[Note from the author (December 2009): Hello everyone. Although I wrote this article quite some time ago, it appears to be receiving many views and is still topical. My thoughts on this subject have been refined somewhat since I wrote this, and I would now be better able to articulate the subject, but I am keeping this article here for the sake of the thousands of readers per month this is still getting. I have updated the images as most of them had dead links, but otherwise I will leave the original article intact for history. Thanks for reading!]
These days it is well nigh impossible to not be aware of the 'Global Warming' hysteria. From the doomsday movies, to alarming media headlines, to politicians scrambling over each other to get on the green bandwagon, one thing is clear – it’s not politically correct to question it.
When I first decided to look into what all the fuss was about on climate change, I was not opinionated on the subject at all. From what I understood then, the only difference between the global warming alarmists and me was a difference in opinion on the economics involved. That has now completely changed.
They have engaged in exaggeration and deception on just about every single last aspect of climate change. In fact, the only thing I can really confirm for you is that carbon dioxide has a 'greenhouse effect' in our atmosphere, and we are responsible for 0.28% of it . Actually, even the word “greenhouse” is misleading because that implies a restriction on convection currents, which is not physically accurate. The moon doesn’t have an atmosphere and experiences an average surface temperature of 107°C and -153°C for day and night respectively, which is obviously a much larger range compared to Earth's. The best explanation for how an atmosphere's “greenhouse” effect acts, is it increases the planet's heat capacity (i.e. it holds more energy and thus takes longer to heat up and cool down) and thus makes the climate more gentle and hospitable.
But let's step back for a moment from the atmosphere and talk about Earth's historical and current temperatures. Global warming alarmists would have us believe that we are now seeing a global temperature at a height not achieved for a very long time. This is simply not true. We have seen temperatures even within the last 1,000 years higher than our present, which is not even a blip in Earth’s history.
Possibly the most infamous display of this garbage is the “hockey-stick graph”.
Although Mann et al compiled it in 1998, it was not until 2003 that the first independent person was able to look at the algorithms used in the graph, because they refused to release it. It turned out that, even using completely randomized data, one could create a graph that looked exactly the same because the algorithms had a bias to exaggerate the last century! Not only that, but it should be obvious from the fact that the Vikings were settling and farming Greenland from the 9th to the 13th century, in places now covered with permafrost and ice, that this graph is just total nonsense! Of course, this was not before the graph had been used as the backdrop for the 2001 UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. You would have thought that was a pretty good indication of their scientific integrity, but I promise you it gets much, much worse. Perhaps even more interesting than the inability of the IPCC to verify its data before using it at all, let alone as a centerpiece, or subsequently apologising after it became public how fraudulent the graph was, is the fact that environmentalists to this day still use this graph to illustrate their points. Al Gore's entire sensationalist “documentary” (boy is that charitable) revolves around this widely discredited graph and others like it. It should honestly occur to us that anyone who continues to use this graph to support their arguements has little interest in actually presenting reality. The IPCC used to publish the real temperature data on the past millennium in its earlier reports, but not anymore because it’s an inconvenient truth to their agenda.
What about recent temperature rises in the last century? Surely it is impossible to deny that we are seeing warming now at an unusual and alarming rate? Well, you'd be surprised. Measuring Earth's average temperature to any interesting degree of precision is a considerably complex task. Even defining exactly what the absolute surface air temperature means is challenging, giving plenty of room for pursuing an agenda. The vast majority of graphs you've seen on this subject will have come from data using land-based measurements, as these allow the graph to continue back beyond the 1970s. There are numerous problems with land-based measurements, ranging from the fact that land only accounts for 30% of the planet's surface, to urban heat islands and other effects from changes in local land use. Dr. Dick Morgan, former advisor to the World Meteorological Organization and climatology researcher at University of Exeter, U.K. says,  “Had the IPCC used the standard parameter for climate change (the 30 year average) and used an equal area projection, instead of the Mercator (the 2D representation of a sphere which exaggerates the polar area) warming and cooling would have been almost in balance.” However, in the last 30 years we've had consistent measurements from weather balloons and satellites, which produce much more reliable results for obvious reasons, and what we've observed from this equipment is a only a very slight warming trend. This data should be puzzling to the people who built the climate models for the IPCC, because they actually predicted the reverse – the troposphere should be warming faster than the surface if the current warming is due to the 'greenhouse effect'.
