The computer equipment you are at this moment using relies on an effect known as “quantum tunneling”, delivering an energy payload across a seemingly inpenetrable medium.
It is, if you like, a subversion of the apparent macro-scale laws of the universe. Nothing is quite what you think it is.
If you only read the national press and the Internet Media outlets, you could be forgiven for thinking that that those who oppose strong policy action on Climate Change had a point, or some kind of valid resistance.
These Climate Change “sceptics”, “contrarians” or “deniers” appear to be waging a battle on the basis of science, albeit science slightly unconventional. But that impression is carefully crafted.
Over the last few weeks, there appears to have been a concerted effort by Climate Change sceptics and their sympathisers to tunnel into public perception.
The payload that they wish to deliver is not a challenge to science, no, although that is the language it is expressed in. The underlying message they wish to get across is opposition to strong policy action on Climate Change.
But why do the sceptics get access to the Media ? This is an even deeper, more evolutionary reason for promoting Climate Change denial : the newspapers are fighting for survival.
First, let’s talk about scepticism.
Fact : some of the Climate Change deniers are in the direct pay of Fossil Fuel companies, or coal-fired electricity generators, so their views are bound to be a tad biased.
Other Climate Change deniers are Americans engaged in furthering the Republican “Small State”, resisting all forms of control on Energy Business.
Still other Climate Change deniers are innocent British lambs who think they are defending their right to “Free Speech”, when they are in fact upholding a creaking, polluting, “dinosaur” Energy industry.
Yet further Climate Change deniers are British libertarians who think that Global Warming policy is tantamount to imposing a Communist regime.
And there are other Climate Change denier constituencies, including the conspiracy theorists who somehow translate the warnings about Global Warming into proof that Illuminati, or the Freemasons, or something, want to take over the world.
Unfortunately, those who write the Media are prone to Climate Change denialism, because of their lack of grounding scientific studies, so these really minority political views continue to get an airing.
It’s most definitely not about the science.
The evidence for anthropogenic man-made Global Warming is “unequivocal”, says the group of experts who wrote the United Nations’ IPCC Fourth Assessment Report in 2007.
However, Climate Change scepticism sells newspapers and garners web hits. I should know. When I was subjected to a “sceptic attack”, at its height my humble little web log received over 500 hits per day, which was quite unusual.
With the Credit Crunch pressure bearing down on the Media, they are bound to go with the stories that sell. And Climate Change denialism flies off the shelves. So guess what ? Let’s make more toys for the sceptics to buy. Let’s dig up the long-dead chimera of “debate” on the subject.
You should bear that in mind when you read the rest of what follows here.
Paul Hudson wrote an article for the BBC Online website headlined “What happened to global warming?” on Friday 9th October 2009, tagged with a teaser “Climate puzzle : The warmest year ever was 1998 – so is the world cooling again?”
With so many inaccuracies, it is perhaps highly surprising that it passed muster with the editors. The side-effect has been to resurrect the Climate Change denial lobby, who now claim the BBC as their own, as they assert the BBC as having “switched sides”.
Just for the record of the science, let’s unpack Paul Hudson’s article a little :-
What happened to global warming?
By Paul Hudson
Climate correspondent, BBC News
This headline may come as a bit of a surprise, so too might that fact that the warmest year recorded globally was not in 2008 or 2007, but in 1998.
But it is true. For the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures.
And our climate models did not forecast it, even though man-made carbon dioxide, the gas thought to be responsible for warming our planet, has continued to rise.
So what on Earth is going on?
Climate change sceptics, who passionately and consistently argue that man’s influence on our climate is overstated, say they saw it coming.
…Sceptics argue that the warming we observed was down to the energy from the Sun increasing. After all 98% of the Earth’s warmth comes from the Sun.
But research conducted two years ago, and published by the Royal Society, seemed to rule out solar influences.
…one solar scientist Piers Corbyn from Weatheraction, a company specialising in long range weather forecasting…
…claims that solar charged particles impact us far more than is currently accepted, so much so he says that they are almost entirely responsible for what happens to global temperatures.
He is so excited by what he has discovered that he plans to tell the international scientific community at a conference in London at the end of the month.
If proved correct, this could revolutionise the whole subject…
“What happened to global warming?”
Well, it’s still here. The documented evidence of a warming world continues to stream in from research projects and monitoring stations.
“This headline may come as a bit of a surprise, so too might that fact that the warmest year recorded globally was not in 2008 or 2007, but in 1998.”
No, it doesn’t come as a surprise. We have been told repeatedly by the Climate Change sceptics that the hottest year ever was 1998 (or 1934), on all channels and dials. They seem to think that pointing at the El Nino “spike” year of 1998 somehow proves that Global Warming has now finished.
El Nino is part of the natural variability of global temperatures. It keeps going and coming back, so we should expect some hotter years than 1998 when there is the next strong El Nino.
