We are told that global warming or climate change is urgent, catastrophic, man-made and the science is incontrovertible. However, with distortion, exaggeration and some bad science, along with a one-sided narrative, the integrity of climate science is not all it is claimed to be.
This chapter has the following headings:
- Is Climate Change New?
- The International Panel on Climate Change (IPPC)
- The Evidence About Climate Change
- The Hockey Stick
- Factors that Affect Climate
- Integrity in Climate Science
- A Convenient Lack of Truth
- Anatomy of a Scare
- Climatology is a Religion, not a Science
- The Politics of Climate Change
- What is the Truth About Climate Change?
- Further Resources
- Site Index
I decided to include a chapter on climate change in a work about health because we are told that it could have a profound effect on patterns of disease and the ability to grow food. Articles such as The Imperative for Climate Action to Protect Health1 assume that what we are told about climate change is true and accurate. They do not challenge the dogma. There are some very important issues about science. This includes technique, interpretation and integrity.
I was a little wary about broaching the topic as I do not have personal expertise in the field but the more that I examined it, the more I felt that it demanded discussion. There are many “gurus” including Al Gore and both the current and past chairmen of the International Panel on Climate Control who are no more qualified than me. When scientists speak out about climate change, they are often not specialists in the field. Indeed, many people who claim to have expertise in the field are not scientists at all but have a degree in English. This chapter can only scratch the surface of a vast subject but there are important issues involved. Unfortunately, books and articles tend to offer one side or the other but not a balance, so the reader should read much more from both sides about this crucial matter. Try not to become radicalised in either direction on the way.
I had not intended to broach the subject of politics in relation to climate change but as I read around the subject, it became clear that an understanding of the politics is essential to understand the narrative that accompanies it. Some people say that climatology is a religion rather than a science, and this needs examination. Despite the usual caveat about avoiding politics and religion, I find that they must be addressed. Therefore, I have added a section on each to help give the full picture and to enhance understanding.
This chapter is not an attempt to project that elusive balanced approach, rather than rooting for one side or the other. Instead, it challenges the orthodoxy that has been thrust on us in an almost totalitarian way. It criticises bad science, selective use of data to match the foregone conclusion and the claims of great certainty and accuracy where none exists. Many other aspects of science and medicine are not as robust and objective as they should be, but when it comes to bad practice, climate science is in a league of its own.
In the 1980s, some of the early global warming alarmists had only 10 years previously been predicting another ice age. An example was Sir Crispin Tickle who was Great Britain’s permanent representative at UN. His 1977 book “Climatic Change and World Affairs” argued that mandatory international pollution control would eventually be necessary. He is often described as an environmentalist, but his degree was in History.
People often talk about “carbon” when they mean “carbon dioxide” and especially when people with no knowledge of science do so, I often wonder if they know the difference. They talk about a trail of carbon left by aircraft. Do they mean soot or gas? When they talk about tonnes of carbon or tonnes of carbon dioxide, they are very different matter. If carbon has an atomic weight of 12 and oxygen has an atomic weight of 16, the molecular weight of carbon dioxide is 44. Thus, 1 tonne of carbon dioxide contains just 0.27 tonne of carbon, but if 1 tonne of carbon is burned to carbon dioxide, it produces 3.67 tonnes of the gas.
When I started to write this chapter, I expected to find that the doubters were like the anti-vaccine campaigners, with closed minds and a warped idea of science and reality. However, I found instead, that there were many causes for concern about what we are told and much lack of honesty and transparency. This chapter looks at the climate change narrative and finds that the science is not all that it is claimed to be. That does not mean that it is all wrong, but if we are being asked to make major changes to our lives and the economy of the world, at least we should demand honesty, including admitting uncertainties.
According to great, but much maligned Nicolo Machiavelli, “A sign of intelligence is an awareness of one’s own ignorance”.
Sherlock Holmes also gave us great wisdom. In the book A Scandal in Bohemia, he says, “It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.” This has happened far too often.
Is Climate Change New?
We have had global warming before. We have had several ice ages in recent times or at least recent by geological standards. Between each was a period of warmth. There has also been considerable variation in climate over the centuries.
From about AD900 to AD1300 there was an extended period of very warm weather that is called the 2Medieval warm period (MWP). Some claim that it was localised to Europe3IPPC. Working Group I: The Scientific Basis but it is generally agreed that it was a global phenomenon.4New paper shows Medieval Warm Period was global. A 2020 paper from China also showed that 5it Was Warmer In China During Medieval Warm Period Than Today. The finding of a 6Viking haul revealed by melted ice in Norway shows that it was rather warmer than today. That is why the ice is now melting to reveal it. Modern temperatures are not unprecedented.
Around the beginning of the 14th century, the MWP came to a sudden end. Temperatures fell and harvests were poor. When the Black Death arrived, it found a malnourished population and for each town or village that it hit, it killed about a third to half the population and sometimes rather more, even wiping out entire villages. The Black Death reduced the population of Great Yarmouth from 10,000 to 3,000. A relatively cold phase continued until the 19th century and this is called “the Little Ice Age”. It was so cold in Tudor times that ice fairs were held on the frozen River Thames.
The ice on the Thames was so thick that ice fairs could be held each winter
Roman times were even warmer than the MWP and England was a wine growing area as far north as York.7Tree rings suggest Roman world was warmer than thought This was all long before the surge in carbon dioxide emissions of the Industrial Revolution. Furthermore, in this country and for much of the world, the warm times were good times with good harvests. It is the cold times that are the problem. The probable major cause in the past was changes in solar activity. However, the effects on climate are multifactorial and this is important to remember.
As recently as the 1970s, opinion was that temperatures were falling to produce another Little Ice Age. Man was blamed for this because of small particles and aerosols in the upper atmosphere. Then there was a reversal of opinion with the suggestion that we were heading for much hotter times as a result of gases being emitted by human activity.
Warming as a result of human activity is called anthropogenic global warming or AGW. There is a considerable body of opinion in its favour including both scientists and politicians. However, science is not decided by opinion but by evidence. Alhazen, the 11th century Persian astronomer wrote that the seeker after truth does not place his trust in mere consensus, however widespread or venerable. Instead, using his hard-won scientific knowledge, he takes care to verify what he has learned of it. “The road to the truth is long and hard but that is the road we must follow”.
“The road to the truth is long and hard but that is the road we must follow”.
For those who support the assertion but admit that the evidence is far from convincing, they invoke “the precautionary principle”. This means that if there is a risk, even if the degree of risk is far from certain, then action should be taken to prevent it. However, this does not negate the need for proportion. We could have a shield of missiles to protect us from collision with a massive meteorite, but the risk is considered too remote to justify the expense and the chance of success too small. Remember that philosophers since the pupils of Plato have said that there is no such thing as absolute certainty. We must still agree. What is being asked of the world about AGW is very considerable and would be immensely costly. There are questions that must be asked:
- Are we seeing global warming?
- If so, how fast and what are the likely consequences?
- How much is due to human activities?
- What actions can be taken to mitigate this? This includes how to cope with a warmer climate rather than just trying to prevent it.
- Looking at several scenarios, what would be the potential costs and benefits?
Only the first question seems to have a clear answer. Climate is changing. It always has and always will. We are coming out of a Little Ice Age and the earth seems to be warming. The other questions are more contentious.
The International Panel on Climate Change (IPPC)
In 1988 the United Nations set up the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC describes its role as “to assess the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate-change, its potential impacts and options for adaptions and mitigation.”8IPCC website The belief in human-induced climate-change is taken as a tenet. It was established as an unquestionable truth at a time when it was no more than an interesting idea. Hence it is unsurprising that it looks at nothing other than a potential human imprint and it refuses to consider other possibilities.9(Sun Shunned by William Moon. In Climate Change- the facts). Indeed, for its employees, agreeing that human activities had little effect on climate would be like turkeys voting for Christmas.
It should be the leading body demanding rigour in its science but unlike the World Health Organisation (WHO) which is also aligned to the United Nations, its governance leaves much to be desired. The role suggests that if it is induced by human activity, it is climate change. If it is not attributable to humans, it is not. They assume that all change is anthropogenic (produced by human activity). There is an attitude that the threat is far too imminent to leave time to research if it is real. Instead we need dramatic action now. It seems more of a crusade than a quest for the truth. The fundamental creed must not be challenged. It is due to the sin of mankind.
In September 2014 the BMJ published a paper by David McCoy and Brian Hoskins called10 The science of anthropogenic climate change: what every doctor should know. The aim was to summarise the key points from the IPCC working group 1 on the physical aspects of climate change.11Climate change 2013; the physical science basis It was well written and not condescending as are some such articles. It aimed to explain climate change to doctors so that they could then explain the urgency to their patients. Doctors are often involved in trying to educate and influence lifestyle changes.
They start by stating that the IPCC is a scientific body involving thousands of scientists from across the world. However, the claim that they are 2,500 of the best climate scientists in the world is wrong. As a United Nations body, it was felt that it was more important to have delegates from many countries, to be as representative as possible. There is a stated objective of reaching a consensus although science is based on evidence, not consensus. Most countries do not have any true experts in the field, which is really very complex, and so if only true experts were chosen, they would be from a limited number of developed countries. Some countries would be very strongly represented, and most countries, including probably all developing countries would be unrepresented.
The authors in the BMJ say that the world is undoubtedly warming compared to before the Industrial Revolution. This was during the Little Ice Age and so this warming is to be welcomed. It is not a threat. Furthermore, there was warming from Tudor times to the Industrial Revolution, but people like to start counting there as it is much more difficult to blame warming before the Industrial Revolution on greenhouse gases. The authors continue by asking what causes global warming. They attribute most of it to the greenhouse effect but by no means all. In keeping with most texts on the subject they go on to explain about greenhouse gases and that carbon dioxide is the most important as well as being long lasting in the atmosphere. They say that concentrations are 40% higher than in pre-industrial times. What they do not note is that these levels were perhaps the lowest ever in the history of the earth and they have been higher at the start of an ice age.
The US Environmental Protection Agency states that the four important greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and the fluorinated hydrocarbons.12United States Environmental Protection Agency. Overview of greenhouse gases
The sun is very hot, and it emits radiation of very high frequency. This passes through the atmosphere and heats the earth which becomes warm and also emits radiation. Being at a lower temperature than the sun it emits energy of a lower frequency. The high energy radiation can pass through the glass of a greenhouse. The low energy radiation cannot. It is reflected back and stays in the greenhouse. This is the greenhouse effect and there are a number of gases in the atmosphere which act in a similar way to some extent. However, for climate this is an oversimplification.
Not everyone agrees that carbon dioxide is the most potent greenhouse gas. Carbon dioxide comes in a poor second at 3.6% after water vapour at 95% of the greenhouse effect.13Climate myths: CO2 isn’t the most important greenhouse gas John Tyndall, in the middle of the 19th century noted the importance of water. The level of water in the atmosphere is variable. It may be as water vapour, as clouds or as precipitation. The effects of clouds on weather and climate are difficult to model. They filter the sun by day and reduce heat loss from radiation by night. It seems that in view of this they have just been ignored. They are far too great and important to be ignored and without them computer-based predictions are valueless. Computers speed calculations. They do not make up for poor or absent data. Once again, we have the problem of “rubbish in- rubbish out”.
However, the truth lies somewhere between the two. Carbon dioxide has a magnifying effect on water vapour as a greenhouse gas. The actual figure by which carbon dioxide magnifies the effect of water vapour is contentious and the IPCC agree that it is difficult to define but it may well have been overstated. The sensitivity of the system to carbon dioxide is the effect for a doubling of CO2 concentration. Thus, a rise from 280ppm (parts per million) to 560ppm will have the same effect as from 560ppm to 1120ppm and from 1120ppm to 2240ppm. Very few people know that the relationship between atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and warming is not linear. It is based on a doubling of values. Whether a doubling of carbon dioxide levels will raise temperatures by an average of 1o of 4o makes an enormous difference to models.
There is not a linear relationship between carbon dioxide and warming but an increment for every doubling of the level
Carbon dioxide acts as a greenhouse gas within the fairly low range of radiation of 9 to 14.8µm. The effect is rapidly saturated and so an increase leads to an increased effect based on a negative logarithmic relationship. This means that a doubling of the CO2 level produces a very small increase in the effect. Warming will increase the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere, but this will result in more cloud cover and a filtering effect.
The graph above showing the effect of carbon dioxide on climate forcing may seem a little difficult to comprehend as the units on the Y axis are watts per square metre. Therefore, I have made a simpler graph to show how temperatures will rise for every doubling of carbon dioxide levels. The graph starts fairly steep and then levels off.
If there is a 1° rise for every doubling of the CO2 levels, the graph soon flattens
We are sometimes told that levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have never been higher. This may be true for the past few centuries but it is not true if we go further back over the past few million years. About 500 million years ago the carbon dioxide levels were about 15 times their present levels. Then plant life developed along with photosynthesis and this reduced carbon dioxide levels to reach a nadir at pre-industrial levels.
Warming of about 0.7o occurred over the 20th century but from about 1998 to 2015 there was little if any change. They address the issue of continued global warming considering that temperatures hardly rose at all between 1998 and 2012. They say that there are three possible explanations. The one they regard as the most important is that ocean circulation shifted heat from the surface to lower levels. Another is that dust from volcanic activity has filtered sunlight although others say that volcanic dust is not unduly high. The third is the 11 years cycle of solar energy. They regard the ocean current as the most important. On the other hand, it may be suggested that ocean currents were responsible for any rapid warming that we have seen in the past.
They do admit that attributing and predicting climate change to greenhouse gases is very challenging. They are honest about the enormous challenges of predicting such a variable and non-linear system in which data may be limited or inaccurate.
At the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992, climate change was defined as “a change in climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variation observed over a considerable period of time.”14(Cited in “The deliberate corruption of climate science” by Tim Ball). You may need to read that again to believe it. It says that if it is man-made then it is climate change and if it is naturally occurring then it is not. This is the definition accepted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). However, the IPCC says that this is not the definition that they use.15IPCC. Observed changes in climate and their effects Nevertheless, they answer to the UNFCCC.
At the time of writing the IPCC has produced five reports. Each includes a scientific assessment and a summary for policymakers (SPM) to advise national leaders on the steps that should be taken. The SPM is released a few months ahead of the scientific reasoning on which it is supposed to be based. This really is putting the cart before the horse. Some have argued that the policy comes first and then the science must be bent to meet it. The SPM certainly catches the attention of the media with calls for dramatic action based on great certainty. The scientific documents which follow are much more difficult for journalists to understand and they contain far more caveats and admissions of uncertainty than are suggested by the SPM.
