False Alarm: Global Warming — Facts Versus Fears

(originally subtitled: Why Almost Everything We’ve Been Told About Global Warming is Misleading, Exaggerated, or Plain Wrong)

On this site are excerpts from and notes for a book I am writing on the myths, exaggerations, and outright falsehoods being told to the public about global warming. The book was published in July, 2010, and is available in print format through Amazon for around $20 (click on the Amazon logo to the upper left), and also in epub format for iPad, iPod, Kindle, etc., at Apple’s iBooks and Kobo. The price in e-format is $4.99.

My writing comes from an inquiring perspective that prefers not to accept any scientific “consensus” without solid proof. In this site and the book, I hope to show that the proof, in the case of global warming alarmism, simply does not exist.

False Alarm cover

 

As a columnist and editorial writer, I wrote on the environmental movement from time to time, always with the healthy skepticism that any good journalist should have. Over time, I discovered that “green” groups expect journalists and the public to accept their alarmist pronouncements without question, however far-fetched their claims.

Several of my columns for the Victoria Times Colonist were skeptical of these claims and, often, quite strongly attacked by environmentalists. I generally don’t take these attacks too seriously—to each his/her own opinions.

One column, however, was criticized by the University of Victoria’s Dr. Andrew Weaver, Canada’s leading computer climate modeler, as lacking in “scientific literacy.” Since I read a lot of science and based my columns on scientific research, I was surprised and looked for an avenue to reply. The best alternative was to research and write a book, which I did for two and a half years.

In the course of writing this book, I became a confirmed skeptic about the claims by the global warming alarmists. Why? Because in my research I’ve found that almost everything the public has been told about global warming is, in fact, misleading, exaggerated, or plain wrong—including the claim that the planet is currently warming (see “Is the planet still warming?”).

Why so much disinformation? Because many climate scientists and environmental groups appear to have lost their objectivity when it comes to global warming, to the point of not just criticizing but condemning as “irresponsible” or “immoral” (or “scientifically illiterate”) all viewpoints but their own position: that the primary cause of warming is human activity and that warming will be a disaster.

They regard this viewpoint as utterly certain, even though absolute certainty has no place in science. As a result, those who, based on an enormous amount of evidence, suggest global warming (and cooling) are primarily still caused by natural cycles are literally condemned as heretics.

Are human activities mainly responsible for global warming? Or are we experiencing natural cycles? We don’t know for certain, and can’t know for certain, because we can’t get facts from the future. Therefore, logic suggests that all reasonable points of view, including those of the skeptics, should receive a respectful scientific hearing.

Instead, there is condemnation of those who are critical of the “consensus.” In short, when it comes to global warming, we are faced with scientific objectivity gone wrong. The inevitable result is misinformation, exaggeration and outright falsehood.

Is there a ‘consensus’? The three claims

The claims of the global warming alarmists, for which there is supposed to be 100 per cent “consensus,” according to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, come down to the following:

Figure 1: Hadley temperatures 2000-2012. Source: Woodfortrees.org

1. The earth is warming. There’s no problem accepting this claim since the earth came out of a glacial episode in the current ice age only 12,000 years or so ago and has been warming, with ups and downs, ever since. Unfortunately for the alarmists, the earth hasn’t warmed for the past decade and more, as you can see in Figure 1, which shows the temperature record for 2000-2012 as recorded by Britain’s Hadley Institute. Note that the temperature trend, as shown by the green line, is almost flat for this time.

In the future, the temperature trend may show more warming, at least for a while—after all, the three previous interglacials (we are in an interglacial) were warmer than today’s so far, with no human input whatsoever (see Climate Change: Learning to think like a geologist). Therefore, there’s no reason this interglacial shouldn’t become a bit warmer quite naturally, regardless of what humans do or don’t do, like the previous warm spells. Overall, though, the earth is currently in an ice age mode, and climate is always changing. We should really start to worry when the climate moves toward colder, not warmer.

2. Human beings are the principal cause of this warming through increased carbon dioxide emissions. Given that there are literally hundreds, perhaps thousands, of factors affecting climate, and given that human carbon emissions are about three per cent of total carbon emissions—the rest comes from “natural” sources like vegetable decomposition, ocean outgassing, volcanos, etc.—that humans now dominate the climate seems highly unlikely. At the very least, extreme skepticism should be exercised about any such claim, along with respect for differing points of view since the science isn’t “settled.” Instead, however, those who question this “truth” are regarded as somehow deluded and on a par with Holocaust deniers.

3. Thanks to rising human carbon emissions, we are heading into “oblivion (to quote UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon) or a planet that will “burn up.” In the past, carbon dioxide levels have been up to 10 times current levels and temperatures more than 10 degrees Celsius higher than today’s, and the planet not only didn’t “burn up,” but its plants and animals evolved and thrived. Forty million years ago, when carbon levels were at least five times today’s and temperatures about eight degrees Celsius higher, the planet was lush and green; some paleo-geologists have called it an “Eden,” others “the golden age of mammals.” We are not heading into “oblivion” or the “demise of the planet,” as one Victoria, B.C., environmental activist put it, if carbon dioxide or temperature levels go up, although we may have to make major adaptations to a changing climate—a climate that will get warmer, or colder, no matter what we do or don’t do.

False Alarm: Global Warming—Facts Versus Fears examines each of these three claims in detail and finds all but the first one—that the planet is, overall, warming—dubious. Yet we are told there is a massive “consensus” of climate scientists around these claims. This claim of consensus, too, is false. Indeed, I’ve found very little written by the global warming alarmists that can stand up to scientific or logical scrutiny.

As I continue to add to this site, I hope you’ll continue looking in from time to time and add your comments. You can also send comments  to my email address, prmacraeATgmail.com. (Replace the AT with ‘@’. This is to discourage Spambots.)

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