Sunday, 7 February 2010

Climate Change

With the recent UK Met office predictions of Barbeque summers and mild winters that don’t materialise, the subject of ‘Global Warming’ never seems far from mind these days.

Belief in the theory influences may public decisions and where much public money is expended.

Possibly even Met office predictions, confounded by cool damp summers and frozen snowy winters. Predictions, it has been suggested, that are influenced by an evangelical conviction in Anthropocentric Global Warming of the Met offices boss and his hiring policy.

Lots of shorthand terms are bandied about. “Global warming”, “Climate change”, etc.

So lets examine the facts. Climate Change is an incontrovertible fact. There is overwhelming evidence accrued over years and over recorded history to back it up.

At various times the earth has lazed under balmy tropical temperatures over much of it’s surface, at others ice has covered vastly more of it’s surface than it does today. There is evidence that the climate has swung from warm to cold and back again countless times.

It did so before mankind existed and could not possibly have influenced it. It has continued to do so since he walked the earth, again before mankind could conceivably had any impact on it.

So then, climate change incontrovertibly exists - and would still exist if mankind had never existed, it will continue if we were to cease to exist.

What causes it? Well probably a complicated mix of many things. How far the earth is from the sun, cloud cover, the arrangements of the continents, sunspot activity, volcanic activity, how much dust and particulate matter is in the atmosphere to list a few.

Even Mars apparently undergoes variations, these must surely be entirely natural. It is difficult to imagine one or two solar powered rovers having much impact on climate.

It is questionable that we and so-called climate scientists have the definitive answer to all the causes of climate change and how they interact. To be honest I suspect if they are honest they are still trying to work it out.

Now currently all the evidence suggests we are in the middle of a series of coolings and warmings that fluctuate over millennia, with smaller fluctuations, or beats within the larger ones.

Most of recorded history happens to have taken place within a period of warming where the ice sheets retreated and vast amounts water, locked up in ice sheets on the land melted and the sea levels varied as water was added to them and some parts of the earth that had been squashed down under the weight of miles of ice rebounded and rose and surrounding areas that had been pushed up correspondingly sank.

One suspects we have been able to advance and support increasing numbers at least partly because warming of the climate has helped us survive and prosper.

So global warming? Yes that too must exist along with global cooling and the current warming has been going on since before the start of recorded history.

35,000 years ago, not so long in the grand scheme of things, There was ice sheet just north of where London is now. To the south tundra with caribou. There was no north sea or channel.

The ice began to melt, things began to get warmer. If that hadn’t happened then right now, where I am just now you could probably see a wall of ice.

This was not influenced by Cro-Magnon or Neanderthal four wheeled drive vehicles, or by the methane emitted by cows that went into their burger chains. Maybe planes full of teeming bison, caribou, wooly rhinoceros and mammoths are just as windy…

The logic is inescapable global warming can and does happen absolutely independent of the influence of mankind.

Left to it’s own devices it is overwhelmingly likely that some time in the next few thousand years things would have all changed round and started to get colder again.

The earth has seen much colder climate than it is now, but it has also seen much warmer, even in recorded history.

There have been little fluctuations over the last few thousand years that made things more or less comfortable for humans.

Most recently there was what is known as “The little ice age” a cooler period where the river Thames in London froze regularly enough for there to be annual ice fares held on it. When we regularly had snow.

Before that, around 1,000 years ago, there was what is known as “the little climatic optimum”, when the climate in Greenland was relatively balmy and vineyards did well in England.

So the real question is have our actions had any effect on top of all that? Over and above the large natural fluctuations that are incontrovertibly continuously taking place even now.

Can we really definitively spot anything we may have done to influence the climate amongst the complicated backdrop of what we know must be naturally varying the climate? Do we really know enough to be able to?

It seems we can’t really fully understand the natural mechanisms yet so we are left trying to spot trends in statistics and trying to work out if they correlate in any way and if any do is it direct or indirect. One suspects there is a lot of interpretation involved.

It is interesting to note even the UK’s Met Office, prominent proponents of the theory of manmade global warming doesn’t seem to be bale to get it right, having apparently got their long range forecasts wrong for the past decade by it seems inflating expected temperatures in line with theory and being consistently disappointed.

One thing that concerns me, as (I like to think) a reasonably educated and informed and logical layman are the instances of mistakes, exaggerations and possibly outright fraud in the so-called science of man made global warming. From sea level ‘adjustments’, to models that produce a hockey stick, no matter what data is input, to the scandal of the recently leaked emails.