The chapters in these reports are written by a great many authors with one lead author whose main function is to keep the chapter “on message”. He or she is not chosen for his or her command of the subject. The input to the summary for policymakers is overtly political. In my reading, several authors have suggested that the true experts in the field tend to express due scientific reticence in their contributions to reports but they are very much in the minority and other members of the team, along with some of the more ardent zealots, insist that the final wording should be far more confident than the evidence would permit. The qualification of some contributors seems to be that they are “activists”. An activist is not an expert and is unlikely to have an open mind. The summary for policymakers is even more adamant and has considerable political input. It is released before the science report on which it is supposed to be based so that it has greater impact.
The chairman of the IPCC from 2002 to 2015 was Dr Rajendra Pachauri and he was often referred to by the media as the “world’s top climate scientist.” He is “doctor” because he has a PhD in economics, but his background is in engineering on the Indian railway. He resigned from his post in 2015 at the age of 74 after allegations of sexual harassment from a 29 years old female researcher.16IPCC chair Rajendra Pachauri resigns The Guardian referred to him as “one of the UN’s top climate change officials”. They did not refer to him as a “top climate scientist” but they did note that “he has taken the lead in the scientific assessment of the causes and risks of climate change”. This suggests that he was rather out of his depth. He has been replaced by Dr. Hoesung Lee who is an economist. Economists do not question the climatology but base their models on the assumption that what they are told is true. Again, the IPPC is led by a man who does not have expertise in climate science.
The IPCC is the most respected body in the world in the field of climate change although its constitution in based on examining a forgone conclusion and it ignores a vast amount of the evidence. It forms a consensus with many people from many countries, most of whom have no expertise in the field in which they pontificate. Imagine if the WHO was not run by doctors and epidemiologists but by health activists. It would be a very different organisation. This is how the IPPC is run.
In 2007 the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to the IPCC and former American vice president Al Gore for “illuminating a problem that could jeopardise world peace”. The chairman, Rajendra Pachauri wrote to all employees saying that each one of them was a Nobel Prize winner. This was rather like the winner of an Oscar who names everyone she can think of in the time allowed for an acceptance speech whilst overflowing with emotion. The prize went to the organisation and Al Gore and not to all its members. Its chairman does not have the authority to award Nobel Prizes and a check on the Nobel website will not show the names of all the IPCC members. Nevertheless, many of them have claimed in CVs and publicity for lectures that they are Nobel laureates and even universities that should know better have been complicit. Thus, they may give the impression of having a Nobel Prize in Physics or one of the sciences when they have no such award.17(Donna Framboise in chapter 15 The IPCC and the Peace Prize in Climate Change, the facts by Dr John Abbot et al). The Nobel Price for Peace is usually a rather contentious award.
The Evidence About Climate Change
Some of the evidence about global warming is based on observation. A considerable amount of the icecaps has melted, glaciers have receded and the north-west passage around Canada is more open to navigation than it has been for centuries. However, some glaciers are retreating, others are not, and some are advancing. The ice sheet in Greenland is retreating but the centre is becoming thicker.18Satellite shows Greenland’s ice sheets getting thicker We are always told only one side of the story and that is a cause for concern. Science is supposed to be honest and unbiased, examining all the evidence rather than only what is convenient.
Galileo invented a rudimentary water thermometer in 1593 and reliable instruments are much more recent. There is a continuous record of temperatures for central England from 1659. This is unique and nowhere else in the world can produce data based on contemporaneous readings of thermometers going so far back.
The time of appearance of cherry blossom in Japan has been recorded for centuries
So how do we know about temperatures many years ago? One method is to look back at chronicles and to note when the snow melted, when birds migrated and when the blossom appeared on the trees. In Japan the appearance of the cherry blossom has been recorded for many centuries. There are records of when grapes for wine were ready. There is evidence of how far up mountains trees grew.
Analysis of tree rings is called dendrochronology. The concept is that rings will be wider, indicating more growth, from warmer years. However, there is no reliability in this and there is variation between species. Also, as any gardener knows, growth is also dependent on rainfall too. Indeed, tree rings are often used to detect periods of high rainfall or drought. The medieval warm period was both warm and wet. Dendrochronologists have been accused of cherry picking. This means just selecting the data that fits the hypothesis and rejecting what is inconvenient. One who was challenged by a US Congressional committee said, “You have to pick cherries to make cherry pie”. This sounds like an open admission of scientific fraud.
It is possible to get a proxy reading of past temperatures from oxygen isotope ratios. A graph of high-quality inferred air temperatures above the Greenland ice cap for the last 10,000 years show that the Medieval Warm Period was rather warmer than today, and the Roman period was hotter still. The Minoan period about 3,000 years ago was even hotter. The coldest time was about 8,000 years ago and the warmest was the Holocene climatic optimum, roughly 600 years later.19The Younger Dryas cold interval as viewed from central Greenland
The cause of the event is uncertain but it was a catastrophic cooling
There was a major and abrupt change of the world climate which happened from about 12,900 to around 11,700 years ago. It lasted for about 1,300 years. There was a dramatic fall in temperatures with a near-glacial period which was cold and windy. This is known as the Younger Dryas (YD). This happened almost immediately after there was an increase of temperatures after the previous glacial period of 14,500 years ago which lead to sudden warming and an end to the Ice Age which had lasted for approximately 100,000 years.
Where evidence is based on temperature recordings, there is considerable year to year variation and so trends are important, not isolated years or even a few years. It might have been the hottest summer for 40 years but what was so special about 40 years ago? Was that global warming too? We have a hot summer and global warming is cited. We have strong winds or drought and it is global warming. We even have a cold winter or a poor summer and this is global warming. Nowadays it is usually called climate change which is a wonderful term that can embrace everything.
Climate has never been static. We must not look at a few years. Variation occurs. Early 2012 saw severe drought in the UK but early 2014 saw the wettest winter on record. We are told that a disproportionate number of the hottest years on record are in recent times. If it is getting warmer, this is what we would expect and this alone does not mean that warming is at an alarming pace. The IPCC has been criticised for looking back at just the past 100 to 150 years when much longer trends need to be examined.
An article in The Times said that modern climate change is unlike what we have seen in the past 2,000 years.20Modern climate change unlike fluctuations of past 2,000 years It appears to be a reasonable article that does not deny the Medieval Warm Period or the Little Ice Age from about 1400 to 1800. However, it claims that climate change during that time was far more localised than now when it is affecting 98% of the globe. As stated above, there is a difference of opinion about whether former warm periods were local or global, but at least the author does not try to deny that they existed. Graphs or other illustrations to show that most of the warmest years in the past few centuries have been in the last few decades, I find unimpressive. If the earth is warming, this is what we would expect. I do not think that the debate is about whether or not the earth is warming, but how fast and how much can be attributed to human activity.
The predictions that they make are based on computer models. A model is something that behaves like what is being studied and it can be used to make predictions. The ability to make accurate predictions is how a model is tested. Sometimes models are scaled down versions of a car or an aircraft that may be tested in a wind tunnel to assess aerodynamics. Another example is the Rutherford-Bohr model of the atom. This has a nucleus of protons and neutrons with electrons in orbit around it. From this model it is possible to predict a great deal about chemical properties of atoms and these predictions are correct. The Rutherford-Bohr model is good most of the time but for sophisticated work it has its limitations. Today there are postulated to be 16 basic subatomic particles of which three are neutrinos although work from the Large Hadron Collider suggests other particles too.
We need models for economics. If interest rates change, if tax rates are altered, if more money is introduced with quantitative easing, what will be the result on the economy? There is really no good model for the economy.
The weather forecast is based on modelling. We know about weather systems in the Atlantic, how fast they are travelling, in what direction and where other systems are too. From this it is possible to predict the weather in the short term, but we know that all too often this prediction is inaccurate. That is no reason to discard the best that we have but it needs to be refined with more data to be included. The weather over the British Isles is probably the most complex in the world with four different weather systems battling for control plus the jet stream. We need to know rather more about the jet stream. It is not unduly cynical to ask how climatologists can predict climate in ten, twenty or fifty-years’ time with any accuracy when they are unable to predict the weather for next week. Climate is just average weather.
The test of a model is its ability to predict in the real world. Tools used in science need to be validated before they are used. If a model is to predict climate in 30 years’ time, it is not necessary to wait 30 years to assess it. It is possible to look back to 30 years ago, put in the data, run the model and see how it compares with the observed today. The answer is that it does not perform at all well.21Predicting changes: Testing climate model accuracy. Science Museum This is unsurprising considering the complexity of the issue and the paucity of the data being fed in. There are many models, and each will give a rather different prediction for the same input. Re-running the same model will continue to give different results.
A climate model must be three-dimensional with blocks covering the surface of the earth and extending up to the upper atmosphere. In some parts of the world temperatures are well documented. For much of Africa and South America there is far less data. Temperatures are poorly documented over deserts, mountains and forests. There are about 3,500 beacons monitoring the temperature and currents of the oceans, but this is a vast area which represents 70% of the surface of the planet. Despite the number of weather balloons released each day, figures from above the ground are extremely sparse.
Running a model of this complexity require a great deal of computer power. Computers are becoming faster and more powerful but if better data is not forthcoming, prediction will be no better. Despite the inadequacy of data there is still so much data that even the most modern computers have programs that select some data and reject other. What is accepted and what is rejected is a source of contention. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia claim great accuracy for their predictions.22Climate Models. IPCC They used to say that their predictions were 90% certain but now that claim more than 95%. This is immodest because the final result of any experiment cannot possibly be more accurate than the least accurate reading. Wonderful computers are no substitute for adequate data.
Either bad data or a bad model will result in garbage out
Many variables in an essentially chaotic system are ignored whilst much data is of dubious quality. Thunderstorms, especially in the tropics, are important in the redistribution of heat and energy. Clouds and oceans are also ignored. Both are incredibly important, but models are unable to take them into account. The IPCC’s claim of great accuracy is based on close correlation between computer programmes. This is nonsense as if the computer programs make similar errors and omissions, they will show correlation, but they are both wrong. What matters is not computer prediction but what actually happens in the real world. A cliché about computers is “rubbish in- rubbish out”. From the early days of computing comes, “To err is human but to really screw up big-time takes a computer.”
Cosmology such as sunspots, volcanology and the extremely important oceanology are all ignored. Ignoring the variables from just one of these important contributing factors would invalidate the calculation. A process called parameterization is used which is basically a way of saying that when data is inadequate the computer calculates something to put in. The computer makes a guess. Every time this happens it is a source of error and it happens many times, compounding error. No one outside the cabal is permitted to see the data or the computer programs. Programs and data are often “tweaked” which means adjusting them to give a more sought-after result. This is wholly contrary to good scientific practice. Allowing others to view the raw data is a feature of transparency and honesty.
There is concern about the amount of data. There is concern about the quality of the data, especially from developing countries and the old USSR. The Central England Temperature Record of the Midlands goes back to 1659 but this is unique, and most records are far more recent. Most weather stations with the ability to look back more than 100 years are in Western Europe or the North East of America. Some weather stations have been decommissioned to be replaced by satellite data. This tends to be more reliable. Too much surface data is derived from American weather stations giving America disproportionate weight. Some weather stations were originally in rural areas, but urban sprawl has surrounded them, and we know that towns and cities have temperatures a degree or two above the surrounding countryside. If this is ignored, as has been claimed, it would spuriously raise average temperatures.
The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that by 2100 global temperature will rise by between 1.4o and 4o and that if it rises by about 2o that will be disastrous. This is hard to comprehend as 2o represents less than the normal year on year or day to day variation in temperature. Climate change over the centuries is not new. It represents a challenge for some and an opportunity for others. Only the adverse effects are ever publicised. According to John Hammond, weather forecaster at the BBC, farmers have between 20 and 30 more growing days now than they did back in the 1970s.23(John Hammond in Countryfile. BBC1 18th May 2014). That must be good.
At the climate summit in Paris in 2015 there were calls to reduce temperature rises to 2o above those before the industrial revolution with some wanting this figure reduced to 1.5o. The implication seems to be that those were halcyon days, but this was during the little ice age and temperatures were far from ideal. Again, no one wants to go back further than the Industrial Revolution. To go back over the centuries or millennium before, produces the embarrassing problem of explaining climate change which cannot be blamed on human activity.
Some predictions are rather wild. We were told in the 1980s that by the end of the 20th century, rising sea levels would have London 15 feet under water. Since then they have been less apocalyptic but still great sirens of doom. Predictions of sea level change have reduced quite markedly as the years have progressed. We have had climate change before and just adapted. Change does not have to be all bad. The sea is encroaching on some islands but on others it is receding or staying the same. Accurate measurements suggest little or no change in sea level and that apparent changes are due to rise and fall of land.24Satellites reveal differences in sea level rises There may also be shifting of tectonic plates. According to the BBC in 2002, the Pacific island of Tivalu was in danger of sinking.25Sinking feeling in Tivalu However, by 2010 it had to admit that the island was not sinking and would still be there in 100 years’ time.26Low-lying Pacific islands ‘growing not sinking’
Sea levels are rising as would be expected in an inter-glacial period but the rate is about 3.3mm a year or 33cm (just over 1 foot) a century.27(Ian Palmer in chapter 1 The Science and Politics of Climate Change in Climate Change, the facts by Dr John Abbot et al). Far from accelerating, the rate of rise of sea levels has fallen since 2004. Coasts are always changing with erosion. The east coast of England has been eroding for centuries but some places that used to be ports are now well inland. Coastal erosion has been going on for centuries before the Industrial Revolution and has nothing to do with climate change.
In an article commissioned for the BMJ, the authors state that if the polar icecaps and the Greenland ice sheet continue to melt, that sea levels will rise, and London will be three metres below sea level.10The science of anthropogenic climate change: what every doctor should know The Greenland ice sheet did melt in the Medieval Warm Period, although probably not completely. In 986, Erik the Red led settlers from Iceland to Greenland. It was a green land (hence the name) with trees and vegetation and they farmed both animals and crops.28The Norse History of Greenland 982-1500 in “The Norse settlers in Greenland – A short history” However, during the 14th century they abandoned Iceland and although there appear to be several reasons for this, climate change as the MWP came to an end is amongst them.29The End of the Vikings in Greenland The City of London has been in much the same place for 2,000 years despite the MWP, the even warmer Roman warm period and the little ice age. This suggests that sea levels have not changed much in this period although they were rather lower in the depths of the ice ages. It is important to distinguish between a significant melting of the ice caps and a complete melting.
