The Daily Express newspaper (ably echoed by its cousin The Daily Telegraph) issued an outright Global Warming denial on its front page today :-
“100 REASONS WHY GLOBAL WARMING IS NATURAL : ‘No proof that human activity is to blame’ : Tuesday December 15,2009 : By Martyn Brown : CAMPAIGNERS yesterday attempted to pour scorn on “tenuous” global warming theories by issuing a dossier detailing 100 reasons why climate change is natural and not man-made. The list includes the controversial claim that there is “no scientific proof” that rising levels of greenhouse gases are caused by human activity…”
Intrigued, I actually went to the trouble of purchasing the print edition of the newspaper, so I could gen up. On page 5, the headline “‘There’s little we can do about global warming'”. Oh, so tens of thousands of people in Copenhagen, Denmark, negotiating about the need to reduce Carbon Dioxide Emissions, are all wasting their time ? I think not.
“This is a scandal !” I complained to the shopkeeper. “It’s true though,” he replied, “there’s something from America about it being natural ups and downs”. “Are you a scientist ?” I quizzed. “No”, he admitted. I encouraged the newspaper vendor to do some reading on the science. A young man next to me chirped up, “We’ve got to do something, anyway, because of Peak Oil !” I agreed that we had to.
Anyway, here are the “100 reasons” in full unexpurgated form :-
So who are these radical “campaigners” who wish to tell us a new truth about Global Warming, or rather, the lack of it ? Why, an enterprising little group known as “the respected” European Foundation. And who are the European Foundation ?
They’re not bunch of ludicrous, shouty slackers. They’re serious chaps (and chappesses) by the looks of things. They are…headed up by Baroness Margaret Thatcher of Kesteven :-
What ? Maggie T ? The union crusher and handbag wielder ? First female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom ? Yes, for it is she.
Some of the great and good in UK Global Warming denial are listed, including David Davis, Member of Parliament, Roger Helmer Member of the European Parliament, and oh dear, my own MP Ian Duncan Smith. He can forget the Christmas greetings card, then.
And so, is the European Foundation a scientific institution ? No, it’s a political think tank, with its aim to promote “reform” of the European “project”, “Eurorealists” as they call themselves, seeking to re-negotiate all the big European Union treaties to date :-
I don’t really know why they want to take a position on Global Warming. Is it because the European Union is so strong on environmental policy ? I ask.
So, the author of the “100 reasons” report, James McConalogue, is he a scientist ? Nope. His “science” is political. This “editor of The European Journal…received a Master of Science in Social and Political Theory at Birkbeck College (University of London) and a Master of Arts in Political Philosophy from the University of York.”
What a pity his post-graduate studies didn’t take in some real science, like Physics, Chemistry or Geology. Then he would understand why his “100 reasons” don’t stand up to scrutiny.
Let’s unpack just a couple to make an entree :-
#1 “There is “no real scientific proof” that the current warming is caused by the rise of greenhouse gases from man’s activity.”
The physical sciences are not like Mathematics. In Mathematics you can produce a “proof”, like A + B = C. In the physical sciences, you get “proof of the pudding is in the eating”. In other words, the sciences of Physics and Chemistry, taking in the studied evidence from Geology and the practical evidence from Engineering, offered a very clear projection a few decades ago of what was going to happen to the world with rises in atmospheric Carbon Dioxide sourced from mankind’s burning of Fossil Fuels and Deforestation. And a few decades later it happened just like they theorised it would. Quad Erat Demonstrandum. The theory has been demonstrated in practice. There are no other factors that could possibly account for the strength of the warming in the data. Not changes in solar flux, not vulcanism, not changes in the Earth’s orbit, nothing. This is about as far as you’re going to get in proving the Theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming. We said it would happen. It happened. What more do you think we need to show ?
#3 “Warmer periods of the Earth’s history came around 800 years before rises in CO2 levels”. Well, Annie get your smoking gun ! Yes, natural cycles of the Earth’s orbit and inclination and precession over millions of years did lead to increases in insolation (insolent sunshine), which then caused the Earth system to warm up and emit Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere. Which caused further warming. Which caused more CO2. And so on. It’s a bit chicken-and-eggy. Warming causes CO2 to be released from soils, seas, sands, plants; and then the extra CO2 in the atmosphere causes the Earth to heat up some more. What are we doing now ? Putting lots of Carbon Dioxide into the air. What’s the Earth system doing ? Warming up. It’s only natural. Except it’s not really natural at all, messing with the global carbon cycle by mining all those fossils to burn to power our cars, lights and refrigerators.
#22 “A petition by scientists trying to tell the world that the politicians’ portrayal of global warming is false was put forward in the Heidelberg Appeal in 1992.”
Hmm. That’s not a reason why recent Global Warming is only natural. That’s a tidbit of historical information telling us how long the denier-sceptics have been bashing away at the science. And not succeeding. Hurrah !
#25 “There is strong evidence which suggests that the Earth’s current temperature stasis will be followed by climatic cooling”.
But the Earth isn’t in a “temperature stasis”. It’s warming up. Yes, there are variations. There could be a little cooling followed by a little warming, followed by a little cooling, followed by a little more warming than the cooling, and so on. The underlying trend is clear. Warming.
#35 “The Met Office asserts we are in the hottest decade since records began but this is precisely what the world should expect if the climate is cyclical.”
Oh dearie, dearie me ! This is a bit lame. We are in the “hottest decade since records began” roughly 150 years ago against the backdrop of a general cooling trend of the last 8,000 years, as established by numerous studies on temperature “proxies” in the geological and biological record. And you want me to believe that such a sudden heating effect is natural ? Pass me the smelling salts. I’m feeling rather faint.
#39 “In May of 2004, the Russian Academy of Sciences published a report concluding that the Kyoto Protocol has no scientific grounding.”
Yes. Kyoto was a political agreement, based on negotiations at a government level. No. Kyoto wasn’t based on science. It only called for a drop in the “basket” of Greenhouse Gases of around 5%. What it should have done was outlaw the Fossil Fuel and Rainforest logging companies. That would have made a real difference to Carbon Emissions. Instead, we’ve had piecemeal botched attempts or non-attempts to meet Kyoto commitments, and global emissions as a whole have been rising, accelerating even.
What other delights can you find in The Daily Express piece ? Do you think it’s a hoax ? Do let me know.
“Climate change is ‘natural not man-made’ : Climate change is “natural and not man-made”, according to a report that lists “100 reasons why” to back the theory. Published: 15 Dec 2009″
The New Scientist comes back with 50 reasons why the Daily Express is barking up the wrong tree :-