Paul MacRae, July 9, 2008

In proportion as religious sects exalt feeling above intellect, and believe themselves to be guided by direct inspiration rather than by a spontaneous exertion of their faculties — that is, in proportion as they are removed from rationalism — their sense of truthfulness is misty and confused.

— George Eliot, “Evangelical teaching: Dr. Cumming.”

After more than year’s intensive research for a book on the bizarre distortions that make up the global warming issue, I now wonder how anyone in the “consensus” climate scientist community sleeps at night. And yet, individually, I’m certain that 99 per cent of them are highly principled human beings.

If more climate scientists spoke out about what they really believe, here’s what I think the silent minority (majority?) might say:

Hello. I am a “consensus” climate scientist, and I must confess that I and many of my fellow climate scientists haven’t been entirely honest with the public over the last 20 years or so on the issue of global warming, what causes it, and what damage it is likely to cause. Therefore, I have decided to come clean and tell the public honestly what “consensus” climate science is really all about.

First, many of us are genuinely afraid that human beings are the main cause of the planetary warming of the past century and that rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere could be a serious problem, maybe even catastrophic. That’s why we’ve felt it necessary to lie to you. We’re afraid you won’t take the threat seriously if we tell you the truth – that there may not be a threat because we have absolutely no scientific evidence to back up our beliefs. None.

I know we’ve told you that the science is “settled” and “certain” and that anyone who dares question it is either senile or crazy or in the pay of the oil companies. But it’s not true. There is only circumstantial evidence that human activities are the main cause of warming, and there’s no scientific evidence at all that warming will be disastrous. There is just speculation.

For one thing, the carbon cycle is just one of dozens, maybe hundreds of factors affecting the planet’s climate. It isn’t the “principal” driver of climate. And that means humans can’t be the “principal” driver of climate, either, as Al Gore charges, since our contribution to the carbon cycle is only 5 per cent a year; nature supplies 95 per cent.

Many of my colleagues believe that, even so, humanity’s small additions of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere could be a “tipping point” that will create serious, perhaps even catastrophic global warming. They also believe that these small human additions of CO2 are causing the climate to warm at an unnaturally rapid pace.

Climate change today isn’t unusually rapid

The problem is – and we’ve done a pretty good job of keeping these facts from the public – in the past the planet has had five to 10 times the level of CO2 we have now and there was no catastrophe. The Eocene, 55 million to 38 million years ago, was much warmer, with much higher levels of CO2, than today, and the Eocene has been described as an “Eden” and a paradise for mammalian evolution. Things became tougher for mammals during the Oligocene, 38 million years ago, when the planet started to get colder.

As for warming being unusually rapid – that’s not true, either. In the last century, the planet has warmed .6 degrees Celsius. That seems like a lot by some reckonings, but it’s not unusually rapid when you look at even the recent paleo-historical record.

After the most recent glaciation ended 12,000 years ago, the planet’s temperature went up and down five degrees Celsius or more within decades. The Queen Charlotte Islands Haida say their ancestors had to move their coastal villages every generation or two because the seas were rising so quickly, because the temperature was rising so quickly.

In other words, climate change in the past has been much more rapid than today’s without any human input at all. Climate change today is not unusually or unnaturally rapid.

Most of my colleagues know this, but because of our fears of what could happen, we’ve tried to keep the public in the dark about our doubts. We’ve done this by claiming there is, in Al Gore’s words, a “100 per cent” consensus among climate scientists that the issue of the cause of global warming is settled, that it’s caused by humans, and that it’s going to be a catastrophe. And anyone who says otherwise is a heretic.

The ‘100 per cent consensus’ is a myth

Well, I’m exposing another lie: there is no “consensus.” There are thousands of scientists who don’t believe in the human-caused, catastrophic global warming theory. However, many are afraid to speak out because they will lose research grants -the U.S. alone spends an estimated $4 billion a year on climate research – and possibly have their careers ruined by their “consensus” colleagues.

My “consensus” colleagues accuse global warming skeptics of being in the pay of the oil companies. If so, they’re either highly principled or really dumb: the oil companies don’t pay nearly as well for skeptical research as governments do for research confirming global warming. Even if it’s not warming.

Because, finally, that’s the most blatant fib of all: that the planet is currently warming. It hasn’t warmed since either 1998 or 2001, depending on how you do your calculations.

Yet, so far, the “consensus” climate community has not come out and officially told the public that the planet isn’t warming. If asked, they just say it’s an interlude, a plateau, only an “apparent” lack of warming, and that warming will resume again soon. Even though ten years of no warming is more than an interlude, and not just “apparent,” they’d prefer the public not know that.

If carbon dioxide is increasing but the planet isn’t warming, even if only for 10 years, then clearly carbon dioxide isn’t driving the climate. And since human beings are only a small part of the carbon dioxide budget, it’s doubly clear that humans can’t be at fault, either.

‘Consensus’ science ignores facts in favor of ideology

But rather than come clean with the public, Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the “consensus” have tried to ignore these facts because, if they accepted the facts, they’d have to change their theory. In other words, human-caused global warming theory is, if not an outright lie, then an ideology, and ideologies don’t change just because the facts don’t support them.

It may mean my career will be ruined and I will no longer receive grant money for research, but I must speak out. I can no longer want to be a part of this lie of human-caused, catastrophic global warming.

Whether the planet warms or cools, human activities are only a small part of the climate system. Cutting down on carbon emissions will only have a small effect on climate, so there’s no point in wrecking industrial civilization to prevent a fraction of a degree of warming. And increased carbon dioxide levels won’t cause “runaway” warming. How do we know? Because CO2 levels were much higher in the past and it didn’t happen.

That’s the truth. I wish more people were aware of it. Unfortunately, I’m only a “fictional” climate scientist.

Until a few more “real” climate scientists break the “consensus” to come out with the truth, the public will continue to believe that they, not nature, are to blame for warming, that carbon dioxide is a “pollutant” when, in fact, it’s essential for life, and that the solution is taxing themselves into poverty – all based on a consensus climate science whose “consensus” and “science” are, alas, as “fictional” as I am.