In my opinion this entire sorry episode goes straight to the heart of the difference between the way alarmists like Williamson see the world, and the way normal people view the world. Alarmists seem to want their models, theories and opinions to be accepted as established fact. But the reality is their shaky theories are full of poorly supported conjecture and extrapolation.

Eric Worrall on WUWT, quoted by Dellers who has criticised Williamson's facile alarmism:

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Good News: CO2-based climate alarm is humbug. Bad News: that humbug is still being promoted in schools.

Even as the case for alarm over CO2 is being shredded by experts and by Mother Nature herself, new ways are being sought to push that alarm into schoolchildren.  Here is one being funded by the EU this year:

The Institute of Education at the University of Reading is welcoming more than 300 school children for an exciting and innovative programme of climate change activities which combine science, maths, history and modern languages.”

The insinuation that carbon dioxide released by human actions is a major driver of climate change is a shibboleth of some standing in political and educational circles.  The EU in particular has seized upon it, despite the harm such beliefs have already brought to European countries.

Climate dogma from the EU

 “Climate change is happening now: temperatures are rising, rainfall patterns are shifting, glaciers and snow are melting, and the global mean sea level is rising. We expect that these changes will continue, and that extreme weather events resulting in hazards such as floods and droughts will become more frequent and intense.” 

Let us examine each phrase in sequence:

“Climate change is happening now:”   This statement has been true since the Earth had an atmosphere.  Our climate varies on all relevant space and time scales.  The remark, in other words, is a platitude.

“temperatures are rising,”   No doubt, somewhere they are, and somewhere they are not. They never stay the same anywhere over any time period.  Estimates of global mean temperatures show two similar periods with rising trends in the 20th C,  a period of relative cooling in between, and more recently a flattening out.

“rainfall patterns are shifting,”   They always do – they are part of the variability in our climate system.  For scientific studies showing that recently observed changes do not match those promoted by climate alarmists, see CO2 Science's subsection on precipitation. For example:
 “Australian researchers report discovering that "on average, dry regions/months became wetter and wet regions/months became drier over the 1940-2009 period," and they say that "this conclusion holds in all available databases and also holds for 1940-1999." In addition, they further remark that the patterns observed "show no relationship to local or global changes in temperature," and that "if anything, these results constitute a slight decline in meteorological drought over the last 70 ears."

“glaciers and snow are melting,”   Of course they are.  They do this every year.  But nothing much by way of systematic change can be seen in data on snow coverage, and the major ice mass in Antarctica continues to grow as found, for example, in this study: 
“At this point in time, however, we can safely conclude that the climate-alarmist claim of dramatic global flooding of earth's coastal areas in response to the melting of polar ice due to global warming has been thoroughly discredited, for during the period of time that they claim the planet experienced the warmest temperatures of the past two millennia, Antarctica experienced a net buildup of ice that actually removed water from earth's seas.” 

“and the global mean sea level is rising.”   It has been on a slow rising trend for the past 150 years, well before the marked rise in CO2 levels of recent decades. This is a surprisingly complex area since sea level variations differ appreciably by location as well as by time.  Here is an example of a study expressing some of the complexities:
“With respect to the results of their analysis, Jevrejeva et al. say their findings show that "global sea level rise is irregular and varies greatly over time," noting that "it is apparent that rates in the 1920-1945 period are likely to be as large as today's." In addition, they report that their "global sea level trend estimate of 2.4 ± 1.0 mm/yr for the period from 1993 to 2000 matches the 2.6 ± 0.7 mm/yr sea level rise found from TOPEX/Poseidon altimeter data."

With respect to what Jevrejeva et al. describe as "the discussion on whether sea level rise is accelerating," their results pretty much answer the question in the negative; and in further support of this conclusion, they note that "Church et al. (2004) pointed out that with decadal variability in the computed global mean sea level, it is not possible to detect a significant increase in the rate of sea level rise over the period 1950-2000," as is clearly evident from the bottom portion of the above figure[shown here on the left].”

“We expect that these changes will continue,”  There will certainly continue to be changes.  That is merely another platitude.  If they are instead expecting recent trends to continue, they presumably expect cooler temperatures, reduced hurricane activity, more greening of the Sahara, improved crop yields in India and China, further reduction in the rate of sea level rise, further increases in the polar bear population, increased ice mass, more snow in the northern hemisphere and so on.  These trends are not the friends of the climate dogmatists.

