The news is full of items about climate change and the climate 'emergency'. We are told the science behind these topics is 'settled' and there is no need for debate. Is this true?
Overnight, global-warming has become global-boiling and we are repeatedly informed that the clock is ticking on a last ditch attempt to off-set the damage we as a species have done to the planet: only the urgent cessation of our reliance on fossil fuels and a mass experimental spending spree on ‘green’ alternatives will ensure the survival of the planet.
Counter measures such as electric vehicles, ‘renewable’ energy sources, carbon-neutral cities, ground source heat pumps and ultra low emission zones are being introduced with alarming haste, eye-watering costs, significant impact upon our way of life, and very little democratic mandate from ordinary people. There is even talk of industrialised nations paying reparations to those which are not industrialised. But are the scientists right about Net Zero’s alarmist response to the climate ’emergency’?
Politics in Pubs decided to take a look at some of the presumptions behind the so-called man-made climate emergency. One of our members, Trevor, introduced the topic for us.
Money down the drain
Trevor prefaced his introduction by stating his own view that public money spent on renewable energy and the green revolution is money down the drain. The UK has already done its bit by reducing its carbon emissions to the extent that it is responsible for only 1% of the world’s carbon emissions. The UK government can therefore afford to delay our abrupt departure from fossil fuels in order to avoid damaging the security of our only consistently reliable energy supply.
If politicians truly believed that a global climate catastrophe was imminent, presumably there would be no sacrifice they wouldn’t make to ensure the survival of the human race. They could close down fossil fuel power stations by force if they wanted to. But they choose not to. Which suggests that the scientific claims and alarmism they create are faulty and unjustified.
Polar bears are thriving
While not a professional scientist, Trevor has studied some of the climate science predictions from the last 50 years and concluded that not one of them has come true. Polar bears are thriving. The coral reefs are recovering. And far from becoming submerged as a result of rising sea levels, the Maldives are thumbing their noses at The Science by becoming bigger.
In the 1970s it was predicted that burning fossil fuels would black out the sun and bring about an ice age. It hasn’t happened – the planet has become warmer. It was predicted that the population explosion would result in mass starvation – it hasn’t. Those in control of the climate change narrative then flipped the script and began talking about global warming. Al Gore wrote about the Arctic Sea ice coverage, and a UN report in 1989 predicted that rising sea levels would obliterate large amounts of land. None of this has happened so there must be room for suspicion about the accuracy of what we are being told.
CO2 is a dirty word
CO2 has now become a dirty word linked with fossil fuels. Yet climate scientists rarely mention that the effects of fossil fuel pollution can be – and have been – reduced by removing harmful particulates to allow the ‘clean’ burning of coal.
The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted that CO2 emissions from fossil fuels would be reduced to 0% by 2100. Yet energy production using efficient fossil fuels is growing across the globe.
We are living in the inter-glacial Holocene Period ie the period of time covering the last 12,000 years of geologic history. This period has seen the collapse of human civilisations and mass crop failures through the dark ages. Yet, according to scientists, there has been no appreciable change in CO2 levels throughout this time. Five hundred million years ago CO2 levels were much higher – good news for plants and the rest of nature which need CO2 to grow.
1000-2000 parts per million of CO2 is the optimum level for plant growth. 400 parts per million is absorbed by plants and oceans. During the Cambrian period, CO2 was at 7000 parts per million – fifteen times higher than it is now. Why was there no greenhouse effect then? Because CO2 and temperature don’t track one another. High CO2 levels produced by volcanos have decreased over the last 500 million years because CO2 is absorbed by oxygen-releasing plants.
What about the science?
Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. So what does this mean? And what is the greenhouse effect?
To be concise, high energy sunlight comes through the atmosphere and hits the surface of the earth. The surface warms up and emits infra red, low energy radiation back into space. Greenhouse gases however act to trap some of this radiation and slows down the re-emission into space thereby keeping the earth at a warm ambient temperature.
