The weather these days is weird. One day it’s hot, the next day is freezing cold. Climate change is really having a terrible effect on the weather. Did you hear about those devastating thunderstorms that hit Johannesburg the other day. That never used to happen when I was younger. It must be due to global warming! As for this ongoing drought, it’s the worst drought since records began over 100 years ago! Extreme weather events are on the increase and it must surely be due to Global warming.
The paragraph above is typical of what you hear these days. I am naturally a skeptical person and I am passionate about science. As you will know by now I am also fairly opinionated. I would like to share some of my opinions on the subject of our weather and climate. I am not qualified in any way, other than I have read up on the subject and I have reached my conclusions using reasonable thought. After reading this blog, many people will think: “what does he know anyway, 97% of all climate scientists can’t be wrong”. I will tell you two things. Science doesn’t work by consensus, and there is also a lot more skepticism in scientific circles of catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW). At the end of the day this is merely the opinion of a dairy and cabbage farmer.
Skepticism in the climate change debate, is now called “denialism”. I am known as a “denier”. The word denier is deliberately used to conjure up a negative connotation amongst the public. They liken us to people who believe that the world is flat! Let me give them the definition of skeptical: “Someone who is not easily convinced”. Skeptical is the exact opposite of gullible. I don’t say that you are gullible if you believe in catastrophic human induced global warming, its just that I am skeptical of it and I will present you with my reasons. I and many others are ridiculed for not being gullible. I am Apparently dangerous to humanity. The aim of science is to try and prove the null hypothesis. For example we should try and prove that the drivers of climate are not humans, but some other natural force other than CO2. The point has been made by some that global temperature is closely and inversely correlated to the number of pirates in the carribean. This is merely saying that correlation doesn’t mean causation. Unfortunately this is not what happens in climate science, or a large portion of it. The science is sensationalized and cherry picked by our ever reliable and honest media. Fear mongering is rife, and environmentalism has become a bit of a religion in itself. Self righteous and not to be challenged. My viewpoint is not dangerous, it’s just skeptical.
If you believe that the world is 6000 years old, then the 100 odd years of weather records is about 1/60th of human existence. If you believe that the world is a few billion years old like I do, then the last 100 years is a mere smidgen on a geological time scale. Given such a limited span of weather records, statistically, we should expect many climate records to be broken in our lifetimes. Records after all, are there to be broken.
There are many things we know about the climate, and many we don’t: We can confidently say that the last decade has been a warm one. We can confidently say that the second half of the 1800’s when many weather records began, was significantly colder than now. We know there was a medieval warm period from about 1000 AD through to the middle of the millennium. It was possibly as warm, if not warmer, than it is now though we have no temperature records to show it. Skeptics rightfully ask the climate alarmists to explain what caused the warming of the atmosphere about 1000 years ago. It lasted for several centuries, and it was a global phenomenon. The world then plunged into what is now known as the Little Ice Age which was from the mid 1600s, to the mid 1800s. Thereafter the world started warming again. We know that all the carbon in the soil was once in the atmosphere. We know that during the dinosaur years the world was a place of great plenty, and it had much higher CO2 levels, it was much warmer and much greener. A warm and wet paradise. These higher CO2 levels millions of years ago didn’t cause runaway warming. We know that the warming in the past wasn’t caused by human released CO2 we can only speculate the causes. What caused the cooling? Maybe King Henry VIII reduced his carbon emissions in the 1500s? Or Maybe we just don’t have a cooking clue about the climate and what drives it! We know there have been ice ages in the past, and that between the ice ages, glaciers recede and ice caps melt. Yes its called natural global warming. The warmest periods happen to be near the end of the interglacial period (like now). We also know that we are due for the next ice age when looking on a geological time scale.
Here are a few things that we don’t know about the global climate. We don’t know what caused the ice ages in the past, and neither do we know what ended them. We don’t know what caused all the variation in the past such as the medieval warm period, or the little ice age? It certainly wasn’t CO2 emissions.(There are actually some good theories buy they are not even entertained by the mainstream as they don’t conform to the CO2 theory). In fact its safe to say that there is a lot more that we don’t know about climate change, than what we do know. Its no wonder that computer models have been continuously wrong about their predictions of future temperature. That’s what you would expect when the writers of the computer models expect catastrophic warming to occur. Can you imagine how much money climate scientists would have received in the late 90’s if they had predicted as little warming as we have had actually had? Zero dollars! They rely on fear mongering to attract research funds. Once weather forecasters can accurately predict the weather from 2 weeks out, then maybe we can take their long term predictions seriously. For now I remain skeptical of Catastrophic AGW. If there has been warming and cooling in the past, we need to explain that first. If we can’t explain why it happened in the past, then what on earth makes climate scientists so sure about the causes of the warming trend of the last century.
