The warm-mongers are wrong 7

Lee Gerhard is a geologist and a reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Here’s what he has to say about greenhouse gases, CO2 concentrations and effect, Arctic and Antarctic ice, polar bears, human influence on global temperature and so on (from Icecap):

It is crucial that scientists are factually accurate when they do speak out, that they ignore media hype and maintain a clinical detachment from social or other agendas. There are facts and data that are ignored in the maelstrom of social and economic agendas swirling about Copenhagen. Greenhouse gases and their effects are well-known. Here are some of things we know:

• The most effective greenhouse gas is water vapor, comprising approximately 95 percent of the total greenhouse effect.

• Carbon dioxide concentration has been continually rising for nearly 100 years. It continues to rise, but carbon dioxide concentrations at present are near the lowest in geologic history.

Temperature change correlation with carbon dioxide levels is not statistically significant.

There are no data that definitively relate carbon dioxide levels to temperature changes.

• The greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide logarithmically declines with increasing concentration. At present levels, any additional carbon dioxide can have very little effect.

We also know a lot about Earth temperature changes:

Global temperature changes naturally all of the time, in both directions and at many scales of intensity.

• The warmest year in the U.S. in the last century was 1934, not 1998. The U.S. has the best and most extensive temperature records in the world.

• Global temperature peaked in 1998 on the current 60-80 year cycle, and has been episodically declining ever since. This cooling absolutely falsifies claims that human carbon dioxide emissions are a controlling factor in Earth temperature.

Voluminous historic records demonstrate the Medieval Climate Optimum (MCO) was real and that the “hockey stick” graphic that attempted to deny that fact was at best bad science. The MCO was considerably warmer than the end of the 20th century.

• During the last 100 years, temperature has both risen and fallen, including the present cooling. All the changes in temperature of the last 100 years are in normal historic ranges, both in absolute value and, most importantly, rate of change.

Contrary to many public statements:

• Effects of temperature change are absolutely independent of the cause of the temperature change.

Global hurricane, cyclonic and major storm activity is near 30-year lows. Any increase in cost of damages by storms is a product of increasing population density in vulnerable areas such as along the shores and property value inflation, not due to any increase in frequency or severity of storms.

Polar bears have survived and thrived over periods of extreme cold and extreme warmth over hundreds of thousands of years extremes far in excess of modern temperature changes.

The 2009 minimum Arctic ice extent was significantly larger than the previous two years. The 2009 Antarctic maximum ice extent was significantly above the 30-year average. There are only 30 years of records.

• Rate and magnitude of sea level changes observed during the last 100 years are within normal historical ranges. Current sea level rise is tiny and, at most, justifies a prediction of perhaps ten centimeters rise in this century.

The present climate debate is a classic conflict between data and computer programs. The computer programs are the source of concern over climate change and global warming, not the data. Data are measurements. Computer programs are artificial constructs.

Public announcements use a great deal of hyperbole and inflammatory language. For instance, the word “ever” is misused by media and in public pronouncements alike. It does not mean “in the last 20 years,” or “the last 70 years.” “Ever” means the last 4.5 billion years.

For example, some argue that the Arctic is melting, with the warmest-ever temperatures. One should ask, “How long is ever?” The answer is since 1979. And then ask, “Is it still warming?” The answer is unequivocally “No.” Earth temperatures are cooling. Similarly, the word “unprecedented” cannot be legitimately used to describe any climate change in the last 8,000 years.

I have been a reviewer of the last two IPCC reports, one of the several thousand scientists who purportedly are supporters of the IPCC view that humans control global temperature. Nothing could be further from the truth. Many of us try to bring better and more current science to the IPCC, but we usually fail. Recently we found out why. The whistleblower release of e-mails and files from the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University has demonstrated scientific malfeasance and a sickening violation of scientific ethics.

  • C. Gee

    Kenneth W.,

    There is so much fuel for discussion in your comment:

    Conservation is not an absolute good. Energy efficiency is an economic good, but it might well be incompatible with conservation. There is always economic “waste” (as there is not perfect efficiency), but what is “needless waste” is not clear economically, because “externalising the cost” is an exercise thoroughly corrupted by politics. Energy independence is a political ideal, but America could be much closer to energy independence if oil-drilling and nuclear generators were allowed, and coal-mining stepped up.

    In answer to your point that ” it is not the survival of the general ecosystem that climate change advocates are talking about, but our survival… [so that] only the past few thousand years of CO2 data should be taken into account”:
    1. The predicted catastrophes – flooding of coastal regions, disappearance of islands, hurricane damage, drought, are not threatening the survival of mankind. The idea of simultaneous global catastrophe is the stuff of scary movies. A fraction of the projected trillions of dollars lost or spent in efforts to prevent higher concentrations of CO2 could be spent on relocating the threatened populations when the disaster is imminent. So far, the catastrophe theories have relied on feed-backs and irreversible “tipping points” which have never been validated. The link between “global warming” and CO2 is utterly unproven. The actual data for ice-melting, sea-rise and floods do not support catastrophe theory. Droughts and floods are cyclical and have been for the past few thousand years. Land use may effect local weather, but has not been proven to effect global climate. So far-fetched are the scenarios of humanity being wiped out, that a skeptic must believe that the anxiety for the human race is an excuse for the totalitarian control of mankind on a scale not seen in the thousands of years of recorded history. In this regard, it is the fanatical warmists and environmentalists who advocate one-child policies and taking the civilized world back to pre-industrial revolution standards of living which will be regulated by bureaucrats. It is the warmists who, in the name of saving humanity and civilization, wish to destroy both. It is they whose ideal planet is devoid of humanity (at which point who will care if the climate changes, as it inevitably will ). And it is worth repeating – mankind is adaptable. Climate is always changing, naturally. Mankind survived the medieval warm period, and can live in desert and ice.

