global temperature. In addition, measurements of temperatures in the troposphere by both satellite and weather balloon contradict the notion of a runaway greenhouse effect. Despite the elegance of the climate models, they are rendered useless by cumulative and ongoing measurements of actual conditions in the terrestrial environment, and by the exposing of unethical manipulation of those data to contrive a fit. At the very least, the claim by Gore and others that “the science is settled” is blatantly misleading and totally unsubstantiated by the facts. Does the end justify the means? I hope this dialogue survives to provide an answer.
The quotes in this letter were taken from the documentary The Great Global Warming Swindle, produced by Martin Durkin (2008), and the books What Warming? Satellite view of global climate change by Arno Arrak (2009); A primer on CO2 and Climate by Howard Hayden (2008); Global Warming False Alarm by Ralph Alexander (2009); The Deniers—the world-renowned scientists who stood up against global warming hysteria, political persecution, and fraud by Lawrence Solomon (2008); Red Hot Lies by Christopher Horner; Climate Confusion by Roy Spencer (2008), and Air Con by Ian Wishart (2009).