It is false to say, as some like John Kerry have that the greenhouse gases act like a blanket which would prevent altogether the re-emission of infra red radiation into space. No such thing has ever happened on the planet earth as an equilibrium has to be reached.
The Greenhouse effect is necessary for our planet otherwise we would be a snowball.
So what are the most prominent greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere? They are water vapour and CO2. Water vapour is by far the most abundant and effective of these gases and averages around 20,000 ppm or between 1 and 4% of the atmosphere (depending on location on earth) it absorbs much broader wave lengths of infra red radiation than does CO2. CO2 is around 420ppm in the atmosphere or about 0.04% of the atmosphere. There are other trace gases like methane ozone nitrous oxide in very small quantities which also play a very minor role.
Not only is carbon dioxide a less efficient greenhouse gas than water vapour but it has been known by science for a long time that it has a saturation point well below that of water vapour. That is to say, its absorption ability is logarithmic. For example, if we were to say we get one degree of warming from say 400ppm to get another degree we would need 800ppm and another degree and 1600ppm for another although CO2’s ability to absorb and re-emit infra red radiation would be saturated completely by then. This is why in the Cambrian period there was 7000ppm and no runaway warming and life thrived.
The concentration on CO2 as being the driver of the climate is false and misleading as there are many many other factors that contribute towards the little understood science of climate.
What other factors effect the climate?
A few years ago there was no such thing as a climate scientist. Rather before the climate change gravy train started to role out. The climate is so complex and overlapping within disciplines that the areas of expertise required to master it are: geology, solar physics, geochemistry, tectonics, atmospheric physics oceanography , glaciology , meteorology, archaeology astronomy and history, just to name a few.
The IPCC seems to have given up with this broad spread of disciplines lately in favour of prediction of the climate of the earth by computer modelling.
The IPCC’s computer modelling
Computer modelling is not science. Science is empirical: if you cannot test it, repeat it or measure it, or to put it another way, apply the scientific method then it is not science.
To be clear, there are two kinds of modelling, the first is deterministic modelling. This is Engineering rather than Science as such. The components involved are not unknowns, there is no guess work involved. If all the variables are known then it can be calculated with 100% certainty what will occur. This is how man went to the Moon. We know the distance, the required thrust, Newton’s laws of motion and all the other stuff to enable men to go to the Moon. What is unknown would be say a meteor collides with the capsule. This cannot be factored in advance and is therefore not included in the model.
The second kind of model is speculative modelling where the variables are unknown, or not fully known and understood. This type of modelling is therefore full of assumptions. This kind of modelling is what we see in climate science today. If ‘this’ happens then ‘that’, if this variable is correct then ‘that’. The effect of the oceans are not understood. Cloud formation and its impact is not understood or predictable, variations in solar irradiance is not accounted for. The sheer detail necessary to be able to model the earth’s climate is not present and so they fill in the gaps as is convenient. It is upon these models that global policy is now based.
Ever since computer modelling was formulated as a method of predicting the climate it has failed. It has failed to back extrapolate past known weather history and has failed to match the measured climate temperature, measured by both satellites and weather balloons. It always runs hot compared to the actual measurements and is way out of line with them and yet the measurements are ignored and these models are being taken as Gospel by the climate change industrial complex. https://www.gbnews.com/news/us/climate-change-scientist-censorship-academic-journals-wildfires
Jumping on the green bandwagon
The green agenda is becoming one of the world’s biggest political issues. The IPCC reports are on the whole quite sensible but their contents are often misquoted and misused to inflate the urgency of Net Zero measures which will do little to benefit either the population or the planet.
Trevor believes that Net Zero plans will be a catastrophe for human kind. Politicians really need to take a position on whether they truly believe that Earth is going to be destroyed by humans instead of jumping on the green bandwagon.
In a matter of centuries, the human population has risen dramatically from 2 billion to 7 billion. Has the world’s food supply run out? No, because of mechanisation. Although there has been deforestation and consumption of natural resources it is not the cause of climate change or global warming.
