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?


Monday, 5 July 2010

Why Would You Believe This? (3 of 8): '[because of rising CO2] 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.'

Contentious chunk number 3, from the reasons given as to why we should be worried about climate change caused by humans, and why we should ensure our children are worried too - according to a now defunct site promoting Schools' Low Carbon Day (1).  I want to continue with this Fisking to provide a coverage which may be of wider interest.

'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.'

This is blatant and shameless scaremongering.  The cautious verbs 'may' (twice) and 'could' (once) provide the authors with some protection from total ridicule.  It has long been the case that these calamities 'may be true', or 'could happen'.  And of course, we know for sure that there will be people 'short of water', that there will be 'floods, heatwaves, and droughts', and that there have been already substantial migrations and there may well be more.

Despite the frail, or completely lacking, justification for their views, campaigners under the banner of 'agw' or 'climate change, have had a substantial influence and are intent on entrenching this in society by indoctrinating children.  We must therefore take these campaigners seriously - indeed they have already done serious harm around the world: to children and to vulnerable adults, to the poor and hungry, to the environment, to science, to politics, and to technology.

Here they want to scare children with three things: floods, heat waves, and droughts.  As is usual with environmental scare stories, a search of the literature will soon reveal major flaws in the reasoning.  For the examples below, I have taken reports from the 'Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change' which exists to: 'disseminate factual reports and sound commentary on new developments in the world-wide scientific quest to determine the climatic and biological consequences of the ongoing rise in the air's CO2 content.'  See (2).

FLOODS: for more examples, see (3).
Example of scientific study
What was learned
'In describing the results of their analyses, Mudelsee et al. report finding, for both the Elbe and Oder rivers, "no significant trends in summer flood risk in the twentieth century," but "significant downward trends in winter flood risk during the twentieth century," which phenomenon -- "a reduced winter flood risk during the instrumental period" -- they specifically describe as "a response to regional warming." '
What it means
The results of this study provide no support for the IPCC "concern" that CO2-induced warming will add to the risk of river flooding in Europe.  If anything, they suggest just the opposite.'

HEAT WAVES: for more examples, see (4).
Example of scientific study
What was learned
'Because of the fact that depletion of soil moisture (which has long been predicted to accompany CO2-induced global warming) results in reduced latent cooling, Fischer et al. found that during all simulated heat wave events, "soil moisture-temperature interactions increase the heat wave duration and account for typically 50-80% of the number of hot summer days," noting that "the largest impact is found for daily maximum temperatures," which were amplified by as much as 2-3°C in response to observed soil moisture deficits in their study....'
What it means
'....In light of these complementary global soil moisture and river runoff observations, it would appear that the anti-transpiration effect of the historical rise in the air's CO2 content has more than compensated for the soil-drying effect of concomitant global warming; and this observation brings us to the ultimate point of our Journal Review. Based upon (1) the findings of Fischer et al. (2007) that soil moisture depletion greatly augments both the intensity and duration of summer heat waves, plus (2) the findings of Robock et al. (2000, 2005) and Li et al. (2007) that global soil moisture has actually increased over the past half century, likely as a result of the anti-transpiration effect of atmospheric CO2 enrichment - as Gedney et al. (2006) have also found to be the case with closely associated river runoff - it directly follows that the increase in soil moisture caused by rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations will tend to decrease both the intensity and duration of summer heat waves as time progresses.'

DROUGHT: for more examples, see (5).
Example of scientific study
What was learned
'In the words of the two researchers, "droughts have, for the most part, become [1] shorter, [2] less frequent, [3] less severe, and [4] cover a smaller portion of the country over the last century." '
What it means
'It would seem to be nigh unto impossible to contemplate a more stunning rebuke of climate-alarmist claims concerning global warming and drought than that provided by this study of the United States. And as evidenced by the many materials archived under Drought in our Subject Index, much the same findings are being reported all around the world.'

I will give examples for Asia and Africa in the next {but one] post of this series, but for now I want to end with some general points.

In relatively warm periods, such as the Roman one, and the Medieval Warm period, and our current one, humanity and the rest of nature thrived.  A cool period would be worse than a warm one for both. There is little doubt that the end of our mostly very pleasant interglacial is due within a few thousand years, and that if there is to be a credible climate-related mass migration, it will be such as the evacuation of Northern Europe - a process which would begin as soon as the winter snows fail to melt in the summer - for the ice sheets will not slide slowly down from the north, they will grow on the spot through successive winters.  There is no indication that this will happen soon.  But, as and when it does, the wealthier we are, the more technologically advanced we are, the better educated we are, the more chance that it will be handled in a competent and humane fashion.  Scaring children about heat and CO2, rubbishing real scientists trying to accumulate real knowledge instead of toeing a political line, denigrating technology, crippling our lowest cost sources of energy, and promoting guilt, fear, and ignorance in the young - none of that will help - they merely disrupt progress and cause harm.

(1) http://climatelessons.blogspot.com/2010/06/schools-low-carbon-day-concerned.html
(2) http://www.co2science.org/index.php
(3) http://www.co2science.org/subject/f/subject_f.php.
(4) http://www.co2science.org/subject/h/heatwaves.php
(5) http://www.co2science.org/subject/d/subject_d.php


  1. What it means is that the faux-scientific underpinnings of the Global Warming movement have been destroyed by the ClimateGate email leaks. It was always a farce, but now it's demonstrably a farce. And the public (and politicians) are no longer as credulous to every new climate scare.

    So: something new is needed. Water has been chosen as the next big scare to rally the NGOs, activists, mercenary or power-hungry politicians and the simple fraud-artists.

    The real danger here is that political control of water resources is as old as the first empires; however, the technology and resources to do real harm to the environment was, until recently, lacking.

    Soviet Russia effectively destroyed the Caspian Sea by diverting water to spectularly ineffective cotton farms - this is just a foretaste of what's in store when the water scams begin in earnest.

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