The year 1998 was unusually warm, but so were all the years since 1998. The year 1998 was considerably warmer than the years just before and just after, because it was strongly affected by the El Nino phenomenon. But Global Warming hasn’t gone away. The top 20 hottest years have all been in the last 30 years :-
The point that is rarely discussed is this : the El Nino phenomenon affects the global surface temperatures at the point when it happens, and then when it stops, the surface temperatures recover.
But Global Warming is a continuing underlying change which is not immediate and difficult to reverse. Extra Greenhouse Gases in the atmosphere causing air heating, and over some time, maybe 30 years, the oceans take this up and show a warming as well, and once the oceans have heated up, there’s little chance of going back.
If there is any deceleration in Global Warming at the present time, finger in the air (tongue in cheek), it’s more likely to relate to the Fuel Crisis of the 1970s when there was a sudden reduction in emissions.
Most scientists do not however accept that Global Warming is “taking a break” :-
“A warming pause? : stefan @ 6 October 2009 : The blogosphere (and not only that) has been full of the “global warming is taking a break” meme lately. Although we have discussed this topic repeatedly, it is perhaps worthwhile reiterating two key points about the alleged pause here…”
“For the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures…And our climate models did not forecast it, even though man-made carbon dioxide, the gas thought to be responsible for warming our planet, has continued to rise.”
There is natural variability in the changes in the climate, and it’s good to remember this when trying to ascertain the significance of statements like these.
Look at the chart, and look at the trend. It is upwards :-
In contraction to what Paul Hudson claims, climate models have consistently projected a level of variability in the simulations and projections of the future.
The climate is always changing, and is subject to a range of forces and cycles and ebbs and flows. Most of these are well-known and are included in climate models.
“Sceptics argue that the warming we observed was down to the energy from the Sun increasing. After all 98% of the Earth’s warmth comes from the Sun…But research conducted two years ago, and published by the Royal Society, seemed to rule out solar influences.”
The Royal Society would not be so stupid as to rule out the Sun as the source of the majority of the warmth that the Earth receives ! Global Warming is caused by the rays of the Sun interacting with the Earth’s atmosphere !
However, most studies to date rule out changes in solar output as responsible for any significant portion of recent Global Warming. And when solar output changes, it sometimes changes in an opposite direction to the warming that is seen. So this cannot be a key suspect. That has been well ruled out.
“…one solar scientist Piers Corbyn from Weatheraction, a company specialising in long range weather forecasting…claims that solar charged particles impact us far more than is currently accepted, so much so he says that they are almost entirely responsible for what happens to global temperatures. He is so excited by what he has discovered that he plans to tell the international scientific community at a conference in London at the end of the month. If proved correct, this could revolutionise the whole subject.”
Now we get to the key point of Paul Hudson’s article : a promotion of a Climate Change denier’s latest work, which has already been debunked many times, but clearly needs to be refuted again :-
Don’t get the wrong impression about this : the claims that Piers Corbyn is making are not new :-
The attention shown to Paul Hudson’s article demonstrates that journalists read journalists, which is how a lot of Climate Change denial continues to survive.
“The BBC’s amazing U-turn on climate change : By Damian Thompson World Last updated: October 11th, 2009 : I think the BBC wanted to slip this one out quietly, but a Matt Drudge link put paid to that. The climate change correspondent of BBC News has admitted that global warming stopped in 1998 – and he reports that leading scientists believe that the earth’s cooling-off may last for decades. “Whatever happened to global warming?” is the title of an article by Paul Hudson that represents a clear departure from the BBC’s fanatical espousal of climate change orthodoxy…”
“Sceptics welcome BBC report on ‘global cooling’ : Climate change sceptics have welcomed a “surprise” BBC decision to give prominence to evidence from leading scientists that there could be 30 years of “global cooling”. By Richard Savill : Published: 12 Oct 2009 : Under the headline `Whatever happened to Global Warming?’, the BBC has reported that the warmest year recorded globally was 1998, and for the last 11 years no increase in global temperatures has been observed. The report by the BBC climate correspondent, Paul Hudson, which provoked a strong debate on the Corporation’s website, quotes a climatologist as saying there could be 30 years of cooling due to the falling temperatures of the oceans.”
Falling temperatures in the oceans ? That would be the falling temperatures in the upper oceans caused by the normal cycling of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and the North Atlantic Oscillation. They’ll turn around again, just like they always do, and then where will the temperatures go ? Upwards, of course.
