Climate Change Misconceived

Iain Aitken

In this essay I propose that there are many things about climate change that the general public, journalists, academics, environmentalists and politicians may think they ‘know’ to certainly be true that are actually, at the least, highly equivocal (or demonstrably false) and that once these misconceptions are corrected perceptions of the issue are (or, at least, should be) transformed. Note that throughout I use the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) definition of ‘climate change’: ‘a statistically significant variation in either the mean state of the climate or in its variability, persisting for an extended period (typically decades or longer)’. By ‘global warming’ I mean a rise in the Global Average Surface Temperature of the Earth.

Although the exact terminology and language may vary, we are repeatedly told that the essential ‘facts’ about climate change are that:

a) Global warming is happening, at rate that is unprecedented and accelerating

b) It has been caused by our carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels

c) It has already caused an alarming and accelerating rise in sea levels

d) It has already caused an alarming and accelerating increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events

e) It has already caused alarming and accelerating global species extinctions

f) We are experiencing a climate change crisis that will soon be catastrophic (potentially even causing a mass extinction event) if we don’t stop climate change

g) We can stop climate change by urgently switching to renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, so eradicating our emissions

h) The science behind the above points is settled and beyond reasonable dispute.

My assertion is not that these ‘facts’ are ‘fake news’ (deliberately reported falsehoods) or ‘myths’ (implying that there is no truth whatsoever in them) but that they are fundamental misconceptions based on misunderstandings of what the science and evidence actually tell us. These misconceptions appear to have assumed the mantle of ‘collective beliefs’ (or ‘memes’) that through extensive repetition in the media are mistakenly taken to be indisputable truths, despite the ready availability of science and evidence to disprove (or, at the least, seriously question) them. Few people will have heard the opinions of scientists (including many of the world’s most eminent climate scientists) who doubt this ‘man-made climate change crisis’ narrative because their voices have largely been silenced (typically by branding them ‘climate change deniers’ or even ‘science deniers’). In the current climate of hostility to even considering alternative viewpoints there is apparently only one politically correct position to take, the ‘right’ position of accepting that the alarmist narrative is beyond dispute.

It’s hardly surprising that these misconceptions have arisen because for most people (whether they be the general public, politicians or, indeed, journalists) their exposure to the climate change issue is predominantly through the media. Furthermore when the media concerned is mainstream (such as the BBC), and so ‘trusted’, people reasonably believe that they are being told the ‘whole truth’ by unbiased journalists who must have understood and critically investigated the science and evidence. Sadly such understanding and critical analysis is rarely to be found, journalists typically simply taking on trust what the ‘scientific authorities’ tell them (as gleaned from Press Releases and ‘executive summary’ documents from which all the complexities and profound uncertainties, unknowns and ambiguities have largely been expunged). This often superficial understanding is then communicated to the target audience using unscientific, emotional, hyperbolic language (such as ‘climate emergency’ and ‘climate change crisis’) and quoting extreme outlier predictions that are virtually impossible to occur in order to create an impression of urgency and danger; rhetoric appealing to the emotions coupled with alarming images (like ice calving, hurricanes and wildfires or computer-generated drowning cities) are always likely to sway public opinion far more powerfully than rhetoric appealing to logic coupled with complicated science, graphs and data. In this way highly improbable risks in the far future come to be perceived as existential crises today. In fact if you want to convince the general public (and journalists and politicians) that ‘we are experiencing a man-made climate change crisis’ then, because few will understand the fundamental differences between man-made climate change and global warming, let alone the differences between man-made climate change and natural climate variability, you typically need only convince them that ‘global warming is happening’ (which nobody denies). So one temperature graph showing warming (there are thousands available on Google Images) is all it may take to apparently ‘prove’ your case. Yet evidence that global warming is happening is not evidence that man-made global warming is happening and not evidence that climate change is happening (let alone evidence that man-made climate change is happening) because the global warming may just result from natural climate variability. Natural climate variability is variability in the mean state of the climate on all temporal scales (beyond that of individual weather events) resulting from natural processes.

This confusion was epitomized in ‘Climate Change – The Facts’, Sir David Attenborough’s BBC documentary (that appeared on British TV 18th April 2019) that was a catalogue of scientific misconceptions, spanning claims of man-made climate change causing escalating heatwaves, droughts, storms, floods, ice melt at the Antarctic, sea level rise, species extinctions and widespread coral death. Sample criticisms of the programme can be found here and here and here. It included the claim (also being made by such extremist groups as Extinction Rebellion) that globally we must achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 and not exceed a further half a degree Centigrade of global warming if we are to avoid a climate catastrophe and possible mass extinction event – a claim that, to put it as charitably as possible, is not at all supported by the science, as is evident to anyone with even the most basic understanding of climate science or anyone who has actually read the IPCC SR15 report that ostensibly formed the basis of this claim. Furthermore to achieve this goal would, according to the IPCC, ‘require unprecedented changes in our lifestyle, energy and transport systems’, effectively a global social and economic revolution.

The essential problem for those who are prepared to open their minds to alternative viewpoints is that to understand the flaws in the alarmist narrative’s simplistic certainties requires that you delve quite deeply into the science, statistics, politics and economics of climate change – and that is time-consuming, hard work that requires quite a high degree of scientific literacy. However if you do make the effort a very different (far less alarming) picture appears:

1) Global warming and climate change are both unequivocally happening (the latter being reflected in, for example, glacier retreat and sea level rise) but so far both at a rate that is well within the bounds of natural climate variability (and not unprecedented)

2) There are substantial uncertainties about the extent to which human activity (principally in the form of global warming from greenhouse gas emissions and global cooling from aerosol and soot emissions) has contributed to the observed post-industrial global warming and climate change, not least because of the extreme difficulty of separating man-made climate change from the ‘background noise’ of natural climate variability. Nevertheless on the balance of probabilities human activity was responsible for half or more of the global warming observed between 1950 and 2010 (a period of escalating carbon dioxide emissions)

3) Sea levels are rising at a rate of about 7-8 inches per century, a rate that has remained steady despite our escalating carbon dioxide emissions, i.e. the cause is probably predominantly natural. We could globally cease all carbon dioxide emissions overnight and sea levels would continue to rise, an inevitability to which we must adapt

4) There is no remotely compelling scientific evidence that extreme weather events have increased in frequency or intensity in post-industrial times (although the reporting of such events certainly has)

5) There is no remotely compelling scientific evidence that climate change (man-made or otherwise) has resulted in widespread species extinctions (most extinctions have been attributed to habitat loss, over-exploitation, pollution or invasive species)

6) If you remove the (entirely natural) El Niño warming of 2015-16 there has been little statistically significant global warming this century

7) Recently (essentially this century) global warming has been slowing down (while our carbon dioxide emissions have continued to escalate), this illustrating the fact that there is no direct (or linear) correlation between global surface temperatures and carbon dioxide emissions

8) It is impossible to control the Earth’s average surface temperature (on the timescales of decades to centuries) just by controlling our carbon dioxide emissions

9) It is impossible to stop climate change happening – climate change is inherently complex, unpredictable and uncontrollable

10) It is impossible to specify a threshold for global warming beyond which the climatic effects become net-harmful (the 20C goal of the Paris Climate Accord is essentially politically arbitrary)

11) Carbon dioxide is an incombustible, colourless, odourless and tasteless gas that is a very effective plant nutrient. Thanks to our carbon dioxide emissions increasing concentrations in the atmosphere there has been a greening of the Earth that is already equivalent in size to twice the area of the USA and could fundamentally change the Earth’s carbon cycle by adding such a vast carbon sink. Furthermore, as the ‘fuel’ of photosynthesis and the creation of oxygen, it is absolutely essential to the existence of complex life on Earth (which includes us). Dr. Richard Lindzen, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has stated that the idea that carbon dioxide is a dangerous, planet-destroying toxin ‘will be remembered as the greatest mass delusion in the history of the world’

12) Carbon dioxide concentrations in our atmosphere today are about 46% higher than their (280ppm) pre-industrial level (largely because of our emissions) but about four times lower than their average level and at least 10 times lower than their highest level in the history of the Earth (based on paleoclimatology estimates)

13) The global average surface temperature today is about 10C higher than its pre-industrial level but about 60C lower than its average level and at least 130C lower than its highest level in the history of the Earth (based on paleoclimatology estimates)

14) Climate change computer models are proving very unreliable guides to future climate change (in particular they are substantially overestimating warming) – yet it is the most extreme ‘predictions’ of these models that are driving global climate and energy policies

15) The future costs and impacts of decarbonization may well exceed the future costs and impacts of man-made global warming, i.e. even if future man-made global warming becomes net-harmful it may not be cost-effective to mitigate it with decarbonization

16) Based on observational estimates of climate sensitivity (simplistically how much warming you get when you double the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere) on the balance of probabilities further man-made global warming this century is unlikely to exceed 1.50C and its climatic effects might actually be net-beneficial for humans and the environment for many regions of the world [Here I am assuming climate sensitivity not exceeding 20C (based on the best empirical evidence) and ‘business as usual’ emissions trajectories leading to carbon dioxide concentrations not exceeding 700ppm by 2100. Note that by ‘business as usual’ I mean a reasonable extrapolation of economic, population and energy mix trends. This is not to be conflated with recent trends which have roughly tracked the IPCC scenario RCP8.5 (its most extreme emissions scenario, which is virtually impossible to occur)]

17) Climate disruption (e.g. the failure of the Gulf Stream) before the end of this century resulting from man-made global warming is not absolutely impossible but is extremely unlikely

18) A ‘mass extinction event’ before the end of this century resulting from man-made global warming is a virtual impossibility; however a global economic recession/depression resulting from climate policies designed to limit future warming to a half degree Centigrade (and so ostensibly avert such a catastrophe) is a virtual certainty

19) Intermittent wind and solar power is not the solution to any potential future climate change problem (certainly with any foreseeable development of battery technology to ‘plug the intermittency gap’)

20) Climate change science is currently immature, highly disputable and not remotely ‘settled’. This is precisely why many very different interpretations of the science have arisen

Based on the above points the politically correct vogue for councils/counties/countries to declare a ‘climate change emergency’ is clearly profoundly scientifically misconceived (in fact it is hard to avoid the word ‘delusional’) based on any reasonable definition of the word ‘emergency’. It might well make good political sense (to attract the ‘green vote’) but it makes no real scientific or economic sense. For example, the only statistically significant change in Britain’s climate for hundreds of years has been that it has warmed slightly – yet the UK Parliament has now declared a ‘climate change emergency’. Basically it is hard to see how climate change that so far has probably been net-beneficial for humans and the environment, that has lifted us out of the misery of the Little Ice Age that preceded it, with its droughts, crop failures, famines and epidemics, and has been accompanied by the Industrial Revolution’s soaring wealth and life expectancy (according to the World Bank’s World Development Indicators 2014) could reasonably, in the round, be described as an ‘emergency’; indeed quite the opposite.

