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Is the ‘anthropogenic global warming’ consensus on the point of collapse? If so, this is just the right time for Chris Huhne to leave the Government

At the very least, let’s hear no more about this theory being ‘incontrovertible’

By on Monday, 6 February 2012

Nuns build a snowman in St Peter's Square. Some scientists have suggested that the cold snap is caused by global warming (Photo: PA)

Nuns build a snowman in St Peter's Square. Some scientists have suggested that the cold snap is caused by global warming (Photo: PA)

As the snow began falling on Saturday, I said to my wife “what do you want to bet that someone will cook up an explanation that all this is caused by global warming”? It was a joke: but when I looked at that morning’s Independent newspaper, there it was already, under the headline “Science behind the big freeze: is climate change bringing the Arctic to Europe?”

The bitterly cold weather sweeping Britain and the rest of Europe has been linked by scientists with the ice-free seas of the Arctic, where global warming is exerting its greatest influence.

A dramatic loss of sea ice covering the Barents and Kara Seas above northern Russia could explain why a chill Arctic wind has engulfed much of Europe and killed 221 people over the past week…

A growing number of experts believe complex wind patterns are being changed because melting Arctic sea ice has exposed huge swaths of normally frozen ocean to the atmosphere above.

The piece mentions the names of one or two of this growing number of experts. I’m glad that at least the piece didn’t say that this was a generally accepted consensus: for, the idea of an incontrovertible scientific consensus behind current ideas of anthropogenic global warming is itself coming under increasingly sceptical scrutiny from another “growing number of experts”, as you will see from a very interesting article which appeared a week or so ago in the Wall Street Journal.

The article is signed by a large number of scientists, whose names I now flourish before you to prove that they exist:

Claude Allegre, former director of the Institute for the Study of the Earth, University of Paris; J. Scott Armstrong, cofounder of the Journal of Forecasting and the International Journal of Forecasting; Jan Breslow, head of the Laboratory of Biochemical Genetics and Metabolism, Rockefeller University; Roger Cohen, fellow, American Physical Society; Edward David, member, National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Sciences; William Happer, professor of physics, Princeton; Michael Kelly, professor of technology, University of Cambridge, U.K.; William Kininmonth, former head of climate research at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology; Richard Lindzen, professor of atmospheric sciences, MIT; James McGrath, professor of chemistry, Virginia Technical University; Rodney Nichols, former president and CEO of the New York Academy of Sciences; Burt Rutan, aerospace engineer, designer of Voyager and SpaceShipOne; Harrison H. Schmitt, Apollo 17 astronaut and former U.S. senator; Nir Shaviv, professor of astrophysics, Hebrew University, Jerusalem; Henk Tennekes, former director, Royal Dutch Meteorological Service; Antonio Zichichi, president of the World Federation of Scientists, Geneva.

The starting point of the article, headlined “No Need to Panic About Global Warming” (subheading, “There’s no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to ‘decarbonise’ the world’s economy”) is the resignation from the American Physical Society of the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Ivar Giaever, in a letter which begins: “I did not renew [my membership] because I cannot live with the [APS policy] statement: ‘The evidence is incontrovertible: global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.” Dr Giaever had asked simply for the word “incontrovertible” to be removed: the APS refused. He rejoined: “In the APS it is OK to discuss whether the mass of the proton changes over time and how a multi-universe behaves, but the evidence of global warming is incontrovertible?”

The fact is, as the WSJ article says (and as I have said in this column before) that large numbers of scientists don’t accept this supposed consensus, and more and more of them are putting their heads above the parapet to say so. The reason is simple: that more and more “incontrovertible” facts are suggesting that the “consensus” has more to do with ideology than science: the most inconvenient truth, perhaps, is the fact that for more than a decade there has been no global warming to speak of, despite the fact that man-made CO2 continues to grow apace. The scientific establishment has no explanation of this, as emerged with wonderful irony in the so-called “Climategate” scandal in 2009, and particularly in an email from a climate scientist called Kevin Trenberth, who wrote baldly (and he thought secretly) that “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.”

The fact is that the whole anthropogenic warming theory is based not on observation but on computer models: in this case, it seems, computer models in which so-called “feedbacks” involving water vapour and clouds greatly amplify the small effect of CO2. It is, incidentally, interesting that none of the computer models which feed the theory, not one, predicted the present global warming pause: so why, one might ask, should one have any faith at all in their predictive powers about anything else?

