AN IRRATIONAL FEAR OF CARBON

Author: Robert D. Brinsmead

August 2008

 

We appear to have entered a new age of unreason…It is from this, above all, that we really need to save the planet. Nigel Lawson

 

 

It is widely believed that the carbon emissions of our modern industrial civilization will cause catastrophic global warming. It is called anthropogenic [man-made] global warming (AGW). Media headlines and political chatter have become obsessed with carbon. There is endless talk of carbon emissions, carbon pollution, carbon footprint, carbon offsets, carbon rationing, carbon tax and carbon trading.

 

We need a new word to encompass all this alarmism about carbon. The word that readily suggests itself is carbophobia. It means “an irrational fear of carbon.” 

 

The obsessive fear of carbon, carbon emissions, and carbon dioxide is totally irrational.

 

In the first place, carbon was forged in the unimaginable heat of the supernovae to become the fourth most common element in the universe and the most common of all non-gaseous elements.  There are more carbon compounds than the compounds of all other elements combined. Every organic compound is composed of carbon. This means that all life is carbon-based.

 

There are vast stores of carbon in the earth, most of it in the form of carbonated rocks and organic material from all forms of life that have died to  make decomposing vegetation, humus, coal and other fossil fuels. The ocean too contains vast amounts of carbon stored in sediments, shells, corals. The ocean contains about ninety times more carbon dioxide than is found in the atmosphere. [See Appendix 3(c)]. Besides all this carbon in the earth (the lithosphere), oceans and rivers (the hydrosphere) and in the air (the atmosphere), there is a great amount of carbon stored up in all the living plants and creatures on earth (the biosphere).  This includes the micro-organisms in the soil and in the oceans. This micro-life makes up more than two thirds of the world’s biomass.

 

As any good text book on biology will tell us, all life on this planet is carbon-based. Every living thing, whether plant or animal is composed of carbon compounds. The building blocks for life are made of carbon.  The dry matter of plants, whether giant trees or tiny grasses, is more than 90% carbon.  The entire animal kingdom is also composed of carbon. Every organ, nerve, and the trillions of cells right down to our DNA is composed of carbon compounds. The old Biblical statement, “Dust thou art, and to dust thou shalt return” could be scientifically up-dated to read, “Carbon you are, and to carbon you shall return.”

 

The world of living things is an amazing dance of living carbon.

 

The entire lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere is therefore saturated and permeated with carbon. Carbon is among the most ubiquitous substances on this planet. It is irrational nonsense to claim that something as ubiquitous as carbon has become a threat to either life or the environment. For every living thing, whether plant or animal, can only exist by absorbing carbon from the environment and by emitting carbon into the environment. Neither life nor the ordered existence of this planet as we know it could continue to exist without this continuing vital exchange and circulation of carbon and carbon dioxide between lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere.

 

In the light of these fundamental facts about the cosmic order and life itself, the fear of carbon, carbon emissions and carbon dioxide is totally irrational. By the very nature of carbon’s ubiquitous presence around us and in absolutely everything we do, including the thinking processes of our brains and the breath by which we speak, every form of organic carbon has to be both life-friendly and environmentally friendly.  Fear of carbon emissions is as irrational as a fear of life itself. The current obsession about our carbon footprint is as irrational as an obsession with our own shadow. In the words of that prince of climatologists, Richard Lindzen (MIT), it has become “a tsunami of insanity.”

 

Plants and animals don’t make carbon. Plants must absorb carbon from the environment in order to grow and produce food for the animal kingdom, but plants can’t absorb carbon out of the ground or from the sea because it does not exist there in a form that they can use.

 

The only place plants can source their carbon is from the atmosphere.

 

Carbon dioxide is absorbed through the stomata on the leaves of plants. Using the sunlight in the process called photosynthesis, plants convert the carbon dioxide into plant structure and growth. At the same time, the plant expels the oxygen for the use of the animal kingdom. Whilst the roots of the plant absorb water and essential minerals such as calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and iron from the soil, carbon dioxide is the basic food of all plant life. A plant’s dry matter is more than 90% processed carbon dioxide.

 

The cow eats the grass which is processed carbon dioxide. When our children eat steak, they are energized by processed carbon dioxide, and their growing bodies are composed of processed carbon dioxide.

 

Carbon dioxide is the gas of life. It is the plant food that sustains the whole web of life. Carbon dioxide is colorless, odorless, and entirely non-toxic. Along with water and oxygen, carbon dioxide makes up the three most basic essentials of life.

 

Since planet earth and all life on it are saturated and permeated with carbon, and since the whole chain of life must start with plants deriving their food from carbon dioxide, becoming carbophobic is completely irrational. To speak of either carbon or carbon dioxide as a pollutant is a serious misnomer. Carbon and carbon dioxide are as compatible and as necessary to life as water and oxygen.

 

 

CO2 is Beneficial to Plant Life

 

Elevated levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are an enormous benefit to plant life. Over the last 100 years, the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have risen by about 30%. As those CO2 levels have accelerated in recent years, agriculture has flourished and food production has increased. This is not a matter of conjecture, nor is it an unproven hypothesis. It has been demonstrated again and again in hundreds of experiments. (See <http://www.co2science.org>) Indoor tomato growers raise the fruit yield of their tomato plants 40% simply by raising the carbon dioxide levels in their greenhouses to about 900-1,000 ppm - three times the level of C02 in the outdoor atmosphere.  This is achieved with carbon dioxide emissions derived from burning fossil fuel. These 40% productivity gains are achieved without using any additional water, and with absolutely no ill effect on those who work long hours within these greenhouses. The CO2 levels in these indoor greenhouses are about the same as the CO2 levels in an average office. Many indoor plant nursery operators also spike the air of their greenhouses with elevated levels of carbon dioxide to accelerate plant growth and to increase root mass.

