In the next two months you will see hysterical stories about melting ice caps, rising seas and other catastrophes to be caused by man made global warming. They are all nonsense. The reason for them is the Copenhagen Conference in December, which will replace the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse emissions. Overwhelming scientific evidence shows there is no basis for the belief that mankind is changing the climate in a dangerous way. This is causing near panic among climate alarmists. So they are dreaming up scare stories to try to raise consternation before Copenhagen.
The climate always changes. There was nothing unusual about the slight warming (about 0.6°C) in the 20th Century. It was no different from previous natural warming periods. During the Mediaeval Warm Period, from about 900 to 1200 AD, temperatures around the world were rather higher than now. The Vikings had a colony on Greenland, growing crops where it is now too cold for them. Then temperatures dropped into the Little Ice Age, from about 1400 to 1800 AD. Since then they have been rising naturally.
Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. It is a harmless, natural gas upon which green plants depend - and therefore we depend. Over the last half a billion years, it has averaged over 2000 ppm (parts per million). It is now at 390 ppm, extremely low, far below the optimum level for most green plants. It was even lower in the 19th Century but mankind has pushed it up slightly by deforestation and burning fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide is a feeble greenhouse gas and its only significant absorption band is already saturated, so adding more has little effect. It has never been seen to drive global temperatures.
Mounting evidence shows that global temperatures are mainly influenced by variations in the Sun, especially in its emission of charged particles. These affect the formation of low clouds on Earth, which reflect away sunlight and cause cooling. There is a good correlation between solar activity and global temperatures.
Since satellite measurements began in 1978, the Antarctic has been cooling and its ice increasing. Only the West Antarctic Peninsula, about 5% of the total, has been warming. (The alarmists only show you this 5%; they don't want you to see the 95% that is cooling.)
The Arctic was warmer than now in the 1930s, when the north east passage from Europe to Asia was a regular shipping lane. In the last thirty years or so, until 2007, the Arctic has been warming and its ice decreasing. Since 2007 it has been increasing again.
The warmest year globally in the last hundred years was 1998 (in the USA it was 1934). All years since have been cooler.
Belief in man made global warming is not science, it is religion. It is a lucrative religion, bringing jobs, funding, travel and conferences to a multitude of people, who now have a huge vested interest in keeping the scare going. Its high church is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a politically funded propaganda organization dedicated to promoting climate alarm.
The Sun has become very quiet recently. We might be in for a period of cooling. Let's hope not because cooling is far more dangerous than warming.
Let's also hope that the nonsense at Copenhagen is kept to a minimum.
Originally published in the South-African newspaper the Citizen.
Key Facts about Climate Change by the author, Andrew Kenny:
· Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. It is a natural gas essential for green plants, upon which we depend. Present levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are far below optimum for C3 plants. Rising carbon dioxide would see our forests growing better.
· Mankind, by burning fossil fuels and deforestation, has pushed up the levels of carbon dioxide in the air from about 250 parts per million (ppm) in the 19th Century to about 390 ppm now. Over the last 500 million years (the span of multi-celled life) they have averaged over 2,000 ppm. They are higher than they have been before in the last 20 million years or so but extremely low in the life of life.
· Carbon dioxide is a weak greenhouse gas. At present levels, its only significant absorption band (15 microns) is saturated. Adding more carbon dioxide has little effect except to widen the band slightly and lower the absorption height.
· By far the most important greenhouse gas is water vapour.
· Carbon dioxide has never been seen to drive temperatures. During the ice ages, temperatures and carbon dioxide rose and fell together but temperatures lead carbon dioxide (temperatures drive carbon dioxide), for the obvious reason that cooling oceans dissolve more carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere, and vice versa for warming oceans. In the last 10,000 years, the correlation between carbon dioxide and global temperatures has been poor.
· The IPCC's own equation for CO2 forcing is: ΔF = 5.35 ln (C / C0 ) w / m2. If you use this equation with standard methods of radiant heat transfer, you find that the direct result of doubling of CO2 from present levels results in a heating of about 1°C. But of course there would be feedback. All of the evidence points to negative feedback, resulting in a rise lower than this.
· The correlation between solar activity and global temperatures has been good. The variation between incoming cosmic radiation (itself strongly affected by solar activity) and global temperatures has been very good, and it continues now.
· Clouds, which we don't understand, seem to be the most important single terrestrial factor behind climate changes. Low clouds cause cooling. High clouds cause warming. Low clouds seem to be nucleated by cosmic rays from outside the solar system. These cosmic rays are deflected by charged particles emitted by the Sun during high solar activity.
· If past patterns repeat themselves, we are due for an ice age about now. We can make predictions about orbital variances but we cannot say how these will influence the climate, so we cannot make meaningful predictions when the next ice age will come.
· During the Mediaeval Warm Period, from about 900 AD to 1300 AD, temperatures all around the world were rather higher than now while carbon dioxide levels were lower than now. Greenland was then a Viking colony, growing European crops. This was a time of good crops and good health.
· During the Little Ice Age, from about 1400 AD to 1850 AD, temperatures around the world were considerably lower than now. The Vikings abandoned Greenland. This was a time of crop failures and ill health, including malaria.
· Since the Little Ice Age, global temperatures have been rising. They rose about 0.6ºC in the 20th Century.
· Variations in temperatures over the last 150 years are no more than they have been over the last 10,000 years.
· Unusually cold spells kill more people than unusually warm spells.
· For at least three decades, since satellite measurements began, the Antarctic has been getting colder. The Antarctic is now the coldest it has been for the last three decades and has the greatest ice extent. Only the west Antarctic shelf, which represents about 5% of the total Antarctic is getting warmer.
· In recent years, the Sun has become unusually quiet and global temperatures have dropped.