By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley
A co-founder of Greenpeace International, Rex Weyler, described as a “journalist”, has recently blog-posted a Gish-gallimaufry of half-truths and downright falsehoods under the heading Global warming update. Mr Weyler says: “If you are environmental activist, or someone who cares and wants to help, you may find yourself confronting a denialist campaign that sows doubt and confusion.”
As with most such compendia of codswallop from the lavishly-funded Traffic-Light Tendency – the Greens too yellow to admit they’re really Reds – this latest roundup of ranting rodomontade is calculated to mislead as much by what it does not say as by what it does say. So let me sow some facts.
For the record, nobody pays me a sou to research or write about global warming, though I occasionally get a speaker’s fee. Greenpeace is far less candid about its funding, much of which comes from taxpayers.
Mr Weyler begins with the assertion, taken from the U.S. National Climatic Data Center, that
“March 2015 was the warmest March in 136 years of records”.
We are not told that it is warmer by just one-twentieth of a degree; nor that the satellite datasets do not show March 2015 as the warmest March:
We were not told that taking a single month (or even a decade) out of context is not how grown-up scientists evaluate temperature trends; nor that the NCDC temperature record has been repeatedly tampered with so as to suppress warming in the early 20th century and enhance it over recent decades. The effect is artificially to bump up the otherwise negligible warming rate by more than the puny March 2015 “record temperature”:
The serial tampering of the surface temperature data by NOAA’s NCDC has become particularly noticeable in the past decade:
In fact, approaching half of all 20th-century “global warming” seems to have come from adjustments to the NCDC record, particularly over recent decades. Deducting the 0.3 Cº fictional warming arising purely from these adjustments, and also deducting a further 0.2 Cº to allow for the fact – demonstrated by Michaels & McKitrick (2006) – that the recorded rate of warming over land in recent decades has been twice what it should have been because insufficient allowance had been made for urbanization and industrial development, leaves only about a quarter of a degree of genuine global warming since 1990.
Next we are told that
“global warming has stricken farmers around the world”.
We are not told what the ideal global mean surface temperature for agriculture is, however. Until very recently, warm periods such as the Holocene, Old Kingdom, Minoan, Roman, and Medieval Climate Optima were described as “Optima” because it was universally recognized that warmer and hence slightly wetter weather is better for agriculture than colder, drier weather. Now, however, these embarrassing “Optima” are being renamed with the Orwellian, politically-correct term “Climate Anomalies”.
Nor are we told that for various reasons, including increased use of nitrogen fertilizers and also CO2 fertilization, as well as warmer weather, crop yields rose rapidly worldwide till about the year 2000, when use of fertilizers declined and global temperature stabilized. Crop yields, however, remain high, thanks in no small part to continuing CO2 fertilization, which has added 2% per decade to the “primary productivity” or total green biomass of trees and plants worldwide in recent decades.
Next, we are told that
“science has observed enough to know that global warming is real, and that the primary cause is human activity”.
We are not told that when climate extremists at the “University” of Queensland attempted to prove that 97% of the abstracts of 11,944 climate-related papers published in the learned journals over the 21 years 1991-2011 had said recent warming was mostly manmade, they had themselves marked only 64 papers as saying that, and only 41 of the 64 had actually said that. So the “consensus” is not 97% but 0.3%.
Next, we are told that
“In 1896, using known observations of energy radiance and conduction, Swedish chemist Svente Arrhenius introduced the fundamental postulate: ‘If the quantity of carbonic acid [CO2] increases … the temperature will increase.’”
We are not told that the chemical formulae for carbonic acid is not “CO2” but H2CO3.
Nor are we told that Arrhenius, ten years after his 1896 paper, wrote a second paper, Die vermutliche Ursache der Klimaschwankungen (“The possible cause for climate variability”) in vol. 1 no. 2 of the Meddelanden från K. Vetenskapsakademiens Nobelinstitut (Journal of the Royal Nobel Institute), in which he reduced his estimate of climate sensitivity to a CO2 doubling from 4-8 Cº to 1.6 Cº:
“Likewise, I calculate that a halving or doubling of the CO2 concentration would be equivalent to changes of temperature of –1.5 Cº or +1.6 Cº respectively.”