 

Roger Revelle, the grandfather of our modern greenhouse science and also the famed mentor to Al Gore, said: “Increased CO2 in the air acts like a fertilizer for plants ... you get more plant growth. Increasing CO2 levels also affect water transpiration, causing plants to close their pores and sweat less. That means plants will be able to grow in drier climates.” (See Appendix 3(b), p. 193)

 

A legion of recent experiments have demonstrated beyond any shadow of doubt that a CO2 enriched atmosphere promotes plant growth, increases agricultural production and promotes a greener planet. CO2 enrichment also ameliorates drought by enabling plants to survive with less water and in harsher conditions. The evidence is also written large in the geological record how a green and lusher earth once flourished when the atmosphere was enriched with ten to twenty times more C02 than it enjoys today, and without causing any harm to earth’s biodiversity.

 

If we want to know how a dry continent like Australia might grow more food on less water, the answer is right here.

 

Data gleaned from NASA satellites show that in the last twenty years the earth has greened by 6.2%. (Laurence Solomon, Earth is on a Roll, National Post, June 7, 2008) This includes some significant greening on the fringes of some desert regions (See CO2 Science Magazine, 7 June 2006 and 26 April 2006). These vegetation gains, along with gains in food production, are the fruits of an elevated level of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Why are the environmental lobbies and the media so silent about the amazing benefits of increased levels of CO2?

 

One would think that with all this evidence for CO2’s greening benefits, the Greens and their fellow travelers would be talking C02 up instead of talking it down, or worse, being paranoid about it.  The bottom line is that they are biased against something else far more passionately than they are biased toward the greening of the earth.  They are biased against economic growth, industrial activity and human technology. They hate the affluence and creativity of a free economic system. They long for the day when they can dance on the grave of capitalism. Most of all, they are biased against people being free to be productive and prosperous in a free enterprise way of life. They believe that humans are the cancerous pathogens of the earth whose freedom and prosperity has to be drastically curtailed. The only future these eco-activists see for mankind is to worship at the neo-pagan shrine of Mother Nature in some sort of return to a primitive, ecotopian past. Communism was sheer paradise compared to this.

 

Doing the CO2 Numbers

 

The irrational fear of our carbon emissions, our carbon footprint and carbon dioxide may be illustrated further by looking at the real numbers in CO2 science [See Appendix 1(m) and 2(j)]

 

Over the last century, it is generally agreed that C02 levels in the atmosphere have risen from 0.0280% to about 0.0380% of the atmosphere – or from 280 parts per million (ppm) to 380 ppm. In round figures, that means that for about every 3,000 molecules of air, there is currently only about 1 molecule of carbon dioxide. It is debatable whether humans alone are totally responsible for these rising CO2 levels, but even if they are, climatologist Dr. Roy Spencer estimates “It takes a full five years of human greenhouse gas emissions to add 1 molecule of CO2 to every 100,000 molecules of air.” This is hardly a large enough number to get excited about.

 

The oceans regularly release into the atmosphere more than half of the world’s carbon dioxide, just as it produces about 80% of the world’s oxygen. To start with, the oceans contain about 90 times more carbon dioxide that the atmosphere. (Sorokhtin et.al. However, some scientists put the figure at being nearer to 50 times) For the purposes of illustration, we might depict the great oceans of the world, covering 71% of the earth’s surface, as a giant carbonated drink. When it becomes warmer it degasses or gives off more CO2, and when it becomes cooler it absorbs more carbon dioxide back into its great reservoir.

 

Rather than carbon dioxide raising temperatures, a lot of scientists now say that the reverse is true. India’s national paper, The Hindu (July 16, 2008), quotes a Russian scientist, Andrei Kapitsa, saying,

 

“It is global warming that triggers higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, not the other way round.”

 

Many respectable scientists all around the world are now saying the same thing. A recent publication, Global Warming and Global Cooling – Evolution of Climate on Earth, written by a team of American and Russian scientists is an example of this. [See appendix 3(c)]

 

It may sound impressive to say that by burning fossil fuel, humans pour about 7-8 billion tons of carbon emissions into the atmosphere every year, until that is put into the context of Mother Nature’s far greater volume of emissions. Besides the enormous C02 emissions from the oceans that are many times larger than all human emissions, the world’s cattle and sheep produce more greenhouse gas than the entire human transport system, counting planes, boats, trucks and cars. The termites and the microbes chomping on decaying vegetation exceed the human output of carbon emissions. Altogether, humans contribute only about 3 to 4% of all carbon emissions into the atmosphere. 3% of 0.0380% = 0.0011%= the human contribution to the atmosphere. Whether, or not, the human contribution might be 4% is not worth arguing about because that would merely raise the human contribution to the atmosphere to 0.0015% or another 4 molecules per million.

 

If by way of illustration we express the percentages in monetary terms, it would be like saying that the total CO2 content of the atmosphere is as small as $1 in every $3,000, whilst the human contribution is the equivalent of only 3 or 4 cents in every $3,000. If an 80-story building is used to represent a graph of the atmosphere, the human contribution would take up only as much as the floor covering on the ground floor.

