Dr. Charles Battig, VA Scientists and Engineers for Energy and Environment
Separation of church and state has long been a fundamental part of the U.S. Constitution, as it prohibits the imposition of a federal religion. Various interpretations of this principle as stated in the First Amendment to the Constitution have been employed by those wishing to abolish any and all religious expression in federal and state affairs. Vociferous outcries and legal challenges await those attempting the mere reference to our Judeo-Christian heritage within the confines of any branch of government.
Yet a new religion has been imposed upon the citizens of this country. It emanates from the highest federal levels; it has found its voice in the White House bully pulpit. It is promulgated with a religious fervor reminiscent of the fictional Elmer Gantry. This religion is complete with warnings and admonitions of coming days of doom for mankind lest the new tenets be rejected by anyone.
In this era of electronic communications, this new religion’s commandments have been dispersed via the internet, which obviated the inconvenience of another trip to Mt. Sinai. The 2014 tablets bear the title of the third “National Climate Assessment (NCA)” report.
At over 800 pages, this federal document of secular religion based on human guilt and the presumptive sin of having eaten excessively of fossil fuel outstrips the Ten Commandments by a mile in word count. Man-made carbon dioxide has been targeted by the high priests of the profane as some sort of original sin staining the purity of the virgin Earth, thereby bringing the wrath of devil-like climate change in punishment. Heat waves, excessive rainfall, floods, ocean rise, crop failures are retributions awaiting mankind should the new Federal religion be violated by human-caused carbon dioxide emanations.
Lacking a true Biblical source, the high priests of this federal climate religion have relied on their man-made computers to foretell these days of doom, should mankind not renounce this essential, life-giving gas...carbon dioxide. The reality of years of climate observations has not supported the prophecies of these priestly climate computers. Two federal agencies, NOAA and NASA, both confirm that there has been no increase in global temperature for the past 17 years, even as atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased over 9 percent. Risking running afoul of Voltaire’s admonition - “It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong” - McKitrick, Spencer, and others have published the failures of these foundational computer engines of the new federal climate dogma. Heck, even the ancient Oracle at Delphi had a better track record of forecasting, albeit with the benefit of a few whiffs of earthly hydrocarbon gases, including ethylene.
Post-normal science has been enlisted to aid the weak dogmatic foundations of the NCA. The halls of federally funded academia overflow with a cornucopia of papers supporting the climate catastrophes prophesied in the federal climate dogma. These advocates would have one believe that the climate has never wandered far from some fictional present-day perfect weather that exists in their climate models.
A most perplexing question for these alarmists is “When has the climate not changed?”
What about that “old time religion,” or at least that old time science? Traditional science as exemplified by Karl Popper and Richard Feynman should be good enough for anyone. If the facts do not match the theoretical predictions, go back to square one, and find a different theory that can stand the test of reality and your best efforts to disprove it. The NCA relies on fear and unproved claims of future disasters, and computer fabrications. Climate change is happening now; it is going to get worse; it will be a catastrophe...this is not the language of traditional science, it is the lingua franca of the political ruling class, crony capitalists, and Gaia cultists.
Is there even such a thing as a climate? Is there a normal climate, and for whom, where, and at what time? The father of chaos theory pondered these questions. Meteorologist Edward Lorenz predates post-normal science, and his writings reflect the thought processes of traditional science. From his 1964 paper: “In the special case of the atmosphere, theory alone does not tell us that a climate exists. Recourse to observations is not much more enlightening; the weather of the current century does seem to resemble the weather of the past century, but the weather of the past 12,000 years presumably does not resemble that of the previous 12,000 years, when an ice age flourished. Next, even if a climate does exist, there is no a priori reason why this climate should be unique.”
From Lorenz’s 1966 paper:
Failure to produce perfect weather forecasts at any range of prediction must be ascribable to one or more of three general causes:
1. The atmospheric system is not deterministic; the present and past states of the atmosphere and its environment do not uniquely determine the state at all future times.
2. Observations are insufficient: regardless of whether the atmospheric system is deterministic, the observed present and past states of those portions of the atmosphere and its environment which are observed do not uniquely determine the future states.
3. Forecasting procedures are inadequate; presently used techniques do not duplicate the behavior of the atmosphere and its environment.
