Global warming is now finally being recognized as a real phenomenon.
What still remains hotly debated though, is whether this phenomenon is a natural occurrence, or a direct consequence of carbon emissions. (In reality it is probably a combination of both.)
However, right wing politicians, and oil companies generally seem to accept the former explanation, and believe carbon trading schemes are just another blatant money grab by the government that should be done away with ASAP.
This attitude intrigues me, because we know that:
- Burning of fossil fuels has increased the amount of C02 concentration in our atmosphere from 280 ppm (parts per million) in 1900 to a current concentration of 385 ppm, an increase of nearly 40%. This is proven fact and is indisputable. Based on oil consumption projections, this concentration is predicted to rise to 970ppm by the end of the century.
- C02 creates an insulative effect. This too is fundamental physics and cannot be disputed.
Nonetheless, global warming is treated by politicians and the media as a hyped up religion, something we might ‘choose’ to believe in based on our cultural background, and which side of the bed we got out of in the morning, but not on scientific data.
The following is a copy of a letter I sent to Dr Muriel Newman (former MP) in response to her weekly column titled “Distinguishing Reality From Fantasy“.
I enjoy reading your column and you usually present interesting case-studies, and research. However, after reading your most recent column ‘Distinguishing Reality from Fantasy’, I felt compelled to write to you, because I did not find it very well balanced, and would like to draw your attention to some of the omissions I felt were made.
Please find my comments on your column embedded below.
In spite of not being able to accurately forecast next week’s weather, New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) has just released climate predictions for 2090.
That’s an erroneous analogy and is comparing predicting local chaotic fluctuations against an extrapolated long-term trend.
For example, if I take the function y=.5x+r, where r is a random number between 1 – 10, I will not be able to tell you what the value is for x=5, but I will be able to tell you that for x=150, the value will fall in the range of 75-85.
It is little different to saying that I may not be able to predict whether my car will stall next week, but I can predict that it will be reduced to a pile of rust by 2090.
It says that by the turn of the century our temperatures will be two degrees warmer than they are today; in other words Wellington in 2090 will be as warm as Auckland is now. These new projections have been incorporated into the “Climate Change Effects and Impacts Assessment” report for local government, so that councils are better able to spend ratepayers’ money planning for climate conditions in a hundred years time!1
Of course we shouldn’t be spending ratepayer’s money planning for climate conditions in a hundred years time!
We should be spending ratepayers’ money on reducing the environmental and economic costs associated with climate change based on the predictions made from current unbiased scientific data and by climatologists.
Personally, I believe we should be spending money researching and creating infrastructure to reduce our dependency on oil (which will most certainly not be plentiful and cheap in hundred years’ time). I would like to see money spent on encouraging energy efficiency in homes and on the road, researching alternate sources of energy, and improving our public transport infrastructure.
500 years ago an average temperature drop of .5C brought about what is now commonly termed ‘The Little Ice Age’. NIWA is predicting NZ’s temperature will rise by 2C over the next 80 years, and that’s a conservative estimate. This will have dire consequences on our environment and economy.
It is something we should be taking very seriously indeed.
Incredibly, NIWA’s predictions have been calculated using the climate models of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – models that have been comprehensively discredited by the scientific community.
Citations? NIWA’s predictions are based on the IPCC’s fourth assessment report. Most of the controversy over this report is that the IPCC’s estimates are too conservative, and the true implications of global warming are actually even more dire.
The main criticism for the report over-stating the effects of global warming have been made by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, and the Fraser Institute. However, both groups have strong political leanings and are not well-respected for their unbiased scientific ideas.
These groups’ criticism of the report does not warrant the description of it being ‘comprehensively discredited by the scientific community’.