Despite all of the above, if nevertheless the radical global decarbonization route is to be followed it cannot succeed without global concerted action, in particular from major emitters like China (30% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, and rising – and funding about $36 billion of coal projects globally according to the IEEFA). Decarbonization unilateralism by small emitters is worse than pointless. For example even if Britain (1.1% of global emissions) somehow totally decarbonized its economy (with technologies not yet viable, like Carbon Capture and Sequestration), as is being recommended by its Committee on Climate Change, the future reduction in global warming would still be undetectably and unmeasurably small (estimated to be of the order of a hundredth of a degree Centigrade by 2100) and so basically just extremely economically, socially and environmentally damaging ‘virtue signalling’. The only basis on which this could possibly be described as even vaguely rational or responsible would be if major emitters, like China, followed Britain’s lead – and there is, to say the least, a negligible chance of that.

Of course these 20 conjectures are a great deal more complicated, qualified and uncertain than the 8 simple, absolute and certain ‘facts’ at the start of this essay. Given a choice between the complex uncertainties of my conjectures and the simple certainties of the ‘facts’ many would prefer the latter. So can we reduce all this complexity to a relatively simple ‘alternative climate change narrative’, at the very real risk of being as trite as the original set of ‘facts’? If forced to make such a gross simplification my suggestion would be:

a) Global warming is happening, albeit at a rate that is unexceptional and not accelerating

b) It has been caused by both human activity and natural activity (i.e. it has not just been caused by our carbon dioxide emissions)

c) It has caused a rise in sea levels, albeit at a rate that is unexceptional and not accelerating

d) It has not caused an increase in the frequency or intensity of extreme weather events

e) It has not caused accelerating global species extinctions

f) We are not experiencing a ‘climate change crisis’ or a ‘climate change emergency’ (indeed arguably quite the opposite) but climate disruption in the far future, although very unlikely, is not impossible

g) We cannot stop climate change but we can reduce climate change risks (albeit at an economic, social and environmental cost that may be prohibitive) by gradually transitioning to lower carbon-intensity energy sources (like natural gas), so reducing our emissions

h) The science behind the above points is immature and subject to dispute. There is almost total scientific consensus that global warming and climate change are happening and that we are contributing to them – but profound disagreements about the extent of our contribution, whether it will lead to ‘dangerous’ climate change and whether urgent global decarbonization is the correct policy response.

Now all this is highly controversial and iconoclastic because it subverts the politically correct orthodoxy on climate change, those alarming ‘facts’ that we are not supposed to question. Many would doubtless disagree with this alternative, more circumspect and far less alarming narrative, perhaps saying ‘well that’s not what the IPCC say.’ The IPCC is typically described as, ‘The internationally accepted authority on climate change’ and is viewed with reverence, not to say awe, by most academics, politicians, environmentalists and journalists, who regard it as virtually infallible and omniscient in all climate change matters. In fact many of my 20 points are directly derived from IPCC reports. Actually I suspect that the IPCC would privately agree with most of these 20 points (but would never publically admit it for fear of reducing the fear). Furthermore the IPCC, in keeping with its remit from the UN to support the UNFCCC (the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is the main international treaty on climate change), focuses almost exclusively on man-made climate change at the expense of important aspects of natural climate change and is arguably predisposed to a ‘presumption of guilt’ of carbon dioxide emissions. Basically to ignore the opinions of the IPCC would be as foolish as to believe that they are beyond reasonable dispute.

To really understand the climate change issue we must accept that it is far more complicated and nuanced and uncertain than the simplistic way it is typically reported in the media. We must open our minds to the wide range of expert opinions about the issue, give them deep thought, apply common sense, make careful judgements, and above all be wary of any simplistic all-purpose solutions, such as urgent global decarbonization. Unfortunately few people have available to them the time, inclination and perseverance to do that. As Dr. Richard Lindzen has said, ‘Most arguments about global warming boil down to science versus authority. For much of the public authority will generally win since they do not wish to deal with the science.’ The apparent overwhelming message from the authorities (as mediated by the media) is that we are experiencing a man-made climate change crisis that can only be fixed through urgent and radical global decarbonization and it is perfectly understandable (although regrettable) that the vast majority of the general public and journalists and politicians simply choose to believe this. Why do all that hard, time-consuming work when you can just believe. The simplistic certainties of the alarmist media narrative may be based on profound scientific misconceptions (as the authorities are well aware) but the attitude of the authorities appears to be that because a ‘climate change crisis’ in the distant future is not impossible this possible end justifies the dubious means – after all, even this alarmist narrative has failed to get the nations of the world to act decisively. If the authorities communicated the climate change issue honestly, in all its complexity and uncertainty, it would give governments even more reason to avoid or delay decarbonization. So the behavior of the scientific authorities is perfectly understandable, although regrettable, because it risks radical climate change policies being implemented that may be the cause of deep global regret in the future. And of course the behavior of the media is also perfectly understandable (although regrettable) because bad news sells; it is hard to monetize a ‘no climate change crisis’ story.

When people say that they believe in the climate change crisis because they ‘believe in science’ what they may actually be saying is that because they don’t really understand the science they choose to believe in the alarmist narrative promoted by the authorities and abetted by the media. Few people choose the ‘road less travelled’ of opening their minds to the competing arguments in the climate change debate, embracing complexity, uncertainty, doubt and social opprobrium when they can simply choose to believe what they think the authorities and other ‘right thinking’ people believe. On the one hand you have an apparently scientifically-straightforward, very easy to understand, very certain, very alarming problem (‘our carbon dioxide emissions are causing a climate change crisis’) with an ostensibly very simple solution (‘decarbonize’) and on the other hand you have a scientifically-challenging, very hard to understand, complex, nuanced and uncertain problem that may or may not be alarming and which has no simple solution. To put it another way, on the one hand you have an imminent existential planetary crisis that can only be solved by the radical and urgent transformation of global society and on the other hand you have a possible distant future problem with no obvious ‘correct’ policy response today. It’s not hard to see why certain people, in particular young, idealistic and impressionable people, may be more attracted to the former idea and want to break out the banners and ‘save the planet’ through a world revolution.

Within the climate science community the divide is essentially between those (epitomized by the IPCC) who predominantly put their faith in climate models (i.e. virtual world projections of what might happen in the future) and those who predominantly put their faith in empirical scientific evidence (i.e. real world observations of what has actually happened). The former group tend to focus on the possible high risks of future climate change and urge rapid global decarbonization just in case whilst the latter group tend to focus on the probable low risks of future climate change (and high costs and impacts of decarbonization) and urge circumspection. It might be said that the latter group is looking at the issue in the manner of a businessman, assessing the balance of probabilities, costs, benefits and risks (they are essentially gambling and saying that urgent decarbonization is probably a bad bet) whilst the former group is simply saying that there is a huge potential risk and therefore something (radical global decarbonization) must be done, almost irrespective of the probabilities, costs and adverse impacts. As Obersteiner et al put it in Managing Climate Risk, the key unresolved question is whether global decarbonization ‘will fundamentally reshape our common future on a global scale to our advantage, or quickly produce losses that can throw mankind into economic, social, and environmental bankruptcy.’ Climate scientists who question the dominant man-made climate change crisis narrative are not saying that there is a clear scientific verdict of ‘Innocent’ – instead they are simply saying that our guilt has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt (or even on the balance of probabilities). Perhaps here we need the Scottish legal system’s verdict of ‘Not Proven’.

The fundamental problem with the climate change problem is that it is a ‘wicked’ problem: it is impossible to predict our climate future, determine whether it is benign or alarming and know how best to respond because there are simply too many variables, too many unknowns and too many uncertainties. However we choose to respond is a vast gamble with humanity’s future; however we choose to respond may result in deep regrets.

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179 thoughts on “Climate Change Misconceived

  1. A great article except for one “tiny” omission – the sun moving into a full minimum stage. (think little ice age climate). I would appreciate seeing your comments with respect to the sun’s influence on our climate.

    [The mods are curious: If the sun ever reaches “full minimum”, is it “nearest empty” or “at maximum empty”? .mod]

    • I’ve no idea what the Sun’s “full minimum stage” means, nor can I imagine what the factors are nor the mechanisms such that a new Little Ice Age is going to be produced therefrom. Maybe you can explain how the last LIA came about and ended — that might help.
      Iain Aitken’s theme is about what people claim to know about Carbon Dioxide and a climate change crisis. I did not sense that Aitken was trying to explain “climate change” via other mechanisms.

      • I don’t know about mechanisms (and I know some here have argued in the past that it’s pure coincidence that the temperature drops when sunspots disappear), but when the sun’s activity is unusually low and we keep seeing ‘unprecedented’ historical low temperatures, high snowfall and ‘unprecedented’ flooding from that high snowfall melting, I have to wonder.

      • I sensed that Iain Aitken essay was no more than a silly attempt to explain his NURTURED belief in CAGW “climate change”.

        The author suggests that …… “for those who are prepared to open their minds to alternative viewpoints ……… a very different (far less alarming) picture appears” …… such as, to wit:

        12) Carbon dioxide concentrations in our atmosphere today are about 46% higher than their (280ppm) pre-industrial level (largely because of our emissions) but about four (4) times lower than their average level and at least 10 times lower than their highest level in the history of the Earth (based on paleoclimatology estimates)

        13) The global average surface temperature today is about 1C higher than its pre-industrial level but about 6C lower than its average level and at least 13C lower than its highest level in the history of the Earth (based on paleoclimatology estimates)

        Given the above, wherein the author “puts the (CO2) cart before the (temperature) horse”, ….. it is obvious to me that said author is ……. not prepared to open his mind to alternative viewpoints.

        Me thinks that the author Iain Aitken should have SPECIFICALLY mentioned himself in the first paragraph of his essay.

        And in closing, me thinks the above essay, in its entirety, is little more than pro-CAGW agitprop, based on statements by the author, such as:

        b) It has been caused by both human activity and natural activity (i.e. it has not just been caused by our carbon dioxide emissions)

        g) We cannot stop climate change but we can reduce climate change risks (albeit at an economic, social and environmental cost that may be prohibitive) by gradually transitioning to lower carbon-intensity energy sources (like natural gas), so reducing our emissions

        Cheers

      • In Ottawa we have set new records. No temperature above 20 degrees since last October, 285 cms of snow without any thaw and surprise, surprise massive flooding along the Ottawa river when things warmed up a bit.

