Guest Essay by Ed Hoskins
This short essay questions the actions to combat Global Warming / Climate Change from three points of view:
- The Temperature Context
- Man-made CO2 emissions 1965 -2012.
- The Significance and Influence of Carbon Dioxide CO2
The Temperature Context
Mankind has thrived and developed in the last 10,000+ years, the period of the current Holocene interglacial. The more normal current state of the earth in current times is glaciation, with ice sheets covering the bulk of the land outside the tropics. There have been 5 interglacial warmer periods in the last 500,000 years. The occurrence of glaciation and inter-glacials is driven by planetary mechanics.
The previous Eemian interglacial epoch was some 120,000 years ago. At its peak it was about 3°C warmer than our current Holocene interglacial: hippopotami thrived in the Rhine delta. The Eemian epoch also lasted about 10,000+ years .
On past experience, our current benign interglacial period should or could be drawing to its close.
The temperature record of the Holocene can be seen in the GRIP Greenland ice core data. Its information is reinforced by several other similar long term ice core records. The Holocene started with a “climate optimum” with its highest temperature values. In spite of the notable Minoan, Roman and Medieval warm periods the overall temperatures have diminished by about 1.5°C since 8000BC.
The most recent millennium 1000 – 2000 AD has been the coolest 1000 year period of the entire Holocene epoch.
The longest standing land based temperature record is the Central England Temperature record, (CET) has been maintained and supported by the UK Meteorological Office since 1659. It appears to be reliable and to have maintained its quality. It may not have been adjusted, as have so many other official temperature records, save marginally for the Urban Heat Island effect.
Although the CET record covers only a small part of the northern hemisphere, it has shown a consistent rise since the end of the little ice age in 1850 at a rate of about +0.45°C / century or about +0.77°C in the last 150 years. This rise accords well with other temperature records.
Mankind’s industrialisation could not have had any impact on climate prior to 1850, when CO2 levels were ~280-300 ppmv. The CET shows a gain of about 0.76°C 1850 to 1999 and there was a particular spurt up to the end of the last century. This coincided with increasing CO2 levels attributed by the IPCC and anthropogenic climate change advocates wholly to the growing industrial CO2 emissions of mankind.
However since the year 2000 a change has occurred: the CET record shows a marked reduction from its high levels loosing all the gains that it has made since 1850, even though at the same time CO2 levels have escalated further to ~400ppmv.
The temperature gains since 1970 coincided well with three active solar cycles 21 – 22 – 23. This period of high level solar activity matches the great Global Warming scare.
But the current solar cycle 24 is very much weaker. Solar experts predict that weakness will continue into cycle 25 peaking in about 2020. Solar activity levels would then be back to those of the Little Ice Age.
Although the visible light output of the sun is remarkably constant, its other electromagnetic radiations can vary significantly and other radiative effects mapped by the sunspot number probably have much more influence over world climate.
CET winter December – March temperatures have shown an even more significant loss -1.45°C in the last 13 years of since 2000.
And now in the first 6 months January – June of 2013 the average temperature is a full ~1.9°C lower than the averages over the past 12 years. This temperature drop has been mirrored in both hemispheres. It has lead to significant crop failures and loss of agricultural productivity.
But throughout this period CO2 levels have been increasing.
Perhaps its the sun and planetary mechanics that control the world’s climate.
Man-made CO2 emissions 1965 -2012
The following calculations and graphics are based on information on worldwide national CO2 emission levels published by BP  in June 2013 for the period from 1965 up until 2012. The data is well corroborated by previous datasets published by the Guardian  and Google up until 2009 .
A logical grouping of nations with regard to attitudes to CO2 emissions control is used. It is as follows:
• The European Union, (including the UK) and Australia (participating nations)
• United States of America
• Japan, the former Soviet Union  and Canada  are developed nations
• Korea, Iran, South Africa, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Indonesia and Taiwan: developing rapidly
• China and Hong Kong
Rest of World (~160 Nations): developing rapidly.
In summary the CO2 emission and emissions per head position in 2012 was as follows:
These graphs of total CO2 emission history show that up until 2012:
• CO2 emissions from the developing world as a whole overtook the developed world in 2007 and are now ~42% higher.
• There has been a very rapid escalation of Chinese CO2 emissions since the year 2000.