In their 2001 Third Assessment Report, the IPCC published an infamous temperature chart, commonly referred to as the “hockey stick”, which reconstructed climate history. This chart eliminated the Medieval Warm Period, when the earth’s climate was much warmer than it is today, and the Little Ice Age, when it was much colder, and showed that human-induced global warming had escalated dangerously in the latter part of the 20th century. That chart was a dramatic feature in Al Gore’s Film An Inconvenient Truth.
The hockey stick diagram, first published in 1999 was a graph of temperatures from the past 1000 years. Unfortunately due to statistical error, the notable medieval warming period and the little ice age occurring around 500 years ago did not show. This was soon noted by the scientific community, and prompted a flurry of new research into the subject.
Since then, these ‘initial’ errors have been addressed. Many, independent researchers have contributed to the data and the now infamous graph has been updated using much more extensive results.
Nonetheless, the overall conclusion remains the same. There is an unprecedented warming period occurring during the 20th century. The now revised and more accepted graph is this: (blue lines show older articles, red lines newer articles, and black lines show instrumental recordings)
Both the warming and cooling periods during the last thousand years were caused by natural events such as solar flares. However, it is naive to believe the dramatic warming period we are experiencing now is also a natural occurrence, with no influence caused by the additional 7 billion tonnes of C02 introduced into the atmosphere each year.
Such was the concern about the IPCC charts that in 2006 the US Congress instigated an independent analysis of the IPCC’s climate models. The panel of statisticians headed by Professor Edward Wegman found significant problems both with the methods of statistical analysis used by the IPCC and with their peer review process. In particular they found that the researchers who created the “hockey stick” used the wrong time scale, but because they failed to consult statisticians, the error was not discovered. As a result of their investigation, the review team concluded that the IPCC’s predictions that the planet is experiencing unprecedented global warming “cannot be supported”.2
As stated above, this is correct. However, it is worthwhile to bear in mind the ‘hockey stick’ graph shows temperature variations in tenths of a degree. Without hard instrumental record, it is difficult to accurately determine temperatures from 1000 years ago without introducing a large margin of area subject to interpretation depending on your political leanings.
Nonetheless even with more refined data the same trend is still evident.
Furthermore, since we began keeping instrumental temperature records, there has been a noticeable warming period.
Others have come to similar conclusions. Last year, following the dire climate predictions in the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report, the National Centre for Policy Analysis instigated an audit of their climate forecasts – the forecasts on which NIWA’s climate predictions are based – by forecasting experts Dr Kesten Green and Professor Scott Alexander. The audit found that the IPCC widely violated general forecasting principles, and as a result they concluded that the forecasts in the IPCC’s report are invalid: “There is no scientific forecast supporting the widespread belief in dangerous human-caused global warming. In fact, it has yet to be demonstrated that long-term forecasting of climate is possible at all.”3
Most of the criticism the IPCC has received for the fourth assessment report is that their models are too conservative.
For example, none of their current 18 models are able to explain why the arctic is melting as rapidly as it currently is.
Their models also do not take into account positive feedback loops. For example, melting ice caps increase the area of water, which in turn creates a larger surface area to absorb heat, which in turn further accelerates the process.
This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator, renowned climatologist, Dr Tim Ball, puts it this way:
“Imagine basing global or national energy and economic policy on a false theory; pursuing that policy even if clear evidence shows it is wrong; continuing even though the devastating effects of such actions are already manifest; putting your economy in competitive disadvantage when other major economies are not taking the same action.
“Sadly, many politicians in developed nations don’t understand climate science and are eager to appear ‘green’. They and the people are being driven by exploitation of their fears and lack of knowledge. A brief review of the science is essential to assuage those fears. If the difference between what the public are told and what science knows was small I would not write this article. However, the difference is vast and what is amazing is how much the public have been misled”.
An opinion without mentioning scientific fact.
