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, 23 February 2012
The Great CO2 Scare - has it run out of steam, will the scaremongering soon be driven out of our schools?
But here are some signs of revolt, or of setbacks for alarmists, or at least of dawning realisation that all is not well with this scheme, or with its so-called scientific 'underpinnings'. In no particular order:
(1) WIthin a month of deciding to support warped science-teaching in schools about climate, the NCSE have 'released' their prize catch of a distinguished climate alarmist from their board of directors, one Peter Gleick, a man driven to malevolent distraction by his vivid fears of armageddon.
(2) Judith Curry, a climate scientist who is not afraid of debate, and who clearly values the integrity and repuation of science in general and her subject in particular, has just started a new thread about teaching climate in schools on her site, and within 24 hours or so it had attracted several hundred comments.
(3) The Australian Climate Madness site has in the last couple of days posted several pieces on climate materials aimed at children, and it is not at all pleased with them - here and here and here. Looks like that site may continue to pursue this topic.
(4) Andrew Bolt, and several other commentators in the mass media in Australia, have been impugned in a school geography textbook. He doesn't like that much, and I daresay the others won't either. Hopefully they will, as Bolt has done, make their displeasure widely known.
(5) Andrew Montford is the author of an outstanding book about an interface between climate science and politics, the Hockey Stick Illusion, and a man very concerned and knowledgeable about the activities and effects of key players in the headlong rush underway to make CO2 and 'climate' a dominant factor in policy making. He has just given a talk at one of the UK Met Office sites. This organisation was chosen as a next career choice by a man who played a large part in transforming the World Wildlife Fund into a lobbying body obsessed, even demented by 'climate change'. In some ways, so is the Met Office - to its great demerit since its level of competence in climate forecasting is laughable, yet it has played an important role in making climate alarm respectable, not least through the influence of its former director John Houghton, who saw climate change and man's impact on it in a religous light. Anyway, the meeting took place, and the first reports of it sound favourable.
(6) The Independent newspaper, like some other leftwing mass media in the UK, notably the Guardian and the BBC, has been prominent in campaigning and preaching about the dreadful effect of man-induced CO2 releases into the atmosphere. Their evironmental reporters have been like missionaries seized with fervour as they spread the good words about how salvation will come from reducing something called our 'carbon footprint'. Aided and abetted by rising taxes, reduced standards of living, and greater power to their preferredinstrument of all progress - the government. Well, and this is admittedly small beer, yesterday on their website a writer was allowed to publish a sympathetic report about a public lecture on climate by Richard Lindzen, another man who clearly loves science and the pursuit of truth. The penny seemed to have dropped for this writer that maybe, just maybe, the Great Co2 Scare has been overblown.
(7) The Royal Society's craven dance macabre with government over climate alarmism has been lucidly captured by the above-mentioned Andrew Montford in a short pamphlet which tells how recent leadership there has thrown away the splendid and precious spirit of objectivity and indepence captured so vividly in their original motto, Nullius in Verba (pdf). A previous mini-revolt by a few dozen fellows over the society's stance on climate may well be replicated a fortiori if this fine pamphlet helps foment some more unrest. This matters a lot for schools, since educational materials and their pushers on the climate front have been able to quote the society as an authoritative source in an area of science education that is awfully dependent on reference to authority since actual observations of the climate system show nothing at all unusual going on in what we see or experience.
(8) Another big source of authority for scaring the wits out of children, the IPCC has been exposed as a shoddy organisation by Donna Laframboise, and the next reports due from it are already being attacked in their draft form by knowledgeable commentators - see here or here.
(9) In fact, the speed with which alarmist hyperbole is being jumped upon and exposed in the blogosphere is in general very encouraging, with groups such as the GWPF and SPPI and NIPCC and CO2Science doing sterling service with high quality analyses aimed at policy makers. See here, for example, for an evisceration of the BBC's record (pdf) on climate alarmism, and here. Or visit WUWT for regular features challenging the establishment view - a website by the way which recently went past over 100 milllion visits, by itself a good sign.
(10) New books are coming out that could well be used, or inspire, teachers and pupils to take a more robust line when it comes to dealing with those who would use their pupils as pawns in political schemes. One in particular, Don't Sell Your Coat, is very accessible, being bright, brief, and extremely well-written. It also comes from an an author on the left of the political spectrum, the end at which it would seem that most teachers find themselves to be.
(11) And here's something I've been listening to with great admiration while finishing off this post: Matt Ridley talking to a 'tipping-point' conference recently. Since 'tipping-point' is one of the catch-phrases used to scare the gullible, it is likely that his audience was mostly of true believers in the climate faith, the apocalyptic one (h/t Bishop Hill) . Teachers, I know you are constrained by state-imposed curricula, but could you at least share this in your staffrooms?
(12) Perhaps we are going to see an end to junk like this video clip below, introduced by one Ben Santer, famous for editing draft IPCC reports to suit his, rather than other scientists' more rational, views, and for being tempted to 'beat the crap' out of another scientist who had the temerity to be wiser and more knowledgeable than him. The only possibly encouraging thiing about this video, apart from its dire quality, is that comments on it have been switched off at YouTube, possibly because they were too angry:
And the snows of Kilimanjaro? Well, they got that wrong too - they are not steadily disappearing. And airborne CO2 emits just as much as it absorbs of infra-red - neither it nor methane is a 'trap' keeping that radiation from escaping to space. Once high enough up, they will actually help that escape of energy to take place.
The false image of the earth behaving like a glass house will be laughed at one day in classrooms, as will the idea of CO2 as a pollutant, while the youngsters learn a little of this crazy era of CO2-driven political madness say, c. 1980 to 2020, in which gullible politicians were led to believe they could control the very weather by raising taxes, and when little children were coached as activists to encourage such beliefs. That end date may be on the optimistic side, but I think it is not out of the question.