Why, on a Catholic website, bother about this at all? Well, because we have been here before. Attacks on the Church over the Galileo affair have been going on for centuries, especially from the scientific community. Now, however, it is the scientific community which is recoiling from free scientific inquiry in the name of a supposedly “incontrovertible” belief based not on observation but on something else, which some have even called a “substitute religion”. And truly, for many, an environmentalism which warns of a man-made doom approaching us all has indeed begun to take on distinctly quasi-religious overtones: and certainly, an environmentalism of this kind is not going to allow its basic assumptions to be challenged. Man needs religion: and if he won’t have a true religion, he will tend willy-nilly to adopt a false one. As Cardinal Pell puts it “some of the more hysterical and extreme claims about global warming appear symptomatic of a pagan emptiness, of a Western fear when confronted by the immense and basically uncontrollable forces of nature… Perhaps they’re looking for a cause that is almost a substitute for religion… In the past pagans sacrificed animals and even humans in vain attempts to placate capricious and cruel gods. Today they demand a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.”

The effects of these “extreme claims about global warming” have had a direct effect on our national life even to the extent of threatening our economy. Coincidentally, this could in fact be a moment when the government might do something about that. On Saturday, Chris Huhne, Energy and Climate Change Secretary, had to resign from the government. I can’t, I have to say, see exactly why what he is charged with is such a heinous crime that it may well put an end to his political career, but I’m bound to say that I hope either that it has, or at least that he never gets anywhere near “climate change” policy ever again.

He has already, for instance, spent hundreds of millions on disfiguring the landscape with wind turbines, of which there are currently 3,000 onshore and several hundred offshore. They produce just one to two per cent of the nation’s power. But there’s potentially a lot more where they came from. In December, Huhne announced that in 20 years’ time there were going to be altogether nearly another 30,000 of these useless things (which most of the time produce nothing at all), at a cost of heaven knows how many billions. Overall, he has steered the Government into making overall “climate change” commitments we almost certainly cannot afford. We may all, for other reasons, be returning to sanity: so now is the perfect time for the Government quietly to reverse all that.

  • W Oddie

    But I’m talking precisely about the entire  globe: you haven’t actually read the article at all, have you? Typically, intellectually both idle and arrogant

  • Tess V

    As the snow began falling on Saturday, I said to my husband “what do you want to bet that someone who doesn’t understand the difference between weather and climate will use this as an excuse for a rant about how global warming isn’t real?” It was a joke: but when I looked at the Catholic Herald website on Monday, there it was already, under the headline “Is the ‘anthropogenic global warming’ consensus on the point of collapse?”

  • Joe

    Once again, the same problem…the conflation of anthropogenic Global warming with natural climactic global warming.  Why is this so difficult for the public to grasp?  Yes! The earth is in an interglacial period, and is warming, just as has occurred in ten past ice ages.  For each one, the earth cools, and glaciers form.  Then, the earth warms, the ice melts, and CO2 rises, which is happening now, just as in the prior interglacial periods.  Why should this period be any different than the past interglacials?  So, the question is, not if the earth is warming - that is what happens in an interglacial period.  The Proposition being pushed by Global warming advocates, is that, mankind is responsible for this change.

    Their “proofs” then combine the effects of this natural warming period, with those caused by man, when so far, it has not been possible to separate the two, or to determine how much change is due to man.  At least, for those who have never bothered to read about glacial periods, you should realize that Carbon Dioxide does rise, when the oceans warm.  Please realize that.  Analysis of Ice in Anarctica and Greenland, shows that CO2 rose rapidly in each past interglacial period, just as happening now – so this is not a proof of anthropogenic global warming, nor is a gradually warming climate.  Warmth should be expected now.  It’s part of the naturally occurring cycle.  And please bear in mind that these changes occur over many thousands of years, not in the lives of men.

  • Paul A

    “You will never change your mind because you will never look at
    the evidence.”

    What evidence are you referring to? A single decades worth
    of temperature data (a decade that happens to be the warmest recorded)? An out
    of context quote taken from a stolen email? What Cardinal Pell has said?

    Like the vast majority of the scientific community, I happen
    to be persuaded by scientific evidence. I am unimpressed by the standard half-truths
    and misrepresentations that the article above represents.

  • Anonymous

    It’s no secret where this denialism comes from: the fossil fuel industry pays for it. (Of the 16 authors of the Journal article, for instance, five had had ties to Exxon.) Writers from Ross Gelbspanto Naomi Oreskes have made this case with such overwhelming power that no one even really tries denying it any more. The open question is why the industry persists in denial in the face of an endless body of fact showing climate change is the greatest danger we’ve ever faced.  See Bill McKibben The Great Carbon Bubble.  Is Oddie fossil fuel funded ?