        Given the fact that the sun is in a solar minimum and due to this that the lack of magnetic pull is lower, the jet stream is now going north south instead of east west. Thus the we see massive amounts of snow and cold weather in the central Canada and USA.

    • A second major flaw: “Thanks to our carbon dioxide emissions increasing concentrations in the atmosphere there has been a greening of the Earth”

      WE are not greening Earth. As our emissions escalate, the rate of atmospheric CO2 increase has not changed. There is no indication that we are having any tangible effect on this, although it is easy to claim that we are causing the increase, the evidence is simply not there.

      So, it is clear that the natural atmospheric CO2 increase is greening the planet, but it is unclear if we really have any effect here, as one or two major volcanic eruptions can easily outstrip all human emissions.

      • What, seriously?
        Is that really the argument you want to go with?
        I am very interested to see some data which backs up the claim that a few volcanoes outweigh all human caused emissions of CO2.
        I think it is pretty clear that we add a lot of CO2 to the air, and CO2 is higher now than it has been for many hundreds of thousands of years, and probably for well over several million years.
        Ignoring all proxy evidence of past CO2 concentrations is effectively saying we cannot really know anything about the past atmosphere.

        • NM
          Charles is correct. If our emissions were the sole cause of the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 as the IPCC states, changes in our emission rates would change the rate of rise in the atmosphere. They do not. (https://tambonthongchai.com/2018/12/19/co2responsiveness/ ). I recommend you read Harde 2017 and then check out ( https://hhgpc0.wixsite.com/harde-2017-censored) to see how the consensus group treated him. I also recommend (https://edberry.com/blog/climate-physics/agw-hypothesis/contradictions-to-ipccs-climate-change-theory/) for a easy to follow explanation for the error’s involved in this common erroneous assumption.

          • “If our emissions were the sole cause of the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 as the IPCC states, changes in our emission rates would change the rate of rise in the atmosphere.”
            This does not make logical sense to me.
            Some of the CO2 emissions are not showing up as an increasing rate of change of CO2 concentration, and therefore the CO2 from land use changes and burning fossil fuels and making cement/concrete is not causing the increase we see year over year?
            That would be like me saying that if I was making $1000/week, and over time I made more and now made $2000/week, but the amount of increase in my savings account balance has been $500/week and has not changed, then the money accruing in my savings account must not be coming from my wages.
            I fail to see how that follows logically.
            That something is happening to a lot of FF CO2 besides just hanging around in the air, does not mean the CO2 in the air cannot be coming from FF at all. It just means a lot of it is being absorbed or stored somewhere else.
            Now I am gonna have to do the math myself, which I confess I have never done but trust others have.
            Down lower Dave Middleton states that the amount of emissions is twice as much as would account for the amount of increase in CO2 per year. I have no reason to doubt this.
            As for the assertion that the rate of increase has not changed, I think that is not true, it has changed. Just not as much as emissions have changed. The upward curvature of the CO2 trendline is readily apparent.
            I

          • Nicholas McGinley – May 6, 2019 at 9:47 pm

            Some of the CO2 emissions are not showing up as an increasing rate of change of CO2 concentration, and therefore the CO2 from land use changes and burning fossil fuels and making cement/concrete is not causing the increase we see year over year?

            So, Nicholas, ….. as long as you keep claiming that increased ……. CO2 emissions are not showing up as an increasing rate of change of CO2 concentration ……. then you can also claim that …… those non-accounted for CO2 increases are not causing any increases.

            Here Nicholas, just for you …………………..

            Increases in World Population & Atmospheric CO2 by Decade

            year — world popul. – % incr. — Dec CO2 ppm – % incr. — avg increase/year
            1940 – 2,300,000,000 est. ___ ____ 300 ppm est.
            1950 – 2,556,000,053 – 11.1% ____ 310 ppm – 3.3% —— 1.0 ppm/year
            [March 03, 1958 …… Mauna Loa — 315.71 ppm]
            1960 – 3,039,451,023 – 18.9% ____ 316 ppm – 1.9% —— 0.6 ppm/year
            1970 – 3,706,618,163 – 21.9% ____ 325 ppm – 2.8% —— 0.9 ppm/year
            1980 – 4,453,831,714 – 20.1% ____ 338 ppm – 4.0% —– 1.3 ppm/year
            1990 – 5,278,639,789 – 18.5% ____ 354 ppm – 4.7% —– 1.6 ppm/year
            2000 – 6,082,966,429 – 15.2% ____ 369 ppm – 4.2% —– 1.5 ppm/year
            2010 – 6,809,972,000 – 11.9% ____ 389 ppm – 5.4% —– 2.0 ppm/year
            2017 – 7,550,262,101 – 9.80 % ____ 407 ppm – 4.4% —– 1.8 ppm/year

            World population tripled …… but atmospheric CO2 didn’t, …….. WHY NOT?

          • And Nicholas McGinley, you are wasting your time and energy trying to correlate the estimated quantity of yearly CO2 emissions by human activities …… to the average yearly increase in atmospheric CO2 ppm as determined by the Mauna Loa Record and/or Keeling Curve Graph …… simply because human emissions of CO2 has no noticeable or measurable effect whatsoever on atmospheric CO2 ppm quantities.

        • Nicholas: Funny you should bring up geologic sources of CO-2. I ran across this site the other day from a link on another site http://www.plateclimatology.com/how-geological-forces-are-behind-the-warmest-year-ever and was fascinated by the theory that many if not most of the climate changes and atmospheric CO-2 changes are geologic related heat and CO-2 releases, that the CO-2 volcanic releases, mostly underwater or under ice are underestimated, by several orders of magnitude. ElNinos and LaNinas, the sources of which from what I have read are only speculative, are caused by huge underwater releases of heat from volcanic rifts in the ocean floor, which cause the ElNinos, followed by the LaNinos when the “eruption” ends. Reading the various articles on the site made a lot of sense to me, but since I’m an amateur, I thought there must be articles on this site that disputed the authors findings. I googled the authors name and then searched this site for more information and didn’t find anything to dispute the authors theory. So, I haven’t read all the articles yet, but I would surely like some feedback from the more knowledgeable readers, as to their opinion of this authors theory, it makes sense to me.

      • Charles highly
        sez: “We are not greening Earth”

        Yes we are, though CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels.
        If you disagree, then you are clueless.

        • I think Charles is pointing out that; yes the CO2 concentration is going up, but we humans are only contributing approximately 4% of that increase. Therefor; it’s not conclusive that it is “us” causing it.

          • yes the CO2 concentration is going up,” ….. and the ocean waters are contributing approximately 99.98% of that increase.

          • Cavanaugh:
            I believe your claim of “4%” is science-free nonsense.

            Humans are emitting CO2 at a rate twice as fast as the atmospheric increase (natural sinks must be absorbing the other half).

            There is no question that the CO2 increase since 1940 is primarily human-caused.

            That is as settled as science can ever get.

            What the CO2 added to the atmosphere actually does, is an assumption, based on closed system, no water vapor, infrared spectroscopy experiments, in laboratories. That’s an environment far different than the actual atmosphere, with water vapor varying from 1% to 4%.

            It does not help the skeptic’s cause for any of us to claim humans did NOT cause the significant CO2 increase in the atmosphere in the past 80 years — there is no other logical cause.

            My primary argument against Climate alarmists is that real science indicates adding CO2 to the air is good news, and if it caused any of the global warming since 1940, that warming has been beneficial too, not a problem at all. A real environmental problem is air pollution in all large Chinese and Indian cities.

          • Richard Greene – May 8, 2019 at 7:59 am

            Humans are emitting CO2 at a rate twice as fast as the atmospheric increase (natural sinks must be absorbing the other half).

            Richard, and given the fact that termites are emitting almost 10X more CO2 each year than humans emit, are those natural sinks absorbing it also?

            And what about all the Spring and Summer microbial decomposition of dead biomass emissions of CO2? Natural sinks doing the absorbing again, huh?

            So now ya got like 20X more CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere by non-anthropogenic means yet you are claiming that all yearly increases in CO2 are the result of human emissions.

            Obfuscate much, ……do you?

            There is no question that the CO2 increase since 1940 is primarily human-caused. That is as settled as science can ever get.

            WHATTA ya mean, ……. no question?

            Of course there is “a question”, …… given the fact you have no proof or evidence of such an “off-the-cuff” claim. Science is NOT “settled” just because you or your mentors say so.

            It does not help the skeptic’s cause for any of us to claim humans did NOT cause the significant CO2 increase in the atmosphere in the past 80 years — there is no other logical cause.

            Richard G, shame on you for employing reverse or child psychology on Cavanaugh in an attempt to converting him to becoming a CAGW “warminist”.

            And “YES”, there is a logical cause for the steady n’ consistent yearly increase in atmospheric CO2 for the past 139+ years, ……. not just the past 80 years. It’s called the “warmup” at the end of the LIA.

    • The decrease in the magnetic activity of the Sun is visible.
      http://wso.stanford.edu/gifs/Dipall.gif
      The chart from Oulu shows that the minima after even cycles last longer.
      http://cosmicrays.oulu.fi/webform/monitor.gif
      CO2 is of great importance, but not in the troposphere only in the lower stratosphere, where it is formed due to the ionization of nitrogen by neutrons (secondary galactic radiation).
      http://sol.spacenvironment.net/nairas/Dose_Rates.html
      Why were there so severe winters in the Northern Hemisphere during Dalton Minimum? The answer is simple – it’s the changes in the circulation and the advantage of the northern jetstream. The wind rules the weather.

      • CO2 cannot be formed from nitrogen under any conditions. Nitrogen bombardment by neutrons can only lead to the formation of a nitrogen isotope.

        • >>
          CO2 cannot be formed from nitrogen under any conditions.
          <<

          You should look up the process that makes naturally occurring carbon-14 in the atmosphere. Cosmic rays produce neutrons. These neutrons sometimes react with nitrogen-14, creating carbon-14 (the nitrogen-14 absorbs the neutron and knocks out a proton). The carbon-14 can then oxidize to form CO2.

          Jim

        • N14 decays losing a proton and forms C14. That C14 eventually gets oxidized making CO2.

        • Someone doesn’t understand radio-carbon dating. That is where the continually made radioactive C-14 comes from so that incorporation into organic matter while it is alive can very precisely determine when that organism died (when it stopped incorporating carbon).

          No wonder then the Left does apparently believe in magic, such as CAGW. If radiocarbon dating is magic, then CAGW is too.

