Climate Change – science definitely not settled!

The whole issue of climate change, or global warming, ( the terms seem to be used interchangeably without much sense), has now reached a fundamentalist level. Either one believes in the single model, and all of the consequences that brings, or one is a loony skeptic  with a hidden agenda, funded by an interested party. There is something wrong where a scientific theory ( and that’s all it is) cannot be questioned without this level of personal attack.

Scientific theories of this magnitude can take decades to become established following much critique, cross examination, alternative scenarios and peer challenging. Over the last 15 years science has concluded, beyond any doubt,  on one of the most complex puzzles known to us – a computer model that accurately predicts the earth’s climate system. In the words of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change “the debate over the science of climate change is well and truly over” – and the conclusion is that man has caused global warming – so we must spend billions upon billions on schemes that reduce man’s carbon footprint.

Question : Has anyone who promotes this theory got any vested interest, whatsoever, in the man-made global warming Answer : Yes – Al Gore – for a start, part owner of Generation Investment Management (GIM). Gore maintains that he is carbon-neutral by buying carbon offsets – an easy way to placate one’s conscience. Who does he buy his offsets from – yes – GIM!

The arrogance and naivete is staggering.

By anyone’s standards the earth’s climate system is a very complex system – the number of variables must be staggeringly high. The worlds financial system, where the variables are confined to those associated with money, markets, trading and is entirely man-made must be considerably easier to model, and predict. If we have the same understanding of financial markets as we did about the climate system we must be able to predict with a high degree of accuracy the shares prices , currencies, gold prices etc in 50 years time. Sadly, we cannot predict such simple issues confidently within a few weeks out…so why are we so confident about the few degrees increase in temperature over the next few decades and  the consequences that we’ll observe.

The answer is, that we are not confident.

Apparently there is no debate over the fact that man is having a significant effect on the global atmosphere. Just some statistics…there are about 6 billion people on earth. If we all stood together, we would all fit into Lancashire, UK – quite easily. We represent 0.0003% of the world’s surface area – 70% of which is water, 6% of which is rain forest. The mass of atmosphere is 5 million trillion kg. We are such a small part of the system – yet its change is all down to us?

Common sense says that the sun must have some bearing on our climate – after all, it is the bearer of life on earth, and small changes impact us greatly. Yet climate scientists do not believe that the sun has much impact on climate change.The earth is covered in clouds and yet we do not understand the impact of clouds on the climate – some theories think it increases warming some think it reflects heat. The impact of clouds are not included in the IPCC’s calculations?

The whole theory distills itself down to carbon dioxide is bad – this is the carbon dioxide that plants use for photosynthesis – the very bottom of the food chain. Rotting vegetation and the great sea masses produce carbon dioxide at unimagineable volumes – yet none of this is relevant to climate change -it’s all down to man.

There is a legitimate view that carbon dioxide is the effect of climate change not the cause – this really turns the theory on its head!

We all know that the climate has been changing throughout history, we know there have been many ice ages, and warming periods. 8,500 years ago you could walk from England to France, then the ice melted – this was not the result of man’s carbon emmissions – it was the natural cycle of events that, for some reason, we have stopped accepting. The current paradigm is that no change is the only acceptable outcome – and if it changes, we will adapt – we always have done.

I do not claim to have the answers, I just don’t think any of us have them. I am very suspicious of those who purport that they do – this is not a simple maths calculation. It is clear to anyone who gives it a second thought that attributing all of climate change to man, and discouting other significant factors, is ludicrous. It is disingenuous and echoes the behaviour of people in a fundamentalist religion where any opposition cannot be countenanced.

We must continue to question and challenge with confidence – the science is definitely not settled!

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4 replies

  1. Excellent article Russell. Very thought provoking.

  2. Most of the times i visit a blog I notice that most blogs are amateurish.On the other hand,I have to say that you have done a good job here.

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