Greenland has an area of 2.17 million square kilometres. Its ice sheet has an area of 1.8 million square kilometres and an average thickness of 1.5 kilometres.30Greenland Ice Sheet. Encyclopaedia Britannica Hence, it contains 2.7 million cubic kilometres of ice. The total area of the Earth is approximately 510 million square kilometres and the oceans cover about 70% of the Earth’s surface, which is about 360 million square kilometers. Hence if all the ice on the Greenland icecap were to melt, it would raise the sea level by 2.7/360 x 1000 metres or around 7.5 metres. For the entire Greenland icecap to melt would be a truly exceptional and extreme event. The lowest mean annual temperature on the ice cap is -31o.
The Arctic ice cap is floating. Therefore, by Archimedes Principle, it must be displacing its own mass of water. Hence, even if it were to melt completely, this would have very little effect on sea levels.
If the Antarctic ice cap were to melt, this would be a very different matter. The Antarctic is about 14 million square kilometres in area and the ice is, on average, about 1.6 kilometres thick. This makes 22.4 million square kilometres of ice. The total area of the Earth is approximately 510 million square kilometres and the oceans cover about 70% of the Earth’s surface, which is about 360 million square kilometers. Hence if all the ice on the Antarctic were to melt, it would raise the sea level by 22.4/360 x 1000 metres or around 62 metres. For the entire Antarctic ice sheet to melt would be a truly exceptional, extreme and unprecented event.
In 2015, the European Space Agency revealed that in 2013 and 2014, after years diminishing Arctic ice diminishing, it increased again by as much as 33%. It stated “The volume of ice measured this autumn is about 50% higher compared to last year.” 31 Arctic sea ice up from record low Around the same time, Canadian scientists studying the effect of climate change on Arctic ice from an icebreaker had to suspend their research because they were trapped in the thickest summer ice seen in Hudson Bay for 20 years.
In 2007 the BBC and others were telling us that the Arctic would be totally “ice free by 2013”. The Independent even cleared its front page to announce that the ice could all have disappeared within weeks. By 2011, the BBC’s science editor Richard Black was telling us that the ice would “probably be gone within this decade”. In 2012, his colleague Roger Harrabin was reporting that the sea ice was now melting so fast that more had vanished that summer than “at any time since satellite records began”.
In 2009, the three-man Caitlin expedition, sponsored by a “climate risk” insurance company, and backed by the BBC and the Prince of Wales, set out to walk to the North Pole. Their intention was to measure the thickness of the vanishing ice with an electronic instrument, but it froze so hard that they had to resort to a tape measure. Again, after a few weeks, they had to be airlifted back to a rescue ship because the constantly shifting ice was “too thick”. 32 How Arctic Ice Made Fools of All those Poor Warminsts
In December 2013, the world followed the plight of yet another expedition, when 52 climate activists, accompanied by reporters from the BBC and the Guardian, sailed into the Antarctic to measure the effects of global warming on its sea-ice. By Christmas their ship, a Russian icebreaker, was so dangerously trapped by thick, multi-year ice that they had to be lifted by helicopter to a Chinese ship 10 miles away. 33 Antarctic researchers rescued from ice-bound ship The Russian crew had to stay on board. That ship then got trapped in ice and they had to be airlifted to two other ships even further away.
This fiasco should never have happened. The expedition was led by an Australian scientist who seemed quite oblivious to the satellite records showing that Antarctic sea-ice had long been expanding to such record levels that these more than matched any decline in the Arctic ice at the other end of the world. We have confirmation bias again so that he ignored what he did not like. The point was to show that warming was supposed to be global. They made the mistake of believing their own propaganda.
By the twenty teens, there has been more polar ice in the world than at any time since satellite records began in 1979. In the year that predictions said that the Arctic would be “ice free”, its thickness increased by a third. The story is not as the computer models predicted.
Temperature rises have not been uniform. They have been greater in the cold polar regions and less marked in the tropics.34Polar versus Equatorial Warming This may be good as more land becomes habitable and suitable for agriculture. It may also produce faster melting of ice caps and permafrost. As always there are two sides to any story. One of man’s greatest attributes is the ability to adapt and to live in a wide variety of climates. Finland and Singapore are two of the richest countries in the world. The average temperature over summer and winter in Helsinki is less than 5o whilst in Singapore it is more than 27o a difference in excess of 22o.
It is said that rising temperatures will lead to drought and famines. This is not a valid assumption. Predicating rainfall is very difficult. Going back in history, the Medieval Warm Period was both warm and wet. Indeed, predictions are that rainfall over the wet tropical areas and the high latitudes will increase as temperatures rise but decrease over the arid subtropical areas.35(John Abbott and Jennifer Marohassy. Chapter 6 Forecasting weather in Climate Change, the facts by Dr John Abbot et al). As the Sahara and Gobi are already deserts this should not matter but the fertile areas of the world will be warmer and wetter with more carbon dioxide substrate for plants. This sounds like a recipe for plenty rather than famine. The warm wet times are also conducive to greater biodiversity, but we are told that the opposite will occur.
The effect of increasing levels of carbon dioxide on plant growth is generally said to be beneficial.36The CO2 fertilization effect: higher carbohydrate production and retention as biomass and seed yield Carbon dioxide is an essential substrate. Photosynthesis fixes carbon dioxide and higher levels of the gas would increase plant growth. Horticulturalists pump warm carbon dioxide into their greenhouses to improve yield.
It is claimed that rising temperatures will increase the number of deaths in the vulnerable elderly during heat waves. However, as rather more people die of cold than heat, a modest rise in temperatures would have an overall benefit to the vulnerable elderly.
There is a tendency to yearn for “the good old days” and there seems to be a suggestion that the optimum temperature was around 1750 at the start of the Industrial Revolution and we should aim not to get much higher than this. I do not regard the Little Ice Age as “the good old days” and I believe that warmer and probably wetter times are better for the people of the earth and for biodiversity. The levels of carbon dioxide today are not unprecedented. They were higher than now at the start of an ice age. They were 15 times higher 500 million years ago when volcanic activity had released vast amounts of the gas and it was about this time that plant life evolved. Therefore, it was not a time that was incompatible with life. Plants have been photosynthesising and fixing carbon dioxide since and the levels before the industrial revolution were unusually low. There has been no tipping point at which global warming has spiralled out of control.27(Ian Palmer. Chapter 1 The science and politics of climate change. retrospective in Climate Change, the facts by Dr John Abbot et al).
The Hockey Stick
The main poster of the third IPCC report was a graph to show average temperatures over the past 1,000 years and extrapolating into the near future. It is often referred to as “the hockey stick” as it resembles a stick used in ice hockey. It shows a flat temperature from about 1000 to the beginning of the 20th century when it starts to rise in an exponential way. The lead author was Professor Michael Mann although at the time he was not a professor and he was quite junior in position. It was dendroclimatology that produced much of the data. This means using tree rings to deduce climate. The trees used were bristlecone pines found in the arid mountains or south-west America and they are a poor guide for dendrochronology.37(Ross McKendrick. The hockey stick: a retrospective in Climate Change, the facts by Dr John Abbot et al). The authors of the original data said that they should not be used for assessing historical climate. Data before 1435 was based entirely on a single pine tree.
The “hockey stick” has abolished the MWP and the Little Ice Age and produced a sudden late surge in temperature
There is a continuous record of air temperature in central England since 1659. A graph of summer, winter and annual temperatures is available online.38Central England air temperature since 1659 It does not accord with the “hockey stick” assertion that climate was constant over centuries until the 20th century.
Ross McKindrick and Steve McIntyre managed to get some of the original data which is unusual as people involved with the IPCC and CRU tend to be very reticent about letting others see their data to assess if the evidence justifies the conclusion. They are not climatologists, but they are experts in analysing fraudulent computer programs. Ross McKinrick is a Canadian economist. Steve McIntyre is a mining company executive and statistician and he is an expert in unmasking fraudulent claims.
They managed to backtrack and found that some of the data handling was most inappropriate. The program mined for data that would produce a hockey stick shape. McIntyre and McKindrick created some meaningless test data that had, on average, no trends. This is called Monte Carlo analysis, after the casino, and it is widely used in statistical analysis to test procedures. The random data produced a hockey stick shape. This was published in Technology Review from the respected Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The headline was 39Global Warming Bombshell. “A prime piece of evidence linking human activity to climate change turns out to be an artifact of poor mathematics.”
The hockey stick had managed to level out the Medieval Warm Period, the Little Ice Age and the marked warming between 1920 and 1940 and the slight cooling between 1940 and 1975. It was really an atrocious piece of poor science. Ross McKindrick says that the algorithm would always give a hockey stick shape, even to random numbers if they were autocorrelated rather than independent.37(Ross McKendrick in chapter 14 The hockey stick: a retrospective in Climate Change, the facts by Dr John Abbot et al). If you want to know the difference, try this link40Simplest example of uncorrelated but not independent X and Y? but you may prefer to take his word for it. I did as it is rather complicated. Nevertheless, removing data from the discredited bristlecone pines flattened the hockey stick. The whole hockey stick has been thoroughly discredited. Mann’s claim that 1998 was the warmest year for 1,000 years was also unsustainable.
These are two very different versions of events
There seems to be some uncertainty about exactly what data was used but it is suggested that tree rings started to decline in the 20th century which was most inconvenient and so they changed their source of data and tacked on recorded temperatures instead. Much has been written about the hockey stick including books about it.41(AW Montford. The Hockey Stick Illusion; Climategate and the Corruption of Science) and 42(Brandon Shollenbeger. The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars)
There was a great outcry when it became public knowledge that this fraud had occurred. This should never have passed the peer review process. There was no apology but the IPCC quietly dropped the hockey stick from its 2007 report. However, Mann and his colleagues seem quite unrepentant and a group who call themselves “the hockey team” are trying to resurrect it.
We may expect that rebuttal of a paper is a death knell unless it is cited along with its rebuttal, but this is far from true. A paper that looked at seven articles that had been printed in Science and Nature but had been strongly rebutted, often in the same journal, found that the article continued to be cited just as often, usually without the rebuttal. Indeed, the original article was cited 17 times as often as the rebuttal.43Do rebuttals affect future science? Only 5% of citations were critical of the original article whilst 8% suggested that the rebuttal agreed with the original article. They concluded, “Our results point to an urgent need to change current publishing models to ensure that rebuttals are prominently linked to original articles.”
Factors that Affect Climate
Although the burning of fossil fuels has continued to rise since the Industrial Revolution, the rise between 1920 and 1940 was not great whereas the increase in industrial production after the Second World War saw a considerable increase in fossil fuels, especially coal. Therefore, the rapid rise in temperature during the former period and the slight cooling during the latter are incompatible with the hypothesis that carbon dioxide emissions are the prime factor in climate change. There is a possibility that the extensive use of coal in the post-war industrial boom led to aerosol particles in the atmosphere that caused some filtering and so cooling. However, I would warn against looking too carefully at comparatively short periods of time.
The 21st century boom in China has been fuelled by coal too and there have been some volcanic eruptions that can put dust high in the atmosphere. This seems unlikely to account for the whole failure of warming. The stable climate from 1998 until the early 21st century may be linked to the dearth of sunspots, but for the IPPC to admit this, they must admit to significant solar influences on climate and as we have seen they have rejected this. They state that the oceans, which are an enormous sink for heat, have been storing heat and this will soon stop. It will then be released with more rapid warming.
However, a hypothesis which is just as feasible and just as lacking evidence is that most of the warming of the 20th century came from heat stored in the oceans and they have recently stopped giving it out. Temperatures continued to rise in the late teens of the 21th century. Unbiased experts say that no one knows when this static period will end and which way it will move thereafter. No one can predict climate for 2030, let alone 2100. As recently as the 1970s, general wisdom was that we were entering another mini ice age. Between about 1998 and 2015 there has been little if any change in temperatures despite continued emissions of carbon dioxide. No model predicted this.
Extreme weather is more marked when there is a large difference between polar and equatorial temperatures. Therefore, a smaller difference between polar and equatorial temperatures, as we are seeing, will reduce extreme weather. We are told that extreme weather events will become more frequent and that there are more hurricanes now than at any time since 1970. However, severe hurricanes in America were more frequent in the 1950s than now. Again, it is selective use of data. The IPPC admits that global warming will not produce more extreme weather, but many pressure groups like to pretend that any extreme weather event much be the result. There are far too many people who care more for the sound bite than the truth. Despite what they say, the activists are not quoting the scientists.
Despite the severe shortage of data, the complexity of the many factors that affect climate and the inability of models to predict climate in the real world, two previous Chief Scientists of the UK have insisted that climate modelling is robust beyond question.44(Statement in Why we disagree about climate change by Mike Hulme. Cambridge Press 2009. Forward XXIII). Neither of them had any expertise in the field but it is still incredible that they could make such a statement. The current generation of general circulation climate models (GCM) are unable to predict climate 10 years ahead. They should not be used to predict 100 years ahead.
There are many factors that affect climate. The earth has an elliptical orbit around the sun varying from about 91 million miles to 95 million miles with the axis of rotation at 23.5o from vertical. However, these figures do show some slight variability that can have significant impact. This includes a more circular or a more elliptical orbit and a slight wobble on the axis.
Earth is about 150 million kilometres from the sun. Mars is about 229 million kilometres away. Therefore, observing the inverse square law, it should receive about 0.43 as much radiation from the sun as the earth. However, its atmosphere is about 95% carbon dioxide. It has poles and an equator. Its temperature varies from around -60o to +20o but generally it is much lower, sometimes reaching around -125o.45Mars’ Atmosphere: Composition, Climate and Weather In view of the claims made about carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, I wonder if we should be expecting a much higher temperature, despite its distance from the sun. However, it has an atmosphere that is 100 times thinner than on earth. It is unable to hold heat and extrapolation would be dangerous.
Sunspots have been observed since the invention of the telescope. They look black against the sun, but they are flares of very hot gas that leap millions of miles out into space sending out waves of energy and electromagnetism. They look black as they are not as hot as the sun below. Over the centuries since the invention of the telescope, the number of sunspots has been recorded and times of activity seem to be times of warmth whilst times of inactivity are cooler. The extent to which sunspots or solar flares increase the temperature on earth is unclear but low solar activity does seem to have correlated with the little ice ages. An example is 1645 to 1715 known as the Maunder Minimum after the scientist who described it. The astronomer William Hershel noted an inverse correlation between sunspots and the price of wheat. Fewer sunspots gave poorer weather and poorer harvests, raising prices.
Sunspots are hot, swirling clouds of gas that rise from the surface of the sun and may extend far into space. They appear dark as they are less hot than the sun below.