“and that extreme weather events resulting in hazards such as floods and droughts will become more frequent and intense.”   They have not done so far, and there are good grounds to believe that they would be worse in a cooler climate than in a warmer one.  Here is some informed commentary on the matter:
“In spite of all the media hype about the rising economic impact of each new year's normal share of weather and climate extremes (which many insurance companies love to hype as well), there is really nothing unusual about the weather and climate extremes themselves.  Consequently, if the globe truly is warming (for whatever reason), it must therefore be concluded, on the basis of this empirical evidence, that warming does not bring an increase in extreme weather or climate events.  And if this be true, which it is, where are all the catastrophic consequences we are regularly told must assuredly follow increasing global temperatures?  Like the emperor's new clothes, they're just not there.”

Climate outreach funded by the EU in schools

The above example of EU propaganda does not bode well for the content of anything they would willingly fund about climate for our schools.  Here is more about the Reading University initiative which has been been funded by the EU (hat-tip Tom Nelson):
'Over the 3 week  programme, which began on the 3rd June, students aged between 9 and 15 are debating, experimenting and interacting to learn about the history of climate change, the main causes, and the overall impacts that climate change might have on them and the wider world.

Be Afraid Ye Little One!

The activities see children working in teams with coloured balls to simulate the way that carbon moves between atmosphere, ocean and plants in the carbon cycle. Washing up liquid bubbles filled with methane are exploding in a burst of brilliant yellow flame to give a dramatic demonstration of the amount of energy in fossil fuels (all within Health and Safety – of course). 

John Oversby, leader of the EU Changing with the Climate Project, says: “This unique collaboration between outstanding teachers at the start of their careers is a shining example of the kind of creativity and innovation in education that we encourage at the Institute.”

But what of the substantial content of this programme?  We can learn about it here in a progress report in 2012 coordinated by Oversby himself.  Here is an extract from the Executive Summary, and it reveals this as just another effort to produce 'little climate activists':

'The impact of global warming arises primarily from our usage of fossil fuel at local level such as in heating our homes or providing our transport as a by-product of their combustion is carbon dioxide. It is this gas together with other greenhouse gases which congregate in the upper atmosphere and by absorbing some of the earth’s radiation, results in global warming. Consequently changing with the climate is likely to be the defining global concern of the 21st Century. The world is likely to build so many fossil-fueled power stations, energy guzzling factories and inefficient buildings in the next five years that it will become impossible to hold global warming to safe levels, and the chance of combating dangerous climate change will be lost forever. 
This network has therefore been initiated to link students in both primary and secondary schools across Europe to discuss, engage and commit to undertake actions to limit the change in climate. 
The network comprises schools and teachers in six European countries willing to include climate change topics and issues within their school lessons. With the support of the network partners and associate members, this will result in a deeper understanding of a global concern and lead to actions which will initiate the transition to a more sustainable use of energy.'

More background on this shameless indoctrination can be found in the report itself, and here:

What is to be done about the dogma?

In an excellent article published a few days ago (hat-tip Greenie Watch), and well worth reading for further support to the perspective being made in this post, Paul Driessen concludes as follows:

‘We need to save our environment from environmentalists and EPA - and safeguard our liberties, living standards and lives against the arrogance of too-powerful politicians and bureaucrats. How we achieve this, while protecting our lives and environment from real risks, is one of the greatest challenges we face.’

 To modify this for the context of this post, I would use ‘the EU’ instead of the EPA, and I would add ‘children’ to the list of what we need to safeguard.

Our climate dogmatists can be refuted by Mother Nature.  Already it is the case that no child in school has experienced a world with ‘global warming’ in their lifetime.  Further warming may of course resume, and if it does, no doubt a big deal will be made of it – a deal far bigger, far far bigger than the ‘deal’ being made about the modest cooling we have seen in recent years.  Given the harm that lower temperatures can bring, it seems harsh to wish for the downward trend to continue for a few more years.  But what more effective way is there to rid the political world, and then the educational one, of the hideous dogma of CO2-driven alarmism?

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