Next, Mr Weyler, who appears to know practically no science of any kind and still less climate science, mangles his descriptions both of how greenhouses warm and of how the (quite different) greenhouse effect works. He makes the elementary mistake of assuming that the two processes are identical. Greenhouses warm chiefly because the glass prevents non-radiative transport of heat – notably convection – from the air inside them.
He digs himself further in by saying that
“Once reflected light is polarized …”
No, it is not “polarized”: its peak wavelength is displaced to the near-infrared in accordance with Wien’s displacement law. We are not told that it is not only “reflected light” from the surface that interacts with greenhouse gases, but also the not inconsiderable fraction of incoming solar radiation that is already in the near-infrared.
Next, Mr Weyler mangles his definition of “global warming”, saying it is
“a relatively large change in a short time, specifically 0.4 C° in one century. Earth’s temperature has increased by 0.8°C in one century, a state of global warming.”
His source for this inaccurate definition is an article on global temperatures in 2014 and 2015 by James Hansen, Gavin Schmidt and others at the Goddard Institute of Space Studies. However, the article contains no statement akin to Mr Weyler’s formulation. We are not told that that the world’s first regional temperature dataset, that of Central England, showed warming over the 40 years 1694-1733 at a rate equivalent to 4.33 degrees per century, long before we could have had anything to do with it.
Next, we are told that
“A cold winter is weather, and does not indicate the direction of climate change”.
We are not told that a warmish March is also weather, and does not indicate the direction of climate change.
Next, Mr Weyler says,
“The Canadian tar sands open-pit mine in Alberta is one of the major contributors to global warming, releasing carbon to the atmosphere, while removing the Boreal Forest”.
Even using the IPCC’s extreme climate-sensitivity estimates, the tar sands have a barely measurable effect on global temperature, and cannot have had any effect sufficient to cause any global at all in the past 18 years 5 months. As to the removal of the forest, under agreements between the extractors and the Canadian Government the forest will simply be replanted once the extraction is complete. This has long been common practice among all forms of opencast mining in recent decades. The tar sands are undoubtedly messy and polluting for now, but the long-run environmental benefits greatly outweigh the reversible short-run environmental costs. Were it not for the widespread use of cheap coal and oil, there would be far more destruction of forests as people cut down trees for firewood. Canada’s climate is not warm.
Next, Mr Weyler says CO2 emissions are now more than three-fifths higher than they were in 1990, and are
“dominated by China, the US, Europe, and now India”.
We are not told that Communist China now emits twice as much CO2 as the United States, a gap that will continue to widen as China’s program of building one or two coal-fired power stations a week continues till at least 2030. Nor are we told that Mr Obama, during a visit to China in December 2014, unilaterally granted China the right not to endure any of the restrictions that the new Treaty of Paris will inflict on her capitalist competitors:
The graph showing the rapid growth of China’s emissions cannot be too often reproduced, since it shows that whatever the West does is now altogether irrelevant. CO2 concentration in China will rise. It will also begin to rise more steeply in India, where Mr Modi and his environment minister have made it quite plain that they will not sacrifice lifting their people out of poverty and hence stabilizing their population by the most effective means (increasing prosperity) on the altar of non-existent “global warming”.
And where is the major Greenpeace campaigns to ensure that China does not emit more CO2? Or are we to think that the totalitarians in Greenpeace are assisting the totalitarians in China by keeping the focus on shutting down the major industries of the capitalist West that they hate even as they profit from it?
Next, Mr Weyler says:
“Meanwhile, carbon uptake by plant life is reduced through deforestation and ocean acidification,” which, we are also told, has made the oceans “30% more acidic”
…killing off marine species and threatening coral reefs. We are not told that CO2 uptake by plant life is increased through CO2 fertilization and that, notwithstanding deforestation, the net primary productivity of trees and plants worldwide is increasing.
Nor are we told that there are no global measurements of the acid-base balance of the oceans; that calcifying organisms such as the calcite and aragonite corals survived the last acidification of the oceans 55 million years ago; that studies of estuarine floodwater runoff in South America (rainwater is strongly acid, with a pH of 5.4, where 7.0 is neutral and ocean water is 7.8-8.0) show calcifying organisms to be unaffected even by considerable swings in ocean pH; and that under modern conditions acidification of the oceans is in any event impossible because the oceans lie in pronouncedly alkaline basalt basins. Ocean “acidification” is simply the fall-back position of those who are beginning to realize that no one is going to believe “global warming” for very much longer.