Global warming supporters like to claim that there is an overwhelming “consensus” of scientists who support the hypothesis of human-induced global warming. They clearly want to put an end to any further examination of the IPCC’s analysis and methodologies. But just last week the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine presented a petition to the National Press Club that had been signed by more than 31,000 scientists who reject this consensus claim. The petition urges the government to reject the Kyoto Protocol and similar proposals on the basis that “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate”.4
The petition project is an online petition. The website reminds me of something produced from a 101 Learn-to-build-a-website course; it has a rather unprofessional look to it.
Users are prompted to sign a petition, and specify what level of tertiary degree they hold and then post the form via mail. The fact alone that there is no option for signatories to state they do not hold a degree, already casts the petition’s integrity into question.
Furthermore, it is not stated how signatories are verified.
Independent research into the names submitted to the project produced very questionable results, suggesting most of the signatories are fabricated, or fraudulent. More information is available here.
In short the petition project is a poorly constructed and unverifiable attempt at discrediting global warming theory.
British journalist and author Melanie Phillips, in a Spectator article “The Climate Cools for Reality Deniers”, explains that many of the scientists who initially supported the work of the IPCC, walked away once they realised they were dealing with politics not science. She says, “not only is the fabled climate change
This is also true. There is considerable politics involved.
The IPCC, while trying to represent the current scientific standing on climate change, is a political body, and as such is viewed with suspicion by many in the scientific community, whatever their views on this current debate.
Some scientists involved have in fact walked away, due to controversy, but bear in mind they do not receive any compensation or are paid for their efforts.
‘consensus’ itself a sham but the so-called man-made global warming ‘deniers’ are by far the more accomplished and distinguished scientists than those pushing the theory as a settled and incontrovertible truth. A number of them indeed, are so eminent they were used as experts by the IPCC – but then came to realise that this was an innately corrupted process and that even some of their own work was being abused and distorted in order to promulgate the false doctrine of man-made global warming”. (The article includes a list of the scientists and experts who turned their back on the IPCC – including two of our former NZCPR Guests, Professor Bob Carter and Dr Vincent Gray)5
Without a doubt, one of the greatest influences on the public’s understanding of global warming has been Al Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth. It is a masterful piece of propaganda that has been used around the world to scare people into thinking that man-made greenhouse gases are causing catastrophic global warming. The errors in the film are so serious that a British High Court Judge ruled that the film cannot be shown to British schoolchildren unless the teacher explains what the errors are and then corrects them.
In his ruling the British High Court Judge, Justice Burton stated that: “the film is substantially founded upon scientific research and fact, albeit that the science is used in the hands of a talented politician and communicator, to make a political statement and to support apolitical programme.” The judge concluded “I have no doubt that Dr Stott, the Defendant’s expert, is right when he says that: ‘Al Gore’s presentation of the causes and likely effects of climate change in the film was broadly accurate.'”
The judge’s ruling was that guidelines should supplement the film outlining the nine inaccuracies found.
These so-called ‘errors’ are all relatively minor, and do not impact the overall message of the movie, for example the bleaching of coral reefs expressly caused by global warming. (The bleaching is more likely caused by a combination of climate change, over-fishing and pollution.)
Unfortunately that is not the case in New Zealand schools. Here, the film is shown without any attempt to explain to the children that many of the claims made in the movie are blatant untruths. Pacific Islands are not sinking and nor have the inhabitants been evacuated to New Zealand; polar bear populations are increasing not dying out; rising seas are not predicted to flood huge areas of the world’s landmass; and viewers are not told the dramatic shot of the Antarctic ice shelves collapsing into the sea is fake – it is in fact sculptured Styrofoam used in the blockbuster movie “The Day After Tomorrow”!
Really, that’s a bit sensationalist, no?
Lord Christopher Monckton, a former advisor to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, has identified 35 errors in Al Gore’s film. In a memorandum entitled “35 Inconvenient Truths”, he concludes, “As many as 35 serious scientific errors or exaggerations, all pointing towards invention of a threat that does not exist at all, or exaggerations of phenomena that do exist, do not reflect credit on the presenter of the movie or on those who advised him. The movie is unsuitable for showing to children, and provides no basis for taking policy decisions”.6
Lord Christopher Monckton’s articles have been criticized as being “full of errors and misuse data”, containing “cherry-picked examples and pseudo-scientific gibberish”, by a number of respected scientists.
