Why is there so much preoccupation with atmospheric CO2 concentrations and reducing anthropogenic CO2 emissions when it is well documented in the peer-reviewed scientific literature that the CO2 contribution to the overall greenhouse effect is so weak that it can be easily supplanted by small changes in clouds and water vapor, or natural climate-changing constituents?
Thursday, 17 June 2010
Schools' Low Carbon Day - 'concerned mothers' want their kids to worry too
These reconstructions include periods of far higher CO2 levels, major variations in solar input, dramatic transformations of the earth's surface, and extended periods of substantial volcanic activity. Over more recent periods, we have evidence that the Roman and Medieval Warm Periods were at least as warm, and possibly warmer, than the late 20th century climate, and that rates of temperature rise in the Central England Temperatures (the longest instrument record we have) have been higher than anything we have seen recently. The slow rises of global mean temperatures in the 19th and in the 20th centuries were both at about the same rates (0.6 to 0.7C per century) despite substantial differences in ambient CO2 levels between the two. In summary, nothing particularly unusual has been observed in our climate in recent times. We have a variable climate system, on a very large range of space and time scales, and we would be wise to resist over-reacting to the various cooling and warming cycles we have seen over the past few hundred years. (Especially if that over-reaction leads to reducing our energy supplies and our wealth, both of which increase our ability to cope with these inescapable cycles.)
The specious analogy, much touted by alarmists, with greenhouses being driven by differential radiative effects falls at the first hurdle, since that is not how they work. They work by suppressing convective and wind-driven mixing with the outside air, and these two processes of convection and wind, coupled with the transport and phase changes of water, are also the dominant movers of heat within the lower atmosphere in which we live.
Yet read the following extract (I have put it italics) from the website promoting Low Carbon Day for schools in the United Kingdom, and try to imagine what you would feel if you believed these words:
'Few scientists now doubt that due to human activity – burning fossil fuels and deforestation - the climate is changing. Without very significant action, temperature changes of at least 2°C, and possibly 3°C or 4°C are expected to happen by the end of this century. Hundreds of millions of people may not have enough water. Floods, heat waves and droughts may affect millions more. The ensuing migration could make the world a very unstable place. And that's not to mention the 30% of species at risk of extinction. The effects of climate change are already being felt in Asia and Africa.
The truth is the worst will probably not happen in our lifetime. But it will happen in our children's lifetime. And it will happen big time during their children's lifetimes. Children born today will not be in a position of influence for 40 years, and by then it will be too late. The inertia in the climate system means that without action from us, by the time they can change the world, catastrophic warming will almost certainly be factored into the system.
And so we believe as adults we have a duty to change the world for them.’
If you were as convinced as them, perhaps you would be stirred to political action, or even lifestyle changes. But would you want to push the same message into schools? Is this not a totalitarian impulse you might wish to resist? Even as a believer, would you not want your children to have a more carefree time, allowing them to concentrate on their basic education rather than imposing adult anxieties and responsibilites on them? I guess some of us would, and some of us wouldn't. But right now, I am concerned that we are not being given the choice.
A great many people, the UK political class included, seem intent on capturing the hearts and minds of the young, and turning them into eco-worriers (what have I done wrong, what am I doing wrong?) and eco-agitators (I must make sure my parents and others do the right things). This seems to be the intention of this 'group of concerned mothers':
'Schools Low Carbon Day 24.06.10 is being organised by a registered charity set up by a group of mothers concerned about climate change. Schools Low Carbon Day is about educating children about climate change and inspiring children and their families to change their behaviour to reduce carbon emissions.'
I have concerns over every single sentence in those paragraphs shown in italics. I will post more comments on them tomorrow.