Guest Opinion: Dr. Tim Ball
Pick your trend.
The historical relationship between solar activity and temperature indicates the world is in a cooling trend. Meanwhile, governments prepare solely for warming, using manufactured academic and scientific justification. Regardless, of your position on the science of these issues, there is a strategy that is more logical in terms of both adaptation and preparation. Unfortunately, because global warming was used to achieve a political agenda, objective science and logical planning are ignored and it won’t be adopted. As usual, the people who have already paid a price will pay more.
A couple of years ago I received a small contract to contribute a chapter to a strategy manual for Senior Staff officers of the Canadian military (yes, there is one). Its purpose was to provide a framework for preparing military contingencies for global and Canadian climate conditions. The theme of my chapter was, that when you cannot prepare for all contingencies, you must reduce risk of being prepared as much as possible. The objective was to have a game theory approach that provides the optimal plan, regardless of what happens. The plan may not win, but it shouldn’t lose. Two factors, among others, formed the basis for the strategy: the failed predictions (projections) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); and the lack of a temperature increase, at that time of 15 years, despite increasing CO2.
My philosophical basis was a variation of Pascal’s Wager. He was a theistic humanist who knew it was impossible to prove the existence of God. However, he also rationalized that the wise position was to believe that there was a God. As one person explained,
Belief is a wise wager. Granted that faith cannot be proved, what harm will come to you if you gamble on its truth and it proves false? If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing.
I was left with few options because Governments, based on the work of the IPCC, assume that only a warming trend is the foreseeable future. The IPCC argue that this is guaranteed, unless we stop all human production of CO2. The problem is that CO2 is not the cause of the temperature trend, as the hiatus, now at 19+ years, illustrates. In fact, the entire historic record shows that CO2 is not the issue. Supporters of the IPCC projections believe that the warming trend will continue, that the pause is just that, and the trend will resume shortly. Unfortunately, use of the word hiatus by skeptics, which means a brief pause, condones that belief. The reality is the climate changes all the time as it moves between warming and cooling trends. Calling it a hiatus implies it is an anomaly, when it is one cycle in a cyclical pattern.
It is no surprise to skeptics that the starting and ending points of the graph determine the climate trend. Figure 1 shows the sequence I used in the first lecture of my first year climate class. On the blackboard I drew the first line (UP) then added subsequent lines to create the UP, Down, UP sequence.
An Earlier “Hiatus”?
The following quotes are from the cover of a book about a climate trend. The book is using alarmism to demand action. To give credibility a gold medallion tells the reader that the book “Includes two CIA reports.”
“Have our weather patterns run amok? Or are they part of a natural and alarming timetable.”
“From all over the world: Frightening reports of unusual climatic occurrences!”
“This vitally important document is compiled from expert testimony, scientific studies, government inquiry and the growing body of data in the field. Its purpose is to inform the public of the true facts about a topic often clouded by action, superstition, and alarmist misrepresentation.”
The quotes are on the cover of a 1977 book, The Weather Conspiracy, written by a group of reporters under the rubric, A Special Impact Team Report. They answer the question “What does it mean?” as follows.
“Many of the worlds leading climatologists concur we are slipping towards a new Ice Age. Why is this so? How will it affect food scarcity? Rising costs? How much is it a threat to the quality of life –the very fact of our existence on this planet? What is going to happen? What can – and can’t – we do about it? THE ANSWERS ARE IN THIS BOOK!”
There is no point in examining the solutions, because they are either so obvious, or silly. They are all related to changing lifestyle and demands on energy and economy. Ironically, the only proposal for direct intervention, what today we call geo-engineering, was to offset increasing droughts with cloud seeding. Yes, the claim was a colder world would cause more droughts.
The omission is interesting because several proposals were made. One from the Soviet Union proposed building a dam across the Bering Straits to prevent the cold flow of Arctic waters in to the north Pacific. Another involved putting large reflectors in space to beam more sunlight into high latitude cities in winter. To my knowledge, nobody proposed adding more CO2 to increase warming, but then CO2 had not yet become isolated and demonized by the IPCC. The “Greenhouse effect” was not in the political lexicon, although it was being used in the classroom, as a possible explanation for a world warmer than a simple energy budget would allow.
Today’s activists would push for adding more CO2 to offset the cooling. Just as they believe humans are to blame for all “changes”, they also believe human remediation is required and will work. This was demonstrated by the proposal to produce ozone and pump it up to ‘heal’ the ozone hole. It was abandoned, when back of the envelope calculations showed it would take all the energy we produce globally to do it.
Game Theory: Best Strategy.