Next, Mr Weyler again asserts that Man is
“the primary cause of global heating” [the new politically-correct term for “global warming”, because “heating” sounds worse].
Mr Weyler says that manmade greenhouse gases have added a net 1.5 Watts per square meter of radiative forcing, or “heating effect”, in the past couple of centuries.
Mr Weyler advises the faithful to challenge “denialists” [the politically correct term for skeptics because we are made to sound as recalcitrant as Holocaust deniers] to name an alternative forcing that is as big as this. That’s easy: it’s called “natural variability”. Man may or may not have caused most of the global warming since 1950: but, on any view, we had nothing to do with the warming equivalent to 4.33 degrees/century from 1694-1733.
Nor did we have much to do with the warmings of 1860-1880 and 1910-1940, at rates statistically indistinguishable from the warming rate of 1976-2000 that was substantially caused by the sudden shift in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation from its negative to its positive phase in 1976.
Mr Weyler’s statement that…
“The available information shows us that humans stand out as the primary cause of modern global heating since 1750”
…is untrue. The consensus to that effect in the reviewed journals of climate science is 0.3%.
Next we are told, in a whiningly apocalyptic tone:
“The danger civilization faces is that we can easily lose control of global warming. The heating itself causes feedbacks within the ecological system, which in turn increase heating.”
We are not told of the growing evidence in the temperature record and in the reviewed literature that temperature feedbacks are net-negative. See, for instance, Why models run hot, published by the Chinese Academy of Sciences at scibull.com (please click on “Most Read Articles”: ours is the all-time no. 1, with 30,000 downloads of either the abstract or the full paper) that temperature feedbacks may be net-negative, attenuating rather than amplifying the direct “heating” caused by CO2.
We are not told of the IPCC’s own recent reduction in the feedback sum acting to equilibrium from 2 to 1.5 Watts per square meter per Kelvin, which in turn requires a reduction in equilibrium sensitivity by a third from the 3.3 degrees in the models to just 2.2 degrees, only half of which would occur within a century of the doubling:
Next, we are treated to the traditional litany of supposed catastrophes that are already said to be occurring as a result of “global heating”:
We are shown a picture of drought in California. But to cite an individual extreme-weather event as having been caused by “global heating” is to perpetrate the Aristotelian fallacy of the argumentum a dicto secundum quid ad dictum simpliciter, or converse accident:
Next, we are told that there has been
“global heating” of 0.8 degrees in “only one century”.
But there was a warming of more than twice this amount in just 40 years from 1694-1733 in Central England. Inferentially, a substantial warming will have occurred worldwide over the same period, for Central England is on the right latitude to give a fair approximation to global temperatures. Not many SUVs about in the early 18th century.
Next, we are told that, because of “global heating”, in the Arctic the “average temperature increase is about twice the global average”. We are not told that this has nothing to do with Man: it is the consequence of naturally-occurring advection of heat from the tropics (whose temperature changes little) to the Poles. We are not told that there has been no particular warming in the Antarctic, so that, strictly speaking, there has not yet been “global” warming at all.
Next, Mr Weylers says:
“Ocean temperature has increased to depths of 3000 meters.”
We are not told that the 3600 ARGO bathythermograph buoys floating about in the oceans each take only three temperature profiles a month over 200,000 cubic kilometres per buoy, not exactly a well-resolved record; we are not told that they take no measurements below 1900 meters; we are not told that there is no global campaign of measurements at depths of 3000 meters; we are not told that the abyssal strata are influenced far more by magmatic heat transfer from below, chiefly via the mid-ocean divergence boundaries, than by global warming from above; and, above all, we are not told that the rate at which the upper 1900 meters of the ocean has been warming in the 11 full years of ARGO data is equivalent to just 0.23 degrees per century.
Next, we are told that the
“rate of warming has nearly doubled in the last 100 years”.
