Archive for June, 2008

Published by on 24 Jun 2008

Climate change: Learning to think like a geologist

Paul MacRae, June 24, 2008

Most geologists aren’t part of Al Gore’s “100 per cent consensus” of scientists that humans are the principal cause of global warming and that we have to take drastic steps to deal with it.

For example, in March 2008, a poll of Alberta’s 51,000 geologists found that only 26 per cent believe humans are the main cause of global warming. Forty-five per cent believe both humans and nature are causing climate change, and 68 per cent don’t think the debate is “over,” as Gore would like the public to believe.1

The position of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists is quite clear:

The earth’s climate is constantly changing owing to natural variability in earth processes. Natural climate variability over recent geological time is greater than reasonable estimates of potential human-induced greenhouse gas changes. Because no tool is available to test the supposition of human-induced climate change and the range of natural variability is so great, there is no discernible human influence on global climate at this time. Continue Reading »

  1. Gordon Jaremko, “Causes of climate change varied: poll.” Edmonton Journal, March 6, 2008.

Published by on 15 Jun 2008

The making of a climate skeptic

Paul MacRae, June 15, 2008

How is it possible for a theory, which is false in its component parts, to be true as a whole?

— Jean Francois Revel, Neither Marx nor Jesus, p. 15

After reading some of the False Alarm website, which criticizes the scientific “consensus” that humans are the principal cause of global warming, a friend sent me an email the other day that read, in part:

How can many, many respected, competitive, independent science folks be so wrong about this (if your premise is correct)?  I don’t think it could be a conspiracy, or incompetence…  Has there ever been another case when so many “leading” scientific minds got it so wrong?

This is a really good question. I’m not a climate scientist (but, then, neither is Al Gore); I’m an ex-journalist, now an academic. I teach professional writing. How dare I claim to know more than, say, the 2,000 or so scientists who contribute to the reports of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)? These are the experts, after all, and they say that humans are the principal cause of global warming at the moment. How could the experts possibly be wrong?

Continue Reading »

Published by on 13 Jun 2008

Sir David Attenborough hosed on global warming

Paul MacRae, June 13, 2008

David Attenborough is the narrator of the brilliant Planet Earth nature series and many other excellent nature documentaries. And so it’s sad to see him appear in a video on YouTube being hosed by a climate scientist’s so-called computer-generated “proof” that humans are the main cause of global warming.

In the YouTube video (“Sir David Attenborough: The Truth About Climate Change,” taken from a documentary series of the same name), Attenborough is shown a chart (see below) of the temperature rising (red line), natural variation (green line), which climatologist Peter Cox explains as being caused by volcanoes, solar variation, etc., and the greenhouse effect produced by humans (yellow line). All of this data is being supplied by a computer climate model. Continue Reading »

Published by on 07 Jun 2008

Stephane Dion 1, Logic 0

Paul MacRae, June 7, 2008

In an article in the June 6, 2008, National Post, Liberal Leader Stephane Dion declares: “The debate is over, the science is conclusive: Climate change is real, it is man-made and unless something is done, it will damage the planet and our way of life. What our country needs now is bold leadership that will engage Canadians in an honest debate, quickly put a price on carbon and–given uncertain times–bring forward a plan to allow Canada to succeed in the 21st-century global economy.”

Let’s parse this statement by Dion to see if it makes any sense. Continue Reading »

Published by on 04 Jun 2008

Are sunspots to blame for climate change?

Paul MacRae, May 31, 2008

“It is time to put aside the global warming dogma, at least to begin contingency planning about what to do if we are moving into another little ice age.”

–from “The Deniers: Our spotless sun.”

Those who still think humans are to blame for planetary warming and cooling should have a look at Lawrence Solomon’s article in the National Post, May 31, 2008, The Deniers: Our spotless sun.”

It shows pretty conclusively that changes in sunspot activity have caused major climatic changes in the past (the Medieval Warm Period, 800-1350, and the Little Ice Age, 1350-1850), and that low sunspot activity now may bring on another cooling that we will like far less than warming (which usually brings benefits). Continue Reading »

Published by on 03 Jun 2008

Is the planet still warming?

Paul MacRae, March 9, 2008

If the temperature data since 2001 is correct, climate change is clearly not due primarily to carbon dioxide levels.

Has global warming stopped? That’s the title of an article published in December in The New Statesman by respected British science journalist David Whitehouse.

“Surely not,” writes Whitehouse. “What heresy is this? Haven’t we been told that the science of global warming is settled beyond doubt and that all that’s left to the so-called skeptics is the odd errant glacier that refuses to melt?” Continue Reading »

Published by on 03 Jun 2008

We’re a long way from global-warming ‘oblivion’

Our planet is unusually cold right now; CO2 levels are  unusually low

Paul MacRae,
Times Colonist, March 9, 2008

A Victoria environmental activist was quoted in the Times Colonist in January as saying he is trying to prevent “the demise of the planet” due to climate change. No less a figure than UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said, at the Bali environmental summit in December: “One path leads to a comprehensive climate change agreement, the other to oblivion. The choice is clear.”

Is it? Are we heading for the “demise” of the planet, to “oblivion,” if carbon dioxide levels go up much beyond their current level of 380 parts per million, or if the global temperature goes up three or four or five or, for that matter, 10 degrees from its current average of 12 degrees Celsius? Continue Reading »

Published by on 03 Jun 2008

Why climate ‘science’ isn’t science

When it comes to global warming, falsifiable theories are in short supply

Paul MacRae, May 21, 2008

The gold standard for what is and isn’t “science” was set by philosopher of science Karl Popper in his 1959 book The Logic of Scientific Discovery.

For Popper, science begins not with observation of data, as the non-scientist would expect, but with an hypothesis, a way of approaching the data. The hypothesis is then tested by the researcher, the results published if warranted, and then retested and/or peer reviewed by other scientists. Continue Reading »

Published by on 03 Jun 2008

Welcome to Climate Change Deniers Anonymous

We refuse to feel guilty about something we didn’t cause

Paul MacRae, June 2, 2008

Good evening, and welcome to tonight’s meeting of Climate Change Deniers Anonymous. My name is Paul, and I am a Climate Change Denier.

This doesn’t mean I don’t believe climate change is occurring. Like most Deniers, I’m aware that global warming has been going on for the past 15,000 years, ever since the last Ice Age ended. Continue Reading »

Published by on 03 Jun 2008

Al Gore: The speech he needs to give

Paul MacRae, October 14, 2007

I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis.

–Al Gore, interview with Grist magazine, May 9, 2002

Hi. I’m Al Gore, and I used to be the next president of the United States.

This month, a British court found that my global-warming film An Inconvenient Truth was more political propaganda than a science documentary, and couldn’t be shown in schools in that country unless the teachers said very clearly that parts of it were based on ideology, not scientific facts.(1)

It seems the judge compared nine points I’d made with what the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had written and found I’d got them wrong. The IPCC is considered the world’s scientific authority on global warming, so maybe I should have stuck to what they said. Continue Reading »

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