A brief examination of climate change and environmental changes through history shows that colder temperatures are a much greater threat to flora and fauna, and therefore the human condition. More important, adjustments to warmer conditions are much easier than to cold. One of the major deceptions promoted by the IPCC is the impact of warming. It is part of their singular approach. Working Group I proves CO2 is causing warming. Working Groups II and III accept that as the sole base and determine the impact and the necessary policies. One of these is the claim that warming will cause increased loss of life. It may cause some increase, but, contrary to the belief promoted by the alarmists, more people die from the cold every year and that would increase more with colder temperatures.
Governments are preparing for warming. The degree of preparation varies, and those who made the biggest commitments are already suffering the consequences. Green agendas are dominated by alternate energies and are collapsing everywhere. Here is an a example from the UK
More than 15 million UK households plan to ration their energy use this winter to cope with “sky-high” energy costs, according to uSwitch. The price comparison website, which surveyed 5,300 people, found that almost six in ten (57%) people have already cut back or plan to ration their energy use this winter in a bid to reduce bills. The research also revealed that more than a third of people (36%) who rationed their energy last winter said it affected their health and wellbeing.
Governments have three options. 1. Do nothing. 2. Prepare for warming, or 3. Prepare for cooling. They’ve chosen (2) the worst option because of the deceptions and deliberate coercion by the IPCC. The first option is the best, because if you don’t know what is going on it is better to do nothing. IPCC’s failed predictions prove they don’t know what is going on.
Pascal’s Wager provides the answer. You prepare for cooling because it is the real threat and potentially fatal to ignore. If you plan for warming and it cools, adaptation is much more difficult, assuming you have the time and the energy resources to do it. In addition, there is the damage done in the meantime of loss of lives and destruction of economies.
Most governments have chosen to prepare for warming. Fortunately, it is a token position for many. Some have already done more than others. They always begin by adopting a shift from traditional energy sources to alternate energies. These are accompanied by legislation and directed funding to force the change. Subsidies are created at all levels, so that even if full cost/benefit studies were done, it becomes almost impossible to identify them. Legislation is even more singular, directed and negative. It is directed at punishing, what are deemed transgressions, and preventing development.
Request for my chapter in the Senior Officers Strategy Manual occurred because a Senior Officer, with degrees specializing in nuclear physics, heard a public presentation I made. The entire project was supervised and edited by an academic. He advised me the chapter would not be included, but would not explain why. Fortunately, I got paid. The problem is that some countries, such as Canada, are more vulnerable to cooling than others, as studies done by the World Meteorological Organization recognized in the 1970s. Martin Parry, who later attended the 1985 establishment meeting of the IPCC in Villach, Austria (Figure 2) was active in those studies.
Figure 2: (“Tom” is Wigley).
In a 1975 paper, “Secular climatic change and marginal land.” Parry produced two maps (Figure 3) to illustrate the impact of cooling, from the Medieval Warm Period down to the Little Ice Age, on the county of Berwickshire in southeast Scotland.
Figure 3: Berwickshire
Canada was one of the regions Parry looked at with regard to the impact of cooling. He produced Figure 4 showing the effects of a 1°C cooling on the extent of agriculture in Canada.
A modern indicator of the impact of 1°C cooling occurred in 1992, following the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991. In the first week of September 1992 I drove across a major portion of the Canadian Prairies from Winnipeg to Regina and then up to Saskatoon. All wheat and most other cereal crops were still green. Many farmers applied a desiccant to dry the crop sufficiently to allow harvesting.
That is a simple technological fix, but longer and deeper cooling spells will require more complex social and technological solutions. The major traditional social response is migration. The Berwickshire maps (Figure 3) indicate the relationship between cooling, loss of agricultural sustainability, and migration. The height of climatically viable limit for agriculture lowered by 300 meters, which doesn’t sound like much, but on the gradient it converts to a very large area. It affected the Highland clans most and it appears their migration to the Lowlands triggered the clan wars. The Highland Clearances were a combination of loss of agricultural land and failure of the governments to respond adequately. They did assist migration by moving 100,000 Scots to the plantation in Ulster by 1610. There was also agricultural adaptation, as sheep grazed land unsuitable for crops.
Since governments will be starting from behind the temperature curve, as the cooling trend continues, it is interesting to speculate what they can do. Ironically, producing plants for the new conditions, that with plant breeding traditionally takes 15 to 18 years from lab to field, is now possible in less than 2 years, thanks to genetic modification. Of course, that is also unacceptable for environmentalists and many governments, but they may be responsible for reduced options.
History tells us that practicality won’t prevail as long as we have politics and environmental extremism in charge. George Santayana said, “Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.” The “Those” he refers to are the political leaders. The people know, because they pay the price. Too often the leaders are aided and abetted by academics who, either create the theory or provide one on request, as happened with the IPCC. The person who rejected my chapter for the Staff manual was an academic with an arts degree and an apparent bias. I suspect that is how most wars are lost and as always, in all things, the people pay the price.
 Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. 64: 1-13.