Nearly 50 years later, the true scientists of climatology have not yet fully resolved these basic questions. Post-normal science has given us “abby normal” science, as Mel Brooks’s Young Frankenstein might have expressed it, and placed it in the corpus of the NCA. The Federal NAC is a political corpse of might-have-been-science, with an “abby normal” brain. It fails as science and it even fails as credible dogma.
Give me that old time religion, and give me that old time science.
Charles Battig, M.D., Piedmont Chapter president, VA-Scientists and Engineers for Energy and Environment (VA-SEEE). His website is www.climateis.com.
Update: By now you probably are aware the scientists we reported on earlier has come under enormous pressure and received threats and has backed off his involvement in GWPF, a group hoping to bring balance to climate science.
In an e-mail to GWPF, Lennart Bengtsson has declared his resignation of the advisory board of GWPF. His letter reads :
“I have been put under such an enormous group pressure in recent days from all over the world that has become virtually unbearable to me. If this is going to continue I will be unable to conduct my normal work and will even start to worry about my health and safety. I see therefore no other way out therefore than resigning from GWPF. I had not expecting such an enormous world-wide pressure put at me from a community that I have been close to all my active life. Colleagues are withdrawing their support, other colleagues are withdrawing from joint authorship etc. I see no limit and end to what will happen. It is a situation that reminds me about the time of McCarthy. I would never have expecting anything similar in such an original peaceful community as meteorology. Apparently it has been transformed in recent years.
Under these situation I will be unable to contribute positively to the work of GWPF and consequently therefore I believe it is the best for me to reverse my decision to join its Board at the earliest possible time.”
See the reason why the big push back from enviros trying to save their failing agenda in the post on the billions at stake. Unfortunately it comes with help from governments and universities. I know many in private industry and in the government, universities and in the labs that are heavily funded who have skepticism but are unable to speak their minds. There are many examples of those discovered to be skeptics actually being ousted. Follow the money. The risk is great to you if they succeed. Global depression and loss of jobs and unaffordable energy at a time when we are sitting on the world’s greatest supply. The story is the same in the democratically controlled statehouses and cities. They are all failing. They live in a echo chamber- only allowing themselves to listen from people who are ideologues like them that haven’t a clue about what will happen in their new world.
Just a few days ago:
You wouldn’t know it from watching the news, but there is something big going on in climate science.
As large institutions such as President Obama’s National Climate Assessment, or the UN IPCC, issue reports laden with fear, but short on science, scientists with a conscience are concluding they can no longer be a part of them.
One by one, the world’s most reputable scientists are concluding that they just can’t have their names associated with wildly unscientific claims and propaganda calculated to promote hysteria.
They are swelling the ranks of the thousands of scientists who have already come out against the global warming scare.
One very big name to openly dissent is Prof. Dr. Lennart Bengtsson, the former Director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology.
As Dr. Bengtsson points out, real world observations of temperature do not support the climate computer models upon which the whole warming shebang is predicated.
Contrary to what we are constantly being told by the warming-compliant media, there has been very little temperature change, nothing unusual about the weather, and the models call for higher temperatures than have actually occurred. There has been no meaningful temperature increase since the turn of the millennium.
Scientists like Dr. Bengtsson are choosing the scientific method over politics. If it can’t be verified through observation, they will not endorse it.
Whose scientific conscience will take them off the warming team next?
Alan Caruba, CFACT
April seems to be the month in which the Supreme Court devotes itself to decisions that have no basis in real science and can do maximum damage to the economy. Invariably, the cases are brought against the Environmental Protection Agency and are decided in its favor.
In April 2007, the Court decided that carbon dioxide, the second most essential gas for all life on the planet, was “a pollutant”, the definition the EPA had applied to it in order to regulate it. Now comes word that the Court had concluded that the EPA may regulate power-plant emissions that blow across state lines as per a 2011 regulation, the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. Not content having put nearly 150 or more coal-fired power plants out of commission, the Court’s rule now gives them the authority to do the same thing to about a thousand power plants in the eastern and western regions of the U.S. that will have to adopt new pollution controls or reduce operations.
In effect, the Court has just agreed to a regulation that represents a major increase in the cost of electricity in 28 states deemed to be polluting the air in those around them. The EPA’s claims that this will save lives they attribute to the alleged pollution is as bogus as all the rest of their claims, the purpose of which is to undermine the nation’s economy in every way it can.