• China overtook the USA CO2 emissions in 2006, and by 2012 Chinese emissions were already ~60% greater than the USA, the escalation in Chinese CO2 emissions is expected to continue.
• There is inexorable emissions growth from all the developing economies, from a low base.
• India has accelerating emissions, growing substantially, from a low base.
• The stabilisation or reduction of emissions from developed economies. The USA, simply by exploiting shale gas for electricity generation, has already reduced its CO2 emissions by some 8% in the last year. That alone has already had more CO2 emission reduction effect than the entire Kyoto protocol.
any CO2 emissions reduction made by the Developed Nations will be negated by increases from Developing Nations.
However probably more significant than the total CO2 emissions output is the comparison of the actual emissions/head for the various populations.
• The EU(27) even with active legal measures have maintained a fairly level CO2 emission rate but have managed to reduce their CO2 emissions per head by ~29% since their peak in 1977. The recent downward trend is attributed to their declining economies.
• The USA has already reduced its CO2 emissions/head by ~32% since its peak in 1970
• Russia, Japan and Canada reduced their emissions/head by ~24% since their peak in 1989
• The eight rapidly developing nations have shown consistent growth from a low base in 1965 at 5.6 times. They exceeded the world average CO2 emissions level in 1997
• China’s CO2 emissions/head have grown a further 140% since 2000. China overtook the world-wide average in 2003 and surpassed the rapidly developing nations in 2005.
• India’s CO2 emissions have grown by 4.7 times over the period and are now showing recent modest acceleration. That increasing rate is likely to grow substantially.
• The Rest of the World (~160 Nations), 36% of world population have grown CO2 emissions consistently but only by 2.6 times in the period, this group will be the likely origin of major future growth.
• Overall average world-wide emissions/head have remained relatively steady but with early growth in the decade from 1965. It amounts to 1.6 times since 1965.
When the participating nations particularly EU(27) are compared with Chinese CO2 emissions/head an interesting picture arises:
• Chinese CO2 emissions at 6.7mt/head for its 1.3 billion population are already ~41% greater than the worldwide average. Those emissions are still growing fast.
• At 5.4mt/head, France, with ~80% nuclear electricity generation, has the lowest CO2. emission rates in the developed world and is at only ~12% above the world-wide average.
• China’s CO2 emissions/head exceeded France’s CO2 emissions/head in 2009.
• The UK at 7.2mt/head is only ~50% higher than the world-wide average and only about ~12% higher than China.
• Germany, one of the largest CO2 emitters in Europe, has emissions/head ~100% higher than the worldwide average and is still ~63% higher than China.
If CO2 emissions really were a concern to arrest Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming / Man-made Climate Change, these results show starkly the real advantage of using Nuclear power for electricity generation. This must question the Green attitudes in opposing Nuclear power. Following Fukushima, the German government position of eliminating nuclear power in a country with no earthquake risk and no chance of tsunamis is should be untenable.
In October 2010 Professor Richard Muller made the dilemma for all those who hope to control global warming by reducing CO2 emissions clear: in essence he said :
“the Developing World is not joining-in with CO2 emission reductions nor does it have any intention of doing so. The failure of worldwide action negates the unilateral action of any individual Nation”.
Professor Fritz Vahrenholt again re-emphasised this point in a July 2012 lecture at the Royal Society  . Professor Vahrenholt had pioneered the county’s significant advance in renewable energy, especially in the development of wind power.
He had previously accepted the IPCC as the foundation of his understanding of mankind’s effect on climate change. However, as a trained chemist he examined IPCC reports in detail, and found many errors, inconsistencies and unsupported assertions. He has now reversed his position.
His diagram below shows how miniscule the efforts at decarbonisation in Germany would be in comparison with the likely escalation of CO2 emissions from the rest of the world as those underdeveloped nations become progressively more industrialised and more intensive users of fossil fuel to power their development and widen their distribution of electricity.
The futility of the expenditure of vast resources on Green activities in Germany becomes clear. German actions with increasing risks to its energy security and the risk to the German economy as a whole, could only ever reduce Germany’s CO2 emissions by ~150,000,000 tonnes between 2006 and 2030. That would only amount to ~1/100 of the concomitant growth in other CO2 emissions from the developing world.