 

The stock response to this comparatively very tiny human contribution was given by Professor David Karoly in a nationally televised ABC debate in 2007. Using the analogy of strychnine, he said it takes only a small amount of poison to be fatal, meaning, of course, that although the human contribution of CO2 is relatively small, it could still be lethal to the planet. This kind of analogy is patently absurd. Carbon dioxide is not a poison. It is not even a trace element like selenium or Vitamin A which become toxic to health when used in a very small overdose. Carbon dioxide is as much a part of the living earth as water, and neither are a hazard unless the amounts are excessive in the extreme.  Saying that a little extra carbon dioxide might be harmful either to us or to the environment is like saying that imbibing a spoonful too much water might be harmful to one’s health.

 

There is an ongoing vital exchange of carbon from lithosphere to hydrosphere to atmosphere and to biosphere that keeps itself in balance. Oceanographers tell us the oceans keep the CO2 in the atmosphere in balance with the oceans. [See Appendix 1(i),(k) and 3(c)] Carbon is not being created or destroyed in this process of exchange. It is only being recycled and circulated, yet this is the means by which all things live. As for the carbon emissions from the earth, from the sea and from all living things, what goes up must come down, and what goes around must come around. Our own carbon footprint will balance out with everything else when the shovel thumps the ground on top of us, whilst the priest intones, “From carbon to carbon; from carbon compounds to carbon compounds.”  Along with every other form of life, we borrow the carbon only to give it back to be used again in the great carbon cycle.

 

 

C02 and Global Warming

It is an astonishing thing that the world is now being panicked by an irrational fear of carbon. This ubiquitous, life-sustaining element is being demonized as a pollutant that threatens to destroy our civilization through global warming. If civilization is under any kind of threat, however, it is not because of climate change, for that has been the norm on this planet for millions of years. The real threat to human wellbeing is from this irrational panic to stop climate change by carbon restrictions and cutbacks. An orgy of self-induced poverty will have no more effect on the climate than the self-mutilations of primitive nature worshippers doing a rain dance. As Bill Kininmonth, former head of Australia’s National Climate Centre, writes in The Age July 8, 2008, “The suggestion that future hazardous climate events could in any way be mitigated by the control of carbon dioxide emissions is absurdity in the extreme.”

It is generally agreed that over the last century, world temperatures have warmed by 0.6 degrees Celsius. Both the rate and the degree of this 100-year warming are entirely within the range of normal variability. About half of this warming occurred from 1910 to 1940 when human carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuel were relatively low.

In a recent revision of the temperature data, NASA had to concede that the hottest year on record in the continental US was not 1998 as formerly reported, but 1934. The revised and corrected data also shows that six of the ten hottest years on record were between 1920 and 1940. Evidence has also surfaced that the melting of the Arctic ice was just as extensive during the 1920’s and 1930’s as it has been in recent years.

Going further back into history, there was the well known Medieval Warm Period from 900 -1200 CE. At the beginning of this warm period, Eric the Red sailed the open seas of the Arctic (by all accounts more ice-free than they are today) and founded a farming colony in Greenland. This Viking settlement lasted 300 years – until a returning cold period closed the farming down.  The historical evidence indicates that the world was warmer during the Medieval Warm Period than it is today.  

Going further back into history, the Roman Empire flourished during the Roman Warm Period, just as human civilization has flourished in every warm period, including our own.

The greatest warm period in human history is known as the Holocene Optimum which coincided with the beginnings of agriculture, human settlements and civilization.

Over the last half-million years of geological time there have been four ice ages lasting on average 100,000 years, and four warm inter-glacial periods, each lasting on average about 10,000 years. Geologists tell us that the warm inter-glacial period that preceded the last Ice Age was about 5 degrees warmer than now. And the polar bears survived!

It should be obvious that none of these warm periods in the past, including the most recent one from 1920 to 1940, were caused by humans burning fossil fuels. Global warming in our time has been within the range of normal variability. Isn’t it reasonable to expect that those things that caused climate changes in the past are causing climate change today?

On all sides it is acknowledged that the climate system is incredibly complex. There are a lot of vast things that influence climate - like the vastness of the oceans, glaciers, polar ice, water vapour and clouds carrying billions of tons of water from place to place. Then beyond this earth, our climate is driven by the vast energy of the sun with its radiance, magnetic fields, sun spots, solar flares and solar winds. Then there are the variations in earth’s orbit around the sun as well as the well known variations in the tilt of its axis, all playing a vital role in past climate changes. Last but not least, cosmic rays are high-energy particles that have streamed out from disintegrating supernovae. It has been estimated that a change in the number of cosmic rays that penetrate the earth can influence the formation of low clouds and change temperature of the earth.

 

It seems that the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) school has pushed to one side all these big-ticket influences on the climate to focus almost exclusively on mankind’s puny contribution of one additional molecule of carbon to every 100,000 molecules of air every five years - as if that is now making a bigger impact on the climate than all the forces of nature put together, including that mighty nuclear reactor in the sky that is a million times bigger than our entire earth.

 

The real enemy in AGW alarmism is not carbon emissions. Carbon dioxide is simply a proxy for human activity. From the beginning, environmentalism has been driven by a deep seated antipathy toward the human species, the so-called “cancer of the earth.” This ideology is using carbon control as a means of controlling human activity.

