What genius persuaded 97% of scientists to lie about climate change?
Is it reasonable to think that so many climate scientists who have spent their lives studying climate don’t know what they are talking about? In light of what the scientists are so solemnly warning us of, you would have thought people would have been beside themselves with anxiety, if not for themselves then for their children. But mostly not. How can we explain this? One of the most misunderstood talking points of our age is the greenhouse effect. People think it is supposed to mean that we are pumping so much carbon into the atmosphere it is wrapping a blanket round the earth and that is causing global warming. This is quite untrue. Our carbon emissions are minuscule compared with those of nature. But nature balances these carbon emissions almost exactly with cooling mechanisms. That ‘almost’ is extremely important. Almost miraculously you might think, just enough carbon gets through to keep the earth warm enough for life and this figure has remained constant for many millions of years. The cooling mechanisms are mainly three: trees that store carbon, ocean algae that turn carbon into oxygen and the polar icecaps that reflect sunlight – about 30% of it – back into space. What we are doing is disabling the cooling mechanisms. But it is not only that they stop working when they are disabled. They turn turtle and actually start adding to global warming. Every tree that catches fire releases its stored carbon, dead algae poison the ocean with yet more carbon, ice turns into water that releases heat. A positive feedback process would set in. This is why the scientists talk about a tipping point at which global warming will begin to gallop, which they usually take to be 2 degrees of warming above pre-industrial revolution temperatures, although many think it could be as low as 1.5, a figure to which we are now dangerously close. At that point the cooling mechanisms would be so disabled nature itself will start releasing carbon into the atmosphere unchecked , on a scale that dwarfs anything we might do. Temperatures would escape our capacity to control them and might escalate to 4 and even 6 degrees, which would effectively make the earth uninhabitable.
Climate science is never going to have the certainty of physics because climate change is largely going to happen in the future and cannot be experimented on, and scientists are dependent on computer modelling which can never be absolutely certain. But an overwhelming majority of the scientists, who by profession are methodically cautious, now think it overwhelmingly likely that climate change is man-made and, unless we rein in our fossil-fuel use urgently and decisively, will take us into a future too terrible to contemplate. They forecast severe storms and hurricanes, extensive floods, extreme droughts especially in Africa and south-east Asia, whole countries going under water, and, unthinkably, hundreds of millions of homeless refugees. It is easy to imagine desperate people who have not even got food and water resorting to acts of terrorism with weapons of mass destruction to force the haves to share what they have, and vicious resource wars that might well go nuclear. But you just can’t get people to take these terrifying all too possible possibilities seriously while there is still time. I am full of dismay and grief. It is now almost too late. But not absolutely. We should not despair because if we act now with resolve and determination we can still not only halt global warming, we can create a much better post-fossil fuel world. Rise up from you couch. Google www.climate100.co.uk
I’ll write another blog about two myths – or far more dangerously and potently mythical half-truths – commonly believed by climate sceptics. They think that although carbon emissions have greatly increased since 1998 global temperatures have not – yes indeed, air temperatures have not – and therefore there cannot be any connection between global warming and fossil fuels, and the major cause of temperature change on earth is the sun and we can’t do anything about that, and yes that is true too. Amazing that the scientists never noticed these things! What genius persuaded 97% of them to lie about global warming? Make him – or could even be her – Prime Minister. Or even better, President of the United States.