What I am about to write questions much of what I have written in this space, in numerous columns, over the past five years. Perhaps what I have written can withstand this questioning. Perhaps not. The greater question is, am I – and you – capable of questioning our own orthodoxies and intellectual habits? Let’s see.
The subject of this column is not small. It is a book entitled Heaven And Earth, which will be published tomorrow. It has been written by one of Australia’s foremost Earth scientists, Professor Ian Plimer. He is a confronting sort of individual, polite but gruff, courteous but combative. He can write extremely well, and Heaven And Earth is a brilliantly argued book by someone not intimidated by hostile majorities or intellectual fashions.
The book’s 500 pages and 230,000 words and 2311 footnotes are the product of 40 years’ research and a depth and breadth of scholarship. As Plimer writes: “An understanding of climate requires an amalgamation of astronomy, solar physics, geology, geochronology, geochemistry, sedimentology, tectonics, palaeontology, palaeoecology, glaciology, climatology, meteorology, oceanography, ecology, archaeology and history.”
The most important point to remember about Plimer is that he is Australia’s most eminent geologist. As such, he thinks about time very differently from most of us. He takes the long, long view. He looks at climate over geological, archaeological, historical and modern time. He writes: “Past climate changes, sea-level changes and catastrophes are written in stone.”
Much of what we have read about climate change, he argues, is rubbish, especially the computer modelling on which much current scientific opinion is based, which he describes as “primitive”. Errors and distortions in computer modelling will be exposed in time. (As if on cue, the United Nations’ peak scientific body on climate change was obliged to make an embarrassing admission last week that some of its computers models were wrong.)
Plimer does not dispute the dramatic flux of climate change – and this column is not about Australia’s water debate – but he fundamentally disputes most of the assumptions and projections being made about the current causes, mostly led by atmospheric scientists, who have a different perspective on time. “It is little wonder that catastrophist views of the future of the planet fall on fertile pastures. The history of time shows us that depopulation, social disruption, extinctions, disease and catastrophic droughts take place in cold times … and life blossoms and economies boom in warm times. Planet Earth is dynamic. It always changes and evolves. It is currently in an ice age.”
If we look at the last 6 million years, the Earth was warmer than it is now for 3 million years. The ice caps of the Arctic, Antarctica and Greenland are geologically unusual. Polar ice has only been present for less than 20 per cent of geological time. What follows is an intense compression of the book’s 500 pages and all their provocative arguments and conclusions:
Yet another distinguished scientist, with relevant and impressive credentials, provides a scholarly rebuttal to the utterly hysterical claims by irrational environmentalists. Al Gore: put your carbon-credit money where your mouth is, and debate the countless Ian Plimers, who are out there disproving your claims of a scientific consensus on the issue of “climate change”.
Heaven And Earth: Global Warming – The Missing Science, by Ian Plimer
More on Ian Plimer, here.
The Huffington Post has published a stunningly detailed rebuttal to Al Gore’s “Climate Crisis”
alarmism hysteria, by Talking About The Weather‘s Harold Ambler:
Mr. Gore has stated, regarding climate change, that “the science is in.” Well, he is absolutely right about that, except for one tiny thing. It is the biggest whopper ever sold to the public in the history of humankind.
You simply must read the entire article!
IN one of his first public policy statements as America’s president-elect, Barack Obama focused on climate change, and clearly stated both his priorities and the facts on which these priorities rest. Unfortunately, both are weak, or even wrong.
When they were first deployed in 2003, the Argos were hailed for their ability to collect information on ocean conditions more precisely, at more places and greater depths and in more conditions than ever before. No longer would scientists have to rely on measurements mostly at the surface from older scientific buoys or inconsistent shipboard monitors.
So why are some scientists now beginning to question the buoys’ findings? Because in five years, the little blighters have failed to detect any global warming. They are not reinforcing the scientific orthodoxy of the day, namely that man is causing the planet to warm dangerously. They are not proving the predetermined conclusions of their human masters. Therefore they, and not their masters’ hypotheses, must be wrong.
In fact, “there has been a very slight cooling,” according to a U.S. National Public Radio (NPR) interview with Josh Willis at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a scientist who keeps close watch on the Argo findings.
And remember the Arctic Sea ice? The ice we were told so hysterically last fall had melted to its “lowest levels on record? Never mind that those records only date back as far as 1972 and that there is anthropological and geological evidence of much greater melts in the past.
The ice is back.
