Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Question - Anthropogenic Global Warming: Myth or Reality? Answer - Myth

Clameur de Haro has been travelling extensively to both London and Brussels of late, but was fortunate on Thursday November 12 to attend the lecture and subsequent debate in Westminster organised by The Spectator entitled “Global Warming: Myth or Reality?”. The principal speaker was Professor Ian Plimer, Professor of Geology at the University of Adelaide and Emeritus Professor of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne, prominent anthropogenic climate change sceptic, and author of the recently-published book “Heaven and Earth”, which brilliantly contrasts the proven science on climatic and geological changes to the Earth throughout its existence with the current green politics of climate alarmism propaganda.
One notable absentee, though, was Guardianista eco-prophet and all-round militant enviro-Greenie, George (“the science is settled”) Monbiot, who, although invited, tellingly declined to come and engage in debate with a proper scientist.
In a masterful presentation, Prof. Plimer depicted the huge geological and climatic changes which have been a constant feature of up to 4½ billion years of Earth history. He explained how massive changes had taken place in the constituents of the atmosphere, driven by factors as diverse as: life itself, the introduction of oxygen to the atmosphere, the exchanges of gases between the atmosphere and the oceans, and tectonic plate movement causing massive changes in ocean currents (including the isolation of Antarctica, allowing for permanent glaciation on that continent), and how all these have changed climate throughout the Earth’s existence.
Emphasising that the Earth has in fact had prolonged periods when it was much, much colder than today, he described six major glaciations / Ice Ages, and pointed out that during no fewer than five of them, levels of atmospheric CO2, including during the cooling phases, were actually higher - as much as 10 times higher - than today, while at other times it was much warmer than today, with the whole Earth, poles as well, enjoying tropical conditions – not surprising, as the Earth is fundamentally a warm, wet, greenhouse, volcanic planet.
Professor Plimer went on to show that, despite the fact that the extent of cooling experienced since just 1998 has significantly negated the rise in temperatures over the previous 30 years (with the fall from January 2007 to January 2008 being the steepest one-year fall since 1880), despite the fact that present temperatures are 7°C below most of the last 500 million years, and despite the fact that atmospheric CO2 is only one ten-thousandth more than it was in 1750, the IPCC tells us that an increase of merely 2°C would be disastrous, leading to a runaway greenhouse effect, ocean acidification, the dissolution of all crustacea in the oceans, and the death of coral – and all because of man-made CO2.
As he stated, what the militant enviro-Greenie / warmist-alarmist religion cannot explain is why none of these disasters seems to have occurred at earlier periods of Earth history when the Earth was much warmer, and the atmosphere was much, much richer in CO2. As Professor Plimer pointed out, far from being a pollutant, CO2 is an entirely natural trace gas in the atmosphere, which is essential to life, and to plant growth: today’s atmosphere is in fact relatively impoverished in CO2 compared to most of the Earth’s history. Higher levels of CO2 would increase both rates of biomass generation and crop yields, and as Professor Plimer also pointed out, throughout human history, warming periods have coincided with increasing food production, life expectancy and prosperity, while cold periods have produced conflict-causing population migrations, poverty and famine.
Professor Plimer admitted that the causes of climate change over geological history are not entirely well understood, but that the main factors appear to be solar irradiance and variations or oscillations in the Earth’s orbit leading to long-term climate cycles, other astronomical factors including gas and dust in space, super-volcanic activity, changes in cloud cover and cloud formation possibly linked to cosmic ray activity, and tectonic plate movement leading to major changes in ocean currents. In the face of all these factors, he said, the idea of fixating on one single trace gas in the atmosphere essential for life, then accusing it and finding it guilty of total responsibility for climate change, is an absurdity bordering on madness.
On one point though, Clameur de Haro disagreed with Professor Plimer. The latter urged the audience to eschew the linguistic tactics so enthusiastically espoused by the militant enviro-Greenie / warmist-alarmist religion who talk about “fighting climate change” or “the war on CO2 emissions”; in his view the language of war has in his view no place in science, because science is simply a process of discovery, with one hypothesis being replaced by another as refuting evidence becomes incontrovertible.
Clameur de Haro would agree with this if science was the only, or even the main factor in the climate change debate as put forward by the warmist enviro-doomsters. But it isn’t. The debate from their side is much more about the opportunity to impose collectivist politics, socialist economics and the inherently flawed Greenist religion which the affectations of concerned environmentalism conveniently conceal.
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Nick Palmer said...