“Dominic Lawson: Here’s another phoney war: the one on climate change : There’s no glory in spending $10m a year on giant nozzles that squirt sulphur dioxide : Tuesday, 13 October 2009 : The phrase “publishing sensation” is standard hyperbole from marketing men anxious to push book sales. Sometimes, however, a book comes along which justifies the term. One such is Freakonomics, which since its publication in 2005 has sold well over 3 million copies…Now Levitt and Dubner are launching the follow up to Freakonomics – but this time it is conventional left-liberal thought which will be outraged by their assertions. A clue is given in the work’s full title, Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance. Yes, the authors have this time addressed their dispassionate intellectual blowtorch to the conventional wisdom about climate change, its causes and remedies…This might help to explain why the recorded temperature of the planet has not increased at all over the past 11 years. As the BBC’s climate correspondent, Paul Hudson, reported with thinly disguised amazement three days ago, “Our climate models did not forecast this.” Hudson then spoke to Professor Don Easterbrook of Western Washington University, who explained that global temperatures were correlated much more with cyclical oceanic oscillations of warming and cooling than anything man does. Easterbrook argued that the global cooling from 1945 to 1977 was linked to one of these cold Pacific cycles, and that “the Pacific decadal oscillation cool mode has replaced the warm mode [of 1978 to 1998], virtually assuring us of about 30 years of global cooling.” Hold the front page! Global warming postponed for 30 years! Or possibly much longer! Or, if you prefer to remain terrified by environmental prognostications: hold the front page! New Ice Age approaches! Countless millions set to freeze!…”
“Biggest news you’ve never heard: Earth isn’t warming : By Patrik Jonsson : How do you reconcile the early snow in Minneapolis, ski resorts already opening in Nevada, and that August chill in North Dakota with expert warnings about a warming climate? You don’t. Why? The Earth isn’t warming right now, is why. It may even be cooling down somewhat. Five major climate centers around the world agree that average global temperatures have not risen in the past 11 years, according to the BBC. In fact, in eight of those years, global average temperatures dipped a tad. Yes, there have been several record heat spikes during that time period. The Southern Hemisphere this summer saw the highest land and water temperatures ever recorded, for instance. But overall? Steady as she goes…as Paul Hudson, the BBC’s environment reporter, points out, Mojib Latif, a member of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, agrees that the Earth may, in fact, continue to cool for another 10 to 20 years. Mr. Latif says that doesn’t make him a climate change skeptic, just a scientist. Eventually, he says, “the overwhelming force of man-made global warming reasserts itself,” according to the BBC.
“Is the BBC buying into global-warming denialism? by Sunny Hundal : October 12, 2009 : BBC Online published an article on Friday titled, What happened to global warming?, which has already been picked up by esteemed scientists such as the Drudge Report, the Telegraph’s Damian Thompson and Benedict Brogan. The Spectator won’t be far behind I bet. The BBC’s Paul Hudson does that classic media trick of pretending there are two equally valid sides to a debate and confusing readers further. In fact it’s so lame that even a lay person such as myself can easily take it apart. The central thesis to the article is that global temperatures have fallen recently, atmospherically and in the oceans (which absorb most of the heat), therefore the denialists must have a point! Wrong. In fact, scientists repeatedly point out that over (relatively) short periods of time global temperatures are bound to fluctuate. It’s important to look at the longer term trends to make up your mind. The article fails to point this out…”
“The British are for turning on climate change : Posted: October 13, 2009 by Lawrence Solomon : Review, Paul Hudson…The £6-million [ActOnCO2] ad campaign, launched in desperation on prime-time TV this week on the soap opera, Coronation Street, is being touted as the government’s first ever advertising campaign “confirming the existence of climate change and its man-made origin.” In one ad, presented as a bedtime story between a father and daughter, the father describes “a very very strange” world that has “horrible consequences.” Animals and humans drown in a British town engulfed in water. The culprit is carbon dioxide, shown to rise as black soot above British homes before congealing in the shape of a vile jagged-toothed monster. “Is there a happy ending?” the daughter asks her dad at the conclusion of the ad. “It’s up to us how the story ends,” a voiceover intones, directing viewers to the government’s “Act on CO2” website. The story is likely to end well for the public but poorly for the government. On the same day that its campaign began, it lost the allegiance of the politically correct BBC, until recently the government’s staunchest climate change ally. In an article entitled “What happened to global warming,” the BBC’s climate correspondent, Paul Hudson, astounded Brits by stating “it is true. For the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures. And our climate models did not forecast it, even though man-made carbon dioxide, the gas thought to be responsible for warming our planet, has continued to rise.” Hudson concludes his piece, which treats arguments from both sides of the debate with equal respect, by saying: “One thing is for sure. It seems the debate about what is causing global warming is far from over. Indeed some would say it is hotting up.” The battle for Britain, once thought decided in favour of the global warming orthodoxy, in fact rages on, with the skeptics now holding the high ground.”
The question remains hanging over us : is the debate over Global Warming real ? Some people think so, and the Media pretends so in order to increase sales.
That’s all it is : a sales pitch.
Think of that, the next time someone refers you to a Climate Change “sceptic” article.
It’s all about Media sales.