So which one is it? Perhaps it's none of the above.
Are you a sceptic or an alarmist?
We all have an opinion on the former Global warming issue but the majority of us go by what we hear on the news or read in the papers. Let's be honest, we just go with the flow. But how much do we really know about Climate Change, or whatever it's now being called? Should we be worried or is it all being blown totally out of proportion?
I have a very good friend (Graham) who I think I can safely say is a bit of a global warming nerd. He spends hours on forums stating his views, he reads anything and everything he finds on the subject of Climate Change and he's passionate about the whole issue. So I asked him for his input and as expected he didn't let me down with his feelings.
He agrees that people just “go with the flow”. “Casual believers” is what he calls it – and what he called himself, until he first saw the “Hockey Stick Graph"
It's basically a graph showing the temperature changes over the last 1000 years.
At first glance it would appear that the temperature has remained fairly stable or cooled slightly over the first 900 years of the graph and then suddenly in the 20th Century temperatures have shot up dramatically. This looks like a real "smoking gun" showing that Global Warming really is something we should be worrying about.
However, I was taught at school about the Medieval Warm Period - a period around 1200AD when it was warmer than it is today. But where is the Medieval Warm Period on this graph?
Curiosity got the better of me, so I searched the 'net to investigate and discovered the work that has already been done by Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick. (Expert statisticians) They have examined the hockey stick and found it to be a case of 'lies, damn lies and statistics'.
1) There is simply no evidence (and by evidence we mean true, empirical, scientific evidence) that we are heading for any kind of catastrophe. Oh, we have evidence that CO2 is rising, that mankind is causing it, that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, even that CO2 is behaving like a greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. And we have recent warming, of course. But there’s no actual evidence that it’s the rise in CO2 that’s caused the rise in temperature. Let’s not forget that CO2 really started to rise during the Post War Economic boom in the late 1940s, but temperatures went down for the next 30 years. And currently CO2 is rising faster than ever, but the temperature rise has slowed (or even started reversing, depending on which temperature data set you look at) so far in the 21st century.
The simple truth is that, to any unbiased person, it’s not immediately obviously that CO2 is having a large effect on temperature.
And there’s even less evidence to support the claimed looming future catastrophe. The actual empirical evidence leads to a conclusion that we will get about 1.2⁰C of warming from a doubling of CO2 – which would be largely beneficial. To get to the figures of 3+⁰C that the alarmists use, they have to add positive feedbacks. However, given our very limited understanding of how the climate works, we have no idea whether the feedbacks will actually be net positive or net negative. (In other words, whether the feedbacks will increase the warming caused by CO2, or reduce it.)
So, why do all the alarmists say they’ll be positive? Because they create computer models of the climate. But these models are filled with parameters that reflect the various different factors that affect the climate – and many of these factors are very poorly understood.
So, what values do you use for a factor that is poorly understood? Easy! You guess! And guesses, let’s be clear, simply mirror a person’s bias. If you want a warming world, you use values that produce that result. But the opposite would be equally valid. We just don’t know.
In summary; if this is a scientific debate, why the lack of scientific evidence?
2) The Climate Alarmists operate in an unscientific way. Science works by using the Scientific Method. Wikipedia define the Scientific Method in this way:
“Scientific researchers propose hypotheses as explanations of phenomena, and design experimental studies to test these hypotheses via predictions which can be derived from them. These steps must be repeatable, to guard against mistake or confusion in any particular experimenter.” (My emphasis)
But in the science of Climate Change, most of the work carried out by the Global Warming Proponents cannot be repeated, because the scientists involved commonly refuse to share their methods and/or data. Time and again, sceptical scientists request methods and/or data, to allow them to attempt to reproduce the Proponents work, in an effort to check for errors or bias, but time and again their requests are refused – often by the Learned Journals themselves, despite those Journals supposedly having strict rules concerning data sharing.
A great example of this is when Phil Jones (a climatologist at the University of East Anglia) infamously said:
“Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?”
You can’t help but smell a rat when you hear about this sort of thing.
In summary; if this is a scientific debate, why the lack of scientific methods?
3) Why all the Ad hominems? This is supposed to be a scientific debate. Why do the Global Warming Proponents feel the need to work so hard to demonise the sceptics? If the Proponents have so much irrefutable scientific evidence on their side, why not simply shoot the sceptics down with this evidence?
Why indeed. Instead, they insist on calling sceptics “Deniers”? Sceptics “deny” nothing (at least nothing that is supported by actual scientific evidence). And sceptics have pointed out that they find the term “Denier” insulting (because of all the Holocaust Denier connotations it evokes), yet the Proponents insist on its continued use. Why? If this is a scientific debate, then let’s debate the science and stop all the childish name-calling.
On top of that the Proponents frequently miss-quote sceptics, while claiming that it’s only the “Deniers” that do that sort of thing. For example; a Proponent reading number 1, above, would probably respond by saying something like “it’s ridiculous to suggest that there’s no evidence that CO2 is a greenhouse gas!” – Which is not what I’m saying at all, of course.
Let’s be very clear here; Climate Change may be a problem, but it has yet to be proved. Until it has been, we have plenty of problems that are real, are killing people and are happening right now. My personal favourite (if that’s the right word!) is that a lack of clean drinking water kills around 3 million children in Africa every year. With enough money we could fix this – we could build power stations and desalination plants by the sea to create the needed water and then lay water pipes across the continents to supply that water to those who need it. Expensive, but fairly easy if we’re prepared to pay.
So, if we have the money to spare, what should we do with it? Save people who are dying now, or let them die to prevent something that may not even be a problem.
I dare anyone to say we should let 3 million children a year die, “just in case” Global Warming turns out to be real.
As always, my post is based on personal views (be them my own or someone close to me)and I am always happy to discuss them with anyone who feels the urge to contribute.