 

It is estimated that since 1990, $50 billion has been spent trying to prove that rising CO2 levels is the main cause of global warming. For all this, it has never been proved.  AGW has never been verified by any measurable empirical observations in the real world. Anyone who says it has been proved is either ignorant or a liar. No scientific body has ever claimed it has been proved, not even the International Panel of Climate Change (IPCC).

Says John Coleman, founder of Weather Man in the US, a person with 40 years of practical experience in meteorology:  “It [AGW] is the greatest scam in history…I am telling you that Global Warming is a non event, a manufactured crisis and a total scam…I am not alone in this assessment.  There are hundreds of other meteorologists, many of them PhD’s who are as certain as I am that this global warming frenzy is based on bad science and is not valid.”

 

Dr. David Evans (a former consultant of the Australian Greenhouse Office from 1999-2005) writes in The Australian, July 18, 2008, “There is no evidence to support the idea that carbon emissions cause significant global warming. None. There is plenty of evidence that global warming has occurred, and theory suggests that carbon emissions should raise temperatures (though by how much is hotly disputed) but there are no observations by anyone that implicate carbon emissions as a significant cause of the recent global warming. If there really was any evidence that carbon emissions caused global warming, don't you think we would have heard all about it ad nauseam by now? The world has spent $50 billion on global warming since 1990, and we have not found any actual evidence that carbon emissions cause global warming.” [See Appendix 1(h)]

 

 Believing in man-made global warming is like believing in the existence of God or any other article of faith. Matters of religious faith are not open to scientific verification or falsification, otherwise they would not be articles of faith. This is why AGW advocacy is now widely recognized as being a secular religion.

 

AGW advocates, however, do point to three lines of evidence to support their belief-system. These are (1) the correlation between rising levels of CO2 and rising temperatures, (2) the heat-trapping properties of CO2 as a greenhouse gas, and (3) general circulation models (GCM’s) projecting future global warming as a result of rising CO2 levels.

 

 

The Correlation Argument

 

Al Gore has based his global warming narrative on the correlation between rising levels of atmospheric CO2 and rising temperatures. He invokes the mantra, “As CO2 levels go up, temperature goes up.”  This simple mantra has proved to be seductively simple. It is easy to understand. It plugs into a very old, yet a still widely-felt pessimism about humans destroying the world. Gore presses the buttons of human guilt, the greatest of all handles to mass human manipulation.

 

The Gore mantra is a fallacy for three reasons.

 

(1) In the first place, it is a well known scientific axiom, especially invoked in evidence-based medicine, that correlation does not prove causation

 

(2) In the second place, the correlation between rising CO2 levels and rising temperatures is not a good one. For instance, after World War 2, industrial carbon emissions grew rapidly, but temperatures declined for the next thirty years. World temperatures have made no advance since 1998, and since 2001 they have fallen, yet CO2 levels have continued to rise by another 5%.

 

(3) In the third place, by the year 2003 scientists all over the world had proven quite conclusively, especially from ice-core research, that temperatures always rose before CO2 levels rose, and sometimes by several hundred years. As the renowned Russian geographer, Andrea Kapitsa puts it, “The Kyoto theorists have put the cart before the horse. It is global warming that triggers high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, not the other way around…We found that the level of CO2 had fluctuated greatly over the period but at any given time increases in air temperature preceded high concentrations of CO2.” (The Hindu, June 8, 2008)  A recently published study by three PhD’s in Geology and Oceanology has come to the same conclusion. They say, “The theory of greenhouse effect as a result of increase in anthropogenic emission of carbon dioxide are confusing the cause and effect…the temperature deviations lead the corresponding changes in the concentration of atmospheric CO2…The increase in temperature of oceanic water drives a part of CO2 content from the ocean into the atmosphere…Thus the global warming always leads the increase in atmospheric concentrations of CO2 whereas the global cooling causes a corresponding drop in the CO2 concentrations.” [See Appendix 3(c) p.164]

 

 These facts about cause and effect were well known when Al Gore published An Inconvenient Truth, yet he still pushed his discredited mantra, “As CO2 levels go up, temperature goes up.”  Why let the facts get in the way of a top selling mantra that gave him such an enormous handle on human guilt?

 

The oceans contain many times more carbon dioxide than the atmosphere [See Appendix 3(c).] Just as the oceans produce about 80% of the world’s oxygen, they apparently produce more than half of all CO2 emissions. When the oceans are warmed by greater solar activity and other great natural forces, they give off more C02 - just as a warmed carbonated drink loses its fizz more quickly than a cold one. Conversely, the oceans absorb more CO2 from the atmosphere as they cool down. 

 

The oceans are thousands of times larger than the atmosphere and they contain the capacity for a much greater heat energy. [See Appendix 1(k)] Saying that the temperature of the oceans is driven by a CO2-warmed atmosphere is like saying that the temperature of a great water tank could be raised by the contents of an eye-dropper, or that that the elephant’s temperature could be determined by the temperature of the flea on its head.

 

AGW theory is wrong because it turns the effects of global warming into the cause of global warming.

 

 

The Greenhouse Argument

 

Carbon dioxide is one of the greenhouse gases with infrared bands which trap some of the heat that would otherwise escape into space. The heat that is trapped in this way is then radiated back to earth. This part of the GW science is not under dispute. What is under dispute is whether man-made carbon dioxide emissions rather than the sun and other natural influences have now become the major driver of climate change.

