My response below, to the article (August 20) referenced above, has too many characters, by a factor of two, to qualify for insertion online, and is of a nature and size that there's no chance it will be published as a regular letter to the Post so I'm submitting it this way hoping that your editors will perhaps consider at least permitting longer online responses in the future..
While it’s clear that the politics related to “climate change” are “hot”, so is the science. Eilperin and Achenbach, in their front-page article (August 20)
have shed no new light on the science.
The term climate, unlike weather, is meant to cover much longer time spans. In just the past 1.3 million years our planet has experienced 13 ice ages, each followed by a brief warming period. We have the good fortune to be living during a brief warming period. Climate change has been ongoing since the origin of our planet some 4+ billion years ago. It's not always pleasant. When there are no longer any reports of shrinking glaciers or disappearing ice fields the next ice age will surely be underway.
There is no disagreement that, since the beginning of our industrial revolution (the mid 1800s), industrial activity has likely been contributing to the steadily increasing level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The issue is whether this increase in CO2 will, in time, lead to significant, possibly catastrophic climate change. There is a well established paleo correlation, covering hundreds of thousands of years, showing a strong correlation between the variation in the planet’s carbon dioxide level and its temperature variation. However, the temperature variations occur first, some 800+ years before the very similar Co2 variations. This is clearly part of natural variation - the ongoing carbon cycle. The oceans, being much denser than the atmosphere, are much slower in both warming and cooling. When the oceans are cooler, Co2 is absorbed, when warmer, Co2 is expelled. There is no evidence that Co2 is driving our planetary temperature. Claims that other types of climate change have been caused by increasing Co2 have all been debunked.
As for the “survey” proving that 98% of climatologists believe that man’s activities contribute to warming: As I recall there are some serious issues related to that survey regarding sampling technique and how the questions were phrased. For example, every climatologist would be aware of the urban heat island effect which is clearly brought about by man’s activities, so man does indeed have some effect on temperature. But, the UHI is a local effect. The rural areas surrounding the urban areas show no impact from UHI. Not only that, urban areas make up a miniscule part of the earth’s surface area, oceans taking up 70%, plus there are other vast areas that include very few inhabitants. In any event, even I would be reluctant to claim that man has had no impact on the temperature. If I had to choose between "yes" or "no", I'd have to be prudent and select "yes". But my preferable answer would have been that there seems to be no evidence at all that man is having a significant (or even measurable) impact on the planet's temperature.
Our current warming began during the late 1600s, as the little ice age stopped cooling. That’s two centuries of natural warming before the industrial revolution. The 200 years of warming could hardly be expected to stop just because the industrial revolution started. But, even as the carbon dioxide level has continued to increase since the mid 1800s the temperature has not been cooperating. From the 1940s to 1970s it cooled, and since 1998 it has basically been flat. In fact, most of our current warming has taken place during two periods, (1910 to 1940) and (1975-1999).
Proponents of AGW defend their computer model predictions by now claiming such things as volcano eruptions have interfered, but these are merely part of the ongoing natural climate change, which clearly demonstrates that their computer models are inadequate, and, in any event, the excuses are questionable, because there seems to have been no increase in the particulates in the atmosphere.
The reviews that supposedly exonerated the folks at the IPCC seem to have invariably been conducted by others with the same vested interest, (a rather common practice in climate investigations, otherwise known as “white washing”). These reviewers refused to even consider looking at the science, or at the IPCC’s lack of scientific method. Certainly any scientific conclusion based on data (or processes used) which has not been released, was lost or destroyed, is hardly a valid basis for making policy. That data handling scenario has been SOP for the IPCC.
It was also misleading for the Post reporters to compare temperature in this decade with just the previous two decades. The 1930s were also quite warm, the difference compared to recent temperatures so small as to be insignificant. (One must also keep in mind that those surface temperature readings from the 30s were all subsequently “adjusted” downwards! Documentation justifying that process will not soon be available.) Our current drought, pictured in the Post article, hardly compares to the disastrous drought in the earlier 1900s.
And then there’s the Medieval Warming Period. The MWP “had to be eliminated” according to the purloined IPCC emails, and – in the face of much existing and contradicting research – the IPCC obviously did its best to eliminate that entire era via their famed (and clearly debunked) “hockey stick” graph. There are numerous peer-reviewed studies on the MWP, over a relatively long period, and still ongoing (involving about 1000 scientists so far and covering 40+ countries, showing that the MWP was global (not just regional) and as warm, likely warmer, than now. (links to all MWP studies available via www.co2science.org) . There was no industrial activity at that time, so the MWP was clearly natural climate variation. Where is the evidence that the current warming (such as it is) is not just more natural variation?
Trenberth, an IPCC member and (of course) one of the warming proponents has actually claimed recently – to a large audience- that the null hypothesis , (climate variation is natural unless proven otherwise) should be changed to his hypothesis – (it’s all anthropogenic ) . This unbelievable claim with no evidence to offer! Keep in mind that an entity such as the International Panel on Climate Change is no different than any other bureaucracy. Its very existence depends on its findings. Its findings were clearly predictable. Neither has the UN made any secret of its ambitions in this regard. (See, for example Lord Monckton's findings.)
The entire basis for the proponents of anthropogenic global warming is their hypothesis - that there is a positive feedback related to increasing Co2 which will, at some point, begin driving up temperature more quickly. However, even current temperatures indicate that their computer model projections based on this hypothesis are failing. Computer models do not qualify as evidence (other than to perhaps indicate incompetence). Even the IPCC folks acknowledge that their computer models generate “projections” and not “predictions”. The major news media has failed to distinguish this difference. Projections offer no guarantees at all. Not only that, the “hot spot” which, according to the computer models, must show up in some specific area in the troposphere are nowhere to be found. That alone should bring on serious questions about the validity of the IPCC hypothesis.
Finally, there is the isolated concern related to just the one issue - increasing carbon dioxide. The Co2 level has not only been much higher in the distant past but also during several ice ages, and even going into one ice age. This trace gas is now at 400 ppmv (parts per million by volume). The annual increase is 2 ppmv per year. At the current annual level it will be 600 to 700 ppmv by the year 2100. In the distant past life on this planet has apparently thrived at much higher levels of CO2. In fact, right now our vegetation is thriving on the additional CO2, and requiring even less water. Submarine crews live in 3000 to 5000 ppmv for extended durations with no apparent problems.
While we should obviously continue to look for ways to reduce our “carbon footprint”, this trace gas does not appear to be anywhere near a level, even within the next few hundred years, where it might then become prudent to permit politicians to treat the situation as a crisis (assuming we haven't already resolved the issue). Politicians’ “treatment” of any crisis tends to follow the “cure worse than the illness” model. We have time to deal with Co2 without having to, in the interim, move into caves.