|They may have been BESTed, but the climate change denier spooks and ghouls are still fluttering about like deranged rabid bats. Here is a draft of a letter I am considering sending to somebody in an organisation under which I serve…|
31st October 2011
It seems to me that you are labouring under several false impressions of the consensus in science regarding global warming and climate change. For example, you do not appear to accept that global warming is taking place, a fact that is evidenced by over a century of data. And as another example, you do not appear to accept that global warming is causing climate change, a scientific reality evidenced by countless studies. However, I’m not going to guide you to the peer-reviewed science for those points. All I want to do in this particular communication is offer you a popular critique of one of your key arguments, and challenge you to check your sources.
It is a well-known but fallacious line of reasoning from climate change deniers that “In the 1970s, the scientists said there would be global cooling”. The error in understanding comes about because back in the 1970s there were two effects in play – global warming caused by atmospheric accumulation of greenhouse gases; and global dimming caused by excessive build-up of what are known as “aerosols”, tiny particles of soot and chemicals from industrial pollution, which was preventing the full warming effect of the sun.
Here are three slides from a recent Internet video sensation of a lecture given by Dr Richard Milne at the University of Edinburgh, which I think neatly sums up the change between the 1970s and the 1980s, when various developed countries started to clean up industrial emissions :-
What was predicted in the 1970s was the so-called “nuclear winter”. If industrial emissions of soot and sulphur dioxide had continued on such a large scale, then global warming would have been overtaken by global dimming, and yes, there would have been an overall cooling. But that situation changed, and now carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are the dominant “radiative forcing” to use a technical term, and the underlying global warming effect is more clearly seen.
You will find it hard to find scientific evidence to refute this logic, but if after researching you still disagree with the position I have outlined, please do not hesitate to make alternative statements with citations that I can research.