I arranged for a Parliamentary Question to be put down on this topic in the House of Lords a few years back. The Minister for Weather replied that one could not distinguish statistically between the rates of warming from 1860-1880, 1910-1940, and 1996-2000. But he added that mere facts such as this would not alter the Government’s policy [which is to shut down as much of Britain as it can, killing as many poor people as possible in the process]. Nor are we told that there has been no statistically-significant global warming at all in the quarter-century since the IPCC’s First Assessment Report in 1990 (McKitrick, 2014). The rate of warming, far from doubling, has dropped to zero, notwithstanding record rates of increase in CO2 concentration.
Next, we are told that 11 of the last 12 years
“rank among the warmest since 1850”.
So what? Was 1850 an ideal year for global temperature? If so, why? If not, why is a warming of 0.8 degrees in more than a century and a half thought to be a problem? And trends are not, repeat not, determined by grown-up scientists by saying that n of the last n + 1 years were “the warmest evaaah”. One determines either a least-squares trend, or an AR(n) trend, or a polynomial fit. One does not cherry-pick individual years or decades.
Next, we are told of
“Glaciers and polar ice melting in Northern and Southern hemispheres”.
We are not told that there are more than 160,000 glaciers on the planet; that most of these are in Greenland and in Antarctica; that Antarctica contains 90% of the world’s land-based ice; that most of the glaciers in Antarctica have never been visited or measured by Man; that Antarctica has not warmed in the satellite era; that in Greenland from 1992-2003 the mean ice thickness above 1500 m was found to have grown by 2 feet in 12 years, and that only about a quarter of that growth has since been lost to the ocean; that Antarctic sea-ice extent has been at its greatest in the satellite era for several months; and that global sea-ice extent shows remarkably little change either in area or in trend in more than a third of a century:
Next, we are told that the rate of sea-level rise is increasing and that, on current projections,
“sea rise will wipe out thousands of cities and displace billions of people”.
We are not told that according to the GRACE gravitational-anomaly satellites sea level actually fell from 2003-2008, but was brought into line with the desired rapid rate of rise by an unduly large “glacial isostatic adjustment” to allow for the fact that land surfaces covered by ice during the last Ice Age are still rebounding:
Nor are we told that the ENVISAT satellite, which operated from 2004-2012, showed sea level rising over the entire eight-year period of operation at a rate equivalent to just 1.3 inches per century:
We are also not told that, since ARGO shows the upper 1900 m of the global ocean as warming at a rate equivalent to only 0.23 degrees per century, there is no reason to imagine that sea-level rise is accelerating significantly.
And, of course, we are not told by how many (or, rather, how few) inches per degree of ocean temperature change sea level is likely to rise. However, we can gain an estimate of the upper bound on this useful but strikingly absent quantity by assuming that global temperature in the medieval warm period was as little as 1 Cº above the 1000-year mean and was as little 1 Cº below that mean in the Little Ice Age. Grinsted et al. (2009) show a reconstruction of the past 1000 years’ sea-level change, which covered an interval from 8 inches above to 8 inches below the 1000-year mean, implying 8 inches of sea-level rise per degree of warming:
This value, 8 inches’ sea-level rise per degree of ocean warming, is supported by the fact that in the 20th century temperature increased by 0.8 degrees and sea level rose by 7 inches.
Nor are we told that the intercalibration errors between the three successive laser-altimetry satellite systems of the “official” sea-level record exceed the sea-level rise they purport to have found – a rate of rise far greater than the GRACE or ENVISAT results.
We are not told, in short, that nearly all of the imagined sea-level rise since satellite altimetry began in 1993 arises not from measurements of real sea-level rise but from a combination of intercalibration biases and arbitrary and excessive glacial isostatic adjustments.
If the oceans continue to warm at the rate observed by ARGO over the past 11 full years, sea level will rise by 2 inches this century – the central estimate made by Professor Niklas Mörner, the world’s foremost expert on sea level. If, as Monckton of Brenchley et al. (2015: scibull.com, January) conclude, global temperature will warm by less than 1 degree this century, sea-level rise will be less than 8 inches – in other words, much the same as it was in the 20th century, and nothing at all to worry about.