 

There are several very basic facts that tend to get lost in the fog of carbophobia. 

 

(1) In the first place, without these very maligned greenhouse gases, this planet would not be a liveable place. Its average temperature would be about minus18 degrees Celsius.  Due to the greenhouse effect, the average temperature of the world is a benign 15 degrees Celsius. We might think of the greenhouse gases in terms of being a very beneficial blanket of insulation that is wrapped around the earth. Its main effect is at the cold end of things. As the renowned physicist Freeman Dyson puts it, its major effect is “mainly in the arctic rather than in the tropics, mainly in mountainous regions rather than in lowlands, mainly in winter rather than in summer, and mainly at night rather than in daytime. The warming is real, but it is mostly making cold places warmer rather than making hot places hotter.” (Many Colored Glass: Reflections on the Place of Life in the Universe)

 

(2) In the second place, water vapour makes up about 95% of all greenhouse gases. Carbon dioxide accounts for only 3.6% of the greenhouse gases. The rest is methane at 0.9% and a few other gases such as nitrous oxide that don’t even amount to 0.5% of the greenhouse gases.  Even though carbon dioxide has stronger heat-trapping properties than water vapour, it still plays a very subsidiary role to water vapour. Whatever effect greenhouses gases have on moderating climate extremes, 90% of the greenhouse effect is caused by water vapour (See Dr. Roy Spencer’s WeatherQuestions.com).

 

When the air is dry and the skies are clear during our South East Queensland/ Northern NSW winters, the temperature may drop from a pleasant 21 degrees Celsius during the day to a chilly 5 degrees at night. If heavy clouds roll in, however, it may be only slightly cooler in the day (20 degrees) but a whopping 5 degrees warmer at night. What elevates the temperature considerably during the night and modifies it slightly during the day is the greenhouse gas which we commonly call water vapour or humidity. It acts much like a blanket of insulation in your house, making it warmer in winter without making it hotter in summer.

 

To take another illustration, after a very hot day in a dry desert region, the nights can turn bitterly cold very quickly. Yet near the coast where the humidity is high, the nights remain balmy and pleasant after a hot day. What makes this difference between the desert and the coastal environment is the same greenhouse gas called water vapour. The total carbon dioxide content of the air plays a very subordinate role to water vapour. If the CO2 content of the air was halved or doubled, it would not make any significant difference to those chilly nights or balmy evenings. This being the case, the tiny human CO2 contribution, being only about 0.117% all greenhouse gases, would make even less difference to those chilly desert nights or balmy coastal evenings.

 

The oceans, the termites, the micro-organisms and the rotting vegetation will continue pouring billions of tonnes of carbon emissions into the atmosphere. The debate is not about the effect of all these “natural” carbon emissions. It is about the tiny human contribution of CO2 reckoned to be 0.0011% of the atmosphere in general or 0.117% of all greenhouse gases in particular [See  Appendix 3(j) p. 87]. No one argues that the naturally occurring components that account for almost 99.9% of all greenhouse gases are dangerous to the planet. What the CO2 panic merchants are saying is that this 0.117% of the greenhouse gases is going to cook the planet. The only over-heating, however, is with the global warming hysteria. “You could go outside and spit and have the same effect as doubling carbon dioxide,” said Reid Bryson PhD, a man who is still widely considered to be the father of scientific climatology in America. (Interview with Dave Hoopman, WECN Magazine, May 2007)

 

“We live in an invisible atmospheric sea of water vapour, Earth’s primary greenhouse gas,” says the eminent UAH climatologist and now best selling author on climate, Roy W. Spencer Ph.D. “Al Gore likes to say that mankind puts 70 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every day.  What he probably doesn’t know is that Mother Nature puts 24,000 times that amount of our main greenhouse gas – water vapour – into the atmosphere every day, and removes about the same amount every day…the Earth’s greenhouse effect is dominated by water vapour.”  (WeatherQuestions.com – June 2008)

 

Why then all this political beat-up and public paranoia about greenhouse gas?  It’s harmless water vapour, Stupid! As for the small amount of CO2 in the greenhouse mix, it just augments what the water vapour does - like insulating the earth so that it is not as cold in the winter, or at night, or towards the poles as it otherwise would be without the greenhouse gas.

 

The main effect of any extra CO2 in the atmosphere is not raising the temperature, but enhancing plant growth and increasing food supply. 

 

“Carbon dioxide is not even a little bit bad. It is wholly beneficial…There are no deleterious consequences of higher atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Higher atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are wholly beneficial.” [Dr. David Archibald, Appendix 1(l)]

 

 

The Climate Modelling Argument

 

The main evidence in support of AGW is drawn from the projections of General Circulation Models (GCM’s). These are climate modelling programs that use super-computers to calculate what effect man’s carbon emissions might have on the climate over the next 50 or 100 years. According to the IPCC Fourth Report published in 2007, it is projected that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 would increase global warming to somewhere around 3 degrees Celsius.

 

Scepticism about the accuracy of these scenarios is first of all based on the general inability of computer generated models to project future climate. The climate system is far too complex and chaotic, the variables are too many, the unknowns (we don’t even know what we don’t know!) are too many to model climate with any degree of reliability. For these reasons, modelling the climate 50 years into the future would have no more accuracy than trying to model the Stock Market 50 years into the future. The models can’t even tell us with any degree of accuracy what the weather will be doing 5 days ahead, to say nothing of 50 years head. Numerous and substantial research papers have put paid to the notion that computer generated climate models are a reliable guide to whether the earth will warm up or cool down over the next century.