        • Carbon-14 is produced in the upper layers of the troposphere and the stratosphere by thermal neutrons absorbed by nitrogen atoms. When cosmic rays enter the atmosphere, they undergo various transformations, including the production of neutrons.
          The highest rate of carbon-14 production takes place at altitudes of 9 to 15 km (30,000 to 49,000 ft) and at high geomagnetic latitudes.
          Production rates vary because of changes to the cosmic ray flux caused by the heliospheric modulation (solar wind and solar magnetic field), and due to variations in the Earth’s magnetic field (http://sol.spacenvironment.net/raps_ops/current_files/Cutoff.html).
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon-14

    • It’s not a great article, or even a good article.

      It misses the most important points about climate change, that everyone here should know:

      Because humans have a lot of experience living in and observing climate change — mainly global warming, and it has always been good news !

      Global warming has been good news for over 300 years, since the 1690s — central England temperatures are up about +3 degrees C. from the coldest year in that decade — and everyone loved the warming !

      Even if you ignore much of the past 300 years of warming, because there was little man made CO2 being added to the atmosphere: The global warming has been good news since 1940 too — roughly +0.6 degrees C. warming in 78 years (using UAH satellite data since 1979), which is a harmless warming rate, of about +0.8 degrees per CENTURY.

      And there’s even more good news:
      — The planet is greening from more CO2 in the air, for the same reason greenhouse owners use CO2 enrichment systems inside their greenhouses (the REAL ‘greenhouse effect’).

      A recent study suggests even more global greening than previously estimated: My summary of the 2019 study, published today, with links to the study, and supporting studies, are here:
      http://elonionbloggle.blogspot.com/2019/05/the-recent-co2-increase-has-had-even.html

      – The actual warming since 1975 has been taking place in areas, and at times, that are BENEFICIAL for people living there ( mainly at high, cold latitudes, mainly in the coldest 6 months of the year, and mainly at night ! )

      A single global average temperature obscures all that good news — that’s one reason it’s used — no one number can fairly describe the climate of an entire climate — especially because NO ONE lives in the average climate !

      The global average temperature is not a temperature that can be measured — it is a statistic that could be calculated in 100’s of ways.

      The local temperatures, that people work and live in, are what are important.

      If people are ever hurt by climate change, it will be from changes in local temperatures, that affect their lives, which may not even be visible in the global average temperature.

      No one knows what a “normal” global average temperature, or even if the concept of “normal” makes any sense, for a planet not in thermodynamic equilibrium.

      People live in local climates.

      Only a fool would observe past global warming, since the Little Ice Age’s Maunder Minimum period, and claim there was a “problem”.

      The author seemed to state that: “The fundamental problem with the climate change problem is that it is a ‘wicked’ problem: it is impossible to predict our climate future … ”

      If the author believes past climate change has been a problem, then he is WRONG, and I challenge him to explain what the problem was — real problems that affected people — not imaginary computer model “problems”.

      The author is only somewhat right when he states it is impossible to predict the future climate:

      We can predict that the average temperature will vary in the future.

      We can predict the Holocene Interglacial will end in the future.

      Until that time, we can predict the actual global warming rate since 1940, if we assume it was caused only by CO2 (as a worst case estimate), will continue as we keep adding CO2 to the atmosphere — a warming rate that suggests less than +1 degree C. of warming in the next 100 years, which is harmless, especially given the beneficial locations, and timing, of past global warming.

      To claim that we can’t predict the future climate suggests we know nothing about climate change.

      That’s not correct.

      We have 78 years of experience with adding CO2 to the atmosphere, with real time (imperfect) temperature measurements for the whole 78 years.

      There are good reasons to assume that PAST global warming will continue in the FUTURE — I’d call that a simple prediction.

      But there’s no logical reason to predict FUTURE global warming be a lot DIFFERENT than PAST global warming, which has been the primary prediction of the climate scaremongers, since the late 1950s (Roger Revelle) … and those scary predictions have been WRONG for over 60 years, so far !

      And now I’ll describe the REAL climate change problem, based on a quote from my second favorite philosopher, “perfesser” Groucho Marx:

      The coming climate change catastrophe, that is not coming, is not a problem at all.

      The real problem is gross overreactions to what has been pleasant, beneficial global warming, that no one in their right mind would want to stop !

      Groucho understood politics:
      “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies.”

      My climate science blog:
      http://www.elOnionBloggle.Blogspot.com

      • Great commentary, …… Richard Greene, ……. I loved it.

        The voicing of one’s common sense thinking, logical reasoning and intelligent deductions doesn’t always please one’s friends and associates, …… but for sure, ….. it really PO’s and angers those persons who are committed to a religious belief and/or a “funded interest” for ease of their own self-survival.

        Sam C

      • Sometimes I think I am the only one who is irked by references to “the climate”.
        It really bugs me, and we have seen some very highly ranked “experts” use such nonsensical terminology.

      • “It’s not a great article, or even a good article.
        It misses the most important points about climate change, that everyone here should know: …”

        Many of the “important points about climate change” that you mention, Richard, are indeed covered in the above article. For example, point 16) states that “…climatic effects might actually be net-beneficial for humans and the environment for many regions of the world…” That seems to echo what you are saying. The author also mentions your point about the greening of the planet. So if it’s not a “good article,” then neither are your comments good because there are many parallels in your comments that are reflected in the article.

        • Hunt
          The article is long-winded, and includes far too many points.

          That makes none of the points “important”.

          It is not a good article for that reason alone.

          “Might actually be net beneficial” is a very weak point.

          There are thousands of real science experiments to prove CO2 enrichment accelerates plant growth.

          There is NO evidence that anyone has ever been hurt by extra CO2, or mild global warming, over the past 300 years.

          So it’s 3,000+ experiments, versus no evidence at all.

          And how does that add up to “might actually be net beneficial”‘ ?

      • Richard Greene – While many of the points you make are valid, I cannot agree with your first sentance “It’s not a great article, or even a good article”. I think it was a very good article that covered the essentials pretty well. The basic problem faced by all of us is that (in the author’s words) to understand the flaws in the alarmist narrative’s simplistic certainties requires that you delve quite deeply into the science, statistics, politics and economics of climate change – and that is time-consuming, hard work that requires quite a high degree of scientific literacy., while those wishing to spread alarm can get away with quoting extreme outlier predictions that are virtually impossible to occur in order to create an impression of urgency and danger.

        You have chosen to follow a different primary line. Equally valid, maybe, but different. Maybe you could write it up more comprehensively and submit it to WUWT? But the reality to my mind is that until people can get these perspectives into the MSM, we will continue to fall behind in the competition for public attention. I would contend that, if it is not acheived, then the free world has less than 6 years of freedom left if DT gets re-elected and less than 2 years if he doesn’t.

        • It definitely was not a good article if the goal was convincing people not already agreeing with skeptics.

          The article was far too long.

          I feel asleep three times when reading, and my head hit my computer one time — the result is this comment !

          There were too many points made, which made it impossible to determine the most important points.

          I think the most important point should have been that climate alarmists ignore actual experience — past global warming — that has been good news, to focus on wild guess predictions of the future climate, that is always imagined to be bad news … but no bad news ever shows up.

          In real science, if you make predictions (for over 60 years) that are wrong (for over 60 years), then you are a stupid head.

          In the bizarro climate change world, wrong predictions make you a climate guru, like Al “The Blimp” Gore, and really scary predictions make you a “climate perfessor”, like AOC and Beto.

          If the article made any of those points, they must have been made when I was asleep.

          I expanded my longest comment on this article, into a full article on my climate science blog, located here:
          http://elonionbloggle.blogspot.com/2019/05/we-have-300-years-of-experience-with.html

    • The article covered many valid bases but should’ve underlined the much greater warming effect of water vapor than warming said to be from CO2, and the author could’ve focused on the rather small portion of the total atmospheric CO2 that human emissions comprise versus natural sources/sinks. Additionally the author missed a chance to point out the rather obvious infeasibility of CO2 double-timing, that is, greening the earth while simultaneously creating warming via some kind of [unobserved] heat induction in the ocean.

      It’s vital to understand the ocean temperature controls atmospheric CO2 nearly completely, in spite of the numerous gigatons of it produced via direct human actions, and equally important to know the role the ocean’s heat content has in essentially setting the atmospheric temperature.

      Climate change then reduces down to the question ‘what causes the ocean to warm and cool?’ Here enters the sun’s control, via the mechanism of Total Solar Irradiance, TSI, and therefore insolation, ie cloud and aerosol modulated TSI ocean absorption. Variable sunspot activity drives TSI. My work on the sun-climate relationship indicates the ocean warms/cools closely to an empirically derived 0.5C/W/yr, based on the annual change in TSI.

      Solar scientists like Leif Svalgaard have determined that while sunspot activity is random, the next cycle’s sunspot activity strength closely follows an empirically derived general rule involving the strength of the sun’s polar magnetic field measured at the start of the new solar cycle. Most predictions now are for SC25 to be a slightly larger cycle than SC24.

      This precludes for the time being a Dalton minimum, and certainly a Maunder minimum, the last grand solar minimum. Unfortunately too many solar folks, especially on Youtube, are talking up such a GSM, and are talking about [continual] cooling through SC25 to 2030, without regard to the warming effect the next solar maximum will bring. My graphic was made in Dec ’18, and was based on the assumption the new cycle would start this summer. Now the solar scientists have pushed the minimum out beyond this year, but that won’t change the general net influence of a similar or larger cycle, only the starting point and subsequent cycle development. This means all the GSM snake-oil salesmen are missing the sun’s warming action while focusing only on the cooling part. I agree there will likely be a net cooling by the end of the SC25, but it won’t be as drastic as is usually implied.

      However the low minimum TSI is having a cooling effect right now, and is responsible for the various cold-weather difficulties seen recently north of the equator. Heavy precipitation weather events are a consequence of a warm ocean evaporating large amounts of water vapor that the atmosphere wrings out upon colliding with low TSI cooled air. The sun has set the stage for both conditions, as it warmed the ocean during the peak of the solar cycle 24, on top of the warming from the sun’s modern maximum [1935-2004], while the recent solar minimum has cooled off the earth starting from the northern high latitudes, all of which is a perfect example of the sun’s layered warming/cooling effects.

      There’s been very little climate change recently compared to the range during the Holocene. The question becomes what is meant when told ‘we’re not arguing whether climate change is real’. What is real and significant climate change, and how can any weather event today be driven by it? Seems like too many propagandists are claiming the climate is changing every day in reaction to ongoing weather events that aren’t outside of normal human experience.

      Is the weather today substantially different and more difficult than 30 years ago? I don’t think so. Climate change is not a force by itself as is implied, but saying so turns the idea into a farce.

