There are holes in the sky where the CO2 gets out….

…And that’s what Climate Scepticism is all about”.  No.  Not Spike Milligan.  Prince Charles.
I have a lot of time for Prince Charles.  I agree with him on Church of England liturgy and the Prayer Book.  I think his watercolours are rather good for an amateur.  And I’m 100% on-side with his views on architecture (though his development at Poundbury, in Dorchester, threatens to give pastiche a bad name).
But on Climate Change, I’m afraid he’s up a gum tree (and probably talking to the leaves).
He says that “climate sceptics believe that CO2 escapes into space through holes in the sky”.  Is this a joke?  Is it some kind of monarchical post-modern irony?  Is he a closet sceptic trying to undermine the alarmist case by making it ridiculous?  Or does he believe it?  I’ve followed the debate closely for years, and I’ve never heard this bizarre suggestion before.  CO2 is a heavy gas and tends to go down, not up.
There is vastly more CO2 in the oceans than in the atmosphere.  In CO2 terms, the oceans are the dog, and the atmosphere is the tail.  And cold water can dissolve far more CO2 than warm (which is why warm beer goes flat).  If ocean temperatures rise, the seas give off CO2 and atmospheric CO2 rises.  If the oceans cool, they absorb more CO2 and atmospheric CO2 drops.  This is why Al Gore correctly notes a strong correlation between temperature and atmospheric CO2 (over the last 600,000 years).  But it’s the temperature driving the CO2, and not, as Gore wrongly asserts, the CO2 driving the temperature.  The records clearly show the CO2 graph around 800 years or so behind the temperature graph.
But the oceans will not become acid as they absorb CO2, and destroy hard-shelled marine creatures, because there is a range of buffering mechanisms.  Over the longer term, CO2 is sequestered into calcium carbonate and becomes rock.  If the alarmists were right about ocean acidification, the marine life we observe today would have been gone a very long time ago.  By geo-historical standards, today’s atmospheric CO2 levels are remarkably – indeed dangerously – low.  We need CO2 in the air to support plant growth and agricultural yields, and more would be better.
Prince Charles says that sceptics don’t understand the science.  But the fact is that he’s swallowed a simplistic, comic-book, Hollywood-Disaster-Movie version of the science, and he isn’t prepared to listen to the sceptic case.  I once offered to arrange a briefing for him from a small number of world-renowned climatologists, but his office politely declined.

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8 Responses to There are holes in the sky where the CO2 gets out….

  1. Michael St George says:

    At one time I used to feel a degree of sympathy for HRH, because I felt he was nastily and unjustly criticised by the unholy cabal of anti-monarchists and new-age shysters surrounding the manipulative but supremely vacuous airhead to whom he used to be married.

    But no longer – the man is a dangerous eco-loon, a gullible prey to junk science and pseudo-philosophy, whose disjointed mumblings wouldn’t command one iota of attention were it not for his status.

    As an ardent supporter of the constitutional monarchy, I never thought I’d say this – but in the case of HRH, the case for the Crown skipping a generation must be unanswerable.

  2. Graham Wayne says:

    While I find it unfortunate you haven’t discussed the science of climate change with someone able to explain your misunderstanding, it is more unfortunate that you have not bothered to check the quote was genuine – which it is not – before attributing it to Prince Charles.
    Googling the phrase produces only your site, and those who have quoted you. It is one thing to misunderstand complex science, but quite another to malign people without checking your facts.

    • This is a remarkably patronising comment. I have of course talked to people on both sides of the debate, and have spent time explaining to Warmists THEIR misunderstanding of the science. It is notorious that Warmists will not debate the issues. They say they don’t want to give airtime to a minority view, but the truth is they can’t win the argument. Al Gore, for example, absolutely refuses to defend his position in open debate. I will in fact be debating against Warmists at Leicester University, 2:00 p.m. Monday Oct 25th. You might like to come.

  3. Graham Wayne says:

    …and this is what he actually said:

    “And I would say to all these sceptics – alright it may be very convenient to believe that somehow all these greenhouse gases we’re pouring into the atmosphere just disappear through holes conveniently into space, it doesn’t work like that.”


    It seems you have rather misrepresented them, as you have the science of climate change. Rater better information can be found here:

  4. Oh come on, Graham. Yes of course it was a paraphrase, but it accurately represented his point, which you repeat yourself: “greenhouse gases …disappear through holes .. into space”

  5. Graham Wayne says:

    Surely there is some misunderstanding here – possibly mine. Prince Charles was taking the mickey out of people whose comprehension of the science was analogous to thinking there were holes in the sky. You cannot be suggesting he actually thinks this, can you? And what on earth do you attempt to infer when you say I repeated the point (as opposed to quoting it).

    It is quite clear that in the context of the interview, Prince Charles concluded by saying ‘it just doesn’t work like that’. He rubbishes the idea, not endorses it.

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