James M. Taylor, the Heartland Institute’s Senior Fellow for Environmental Policy, said of Tuesday’s decision that, “It is a shame that the U.S. Supreme Court continues to empower EPA to issue nonsensical interpretations of statutes with the primary goal of amassing more money and power.”
Every day the press is filled with reports of environmental groups suing to ensure that no new providers of electricity can be built. The Environmental Protection Agency has instituted all manner of regulations intended to shut down coal-fired plants and they are based on the total lie that carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gases” are causing the Earth to warm. The science cited is entirely without merit and the Earth is cooling, not warming, and has been for the past 17 years.
As winters grow colder, it is putting a tremendous demand on the nation’s electrical grid. In a recent commentary, Steve Goreham, the author of The Mad, Mad, Mad World of Climatism: Mankind and Climate Change Mania, quoted Philip Moeller, Commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, as saying that “the experience of this past winter indicates that the power grid is now already at the limit.”
“EPA policies,” said Goreham, “such as the Mercury and Air Toxics rule and the Section 316 Cooling Water Rule, are forcing the closure of many coal-fired plants, which provided 39% of U.S. electricity last year. American Electric Power, a provider of about 10% of the electricity to eastern states, will close almost one quarter of the firm’s coal-fired generating plants in the next 14 months. Some 89% of the power scheduled for closure was needed to meet electricity demand in January. Not all of this capacity has replacement plans.”
Before Obama was elected, coal-fired plants provided 50% of the nation’s electricity.
What is the Obama Administration’s response to this? It is pouring billions into the wind and solar energy sector that provides barely 1% of all the electricity used in the nation and can never begin to replace traditional plants.
In an April 25 letter to the House Ways and Means Committee, the American Energy Alliance, expressed opposition to the Wind Production Tax Credit: “The PTC has been a failure for taxpayers and ratepayers. In exchange for tens of billions of dollars in handouts to wind producers, the states with the highest wind production have seen their electricity rates increase nearly five times faster than the national average. In fact, states with at least 7% wind power have seen their electricity rates increase at an average of 17.4% over the last 5 years compared to an increase of only 3.5% for the U.S. as a whole” Why, indeed, are taxpayers being required to sustain providers of wind power that would not be able to stay in business otherwise?
In addition to the fact that you cannot manufacture anything without the use of electricity, a deliberate effort is being made to ensure that vast sections of the nation will not be able to receive electricity to warm homes and businesses in the winter and cool them in the summer. Simply put, people will die for lack of the warmth and coolness needed, not from the phony pollution the EPA cites.
This is the heart of an environmental agenda that views the human population as “a cancer” that needs to be vastly reduced. This agenda is directed from the United Nations and its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that falsely claims that humans have a vast impact on the climate. They do not. Human activity barely, if at all, affects the climate. What does? The Sun! Add in factors that include the Earth’s oceans and volcanic activity, and it should be obvious that everyone is being targeted for extinction.
In an article, “The EPA’s Science Problem, Arnold Ahlert noted in early April that, “In a stunning admission, EPA administrator Gina McCarthy revealed to House Science, Space and Technology Committee chairman Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) that the agency neither possesses, nor can produce, all the scientific data used to justify the rules and regulations they have imposed on Americans via the Clean Air Act. In short, science has been trumped by the radical environmental agenda.”
The Obama Administration has done everything in its power to restrict and slow down access and use of America’s huge energy reserves, enough to ensure all the electrical power we will need for hundreds of years to come. The same policy applies to transportation’s petroleum needs. Oil and gas production on federal lands is down 40% from levels 10 years ago.
According to the Institute for Energy Research, “North America has enough oil to fuel every passenger car in the U.S. for 430 years, enough natural gas to provide the U.S. with electricity for 575 years, and enough coal to provide electricity for about 500 years.” And that’s based on known reserves. They are, however, of little use if the Obama administration continues its efforts to restrict access to them.
In an August 2013 Washington Times commentary, Ben Wolfgang warned that the EPA, the Energy Department, and other agencies’ “working group” quietly raised “their estimated social cost of carbon from $21 per ton of emissions to $35 per ton.” The upshot was that, “The dramatic increase greatly alters cost-benefit analyses offered by the EPA when floating rules, allowing the agency to claim that billions of dollars will be saved over a period of decades as a result of proposed limits on power plant emissions, tougher fuel economy standards and other steps.”