  • Heide de Klein

    There is no evidence for catastrophic anthropogenic global warming. It has always been in the computer models, which have now been running long enough to be proved wrong. We should concentrate on feeding the poor. Instead, we enriching those wealthy enough to afford photovoltaics on the roof of their expensive houses and windmills on their extensive estates.

    Human civilisation flourishes in warm periods. We know that the Minoan, Roman and Medieval warm periods enhanced human well-being. We should be thankful that we live in the modern warm period – long may it continue!

  • Heide de Klein

     Soon, it is going to be close to 20 years of no warming. Satellite records began in 1979, in response to the great global COOLING scare. Since then, the temperature has risen by about 0.2 – 0.3 C. So, from the terrifying freeze of the late 70′s, to the catastrophic boiling of the late 90′s, we have a temperature change detectable by only multi-million dollar satellites.

    You claim to be persuaded by scientific evidence. If those are not empty words, please supply some…

  • FrankG

    There is plenty of evidence for AGW, and it is the poorest people in the world who will be affected most by it. The rich on the other hand (oil companies and related industry) have the most to gain by pretending its not true.

    Your name did make me laugh. But I should point out, as apparently it needs repeating for some people, that the “decline” refers to a decline in northern tree-rings, not global temperature, and is openly discussed in papers and the IPCC reports.

  • FrankG

    Your claim to have a scientific background is inconsistent with your statement that the emails “demonstrate a lamentable lapse from normal scientific standards”. They do no such thing. Either you have not read the emails or you do not understand them or the science behind them.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VLDU7DJWBAHJFHOHVUAJM5SRWU Gregory

     “Climate Scientists” rebutting physicists on statements regarding atmospheric physics is exactly analogous to chiropractors rebutting medical doctors on a point of medicine. “Climate science” as a specialty has grown because of the CO2 scare. Before that, climate science was generally for meteorologists who couldn’t hack forecasting.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VLDU7DJWBAHJFHOHVUAJM5SRWU Gregory

     Using politics to make the use of carbon fuels expensive would destroy the poorest peoples of the world by starvation and both exposure to heat and cold, and as we’ve seen, cold kills fast.

    I was a believer in AGW (the best term is lukewarmer, I believed the basic science was correct but exaggerated) until early 2007 when I was first exposed to some core tenets of skepticism, and read for myself a number of scientific papers that yes, were in reputable, peer reviewed journals. Not the climate science journals affected by the machinations of the climategaters who got editors fired for accepting inconvenient research for publication, but physical science journals. Even in 2007 the literature was rife with pieces that ripped huge holes in alarmist assumptions about the behavior of water vapor, aerosols, and the interaction of the solar magnetic field, at record highs during the latter 20th century, with high energy galactic cosmic rays. Not to mention other effects like the trends in heat transfers with the oceans of the world which are not constant and just recently been characterized. And in the last five years the evidence against catastrophic AGW has only gotten stronger. Three steps forward, none backwards.

    In short, CO2 driven feedback mechanisms involving water and water vapor were clearly used by IPCC-brand computer modeling to cover natural warmings which are only now becoming understood, and the modelers, and those whose research funding is driven by the scary modeling, have been fighting reality to the best of their ability,

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VLDU7DJWBAHJFHOHVUAJM5SRWU Gregory

     Perhaps you’ve not read the 29 Mar 2010 interview of James “Gaia” Lovelock in The Guardian:
    “The great climate science centres around the world are more than well
    aware how weak their science is. If you talk to them privately they’re
    scared stiff of the fact that they don’t really know what the clouds and
    the aerosols are doing. They could be absolutely running the show. We
    haven’t got the physics worked out yet. One of the chiefs once said to
    me that he agreed that they should include the biology in their models,
    but he said they hadn’t got the physics right yet and it would be five
    years before they do. So why on earth are the politicians spending a
    fortune of our money when we can least afford it on doing things to
    prevent events 50 years from now? They’ve employed scientists to tell
    them what they want to hear.”

    It turns out the clouds and aerosols really are running the show. The CLOUD experiment at CERN, killed in the mid ’90′s for being politically incorrect, was resurrected in 2006 when the Danish SKY experiment, relying on natural galactic cosmic rays, has showed positive results. The first papers have been published and the research is continuing, We live in interesting times.

    BTW I do have scientific degrees in physics and engineering.