 

Besides all the variables that are not fed into the computers, there is the problem of the mathematical assumptions that are fed into these computer generated models.

 

The fine print of the IPCC Fourth Report (Chapter 6) is one of the few sources that gets down to the real figures and numbers behind the AGW projections. (1) The AGW case is based on the doubling of atmospheric CO2 by 2050. (2) Using a mathematical formula that has never been tested in the real climate system (simply because there is no known way to have it tested in the real world ), the IPCC calculates that a doubling of CO2 levels would have the heat-trapping capacity to warm the earth by a little less than 1 degree Celsius. (3) This modest CO2-induced warming is then presumed to be amplified by the “positive feedback” of more evaporation, increased water vapour and more heat-trapping high clouds. It is then assumed that this “positive feedback” will multiply the initial warming effect of CO2 by 3 or more times. None of these figures or assumptions has ever been verified by any scientific measurement and observation in the real world. [For a detailed critique of the math and physics behind all these numbers, see Appendix 1(b) and (g)]

 

We will leave aside the minor reasons to critique these IPCC assumptions - such as whether humans are wholly responsible for the 30% rise in C02 levels over the last 100 years, or whether the heat-trapping quantum of CO2 rises arithmetically or logarithmically with each incremental increase in CO2 – and we will come directly to the central issue in all these global warming projections.

 

The central issue is the matter of “positive feedbacks.”

 

There are now a growing number of climate scientists and physicists from all over the world who refute the central IPCC thesis about “positive feedbacks.” They say that observations and satellite measurements out there in the real world are indicating that evaporation, water vapour and clouds respond to rising levels of CO2 with “negative feedback,” meaning that they work in the climate system to modify and counter-balance the modest warming effects of CO2. This was the main point in Dr. Roy Spencer’s recent testimony to the US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on July 22, 2008 [See Appendix 1(g)]

When we look at way the real world works, we see that nature is generally biased toward feedbacks to maintain normalcy. The climate system is like a giant thermostat. There are natural checks and balances, just as there are checks and balances at work in the human body to maintain its optimum well-being. As CO2 levels cause more warming, this causes more evaporation, but evaporation itself cools the surface of the earth.  More evaporation will produce more water vapour which in itself is a heat-trapping greenhouse gas, but this extra water vapour produces more cloud cover and more precipitation to complete the stabilizing circle. As for the heat-trapping high clouds, Richard Lindzen and Roy Spencer (both recognized specials in cloud research) have shown that high clouds respond to trapped heart with an Iris Effect whereby they open a vent by which the heat escapes into space.

These feedback mechanisms do not multiply the modest heat trapping effect of CO2, but do the reverse. It’s called “negative feedback.”  Similar counter-balancing mechanisms are seen when melting around the edges of the glaciers in Greenland is balanced by increased snowfalls and ice build-up up to the interior of Greenland. The warmer it becomes in the Artic, the colder it becomes in the Antarctic. As climatologist Patrick Michaels quipped at one time, the climate system has more checks and balances than the US Constitution.

With the debunking of “positive feedbacks” to CO2 forcings, the AGW case collapses.

 

AGW Not Happening

AGW alarmism has morphed into a very typical apocalyptic crisis cult. It is certainly the greatest one sweeping the world at the moment. There has never been an apocalyptic crisis cult that could sustain its apocalyptic hysteria beyond a few short years. This one will be no exception. To borrow some famous imagery from Albert Sweitzer, apocalyptic cults reach a desperation point wherein they throw themselves on the wheel of history to force it to turn in order to bring to pass their intensively desired predictions. Then the wheel of history turns and crushes them.

Putting it another way, apocalyptic movements end up being destroyed by their own predictions. AGW apocalyptic has made very specific predictions how world temperatures would rise in lockstep with the rise in human carbon emissions. The wheel of history is turning, and the predictions are not happening.

Whilst CO2 levels have continued to rise, world temperatures have been in stasis since 1998 and have even begun falling since about 2002. Since 2007 they have fallen enough to wipe out half the warming gains of the last century. NASA’s 3,000 Aqua Satellites report that the oceans have cooled since 2003. Nature, the prestigious international journal, has reported that changing ocean currents may now keep the warming process on hold until at least the year 2015. If some of the solar physicists are right, especially the Russian ones, changing levels of solar activity will soon plunge the world into a 21st century cooling cycle regardless of human CO2 emissions or anything done to reduce them.

Neither the cooling of recent years nor the projected cooling to come has been flagged in any of the computer-generated climate models. These have all projected a continuous rise in global warming in accordance with the mantra, “As CO2 levels rise, the temperature will rise.” It is not happening. There has never been any scientific proof for AGW anyway, but now that  the temperature readings out there in the real world are making it more and more obvious that the apocalyptic predictions based on computer models are just plain wrong.

Apocalyptic has a 100% failure rate.

