I hesitate to criticise other scientists: data is often complex and perspectives differ. When it comes to the issue of Global Warming, data is amazingly complex and perspectives differ radically. But I have reached my limit!
A recent opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal by high profile scientists says – summarising – that there is ‘no cause for panic’. The associated WSJ video coverage refers to Global Warming as a ‘hoax’. The comments on the video show utterly irrelevant pictures of snow ploughs!
Friends, colleagues, readers: this is complete nonsense. I don’t want to go on and on about this but the issue is actually breathtakingly simple:
- Human beings are putting colossal amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere: 30 billion tonnes (-ish) every year. This is roughly 1% of the amount carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
- Carbon dioxide absorbs infra-red radiation and is a small part of the greenhouse gas cocktail that warms the Earth by roughly 33 ºC.
- It would be utterly astonishing if this extra carbon dioxide had no effect – in fact – it is just inconceivable! So the question is: “What effect is it having?”
- I have commented recently on the alarming changes in the Arctic
- The most recent data published on the surface temperature of the Earth is shown at the head of the page as 1-year and 10-year running averages from 1990. It is clear that there are multi-year cycles in the data – but saying that the surface temperature has not risen in the last 10 years is – frankly – asinine. And if you look at the full record at the foot of this page, you can see the data in a better context. (Link to Excel (xlsx) spreadsheet containing graphs and data for re-plotting)
This is not a right-wing versus left-wing issue: the Financial Times is convinced about the reality of global warming. This a facing-up-to-reality versus not-facing-up-to-reality issue. The scientists are right that ‘panic’ is inappropriate because ‘panic doesn’t help. But everyone should be concerned about this issue. And in my opinion, very concerned.