While we're on the subject of climate models, I'd like to say a few things. Climate models are in their infancy. They are highly dependent on the assumptions that go into them, and there are a lot of them. In fact, there are so many assumptions and parameters that it is genuinely possible to create any relationship you like. Climate models are made fun by the inclusion of “positive feed-backs” (multiplier effects) so that a small temperature increment expected from increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide invokes large increases in water vapor, which seem to produce exponential rather than logarithmic temperature response to CO2. It seems to have become somewhat of a game to see who can add in the most creative feedback mechanisms to produce the scariest warming scenarios from their models, but there remains no evidence that the planet behaves in such a manner. Not only is it highly debatable as to whether water vapour acts as a positive or negative feed-back, but what has been observed in laboratories is that CO2 actually has a logarithmic relationship with temperature. The IPCC literally made its entire conclusion from the results of 6 models. Three of these were extreme scenarios with numbers like a global population of 15 billion by 2100 (almost all demographers expect our population to level at 9 billion), and even the 3 that were ‘moderate’ were predicting things like the annual rainfall in Ireland should be equivalent to the Sahara’s. Today. The unreliable nature of these models probably helps to explain why the IPCC cut almost of all its predictions by a third from 2001 to its most recent report. They also failed to predict the fall in methane levels we've seen since 2002, and their predictions for sea temperatures have been halved due to “incorrectly calibrated instrumentation”. As the saying in computer programming goes; “Garbage in, garbage out”.
There is an erroneous assumption flying around these days that CO2 is some how an important forcing factor on the global climate, when every last piece of empirical evidence shows otherwise. Al Gore, and I'm positive he's not the only one, has a graph with 500,000 years of ice core samples showing their chronological temperature and respective CO2 levels. There is a nice correlation, and the two are definitely linked, but he lies and pretends the relationship is the other way around. In every single time period it is clear that CO2 levels always trail temperature changes by 500-800 years. Professor Bob Carter of the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University, in Australia had the following to say about this;  “Al Gore's circumstantial arguments are so weak, that they are pathetic. The man is an embarrassment to US science and its many fine practitioners, a lot of whom know (but feel unable to state publicly) that his propaganda crusade is mostly based on junk science.” The historical evidence consistently shows temperature is independent of CO2. In fact, 450 million years ago when we were in the depths of the coldest period the Earth has had in half a billion years, CO2 levels were 10 times above today's! Even using the last century as evidence for a dependent relationship is meaningless. 65% of the warming this century occurred in the first three decades, and then, while CO2 levels continued to rise, temperatures fell for four decades in a row.
Another misconception that seems to be rife at the moment is that some how CO2 is a pollutant. I'm sure that you've all learned that this gas is actually fundamental to our existence, but this seems to be as good a time as any to re-cap. Estimates vary, but somewhere around 15% seems to be the common number cited for the increase in global food crop yields due to increased carbon dioxide since 1950. This increase has both helped avoid a Malthusian disaster and preserved or returned enormous tracts of marginal land as wildlife habitat that would otherwise have had to be put under the plow in an attempt to feed the growing global population. Commercial growers deliberately generate CO2 and increase its levels in agricultural greenhouses to between 700ppmv and 1,000ppmv to increase productivity and improve the water efficiency of food crops far beyond those in the somewhat carbon-starved open atmosphere. CO2 feeds the forests, grows more usable lumber in timber lots meaning there is less pressure to cut old growth or push into “natural” wildlife habitat, makes plants more water efficient helping to beat back the encroaching deserts in Africa and Asia and generally increases bio-productivity. If it's “pollution,” then it's pollution the natural world exploits extremely well and to great profit. What should be obvious is that increases in CO2 directly increase the vitality of the bio-world. It is no wonder that the Sahara has shrunk 300,000 km^2 in the last couple decades, or that the dinosaurs managed to find the sustenance to survive, despite their size, in an era with 5 times our current CO2 levels.