The “social cost” is a complete invention, a fiction without any basis in fact. It is a device to further restrict access and use of all fuel sources.
Americans had better wake up to the fact that their government - the Obama Administration - is doing everything in its power to cut off the provision of electrical power and access to transportation fuel that it can. And the Democrats in Congress, particularly Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, are doing everything to advance this agenda by blocking any legislation generated in the House to counter this agenda.
In November, the midterm elections offer an opportunity to elect enough Republicans to secure control of the Senate and increase its strength in the House.
Let me end with the good news. Despite what the enemies of energy are doing, the energy sector - coal, oil, and natural gas - in the decade ahead is going to grow, going to generate many new jobs, and is going to help dig us out of the huge government debt that too much borrowing and spending has generated.
Roger Pielke Jr.
There should be no censoring of those who critique the claims of AGW. Roger Pielke, Jr. writes,
“More specific to academia, in 1975 Yale University published a report on freedom of expression (PDF) which was adopted as formal university policy and is often referred to as a authoritative statement in support of freedom of expression. Here is an excerpt of some of its eloquent and forceful prose (emphases added):
The primary function of a university is to discover and disseminate knowledge by means of research and teaching. To fulfill this function a free interchange of ideas is necessary not only within its walls but with the world beyond as well. It follows that the university must do everything possible to ensure within it the fullest degree of intellectual freedom. The history of intellectual growth and discovery clearly demonstrates the need for unfettered freedom, the right to think the unthinkable, discuss the unmentionable, and challenge the unchallengeable. To curtail free expression strikes twice at intellectual freedom, for whoever deprives another of the right to state unpopular views necessarily also deprives others of the right to listen to those views.
By Steve Goreham
Originally published in Communities Digital News. Reprinted with author Permission.
Americans take electricity for granted. Electricity powers our lights, our computers, our offices, and our industries. But misguided environmental policies are eroding the reliability of our power system.
Last winter, bitterly cold weather placed massive stress on the US electrical system-and the system almost broke. On January 7 in the midst of the polar vortex, PJM Interconnection, the Regional Transmission Organization serving the heart of America from New Jersey to Illinois, experienced a new all-time peak winter load of almost 142,000 megawatts.
Eight of the top ten of PJM’s all-time winter peaks occurred in January 2014. Heroic efforts by grid operators saved large parts of the nation’s heartland from blackouts during record-cold temperature days. Nicholas Akins, CEO of American Electric Power, stated in Congressional testimony, “This country did not just dodge a bullet - we dodged a cannon ball.”
Environmental policies established by Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are moving us toward electrical grid failure. The capacity reserve margin for hot or cold weather events is shrinking in many regions. According to Philip Moeller, Commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, “...the experience of this past winter indicates that the power grid is now already at the limit.”
EPA policies, such as the Mercury and Air Toxics rule and the Section 316 Cooling Water Rule, are forcing the closure of many coal-fired plants, which provided 39 percent of US electricity last year. American Electric Power, a provider of about ten percent of the electricity to eastern states, will close almost one-quarter of the firm’s coal-fired generating plants in the next fourteen months. Eighty-nine percent of the power scheduled for closure was needed to meet electricity demand in January. Not all of this capacity has replacement plans.
In addition to shrinking reserve margin, electricity prices are becoming less stable. Natural gas-fired plants are replacing many of the closing coal-fired facilities. Gas powered 27 percent of US electricity in 2013, up from 18 percent a decade earlier. When natural gas is plentiful, its price is competitive with that of coal fuel.
But natural gas is not stored on plant sites like coal. When electrical and heating demand spiked in January, gas was in short supply. Gas prices soared by a factor of twenty, from $5 per million BTU to over $100 per million BTU. Consumers were subsequently shocked by utility bills several times higher than in previous winters.
On top of existing regulations, the EPA is pushing for carbon dioxide emissions standards for power plants, as part of the “fight” against human-caused climate change. If enacted, these new regulations will force coal-fired plants to either close or add expensive carbon capture and storage technology. This EPA crusade against global warming continues even though last winter was the coldest US winter since 1911-1912.