      • Bob Weber – May 6, 2019 at 11:03 am

        It’s vital to understand the ocean temperature controls atmospheric CO2 nearly completely, in spite of the numerous gigatons of it produced via direct human actions, and equally important to know the role the ocean’s heat content has in essentially setting the atmospheric temperature.

        Say that again, ……… Bob Weber, ……… say that again.

        Say it again that it is the temperature of the ocean water in the Southern Hemisphere that “turns” the control knob for regulating the bi-yearly quantities of atmospheric CO2 ppm.

        Atmospheric CO2 starts increasing at the end of September of each calendar year (start of SH summer) and then starts decreasing near mid-May of each calendar year (start of SH winter). And the reason for that bi-yearly cycling is, to wit:

        In the Northern Hemisphere, the ratio of land to ocean is about 1 to 1.5. The ratio of land to ocean in the Southern Hemisphere is 1 to 4.

        The Northern Hemisphere is 60% land and 40% water. The Southern Hemisphere is 20% land and 80% water.

      • The conclusion I have come to recently, regarding the breathless wailing and gnashing of teeth of the alarmists and the alarmed, is that for those of scant scientific acumen, the term “climate change” has come to mean simply “bad weather”, and/or anything unpleasant and detrimental that occurs with regard to our environment.
        How else to explain these people who are absolutely convinced that climate change is causing all manner of destruction, all around us, at the present time?

      • Mr. Coger, you broke it down very nicely. The SH ocean dominates the entire ocean temperature since it is about 2X the size of the NH ocean using your percentages. The 12moCO2 change vs HadSST3 cross-correlation plot indicates a 10-12mo lag from peak SST, which can be picked out visually from the larger plot. It might be interesting to take a closer look at the timing of 12moCO2 changes vs SST peaks that occur in the SH summer vs the 12moCO2 changes from SST peaks in the NH summer.

        Mr. McGinley, I couldn’t agree more. Bad weather = climate change to AGW devotees.

        • Mr. Weaver, if you are trying to figure out the “bi-yearly (seasonal) cycling” and average yearly increases in atmospheric CO2 ppm …… the first thing ya gotta do is forget about the Northern Hemisphere and concentrate solely on the Southern Hemisphere, otherwise you will end up chasing ferts in a windstorm.

          The Mauna Loa Record (which itself is recorder in the Northern Hemisphere) and/or the Keeling Curve Graph, is in actuality, ….. a “picture” of the BI-YEARLY (seasonal) CO2 ingassing/outgassing between the atmosphere and the Southern Hemisphere ocean waters ….. which has been “steady n’ consistent” year after year, just like “clockwork”, ……. for the past 61 years of Record keeping. An annual increase in atmospheric CO2 has also been occurring for each and every one of those past 61 years. To wit:

          Keeling Curve Graph w/equinox lines
          http://i1019.photobucket.com/albums/af315/SamC_40/keelingcurve.gif

          Post Sept 23rd the atmospheric CO2 begins increasing ….. and post May 22nd atmospheric CO2 begins decreasing and it doesn’t matter what the hell people or dogs are doing.

          And this proxy graph is proof that atmospheric CO2 doesn’t care a hoot about near-surface air temperatures, to wit:

          1979-2013 UAH satellite global lower atmosphere temperatures & CO2 ppm data
          http://i1019.photobucket.com/albums/af315/SamC_40/1979-2013UAHsatelliteglobalaveragetemperatures.png

      • Solar scientists like Leif Svalgaard have determined that while sunspot activity is random, the next cycle’s sunspot activity strength closely follows an empirically derived general rule involving the strength of the sun’s polar magnetic field measured at the start of the new solar cycle.

        I am not speaking for anyone but myself, but I can tell you sunspot activity is NOT random. Of course we know the major activity follows the Schwabe-Hale 11 year solar cycle. So there is that predictability of sunspots, more near maximum, much less at near minimum, with rising and declining numbers in between.

        Even the two solar AR’s rotating into view of Earth right now (6 May19) that are flaring C-class xrays flares and minor CMEs, the solar research community has been tracking them since they appeared in March.
        Stereo-A, at its current position, allows us to see active regions emerging on the back side of the sun about a week after they went out of Earth’s view on the west limb. With Stereo-B lost we unfortunately can’t track active regions for that ~1 week. But when a well-developed penumbra/spot-laden AR disappears behind the west limb, and exactly 90degree later (7 days) Stereo-A starts to see an AR flaring away rotating into view on the back-side at the same latitude, we can be confident it is the same AR. Then with Stereo-A images, that region can be tracked continuously until it appears to Earth on the east limb, a situation we now have with AR 12740 and 12741.

        AR12740, now flaring at N08E54 was previously AR12738 which rotated out of Earth view on 18 April. Before it was AR 12738, it was AR 12736. And just before it was numbered12736 by SWPC on 20 March, Jan Alvestad at solen.info gave it a designation S6139 when it formed on 16 March.

        AR12741 is now rotating into view on the east limb (~N02E85). Previously that region was home to an AR designated AR 12739 and emerged from the same area as AR12735, which faded out on 22 March having originally been S6141 that formed on 17 March. The fading and the reappearing in the same region tells us, the disturbances (twisted flux tubes) deeper in convective zone are still there.

        It is simply by convention that they get new AR numbers when the rotate in Earth view (from SDO, SOHO, earth-based telescopes, etc) even if we’re confident it is the same spot from a previous Carrington rotation. So to that extent some sunspots/AR’s are also predictable.

        • Great to see your close attention on solar activity Joel. I should have said sunspot emergence. Last year at the 2018 LASP Sun-Climate Symposium, Dr. Leif Svalgaard discussed his SC25 prediction ten feet in front of me, and after his talk, I asked him what was probably a ‘dumb question’ considering the extent and depth of knowledge in the people in the room, whether sunspots were predictable, and his soft-spoken simple answer was “No, it’s random.”

          I went there for two aspects of my work, the solar activity driven TSI climate influence, ie, The Solar Cycle Influence, and space weather effects. For each area I developed an application for real time daily observations. My 5-minute ‘electric weather’ app is closer to deployment, as is my sun-climate data website.

          You are right that solar activity can be observed and predicted in the ways you mentioned, but not the sunspot emergence itself. Maybe that too will change. My app image has the US Air Force 45day F10.7cm and Ap forecast displayed, along with F10.7 computed future averages based on the daily updated USAF forecast data, which change with new sunspot emergence, and are thus often wrong further out in time because of the randomness aspect Leif mentioned.

          • Sunspots and active region magnetic delta’s/flaring are random because the underlying triggering mechanism for initial flux tube disturbance is indeed random. But that disturbance certainly has an underlying vector of both magnitude and direction on the deep convective zone flux tubes, as well as limb regions already in existence because of their structured orientation.

            But once the triggering mechanism is understood, the subsequent emergence of an active region, and in a particular region of the solar sphere, and with an initial and delayed timing of appearance and flaring, it will all be quite rational. One day. A Nobel Prize awaits the solar physicist who puts it all together. Because then, with adequate expansion of observing resources, solar weather predictions of emergence of flaring regions, and even whopper Carrington X40+ events will be “forecast-able” several weeks out.

            There is nothing magical about the Sun. It runs on the laws of physics. And physics is math. It is just that the Sun is part of the vastly larger local universe.

    • In Ottawa we have set new records. No temperature above 20 degrees since last October, 285 cms of snow without any thaw and surprise, surprise massive flooding along the Ottawa river when things warmed up a bit.

      Given the fact that the sun is in a solar minimum and due to this that the lack of magnetic pull is lower, the jet stream is now going north south instead of east west. Thus the we see massive amounts of snow and cold weather in the central Canada and USA.

      • My sympathies Denise.
        Here in So Arizona, I am enjoying a quite comfortable month of May so far. Doors and windows open all day and night. No hot weather expected any time soon. And rain in the forecast for the weekend. Looking forward to it.

  2. I had to stop watching Sir David A. I kept anticipating his next exaggeration and lie to the point where the stress was getting to me. I couldn’t take it anymore.

    • Haven’t listened to Attenborough for years. The over-modulated voice makes me think ‘snake oil salesman’, and gives me creeps.

      Interesting fact not shown on his ‘brotherly love’ portrayal of male giraffes ‘necking’ – the winner engages in anal intercourse with the loser.

    • The shows he narrates have spectacular and breathtaking footage of things that have often never been filmed before, using UHD techniques and with color rendering that are stunning on a 4K TV. The vantage points are similarly amazing, and one wonders how they were able to obtain some of the footage on these shows.
      It is the narration that is often unbearable.
      So, we can watch.
      And we should.
      It is listening that is increasingly problematic.

  3. Very good and Thank You – but now please forward to all Senators, Congressmen and News editors.

  4. ‘Sea levels are rising at a rate of about 7-8 inches per century, a rate that has remained steady despite our escalating carbon dioxide emissions’

    This 8 inches would be 2mm yr-1. Many scientists claim higher rise, like 3-4mm per year recently. In such a situation, a review of science is needed, such as referred at Curry’s

    https://judithcurry.com/2018/11/27/special-report-on-sea-level-rise/

    The rise by 2100 could be 10 to 32 inches, which is more than you suggest, but far from the end.

        • I will choose skepticism, and take no hint of acceleration as indicating that the most likely scenario is more of the same.
          Anything else is not science, and there are no priests or priestesses when it comes to elucidating objective reality.
          I for one have not forgotten how recently she led the crucifixion of Bill Gray.
          She has done some atoning, but is far from any sort of paragon.
          How about choosing to heed the counsel of one of the many who have been correct all along, rather than one who has had a relatively recent and somewhat half-hearted change of mind?
          But you can choose to have “high priestesses” if you do not know how to think for yourself or come to your own conclusions based on data and facts and logic.
          But do us a favor and don’t call it Science when you do so.

    • I suggest you people to read:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meltwater_pulse_1A

      I quote the first paragraph:

      Meltwater pulse 1A (MWP1a) is the name used by Quaternary geologists, paleoclimatologists, and oceanographers for a period of rapid post-glacial sea level rise, between 13,500 and 14,700 years ago, during which global sea level rose between 16 meters (52 ft) and 25 meters (82 ft) in about 400–500 years, giving mean rates of roughly 40–60 mm (0.13–0.20 ft)/yr.

      That is a mean sea level rise over 10 times larger that the highest claims. And it happened only 13,500 years ago. By that time our ancerstors had already painted bisons on the walls of Altamira cave. Nothing unprecedented.