What does ‘green’ mean? Electric cars are not green if their cradle to grave life span, production and disposal is taken into account. But those with vested interests might want their customer bases to think that electric vehicles are worth their inflated prices, much like they did when motorists were advised to buy diesels as the greener alternative to petrol vehicles.
In the 1980s, we were warned about acid rain and damage to the ozone layer. This was addressed by changing the manufacturing processes of aerosol gases, appliances containing CFCs (eg fridges) and petrol (conversion to unleaded). The altered products remained available and are still in use. Contrast this with the current demonisation of private vehicles – in spite of being cleaner than they ever have been and compliant with MOT emissions testing standards (first introduced in 1991).
If vehicles were truly as harmful to health and the environment as London Mayor Khan says they are, surely they would be banned outright? Yet London’s ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) permits any old polluting vehicle to be used anywhere in the city – as long as ULEZ fees are paid. Trevor argues that this stance makes little sense and asks why there is so little debate or scrutiny in the main stream media about the wisdom of, and justification for, Net Zero targets and timescales.
In spite of all the doom-laden predictions about the apocalyptic effects of climate change, forests are growing, crops are plentiful and the planet is more green than in pre-industrial times – including the Sahara desert – which is beneficial to developing countries.
Why punish the poor?
So why is the UN funnelling funds towards projects concerned with climate change? Why is it now demonising methane and nitrous oxide? Who is sponsoring the experts responsible for such alarming predictions? Why do so many Net Zero assumptions and technologies punish the poor by restricting the supply of reliable and plentiful energy which is necessary for developing countries and Westerners alike – who genuinely wants to give up comforts and conveniences such as gas central heating and hot water and the availability of red meat which is highly nutritious to humans? Why is the WEF trying to stop African countries from using fossil fuels to get themselves out of poverty via industrialisation like Western countries have?
Glimpses of a fightback
On the bright side, there are glimpses of a fightback, including people who are beginning to notice similarities between hysterical Covid policies and punitive elements of the ‘green agenda’ which will result in Westerners becoming poorer, colder and hungrier. At last, some media outlets are starting to question the costs and whether or not the policies will be achievable.
More recently, the Alliance for Responsible Citizenship has been set up by psychologist Jordan Peterson and will counter some of the questionable narrative on climate ’emergency’ and the alleged need to spend huge amounts of public money on ‘preventing’ it: https://www.arcforum.com/about
Among ARC’s board members are Danish political scientist Bjørn Lomborg and the American commentator Michael Shellenberger, who have both questioned the urgency of the climate crisis compared with other global problems: Peterson himself has said there are “no excuses for putting forward energy policies that punish those who are absolutely poor”. ARC’s idea would be to spend money on ways which help people and the planet to flourish, including sensible environmental stewardship.
Above all, we should consider the age old question – who benefits from all this ‘green’ spending?: https://www.thegwpf.org/content/uploads/2020/02/ThreeTrillion-1.pdf
Electric vehicle battery fires are highly toxic and cannot be extinguished. Two freight ships loaded with EVs have been lost due to battery fires – this is not environmentally friendly.
Tests by vehicle manufacturers Volvo and VW on the green footprint of an electric vehicle versus one with and internal combustion engine indicate that EVs are ‘greener’ for the first 90,000 miles – up until the point when the battery needs to be replaced.
Will the EV market put small garage owners out of business – another attack on the small business owner and boon for large corporations?
People will be affected by the punitive costs of so called ‘green’ measures like ULEZ and begin to think more critically about the ways in which they are being nudged and having their lives changed.
Scientists will always come up with a solution for the world’s problems.
Scientists are often catastrophically wrong e.g. Ancel Keys vs John Yudkin in the demonisation of saturated fat vs sugar health debate in the 1960s.
Thank you to Trevor, for an excellent introduction and for highlighting significant flaws in the scientific arguments being used to back up the Net Zero agenda. and to the Welcome Inn and its friendly staff for hosting. Cheers all!
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