  • Anonymous

    Feynman “All experiments in psychology are not of this [cargo cult] type,
    however. For example there have been many experiments running rats
    through all kinds of mazes, and so on — with little clear result. But in
    1937 a man named Young did a very interesting one. ….I looked into the subsequent history of this research. The next
    experiment, and the one after that, never referred to Mr. Young. They
    never used any of his criteria of putting the corridor on sand, or of
    being very careful. They just went right on running rats in the same old
    way, and paid no attention to the great discoveries of Mr. Young, and
    his papers are not referred to, because he didn’t discover anything
    about rats. In fact, he discovered all the things you have to do to
    discover something about rats. But not paying attention to experiments
    like that is a characteristic of cargo cult science.” Hence his withering contempt for psychologists, not just psychoanalysts. Feynman was interested in extending knowledge by defining theoretical frameworks (QED) that could explain observable phenomena. I never said climate science was sorcery. I said  …” those so called climatologists who warn of impending man-made catastrophe induced by burning fossilfuels”. Climate science has been hijacked by psuedo-scientists. Hence your friends absurd thesis. Now what do you think Richard Feynman would have thought have tha?

  • Anonymous

    Maybe you should read my original post and pay a little more attention to what I wrote. I said psychologists…not psychology per se. And of course I said ..”those so called climatologists…”. Your response demonstrates  a clear inability to understand plain english.

  • Brian A. Cook

    May I share this?

    http://mediamatters.org/research/201202010012

    Also, I’ve read about a known “skeptic” who looked at the scientific evidence himself and came to understand that humans are contributing to climate change.  I wish I could retrieve that story so that I can link to that too.  I’m very afraid that articles like this are repulsing people from Mother Church–I would rejoice to be proven wrong. 

     

  • Oliver-P

    “W Oddie: A moribund shot-putter.” That’s really rather good. Your epitaph, sir. Rest in peace. 

  • Oliver-P

    Indeed. Now look up ‘fissile’.

  • Oliver-P

    I thought it would be interesting to contextualize this discussion with a look at this website (not one of my own and I’m not spamming here). To me, this is so beautiful. This is a glimpse into God’s creation. I think it is deeply empowering for us on planet Earth, the World, to see ourselves in this light, and so we may better appreciate, or begin to appreciate, our part in God’s plan. This is amazing – from the Planck length to the estimated size of our universe. The url: 
    http://scaleofuniverse.com/

  • FrankG

    Climatology is a branch of physics, climatologists are physicists. More particularly, many of them are atmospheric physicists. So what exactly are you talking about? which climatologists have rebutted which other physicists on what statements? Meteorology and climatology are not and never have been the same thing. The main center of research in atmospheric physics is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Why don’t you go and check what they have to say on the subject of climate change.

  • FrankG

    Perhaps you’ve not read my comment because your reply does not in any way address the point raised

  • FrankG

    Do you want to cite some of these papers?

  • Sth4

    Ah yes, those ‘so called’ climatologists, no true Scotsman and all that…

  • Heide de Klein

     Why don’t you cite some evidence for global warming? We know that the temperature now is about 0.25C warmer than it was when satellite records began, all you need to do is show that the change has been caused by us…

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VLDU7DJWBAHJFHOHVUAJM5SRWU Gregory

     Sorry, FrankG, but climatology *was* originally the study of weather records. A branch of meteorology. It was only in the last couple decades that it became the study of how bad CO2 might be.

    There are a growing number of physicists who have pointed out failings of the current IPCC “consensus” science. Nir Shaviv stumbled onto the scene circa 2003 by discovering his derivations of our solar system’s orbit and its driving of carbon 14 levels (a proxy for high energy galactic cosmic rays) matched geochemist Jan Veizer’s determination of ocean temperatures over the last 500+ million years. They found the driver of the historic largest temperature swings in the earth’s biosphere, from the hottest periods to the snowball earth episodes, While that’s averaged over geologic time, other teams of physicists have found effects from short term dips in galactic cosmic rays having dramatic effects on cloud cover, enough to account for much of the warming of the computer models.

    Funny thing, in 2007 when I first started reading the science for myself, I found myself explaining Shaviv & Veizer 2003 to a paleomagnetism researcher who told me the paleo crowd had long noticed there was a strong correlation between the carbon 14 data and temperatures, but it was ignored as a curiosity because they didn’t have a clue what it could possibly mean.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VLDU7DJWBAHJFHOHVUAJM5SRWU Gregory

     brossen99, it isn’t a fraud, just bad science driven by groupthink and government funding insistent on knowing how bad the problem is.

  • Nicolas Bellord

    There are a lot of old people worrying about the cost of heating and wishing that the climate would get warmer.  Some of them will die from hypothermia.  Mr Huhne has artificially increased the cost of keeping warm.