      • I suggest you consider what was happening during meltwater pulse 1A, and also how different the two places with anything like a similar ice sheet are from the ones that were melting rapidly at that time.
        There is no chance that Greenland or Antarctica could possibly melt as fast as the melting that gave rise to Pulse 1A, given the temperatures in those places and the melting point of ice.
        The ice sheets that melted were in far lower latitudes and elevations and in locations with 365 days of daylight a year.
        There is a very good reason why the interglacials involve the melting of some ice but not other ice, cycle after cycle after cycle. Greenland and Antarctica are completely different geographic entities that the Laurentide ice sheets and the one over Eurasia.

    • If you have a huge, accessible, open system (the sea) and claimed scientific measurements of “sea level rise” varies by 100%, you either have incompetent people performing the measurements or liars reporting the results.

      Ok, option #3: all the above.

    • Hugs:

      According to the IPCC:

      It is very likely that the mean rate of global averaged sea level rise was 1.7 [1.5 to 1.9] mm/yr between 1901 and 2010 and 3.2 [2.8 to 3.6] mm/yr between 1993 and 2010. Tide gauge and satellite altimeter data are consistent regarding the higher rate during the latter period. It is likely that similarly high rates occurred between 1920 and 1950.
      http://ar5-syr.ipcc.ch/topic_observedchanges.php#node11

      So no acceleration, merely a slow down mid 20thC when global cooling occurred.

      Remember as well that the satellite claims of 3mm pa include a totally fraudulent GIA adj of 0.3mm pa ( for ocean floor sinking, which obviously does not get included in tide gauges of “sea levels”

      Forecasts of 32″ are pure fantasy

  5. (although the reporting of such events certainly has)….

    It’s all about click bait….that sells advertising

    …like naming fronts

  6. Excellent essay, Iain. I would second the comment by Ralph about adding in solar/Milankovich cycles, but a good job. I would also offer two comments:1. in reference to your point h. in suggestions, the science of stratigraphy, especially as focused by sequence stratigraphy, is fairly advanced and shows no detectable signal of climate abnormality against a noisy background, and 2. how any reasonably intelligent and not insane person can make a choice between your essay and the “we’ve only got 12 years” fantasy of AOC is totally beyond me.

  7. The biggest regret in all this, is the scandalous waste of resources both physical and financial, being devoted and lost, on a perceived problem that is unproven, i.e. “Man Made” Climate Change.
    It gets worse.
    By blaming a molecule that is essential to life (CO2), because its derivation from fossil fuels, is easy to monitor, has blinded the real scientific inquiry into climate variation, we think we need. In fact the focus on CO2 has caused theorists to conclude, the increase in CO2 (which is real), must be the obvious reason for the intermittent but progressive, increase in world temperature over the past 170 years. That temperature increase, that is causing the anxious to be so animated, (XR etc) is generally accepted as being 288 deg K in 1850, increasing to 288.8 deg K today (with +/- error bars).
    To those of us with less anxious personalities, it suggests we are in one of the most stable and benign climate change periods in recorded history.
    The alarm, being created/generated by the usual suspects, and broadcast by the incredibly naive world media, not only insults our intelligence, but more importantly, it brainwashes our children and grand children. They are being forced to feel anxious about something beyond their, and our influence.
    The real damage though, is being directly felt in the developing nations. They are most affected by the western developed nations’ blind fixation on fossil fuel reduction and the all that entails.
    Why is that, you may ask?
    It’s because we are refusing to allow them to industrialise. We don’t come out and say that, but by refusing to fund low cost energy projects, that involve fossil fuel i.e. coal, we are denying the least wealthy from achieving wealth. Fortunately, for an increasing number of developing nations the Chinese don’t share our angst, they are more pragmatic, and are building coal fired plants to assist others…at a price.
    Only through increasing wealth, is it possible to improve lives in third world countries. It is the international institutionally maintained poverty, that leads to stunted and short life expectation there. If just a small fraction of the $billions spent on Climate Change virtue signalling/pointless posturing, had been spent building low cost energy provisions in the third world, we would not have the massive divergence in wealth we see today. We would also have seen a reduction in family size in the parts of the world that are now seeing population explosion.
    Wealth reduces family size and improves the individual’s quality of life, why would we not want to champion that? The Chinese do.
    More energy = more wealth = less poverty.

  8. [snip – you’ve been warned in the past about spamming threads with your personal multi-linked crusade of “there is no greenhouse effect” – care to try for an all-out ban? -Anthony]

      • Hey, this site discusses SCIENCE!!

        Instead of a ban – REFUTE MY CLAIMS!!!

        Shut me up with facts don’t silence me like Zuckerburg

        • 1) by reflecting 30% of the ISR the atmosphere cools the earth, i.e. it gets hotter w/o atmosphere.

          2) BB LWIR upwelling from the surface is not possible as demonstrated by classical experimentation, about as sciency as one can get.

          3) w/o the BB LWIR upwelling there is no “extra” energy for the GHG warming up/down/”back” loop.

          So simple and clear a caveman could ‘splain it.

          • Granted I am not as smart as a TV caveman, but I for one do not know what you are talking about when you say: “BB LWIR upwelling from the surface is not possible…”

          • Nicholas (good name, eeh?)

            BB LWIR Black Body Long Wave Infrared Radiation.
            A Black Body absorbs and emits ALL energy that enters and leaves.
            The Stefan Boltzmann equation is a theoretical calculation that says a surface at 289 K radiates at 396 W/m^2. See K-T diagram.
            This is only into a vacuum.

            But the contiguous presence of the air molecules (a non-vacuum) and their non-radiative processes of conduction, convection, advection, latent remove 60% of the surface energy so ideal BB radiation from the surface is not possible.

            I designed and performed classical experiments that quite clearly demonstrates this.

            RGHE theory assumes/requires/demands that near earth outer space be cold, 3 K or 5K. That’s how NOAA has the naked earth freeze at -430 F.

            But in reality near earth outer space is hot, 394 K, 121 C, 250 F.
            Just ask the HVAC engineer for the International Space Station. He has to design around it. The MMU has an air conditioner. The astronaut’s thermal underwear includes chilled water tubing. (Space Discovery Center exhibits Colo Spgs)

            Anybody who suggests combatting the “warming” by increasing the .30 albedo with assorted schemes has tacitly admitted that a reflective atmosphere cools the earth.

            As Tyson says: Science is true whether you believe it or not.
            I believe I have the science because nobody has ‘splained why I don’t.
            I have hundreds of these comments out.
            Sooner or later they will hit the fan.
            Take care which side your belief places you.

          • Okay, I thought you were saying there is ZERO LWIR travelling from the surface towards space, but in this last comment, you seem to be doing something more akin to parsing the numbers, rather than saying upward travelling (for some reason I do not like the word upwelling in this context) photons in the LWIR band do not exist and thus are not carrying energy from the surface up towards space.
            I have spent a lot of time in my life outside at all hours of the day and night in all sorts of weather conditions, while carefully watching thermometers the entire time.
            And when I say a lot, I mean thousands of nights, outside, all night, watching the temp and my crops of plants at the nursery I had.
            On cloudless nights with no wind and low dew point, the effect of radiational cooling is amplified and speeded up by a very large amount.
            Different surfaces, materials, and microenvironments that are in close proximity can and do behave completely differently as this process occurs. Many familiar examples exist that everyone is aware of but probably few have focused their attention on.
            One salient example is regarding the microclimate which exists under Florida Live Oaks on such nights. The area under these trees never get frost formation, and are routinely 5-10 degrees warmer than the area just outside the perimeter of the tree. Frozen dead plants next to perfectly fine ones the next morning confirm what the thermometers show.
            Another observation that does not seem to fit in with many assertions I have seen made is regarding what happens when, on such a night, a streak of high clouds races in from the southwest. I have watched the temp, measured at eye level, not simply stop falling but jump up several degrees when this occurs, and do so in a matter of seconds. Within 5 minutes I have seen the temp go from 34 to 42 degrees, in the middle of the night, when it had been dropping towards the dew point at several degrees an hour when the clouds appeared.
            I have seen this a lot of times, dozens of separate incidents maybe. And sometimes the clouds stay, and the freeze was averted, and other times they blew past, and the temp started dropping right back down again.
            I do not know of any other explanation for any of this that does not involved LWIR carrying energy away from the surface towards space.

            Different surfaces cool at various rates, areas under trees stay far warmer than

          • Ok, on reading your comment again, I see that you are using the stipulation of black body emission. But this is a theoretical concept AFAIK.
            Radiational cooling does not depend on some idealized situation occurring.
            I do not see the point of getting into a long discussion about the difference in temp between the sunward surfaces of an object in the near vacuum of space, and those not in the Sun.
            Earth does not have one uniform temp, obviously, and neither does the moon. It is hot in direct sun and cold on the dark side. Very cold.
            And temperature is a tricky and no so intuitive concept, AFAIK. A vacuum does not have a temperature in the same way that an object with mass does. A near vacuum may have a few very hot molecules, as in the thermosphere of the Earth, but there is very little actual thermal energy there.
            In any case, I am not gonna be the one to settle the very prickly questions you raise.
            I am not even sure it matters to the larger question of how much or how little effect CO2 concentration has on the temperature regimes of the Earth.

  9. “g) We can stop climate change by urgently switching to renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, so eradicating our emissions”

    No we can’t unless we want to be completely at the mercy of the elements with electricity-
    https://www.manhattan-institute.org/green-energy-revolution-near-impossible
    and that’s even before the magical thinkers reckon they can switch transport completely to those same batteries and they’ll all need replacing every decade or so. It simply won’t happen as any serious attempt to do so drives lithium battery raw materials prices into a real hockey stick the likes of which the plant food doomsdayers have never seen.

    • >>>>We can stop climate change by urgently switching to renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, so eradicating our emissions

      >>No we can’t unless we want to be completely at the mercy of the elements with electricity

      It’s worse than that. Switching to renewables will not stop climate change. It will happen regardless. This is the real sin.

    • You can’t mine and smelt the materials needed to make a windmill using only windmill power. It is impossible to have an industrial civilisation on wind and solar power.

  10. Iain,
    You have written a nice essay, but you need to send it to politicians and the like that are clueless about this. 97% plus of the WUWT readers will appreciate the summary. Thanks.

    ~ ~ ~ ~
    Those of us of a certain age will know the term Centigrade but the term is somewhat dated. It was changed because it could be misunderstood by non-English speakers and other reasons. Using the K scale is helpful.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celsius#Centigrade,_hectograde_and_Celsius

  11. the words climate change imply from A to B … please define what A was and what B is ?

    there are only 2 extremes of Climate that I am aware of … snowball earth (lots of ice in norther hemisphere) and the other end which is some polar ice and a thriving biosphere … I don’t care about weather events (not climate and they happened in both climate extremes) …

  12. “‘collective beliefs’ (or ‘memes’)”

    I see this term get misused occasionally. A meme is not a belief, but

    is an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture—often with the aim of conveying a particular phenomenon, theme, or meaning represented by the meme. A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices, that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena with a mimicked theme. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate, and respond to selective pressures.”