The Weather Forecast Office of the American National Weather Service discusses them as well as admitting to the many uncertainties about what effects climate and to what degree.46The sun and sunspots. Can an increase or decrease in sunspot activity sunspots affect the Earth’s climate? According to Alex Beresford, a television weather forecaster in 2014, the current level of sunspot activity was last this low at the beginning of the 19th century as a cold period began.47(Britain’s most extreme weather, presented by Alex Beresford. Channel 4 television May 2014). Sun spots give off a considerable amount of ultraviolet radiation and this may have an effect on the jet stream. When it is north of us in summer there is usually dry, warm weather. When it is static overhead, especially in winter, we experience repeated weather fronts and heavy rainfall.
The heavy rainfall in recent years is not unprecedented. Trawling historical archives and looking at plaques to mark previous high flood marks, it appears that heavy rain and floods have been happening over many centuries. They are not limited to recent times and they do tend to occur in clusters. Hence, we should not read too much into recent clusters. Furthermore, land management and house building in recent years may have a greater effect on flood levels than rainfall.
This record of flood levels from Passau in Germany shows that floods are nothing new and they are not getting worse in recent times
The IPCC rejects the idea that the sun has a significant effect on climate. A chapter to this effect in one of its reports had 38 authors, just one of whom was a solar physicist. They cherry-picked a data set that used only 3 points when there were much better methodologies available, but they did not support the orthodoxy.48(William Soon in chapter 4 Sun Shunned in Climate Change, the facts by Dr John Abbot et al). Measurements have shown that various planets and moons with an atmosphere have also increased in temperature. This suggests that the sun is the cause rather than human activity. However, there are other explanations to account for warming in the solar system49Climate myths: Mars and Pluto are warming too and there are claims that the sun is not any hotter.50Is The Whole Solar System Warming? No
In 2007 a book called “Unstoppable global warming: every 1500 years” was published by physicist Fred Singer and biologist Dennis Avery.51(Unstoppable global warming: every 1500 years. Fred Singer and Dennis Avery). They argue that there is a natural solar cycle of about 1,500 years in which a cycle of global warming and cooling occurs and to try to prevent this is futile.
There is a considerable amount of very hot magma under the surface of the earth and this becomes larva on volcanic eruption. Very little is known about the effect on climate, but it would seem reasonable to believe that it could be significant. Volcanic eruption can produce small particles high in the atmosphere that block the sun and cause cold snaps for up to two years after a major eruption. The reference leads to a series of articles from the Royal Society called 52Climate forcing of geological and geomorphological hazards. Volcanology is ignored in climate models.
An obscure volcano called Mount Tambora on the island of Sumbawa in Indonesia erupted on 10 thApril 1815, propelling 50 cubic kilometres of gases, dust and rock into the atmosphere.53How deadliest volcano eruption froze the planet The eruption killed an estimated 60,000 people in the region, most from starvation. A vast cloud of sulphuric acid and dust rose into the stratosphere, and spread around the world, blocking sunlight and causing catastrophic cooling and crop failures across much of Europe, Asia and North America. Drought devastated harvests across the Indian subcontinent and a new strain of cholera killed tens of millions of people. In the northeast United States, frosts and snow in June led thousands of farmers to abandon their farms and go on a mass exodus. In the UK the winter of 1815–16 was severe, with heavy snow, flooding at times and strong winds. The spring of 1816 remained very cold and snow fell in the Midlands and Wales on May 12th. That was followed by a very wet, cold and stormy summer. September remained cold, with sharp frosts. Harvests of grass, grain and vegetables were all disastrous and led to a chronic shortage of fodder for livestock and horses. Bread became scarce and food prices soared. This was repeated across much of Europe.
The oceans also represent an enormous sink for heat and they probably contribute to the vast buffering capacity of the planet. Their impact on climate is still poorly understood54Ocean Currents and Climate but it does seem that they can affect the position of the jet stream. In the southern hemisphere the oceans represent more of the surface area than in the north and when there has been warming, the southern oceans have warmed slower.
The Thermohaline ciculation is very important for moving heat around the globe and for the Gulf Stream which gives the UK such a mild climate
It has been suggested that if melting of the ice caps continues at a fast rate, the 55Thermohaline circulation that gives us the Gulf Stream would reverse and this would give Britain winters as cold as those in Canada. Normally, warm water flows over cold as it is less dense but if cold melted water that has little salt content meets warm but salty water, the cold, less dense water may be on the surface. This would presumably happen only if warming were very rapid. We are seeing melting of ice around Greenland and the Arctic but also freezing again.
There have been warmer times than now in history with no reversal of the thermohaline current. However, it is the speed of melting that is the issue. As we shall see below, the story of rapidly melting ice sheets in the Arctic, Antarctic and Greenland may have rather less substance than we are led to believe.
Of 186 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide that enters our atmosphere each year, more than 100 billion tonnes or 57% is given off by the oceans. Animals, including humans, exhale 71 billion tonnes. Perhaps we should advise against exercise. Only 3.3% of the carbon dioxide produced is anthropogenic.56(Christopher Booker. Scared to Death: From BSE to Global Warming: Why Scares are Costing Us the Earth).
A paper looking at ice cores from the polar region going back many thousands of years showed that there has been a correlation between temperatures and levels of carbon dioxide. However, the rise in temperature has preceded the rise in the carbon dioxide, suggesting that the higher levels of the gas are the effect rather than the cause.57The 100,000-Year Ice-Age Cycle Identiﬁed and Found to Lag Temperature, Carbon Dioxide, and Orbital Eccentricity Similar papers reach similar conclusions. This is thought to be due to gas being released from the oceans. The oceans are an enormous sink for carbon dioxide and the gas is more soluble in cold water than in warm water.
One of the pioneers of ice core drilling was thought to be part of the clique, and he was sent an email saying, “We must get rid of the MWP” (medieval warm period). This was a desperate attempt to rewrite history. Perhaps they would like to do the same for the holocaust. The scientist was appalled at the attempt to corrupt science to re-write history for the benefit of the orthodoxy.
The main record used by the IPCC is the average individual temperatures around the world. This is called the HadCRUT record as it comes from the Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office and the Climate Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia. There are an excessive number of results from the USA and the effect of urbanisation is ignored. Urband sprawl raises temperatures by 1 or 2o. Among papers released from the 2009 emails from the CRU was one showing that sampling errors from 1969 were considered to have an error of between 1 and 5o and earlier ones were probably greater. As the temperature rise of the 20th century was 0.7o, the error was well above any significant difference.
In 2011, a paper was presented at the Third Santa Fe Conference on Global and Regional Climate Change which compared predictions with reality.58Assessing the consistency between short-term global temperature trends in observations and climate model projections. The IPCC does not use a single program but a suite of 108 climate models each giving slightly different scenarios. This is standard practice and similar to the weather forecast. For the 30 years of 1984 to 2013 the average temperature rise that was predicted was 2.6o. The actual rise was 1.7o which in this context is a substantial difference. The authors used data from the IPCC 5th Assessment Report to calculate trends for 10 years ago from 2013, then 11 years and so on back to 1950. The observed trends were based on HadCRUT data. This is regarded as the gold standard of actual temperature recordings. The 108 models did not show a normal or Gaussian distribution, so the authors ranked them in centiles.
Every single HadCRUT record from the outset was below the 50th centile or average prediction. From 37 years back or 1977 it fell below the 5th centile. At 34 years earlier or 1980 it fell below the 2.5 centile. From 1980 to 2003 there are only four trends between the 2.5 and 5th centile, the rest being below the 2.5th centile. This suggests that warming is occurring at only a quarter of the previously supposed rate. That is 0.05o per decade rather than 0.2o per decade. The authors were unable to get their paper published in Nature or Science which are regarded as the tier-1 for climate science, but this is unsurprising as it contravenes the orthodoxy of climate alarmism.
A number of authors have claimed that the establishment of climate orthodoxy have managed to monopolise the peer review process so that only papers that toe the line get published and they have even had editors of journals sacked for printing heretical papers. Despite failing to get into a main journal, the two main authors claim that the IPCC has accepted their conclusions.59Peer-reviewed or Not, the IPCC Accepts Our Conclusion This would allow them to maintain that carbon dioxide has a magnifying effect on water vapour. However, they are unlikely to accept that the magnification factor is much lower as this would give predicted temperatures for 100 years’ time which are substantially less dire.
It would seem from this that the scientists, or at least some scientists, are not immune to evidence and reason. It is the activists who keep the IPCC “on message”.
If warmer air can hold more water and this water is a very potent greenhouse gas, then rising temperatures should give positive feedback with accelerating warming. Computer models going back to the 1970s agree but we do not live in a computer model. The humid layer that amplifies warming is said to be in the troposphere in a thin layer about 10 to 12 kilometres above the tropics. This is called the tropopause.
Since the 1950s about 28 million weather balloons have been released and so there is plenty of data from this region. If the hypothesis is right, there should be a distinct hot spot in this layer of atmosphere. The National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) data on tropospheric humidity was re-examined for the period 1973 to 2007. The authors noted that data from high altitude should be treated with caution. Their calculations showed that far from giving a positive feedback that long-term water vapour feedback is negative. They go on to state that this is inconsistent with climate models.60Trends in middle- and upper-level tropospheric humidity from NCEP reanalysis data.
This layer of troposphere should be a hot spot with temperatures rising according to computer models. A paper from the Royal Meteorological Society in 2007 examined tropospheric temperature trends of 67 runs from 22 “Climate of the 20th Century” models. They compared them with the best available updated observations in the tropics during the satellite era. Model results and observed temperature trends were in disagreement in most of the tropical troposphere, being separated by more than twice the uncertainty of the model mean. In layers near 5 km, the modelled trend was 100 to 300% higher than observed, and, above 8 km, modelled and observed trends were in opposite directions.61A comparison of tropical temperature trends with model predictions
Aeroplanes are regarded as particular culprits of climate change as they produce so much carbon dioxide. However, they also produce some pollution in the upper atmosphere which filters the sunlight. After the attacks on the USA widely known as 9/11, aircraft were banned from flying for three days and during that time upper atmospheric pollution decreased significantly. This led to an increase in temperature during the day and a decrease by night. It was thought that the vapour trails filter sunlight during the day and reduce heat loss by radiation at night.62Contrails reduce daily temperature range The pollution from aircraft vapours may actually be protective against climate change. We never hear about this.
It would be very interesting to see a similar report after the coronavirus pandemic of 2020. Aircraft movement was not stopped completely but it was severely curtailed. This affected not just the USA but the whole world and it continued for far longer. Roadside pollution decreased with fewer cars on the roads. What effect was there on the atmosphere and temperatures with far fewer planes?
People stopped travelling for business as well as holidays and video conferences became much more frequently used. I wonder if we shall go back to the old ways of doing business face-to-face or if conference videos will take a much greater place than before. They save the cost of travel as well accommodation and eating out which may be required. They take far less time than travelling for a meeting and time is money. I wonder if we shall see fewer air miles for business and also if investment in super-fast broadband may give better value than the HS2 rail link. A personal touch is still desirable, but perhaps where meetings are common, nine may be done by video conference for every one than involves an actual meeting.
We had a steady increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide over the 20th century but far from a steady rise in temperatures. The longest hot spell was in 1976. The first part of the 20th century was very warm, especially 1906 and 1911 although a graph of temperatures from the Climate Research unit in Norwich suggests that this was almost the coolest period in about 150 years.63CRU, UEA. Global Temperature Record 1850-2012. It is difficult to know who to believe. If, for the past 100 years, carbon dioxide has been rising at a steady rate, but global warming has been erratic with periods of stagnation or cooling, this strongly supports the null hypothesis that it is not the over-riding driving factor. The IPCC has ignored this basic scientific tenet.
An Internet search about climate change will find diametrically opposing views with considerable intolerance and aggression towards those who disagree. This suggests passion rather than objectivity. It makes it even more difficult to seek the truth. I would suggest avoiding articles that are aggressive as they show that the authors have closed minds. Some newspaper stories show how divisive the matter can be. A headline in The Times says 64Royal Society bows to climate change sceptics. This starts with the paragraph, “Britain’s leading scientific institution has been forced to rewrite its guide to climate change and admit that there is greater uncertainty about future temperature increases than it had previously suggested.”
The headline, 65UN report on climate change ‘was one-sided’ explains that the IPCC had produced a report that gave “worst case scenarios” but failed to explain that this is what they were. It presented the most extreme estimates as the expected or mean for a given rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide. Hence, they gave figures of a rise in temperature of 10 or 11o as the expected result of a given rise in carbon dioxide when a more realistic figure would have been 3o. Such misrepresentation cannot be unintentional. To present the extreme as the “expected” is totally dishonest and unacceptable.
Another headline says, 66Science chief John Beddington calls for honesty on climate change This article starts with, “The impact of global warming has been exaggerated by some scientists and there is an urgent need for more honest disclosure of the uncertainty of predictions about the rate of climate change, according to the Government’s chief scientific adviser.”
Another article is headed, 67Risk of flood from rising sea levels has been exaggerated, say climate scientists It starts with the statement that, “The risk of rising sea levels engulfing Britain’s coasts has been overstated but the evidence for other devastating impacts of climate change is growing.”
It is not entirely bad news for the climate change enthusiasts with, 68Climate sceptics report backs global warming This was a story that a report that had been commissioned by a group of “climate sceptics” concluded that climate change is real.
Integrity in Climate Science
I had felt that climate scientists had some serious questions to answer about the lack of scientific rigour and integrity. Then I read a book called 14(The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science by Tim Ball). He is professor emeritus of climatology at the University of Winnipeg. He makes some very serious accusations about the scientific integrity and behaviour of many of those involved in climatology and these questions need to be addressed. He also says that the “summary for policymakers” part of IPCC reports are not justified by the scientific reports.
The response has been a tirade of spite and abuse on a number of websites, suggesting passion rather than objectivity. This is also entirely in keeping with one of the allegations that he makes about the IPCC meeting any criticism with abuse and intimidation rather than with scientific reason. This criticism is raised by others and an Internet search confirms it.
It is said that the theory of human-induced climate change is not a science as research is based on a pre-ordained conclusion, huge bodies of evidence are ignored, and the analytical procedures are treated as the evidence. This is sustained by government grants that are not available to anyone who does not conform to the orthodox ideology.27(Ian Palmer. Chapter 1 The science and politics of climate change in Climate Change, Climate Change, the facts by Dr John Abbot et al).
