Global Warming sceptics lose the plot!

BEST T Estimate detail

The Air Temperature above the Land Surface of the Earth (1990 -2010) according to the Berkeley Earth Science Group. The data shown are running annual averages of 12 months data (the 'noisy' graph) and running averages of 10 years of data (the smooth graph). What do you think? Is the Land Surface Temperature of the Earth rising?

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?”

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.

The Air Temperature above the Land Surface of the Earth according to the Berkeley Earth Science Group. The data shown are running annual averages of 12 months data (the 'noisy' graph) and running averages of 10 years of data (the smooth graph). What do you think? Is the Land Surface Temperature of the Earth rising?

The Air Temperature above the Land Surface of the Earth (1800 -2010) according to the Berkeley Earth Science Group. The data shown are running annual averages of 12 months data (the 'noisy' graph) and running averages of 10 years of data (the smooth graph). What do you think? Is the Land Surface Temperature of the Earth rising?

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2 Responses to “Global Warming sceptics lose the plot!”

  1. Steve Lawless (@Steve_Lawless) Says:

    Global warming deniers are on a par with creationists. If anyone took them seriously they would be more dangerous. As it is civilisation as we know it will probably be destroyed by global warming within the next 50 years. It is that serious.

  2. Bernard Naylor Says:

    Michael: I was interested to come across Guy Stewart Callendar (1898-1964) on the internet. Have you come across him? He was a ‘steam engineer’, but he had a strong personal interest in the possible impact on the atmosphere of all the carbon dioxide being emitted by the burning of fossil fuels. During the 1930s, he published papers in which he made the theoretical prediction that the production of so much carbon dioxide would increase the atmospheric temperature – though he appeared to think that the effects would most likely be benign. That is, it would reduce the possibility of ‘the return of the ice age’. He interests me particularly because he appears to have initiated a classical type of ‘scientific discovery’. That is, he predicted an effect in theory, but it was left to later scientists and their observations to confirm that what he had predicted in theory was actually occurring. I consider this important because ‘climate change deniers’ tend to allege that scientists first of all found evidence of climate change and only subsequently did they stumble on the burning of fossil fuels, in their search for the possible cause. Callendar’s publications specifically contradict that interpretation of the sequence of events.
    Bernard

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