    Cultural analogues to genes is a decent description, but I prefer to describe them as instantiations of classes (software).

    • Actually, a far more historical term is “Fables”, “Fairy Tales”, “Old Wives’ Tales”, “Myths” and (finally, not the least) “Legends” .
      “Faith” “Religion” and “Fundamental Truths” are for those such tales that cannot be misproven because they are so fundamental to the inside of each culture that they are part of the decision-making thought and judgement.

  13. “By ‘global warming’ I mean a rise in the Global Average Surface Temperature of the Earth.”

    Since its not possible to measure the Global Average Surface Temperature of the Earth everything after that is speculation and … its a nice theory … but untestable … and an untestable theory is … well, … speculation and not really science …

    you think you can talk someone off an irrational theory with rational arguments …

    but they are irrational … by DEFINITION rational arguments won’t work … its a waste of time …

    • You can’t measure the Global Average Surface Temperature of the Earth, but you can calculate the mean of all the surface temperature stations, and various other interesting statistics. That should give you some numbers that would tell you something about the state of Earth’s temperature, as long as you don’t try to pretend you can calculate it to three decimal places.

      Forget about homogenization, forget about weighting, forget about gridding, forget about all that extra number crunching, and use good, unadjusted data from provably well-sited stations. You’d be surprised how close the result comes to the “corrected” data.

      • Hard to see how a change in the direction of the trend can be considered a result that comes close to the unadulterated data.

        • Unless what you are saying is that the absolute value of the fluctuations in surface temps over the past 140 years have been tiny and, if not insignificant, certainly are no big deal and no where remotely close to anything that warrants global warming/climate change alarmism.

        • I don’t see the word “trend” in my post, nor do I believe I implied that the raw data shows a change in any direction of a trend I never mentioned.

          What I have found, which will surprise nobody here, is that the trend of the raw data in three of the three trials I’ve run show lower century trends than the gridded, weighted, homogenized, etc. data of BEST, NOAA, etc.

          • I was referring to the alterations to the historical data sets that have, in several cases and on various scales of time and area coverage, changed cooling trends into warming trends and, in the early part of the 20th century, done the opposite.
            The alterations have created graphs that look nothing like the trends that were given in every text, everywhere, prior to global warming alarmism.
            Historical accounts of advancing and receding glaciers, and increasing and decreasing sea ice, (among other such things) no longer make any sense when compared with the altered data sets of the historical time series of temp.
            Sorry if I mistook what you were saying.

  14. And yet, the memes will be repeated and accepted by the general public ten thousand times more frequently than this message is communicated.

  15. Great essay…I thought the 13 C lower than Paleo records should have contained a time frame to prevent a claim of paleo cherry picking. The planet was once mostly molten lava, so you are in the drivers’ seat.

  16. One of the best essays I’ve ever read Iain. Wish everyone in the general public could read it, with all the replies, then add in all the false data the IPPC uses (compared to actual confirmed data) for their (unreliable) models with explanations of the % of CO2 compared with all other atmospheric gases. Also include how many volcanoes are in the world and their average yearly contribution of gases, compared to average yearly man made contributions. Maybe someone could expound on this?

    • CO2 is a tiny trace gas, and volcanic release of CO2 has never been shown to be anything other than a small fraction of that released by CO2 every year.
      The amount from volcanoes and undersea vents may well be, and IMO likely is, underestimated by a large amount, but even so it is a small amount compared to yearly emissions from burning fossil fuels.
      If anyone has hard data that proves, or even strongly hints, otherwise, I would like very much to see it.

      • Sorry, I mangled that first sentence.
        I meant to say:
        “CO2 is a tiny trace gas, and volcanic release of CO2 has never been shown to be anything other than a small fraction of that released by burning fossil fuels every year.”

  17. Excellent and important article, but I don’t agree with the last sentence:
    “However we choose to respond is a vast gamble with humanity’s future; however we choose to respond may result in deep regrets.”

    I can’t see any “vast gamble” in resisting the alarmist climate propaganda, quite the opposite.

    • Yes, this statement seems to mimic so much of what we see in the literature published by mainstream climate scientists, and even people involved in other fields of science, in which a head nod is given to global warming alarmism more or less as a reflex…a “just in case” add-on.
      Fence sitting at it’s most nauseating, IMO.
      Choosing to not respond to a fake problem is not a gamble, not a little one, and certainly not a vast one.
      One is either aware of Earth history or one is not.
      There is no evidence that higher CO2 concentrations in the past have been in any way detrimental to life on Earth.
      Zero.

  18. journalists typically simply taking on trust what the ‘scientific authorities’ tell them (as gleaned from Press Releases and ‘executive summary’ documents from which all the complexities and profound uncertainties, unknowns and ambiguities have largely been expunged)

    Would that this were so. There has been serious scepticism for long enough for anyone who is worthy of the name journalist to take a close look at the facts and report the truth. We are not getting to truth from the BBC and other mainstream outlets, and this is not by accident, misplaced trust or lazy journalism.

    • It’s not lazy journalism. It’s a deliberate choice.

      Be aware of ‘false balance’: As climate change is accepted as happening, you do not need a ‘denier’ to balance the debate. BBC

      No matter what evidence you provide, it isn’t going to be covered by the BBC, or CBC, or ABC (the Australian one).

    • “…this is not by accident, misplaced trust or lazy journalism.”

      Agree 100%.
      Hard to know if this is bad writing, mistaken understanding of the facts, or something else.
      But it is far from an accurate summary.

  19. “Nevertheless on the balance of probabilities human activity was responsible for half or more of the global warming observed between 1950 and 2010 (a period of escalating carbon dioxide emissions)”

    Oh dear, I guess he missed the posts on adjusted temperatures, and UHI effect skewing the numbers.

    • nc

      Nevertheless on the balance of probabilities human activity was responsible for half or more of the global warming observed between 1950 and 2010 (a period of escalating carbon dioxide emissions)”

      Oh dear, I guess he missed the posts on adjusted temperatures, and UHI effect skewing the numbers.

      Oh dear, I guess he missed that inconvenient period of rising temperatures between 1850 and 1880, and their subsequent decline between 1885 and 1915, their subsequent increase between 1915 and 1945, and their subsequent decrease between 1945 and 1975 …ALL WITHOUT ANY substantial CO2 increase caused by man!

  20. If you want to understand just how ignorant you are about simple physics get yourself a heat gun and a bucket of water and try heating the water through its surface, and good luck

    • RMB

      I don’t think this article was about physics. It was about collective beliefs on climate change. But I am still curious about “Heating the water through its surface……….. Please explain

    • RMB, whoever you are,

      I have told you this before. When you blast a bucket of water with a heated air stream the heated water EVAPORATES, actually COOLING the surface as the individual molecules with more kinetic energy leap into the air, leaving behind the slower ones with less kinetic energy.

      Go to 7-11, wash your hands, dry with the electric hand dryer. You will notice the breeze from the dryer feels cool until your hands are completely dry, then all of a sudden it feels hot.

      You have posted this so many times, OCD maybe?

      • This argument ignores that our hands are internally heated and are far warmer than the air of the room. The humidity of the air also matters quite a bit.
        If it was 100% RH in that bathroom, the effect would be different.
        If you have a bathtub full of 50° water in a room that is held at 70° by a thermostat, will the water in the tub warm up faster (and trust me, it will wind up 70°) if there is a blow dryer with a heating element turned on aiming at it the whole time, vs. a blow dryer with no heating element?
        Or are you claiming it is impossible for thermal energy to transfer from air to water over time?

  21. You say: “130C lower than its highest level in the history of the Earth (based on paleoclimatology estimates)”

    A heck of a lot lower than the bombardment era or when earth was hit by a plant sized object to create the moon or when struck by various asteroids.

    Nice write up though.

  22. 95% of greenhouse gasses are water vapor (H2O)
    4% of greenhouse gasses are CO2
    96.6% of CO2 is naturally caused
    3.4% of CO2 is generated by humans
    Will someone please tell us how the 3.4% overwhelms the 96.6%?

    • It’s not a matter of overwhelming anything. While humans are a relatively insignificant source of CO2 on an annual basis, we take carbon out of geologic sequestration and put back into the active carbon cycle. Little by little, we have increased the total “pool” of carbon in the active cycle. There is a cumulative effect. While the atmospheric “residency time” of individual CO2 molecules is on the order of 5-7 years, it will take the Earth time to move that carbon back into geologic sequestration… Anywhere from 30 to 500 years, depending on whether it’s a simple exponential decay or e-folding time function. No one really knows for sure.

      We aren’t moving H2O out of geologic sequestration and our other GHG emissions are either minuscule and/or have very short “lifespans.”

      • Ogalalla? It may only be a drop in the ocean but it does come out of kilo-years of sequestration, no?

    • Straw men from skeptics are as inane as the ones from alarmists.
      25% of the current CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is due to burning fossil fuels.
      The total reservoir/flux has nothing to do with it.

      • It could be as high as 25%. It could also be half of that. The total flux, which is poorly quantified, is important… But it doesn’t negate the human contribution, as many fellow skeptics assert. The degree to which the anthropogenic CO2 matters is mostly dependent on how sensitive the oceans are to temperature changes.

        Anthropogenic CO2 emissions didn’t prevent the mid-20th century cooling, which was so significant, that it caused a hiatus, possibly even a decline, in atmospheric CO2, so pronounced that it shows up in the DE08 ice core.

        The stabilization of atmospheric CO2 concentration during the 1940s and 1950s is a notable feature in the ice core record. The new high density measurements confirm this result and show that CO2 concentrations stabilized at 310–312 ppm from ~1940–1955. The CH4 and N2O growth rates also decreased during this period, although the N2O variation is comparable to the measurement uncertainty. Smoothing due to enclosure of air in the ice (about 10 years at DE08) removes high frequency variations from the record, so the true atmospheric variation may have been larger than represented in the ice core air record. Even a decrease in the atmospheric CO2 concentration during the mid-1940s is consistent with the Law Dome record and the air enclosure smoothing, suggesting a large additional sink of ~3.0 PgC yr-1 [Trudinger et al., 2002a]. The d13CO2 record during this time suggests that this additional sink was mostly oceanic and not caused by lower fossil emissions or the terrestrial biosphere [Etheridge et al., 1996; Trudinger et al., 2002a]. The processes that could cause this response are still unknown.