  • FrankG

    Consult a dictionary, Greg. Moving on…

    Galactic cosmic rays are not a significant driver of climatic change. It is completely accepted in mainstream science that GCRs might be able to influence the nucleation process of potential cloud condensation nuclei, and it is concievable that this could influence cloud behaviour by inducing processes analogous to troposheric aerosols, as noted in the IPCC AR4. However, While there has been some confirmation of the potential mechanism by which GCRs might induce cloud nucleation, they in no way demonstrate that GCRs do significantly promote cloud formation in the real world, let alone support the myth that GCRs drive significant climatic change. Of course they don’t disprove it either, so how do we know that GCRs aren’t driving significant climate change? We can theorize what certain “fingerprints” of enhanced greenhouse warming should look like, and examine observational data to see whether those fingerprints show up. And they do. We can examine the claims made by Shaviv and others who proclaim GCRs drive climate and see whether or not they hold up. They don’t:
    Look at the paleoclimatic record during periods of significant changes in GCR activity, and you find there is no corresponding change in climate, e.g. the Laschamp excursion ~40kya (Muscheler 2005). Look at the change in GCRs in response to solar variability over recent decades or the course of a solar cycle, and you will find there is no or little corresponding change in climate (Lockwood 2007, Lockwood 2008, Kulmala 2010). Look at alleged correlations between GCRs and climate in the geologic past due to our sun passing through galactic spiral arms, and you find that these “correlations” were based on an unrealistic, overly-simplified model of spiral structure and are not valid (Overholt 2009). Standard climatic processes (like CO2) more parsimoniously explained the climatic changes even before taking the flawed spiral model into account (Rahmstorf 2004). Examine the specific mechanisms by which it has been claimed GCRs influence climate via cloud behavior and you find that alleged correlations between GCRs and clouds were incorrectly calculated or insufficiently large, proposed mechanisms (e.g. Forbush decreases) are too short lived, too small in magnitude, or otherwise incapable of altering cloud behavior on a large enough scale to drive significant climatic change (Sloan 2008, Erlykin 2009, Erlykin 2009a, Pierce 2009, Calogovic 2010, Snow-Kropla 2011, Erlykin 2011). The claims by Shaviv, and other ‘GCRs drive climate’ proponents have been debunked at pretty much every step of the way. GCRs may have some influence on cloud behavior, but they’re not responsible for significant climatic changes now or in the geologic past.

  • FrankG

    Start here 
    http://www.ipcc.ch/

  • Sth4

    Global temperatures reached their natural peak after the last glaciation ended around 6000 years ago, the Holocene Climatic Optimum. Since then they had generally been falling and recent comparitively very rapid rise in temperature cannot be explained in the context of interglacials. You said yourself that these changes occur over many thousands of years, yet we have seen rapid temperature increases over decades corresponding with levels of anthropogenic co2 in the atmosphere.

  • Sth4

    The validity of models can be tested against climate history. If they can predict the past (which the best models are pretty good at) they are probably on the right track for predicting the future (and indeed have successfully done so – look at Hansen’s 1988 projections).

    If you want to follow the money as it were, then note that the most powerful economic interests on the planet, thats the fossil fuel industry, have an interest in doing nothing about climate change.

  • Sth4

    I came across that a while ago but forgot to bookmark it, thanks!

  • George Marshall

    I am the founder of the Climate Outreach Information Network., a charity that specialises in public engagement and education around climate change.

    I am disturbed that this highly opinionated and misleading opinion piece is appearing in the Catholic Herald. Mr Oddie is entirely entitled to his views, but he is not a specialist in this topic. Nor were most of the  19 scientists quoted in the Wall Street Journal- whatever their qualifications elsewhere. I work closely with climate scientists and  scientific institutions and not one would support Mr Oddies position.

    Nor, of course, would the Catholic church. Cardinal Pew is a single and highly opinionated voice on this topic who has been widely criticised in Australia by leading scientists.

    It is important to stress that this issue is not about silencing dissent or differing opinions, but about separating personal hunch and conjecture from the core evidence. There is a vital role for the church in mobilising a faith driven response to this crisis and I urge all Catholics to protect Gods creation.

  • Sth4

    Indeed, the church *has* urged a response to this crisis, and it is a great shame that Mr Oddie and others are doing their best to shout it down.

  • Heide de Klein

     Are you sure that isn’t the “Climate Outreach Disinformation Network”? How much has the planet warmed since satellite records began? How much of that warming is due to human activity?

  • Heide de Klein

    Can you identify any section of any document at the IPCC that actually attributes the 0.18C degree temperature rise since satellite records began to humams?

    Perhaps you think life was better for humans during the last ice age?

  • Heide de Klein

     This has got to be  joke! Nowhere does the IPCC attribute the 0.18C warming since reliable measurements began to humans. Actually, if the global warming predictions had been correct, we would have been several degrees warmer than we were in the depth of the global COOLOING scare. We aren’t. The models are wrong.