Nuclear generating facilities are also under attack. Many of the 100 nuclear power plants that provided 20 percent of US electricity for decades can no longer be operated profitably. Exelon’s six nuclear power plants in Illinois have operated at a loss for the last six years and are now candidates for closure.
What industry pays customers to take its product? The answer is the US wind industry. Wind-generated electricity is typically bid in electrical wholesale markets at negative prices. But how can wind systems operate at negative prices?
The answer is that the vast majority of US wind systems receive a federal production tax credit (PTC) of up to 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour for produced electricity. Some states add an addition credit, such as Iowa, which provides a corporate tax credit of 1.5 cents per kw-hr. So wind operators can supply electricity at a pre-tax price of a negative 3 or 4 cents per kw-hr and still make an after-tax profit from subsidies, courtesy of the taxpayer.
As wind-generated electricity has grown, the frequency of negative electricity pricing has grown. When demand is low, such as in the morning, wholesale electricity prices sometimes move negative. In the past, negative market prices have provided a signal to generating systems to reduce output.
But wind systems ignore the signal and continue to generate electricity to earn the PTC, distorting wholesale electricity markets. Negative pricing by wind operators and low natural gas prices have pushed nuclear plants into operating losses. Yet, Congress is currently considering whether to again extend the destructive PTC subsidy.
Capacity shortages are beginning to appear. A reserve margin deficit of two gigawatts is projected for the summer of 2016 for the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), serving the Northern Plains states. Reserve shortages are also projected for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) by as early as this summer.
The United States has the finest electricity system in the world, with prices one-half those of Europe. But this system is under attack from foolish energy policies. Coal-fired power plants are closing, unable to meet EPA environmental guidelines. Nuclear plants are aging and beset by mounting losses, driven by negative pricing from subsidized wind systems. Without a return to sensible energy policies, prepare for higher prices and electrical grid failures.
Steve Goreham is Executive Director of the Climate Science Coalition of America and author of the book The Mad, Mad, Mad World of Climatism: Mankind and Climate Change Mania.
“One of the panel’s most striking new conclusions is that rising temperatures are already depressing crop yields, including those of corn and wheat. In the coming decades, farmers may not be able to grow enough food to meet the demands of the world’s growing population, it warns.”
...is in this LA Times story by by Tony Barboza about the latest IPCC report which has so much gloom and doom in it, one of the lead authors, Dr. Richard Tol, asked his name to be taken off of it for that very reason.
Problem is, the agricultural data doesn’t match the LATimes/IPCC claim, see for yourself:
Source: USDA data at http://apps.fas.usda.gov/psdonline/ plotted by Dr. Roy Spencer.
Not only is the LATimes/IPCC claim about agriculture false for the world, but also the USA:
Source: USDA Data here compiled by Dr. Mark J. Perry, economist at the University of Michigan.
In fact, U.S. Corn Yields Have Increased Six Times Since the 1930s and Are Estimated to Double By 2030 according to Perry.
Note that temperatures in the US Corn belt aren’t rising, but models are, and as we know, the IPCC prefers model output over reality.
Source: USHCN data
from NOAA, CMIP5 model data plotted by Dr. Roy Spencer
Why is it that checking such simple facts are left to bloggers and independent thinkers like Roy Spencer, instead of “professional” journalists like Tony Barboza?
Maybe he’s just too lazy to check facts like this? Or, is it belief mixed with incompetence?
Icecap Note: CO2 is clearly a plant fertilizer that with water fed nutrients and sunlight creates photosynthesis. It enhance canopy growth shading the sub soil from desiccating sunlight and reducing water need. CO2Science reported on a studyThe two researchers with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service—who hold joint appointments in the Agronomy Department of the University of Florida (USA)—grew two cultivars of sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum) for a period of three months in paired-companion, temperature-gradient, sunlit greenhouses under daytime CO2 concentrations of 360 and 720 ppm and air temperatures of 1.5C (near ambient) and 6.0C higher than outside ambient temperature, after which they measured a number of different plant properties.
“On a main stem basis,” in the words of Vu and Allen, “leaf area, leaf dry weight, stem dry weight and stem juice volume were increased by growth at doubled CO2 [as well as at] high temperature,” and they say that these increases were even greater under the combination of doubled CO2/high temperature, with plants grown under what climate alarmists would call these extreme conditions averaging “50%, 26%, 84% and 124% greater leaf area, leaf dry weight, stem dry weight and stem juice volume, respectively, compared with plants grown at [the] ambient CO2/near-ambient temperature combination.” In addition, they say that “plants grown at [the] doubled CO2/high temperature combination were 2- to 3-fold higher in stem soluble solids than those at [the] ambient CO2/near-ambient temperature combination.”