Gilles Langis, a senior forecaster with the Canadian Ice Service in Ottawa, says the Arctic winter has been so severe the ice has not only recovered, it is actually 10 to 20 cm thicker in many places than at this time last year.
OK, so one winter does not a climate make. It would be premature to claim an Ice Age is looming just because we have had one of our most brutal winters in decades.
But if environmentalists and environment reporters can run around shrieking about the manmade destruction of the natural order every time a robin shows up on Georgian Bay two weeks early, then it is at least fair game to use this winter’s weather stories to wonder whether the alarmist are being a tad premature.
Over the past year, anecdotal evidence for a cooling planet has exploded. China has its coldest winter in 100 years. Baghdad sees its first snow in all recorded history. North America has the most snowcover in 50 years, with places like Wisconsin the highest since record-keeping began. Record levels of Antarctic sea ice, record cold in Minnesota, Texas, Florida, Mexico, Australia, Iran, Greece, South Africa, Greenland, Argentina, Chile — the list goes on and on.
No more than anecdotal evidence, to be sure. But now, that evidence has been supplanted by hard scientific fact. All four major global temperature tracking outlets (Hadley, NASA’s GISS, UAH, RSS) have released updated data. All show that over the past year, global temperatures have dropped precipitously.
Carleton University professor: CO2 variations show little correlation with our planet’s climate on long, medium and even short time scales
R. Timothy Patterson, professor of geology and director of the Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Center of Canada’s Carleton University, says that “CO2 variations show little correlation with our planet’s climate on long, medium and even short time scales.”
Rather, he says, “I and the first-class scientists I work with are consistently finding excellent correlations between the regular fluctuations of the sun and earthly climate. This is not surprising. The sun and the stars are the ultimate source of energy on this planet.”
Patterson, sharing Tapping’s concern, says: “Solar scientists predict that, by 2020, the sun will be starting into its weakest Schwabe cycle of the past two centuries, likely leading to unusually cool conditions on Earth.”
“Solar activity has overpowered any effect that CO2 has had before, and it most likely will again,” Patterson says. “If we were to have even a medium-sized solar minimum, we could be looking at a lot more bad effects than ‘global warming’ would have had.”
The debate over so-called “global warming” is frustrating.
I am far from an expert, although I do read a fair amount of the science on this topic, and have kept a sizeable file on the pros and cons over the years. My main concerns are the following. I think a good deal of the science is not up to a high standard, not because no earnest efforts are made, but because the subject matter (the entire earth and surrounding atmosphere) is far too vast, the number of fluctuating variables and the time spans too great, and the whole business is so shot through with political sensitivities (primarily of the anti-human, anti-population, anti-industry sort) that serious hypotheses can neither be framed nor tested in a controlled way.
On the political note, it is hard to escape the feeling that a great many global warming proponents are reflex leftists in their political beliefs and anywhere from mildly, to wildly anti-capitalist or even entirely opposed to all facets of western civilization. Spiritually speaking, they usually fall in the camp of neo-romantic nature lovers who, like most of us, despair of seeing their sweet planet earth fouled with human garbage, toxins, effluent, poisons, and the like. So they fight back by clinging to the dream of restoring the Garden of Eden, a beauteous earth as it must have been before humans arrived. There is no harm in this if a cleaner earth can be gotten without harming civilization. The most radical of them, however, are intemperate and to be avoided, for they are green through and through and consider human beings and their materialistic activities to be a kind of biological scourge or plague upon nature that must be eliminated. You can see some startling examples of Radical Green Ideas from their own mouths at the end of this piece.
UN climate conference taking the World in entirely the wrong direction, say 100 scientists in open letter to UN Secretary General
Open Letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations
Dec. 13, 2007
His Excellency Ban Ki-Moon
Secretary-General, United Nations
New York, N.Y.
Dear Mr. Secretary-General,
Re: UN climate conference taking the World in entirely the wrong direction
It is not possible to stop climate change, a natural phenomenon that has affected humanity through the ages. Geological, archaeological, oral and written histories all attest to the dramatic challenges posed to past societies from unanticipated changes in temperature, precipitation, winds and other climatic variables. We therefore need to equip nations to become resilient to the full range of these natural phenomena by promoting economic growth and wealth generation.
While Gore was creating alarm with his belief that a 20-foot-high wall of water would inundate low-lying cities, the IPCC showed us we should realistically prepare for a rise of one foot or so by the end of the century. Beyond the dramatic difference, it is also worth putting that one foot in perspective. Over the last 150 years, sea levels rose about one foot – yet, did we notice?