Unfortunately in New Zealand there are no safeguards to protect children against political propaganda in our schools, which is why the NZCPR is running a petition to Parliament calling for children to be protected from such indoctrination in the same way that they are in Britain – to support our petition, click here>>>
In March 2007 a documentary countering man-made global warming scaremongering – claiming that it is the biggest con in modern history – was screened on British TV. The Great Global Warming Swindle, which uses scientific evidence and the testimony of many impressive scientists – including NZCPR Guest Commentators Dr Tim Ball, Professor Fred Singer, and Lord Nigel Lawson – screens on Prime TV this Sunday June 1st at 8.40pm. It will be followed by a panel discussion between representatives of both sides of the debate.
If I owned a TV I would watch this…
I would urge anyone concerned about global warming to watch this movie. It draws together powerful arguments that you may not have seen in the media before, that you certainly will not have heard from our government, nor from any of the political parties in Parliament.
If you have already watched An Inconvenient Truth you owe it to yourself to watch The Great Global Warming Swindle so that you can make up your own mind. And please don’t forget that a double DVD pack containing both of these films is being offered as the prize in an NZCPR draw – for details click here>>>
I located and watched ‘The Great Global Warming Swindle’ on You Tube. It dismayed me to see it contained very little scientific data, and much opinionated propaganda.
Their attempt to debunk global warming consists of a dumbed down flashy animated graph, which I had to pause through several frames to determine what it was showing, and then was unable to find any scientific data that backed up their ‘findings’. Very bad science.
The other argument I picked up from the documentary is that C02 comprises approximately .03% of our atmosphere, so even if burning fossil fuels increased this amount ten-fold to .3%, it would still be a too minute proportion to have any noticeable effects.
This again is a poor argument. To anyone seriously attempting to pass this off as a valid challenge of global warming, I would suggest that they drink a glass of water containing .3% cyanide. (It’s such a minute quantity it couldn’t possibly cause any harm, right?)
I will finish this newsletter with some food for thought from the celebrated author of the great global warming novel, “State of Fear”, Dr Michael Crichton. In a speech entitled “Environmentalism as Religion” he explains, “the greatest challenge facing mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda. Perceiving the truth has always been a challenge to mankind, but in the information age (or as I think of it, the disinformation age) it takes on a special urgency and importance.
Argh! Michael Crichton, seriously? Michael Crichton is a science fiction novelist not a renowned scientist. He has received considerable criticism for his book ‘State of Fear’. It is scientifically selective and with errors. Its purpose is entertainment and to generate money, much like the sensationalist movie ‘The Day after Tomorrow’.
Furthermore, what little respect he had in the scientific community, he most likely lost when he called one of his book’s critics a child rapist in his subsequent novel.
“We must daily decide whether the threats we face are real, whether the solutions we are offered will do any good, whether the problems we’re told exist are in fact real problems, or non-problems. Every one of us has a sense of the world, and we all know that this sense is in part given to us by what other people and society tell us; in part generated by our emotional state, which we project outward; and in part by our genuine perceptions of reality. In short, our struggle to determine what is true is the struggle to decide which of our perceptions are genuine, and which are false because they are handed down, or sold to us, or generated by our own hopes and fears”.7
With the government’s proposed climate change policies threatening the very future prosperity of New Zealanders, the ability of the voting public to distinguish truth from propaganda over global warming has never been more important.
So, in summary, I am always interested in reading well-balanced scientific articles, regardless of the hypothesis conveyed within. However, to date, I have yet to find any convincing material to suggest ‘man-made’ global warming is bogosity.
I look forward to reading your next column and hope if you write another article disputing GW it contains reputable and well researched data and facts.