JR Max Wheel
4th July 2013
Two irritating items caught my attention on the BBC, particularly appropriate at a time when the Broadcaster has been hauled over the coals for accusations of bias. Firstly, a fatuous piece from science correspondent David Shukman, standing in Death Valley, and delivering an apocalyptic piece about the highest temperature recorded on the planet at 52.5C and the possibility that it might reach 53C, shock horror! The second was a report on the decadal statistics showing that the period of 2001-2010 were the hottest ever, according to the World Meteorological Organization and linking it back to rising sea levels, increased deaths from heat waves and extreme weather events. The usual subtext is of course it’s all our fault because, like original sin, it’s man-made and hence the other sub text that goes with this type of reporting we should all get behind renewable energy because it is the only hope of reversing or managing this trend. Contrary views are neither welcome nor encouraged. The truth is that no one actually knows what causes climate change, but without it we would certainly not be here at all.
It is part of the amazing 97.4% of climate scientists are in consensus that global warming is a man-made problem. All your fault then, turn the lights off, unplug the fridge and get back to your cave.
Well-known author Michael Crichton nailed this a decade ago when he pointed out that consensus in science is not a healthy issue at all and that it is precisely the challenges to the status quo that has allowed the most profound insights, so no Galileo, Newton, or Einstein welcome then.
The tissue of fabricated evidence and manipulated figures from the IPCC, not many climate scientists there, and the scandal of Climategate e-mails, pontifical interventions from politicians like Al Gore make for dire reading.
We need some facts because we cannot base any rational policy decisions on the ever-growing pile of selective science and some of it from both sides of the divide.
For the serious review of the literature, it is worth reading the detailed review of SINTEF, a Norwegian think-tank based in Trondheim. Link here: Report A 24071 dated April 2013.
First, here is that famous 97.4% consensus- oh dear only 77 peer reviewed climate scientists, not quite so impressive.
Let us continue the now established practice of selective quotes.
1997/8 was the hottest year on record in the very warm 1990s until the WMO produced its latest figures, (Mann et al) oh no it wasn’t !Go back just a few hundred years more to the period 1000 – 1200 AD and you find that the climate was considerably warmer than now. This era is known as the Medieval Warm Period.” It said, “By 1300 it began to cool, and by 1400 we were well into the Little Ice Age. It is no surprise that temperatures in 1997 were warmer than they were in the Little Ice Age”, and so if “1997 had been compared with the years around 1000 AD, 1997 would have looked like a rather cool year” rather than being the warmest on record. It said that the Medieval Warm Period predated industrial greenhouse gas emissions, and had a natural origin.
Also, measurement is a big problem. A study by Watts et al. (2012) showed that half of the recent warming measured in the US is artificial, caused by measuring problems:
Ah well but it is the dangerous C02 then, – um, no apparently. This paper argues even causality is wrong
Implications of the Secondary Role of Carbon Dioxide and Methane Forcing in Climate Change: Past, Present, and Future (Physical Geography, Volume 28, Number 2, pp. 97-125, March 2007)- Willie H. Soon
The paper argues that: “A review of the recent refereed literature fails to confirm quantitatively that carbon dioxide (CO2) radiative forcing was the prime mover in the changes in temperature, ice sheet volume, and related climatic variables in the glacial and interglacial episodes of the past 650,000 years, even under the “fast-response” framework where the convenient if artificial distinction between forcing and feedback is assumed. Atmospheric CO2 variations generally follow changes in temperature and other climatic variables rather than preceding them.”
If this were not mad or bad enough we have chosen renewable energy, supported by mass subsidies argued by some to be one the largest transfers from poor to rich in history. No objections to sensible renewables, hydro power, tidal and geo-thermal but who seriously would argue that solar is suitable for the latitude of the UK or that wind power is anything less than intermittent, lacks scale, is destructive of the landscape and requires hefty conventional back-up.
The world it is now slowly being realised is swimming in hydrocarbons, conventional and alternative, yet we have closed coal stations at Didcot and we have also embarked on the conversion of the largest power station at Drax from coal to wood biomass. This requires chopping down trees and shipping the feedstock thousands of miles from Canada, the US and Sweden. How green a solution is that? The Electricity Market Reform is so badly drafted as a Bill as to need a complete rewrite to keep the lights on in the UK. Meanwhile Germany racks up new emissions levels and builds more coal-fired stations, albeit not at anything like the rate of China and the pariah state the US has virtually halved emissions by shifting from coal to gas.
The complex science of climate is driven by many factors from ocean temperatures to space weather, so a consensus from the self-interested and doom sayers is no basis for framing policy whatsoever,