Professor Varhenholt is now convinced that it is nature and in particular the behaviour of the sun that is responsible for continually changing climate, and as he said as the final point of his lecture:
“This change can only develop first with a revolution of our minds.”
“It’s not mankind creating climate, it’s the sun stupid.”
The significance and influence of Carbon Dioxide CO2
All plant life and thus the whole biosphere is dependent on atmospheric CO2, at 400 ppmv it is a trace gas. Plants evolved at times when the CO2 levels were much higher. Increased levels of CO2 markedly improve plant growth and reduce their water requirements for transpiration as plants need fewer and smaller, water releasing, stomata to ingest their essential CO2.
Plants are stressed by low CO2 levels and do not survive well at levels of less than ~200 ppmv. CO2 increases since 1850 are already estimated to have enhanced all planetary plant growth and greening of deserts by ~15%. Horticulturalists deliberately add extra CO2 to their greenhouses up to a level of some 1200 ppmv to enhance plant growth and fertility.
Whatever politicians and Global Warming advocates may say, CO2 is not pollutant.
The temperature increasing capacity of atmospheric CO2 is known to diminish as concentrations increase. This diminution effect is probably the reason why there was no runaway greenhouse warming caused by CO2 in earlier eons when CO2 levels were known to be at levels of several thousands ppmv.
Both sceptics and Global Warming advocates agree on this. IPCC Published reports, (TAR3), acknowledge that the effective temperature increase caused by growing concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere radically diminishes with increasing concentrations. This information is in the IPCC reports. It is well disguised for any lay reader, (Chapter 6. Radiative Forcing of Climate Change: section 6.3.4 Total Well-Mixed Greenhouse Gas Forcing Estimate).
Up to 200 ppmv, the equivalent to about 88% of the temperature increasing effectiveness of CO2, is essential to maintain plant life and th
us all life on earth. The current level of ~400 ppmv is already committed and immutable, this already amounts to 93% of the warming effect of CO2 in the atmosphere . Thus only ~7% of the effectiveness of CO2 as a greenhouse gas now remains.
Thus there can only ever be a minor temperature reduction impact of any de-carbonization policy, controlling CO2 emissions. Whatever political efforts are made to de-carbonize free world economies or to reduce man-made CO2 emissions, (and to be effective at temperature control those efforts would have to be universal and worldwide), those efforts can only now affect at most ~7% of the future warming effect of CO2.
The rapid diminution effect is an inconvenient fact for Global Warming advocates, nonetheless it is well understood within the climate science community but it is certainly not much discussed.
More CO2 in the atmosphere does not inevitably lead directly to much more warming. And increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere are cannot give rise to any dangerous temperature increase.
Thus any de-carbonization policies could never have useful impact to realistically control rising world temperatures and the future world climate. As the future temperature effect of increasing CO2 emissions is now so minor, there is no possibility of ever reaching the political target of less than +2.0°C.
Both CO2 sceptics and Global Warming advocates agree that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and does increase temperature: the question between them is one of degree. The table below sets out the scale of those differing views. Sceptics analyse the remaining CO2 impact to be about 0.15°C, whereas Global Warming advocates estimate it at about 1.19°C.
What is clear from this is that there is a large differential between views of the amount of warming that can result from additional CO2 in future.
The concomitant effect of that is the amount of residual warming up to the total ~33°C that is attributable the water vapour and clouds in the atmosphere. The range discussed can be from ~95% (5% for greenhouse gasses) to ~70% (30% for greenhouse gasses).
It is questionable whether it is plausible that marginal changes to the concentration of a minor trace gas at ~400 parts/million (400/1,000,000) by volume of the atmosphere could affect such radical temperature increases when compared to the greenhouse effect of water vapour in the atmosphere.
In addition the Global Warming advocates assume that all increases to CO2 concentration are due solely to man-made additions. This is not necessarily the case, as the biosphere and slightly warmer oceans will outgas CO2 and the Man-made contribution is only a minor part of that CO2 transport within the biosphere, possibly as small as 3% of the total.
De-carbonisation context and consequences
The efforts of western nations with decarbonisation policies have to be seen in the following context:
• the changing global temperature patterns, the current standstill and impending cooling
• the rapidly growing CO2 emissions from the bulk of the world’s nations as they continue their development.
