Published by paulmacrae on 02 Feb 2024

Is CO2 the ‘control knob’ of temperature, as orthodox climate science teaches? Answer: no

Over recent and deep geological time, when temperature and carbon dioxide are correlated, temperature is the ‘control knob’ of CO2, not vice-versa

By Paul MacRae, Feb. 2, 2024

The basic theory underlying orthodox climate science is that the global temperature is highly sensitive to changes in carbon-dioxide levels. This is sometimes called the “control-knob” theory.1 If CO2 increases, so does temperature. If CO2 falls, so does temperature, more or less in lock-step—CO2 is the “control knob” of temperature.

And since we are in a “warming” world, and because CO2 levels are also going up—in other words, because temperature and CO2 levels appear to be correlated—orthodox climate science accepts that they are correlated—in fact, strongly correlated, as we’ll see. To stop this apparently dangerous warming, then, the climate scientist’s solution is to turn the “control knob” of carbon dioxide down by restricting carbon emissions in various ways, including phasing out CO2-emitting fossil fuels, thereby stifling economic growth and activity.

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  1. Andrew A. Lacis et al., “Atmospheric CO2: Principal Control Knob Governing Earth’s Temperature.” Science, Oct. 15, 2010, pp. 356-359. Available online but often behind a pay wall, although there are repostings on some public websites. For a summary of Lacis’s paper see

Published by paulmacrae on 01 Feb 2024

Neo-Malthusian pessimism, not ‘science’, is behind claims of a ‘climate crisis’

With a bit of research, Victoria radio host could educate local listeners on the follies of the Liberal government’s ‘anti-growth’ policies

By Paul MacRae, January 28, 2024

A local Victoria, B.C., radio talk-show host had some doubts about a recent caller’s argument that Canadian Maurice Strong was behind the environmental-crisis movement and, by implication, behind the “climate crisis” movement as well.

In other words, the caller was suggesting that these movements are not based on solid “science,” as we’re told, but on an anti-growth ideology rooted in Strong’s “neo-Malthusian” thinking—the view that modern civilization cannot survive affluence and will soon run out of resources, although this view has been largely disproved by facts. For example, in his 1968 book The Population Bomb, neo-Malthusian biologist Paul Ehrlich predicted:

The battle to feed humanity is over. In the 1970s the world will undergo famines—hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate.1.

Needless to say (since billions of us are still here and being fed), Ehrlich’s prediction, and all his other predictions of doom, have been totally discredited.

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  1. Ehrlich, The Population Bomb. New York: Ballantine Books, 1969 (1968), p. 11

Published by paulmacrae on 25 Jan 2024

‘Climate science’ is ‘post-normal’ science, not traditional science, so how can ‘the science’ be ‘settled’?

Claims that ‘the science has spoken’ and ‘the science is settled’ are based on the false idea that climate scientists follow the same scientific standards as traditional scientists. They don’t

By Paul MacRae, January 22, 2024

Those who dare to question or criticize the apocalyptic claims of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (“if we keep adding carbon to the atmosphere we’re all gonna fry,” basically) are told “the science is settled” or “the science has spoken.”

We’re told “the science” is the product of a “consensus” of more than 2,000 climate scientists who contribute to the IPCC’s reports; and we’re told this “consensus” is not to be questioned by non-scientists or even scientists from other disciplines because, again, the science is “settled.” Anyone who says otherwise is a “climate denier.” End of story.

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Published by paulmacrae on 06 Jul 2023

Utopian social engineering of Net Zero promoters will be disastrous

The promised climate utopia will cost us our prosperity and our freedom, if we allow it

By Paul MacRae, July 6, 2023

Dr. Trevor Hancock, the first leader of the Canadian Green Party and now a retired professor of public health, has for several years had a regular weekly column in the Victoria Times Colonist promoting what can only be called a bleak vision of the future if we don’t abandon our industrial-technological civilization and return to a more “natural” way of being (smaller communities, less consumption, etc.)