If you look at current reconstructions of global temperature, you should immediately notice a common flaw. The researchers often use a proxy such as tree rings or bubbles of gas trapped in ice cores to reconstruct the temperature of the past. Then they splice onto the reconstructed graph the actual thermometer record of the last 100 years. Boom, and there you have an alarming looking hockey stick shaped graph looking like we are going to hell in a hand basket! Michael Mann’s famous hockey stick graph used tree rings as a proxy for temperature, and then he spliced the temperature records of the last 50 odd years onto the graph. Is it not obvious that this is highly likely to be flawed? What factors significantly influence tree growth assuming stable soil fertility. Rainfall, temperature and CO2 levels. This is the most influential graph ever made in climate science and it’s false and misleading!
The last season’s strong El Nino, probably the strongest on record, has pushed global temperatures into record territory. The alarmists have been crowing about this over the past year. It’s a if they are delighted with the terrible droughts, floods and heat waves experienced in many parts. Well I’m sorry to spoil the alarmists party, but there’s a little thing called the regression to the mean and we are right in it now. The last few months have seen a large drop in global temperature as the very strong El Nino flips to a weak La Nina. My weather station on the farm shows a massive 0.8 degree celcius drop in temperature when I compare the prior 6 month’s temperature data with the corresponding period last year. This is natural variation in the climate, not global warming or global cooling.
Lets look at the positives and opportunities. We know the world is a warmer place with higher CO2 levels. Is that a bad thing? Well it depends on where you are in the world, but on the whole I reckon that’s a good thing. If one looks back in history, times of warmth have been times of plenty, and cooler times have been times of famine. It’s fairly simple, warmth means evaporation and transpiration which means rainfall. Cold means less evaporation and transpiration which leads to less rain. Another positive is the increase in CO2 levels. CO2 is not a poisonous gas as some may lead us to believe. It’s actually critical for plant growth. The doubling of CO2 over the last 150 years has been hugely beneficial to plant growth, and specifically to our crops. In controlled greenhouses CO2 is treated as a nutrient. Farmers increase the CO2 levels to about 1000ppm to improve crop yields. Levels above that are not detrimental, it’s just that the economic response is less. Yields on commercially grown crops increase dramatically when the levels are increased from ambient levels to 1000ppm. This doubling of CO2 over the last century has been a huge benefit to mankind. Without it, I wonder if us farmers would have been able to feed the world? Maybe CO2 should take a large amount of the credit that has up until now, gone to the green revolution. Sure genetically engineered crops and newer varieties of crops have improved yields, but little is said about the benefits of higher CO2 levels. Here is a table showing the huge responses to increases in CO2 levels. You can do your own research, I “cherry picked” it from the Internet.
Let’s get over our self-righteous obsession with saving the planet and be realistic. The way we are proposing to save the planet is by enforcing strict rules on 3rd world countries on their carbon emissions. This is a bit hypocritical if you ask me. Fist world countries such as the UK have also been on a suicide mission in their adoption of green energy. Their day of reckoning is around the corner where there foolishness will be laid bare as they will possibly have load-sheading in true South African style or fork out a massive amount more for imported electricity.
You can’t force conservation on other countries. A few hundred years ago not many Europeans gave a hoot about conservation, that only came with prosperity. Prosperity must come before conservation. I am passionate about the outdoors and I have a strong desire to see our last of our remaining untouched areas remain that way, but forcing this upon other countries is a way to make sure they destroy it all. Let’s encourage countries to develop and lift their populations put of poverty, for only once someone has a penny of disposable income and leisure time to spare, will they actually begin to care about the natural world around them.
Let’s get over this insanity of taxing the world’s most important plant fertiliser. Let’s celebrate the fact that we live in such a warm global climate. Let’s celebrate technology and innovation. Let’s celebrate human ingenuity and our amazing ability to adapt to the world around us. How about for once, lets celebrate CO2.
The opinions above are my own. I have added a few interesting sources of information where you can read further. I highly recommend you look at the first link provided. It’s a compilation of climate data in relation to human history. It’s really really fascinating!
Human history and climate change: (as you can see the author of the paper probably works for “Big Oil”. Its a fantastic compilation of historic data all published in mainstream journals. It puts things into perspective.
2. CO2 is good:
3. These are all positive evidence that I submit. If you want scandalous stuff then just do some reading up on the “Climategate scandal“. It’s a massive busting of climate scientists manipulating data, along with a concerted media cover-up. I say cover up because hardly anyone knows anyone about it. I have added a link to an article written in 2009 in the Telegraph. There is much more bit this sums it up briefly.
4. Another scandal in my eyes, is the manipulation of weather station data through adjustments or poor location. Please have a look at the following website which is an analysis of US weather stations on a per station basis. The conclusion you will probably reach is that our land temperature records are pretty shoddy to say the least.