It’s been an exciting few weeks in the world of climate change – both for the science and the politics.
We’ve had the thrill and intrigue of Climategate with sensitive information leaked from the Climate Research Unit (CRU), followed by the nail biting soap opera antics of Australian politics over the vote for the proposed ETS (Emissions Trading Scheme) including a dramatic ousting of the opposition leader. Then we had our prime minister, Kevin, getting all the undeveloped countries upset at Copenhagen over a leaked draft document.
Before looking into what’s happening at the spectacle of the Copenhagen negotiations, I’d really like to mention Climategate.
The Climategate revelations have sent shivers of excitement through the blogosphere (for example: James Delingpole, who I think coined the phrase ‘Climategate’). And that’s where the problem is – the news, discussions and debates seem to have mainly been in blogs. Where’s the reporting in the main stream media? What’s the hidden agenda that there has been minimal air time given to this earth shattering news? (See James Delingpole’s summary of the media’s reporting ).
I’ve been asking regular people if they’ve heard of ‘Climategate’ or the news of the leaked (or stolen) information and the implications. The majority know nothing about it… So here are the basics:
The leaked CRU information has exposed that
- the data has been manipulated to produce the warming results they wanted,
- they have repeatedly refused access to their data and ‘Freedom of Information’ requests (and even considered destroying some of it),
- they have been influencing the suppression of publishing of papers with opposing views
This is all very upsetting in itself but its more upsetting that it’s not getting the media coverage it deserves. What has happened to open debate? It appears that we’re back with the Inquisition – believe in the main stream philosophy or be named a heretic and face denouncement and harassment!
You can actually read or search through all the emails in question on the East Anglia Emails website…
Luckily there are a few items in the mainstream media, such as the article by Christopher Booker in the Telegraph – ‘Climate Change – this is the worst scientific scandal of our generation’, and an open letter in The Spectator, by Nils-Axel Morner (a former lead reviewer for the IPCC) to the President of the Maldives. In this letter he asks why the Maldives President keeps stating that his islands will disappear under the sea, when he has written to him many times before explaining that the sea may only rise 20cm (not the 1-8m they keep mentioning). He also notes that back in the 17th century the sea was 50cm higher than now! There’s also Melanie Phillips’ article asking the UK Met Office for the rationale behind manipulating temperature records.
I also heard a very interesting talk recently on ABC Radio National with Aynsley Kellow who was an expert reviewer on the UN IPCC. He raised a number of interesting points regarding the science of climate change which are not normally mentioned:
- The basic physics tells us that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere does cause a modest forcing of temperature, but it’s subject to saturation and it decays rapidly, and most of the temperature increase from that effect alone, from a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, we’ve already seen.
- The key assumption that’s been made is that a slightly warmer world will produce more water vapour and the water vapour itself is the source of most of the future forcing.
- A fellow scientist did a paper looking at all the weather balloon data which is available for about 50 years and couldn’t find much evidence that as the Earth had warmed slightly that vital increase in water vapour was there. When the paper was first submitted for publication it was rejected on the basis that the message that it would send would give too much encouragement to sceptics!
- We’ve been told repeatedly that the science is settled by the very people who in their private email exchanges have been saying to each other ‘we can’t account for the lack of warming‘.
- There is so much uncertainty in the science that we do know that the climate system is a coupled, non-linear system that is subject to surprises.
- some scientists are saying we might be at the start of a solar minimum
The last point, regarding solar effects, is another fascinating area that has had little airplay. In summary the theory is:
- In times of high solar activity, sunspots pockmark the solar surface for years and the Sun’s magnetic field balloons outwards to shield the Earth from deep space particles called cosmic rays.
- cosmic rays induce clouds to form when they strike our atmosphere and low-level clouds are thought to reflect sunlight, cooling the Earth.
- So, when solar activity is high, the Earth is protected from cosmic rays and fewer clouds are formed. Thus, more sunlight reaches Earth’s surface and the planet heats up.
- In the past 12 months solar activity has fallen to levels unseen since the 1920s. Sunspots have become rare sights and for three quarters of this year the Sun has been spot-free. Therefore the theory is that cosmic rays can then reach our atmosphere and induce cloud cover to protect us from the sun’s heat.
According to one study if the trend continues at its current rate, the Sun will lose its ability to produce sunspots by 2015. That would take it back to its condition in the latter 17th century, when hardly any sunspots appeared for 70 years — and Northern Europe underwent the worst years of the so-called Little Ice Age. So it will be an opportune time to determine if ‘climate change’ will change again over the next few decades! For more information read Stuart Clark’s article in the Times, and Nigel Calder’s summary of the experiment which proved that cosmic rays induce cloud formation.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t be making an effort to look after our environment and mother earth. I’m just against fanatics of any type – whether it be religion, health, politics or green issues! I want to see an open debate where I don’t feel that politicans and other lobbyists have jumped on the climate change bandwagon and are not going to force expensive, possibly unnecessary, economic policies on our nations.
That’s it for now because if I keep writing I’ll never get this entry published. I’ll keep an eye on the Copenhagen antics and update you all shortly…
Let’s see what comes out of Copenhagen, besides little mermaids…