He is, of course, firmly in the Net Zero by 2050 camp when it comes to “climate change” and the headline for his June 25, 2023, column is “Climate action needs a greater sense of urgency.”1 This column focuses on the “face” of global warming in the spring and summer of 2023—forest fires—and he notes that 2023 is having the “worst wildfire season in the past 20 years.”

This upsurge in fires is due, of course, to “global warming,” hence the need for urgency. Although, curiously, the number of fires in Canada has actually gone down over the past 30 years, according to the National Forestry Database (see graph below). If forest fires are one of the “faces” of global warming, shouldn’t the number of fires have gone steadily up for those 30 years of previous warming, rather than down?

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  1. Trevor Hancock webpage,

Published by paulmacrae on 20 Aug 2022

Global warming myths: A ’sixth mass extinction’

Claims of a modern ‘human-caused biotic holocaust’ are based on computer models and guesswork, not scientific facts


In a popular textbook on writing creative non-fiction, the authors echo a familiar claim of global-warming alarmists: that thanks to our carbon emissions, we are creating a “sixth mass extinction” that will wipe out most of the planet’s animals and possibly humanity itself. The authors write:

Your [the reader’s] life has witnessed the eclipse of hundreds of thousands of species, even if they passed out of this world without your awareness. (The current rate of species extinction is matched only by that of the age of the dinosaurs’ demise.)1

This belief in a “current” mass extinction (usually blamed on climate change but also, much more plausibly, on habitat encroachment) is widely held and often cited by the environmental and anti-global-warming movements. For example, eco-crusader and former U.S. vice-president Al Gore, in his 1992 book Earth in the Balance, contended that we are losing 100 species a day, or almost 40,000 species a year.2 Gore took this figure from a book by biologist Norman Myers; where Myers got his numbers is discussed below.

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  1. Brenda Miller and Suzanne Paola, Telling It Slant: Writing and Shaping Creative Non-Fiction. Toronto: McGraw-Hill, 2005, p. 35.
  2. Al Gore, Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit. Toronto: Penguin Books, 1993 (1992), p. 28.

Published by paulmacrae on 18 Aug 2022

James Lovelock: From ultra-alarmist to climate realist

Lovelock outraged many Greens by endorsing nuclear power to reduce carbon emissions and by criticizing as irrational the green movement’s fear of nuclear generation

By Paul MacRae

James Lovelock, the inventor of the “Gaia” theory of planetary wholeness, died July 26, 2022, at the age of 103. 

Lovelock, a medical doctor and ecologist, came to prominence with his theory of “Gaia,” which proposed that thanks to human consciousness the Earth had achieved a kind of sentience. He wrote that he was not “thinking of the Earth as alive in a sentient way, or even alive like an animal or a bacterium,”1 but Gaia is nonetheless a “vast being who in her entirety has the power to maintain our planet as a fit and comfortable habitat for life” and she is “now through us awake and aware of herself.”2

As an example of Gaia’s power, Lovelock noted that although the Sun has increased its intensity by about 30 per cent since the Earth was formed 4.5 billion years ago, Gaia had rather cleverly put the planet in an ice age so it won’t burn up,3 a strategy that worked well until human beings began to heat up Gaia with our fossil-fuel emissions, creating what he called a “fever.”

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  1. James E. Lovelock, The Revenge of Gaia, Toronto: Penguin Books, 2006, p. 20.
  2. Lovelock, Gaia. Toronto: Oxford Univ. Press, 1979, pp. vii, 2, 148.
  3. Gaia, p. 20.

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Published by paulmacrae on 03 Jul 2014

Risky Business report misses the real risks

By Paul MacRae

A report written by top U.S. business magnates, including former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, warns that damage from climate change will cost billions of dollars and urges businesses to take action to stop global warming (“Global warming is serious business,” June 27, by Shannon Corrigan).

The report, entitled Risky Business, predicts that over the next century many parts of the world will be seared by heat and coastal areas will be inundated by several feet of rising sea levels, all caused by humans and their carbon emissions. For example, the report suggests that by the end of the century temperatures in Hawaii could be 2.2°-4.4° Celsius higher than today, with sea levels almost four feet higher.