Speaking of which it has now come out that Professor Phil Jones’ Climatic Research Unit according to the Deputy Information Commissioner Graham Smith committed offences from 2007 to 2008 under section 77 of the Freedom of Information Act in that they intentionally prevented the disclosure of requested information.

They have apparently only avoided prosecution because of the way the statute of limitations on the offences are being generously interpreted.

There is also now an independent review chaired by Sir Muir Russell attempting to establish if there is evidence that data was manipulated or suppressed in a way which was "at odds with acceptable scientific practice".

These are cutting edge so-called climate scientists of world renown who have committed offences by concealing or destroying data that they feel might me ‘misleading’ and who are apparently essentially suspected by the authorities of fiddling their results.
These same results are certainly still being used to bolster warmist claims/predictions.

Then there is the sheer vitriol, name calling and reflexive denigration heaped by all ‘believers’ (including the PM recently) on anyone who remotely seems to question the warmist agenda or theory. I don’t trust it.

That to me reeks of the rage and offence taken by a true believer when their deeply held religious or political beliefs are challenged.

It is my experience that the word of such people is not particularly reliable. There is a danger that their deeply held beliefs may make it seem ok to basically lie to bolster their case, especially if they are convinced they are right anyway.

The data in the IPCC reports is now revealed to be of extremely dubious merit, especially concerning dodgy claims of the rate of deglaciation. So dubious that scientists are daring to complain about a lack of proper peer review.

If these claims and it seems others as well are not to be trusted then just how much else that comes out of the IPCC can be?

So for myself I find myself in the position of being unable to trust the so-called data, those ‘climate scientists’ who earn a good living out of the theory and the politicians who find it such a good excuse to raise taxes and enact progressively draconian laws. I am also equally unsure of the motives of many deniers. I am left in a position of not knowing what to believe either way on the anthropocentric theory.

These are many of the same politicians who brought us WMD and the 45 minute deployment claim. It could be those claims were over egged too.

Of course the argument will probably be settled in 25 years time. Either the warmist predictions will have come to pass or not. If they are still arguing by then with nothing definitive to show then the theory is probably wrong in some way. I still wonder exactly what is responsible for the cycle of ice ages.

So meanwhile what to do?

Well it seems to me that we do need energy self sufficiency and it is desirable to avoid air pollution. We don’t want to be breathing smog, chemicals, particulate matter. It might also be good to avoid deforestation and the loss of species and complex habitat involved.

So in some respect it would seem to be desirable to proceed with developing green power generation and energy self sufficiency regardless of the accuracy of the theory of manmade global warming or not. I do feel strongly it would be very desirable to avoid crippling our economies with prohibitive taxes and red tape while doing it , especially after the recession has focussed our minds.

Maybe better if done with logic and honesty, without the largely unnecessary argument and without the quasi-religious zeal and vitriol. Done efficiently and cheaply. There could be manufacturing and employment benefits too.

Clearly the existing wind technology is not nearly as effective as is generally advertised by the warmist camp as it can only harvest energy when the wind actually blows and then only in proportion to how much it blows. It occurs to me that if it was used to pump water up a column or compress air it could at least be used to store energy from a windy day until it was needed.

Tidal energy is ever present unfailing and surrounds us. It would seem a far more reliable bet Unfortunately the energy harvesting technology seems much less developed and effective.

Finally there is the nuclear option. Personally I believe this can fill the looming energy gap, exacerbated by green Luddite resistance to the construction of new power stations, particularly nuclear. More effectively and efficiently and much sooner than anything else.

Currently the entire volume of high level nuclear waste from the entire life time energy use of a single individual takes up a lump of matter about the size of a household roll of duct tape.

The merits, benefits and dis-benefits of nuclear energy are material for another entire post.

1 comment:

Moggs Tigerpaw said...

Wow that was a longer than usual post. I know what you mean tho. We know there were ice ages with mammoths and things.

We know it was all tropical swampy when coal got laid down... or did they change that now, like they change dinosaurs names, no fair they are dead and can't complain ^_^

We know politicians would probably turn into pumpkins if they ever told the truth.

Now it looks like the guy in charge of the IPCC can't be trusted, I read he got huge grants over the bogus stuff about the Himalayan glaciers.

Now I don't know who you can believe, or what. Especially when there would likely be some climate change naturally anyway.

I think you sum up the picture and are right that we need to probably take steps anyway, even if it is lies, just really I don't think they should be allowed to rip us off doing it.