The more it becomes obvious that CO2 levels do not cause any significant global warming and that the computer generated climate models are wrong, the more desperate, unreasonable and shrilly the global warming advocates have become. The spin doctors are ranting on how the temperature charts from the world’s four tracking stations do not mean what they obviously mean. The apocalyptic alarmists sex up the imminent danger, and even as world temperatures continue to fall, they rave on with even greater zeal that global warming is hastening on at a more frightening pace than ever. The climate, however, is not heading for any tipping point as the alarmists have kept saying. It is only the AGW crisis cult that has reached the tipping point. It is now a runaway train that cannot be stopped by any evidence at all. It is heading toward is own self-generated train smash according to the classical apocalyptic models in the past.

“Nothing is more fervently believed than that which is not known.” (Montaigne)

It seems that the AGW belief-system is so entrenched that it cannot be falsified by any kind of evidence. This is what qualifies it as being a religion rather than a science. Articles of faith, whether about the existence of God, angels, devils, heaven or hell, are not open to proof or falsification by scientific evidence – otherwise they would no longer be articles of faith. AGW is not a science, but an article of faith. It has been said that you cannot reason people out of something if they have not been reasoned into it.

Like the Japanese soldiers who were still holed out in the jungles of Burma and the caves of Guam ten years after the war had stopped, the dedicated believers are still carrying on the fight against AGW ten years after global warming has stopped. They can always find support from those scientists who, because they are ardent believers too, will tell them that global warming has not stopped despite what the world temperature charts continue to indicate.

 

The Issues at Stake

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”  H.L. Menchen

As we wait for the inevitable train smash,  we need to do all we can and use all the influence we can to stop this AGW fraud, swindle, hoax, delusion and hysteria from wrecking the economy and sending us back to a primitive existence where we must take cold showers in the dark. The right to use cheap sources of energy is the foundation of a decent standard of living, and the only means by which the developing world can escape from dehumanizing poverty.

Wrecking the economy will only be the start of the damage done by carbophobia. Carbon trading schemes under any guise will do more than cost us dearly for no impact at all on the climate. Carbon trading will open the door to massive manipulations, rorts, fudging, anomalies, political vote buying, cheating, fraud and bureaucratic meddling.

As we have already seen, carbon consumption and carbon emissions enter into every facet of botanical and biological life. The entire biosphere is composed of carbon, absorbs carbon and emits carbon. Our human bodies are composed of carbon and are energized by carbon. Our very brains are energized by a form of carbon called glucose, and even our thought processes are dependent on a trillion cells, nerves and synapses that are composed of carbon molecules. Everything we consume is carbon-based. This not only includes the food we eat, but all the goods and services we consume as well - whether that is a new pair of shoes, a holiday excursion or a night of entertainment at the footy. On the supply side of things, whatever food we grow, goods we manufacture or services we provide involves the output of carbon emissions.

 If carbon is not consumed and emitted, no life could continue on this planet. Carbon is totally indispensible to the entire life cycle, not to mention our economy, standard of living, culture and all aspects of our personal living. Nothing lives without carbon emissions, and absolutely everything we do causes carbon emissions. Even if we stop breathing altogether – for even breathing causes carbon emissions – the burial or cremation of our bodies will cause carbon emissions.

Isn’t taxing human carbon emissions a brilliant idea, a heretofore undreamed of power bonanza for politicians and bureaucrats?  

Giving to any government the power to monitor, control or put a tax on carbon emissions is giving that government the power to monitor, control and tax any or every aspect of human life it may choose to invade. Let’s not be fooled by being told by politicians and bureaucrats that their carbon trading scheme will merely start with a few big carbon emitters, whilst the farming sector or other sensitive sectors of the community will be left out in the first stage of this thoroughly anti-human process. Once we accept the principle that carbon should be monitored, controlled and taxed, we open the door to the most invasive kind of bureaucratic meddling, and to all the carbon pimps, snoops, cops and narks who want to stick their noses into every aspect of the way we live, whether it is the kind of car we drive, our holiday destinations, our pleasure boat, or even the food miles accrued in our choice of food.

The thought-police will not be far behind this freedom-threatening horde of carbon cops, whether these are appointed by the government or by self-appointed busy-bodies snooping on our carbon emissions. The very concept of carbon trading is a threat to personal freedom and civil liberties. It has the potential to go far beyond anything contemplated by the tyrannies of old fashioned Communism. It will open the door to a new Dark Age, not just of civil but also of religious totalitarianism. Prime Ministers and politicians have already said that AGW is a moral issue, thereby turning it into an obnoxious religious crusade in which the government can become involved. 

Leaders of the AGW movement like James Hansen (the scientific adviser to Al Gore) and David Suzuki have already suggested that climate heretics and deniers should be put on trial for crimes against humanity or thrown into jail. The spirit of McCarthyism already stalks the Universities to deride, intimidate and even to dismiss the academics who do not fall into line. Sceptics are regularly being abused and lampooned in our Parliamentary debates. It is reminiscent of Lysenkoism which suppressed scientific freedom in Russia some 60 to 70 years ago. 

The AGW cult’s real war, however, is not really against carbon emissions and global warming. It is a war against humanity itself. It is a war on human prosperity and the human right to enjoy a decent standard of living.  It is a war against the poor, who will suffer the most from carbon control, restrictions, cutbacks and costs.  Especially will it be a war on the poor in the developing world. It will freeze them permanently into their miserable subsistence lifestyles with no chance of escape. Most of all, this is a war on human freedom on a scale that goes beyond anything heretofore attempted in human history. It has the potential not just to wreck the economy but to destroy civilization itself. 