  • FrankG

    Read the AR4 synthesis report. 

    “Perhaps you think life was better for humans during the last ice age?” – What a ridiculous comment. 

  • Sth4

    Was there a “great global cooling scare” in the 70′s? No. Review the scientific literature between 1965 and 1979 and you will find 44 scientific papers predicted warming, 20 were neutral and just 7 predicted cooling. So while predictions of cooling got more media attention, the majority of scientists were predicting warming even then. 
    The best place for a summary of the evidence is the IPCC fourth assessment report. Please go and actually read it before you reply to this.

  • Sth4

    Maybe you should actually go and read the assessment reports? “Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic GHG concentrations””it is extremely unlikely that global climate change of the past 50 years can be explained without external forcing and very likely that it is not due to known natural causes”(AR4 Synthesis 2.4)Also, there was no global cooling scare, warming has been predicted since the 60′s. And climate models have made broadly accurate predictions (see Hansen 88).

  • Anonymous

    97% of climate scientists disagree you
    90% of scientists disagree with you

    Where’s your science degree Mr. Oddie?

  • Joe

    Analysis of the (e.g.) Vostok Ice Cores show ice ages occur in roughly 100,000 year cycles.  Between the last ice age, and the present, there have been approximately 9 or 10 upswings and downswings in temperature, some lasting 10,000 years. And, there are many more minor up and downswings, for example, in 100 year durations. That means predicting temperatures for the future is very unreliable.  Carbon Dioxide follows the same irregular pattern, rising or falling rapidly, in agreement with the temperature swings.  It is a certainty that the various regression lines, or future projections, have very little statistical reliability. This same pattern of extreme variability has also occurred with all of the prior ten or more, ice ages. The present upswing is in large part, due to these normal climactic variations, and also, it is not clear how much is due to mankind.  There is no certainty in this – we do not know if the climate will suddenly have a downswing.  For Global Warming advocates to claim their theories as a certainty, seems to be Scientific hubris.  This really comes across in AGW arguments, where opposite points of view are suppressed  and those who advance them are vilified. 
    These very important questions need to be openly and fairly discussed, and not just by those select few scientists who are AGW advocates.

  • Chernov

    “In the past pagans sacrificed animals and even humans in vain attempts to placate capricious and cruel gods. Today they demand a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.”

    It wasn’t just pagans sacrificing animals and humans.  Jews did (the Old Testament is crammed with stories of God commanding his “chosen people” to viciously sacrifice animals and even their own children, often by fire), early Christians did, and even today members of the Greek Orthodox Church cruelly hang live lambs from trees for days then, eventually, slaughter them to celebrate Easter (they do this where I live).  The evil pagan vs. good Christian mime is nonsense, and always has been.

    Since the Pope is a big believer in manmade global warming, maybe you should be addressing your article to him.  The whole issue is ridiculous.  Anybody who lives on the ocean can readily see that the waters are NOT rising.  The temperatures today are not notable.  The only difference between today’s climate and that of thirty years ago is that doomsayers have discovered the ultimate cash cow.

    But, to claim they’ve replaced a real religion (yours) with a false one (climate science) treats the so called real religion as one based on facts.  It is not.  The fabricated history of the Church rivals any document churned out by the IPCC.

  • FrankG

    Sediment cores, tidal gauges, and satellite measurements all show that sea level rise has been steadily accelerating over the past century.

  • Sth4

    The Earth doesn’t warm up because it feels like it, neither is it a pendulum spurred by some internal equilibrium. It warms up because something forces it to. Yes, some of these forcings are cyclical like the ice ages. But scientists keep track of natural forcings, and the observed warming since the mid 20th century can only be explained by adding in anthropogenic radiative forcings, namely increased GHGs such as CO2. We are warming far too fast to be coming out of the last ice age, and in fact we should be very slowly going into a new ice age at the moment, but AGW is virtually certain to offset that.

    It’s always possible of course that there is some natural cycle completely unknown to science that is causing the current warming. This irreducible uncertainty exists in every area of science and can never be entirely eliminated.

    This hypothetical natural cycle would have to explain the observed fingerprints of GHG warming. Even if we ignore direct measurments for the sake of argument, you have to explain, for example, why the troposphere is warming but the stratosphere and layers above are cooling. This rules out any cycle related to the sun as solar influences would warm the atmosphere uniformly. The only explanation that makes sense is GHGs.