Next, Mr Weyler tells us there will be more tropical cyclones. We are not told that, despite the warming since the satellites first monitored tropical storminess, there has been no uptrend in the frequency, intensity or duration of such severe storms. On the contrary, the index maintained by Dr Ryan Maue shows tropical cyclonic activity over the past five years at just about its lowest in the entire satellite record:
Next Mr Weyler tells us “Precipitation has increased in eastern Americas, northern Europe, and Asia.” So what? Natural variability will cause more rainfall in some places and less in others. Overall, as even the IPCC admits both in its 2012 report on extreme weather and in its 2013 Fifth Assessment Report, there is no evidence yet that precipitation patterns or quantities are being affected by global warming – which is not really a surprise given that there has hardly been any. We are not told that the world’s oldest national annual rainfall record, the Met Office’s England and Wales series, shows that the annual rainfall trend has increased by just 2 inches in a quarter of a millennium, which is well within natural variability:
Next, Mr Weyler bangs on about
“Diversity loss due to climate changes and habitat destruction”.
We are not told that it is not known, perhaps to within two orders of magnitude, how many species exist on Earth, or at what rate species are dying off or being replaced. Nor are we told that some 90% of the world’s living species are in the tropics, where it is warm, and only 1% at the Poles, where it is very cold. On that surely obvious evidence, warmer and hence a little wetter weather will if anything help to increase the variety of species with which we share our planet.
Next, we are given a paleohistory lesson, the object of which is to blame every past warm period and mass extinction (except the warm periods of the past 10,000 years) on high CO2 levels. An example: “By 100 million years ago, CO2 content reached 2000 ppmv, and the average temperature was about 11 degrees hotter than today.” We are not told that for most of the past 550 million years the temperature was around 22 Cº, or 7 Cº warmer than today, but that during that period the CO2 concentration ranged from 180 to 7000 μmol mol–1 (the correct unit), and there was no link between these major fluctuations in CO2 concentration and changes in temperature. Plainly, therefore, influences other than CO2 were at work.
Next we are told that over the past 400,000 years the Earth’s temperature and CO2 concentrations “have fluctuated in lock-step”. We are not told, of course, that throughout that period it was temperature that changed first and CO2 concentration that followed, probably through outgassing from the oceans in accordance with Henry’s Law. We are also not told that the extent to which the outgassing constitutes a CO2 feedback amplifying an original temperature change is extremely poorly constrained. The estimates in IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report range from 25 to 225 μmol mol–1 of additional CO2 concentration from outgassing per degree of warming.
Next, Mr Weyler asserts:
“The data suggests that Earth may be headed for severe temperature increases, due to this CO2 build-up in the atmosphere” and also “runaway heating”.
We are not told that, though one-third of all the CO2 emitted by Man since 1750 was emitted in the past 18 years 5 months, no global warming at all has occurred in response.
Mr Weyler quotes a paper by climate campaigners at MIT, published in the Journal of Climate in 2009, which predicts that CO2 concentration will rise from 368 μmol mol–1 in 2000 to 550 μmol mol–1 in 2100, causing 5.2 degrees of warming. We are not told that since 40 μmol mol–1 of CO2 concentration increase in 18 years 5 months has caused no warming at all, and since the entire 120 μmol mol–1 increase since 1750 caused only 0.9 degrees of warming, assuming that all the warming was anthropogenic (and it probably wasn’t), the suggestion that a further 180 μmol mol–1 of CO2 concentration over the coming century will cause neither zero nor 1.4 but as much as 5.2 degrees of warming is – to put it mildly – a transparent exaggeration.
Finally, Mr Weyler weyls thus:
“I do not enjoy writing about it. Avoidance, denial, despair, and anger are completely natural reactions. Nevertheless, to avoid these outcomes, caring citizens must speak up and help inspire the large-scale and realistic actions that will reverse carbon release into Earth’s atmosphere and halt the warming trend.”
The only emotion burning in my breast on reading Mr Weyler’s ignorant, mendacious, stream of fiction is anger – anger that Greenpeace and far too many other environmental-extremist organizations are fraudulently raising hundreds of millions a year from innocent and often kindly-intentioned people on the basis of lie after lie after lie after lie. And no one prosecutes.
I was struck, on reading the Greenpeace nonsense, by how similar the talking-points were to those trotted out by Mr Obama in his recent commencement address to the U.S. Coastguard and by Mr Varley of the Met Office in his article for a retired British servicemen’s journal. Why have the news media never, or almost never, mentioned any of the balancing considerations I have set out here? They are not doing their job.