Consequently, as Vu and Allen conclude—based on their research and that of many other scientists—“sugarcane grown under predicted rising atmospheric CO2 and temperature in the future may use less water, utilize water more efficiently, and would perform better in sucrose production,” which bodes well indeed for tropical-region agriculture, especially, as they note, “with the worldwide continued increase in demand for sugarcane as a source of food and biofuel.”
Reference:Vu, J.C.V. and Allen Jr., L.H. 2009. Stem juice production of the C4 sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum) is enhanced by growth at double-ambient CO2 and high temperature. Journal of Plant Physiology 166: 1141-1151.
A paper published today in the Journal of Climate finds, contrary to popular belief, that US “monthly maximum temperatures are not often greatly changing - perhaps surprisingly, there are many stations that show some cooling [over the past century]. In contrast, the minimum temperatures show significant warming. Overall, the Southeastern United States shows the least warming (even some cooling), and the Western United States, Northern Midwest, and New England have experienced the most warming.”
In essence, this paper is saying the weather/climate has become less extreme, with little to no change in maximum temperatures “and even some cooling” of maximum temperatures in some stations, and warming of minimum temperatures. Thus the temperature range between minimum and maximum temperatures has decreased, a less extreme, more benign climate.
According to the paper, the warming in minimum temperatures is regional, with the SE US showing “the least warming (even some cooling),” suggesting that other processes such as ocean and atmospheric oscillations are responsible, rather than a uniform warming from AGW.
Note these results are after the huge up-justments made to the US temperature data and urban heat island [UHI] artificial warming, which could account for all or most of the warming of minimum temperatures.
UPDATE: Graph from Verity Jones from the cross-post at WUWT showing cooling stations in blue/green in not only the SE US, but nationwide:
Journal of Climate 2014 ; e-View
Trends in Extreme United States Temperatures
Department of Mathematics, Boise State University, Boise, Idaho
Shanghong Li and Robert Lund
Department of Mathematical Sciences, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina
This paper develops trend estimation techniques for monthly maximum and minimum temperature time series observed in the conterminous 48 United States over the last century. While most scientists concur that this region has warmed on aggregate, there is no a priori reason to believe that temporal trends in extremes and averages will exhibit the same patterns. Indeed, under minor regularity conditions, the sample partial sum and maximum of stationary time series are asymptotically independent (statistically). Previous authors have suggested that minimum temperatures are warming faster than maximum temperatures in the United States; such an aspect can be investigated via our methods. Here, statistical models with extreme value and changepoint features are used to estimate trends and their standard errors. A spatial smoothing is then done to extract general structure. The results show that monthly maximum temperatures are not often greatly changing, perhaps surprisingly, there are many stations that show some cooling. In contrast, the minimum temperatures show significant warming. Overall, the Southeastern United States shows the least warming (even some cooling), and the Western United States, Northern Midwest, and New England have experienced the most warming.
By: David Archibald
The following has been excerpted from Twilight of Abundance: Why Life in the 21st Century will be Nasty, Brutish, and Short by David Archibald:
The United States is needlessly penalizing itself and squandering its resource endowment, all because of the big lie that carbon dioxide is causing dangerous global warming. The Chinese, in contrast, merely pay lip service to that big lie. The only reason they are making a token effort on the “global warming” front is to encourage Western countries to continue hobbling their own economies. One can be forgiven for thinking that there must be some truth in the global warming notion given how much noise its advocates have made. But as with most causes promoted by leftist ideologues, the truth is exactly the opposite to their claim. The fact of the matter is the carbon dioxide level of the atmosphere remains dangerously low at four hundred parts per million. In fact the more carbon dioxide there is in the atmosphere, the better for all forms of life on planet Earth.