You wrote:

One notable absentee, though, was Guardianista eco-prophet and all-round militant enviro-Greenie, George (“the science is settled”) Monbiot, who, although invited, tellingly declined to come and engage in debate with a proper scientist.

This is all you need to know about Plimer. Do you believe Derren Brown has magical powers when he uses sleight of hand to deceive you? Plimer is similar to Brown.

Book: Heaven and Earth

Plimer's denialist book on global warming was published in 2009 and sold about 20,000 copies in Australia and a similar amount in the USA. The book was universally panned by scientists as full of errors and even accused of plagiarism.

The argument with George Monbiot

Demagogues like Plimer constantly try to trap scientists into public debates, where they will use the Gish gallop (look it up on Wkipedia) to fool the innocent crowds.

After the publication of his book met with harsh criticism from The Guardian's George Monbiot, who derided the book, saying that "Since its publication in Australia it has been ridiculed for a hilarious series of schoolboy errors, and its fudging and manipulation of the data", Plimer challenged Monbiot to a public debate on the issues covered in the book. Monbiot responded by insisting that Plimer, who is known for his "Gish Gallop" approach to debates (a rapid-fire presentation of arguments and changing topics very quickly), first answer a series of written questions for publication on the Guardian's website. Plimer refused and Monbiot labeled Plimer a "grandstander" with a "broad yellow streak" who has never answered the accusations of serious errors in his Heaven and Earth book, and accused him of trying to "drown out the precise refutations published by his book's reviewers". Plimer then reversed his decision, and agreed to answer written questions in return for a live debate. However, instead of the expected answers, he sent a series of questions to Monbiot. Negotiations with Plimer for a face-to-face debate eventually broke down and no debate was held.

Anonymous said...

Modelling across disciplines as diverse as weather, geology and biology is an enormous problem. This FT letter is relevant:

Time for a more open debate on climate change
Published: November 28 2009 02:00 | Last updated: November 28 2009 02:00
From Dr Tom Allan.

Sir, Your article on climate change featuring 10 supporters of anthropogenic warming and one sceptic (“Definitely maybe”, FT Magazine, November 21/22) possibly reflects the relative funding levels.

The answers you receive from such an imbalance are never in doubt. But doubt is exactly what is required – even if much of it does come from a few retired, and therefore independent, environmentalists.

It is observations, not consensus, that we must heed. Sea level has increased by a modest 3mm per year since precise measurements from satellites began 18 years ago. The satellite view of Antarctica has just recorded the lowest summer melt in 30 years, and global temperatures rose no more than 0.6°C in the 1980s and 1990s. Facts. Everything else is conjecture stemming from a belief that carbon dioxide concentrations might cause temperatures to rise in future.

The models that climate scientists have signed up to do not inspire confidence. Unable to replicate the modest excursions in temperature over the 20th century, they also failed to predict the downturn witnessed over the past decade.

Anyway, who determines that any change in our climate will be bad. When the scientists told us in the 1970s that we were heading for another ice age they also forewarned (with perhaps more reason) that the consequences would not be good. Does that mean we are living in the best possible climate ever?

The time has come for a more open debate on what may (or may not be) cause the modest changes we witness in our climate – or must we wait for another 10 years of cooling? The issue is far from “settled”.

Tom Allan,
Satellite Observing Systems,
Godalming, Surrey, UK

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Clameur, An excellent link for your Blog:


Clameur de Haro said...

Thank you, Anon.

Clamour of the Times is a very good blog indeed (not included in the Blogroll on my sidebar only because it isn't always updated regularly): it's run by Professor Philip Stott, Emeritus Professor of Biogeography at SOAS, which is part of London University.

You might have in fact heard him on Radio 4's Today Programme this morning, discussing ClimateGate and the revelations of data concealment and manipulation by the CRU. When even the Biased BBC starts giving air-time to sceptics like Prof Stott, you know that the entire climate and AGW scam is starting to unravel.

Nick Palmer said...

Tom Allan,
Satellite Observing Systems,
Godalming, Surrey, UK

Don't jump to conclusions about the credibility either of the man or his deceptive presentation of his assertions or you'll end up being humiliated...

Try reading credible sources instead of misleading rhetoric merchants.
Rwead cerdbe sources