…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.
Search the blog
Calendar of posts
Ian Terry on Wind Power Hits Grid Parity!… Ex-expat Colin on “Let my people go… Richard111 on “Let my people go… Ex-expat Colin on “Let my people go… David on “Let my people go…
- "Let my people go"
- The ETS again
- Beware of “Smart Meters”
- Perverse incentives
- Letter to the Commissioner
- Ken on rape: badly phrased, but basically right
- The EU offers no benefits – reform or no reform
- EU regulations promote contraband cigarettes
- Wind Power Hits Grid Parity! ...or maybe not...
- Towards more picturesque speech
- 638,631 hits
- Add new tag Air fares Alan Johnson Al Gore Animal Welfare banking BBC betrayal Broughton Astley Brussels C02 Cameron campaign CAP capitalism Carbon Climate Change CO2 Constitution Copenhagan Credit Crunch Croatia David Cameron David Davis Education Elections emissions trading Energy Energy Security Environment EPP EU EU Presidency Europe Freedom Zone Free Speech Galileo Georgia Global Warming GM Food gordon brown Greenpeace Gurkhas Lib Dems Liberal Democrats Lisbon McCain Monetary Union No Campaign Obama OfCom Oil Peer reviewed papers pesticides Philip Lardner Politics Show Refereendum Referendum Renewables resignation roger helmer Russia Sarah Palin Sarkozy smoking Stem Cell Research St George's Day Tax The Freedom Zone Tobacco UKIP USA Vice President windfall tax