The Past and Future of Climate

I seem to be becoming Exchange Central for publishers of new books on climate.  But a recent one caught my eye, not least because it has a foreword by the redoubtable David Bellamy.  You’ll remember David Bellamy.  He used to be as much a fixture on BBC science and nature and wildlife programmes as David Attenborough.  Then he “Came Out” as a climate sceptic, and the BBC dropped him like a hot potato.

Not only David Bellamy, but the book carries an endorsement from the splendid Czech President Vaclav Klaus.  There’s also a comment from a Professor Folke Stenman of the University of Helsinki “Your argumentation is amongst the most convincing and beautifully distilled down to bare facts I have come upon in the present mess of IPCC-dominated ‘science’ “.

The book is sub-titled “Why the world is cooling and why carbon dioxide won’t make a detectable difference”.

The author David Archibald starts straight into the logarithmic nature of the CO2 greenhouse effect — the law of diminishing returns, which means that although CO2 is undoubtedly a greenhouse gas, the current level in the atmosphere (around 395 ppm) is so far up the curve that further increases will have little effect.

The book, packed with easy-to-follow graphs and charts, beautifully illustrates how “adjustments” applied to raw data by a variety of research institutions have had the consistent effect of turning flat lines into upward graphs, and creating “global warming” out of not very much.

But the main thrust of the book is the impact of solar changes on the terrestrial climate.  Perhaps climate scientists don’t spend enough time talking to astronomers.  But Archibald presents a wealth of data showing first of all that climate clearly correlates with solar activity; and second, that the next two solar cycles look set to be very modest, and alarmingly similar to those that heralded the Dalton Minimum in the early nineteenth century.

So if I were a betting man, I’d happily bet that 2030 will be a good deal cooler than 2010, and that the Global Warming Myth will be thoroughly blown apart.  The bad news is that by then, our electricity prices will have gone through the roof, and our energy security will be fatally compromised, and all because of the EU/Chris Huhne plans to “combat climate change”.

“The Past and Future of Climate” is published by Rhaetian Management Pty Ltd, WA6015 Australia.  You can order the book from  ISBN 978-0-646-53605-7.

I recently sent an Open Letter to the Telegraph’s Geoffrey Lean, on the subject of that irritating phrase “Pre-Industrial Temperatures”.  I offered to publish his reply, and here it is.  See my comments below.

Dear Roger,
Thank you for your open letter of the 13th, and apologies for the unavoidable slight delay in replying, due to travel, urgent work for the paper, and the Christmas break.
As you say – like many commentators, including climate sceptic ones – I do refer from time to time to the target of not allowing average world temperatures to rise more than two degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels. Of course, none of us invented the target and we are reporting something which, I believe, first emerged in the mid 1990s and has since been increasingly working its way into international negotiation and documents. Questions about its validity are therefore best addressed to the UNFCCC, national governments, the European Commission and scientific bodies.
As I understand it “preindustrial” refers to around 1750, immediately before the Industrial Revolution (during, as it happens, the Little Ice Age, generally regarded as stretching from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries). I thought that readers would assume this but, since you have asked for clarification, I suppose others may also have been confused. So, where space permits, I will be more specific in future.
I do, of course, entirely agree that there have been many natural variations in the climate, and have written about them extensively over the years: I first referred to the Little Ice Age and the Mediaeval Warm Period, for example, in the mid 1970s. Such variations will certainly continue. But none of this means that human activities are not increasing temperatures and will not raise them further: indeed many sceptics agree, as my old colleague Chris Monckton was pointing out the other day, that “warming will result” from our carbon dioxide emissions. He and other sceptics may believe that the effect will be small while many climate scientists hold that it will be great, but the fact that C02 is a greenhouse gas does not seem to be seriously contested.
There is also no dispute that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have been rising substantially during the recent period of warming, while there is no such uncontested upwards trend in solar activity: indeed the balance of evidence seems to suggest it has effectively remained stable. It would therefore seem logical that the increase in C02 has played a major role.
Obviously, though, it must always be possible that some other factor, natural or anthropogenic, is at work. I believe, for example, that I have been in the vanguard over the last few years in covering the emerging acceptance of the important role played by black carbon and HFCs. Similarly, I will be interested in other new evidence that withstands scientific scrutiny. After all, as a journalist, I am.always eager for a good story.
With best wishes for the New Year,

My comments:-

I am happy to publish Geoffrey’s response to my open letter, but I can’t resist the urge to comment.  If we are saying that “pre-industrial temperatures” means the middle of the Little Ice Age (as Geoffrey indicates), then “plus two degrees” is well within the established range of natural variation, and therefore nothing to be concerned about.  It would be an absurd limit to set.  The depths of the Little Ice Age were a terrible time when crops failed and folk went hungry — surely we don’t want to go back to that?  (Though we probably will — see my book review).

Then he says that while CO2 levels have increased, “During the recent period of warming ….. there is no such uncontested upward trend in solar activity”.  Many astronomers and solar scientists would strongly dispute that.  And in any case, the “recent period of warming” (and, incidentally, the slow retreat of glaciers) started a hundred years before there were significant increases in CO2.
He adds “It would therefore seem logical that the increase in C02 has played a major role”.  No it wouldn’t, any more that to assume that because the US murder rate increased in line with the numbers of Methodist Ministers, then Methodist Ministers must be responsible for the murders.  As Geoffrey well knows, correlation does not imply causation.  The recent warming is entirely consistent with similar cyclical warming before the Roman Optimum and the Mediaeval Warm Period.  The most parsimonious theory is simply that we have an established cyclical pattern, probably related to astronomical cycles, and that it is continuing as it has for thousands of years.

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2 Responses to The Past and Future of Climate

  1. fenbeagle says:

    We are certainly in a position to discuss these matters, and study them. It is no surprise that they have become a political issue either. But what has led politicians to believe they can control the temperature of the planet? And what methods do they plan to use? wind follie’s? (I don’t think that will work.) If not wind follie’s then what else is planned? pyramids, henge’s, temple’s? Painting all the roofs white (after clearing the snow off them.) Fitting black solar panels on all roofs afterwards, perhaps. Switching power production from the west, to the east, perhaps?
    Do we have a workable and affordable plan? Or do politicians believe they can achieve anything they wish for?

  2. Julie K. says:

    Somebody has told me recently that Climate changes shouldn’t be treated by the politicians. Well, I agree with that point that Climate changes should be proved by scientific researches. In my opinion we don’t have much time to examine closely every change of sea surface temperature. I hope that sufficient evidence is for example recent floods or melted ice. The minimum what politicians can do is to prepare emergency plans for timely evacuation and plan for early warnings against sudden weather changes. Above all their main task should be to prepare future energy plan to follow the industrial continuity.

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