If the reader thinks this may be overstating the case, then consider this statement by Maurice Strong, the chief organizer of the 1992 Rio Conference, the genius behind the Kyoto Protocols and the architect of the IPCC:

 We may get to the point where the only way of saving the world will be for industrial civilization to collapse. (Who is Maurice Strong? National Review September 1, 1997 by Ronald Bailey)

Will this wrecking crew succeed?  No, because despite any temporary setbacks, human history has always been a trajectory of constant improvement of the human condition.  To borrow those words of optimism from the Civil Rights Movement, “we shall overcome.”  The next generation will laugh at this episode of carbophobia.

 

APPENDIX

Recommended Articles on AGW

 

(a) R.M. Carter   The Myth of Dangerous Climate Change

http://members.iinet.net.au/~glrmc/2007%2005-03%20AusIMM%20corrected.pdf

 

(b) Christopher Monckton, The Cost and Futility of Trading Hot Air

http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/monckton/Monckton-The_cost_and_futility_of_trading_hot_air.pdf

 

(c) James A. Peden, The Great Global Warming Hoax

http://www.middlebury.net/op-ed/global-warming-01.html

 

(d) John Coleman, Comments on Global Warming

http://media.kusi.clickability.com/documents/Comments+on+Global+Warming02.pdf

 

(e) Madhav L Khandekar, Questioning Global Warming Science: An Annotated Bibliography

http://www.fcpp.org/pdf/QuestioningtheGlobalWarmingSciencePS40March2008.pdf

 

(f) S. Fred Singer, Nature Not Human Activity Rules the Climate, Published by the Heartland Institute

http://www.heartland.org/pdf/22835.pdf

 

(g) Roy W. Spencer, Testimony to US Senate

http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id=e12b56cb-4c7b-4c21-bd4a-7afbc4ee72f3

 

(h) David Evans, The Australian, No Smoking Hot Spot

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24036736-7583,00.html

 

(i) Lance Enderslee, Oceans are the Main Regulators of Carbon Dioxide, Civil Engineers Australia April 2008 http://icecap.us/images/uploads/OceansandCO2EngrsAustapr08.pdf

(j) John Brignell, In Praise of Carbon

http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/Carbon.htm

           

(k) Tom V. Segalstad, The Distribution of CO2 Between Atmosphere, Hydrosphere, and Lithosphere; Minimal Influence from Anthropogenic CO2 on the Global "Greenhouse Effect".

http://www.co2web.info/ESEFVO1.pdf

 

(l) David Archibald, The Past and Future of Climate

http://www.lavoisier.com.au/papers/Conf2007/Archibald2007.pdf

 

(m) Monte Hieb, Global Warming – a Closer Look at the Numbers

http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/greenhouse_data.html

 

(n) Ian Plimer, Stop Climate Change

http://www.lavoisier.com.au/papers/articles/PlimerNov2007.html

Ian Plimer, The Past is the Key to the Present: Greenhouse and Icehouse over Time

http://www.climatechangeissues.com/files/science/Plimer.doc

 

APPENDIX 2

Recommended Links to Website/Blogs

 

Climate Debate Daily

http://www.climatedebatedaily.com

 

Professor Robert M. Carter

http://members.iinet.net.au/~glrmc/

 

John Coleman KUSI Weatherman

http://www.kusi.com/weather/colemanscorner

 

ICECAP

http://icecap.us

 

The New Zealand Climate Science Coalition

http://www.climatescience.org.nz/

 

Climate Audit

http://www.climateaudit.org

 

Science and Public Policy Institute

http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org

 

Australian Climate Science Coalition

http://www.auscsc.org.au

 

International Climate Science Coalition

http://www.climatescienceinternational.org

 

CO2 Science

http://www.co2science.org

 

Number Watch

http://www.numberwatch.co.uk

 

World Climate Report

http://www.worldclimatereport.com

 

Junk Science – Publisher Steven Milloy

http://www.junkscience.com

 

APPENDIX 3

Recommended Books

(a) ROY W. SPENCER, Climate Confusion: How Global Warming Hysteria Leads to Bad Science, Pandering Politicians and Misguided Policies that Hurt the Poor

(b) Lawrence Solomon, The Deniers: The World-Renowned Scientists Who Stood Up Against Global Warming Hysteria, Political Persecution, And Fraud – And Those Who Are Too Fearful To Do So

(c) O.G. Sorokhtin, G.V. Chilingar and L.F. Khilyuk, Global Warming and Global Cooling: Evolution of Climate on Earth

(d) Hans Labohm, Simon Rozendaal and Dick Thoenes, Man-Made Global Warming: Unraveling a Dogma

(e) William Kininmonth, Climate Change: A Natural Hazard

(f) Thomas Gale Moore, Climate of Fear: Why We Shouldn’t Worry About Global Warming

(g)Christopher C. Horner, the Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism

(h) S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery, Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1,500 Years

(i) Christopher Essex and Ross McKitrick, Taken By Storm: The Troubled Science, Policy and Politics of Global Warming

(j) Marcel Leroux, Global Warming – Myth or Reality:  The Erring Ways of Climatology

(k) Edited by Patrick J. Michaels, Shattered Consensus: The True State of Global Warming

(l) Henrik Svensmark and Nigel Calder, the Chilling Stars: A New Theory of Climate Change

(m) Tim Flannery, The Weather Makers: The History and Future Impact of Climate Change

(n) Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It

RDB

Web Published – August 2008

Copyright © 2008 Robert D. Brinsmead