    Could volcanoes or the ocean be responsible as both release massive ammounts of GHGs? No, because scientists keep track of these emissions and know they are small compared to anthropogenic emissions. Not only this but the isotopic signature of CO2 from fossil fuels is depleted in the carbon-13 isotope, which explains why the ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-13 in the atmosphere has been rising. Also, atmospheric O2 is decreasing at the same rate that CO2 is increasing, because oxygen is consumed when fossil fuels combust.

    A natural cycle that explains all these observations and others is extremely unlikely. But thats not all it would have to explain, it would also have to tell us why anthropogenic GHGs are NOT having an effect – remember that there is a century of basic physics and chemistry that explain the radiative properties of GHGs.

    The idea that the current warming is part of a natural cycle is something that scientists have considered, discussed, studied and ruled out – openly and fairly. It is precisely for this reason that 97% of scientists involved in active reasearch in climate science (NOT a select few) agree that the current warming trend is anthropogenic.

  • Joe

     “The earth doesn’t warm up because it feels like it….” What a grudging allowance of natural climate change!  Sth4 implies it’s far overstated.  The AGW proponents have a position that borders on propaganda. On the one hand, they ignore or dismiss the effects of naturally occurring global warming, and on the other hand, they silently add natural climactic changes to the purported AGW, and baldly state that all  present warming is due to AGW!  Certainly, that is how it is being played in the Media – it’s all due to manmade emissions…

    Consider just one aspect of natural global warming.  In the last few years, it was discovered that the Sahara varies between green river valleys, and arid desert.  There is a record of many cycles of lakes to desert and back, and this on a regular periodicity of around 27,000 years, which is in accord with the Milankovitch cycles. This is a very dramatic change, due solely to natural causes, not so? How can you so easily, so cavalierly dismiss natural global warming?  And it certainly appears to be the major component of our present warm cycle.  If not, then how do you explain the earth warming swiftly, starting after the Maunder minimum, back about 200 years, in the era of sailing ships, when human industrial emissions were very low? And why do you assume that this natural warming cycle has stopped, to be totally replaced by AGW?

  • Sth4

    Natural climactic changes have not been dismissed by anyone. I specifically addressed this in my last post. As I have already stated, they have been thoroughly studied and that is why we can say with confidence that the current warming is NOT in line with any natural cycle. There is no natural cycle that can explain the fingerprints of the current warming. Which natural cycle do you propose that explains the observations of less heat escaping to space, a shrinking thermosphere, a cooling stratosphere, a rising tropopause, less oxygen in the air, an increased ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-13 in the air, more heat returning to Earth, and nights warming faster than days. No natural cycle can account for this. Not Milankovitch cycles or any other.  Natural climate change in the past proves that climate is sensitive to an energy imbalance. If the planet accumulates heat, global temperatures will go up. Currently, CO2 is imposing an energy imbalance due to the enhanced greenhouse effect. Past climate change actually provides evidence for our climate’s sensitivity to CO2. With respect, all you have asked here is a question I have already answered. To restate it again as simply as possible,  Climate reacts to whatever forces it to change at the time; humans are now the dominant forcing.

  • Anonymous

    You say there is plenty of evidence for AGW, then where is the warming predicted in the upper troposphere that is needed to prove the AGW hypothesis? The IPCC sates that if total (note total, not just man’s) atmospheric CO2 levels are doubled, the temperature can rise no more than 1.2C maximum. The rest is reliant upon positive feedbacks from water vapour from evaporation of the Earth’s oceans that is supposed to amplify the effect by tripling the warming. The IPCC predicted an atmospheric hot spot at a height of 12km that would prove the water vapour positive feedback. In over 40 yrs of looking using more than 30,000,000 radiosondes (weather balloons) & two satellites the tropospheric hotspot has failed to eventuate. Lower level water vapour has appeared but has a negative feedback effect (cooling) as it is scientifically accepted to reflect heat back into space (it insulates the Earth as clouds).

    So Frank, if the high level water vapour predicted by the IPCC has failed to eventuate in the form of the tropospheric hot spot, in what way can the temperature rise beyond 1.2C that is attributable to CO2 as stated by the IPCC?

    Many promoters of AGW try to side step the issue or lie about it, but the truth is the hot spot does not exist as confirmed by several lines of observation.  The tropospheric hot spot needs to appear under the following conditions for it to be true:

    1/ It needs to appear during times when the Earth is warming.

    2/ It needs to warm faster than the Earth’s surface.

    3/ It needs to appear in the upper troposphere (approx. 12km).

    4/ It needs to be warming as the stratosphere cools.

