Climate Change

Are we just getting the safest advice instead of a fuller picture?

by Bob Sinclair

As someone who has been forced to deal with a couple of serious medical conditions in the past, I am accustomed to “worst scenario” theories offered by professionals. And also, quite thankful for them. I would much rather hear the worst and hope for the best.

I wonder if scientists and other professionals commenting on climate change are doing the same; warning us of the catastrophes that could happen if we don’t act now. Taking a position that will compel us to take drastic action.

But just how accurate are their “worst scenarios” of melting ice at the poles, rising sea levels that will drown large areas of coastal cities, weather bombs, floods, tornadoes and hurricanes like we’ve never seen and which might have already started?

I’ve been reading about these forecasts for some time now. But for the past six months I would estimate I’ve invested a good week of viewing presentations and opinions by scientists who hold quite different views.

So I remain sceptical that climate catastrophe is near.

At first it was a reflex response about our human arrogance that we could influence the planet to such an extent as to change climate. But the web has helped me to understand the complexities of climate a little more

As one with absolutely no scientific training, it seems to me climate change is a naturally recurring event of our planet and we have little to do with it.

The evidence I’ve read, even prevents me from ruling out the possibility that the planet is actually headed toward a period of global cooling. This is a viewpoint that is easy to discredit by pointing to the recent California bush fires or many other day to day weather events.

We’ve never had it so good with instant video coverage of weather bombs in any country. Do we need to be careful about the conclusions we draw just because they can be bought to our attention more often?

I’ve become more interested in looking up climate data over longer periods of time and the internet is interesting for novices like me.

What I offer here, is available on the internet, presented by just a few of the scientists which seem to have very credible backgrounds. I’ve seen some highly questionable, even corrupt behaviour in my career which gives me a healthy cynicism. But I cannot imagine that these scientists are on the payroll of oil companies; they are sincere and dedicated people, just as much as those scientists who are urging us to take drastic action and dispense with fossil fuels.

The climate change debate has become so political, that scientists on either side are being demonised as people who are just following the money. One pile of money supplied by Governments and the other pile by fossil fuel interests. It’s frustrating for people like me who would prefer data and scientific opinion, not rhetoric. And offensive to the scientists. It’s a dangerous distraction that shuts down the ability for rational debate.

Here are some statements from climate “sceptics” that are surely worthy of further debate:

Don J. Easterbrook is Professor Emeritus of Geology at Western Washington University. Addressing a US senate committee, he said that:

• Global warming occurred on the planet between 1915 and 1945 without any increase in human Co2 production. • When human Co2 emissions increased from 1945 to 1977, global cooling occurred • He presents more evidence to support his view that Co2 does not cause global warming. • The Antarctic ice sheet creates its own weather. There is no danger of it melting. It is “exceptionally stable.” • For the Antarctic to melt, its average annual mean temperature must increase from minus 58 degrees F. to plus 32 degrees F. (the melting point of ice measured in Fahrenheit). This means the planet temperature must increase by 80 degrees F.

Dr Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace and who now describes himself as a “ Greenpeace dropout,” is featured in several presentations. He says:

• A 100,000 year history of the planet indicates that changes in the earth’s orbit of the Sun affect global temperature, which affects Co2 in the atmosphere. • Co2 is not the control knob of global temperature. • There has not been any significant change in global temperature. It is a trend that began 300 years ago. • Increase in Co2 in the greenhouse atmosphere will create a more abundant planet. The gas is essential to plant life. • Nothing happening today, is any different from what has happened in the past 10,000 years. • The warmest temperature ever recorded was in 1913 (134 degrees F) and the coldest in 2010 ( minus 135.8 degrees F).

Dr Judith Currie, climatologist

• “The planet is clearly warming and has been over several hundred years. I don’t see a clear signal that it has been caused by humans, predominantly. • In response to the publicity that 98 percent of scientists agree that humans are causing global warming, Dr Currie said. “ironically… I’m in the 98 percent. It’s when you get down to the details that there is genuine disagreement that is glossed over.”

Dr Tim Ball

• “I knew right from the start (of his naval career as a weather researcher) how much the climate changes naturally.” • “What’s going on right now is well within natural variability. • “The Inter-Govermmental Panel on Climate Change narrowed the definition to only human causes of climate change and you can’t do that unless you know how much the climate changes naturally. And we don’t (know that yet).

These are just a few of the PhD - qualified people who, indeed, may have poisoned my mind into scepticism. There are many more who raise issues that take a similar position.

There might also be ten or more scientists for every one of these, who hold a completely opposing view.

But science is not about votes, or consensus of course. It’s about science.

In the meantime. I will continue to imagine the greenhouse atmosphere of the planet as a metaphorical standard soccer field. The amount of Co2 takes up about one small quarter circle at one corner flag, or 0.04 percent. Methane even less. The bulk of the playing field is nitrogen, oxygen and water

Why don’t we read more about these components and the effects they have?