Before the Industrial Revolution, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere stood at 286 parts per million. Let us round this number to 300 parts per million to make the sums easier. Naturally occurring greenhouse gases ensure that the planet is 30C warmer than it would otherwise be if they were not in the atmosphere, so the average temperature of the planet’s surface is 15C instead of -15C. Water vapor is responsible for 80 percent of that effect, and carbon dioxide for only 10 percent, with methane, ozone, and so forth accounting for the remainder. So the approximately 300 parts per million of carbon dioxide is good for 3C degrees of warming. If the relationship between carbon dioxide concentration and temperature were arithmetic - in other words, a straight linear relationship - then adding another 100 parts per million of carbon dioxide would result in one degree of warming. We are adding 2 parts per million to the atmosphere annually, or 100 parts per million every fifty years. At that rate, humanity would fry.
Thankfully, the relationship between atmospheric carbon dioxide and temperature is logarithmic, not arithmetic.The first 20 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere provides 1.6C of warming, after which the effect drops away rapidly. From the current level of 400 parts per million, each addition of 100 parts per million adds only 0.1C of warming. By the time we have dug up all the rocks we can economically burn, and burned them, we may reach 600 parts per million in the atmosphere. So perhaps we might add another 0.2C of warming over the next two centuries. That warming will be lost in the noise of natural climate variation. So much for the problem of global warming! As a greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide is tuckered out. On the positive side of the ledger, it is very beneficial as aerial fertilizer. The carbon dioxide that mankind has put into the atmosphere to date has in fact boosted crop yields by 15 percent. This is like giving the Third World countries free phosphate fertilizer. Who could possibly be so heartless as to deny under- developed countries that benefit, at no cost to anyone?
The real threat is dangerously low levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The Earth has been in a glacial period for the last 3 million years, including some sixty separate glacial advances and retreats. The current Holocene interglacial period might last up to another 3,000 years before the Earth plunges into another glaciation. Carbon dioxide is a gas highly soluble in water, and its solubility is highly temperature dependent. The colder the planet is, the more carbon dioxide the oceans absorb. During glaciations the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere has fallen to as low at 180 parts per million. It needs to be stressed that plant life shuts down at 150 parts per million, as plants are unable to operate with the partial pressure differential of carbon dioxide between their cells and the atmosphere. Several times during the last 3 million years, life above sea level was within 30 parts per million of being extinguished by a lack of carbon dioxide. The flowering plants we rely upon in our diet evolved 100 million years ago when the carbon dioxide level was four times the current concentration. For plant life, the current amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is near starvation levels
And unfortunately, the carbon dioxide that human beings are pumping into the atmosphere will not be there for very long. There is fifty times as much carbon dioxide held by the oceans as there is in the atmosphere. As the deep oceans turn over, on an eight-hundred-year cycle of circulation, they will take the carbon dioxide now in the atmosphere down into Davy Jones’s Locker, where it will be of no use to man, beast, or plant life. Agricultural productivity will rise for the next two centuries or so, along with the atmospheric carbon dioxide level, after which it will fall away. By the year 3000 AD, the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide level will be only a couple of percent higher than before the Industrial Revolution. Life above sea level will therefore remain dangerously precarious because of the low carbon dioxide level.
“Global warming” is an irrational belief whose proponents demonstrate no interest in examining scientific evidence that may prove their beliefs incorrect. As a simple cult, it has failed to progress much beyond the concept of original sin, apocalyptic visions, sumptuary laws, and the selling of indulgences. Wind farms are the temples of this state-sponsored belief system. This cult doesn’t extend to building aged-care homes, hospitals, or anything much for the common good. Instead it degrades the fabric of society by misdirecting human effort. Its true believers can hardly be blamed; the global warming cult is not much different from any of the other end-of-the-world cults that have preceded it. Society’s opprobrium should be saved for the gatekeepers who have failed in their duty to protect the public from the depredations of the global warming rent-seekers and charlatans. The boards and executive staffs of a number of learned societies across the Western world have embraced this cult against the wishes of the majority of their members.
The fact that the world has not warmed since 1998 (in defiance of the global warming scare) hasn’t dented cult members’ faith. Arguing scientific evidence with them is pointless. It will take something far worse than a return of the frigid winters of the 1970s to create doubt in their minds. That something worse is coming. Millions of people may have to endure many harsh years before this pernicious cult is vanquished. And until the global warming myth is exploded, the security of the United States and thus of the world is also at risk.
David Archibald is a climate expert and a fellow at the Institute of World Politics.