When any organisation opposes their views they are accused of being funded by the oil industry or even the tobacco industry although why tobacco would be interested is a mystery. The orthodoxy receives about one hundred times as much funding as independent researchers and there is plenty of lobbying on behalf of the renewable energy industry, pressure groups and even banks that make money from carbon trading. There are far more people with a vested interest in predicting climate catastrophe than reassurance. The “renewables” industries get much more money and government grants than oil or gas companies and it would be far more pertinent to accuse them of being corrupted by money and greed. It is a feature of the purveyors of fake news to accuse others of being the ones with fake news. Donald Trump does it often.
The scientists of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) “reanalyzed” a merger of five data sets.69Scientists must not put policy before proof The institutions that gather temperature data have twice in 2014 been caught making poorly justified adjustments to “homogenise” and “in-fill” thermometer records so as to cool down old records and warm up new ones. In Rutherglen, a town in Victoria, Australia, a recorded cooling trend of -0.35o became a reported warming trend of +1.73o after “homogenisation” by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. It claimed the adjustment was necessary because the thermometer had moved between two fields, but they could provide no evidence for why such an adjustment was necessary, especially a change of more than 2o. The WMO should also make adjustments where urban sprawl has put previously rural settings in an urban environment. However, this would be in the “wrong direction” and they do not do so.
A series of emails from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia were released and their contents were very damaging. There were about 1,000 in November 2009, followed by about 5,000 in November 2011. Although the CRU, which is an offshoot of the IPCC, claimed that these were normal banter between colleagues, there was really far more to it than this. Tim Ball quotes a number of them.
There are complaints that the science has to match the policy recommendations and that anything that does not conform to the orthodoxy is greeted with considerable anger and abuse. One email said, “I tried to balance the needs of science and the IPCC, which were not always the same.” It is the role of scientists to seek the truth, not to manipulate data to reinforce an entrenched position. They were instructed to find evidence of recent warming and the cause must bear a human signature. This is not science.
When these email were released, Michael Mann, the creator of “the hockey stick”, claimed that the hacking had been financed by a Saudi Arabia oil conglomeration in order to derail vital negotiations that were needed to save the world. This is a conspiracy theory worthy of David Icke.
There was a parliamentary review70The Reviews into the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit’s E-mails of the CRU emails scandal and a government response71The Reviews into the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit’s E-mails: Appendix: Government Response but they seemed to be more eager to whitewash than to delve and to rectify bad practice. It did not go deeply or widely enough, and it was too eager to accept reassurance of lack of wrongdoing. The House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology interviewed only people from the department. They did not ask outsiders for their perspective. They did not even take testimony from scientists qualified to address the problem with the science, yet they concluded that the science was sound. This was a foregone conclusion that had not even been examined.
The chairman at the time was Andrew Miller, a Labour MP with considerable commitment to the global warming cause. He called for enforced orthodoxy rather than reasoned debate. This is contrary to both science and democracy. However, they do agree that much more must be done to improve transparency in climate science. Even the Royal Society has been implicated in trying to put the politics of climate change ahead of hard science. This is most concerning as they are supposed to be the pinnacle of the very best of British science.
Some of the explanations given are reasonable. For example, “a trick” does not have to be deceit but can be a cunning and effective way of solving a problem. There may be a trick to tying a knot or a trick to playing a guitar chord. However, the need to produce results that accord with the predetermined position is politics, not science. I find this a serious cause for concern.
Within the realms of science, including medical science, there is often a demand to see the original raw data on which papers are built, to be able to assess if the conclusions reached were really justified. In this case it means the list of recorded temperatures and the computer programs or codes that are used to calculate the result. The CRU strenuously opposes such release and blatantly ignores the Freedom of Information Act. A leading scientist who was asked for the raw data responded like a petulant child saying that he will not release the data to an individual whom he knows tries to disprove what he has been working on for the past 30 years. Returning to Karl Popper, the way that we test a hypothesis is to try to disprove it. This is what science is about.
Fiona Godlee has been editor in chief of the BMJ since 2005 and she is very keen on openness in medical research. She wants raw data to be freely available to those who wish to examine it. She wants uncertainties to be admitted. However, she remains an ardent advocate of draconian change in the world’s economy in the name of global warming when the evidence is rather poor and the scientific rigor has left much to be desired. This applies particularly to the corruption of science for political ends but she seems totally blind to this. When the BMJ has been criticised she says that she welcomes criticism as the correct way to air scientific differences. The IPCC responds to criticism rather like the despot of North Korea. Both the editors of the BMJ and Lancet appear to be blind to the unacceptable practices in climate science which they would not tolerate in medical science and they simply believe what they are told.
I think that the problem here is the old story of confirmation bias. The editorial line in the BMJ is somewhat to the left of the BBC, and hence the eagerness to accept the concepts involved in climate catastrophe. Of course, for the likes of Donald Trump, it is the other way round and he never lets himself be distracted by evidence or truth. However, it is totally unacceptable that those at the forefront of science should resort to tactics to implement orthodoxy, rather than seeking after truth.
The IPCC will not tolerate any heterodoxy or heresy. Everyone is expected to sing from their hymn sheet and any evidence to refute their stance is vigorously suppressed. They tightly control the CRU and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). Anyone who disagrees with their stance faces vilification and aggression. Dissidents may find it very difficult to get a job or lose their current one if they do not produce the right sort of paper. The clique has managed to control the process of peer review for papers, even reviewing papers from their own department whilst rejecting any that do not form the “right” conclusion. Hence, they can be so lofty about saying that the only note peer reviewed papers.
The then IPCC chairman Rajenda Pachuari said, “IPCC studies only peer-review science. Let someone publish the data in a decent credible publication, I am sure IPCC would then accept it, otherwise we can just throw it in the dustbin”. This arrogant stand is possible because they have complete control over the peer review and editorial process of the journals. However, their own work has been analyzed for peer reviewed papers and found to be severely wanting. As for consensus, of papers published from 1991 to 2011, only 0.5% of abstracts explicitly state that over half of global warming is man-made.
They have managed to get editors sacked for daring to print papers with a divergent view. Researchers find that they will only get research grants for projects that aim to support the orthodoxy. Hence it is unsurprising that the bulk of papers support the orthodoxy. A research project should seek to answer an open question rather than to reach a preordained conclusion. Michael Mann, the principle author of the “hockey stick” paper is renowned as one of the most aggressive against anyone who dares to utter heresy. He is professor at Penn State University. Tim Ball quipped that instead of being in Penn State he should be in the State Pen. Mann’s response was to sue him for libel.
Professor Lennart Bengtsson, a research fellow at the University of Reading, used to be a “warmist” but he now questions the evidence. He said that personal pressure on him was so intense that he was unable to continue working and feared for his health and safety unless he stepped down from the Global Warming Policy Foundation’s academic advisory council. This is a think tank and one of its founders is Lord Lawson of Blaby (Nigel Lawson), the former Chancellor of the Exchequer and a former Minister for Energy. He believes that the risk from global warming has been exaggerated.72‘Witch-hunt’ forces out climate scientist He accused the IPCC of McCarthyism; a charge which seems justified. Lord Lawson argues his case well in his book 73(An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming by Nigel Lawson. 2009).
Mike Hulme, professor of climate and culture at King’s College London, condemned fellow scientists for harassing Lennart Bengtsson, and gave warning that climate science had become too political. He said that scientists were blind to their own biases. He said, “I am worried by a wider trend that science is gradually being influenced by political views. Policy decisions need to be based on solid fact.”74Scientists condemned for political bias on climate change In an editorial condemning this bullying and lack of scientific rectitude The Times noted, “Truly, the old joke is becoming ever more true: what’s the opposite of diversity? University.”75This bullying of climate-science sceptics must end
An example of alarmist headlines occurred in 2007 when the IPCC said that the Himalayan glaciers could disappear by 2035 but this was not based on peer-reviewed literature. This was revealed in New Scientist and the IPCC had to make an embarrassing admission that the claim was unfounded.76IPCC officials admit mistake over melting Himalayan glaciers
In December 2014 the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced that 2014 was likely to be the warmest year yet.78World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Press Release This predicted record would be 0.01 of a degree above 2010 and 0.02 of a degree above 2005 with an error range of 0.1 of a degree. Hence, the range of error is rather greater than the alleged rise in temperature. True scientists would have said, “This year is unlikely to be significantly warmer than 2010 or 2005.” The WMO, like the CRU, is under the control of the IPCC.
According to the recent chairman of the IPCC, the rate of warming has been 0.05oC per decade ±0.1o. This is a confidence limit that it higher than the mean and it means that the rate of rise may be between 0.15o and a cooling of 0.05o per decade.
It seems strange that basically decent, honest people would behave like this. The trouble is that within a closed environment, a group-think mentality can easily evolve and everyone just toes the party line. They even accuse others of failing to analyse the evidence whilst not realising that this is exactly what they are doing. Many entirely rational and reasonable people join in the concern about carbon dioxide emissions but they assume that the basic science is correct. There is much evidence that it is not and whilst the raw data is kept secret from bona fide researchers who would wish to check it we must be extremely sceptical. Furthermore, if the raw data of temperatures have been changed, as we have seen above, even the raw data is corrupted.
There had been no net warming over the 25 years from about 1990 to 2015, although it may be restarting now. The Meteorological Office accepts that global warming does not increase the risk of extreme weather. Since the 1920s the number of deaths worldwide from floods, droughts and storms has fallen by 93% despite a tripling of the world’s population. This is due to a richer world being better able to protect itself, rather than changes in weather. It is activists who state otherwise. Although there are climate scientists who put “the right result” before integrity, and this may be essential to further their careers, I think that many are honest and it is the activists who claim sham scientific authority who are the problem. Nevertheless, I would like the scientists to come out and challenge those who make unsustainable statements to support climate catastrophe.
It is common to find people citing climate change as the cause of coastal erosion, but this is nonsense. The old village of Walton in Essex fell into the sea in 1798 and is now 9 miles out to sea. In Suffolk, the medieval town of Dunwich fell into the sea after strong storms going back to the 13th and 14th centuries. Acoustic imaging has revealed the ruins of churches, shipwrecks and hundreds of medieval buildings, submerged up to 10 metres beneath the waves.
A Convenient Lack of Truth
In 2006, Al Gore made a film called An Inconvenient Truth. I have never seen it but I gather that it is very short on truth. It starts with an enormous version of the now thoroughly discredited hockey-stick. However, his was not the original hockey stick. He had a little blip for the Medieval Warm Period which was partly obscured by starting the Middle Ages in 1200 instead of the usual 1000 and his surge in recent years was even more excessive than the original. The sources that he said he used for the graph did not contain the data that he used and it was his own graph for use to give impact in the film.
He also showed a graph to show that ice cores had revealed that carbon dioxide levels and temperatures mirrored each other, implying cause and effect. The actual research had shown that carbon dioxide levels lagged behind the temperature changes, suggesting that rising carbon dioxide levels are the effect of global warming rather than the cause.
The receding snows of Kilimanjaro were noted. This is the highest ice cap in Africa and this was cited by Hilary Clinton and John McCain as evidence that could “not be refuted by any scientist”. In fact, the receding ice cap was noticed soon after Kilimanjaro was first climbed in 1859 and most occurred before 1950 and was due to a reduction in precipitation due to local deforestation.
He said that polar bears were drowning because they had to swim further between ice floes. There is no evidence to support this and we know that polar bears are thriving. A picture that was used was taken after a strong storm had broken off ice.
He gave misleading statements about melting glaciers and ice caps, suggesting that far more was disappearing than is really the case. He suggested that by the end of the 21st century, this melting could raise sea levels by 20 feet. Even the IPCC, who are not renowned for understatements, suggests only 4 to 17 inches.
Time after time, there was misrepresentation and blatant lies. For a much deeper analysis, see the section 56(“Many inconvenient untruths” in chapter 6, Hysteria reaches its height and Gore and the EU unite to save the planet: 2006-2007 in The Real Global Warming Disaster by Christopher Booker.)
After all that hype and excess, the final conclusion of the film seemed a remarkably anticlimax with a call for us to use low energy light bulbs and to turn off the television when we go to bed rather than leaving it on standby.
The film was routinely shown in schools but in a court case in the UK a judge ruled that it contained nine factual errors.78Gore climate film’s nine ‘errors’ Despite the lack of truth, the film was widely acclaimed. It grossed nearly 50 million dollars and it won two academy awards. No doubt it has also made Al Gore even richer.
Like so much fake news and rebutted papers, it continues to be widely believed
It would be wrong to accuse all climate scientists of dishonesty. Young people do not enter the field with the intention to deceive but with a sense of altruism in what they see as a very important issue. However, they can soon find themselves swept away in a “group-think” mentality and they are led to produce the “right” results, even if it means “tweeking” their findings. There are some who have been rather more eager to get the results rather than the truth.
I have a lot of time for weather forecasters as they try to predict in a chaotic system, but at least they are honest about their shortcomings. They have to be. If they predict the weather for next week and it is wrong, people will know by next week. Climate change authorities that predict climate for decades ahead are a different matter. They claim accuracy far in excess of what is possible and they never accept that they have made mistakes.
However, I do not think it is the scientists who are the problem so much as the activists and politicians, neither of whom understand the science. This is why flooding, extreme weather and coastal erosion get blamed on climate change. I am surprised that so far, no one has tried to blame the COVID-19 pandemic on climate change too.
The Anatomy of a Scare
We have seen many scares over the years and often they have been without foundation. It is interesting to look at how they start and how they develop, Taking on a life of their own.
- The first stage is when a concern comes to the attention of the public. The media is right to report it and it may be real. This is too early to judge the validity of the scare. Perhaps it affects many people and so there is considerable concern.
- In the absence of firm evidence or data, estimates abound but they are really not much more than guesswork, and the most extreme of these get the most publicity.
- Some may try to block the scare or call for everyone to wait for more evidence, but others try to talk it up. The media love hysteria and greatly prefer it over a balanced appraisal. There may be a political agenda such as the concept that the greed of developed nations is destroying the earth. It may be a scientist who wants fame. There may be commercial interests.
- The story gains momentum with more extreme claims. Politicians are forced to act rather than awaiting more evidence. Trust in those who call for a wait for more evidence is undermined, although in reality it may be those with all the hype who are really unreliable.
- Inappropriate legislation is enacted.
- Even after the scare has been thoroughly debunked, there is still something in people’s memories that makes them wary of the issue.
There are many examples of such scares. The Y2K scare was an amazing example. It suggested that when the year 2000 came around, computers which used only two digits for the year would crash, destroying the financial sector, crashing aeroplanes and launching nuclear missiles. However, computers had often looked beyond the millennium when examining mortgages, pensions and much more. It is amazing how fast it was forgotten after New Year’s Day 2000. The media never likes a post mortem on its own shortcomings, only on the shortcomings of others.
New variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (nvCJD), inappropriately called “mad cow disease” was supposed to decimate the entire population. In fact, the total number of deaths just exceeded 100 before it died out. This was a tragedy but nowhere near the scale that some had predicted.
As we saw in the chapter Fake News and Vaccine Scares, a highly damaging scare was launched about the MMR vaccine on the basis of a paper than was not even research and which turned out to be fraudulent. Nevertheless, it has undermined an extremely safe and effective vaccine and in the minds of many, its name still prompts a cause for concern.
As we saw in the chapter Ethics in Practice and Research, whenever child sexual abuse is mentioned, reason vanishes. We saw the case of two paediatricians in Cleveland who made inappropriate diagnoses on almost every child who came under their care. We have seen a fantasist who convinced police that a VIP ring of highly placed paedophiles, including some of the most respected members of society, were involved in unspeakable acts against children and even murdering some. Not only were senior police officers lacking in credulity but Tom Watson, the deputy leader of the Labour Party, tried to make political mileage from it but instead ended his own career in politics.
Climatology is a Religion, not a Science
Many people have argued that climate science is more like a religion than a science. It took an interesting idea which was unproven and rapidly elevated it to the status of a creed without having done the due diligence of Sir Karl Potter’s dictum about trying to prove a statement false. Despite this, it is held as an unshakable truth which no one may seek to deny. It is taught in schools in the way that Christianity was taught in centuries past.
It starts with the tenet of “original sin” which, in this case, is man’s exploitation of global resources with claims of greed and excess. This requires confession and penance in forms ranging from replacing fossil fuels with unreliable and expensive “renewable” energy sources while the more extreme seem intent on rolling back the Industrial Revolution. If this were to happen, agriculture would not be able to feed the world’s population and Malthus’s predictions of famine, pestilence and war would come true.
It is possible to buy carbon credits and carbon offsets which are rather like the days before the Reformation when the Church of Rome sold indulgences for sin. The poor were condemned to hell for their sins but the rich could purchase their way out. Al Gore is rather like the monasteries which became very rich saying masses for the affluent but sinful departed. He has made a great deal of money from the climate change hysteria and he trades in carbon credits. He lives in a palatial mansion which consumes many times the annual consumption of electricity of the average house, even by US standards. However, he tried to justify this by saying that he buys carbon credits. He buys them from one of his own companies.
People are familiar with stocks and shares, but there is also a world commodities market. It is possible to purchase large quantities of wood, steel, coffee, wheat, oil, copper and much more and possibly to made a profit or a loss selling it when the price changes. Most commodities traders never see the goods that they trade in but they know that they exist. They are real and tangible. Carbon credits are a different matter. They are an intangible act of faith.
Buying carbon credits is like buying indulgences for sin in medieval times, and just as meaningless
Heretics are hunted down and face vilification and, if they work in the field, the loss of their careers. Media channels such as the BBC and ITV are intimidated into presenting only the authorised version of events. They continued to call the MMR vaccine “the controversial MMR vaccine” long after any serious doubts remained, but they are not permitted to diverge from the line on climate.
In the winter of 2013/2014, there was considerable flooding in the south-west of England. David Silvester, a UKIP politician, claimed that it was divine retribution for the country allowing gay marriage. He was duly lampooned. However, many mainstream politicians blamed the floods on man-made climate change but they were not taken to task for an equal absurdity.
If anyone wishes to blame human activity for the floods there are plenty of valid candidates. Land management, building homes on flood plains or even marshes, straightening the meandering of rivers and removal of trees are all contributory factors of human making. A study from the University of Southampton found that urban expansion and population growth rather than climate change was the culprit.
Climate change causing severe drought was probably the main cause of the fall of the Mayan civilisation in Central America.79The Fall of the Mayan Civilisation Historians believe that they took to human sacrifice to try to avert the disaster. Those who advocate the destruction of our scientific advances rather than using them to fight the problem also want to make human sacrifices. Many will die if we let them turn back the clock.
In February 2015, Rajendra Pachauri resigned as chairman of the IPCC in the face of allegations of sexual harassment. In his resignation letter to the Secretary General of the United Nations, he said,”For me the protection of Planet Earth, the survival of all species and sustainability of our ecosystem is more than a mission. It is my religion and my dharma” 80(cited by Matt Ridley in The Evolution of Everything, chapter 14 The Evolution of Religion.) Dharma is a term used to denote the “eternal” or absolute set of duties or religiously ordained practices incumbent upon all Hindus. It is part of the concept of the “wheel of life” in the centre of the Indian flag. The IPCC is supposed to be a neutral, scientific body but the man who led it for many years admits that it was more a religion than a science.
The Politics of Climate Change
Sir Max Hastings says that the two greatest disasters of the 20th century were socialism.81(The Secret War by Max Hastings) There was national socialism, better known as fascism and there was international socialism, better known as communism. It is necessary to start with the supposedly altruistic message of socialism to see how tyranny emerges.
The traitors Maclean, Burgess, Philby and Blunt were British members of a KGB spy ring that penetrated the intelligence system of the UK and passed vital information to the Soviets during World War Two and the early stages of the Cold War.82(The Cambridge Five: A Captivating Guide to the Russian Spies in Britain Who Passed Information to the Soviet Union During World War II by Captivating History) They were Cambridge graduates and so we may assume that they were intelligent and educated but they all claimed that the motive for betraying their country was that they saw communism as the only way of stopping the resurgence of fascism. They obviously never stopped to compare and contrast the two.
Both have a command economy, an oppressive system of government with a lack of personal liberties and elections in which only approved candidates are allowed to stand. Both Marx and Hitler approved of violence is a means of gaining power and then as a means of maintaining it. This was in the manifestos before they had achieved power. The only difference I can find is that communism suppresses religion as Marx said that religion is the opium of the people whilst fascism is happy to use religion to help to oppress the people.
Rudyard Kipling wrote, “East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet”, but if you go far enough east or west around the world, you come to the same place. The same applies to left and right wing ideologies.
In the early 1950s in the USA, Senator Joseph McCarthy was allowed to conduct an appalling series of purges and oppression of anyone whom he thought may have socialist leanings.83(Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America’s Enemies by M. Stanton Evans) Such activity in a democracy was quite astounding. He was supposed to be protecting the USA from the dangers of communism but, in reality, the terror he produced was no better than Stalin’s tyrannical rule which it was supposed to avoid.
Paul Ehrlich was a German medical scientist and Nobel Prize winner. In 1968 he produced a book called 84(The Population Bomb). It included apocalyptic predictions about massive famines killing hundreds of millions of people after 1980. He advocated draconian measures to reduce the world population to a mere 500 million. He produced a follow-up book called 85(The Population Explosion) which he wrote with his wife, Anne and it was released in 1991.
The Club of Rome was founded in 1968 and it describes itself as “a group of world citizens, sharing a common concern for the future of humanity.”86Club of Rome Website In 1972 it published 87The Limits to Growth which was an analysis of the problems of an increasing world population with great prophesies of doom. Some have hailed it as the most important scientific paper of the 1970s. Others have criticised the methodology and the draconian responses that are advocated. This is said to include enforced abortions but I cannot find evidence to support this. Its initial target was the burgeoning growth of population on the planet. Since then it has turned its attention to global warming.
More than 50 years after both The Population Bomb and The Limits to Growth, the world population has never been larger, nor has famine been rarer.
It is important to understand the Club of Rome to understand the origins of the global warming movement.
The membership of the Club of Rome included many senior politicians and former heads of state but several quotations attributed to it are worrying to put it mildly. One is, “The common enemy of humanity is man. In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.” They are either rebels in search of a cause or potential despots in search of an excuse. “All these dangers are caused by human intervention”, they continue, “and it is only through changed attitudes and behaviour that they can be overcome. The real enemy then, is humanity itself.” Another statement is “The Earth has cancer and the cancer is Man.”
The Club of Rome was, and maybe still is an elite group who wish to impose a top down authoritarian rule on the world in a totalitarian way that no democracy would permit. They have a great self-loathing, despising humanity, but in reality, I suspect they see themselves as an elite species apart. They wish to impose draconian solutions on others. Evidence shows that what drives family planning is not enforcement but education, especially of women, along with a falling infant and child mortality.
A member of the Club of Rome and the driving force behind the IPCC and its actions was Maurice Strong. He was born in 1929 and his background was in the petroleum industry. In 1972 the UN General Assembly founded the United Nations Environment Programme with Strong as its head. He was the driving force behind the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. In his opening speech he said, “Isn’t it the only hope for the planet that the industrialised nations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring this about?”14(Cited by The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science. Tim Ball). He left the United Nations in 2005 whilst under investigation for taking a substantial bribe in favour of Saddam Hussein in the Food for Oil Programme. Are these really altruists who are trying to save the planet? Would you trust them?
The Rio Earth Summit in 1992 produced a document called Agenda 21 as it is supposed to be a blueprint for saving the world in the 21st Century.88United Nations Conference on Environment & Development Rio de Janerio, Brazil, 3 to 14 June 1992 . Agenda 21 To some it is a bold and radical approach to a critical problem. To others it is an attempt to take over the world with totalitarian rule and the destruction of science and technology. Both left- and right-wing extremists are blamed. Although the conspiracy theorists seem to be the usual raving and irrational polemicists, I find myself unable to trust the advocates of Agenda 21 either. If only a fraction of the quotations attributed to them are true,89Global Warming Quotes and Climate Change Quotes they have evil intent. Once again, I expect that the truth lies somewhere between the extremes but where I am unable to decide. However, I think that Agenda 21 is dangerous.
Agenda 21, also known as the Meadows report, after the main authors, included such statements as “There will be desperate land shortage before the year 2000 if per capita land requirements and population growth rates remain as they are”. There are vast tracts in this report that time has shown to be fundamentally wrong but the line foreshadows the contemporary environmental movement including IPCC reports. 90(Chapter V. The Meadows Report (Club of Rome), 1972 in The Green Reich by Drieu Godefridi) Over the decades there have been a great many dire predictions which have not come true, but still they come.
The Green Movement is not a moderate group of concerned middle-class citizens who only want what is best for the planet and for posterity. It is an extreme left-wing movement which wants totalitarian control to gain their aims which include the destruction of capitalism. They mean to abolish free trade and enforce a socialist system as only then can they turn back the industrial revolution. They do not believe that they can succeed while capitalism is alive. Their icons are not Stalin or Mao, who tried to industrialise their countries even if the result was disastrous, but Pol Pot who aimed to take Cambodia back to year zero. The green movement is fundamentally an egalitarian movement, as is socialism, and just as flawed. It rejected capitalism long before the theory of anthropogenic global warming. Like socialism, it requires a totalitarian system to enable it to function. Bearing in mind the violence that underpins both communism and fascism, we cannot be surprised by the actions of Extinction Rebellion and we should be no more tolerant of them than of the black shirts.
The green movement is based on an extreme and oppressive ideology akin to fascism or communism. It rejected capitalism long before the theory of anthropogenic global warming
The Green Party has seats in parliaments in many countries in Europe and would not openly admit to wanting an anti-democratic future as they know that would be political suicide. That does not make them democrats. They are well on the left of politics and they are biding their time.
Although their numbers are small. they exert influence well beyond their size, especially managing to control groups that make policy decisions that are not accountable democratically. They want their environmental agenda to override all decisions. Such institutions abound in the EU and UN.
They would like to see fewer humans on the planet, perhaps to the tune of 1.7 billion or even that the population should be reduced to one tenth of the present level. Bearing in mind that Hitler, Stalin and Mao together managed to annihilate fewer than 100 million, this is a great ambition. However, the starvation and poverty that their policies would produce could achieve it.
Air travel is a constant source of hypocrisy. Celebrities fly in on their private jets to “save the planet”. A leading article in The Times headed, 91Greenpeace- Both hypocritical and wrong-headed noted that its international programmes director, Pascal Hustings, commutes by plane several times a month from his home in Luxembourg to his office in Amsterdam. It would take him five hours on the train which is how he advocates that the rest of us should travel. The Times suggests that the world would be better served if he stayed at home. It also notes that “Wired” magazine estimates that Al Gore has clocked up a million miles of air travel on his quest to save the planet.
In December 2006, a grand climate convention was held in Bali, Indonesia, attended by heads of state, climate ministers, UN officials and many more. They travelled by aeroplane, stayed in air-conditioned hotels and talked about other people’s carbon emissions in air-conditioned halls. The total carbon dioxide emissions for the conference were estimated at 40,700 tonnes. The environmental group WWF International, known in the USA as the World Wildlife Fund, sent 80 delegates and no doubt Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth would also have been jetting in. However, the head of the Indonesian delegation told reporters that Indonesia would plant 79 million trees to offset the entire conference.92Hot Air Emitted by Climate Summit Equals 20,000 Cars
Should I be impressed? Does anyone know how many trees they have planted and where? Does anyone believe that carbon trading and carbon credits serve any purpose other than to enrich the companies that sell them? One of the people who sells them and has become richer still on them is Al Gore.93Al Gore’s Carbon Empire: Cashing in on Climate Change
In climatology the policy comes first, and the science has to justify it. This is called Lysenkoism after 94Trofim Denisovich Lysenko. He was a biologist and agronomist in the old USSR who led the assault on Mendelian genetics in favour of a theory of hybridisation. This was under Stalin’s rule. It was well known that the scientific data had to be created to fit the theory. He was eventually discredited and scientific genetics returned to the USSR. This was in a communist dictatorship but the IPCC is enforcing its dogma on the entire free world. The politicians and even many scientists are lapping it up. Most people cannot believe that this can really happen.
In an interview with Discover Magazine in 1989, Dr Stephen Schneider said, “To capture the public imagination we have to offer up some scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements and little mention of any doubts one might have. Each of us has to strike the right balance between being effective and being honest”.95Dr Stephen Schneider
Paul Watson, a founder of Greenpeace said, “It doesn’t matter what is true, it only matters what people believe is true.”
Greenpeace are not the only group to believe that the message is so important that the truth does not matter. In 2007, former Canadian Environment Minister, Christine Stewart said, “No matter if the science of global warming is all phoney…climate change provides the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.”96(Cited by Mike Hulme in “Why we disagree about climate change”). According to Timothy Wirth, President of the UN Foundation, “We’ve got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.”97Climatism Website
An “activist” decided to kayak all the way to the North Pole to show how far ice had melted.98Swimmer aims to kayak to N Pole He reached slightly further than 80oN which is a long way from the pole. In fact, it is a little further than the distance from Dover (51oN) to Shetland (60.5oN). Despite the abysmal failure, the current Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, telephoned him to congratulate him on his achievement. This shows the blindness of politicians to climate activists and the reality about their claims.