The last myth I'd like to debunk is the idea that global warming is necessarily a bad thing, regardless of whether we have any significant control over it, or that historically warm periods have been the most prosperous for humans. By far the most hyped consequences are increasing intensities of weather storms, and rising sea levels. Global storm intensities are dominated by the temperature difference between the equator and the poles, and it really is that simple. Even by the IPCC's own admission, in manipulating the area of the poles using the Mercator system to distort the global temperature, the poles must be warming at a rate faster than the equator and this subsequently leads to gentler storms, despite the media explicitly or implicitly making an attempt to blame every last weather anomaly on “climate change”. Ah yes, you say, but that would imply that we are in danger of rising sea levels because the warming would melt the ice at the poles. Well, consider this. Since the last ice age 18,000 years ago the global sea level has risen by 130 meters, and is still doing so at a current rate of around 20cm per century, which is dwarfed by local tectonic movements. This will obviously displace people, but it will pale in insignificance when compared to the migrations over the next century caused by other factors such as geographical changes in important resources, fresh water locations, industrialization, etc. Dramatic pictures of breaking seasonal ice is just patent propaganda, the reality is that Antarctica’s ice mass has now been growing for the last 30 years against a 6,000 year trend of melting, and it contains over 90% of the world’s land ice (sea ice, by Archimedes’s principle, does not affect sea levels). Dr. Wibjorn Karlen, emeritus professor, Dept. of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, Sweden, admits,  “Some small areas in the Antarctic Peninsula have broken up recently, just like it has done back in time. The temperature in this part of Antarctica has increased recently, probably because of a small change in the position of the low pressure systems.”
Our climate is changing, just as it has always done, and always will. In fact, the only constant about our climate is that it changes, which makes you realise the term “climate change” is at best meaningless, and at worst intentionally ambiguous. It feels silly that I need to say this, but clearly it has to be done. The main determinant of our climate is not some gas, which comprises 0.038% of the atmosphere, but the Sun, the planet's orbital eccentricities and axial wobble, cosmic ray flux, and other celestial factors. Greenhouse gases play an important role, but a passive one. It should not come as a surprise that our entire solar system has been warming for the last quarter century, or that the most accurate weather forecasts come from algorithms that concentrate on solar fluctuations and cosmic rays. Cosmic rays are responsible for cloud formations, which are central to the overwhelmingly most important greenhouse gas. Water vapour accounts for 95% of the ‘greenhouse effect’ and, apart from the elaborate positive feed-back systems in their models that have no actual basis with reality, the global warming alarmists have completely ignored it. This is staggering because H20, by a country mile, in its gas, liquid, and solid form dominates all other terrestrial climate factors. I have included here three graphs to show you how temperature correlates to solar variations, CO2, and the global pirate population.
As you can see, meaningless correlations are not difficult to produce.