    The stratosphere is cooling but there are other reasons for that (eg ozone levels). Only a warming troposphere combined with a cooling stratosphere is proof of AGW and the troposphere isn’t warming enough, & hasn’t done so for over 40 years. As a result the warming predicted by the computer models have failed, & the AGW hypothesis fails conclusively on the positive feedback issue that has failed to eventuate. There is no evidence of anthropogenic global warming & there won’t be until the tropospheric hot spot appears.

    This article summarises the issue nicely and the links to the scientific sources are at the end:

    http://joannenova.com.au/2010/10/is-the-western-climate-establishment-corrupt-part-9-the-heart-of-the-matter-and-the-coloring-in-trick/

    Please bear in mind that one of the basic tenants of Christianity is ‘Truth’. Extortion of people’s money on a scientifically disproven (by the IPCC’s own science) hypothesis is theft, and the act of lying to gain the said money is fraud – both dishonest & un-Christian. Especially when you’re allowed to release as much CO2 as you like providing you pay for it (CO2 trading schemes) – something that is reminiscent of indulgences for your sins.

  • Anonymous

    There is no evidence for anthropogenic global warming (AGW) whatsoever. The IPCC states that if total (note total, not just man’s) atmospheric CO2 levels are doubled, the temperature can rise no more than 1.2C maximum. The rest is reliant upon positive feedbacks from water vapour from evaporation of the Earth’s oceans that is supposed to amplify the effect by tripling the warming. The IPCC predicted an atmospheric hot spot at a height of 12km that would prove the water vapour positive feedback. In over 40 yrs of looking using more than 30,000,000 radiosondes (weather balloons) & two satellites the tropospheric hotspot has failed to eventuate. Lower level water vapour has appeared but has a negative feedback effect (cooling) as it is scientifically accepted to reflect heat back into space (basically it insulates the Earth as clouds).

    If the high level water vapour predicted by the IPCC has failed to eventuate in the form of the tropospheric hot spot, in what way can the temperature rise beyond 1.2C that is attributable to CO2 as stated by the IPCC?

    Many promoters of AGW try to side step the issue or lie about it, but the truth is the hot spot does not exist as confirmed by several lines of observation.  The tropospheric hot spot needs to appear under the following conditions for it to be true:

    1/ It needs to appear during times when the Earth is warming.
    2/ It needs to warm faster than the Earth’s surface.
    3/ It needs to appear in the upper troposphere (approx. 12km).
    4/ It needs to be warming as the stratosphere cools.

    The stratosphere is cooling but there are other reasons for that (eg ozone levels). Only a warming troposphere combined with a cooling stratosphere is proof of AGW and the troposphere isn’t warming enough, & hasn’t done so for over 40 years. As a result the warming predicted by the computer models have failed, & the AGW hypothesis fails conclusively on the non existent positive feedback issue. There is no evidence of anthropogenic global warming & there won’t be until the tropospheric hot spot appears.

    This article summarises the issue nicely and the links to the scientific sources are at the end:

    http://joannenova.com.au/2010/10/is-the-western-climate-establishment-corrupt-part-9-the-heart-of-the-matter-and-the-coloring-in-trick/

    Please bear in mind that one of the basic tenants of Christianity is ‘Truth’. Extortion of people’s money on a scientifically disproven (by the IPCC’s own science) hypothesis is theft, and the act of lying to gain the said money is fraud – both dishonest & un-Christian no matter how well intentioned the motives. Especially when you’re allowed to release as much CO2 as you like providing you pay for it (CO2 trading schemes) – something that is reminiscent of indulgences for your sins. Please also bear in mind that rising temperatures are not proof of why the temperatures are rising, & the IPCC have failed definitively to prove their point beyond 1.2C – absolute maximum.

  • Rcephd

    The article mentioned but did not emphasize the real conflict in this pseudo-issue: The warming advocates use computer models, based on theoretical constructs and suppositions. the skeptics use observed and measured data. When a theory fails to predict the observed facts, as the AGW theory has for the last twenty yeasr or so, there is ony one side which needs to change. If you are ethical, you don’t change facts to fit the theory, like “Hide the decline” Jones and “hockeystick” Mann did. If you are ethical you adapt, modify or devise a new theory that fits the facts. That is basically al this conflict comes down to: the AGW theory doesn’t work.

  • GoWest

     There is no secret governments collect heaps from the fossil industry / transport users and they use that money to support the global warming propaganda industry. The fossil fuel industry will win whether it gets hot of cold – get over it! Anti-bloggers like yourself are funded indirectly from fossil fuel so enjoy the benefits whilst they last.
    Seriously you need to look at retraining. (watching these idiots walking to the south pole – gosh it keeps getting much colder than expected….) Murphy stuffs up the best theories.