In 2014 Gina McCarthy, head of the US Environmental Protection Agency introduced the Clean Power Plan proposal with the words, “It is not just about disappearing polar bears and disappearing ice caps.” In fact, disappearing polar bears are nothing to do with global warming. Man’s encroachment on their territory threatens a few but most polar bears are doing fine.99Using expert knowledge to assess uncertainties in future polar bear populations under climate change. Polar bears survived four ice ages and the warm times between. Ice sheets are melting in some parts and thickening in others. Polar bears numbered abut 5,000 in the 1950s but are about 25,000 now.
The science is nothing like as firm and the prophets of doom would have us believe. Anthropogenic carbon dioxide is not the only culprit or even the major one. Rather than destroying the industrial world it would be better to use our abilities and resources to cope with climate change. The Kyoto Accord would place an enormous burden on the world economy for remarkably little benefit. It also completely ignores aviation, shipping which produces even more emissions, China and India. In the UK we could considerably damage our economy by cutting carbon dioxide emissions whilst China would replace them by growth in a very short time. There is an enormous amount of hypocrisy and misrepresentation about climate and the environment.
I must agree with Nigel Lawson that rather than directing all our energies to trying to turn back global warming, especially when much may not be anthropogenic, we would do better to use science and technology to master the situation and overcome the problems. Crashing the economies of the world will not save it. It is not easy to decarbonise agriculture or shipping, but food and trade are essential for a fed and prosperous world. The Stern review on the economics of climate change is an influential report published in 2006. It was commissioned by Gordon Brown, then UK chancellor of the exchequer, and written by Sir Nicholas Stern, an expert in economics and development who had previously served as the chief economist at the World Bank, among many other roles. The Stern Report’s assumption that in 100 years’ time, farmers would be growing the same food in the same way in the same place despite great climate change is absurd.100At-a-glance: The Stern Review
According to the figures from the IPCC, by the year 2100 the earth could be between 1.4o and 4o warmer than at the turn of the millennium. Had the Kyoto protocol been ratified and implemented in full, and this would have been unlikely, it is estimated that the temperature by 2100 would be 0.1o lower.73(Cited in An appeal to reason. A cool look at global warming. Nigel Lawson). Is the economic price really worth just one tenth of a degree? Nigel Lawson argues a much better case for letting both the developed and developing world progress and adapt to the new climate. It has been argued that global warming would have economic costs but he estimates that this means that in 100 years the standard of living of the developed world would have increased by a mere 2.6-fold instead of 2.7-fold and that of the developing world would have increased by a mere 8.5-fold instead of 9.5-fold. Poverty would be virtually eliminated. Compare this with trying to reduce carbon emissions by at least 70%. Destruction of the industrialised world will not eliminate poverty.
The 101Climate Change Act 2008 committed the UK to a very expensive policy of dubious worth. The Government’s own 102Climate change explained on its website is riddled with inaccuracies as we have seen in this chapter. They claim that almost all the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide is due to human activity. They mention ice core studies but do not admit that carbon dioxide levels lag behind temperature changes. They blame climate change for extreme weather events and predict an adverse effect on agriculture.
Environmental groups are very successful in getting their soundbites on radio and television, always being there with something to say. These are welcomed by the left-leaning media, not least because they do not have to bother to search for comment. They have manged to capture the moral high ground despite promoting an agenda that we have seen is often based on exaggeration, fabrication and lies. They have managed to get their version of science taught in schools much as Christianity was taught in centuries past. No one dares deny it. Climate change questions that demand the approved response have become part of many subjects in schools and not just the science curriculum. Adults smile with approval or impotence as children “go out on strike” to protest about climate policies that they do not understand. Some children are very young. Teenagers are open to grooming and manipulation. No one dares to speak out. Even the Hitler-jugend (Hitler Youth) did not go so far. How would people feel if children were led on to the streets to protest in favour of capitalism, the free market of Christianity?
Climate orthodoxy has become an unquestioned dogma in schools and even politics, with abuse and aggression directed towards anyone who questions it. Fascists and communists never had this degree of power when they were not even in government. Our children are being brainwashed and they are certainly not being taught to think.103Climate change in the draft National Curriculum Science is taught in schools as unassailable facts. No one questions the periodic table or Hooke’s law of elasticity. However, they are well-established and have faced scrutiny over the centuries. The idea that climate orthodoxy is in that league is a fallacy.
Politicians like to parade their “green credentials”. Being concerned about the environment is good, but they should not be seen as paying lip-service to a group that is tyrannical and claims scientific backing that is a fraud. The green movement do not have the moral high ground.
Leonardo DiCaprio used his 2016 Oscar acceptance speech to deliver a tirade about climate change. In 2014, he was allowed to address the United Nations to demand urgent action on climate. He has no expertise in the field and even failed to finish high school. He is poorly educated. However, as a “celebrity” he is regarded by some as an expert in all things. He is referred to as an actor and an environmentalist. Being an environmentalist apparently needs no knowledge or qualifications. He is just one of many “celebrities” who claim to speak with authority for all humanity, but they have not examined the evidence. The only expertise that is shared by celebrities is self-promotion.
Leonardo DiCaprio used his 2016 Oscar speech to harangue about climate change. He has also addressed the United Nations on the subject despite having no knowledge of the field.
Even he seems full of knowledge and worldly wisdom compared with a teenage girl with a psychiatric disorder who somehow has besotted the world. Her input has always been negative and never constructive. There are far too many ignorant people claiming expertise in the field. I do not have all the answers but I want you to think and question what you read and hear. It is a complex issue that has been bedeviled by dishonesty and activists masquerading as experts. They are rebels in need of a cause. In reality, they just believe everything that they are told, provided that it concurs with their preconceived ideas.
In 2020, during the pandemic of COVID-19, many countries were trying to help beleaguered industries that were in danger of failure. The secretary general of the United Nations said that only “green” industries should receive state help.104UN Chief: Only Green Companies Should Be Saved
People need to speak out and to question the assumptions. The world must free itself from this tyranny.
What is the Truth about Climate Change?
There is a great deal to read about climate and I have much more that I intend to read. I recommend reading a variety of sources rather than adhering to one line and read them critically. Look for evidence, not hype. My opinion from what I have read so far is as follows:
- Climate has always changed. We have seen hotter weather and we have seen extreme weather in the past. Some say that the speed of change is unprecedented and a serious cause for concern but others say that we have had faster changes in the past. I think that we are seeing a period of warming but even the prospect of another little ice age rather than catastrophic warming cannot be excluded but it is very unlikely. I do not believe that we can just “trust the experts” as I do not believe that the “experts” have been honest with us and without trustworthy data, we have no rationale for planning.
- The concept of carbon dioxide forcing global warming was an interesting one in the 1970s and it should have been put to the test as Karl Popper advised. Instead it has been hastily and uncritically accepted.
- Carbon dioxide has an amplifying effect on water vapour, but that effect is significantly smaller than in the computer models. I think that the degree of warming for every doubling of carbon dioxide levels has been exaggerated and the true figure is probably a little over 1o rather than 4o. Nevertheless, it does happen.
- Climate models are very unreliable and certainly not 95% accurate.
- Atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide are rising from what was probably an all-time low but by no means all has arisen from human activity. However, the anthropogenic component is the one part which we can do something about. However, the IPCC admits that man produces just 4% of all carbon dioxide. Therefore, a reduction of 25% would reduce the total by 1% and a massive 75% reduction in human production would reduce the total by 3%.
- The findings in the tropical troposphere or tropopause were supposed to be the “fingerprint” to show a human influence on climate. Instead they have shown the opposite. We should concern ourselves with the real world rather than the wild predictions of discredited computer models.
- The public have been misled by prophets of doom. The most extreme scenarios have been presented as the mean or “expected”. This is unacceptable.
- Policy must be directed by the evidence and not vice versa. Due acceptance of uncertainty is essential. To bend the science to fit the policy is fraudulent.
- The “hockey stick” cannot be glanced over as just one person’s minor slip. It was a crass attempt to rewrite history. He is seen as one of the doyens of climatology, but its chief architect, Michael Mann, should be seen as discredited.
- Freedom of expression, dissent and due scientific debate is mandatory. Suppressing opposing views and censoring scientific journals is utterly wrong. There must be funding for some basic science with open ended questions, not funding directed only at trying to support a preconceived idea.
- Raw data must be made public or at least available to bona fide scientists. There is no commercial sensitivity. Both the original data and the computer programmes to manage it must be open to view. I am very concerned about the tales of corruption of raw data by changing the readings.
- As well as publicising the adverse effects of climate change we should know about the beneficial aspects too. There are many. Alarmists should be taken to task for unsustainable claims.
- By the year 2100, the world climate will probably be warmer than now, but by how much is very uncertain. A warmer wetter world with more atmospheric carbon dioxide is likely to be a more productive place for agriculture and I find prophecies of famine unsustainable. It is also conducive to more, not less biodiversity. Rather than demolishing the industrial world we would do better to use our resources and ingenuity to cope with change.
- There must be proper governance at the Climate Research Unit and the World Meteorological Organisation. The IPCC was founded on an inappropriate premise and is beyond redemption. It is not a seat of experts but of activists and sycophants. It should be disbanded and replaced by an organisation with an honest and open approach. Only sound, honest science, admitting uncertainties is acceptable. Intimidation and censorship are not. A lot less arrogance would also be good.
- We need an international panel of true experts without preconceived ideas to examine what has been going on at the IPCC and the CRU.
- The prophets of doom like to suggest that a rise of just a few degrees would cause a catastrophic vicious cycle. Permafrost in Siberia would melt releasing huge amounts of methane which is a potent greenhouse gas. Just a few degrees rise in temperature would kill of the rain forests and coral reefs. This I find very hard to believe as the earth has been warmer than this in the not too distant past.
- There have been dire predictions of doom over the decades and they have all been totally wrong. Still they keep coming.
- As we saw in the chapter on ethics, the General Medical Council takes a very dim view of doctors who indulge in research fraud. However, there appears to be no such body to cover other aspects of science. We need a body to hold fraudulent scientists to account. So far, the only scientists ever to have been punished for scientific fraud are doctors. Are other scientists pure and innocent or are they totally unregulated?
We have seen dishonesty in science before but fortunately rarely. The MMR fraud was an example. Even the monk Gregor Mendel has been accused of massaging his results to make them look better. Denis Burkitt made a very good case for more fibre in our diet but at times I think that he went to extremes. However, I would call him and enthusiast and never accuse him of dishonesty. What we have seen with climate change is more than just enthusiasm.
Why should scientists pervert their subject? One possible reason is ego and self-importance. Being the harbinger of disaster gets much more attention than highlighting a potential problem that may possibly require some action. The newspapers love doom as do fundraisers. Perhaps they feel that they need to overstate their case to be taken seriously. An experienced editor once put it: The publication of “bad news” is not a journalistic vice. It’s a clear instruction from the market. It’s what consumers, on average demand. If you print too much good news people stop buying the papers but a mix of doom and gloom will swell the circulation. Science funding is also more likely if predicting doom and gloom.
The true position is difficult to discern, partly because the science is very difficult and there is considerable uncertainty, despite what is claimed. There is also the uncertainty caused by the lack of honesty
Throughout history, the warm times have tended to be the good times and the cold times the bad times with poor harvests and famine. A moderate increase in global temperature, rainfall and carbon dioxide levels will help to improve agricultural productivity. However, excessive rises will be a problem. A rapid pace of change would also stress the natural evolution.
Excessive alarmism can be counterproductive, and people cease to take it seriously.105Alarm over climate turns people off They are like the soothsayer in “Up Pompeii” who was always crying, “Woe, woe and thrice woe!” However, what concerns me is that in the end she was right. Whether or not the prophets of doom are right, I do not know. It is a field of great uncertainty, amplified by dishonesty.
Within a closed society such as the climatology clique, there is a tendency to “group think” with lack of objectivity. Many extreme political organisations claim that their views are shared by the great majority of the population. What they really mean is the great majority of the limited sphere with which they converse.
The IPCC likes what it calls “the precautionary principle” which is that if there is any chance at all of a serous outcome it is necessary to take precautions even if they damage the industry of the developed world and the development of the developing world. This is an unsustainable argument. We need a risk-benefit assessment. What is the risk? What is the cost?
Finally, we can learn from Bishop James Ussher, (1581-1656) who was Bishop of Armagh and Primate of Ireland. He diligently studied the Old Testament and calculated that Creation occurred on Sunday 23rd October 4004BC.106Larry Pierce. The World: Born in 4004 BC? The postulated day for Creation was not even within a couple of years but to the precise day. This may tempt some to believe that he was entirely accurate. However, modern evidence suggests that the universe originated not around 4000BC but around 4 billion years ago. I do not question his scholarship or the diligence of his study. The Old Testament is not a contemporaneous record. Much was first written many years after it supposedly happened. The oldest texts still available have been copied many times since they were first written with much opportunity for change or error. If a modern scholar was to recalculate Bishop Ussher’s work using modern computer programs and technology but still with the Old Testament as the source, I expect that the result would be not far different from the original. The problem is the source.
Similarly, a complex computer program with the latest software and technology will not give an accurate prediction of climate change if much of the necessary data is missing and only one of many variables is examined. If a person inserts a figure for missing data, we call it a guess. If a computer does the same, it is called parameterization. It is still a guess. We can no more rely on totally inadequate data examining far too few variables to get an accurate prediction of future climate than we can calculate the date of the Creation from the account of the Old Testament. James Ussher was an honest man who knew no better. The shenanigans of the IPCC are a rather different matter.
The lessons from this chapter about understanding science and medicine are:
- Look at the big picture, not just one aspect.
- If you only get one side of the story, you do not have the full story. There are many aspects to any story.
- Science must be honest and transparent. The concept that the message is more important than the truth can never be accepted.
So, what should we do?
Should we reject all they have said because much is based on poor science and gross exaggeration?
Is it possible that despite their serious shortcomings, that the basic narrative is correct, and we do need to take quick and decisive action?
At present we are managing to feed the world, but the population is rising fast and that is mostly in the poorest parts of the world. In developed countries, populations are falling or kept up by immigration. In the past, population control has been linked to letting people die of malnutrition and disease as postulated by Thomas Malthus, but today it seems that education and reducing infant and child mortality result in people choosing to have fewer children. However, they still need access to contraception.
If we try, as a world rather than as a nation, to get changes implemented, does it work?