I hope that by this point you are beginning to understand that there are dozens of simple common sense punches that go straight through the global warming alarmists, and you must now be asking why there is a motive for us being lied to in the first place. The anthropogenic global warming proponents consist of three main groups: politicians, the media, and some scientists. The politicians are easy, as always. As long as they have no personal vested interests that may be damaged by their policies, the global warming hysteria is a windfall for the simple reason that it is a cause that virtually everyone supports and is thus a guaranteed way of being able to raise tax revenue with no political backlashes. The media is similarly obvious. The news sells more papers, magazines, and has more viewers when their audience is scared of some imminent catastrophe that your respective service is reporting on. Problem for them is, we’ve been seeing that junk for the last 10 years, so, accordingly, their headlines have had to get more and more shrill to the point of ridiculous. Although, they can't decide whether we're going to burn, starve, freeze, or drown. Perhaps it is indicative that the media has now warned us of impending doom from climate change no less than 4 separate times in the last century. Last, but certainly not least, we come to the scientists themselves. In the late 1980s, the US federal budget for “climate research” was $170 million. Today it is more than $5 billion. There are literally tens of thousands of people who depend on your gullibility, in the US alone. The scientists who produce material to support the anthropogenic global warming theory are rewarded with media attention and political funding. They have abandoned some of the most fundamental principles of science in the pursuit of greed, and I, for one, will certainly not indulge them when the world starts cooling again and they need a job. Of course, there are also plenty of scientists with scientific integrity, but most of them have had their work distorted, misrepresented, suppressed, or passed off as funded by oil companies in the media. These real scientists must find the IPCC’s claim that there is a consensus in the scientific community on anthropogenic global warming at the very least a statement of ignorance on the scientific method, and probably downright offensive. More than 4,000 scientists from 106 countries, including 72 Nobel prize winners, signed the Heidelberg Appeal (1992), calling for a rational scientific approach to environmental problems. Many senior scientists have also supported The Statement by Atmospheric Scientists on Greenhouse Warming (1992), The Leipzig Declaration (1997) and finally the Oregon Petition (1998), which received the signatures of over 19,000 scientists . Dr. Chris Landsea resigned from the IPCC in his own words, because,  “I personally cannot in good faith continue to contribute to a process that I view as both being motivated by pre-conceived agendas and being scientifically unsound.” The IPCC’s process is highly corrupt. When a report is made, a couple thousand climate scientists each write a small section in their expertise and have no input into any other part of the report. This is the first reason the IPCC produces no scientific consensus. The second reason is that the ‘Summary for Policymakers’ is written first, by policymakers no less, and then the rest of the report is doctored and manipulated by a handful of “lead authors” to fit the summary’s agenda. In fact, some scientists had to threaten legal action before their names were finally removed. But actually all this misses the really big point: Hello?! It’s the United Nations for crying out loud!!
I think it is important to note that this is a fairly isolated case of how politics can hideously corrupt a respectable scientific field. Humans do affect the planet and scientists play a central role in understanding how. I just hope that in the future good lessons are learned from this on how not to have a functional relationship between the scientific community and the public at large, although given humanity’s track record I’m not holding my breath.
The amount of money being wasted on climate change nonsense is amazing. In fact, in my opinion, the only good thing Bush did with his presidency was refuse the US sign the Kyoto Treaty, which would have had the effect of lowering the Earth’s temperature by one tenth of a degree in 50 years time (by the treaty’s own estimates) at the price of $400 billion a year. That’s $2,700 per American family per year, or 20% of the UK’s GDP. At this price the US could provide the entire world with clean drinking water and sanitation, which would prevent 2 million real, not imaginary, deaths (from diseases like infant diarrhea) a year and prevent a half-billion people from becoming seriously ill each year. These initiatives are wasting our money at an enormous opportunity cost.
The point of my article is to show you that the theory of anthropogenic global warming needs to be exposed to criticism to ensure its health. If the theory has merits, then it has to be proved under the rigors of the scientific method, not through political campaigns. It is important for any subject, but especially one on a global scale with so much at stake, to be rationally discussed without the panic, hysteria, and sensationalist rubbish. People who try to suppress this debate are highly irresponsible and their motives should seriously be called into question. A lot of the responsibility for how this is handled rests on you and me. If someone tells you that the world is going to end in 100 years time because of the gases that come out your mouth and backside, you should have the intellectual fortitude to critically question that claim, and not treat like heretics those who do.
- Fig 1
[link edited for length] (11/12/2007)
- Fig 2
[link edited for length] (11/12/2007)
- Fig 3 and 4
http://www.oism.org/pproject/ (June 2007)
- Fig 5
S.M. Freidenreich and V. Ramaswamy, “Solar Radiation Absorption by Carbon Dioxide, Overlap with Water, and a Parameterization for General Circulation Models,” Journal of Geophysical Research 98 (1993):7255-7264
- 7 and 8
[link edited for length] (11/12/2007)
[link edited for length] (11/12/2007)Tweet