Human activities have been raising CO2 levels over the past century, from about 300 parts per million to 400 ppm today. However, even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) admits in its latest report that, despite this increase in CO2, the planet has barely warmed since 1998.[1] The IPCC’s computer models predicted warming of at least third of a degree Celsius in that time.

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Published by paulmacrae on 25 Jun 2014

University of Victoria petition based on misinformation

The following is an opinion article sent to the Victoria Times Colonist on March 14, 2014. It was initially rejected by the TC’s editorial page editors (as have all my opeds over the past few years, even though I used to work there on the editorial page), then accepted, a month later, by the editor. By that time the issue was stale and I didn’t resubmit. I’m told the TC is now more willing to accept opinion articles from climate skeptics than it has been in the past, and I hope skeptics will begin to submit opinion articles critical of the “consensus”.

A student-led open letter to the University of Victoria is asking the university to divest itself of its fossil-fuel investments. “The science is clear,” the letter says. “Anthropogenic carbon emissions are causing rapid climate change worldwide.”

This is a bad idea for many reasons, but here are four reasons why the university should reject this proposal.

1. For a start, the student letter is based on inaccurate information. “Rapid climate change” is currently not happening worldwide, and hasn’t for at least the past 15 years. Even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) acknowledges the reduced rate of warming in its latest report: “The rate of warming over the past 15 years (1998–2012; 0.05°C per decade) … is smaller than the rate calculated since 1951 (1951–2012; 0.12 °C per decade).”[1]

That is, the actual, observed warming over the past 15 years, far from being “rapid,” is less than half of the warming trend from 1951. And 0.05°C of warming is so small it can only be detected by instruments. Continue Reading »

Published by paulmacrae on 10 Aug 2013

University of Victoria promotes climate alarmism

University of Victoria home page raises fears of runaway greenhouse

“Runaway greenhouse easier than previously thought,” shouts a headline on the University of Victoria home page in August. A sidebar headline asks: “Is Earth the next Venus?” With pictures of belching smokestacks, the clear implication is that human carbon emissions are going to create this runaway greenhouse.

The home page text reads: “UVic researcher Colin Goldblatt (School of Earth and Ocean Sciences) has found that the amount of solar energy the Earth now receives could trigger the greenhouse effect, where the planet would be sterilized and left with an atmosphere like that of Venus.” Scary!

Under a “Read More” link is short summary of Dr. Goldblatt’s research paper, published in Nature Geoscience. While the headline this time is more restrained—“Runaway greenhouse effect possible but difficult”—the first paragraph rather breathlessly announces that a runaway greenhouse effect would be “easier” to trigger than was previously believed. Yikes!

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Published by paulmacrae on 20 Jul 2012

Back to the Future: Paradise Lost, or Paradise Regained?

By Paul MacRae

In June, a NASA climate study announced that the warm middle Miocene era, about 16 million years ago, had carbon dioxide levels of 400 to 600 parts per million. The coasts of Antarctica were ice-free in summer, with summer temperatures 11° Celsius warmer than today. The study concluded that today’s CO2 level of 393 ppm was the highest, therefore, in millions of years, and could go to Miocene levels by the end of the century[1]. It was implied, although not directly stated, that readers should react with horror.

A UCLA team, writing in Science, had already pushed the Miocene button in 2009, claiming: “The last time carbon dioxide levels were apparently as high as they are today [15 million years ago, again the mid-Miocene]—and were sustained at those levels—global temperatures were 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit 1 higher than they are today, the sea level was approximately 75 to 120 feet higher than today, there was no permanent sea ice cap in the Arctic and very little ice on Antarctica and Greenland.”[2] Back to the Miocene! Scary!

James Hansen, the alarmist head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), regularly refers to past eras as a warning of the climate catastrophes that could occur today. For example, in 2011 Hansen warned: “[An increase of] two degrees Celsius is guaranteed disaster…. It is equivalent to the early Pliocene epoch [between 5.5 and 2.5 million years ago] when the sea level was 25m (75 feet) higher.” [4] Back to the early Pliocene! Horror!

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  1. 7-5.5°C

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