Back in the 1970s it was noted that the ozone level, high up in the stratosphere above the Antarctic, was being depleted. This was attributed to the use of chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs. The world has made a great effort to replace the CFCs in aerosols with other substances that do not have the same effect. The ozone layer is recovering, and this is also having an effect on climate.107The ozone layer is healing and redirecting wind flows around the globe
Although atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide are not especially high for the history of the earth, if the rising levels are increasing temperatures at a rate that is a cause for concern, can we do anything about it? An article in The Times called shows that some very imaginative ways are being considered.108Cambridge explores blue sky ideas to cool planet It is good to see a positive approach instead of the usual portends of doom and calls to turn back the clock to the Middle Ages, apparently hoping that the Little Ice Age will return too.
If anyone is looking for an environmental cause to champion, there are plenty of worthy choices. Single use plastics and the contamination of the oceans by plastic is a real problem. Rubbish and recycling merits attention along with litter and fly-tipping in our cities and countryside. Efficient farming whilst conserving nature is a possibility. The destruction of rain forests in a genuine concern. We also need to be concerned about the environmental impact of so-called “green technologies” where minerals are mined in third world countries causing devastation to the environment and to the people. I would not personally be too concerned about newts or esoteric species of bats, but some wonderful animals are in danger. They include primates, big cats, elephants and some species of rhinoceros as well as whales, especially the blue whale, the largest creature ever to have lived. Do not worry about polar bears. They are doing fine.
The next chapter examines Alternative Energy. So-called “renewable energy” is often expensive and unreliable and far from being ecologically sound, the minerals required often lead to disastrous exploitation in distant lands.
I am afraid that at some time in the future, the false prophecies of climate catastrophe will be revealed and it will result in a great backlash. There will be great anger with much directed against science. Science should always question itself and always seek the truth. It must never be subservient to politics. It never has all the answers.
- The deliberate corruption of climate science. Tim Ball. Stairway Press 2014.
A hard-hitting look at the shortcomings of climate science and the scheming and manipulation that has been used to maintain the orthodoxy.
- The Real Global Warming Disaster. Christopher Booker. Continuum International Publishing Group 2009.
A well-researched book by a journalist who looks at the climate issue in a chronological form, noting how the message and the science have been corrupted. The result is a blunder of enormous economic magnitude.
- Climate Change- the facts. Edited by Alan Moran. Stockade Books 2015.
A collection of contributions by 23 authors including scientists and politicians. Chapters include: The science and politics of climate change, Why climate models are failing, Costing climate change, Forecasting climate change, The hockey stick: a retrospective, The scientists and the apocalypse, The scientific method (and other heresies), Extreme weather and global warming, and False prophets unveiled. This is probably the most important of all the books listed.
- An appeal to reason. A cool look at global warming. Nigel Lawson. Duckworth Overlook 2008.
From a former Chancellor of the Exchequer and Minister for Energy comes a good look at the economics of dealing with climate change. Well argued, it calls for coping with global warming rather than destroying the industries and agriculture of the developed world.
- Why we disagree about climate change. Understanding controversy, inaction and opportunity. Mike Hulme. Cambridge University Press 2009.
A sane and balanced book that looks at science, economics, sociology and theology.
- Global warming and other bollocks. Editors Stanley Feldman and Vincent Marks. Printed by John Blake 2009.
Edited by two well respected professors and with contributions from respected authors, it is a challenging book but not one with which I wholeheartedly agree. It is very interesting and well worthwhile seeing the other side of the story.
- The Hockey Stick and Climate Wars. Brandon Shollenberger. Available on Kindle
A well-argued attack on the fraud and deceit of climate disaster advocates
- “A Disgrace to the Profession” by Mark Steyn. Stockade Books 2015
Quotations from many scientists around the world who believe that the hockey stick affair was a disgrace to the world of climate science.
- Hubbert’s Peak: The Impending World Oil Shortage by Kenneth Deffeyes. Princetown University Press 2001
It may seem a little old by now but the concept that world oil is running out is well argued.
- Climate Change and Human Health. Eds A J McMichael, D H Campbell-Lendrum, C F Corvalän, K L Ebi, A K Githeko, J D Scheraga, A Woodward. World Health Organization. ISBN 92 4 156248X
A book on health and climate change with the authority of the WHO but it does examine the underlying dogma.
- Jarvis L, Montgomery H, Morisetti L, Gilmour I. Climate change, ill-health and conflict. BMJ 2011; 342:d1819 [full text]
This is a reference in the chapter, but it is short, important and free to view online. An editorial in the BMJ from important authors in 2011
- Flat Earth News by Nick Davies. Chatto & Windus, London. 2008.
A book by a journalist that explains how journalistic practices lead to false stories and misinformation. A very important book for anyone who reads newspapers or follows current affairs. It explains how misleading and even false stories are told and told again by all sections of the press so that eventually everyone believes them.
- Waste. Tristram Stuart. Penguin books 2009.
A very important book which shows how much we waste and how we can manage the nation’s and the earth’s resources much better by reducing waste.
- Also, Flat Earth News website at
- Approaching Crisis of Global Cooling and the Limits to Growth: Global Warming Is Not Our Future. Hardcover by Shigenori Maruyama. Translated from the Japanese by Masaru Yashida and Vernon Spencer. Field Science Publishers 2012.
This book says that there is far more to climate change than carbon dioxide and it predicts that climate will start to cool from about 2035.
- Scared to Death: From BSE to Global Warming: Why Scares are Costing Us the Earth, by Christopher Booker. Available on Kindle
An insight into the anatomy of scares.
- Eco-Fascism by Jame Delingpole. Biteback Publishing 2013.
An exposé of the scares and tactics of the green movement.
- The Green Reich by Drieu Godefridi. 2019. Available on Kindle
A short but fascinating book which examines the origins or the green movement including the Club of Rome and the predictions about population before climate change became the new beast
- Scientists must not put policy before proof. Matt Ridley. Column in The Times.
An excellent article calling for more honesty in science, especially climate science. Unfortunately, only available with subscription to The Times
- Haines A, Ebi K. The Imperative for Climate Action to Protect Health. N Engl J Med 2019; 380:263-273 [full text]
- Rafferty JP. Medieval warm period (MWP). Encyclopaedia Britannica
- IPPC. Working Group I: The Scientific Basis.
- Revkin A. New paper shows Medieval Warm Period was global in scope Watts Up With That? 31 October 2013
- Zhixin Hao, Maowei Wu, Yang Liu, Xuezhen Zhang & Jingyun Zheng, Journal of Geographical Sciences, January 2020. Chinese Scientists: It Was Warmer In China During Medieval Warm Period Than Today
- Viking haul revealed by melted ice in Norway. The Times 20 April 2020.
- Pearce F. Tree rings suggest Roman world was warmer than thought. New Scientist. 20th July 2012.
- IPCC website.
- Ref 3 of chapt 3 Sun Shunned by William Moon. In Climate Change- the facts. Edited by Alan Moran. Stockade Books
- McCoy D, Hoskins B. The science of anthropogenic climate change: what every doctor should know. BMJ2014;349:g5178
- Stocker TF, Qin D, Plattner G-K, Tignor M, Allen SK, Bosschung J et al (eds) Climate change 2013; the physical science basis
- United States Environmental Protection Agency. Overview of greenhouse gases.
- Chandler DL. Climate myths: CO2 isn’t the most important greenhouse gas. New Scientist. 16th May 2007.
- Cited in The deliberate corruption of climate science by Tim Ball.
- IPCC. Observed changes in climate and their effects
- IPCC chair Rajendra Pachauri resigns. The Guardian. 24 February 2015.
- Donna Framboise in chapter 15 The IPCC and the Peace Prize in Climate Change, the facts by Dr John Abbot), Dr Robert M. Carter, Rupert Darwall, James Delingpole, Dr Christopher Essex, Dr Stewart W. Franks, Dr Kesten C. Green, Donna Laframboise et al. Stockade Books, 2015. Available on Kindle.
- Lucy Sherriff. Satellite shows Greenland’s ice sheets getting thicker. The Register 7 November 2005.
- Alley RB. The Younger Dryas cold interval as viewed from central Greenland. Quaternary Science Reviews, vol19 (2000): 213-226.
- Modern climate change unlike fluctuations of past 2,000 years. The Times 4 February 2020.
- Predicting changes: Testing climate model accuracy. Science Museum.
- Climate Models. IPCC.
- John Hammond in Countryfile. BBC1 18th May 2014.
- Phillip F. Schewe. Satellites reveal differences in sea level rises. 24 November 2010. Phys Org
- Sinking feeling in Tivalu. BBC News 22nd August 2002.
- Low-lying Pacific islands ‘growing not sinking’, BBC News. 30 June 2010.
- Ian Palmer in chapter 1 The Science and Politics of Climate Change in Climate Change, the facts by Dr John Abbot, Dr Robert M. Carter, Rupert Darwall, James Delingpole, Dr Christopher Essex, Dr Stewart W. Franks, Dr Kesten C. Green, Donna Laframboise et al. Stockade Books, 2015. Available on Kindle.
- The Norse History of Greenland 982-1500 in The Norse settlers in Greenland – A short history.
- The End of the Vikings in Greenland. Scott A Mandia
- Greenland Ice Sheet. Encyclopaedia Britannica
- Arctic sea ice up from record low. European Space Agency. 16 December 2013.
- How Arctic Ice Made Fools of All those Poor Warminsts. Christopher Booker. The Daily Telegraph. 25 July 2015
- Antarctic researchers rescued from ice-bound ship. BBC News 2 January 2014.
- Polar versus Equatorial Warming. San Jose State University.
- John Abbott and Jennifer Marohassy. Chapter 6 Forecasting weather in Climate Change, the facts by Dr John Abbot, Dr Robert M. Carter, Rupert Darwall, James Delingpole, Dr Christopher Essex, Dr Stewart W. Franks, Dr Kesten C. Green, Donna Laframboise et al. Stockade Books, 2015. Available on Kindle.
- Hartwell Allen L, Baker JT, Boote KJ. The CO2 fertilization effect: higher carbohydrate production and retention as biomass and seed yield. Global climate change and agricultural production. Direct and indirect effects. Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.
- Ross McKendrick in chapter 14 The hockey stick: a retrospective in Climate Change, the facts by Dr John Abbot), Dr Robert M. Carter, Rupert Darwall, James Delingpole, Dr Christopher Essex, Dr Stewart W. Franks, Dr Kesten C. Green, Donna Laframboise et al. Stockade Books, 2015. Available on Kindle.
- Central England air temperature since 1659
- Global Warming Bombshell. Richard Muller. MIT Technology Review 15 October 2004.
- Simplest example of uncorrelated but not independent X and Y?
- AW Montford. The Hockey Stick Illusion; Climategate and the Corruption of Science. Independent Minds 2010.
- The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Follow-Up on the Hockey Stick by Brandon Shollenberger available on Kindle
- BanobiJ A, Branch TA, Hilborn R. Do rebuttals affect future science? Ecosphere vol 1, no 2. March 2011
- Statement in “Why we disagree about climate change” by Mike Hulme. Cambridge Press 2009. Forward XXIII.
- Mars’ Atmosphere: Composition, Climate and Weather. 12 September 2017.
- National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office (USA) The sun and sunspots. Can an increase or decrease in sunspot activity sunspots affect the Earth’s climate?
- Britain’s most extreme weather, presented by Alex Beresford. Channel 4 television May 2014.
- William Soon in chapter 4 Sun Shunned in Climate Change, the facts by Dr John Abbot, Dr Robert M. Carter, Rupert Darwall, James Delingpole, Dr Christopher Essex, Dr Stewart W. Franks, Dr Kesten C. Green, Donna Laframboise et al. Stockade Books, 2015. Available on Kindle.
- Climate myths: Mars and Pluto are warming too. New Scientist. 16 May 2007.
- Is the Whole Solar System Warming? No. Dane Wigington Geoengineering Watch. 6 February 2015.
- Unstoppable global warming: every 1500 years. Fred Singer and Dennis Avery. Rowman and Littlefield Publishers. 2007. Also available on Kindle.
- Theme Issue ‘Climate forcing of geological and geomorphological hazards’ compiled and edited by Bill McGuire, Richard Betts, Christopher Kilburn, Mark Maslin, David Pyle, John Smellie and David Tappin. May 28, 2010; 368 (1919)
- How deadliest volcano eruption froze the planet. The Times 10 April 2020.
- American Institute of Physics. Ocean Currents and Climate. February 2014.
- Thermohaline circulation. Encyclopaedia Britannica.
- Christopher Booker. Scared to Death: From BSE to Global Warming: Why Scares are Costing Us the Earth. Available on Kindle.
- Shackleton NJ. The 100,000-Year Ice-Age Cycle Identiﬁed and Found to Lag Temperature, Carbon Dioxide, and Orbital Eccentricity. Science vol 289. 15th September 2000. pp1897-1902.
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- Risk of flood from rising sea levels has been exaggerated, say climate scientists The Times 6 December 2010
- Climate sceptics report backs global warming. The Times. 21 October 2011.
- Scientists must not put policy before proof. Matt Ridley. Column in The Times. 8 December 2014.
- Science and Technology Committee – Second Special Report . The Reviews into the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit’s E-mails: Government Response to the Committee’s First Report of Session 2010-12
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- The Cambridge Five: A Captivating Guide to the Russian Spies in Britain Who Passed Information to the Soviet Union During World War II by Captivating History. Available on Kindle
- Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America’s Enemies by M. Stanton Evans. Available on Kindle.
- The Population Bomb by Paul Ehrlich. 1968. Still available on Kindle
- The Population Explosion. Paul Ehrlich and Anne Ehrlich. 1991. Available on Kindle
- Club of Rome website.
- The Limits to Growth. Meadows DH, Meadows DL, Rander J, Behrens WW.
- United Nations Conference on Environment and Development Rio de Janerio, Brazil, 3 to 14 June 1992 . Agenda 21.
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- Chapter V. The Meadows Report (Club of Rome), 1972 in The Green Reich by Drieu Godefridi. Available on Kindle
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- Hot Air Emitted by Climate Summit Equals 20,000 Cars (Update 1) By Alex Morales and Kim Chipman. 6 December 2007.
- Al Gore’s Carbon Empire: Cashing in on Climate Change.
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- Dr Stephen Schneider Discover, October 1989. Detroit News Editorial, 22 November, 1989
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- Climatism website.
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- Larry Pierce. The World: Born in 4004 BC? 28th April 2006.
- The ozone layer is healing and redirecting wind flows around the globe. Layal Liverpool. New Scientist 25 March 2020.
- Cambridge explores blue sky ideas to cool planet.
This website is now completed, although I shall continue to do updates. The following list shows the sections or chapters. Just click on the topic in blue to go to that part of the site.