    2. The point about CO2 that the warmists make is that it is CO2 increase that will cause greater warming. It is warming that produces ice-cap melts, glacier melts, sea rise etc. As set forth above, this is unproven. The warmists also claim that ocean acidification is due to increased CO2. The acidification data are not settled and neither are the conclusions about the consequences of acidification. What we do know about CO2 is that it is excellent for plant growth. If the warming power of CO2 and its acidification of the oceans is called into question, what remains of the warmist science upon which the politics of world control of human industry is justified? And, once again, within the last two thousand years, mankind has live through a hotter climate in the medieval warm period. The globe is already falling back from the highs of a decade ago, so it does not matter whether 1998 or 1934 was the hottest temperature record. But why should the hottest year in the last century matter? Why have we switched from a period of two thousand years to a period of one hundred years? We know that pre-industrial man lived through hotter times within the span of two thousand years.

    Generally, your point that we copy talking points and do not critically examine them as skeptics should is unwarranted. We put up the points that we find persuasive. The internet is loud with voices on either side of the issue. Each side has a list of myths and facts that they believe should silence the other. If you visit the “climate debate daily” website, there are articles with ripostes and counter-ripostes. There are also lists of websites on all sides of the issue, some highly mathematical and technical. We assume that warmists and skeptics alike have done some due diligence in arriving at their points of view. (Though I must say, that every convinced warmist I come across is more interested in waving away, suppressing or ridiculing counter-arguments than in engaging them.)

    We remain skeptics because so far the arguments for catastrophic global warming caused by industrial CO2 are not persuasive . We are entitled to find clear expressions of that view for copying here, without losing skeptical status for failing to copy the other side's conclusions too.

    More generally still, the AGW debate has no disinterested moderators to point out what constitutes a dispositive answer or refutation to a claimed scientific statement. Each observer or participant must satisfy himself on what is objectively persuasive. Some are less scrupulous than others in admitting that they are moved emotionally rather than rationally. Impugning of qualifications, assertion of the exclusive acceptability of certain peer-reviewed journals, exposing financial backing to dismiss an argument are resorted to when there is no scientific refutation. The debate is a numbers game: counting how many people think this way or that. ” Consensus” science is essentially political. Based on that understanding of the debate, merely by posting the minority view, we are upholding the ideal of balance.

  • Kenneth W.

    I am on the fence as far as global warming goes. In short, my position is that conservation, energy efficiency and energy independence are good. Needless waste, failing to externalise the cost of waste, and roadblocking the competition of ideas through political corruption are bad.

    I have to take issue with a couple of the points you've copied from Icecap.us. For instance,

    Carbon dioxide concentration has been continually rising for nearly 100 years. It continues to rise, but carbon dioxide concentrations at present are near the lowest in geologic history.

    Humanity has only been around for a few million years, and civilization has been around for merely thousands. We should only be concerned with the weather conditions in this time frame, because they are the only conditions in which we've lived and thrived. It is not the survival of the general ecosystem climate change advocates are talking about, but our survival. Only the past few thousand years of CO2 data should be taken into account.

    The warmest year in the U.S. in the last century was 1934, not 1998. The U.S. has the best and most extensive temperature records in the world.

    http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/ claims differently, and doesn't appear to be a biased source.

    If I had more time, I would research counter-arguments to more. It is a shame you are copying talking points wholesale and not critically examining them as a skeptic ought.

    • Kenneth W. – with AGW as with God, it is up to those who claim it exists to prove it, not those who don't believe it to prove it doesn't.

      The warm-mongers have signally failed to prove their case. They know it, and hence their hiding and losing of evidence, and fear of criticism.

      • Kenneth W.

        Jillian B. – Taking a position on an issue doesn't mean you should accept or spread bad arguments for your side. If anyone makes a poor case against the existence of deities (e.g. my mother was atheist, and what's good enough for her is good enough for me), they should be challenged.

        Your post failed to disprove my counterpoints. If I am working with bad facts or reasoning, I would appreciate the correction.

        • CRU is THE tainted source.

        • Kenneth W.

          Good catch. I hadn't realized that. I'll just have to find another source.

    • mrswestrop

      Dear Kenneth W.,

      I don't think your point about the timing sample for CO2 data is right. If you only take the time that humans have produced CO2 ( which would be, say, 1750 to the present), you would see CO2 levels rising with industrialisation but you could never tell if that was just a coincidence. You would need to look on a more geological scale over many thousands of years to see if the fluctuations of the last few hundered years has any significance.

      Anyway, surely the point is that the temperature rose before the CO2 rose, and since 2001, it has gone down but CO2 has kept on going up. Hardly cause and effect, let alone the deadly posititve feed back loop and exponential rise that the climate-alarmists claim.

      Your second point is really interesting. I think you are looking at something called the 'global mean surface temperature' which is a very controversial measurement which some say is fixed to fit Mr Hansen's model. I would point you to NASA's correction of the IPCC figures which make 1934 the hotest year in the period – a year when CO2 was well below its present level.