• the diminishing impact of any extra CO2 emissions on any temperature increase
To understand what might be achieved by any political action for de-carbonization, the table below gives the likely range of warming, (without feedbacks), that might be averted with an increase of CO2 from 400 ppmv to 800 ppmv, assuming that the amount of CO2 released by each of the world’s nations or nation groups in future is reduced by 50%.
Efforts by participating nations to reduce temperature by de-carbonization should be seen in context:
• Normal daily temperature variations at any a single location range from 10°C to 20°C.
• Normal annual variations value can be as much as 40°C to 50°C.
• Participating Europe as a whole only accounts for about 12% of world CO2 emissions.
• The UK itself is now only about 1.5% of world CO2 emissions.
The result shows a range of only a matter of a few thousandths to a few hundredths of a degree Centigrade. As the margin of error for temperature measurements is about 1.0°C, the miniscule temperature effects shown above arise from the extreme economic efforts of those participating nations attempting to control their CO2 emissions. But the outcomes in terms of controlling temperature can only ever be marginal, immeasurable and thus irrelevant.
It is clear that all the minor but extremely expensive attempts by the few convinced Western nations at the limitation of their own CO2 emissions are futile. Their actions alone, whatever the costs they incurred to themselves, might only ever effect virtually undetectable reductions of World temperature.
So the participating Western Nations have isolated themselves on the basis that it is their duty to set an example for the rest of the world. This is in the expectation that other nations will follow them down the same costly course of action. But regrettably for all those committed Nations and for all the efforts of the IPCC over the last 30 years, the rest of the world is neither listening nor is it going to be joining-in.
The IPCC acknowledges that the diminution effect with increasing CO2 concentrations exists, but it does not explain its consequences. Like the Medieval Warm Period, that the IPCC attempted to eliminate with the Hockey Stick graph in 2001, the IPCC knows that wide public knowledge of the diminution effect with increasing CO2 concentration would be entirely detrimental to their primary message.
“Man-made CO2 emissions are the cause of global warming / climate change”.
The IPCC certainly does not explain the devastating consequences outlined here for the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming assertion in their Summary for Policy Makers.
The IPCC is misleading in its central claim for Policy Makers, as they say:
“Warming of the climate system is unequivocal. Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.”
Any unquestioning, policy making reader is thus lead to assume that all increasing Man-made CO2 concentrations are progressively more harmful because of their escalating Greenhouse impact.
In addition Global Warming advocates only ever propose solutions for the control of Global Warming, (overheating), by reducing CO2 emissions. However the climate is presently changing, (as it continues to do naturally), to a colder phase, probably because of reducing solar activity and changes of ocean circulation patterns.
Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming advocates fail to explain how reduction of man-made atmospheric CO2 can ever can help to control Climate Change towards a cooling world.
Having made so many dire predictions of the impending adverse climate catastrophes from overheating, Global Warming / Climate Change advocates fail to accept that a climate change towards a cooler climate is more likely to lead to more intense adverse weather. However there is good reason to expect this, simply because the energy differential between the poles and the tropics is bound to be greater and that in itself leads to less stable atmospheric conditions.
It has been shown in the past that the warmer climate in the Roman and
Medieval warm periods was more conducive to the wellbeing of the biosphere and of man-kind. If it were to get somewhat warmer, the world could well adapt to having larger areas for a more productive agriculture.
A marginally cooling world as the Northern Hemisphere seen in the years since 2000 leads to much more dire consequences for the biosphere and mankind than any realistic amount of warming that could ever arise from man-made CO2 emissions. Cold is a much greater threat than any moderate amount of additional warmth that could result from greater release of Man-made CO2.
National policy makers and the United Nations are neither recognizing nor are they preparing for the eventuality.
With a quietening sun, changing ocean circulation patterns and the present evidence of much colder winter weather in both Hemispheres, that cooling could already be upon us.
The cooling climate could well last for many decades or even centuries.
 Petit, J.R., et al., 2001. Vostok Ice Core Data for 420,000 Years. IGBP PAGES/World Data Center for Paleoclimatology Data Contribution Series #2001-076. NOAA/NGDC Paleoclimatology Program, Boulder CO, USA.
 see: http://theinconvenientskeptic.com/chapters-8-10/