        [11] The CO2 stabilization occurred during a shift from persistent El Niño to La Niña conditions [Allan and D’Arrigo, 1999]. This coincided with a warm-cool phase change of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation [Mantua et al., 1997], cooling temperatures [Moberg et al., 2005] and progressively weakening North Atlantic thermohaline circulation [Latif et al., 2004]. The combined effect of these factors on the trace gas budgets is not presently well understood. They may be significant for the atmospheric CO2 concentration if fluxes in areas of carbon uptake, such as the North Pacific Ocean, are enhanced, or if efflux from the tropics is suppressed.

        MacFarling-Meure, C., D. Etheridge, C. Trudinger, P. Steele, R. Langenfelds, T. van Ommen, A. Smith, and J. Elkins (2006), Law Dome CO2, CH4 and N2O ice core records extended to 2000 years BPGeophys. Res. Lett., 33, L14810, doi:10.1029/2006GL026152.

        law19301970

        Fossil fuel emissions are about 3% of the total *annual* source of CO2 to the atmosphere. Our annual contribution is actually large enough to account for twice the annual rise in atmospheric CO2.

        The difference between CO2 from fossil fuel emissions and those of the biopshere, soil and ocean respiration, is that we are taking carbon out of geologic sequestration and moving it into the active carbon cycle. It has a cumulative effect. We are increasing the total pool of CO2 in the cycle. While individual CO2 molecules have a relatively short atmospheric residence time (5-7 years), it will take much longer for the total pool to shrink back to where is was in 1850 after the net emissions stop, probably 50 to 500 years. No one really knows.

        We have a pretty good handle on how much CO2 we are adding to the cycle. Even though we don’t have a really good handle on the total inventory of natural sources and sinks, the math is the same. It’s a relatively simple mass balance calculation. We know that the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 tracks our cumulative emissions. We don’t know how much of this rise is due to warming from the depths of the Little Ice Age and how much is due to fossil fuel combustion. If the natural sources and sinks are highly variable, our cumulative contribution is probably about 50%. If they’re very stable, our contribution could be 100%.

        From 1780-1960, atmospheric CO2 was rising faster than our emissions…

        After 1960, both our emissions and the atmospheric CO2 accelerated. The Law Dome DE08 ice core has adequate resolution to tell us that this did not happen during the Medieval Warm Period. To some extent the rise in atmospheric CO2, coincident with our accelerated fossil fuel emissions is unprecedented. Greenland ice cores and plant stomata indicate that 300-350 ppm was common during the Early to Mid-Holocene and that 400 ppm spikes were even possible. Most Antarctic ice cores can’t resolve CO2 shifts with durations less than 100 years. So we can’t say that the modern level is unprecedented over the past 10,000 years, much less 800,000 years. However, we can clearly conclude that human activities are at least partially the cause of the rise since 1850 and most, if not all, of the rise since 1960.

        • Dave,
          I was responding to Walter, not you, since your comment had not posted when I made mine.
          I agree that 25% is not a chiseled in stone number, and may be at best only roughly accurate.
          Based on an even rougher estimate of a baseline number somewhere near 300ppm, which is based on the graphs showing the last 4 interglacials were likely not much higher than, but somewhere approaching, 300ppm.
          I think the total flux largely cancels out over time, based on these last four interglacials having a value of max CO2 that is at least roughly similar.
          Except for land use changes, I am hard pressed to find a reason to buy into arguments that recent increases are due to non-FF sources.
          And I also agree completely that no one knows about CO2 residence time, or more saliently, how long CO2 levels would remain elevated if all FF emissions were to completely stop.
          I have been highly dubious of claims of long residence for the entire past 30 years.
          And only one of my reasons is the more or less steady increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration, even as emissions have increased over the years.
          If it turns out that all the CO2 we have added to the air will go away in as little as 50 years, that would be rather alarming, given what is likely to happen during the next interglacial, and the amount that is needed to prevent plants from dying of CO2 starvation.
          I see no reason to think of warming as bad, or as CO2 as anything but highly desirable and the more the better.
          It is amazing really, but not surprising: Warmistas are exactly wrong about pretty much every single thing they say.
          AFAICT

          • The problem with almost all of the Antarctic ice cores is resolution. Only Law Dome DE08 comes close to decadal resolution. Most can’t resolve CO2 shifts with durations of less than 100 years. Vostok and the other long record length ice cores have 500 to 1,000 year resolutions.

            If you filter DE08 to the same resolution as Vostok, the modern CO2 rise vanishes.

  23. The reasons for these misconceptions are because Democrats weaponized climate to promote renewable energies, and incidentally destroy the careers of more conservative-minded scientists. Most people understand climate as a set of memes and slogans used to promote policies to drive up the price of energy, I mean ‘save the planet‘. The problem isn’t that everyone’s ignorant on climate. The problem is many people ‘know‘ too much pseudoscience, metaphor, slogan and memes; but hardly any science. My explanation conveniently explains why the left never explain how the climate works. Especially not how their beloved greenhouse effect works. Because it’s a bad idea to confuse your captive audience (Democrats, journalists, politicians) with facts when your bluster already does achieves your ends.

    I apologise for making this a left-right thing; but it wasn’t me who did that.

    • It is pretty clear it is a left right thing at this point, and maybe from the get go.
      It is hard to find anything to refute that view.
      When I was younger, I used to be very confused by the amazing number of completely disparate subjects on which people on either side of the political aisle agreed with each other, and disagreed with the other side on. Subjects completely unrelated to each other. And yet one could surmise with high success how a given person would answer a wide assemblage of questions, IOW what their view is on that subject, simply by finding out which party they might tend to vote for.
      I still do not know exactly why it is people on the left and on the right are so different in how they view the world, but I have decided it does not matter why.
      One important thing to always keep in mind: People on the right tend to see these differences of viewpoint as just that, a difference of opinion, whereas people on the left are far more likely to see themselves as correct and people who disagree as evil bastards.

  24. Some additions:

    When the glaciers disappear the rivers will run dry.

    Thermal expansion causes world-wide sea level rise.

    Methane is 86 times more potent than CO2 at trapping heat.

    The Antarctic and Greenland ice caps are melting.

    • steve case

      When the glaciers disappear the rivers will run dry.

      Thermal expansion causes world-wide sea level rise.

      Methane is 86 times more potent than CO2 at trapping heat.

      The Antarctic and Greenland ice caps are melting.

      When the glaciers disappear the rivers will run dry. (No. Absolutely false. The same water mass will fall – if not more as humidity increases as the earth warms. It is the enviro-extremists who oppose building dams to slow water runoff and retain that same water for use over the dry periods!)

      Thermal expansion causes world-wide sea level rise. (Partially. Can you measure any actual sea temperature increase in the average mass of thousands of meters of sea water UNDER an atmosphere that is actually itself only 0.32 degrees warmer than 1970?)

      Methane is 86 times more potent than CO2 at trapping heat. (So what. You are fearing an event that is imaginary at this point. )

      The Antarctic and Greenland ice caps are melting. (No, the Antarctic ice cap is growing heavier, larger. Greenland Ice Cap can only be argued to be “melting” based on the “assumed” movement of granite and compressed mass under the ever-higher ice cap based on the re-calibration (and un-duplicated!) GRACE satellite measurements. Which failed, by the way, so we have no updates nor corrections, nor comparisions.

      • RACookPE1978 May 6, 2019 at 10:09 am

        Thanks for filling in the details, I appreciate it (-:

      • The idea that glaciers are required for a water supply is as dumb as it gets.
        Many have made the point but for any who have not heard the truth, here it is: Glaciers store precipitation as ice, and when they are growing, water is being sequestered away in an unusable form.
        Snowfields provide a water sup[ply as the melt off every year, but they are hardly required for rivers to have water in them…the ground does just fine at holding and releasing water over time.
        Melting glaciers, on the other hand, do provide water to rivers.
        And having no glacier at all is best, as it frees up land that might be productive, and allows all of the precip that falls to become available for plants, animals, and people.
        There is no logical argument to back up the claim that large frozen wastelands becoming somewhat less frigidly frozen is a looming disaster.

    • steve case you should learn some earth history and stop assuming that the climate of the last few hundred years is some kind of long-term stable situation that “we” are in the process of irreversibly disrupting. It would be educational, but might take more mental effort than parroting propaganda one-liners. Perhaps you’re not up to it.

      • Smart Rock May 6, 2019 at 1:18 pm

        ????????????

        Hmmm I should have made my post more clear, the title of this thread is:

        “Climate Change Misconceived”

        I added four more misconceptions

  25. These misconceptions appear to have assumed the mantle of ‘collective beliefs’ (or ‘memes’) that through extensive repetition in the media are mistakenly taken to be indisputable truths, despite the ready availability of science and evidence to disprove (or, at the least, seriously question) them.

    This is why they put such effort into controlling the media; establishing colleges for environmental journalists, bullying journalists who present a balanced view. Indisputable truths become so when no one dare challenge them. They want to stop any kind of debate or intellectual challenge. That’s certainly what’s been done in UK. USA not so much. Real climate science is a casualty of a left culture war against energy and capitalism. The first casualty of war is …

  26. “The essential problem for those who are prepared to open their minds to alternative viewpoints is that to understand the flaws in the alarmist narrative’s simplistic certainties requires that you delve quite deeply into the science, statistics, politics and economics of climate change – and that is time-consuming, hard work that requires quite a high degree of scientific literacy.”
    Not really, no. It doesn’t take much effort on the layman’s part to see that once you begin to dig into the “science” of CAGW/climate change/chaos/extreme weather, you soon find that it is sadly lacking. And the minute you do start digging, if your BS meter doesn’t start jumping into the red zone, then there is something wrong with it. Just look at how they behave. The lies, the misdirection, and any number of “creative” ways they have of presenting their case becomes laughably transparent.

  27. ” For example, the only statistically significant change in Britain’s climate for hundreds of years has been that it has warmed slightly “…. although when I checked it has recently seen a cooling trend.

    But either way ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT.

  28. “Nevertheless on the balance of probabilities human activity was responsible for half or more of the global warming observed between 1950 and 2010….”

    I wonder about that statement. If we don’t know what the temperature would have been without human activity, and we don’t know all the factors that contributed to the warming, or how those factors interact (“complex chaotic system,” etc.), isn’t this an article of faith?

    • Agree completely.
      It is nothing but a pure conjecture to state anything about the amount, if any, of recent warming that is due to any particular cause, CO2 or otherwise.
      The amounts of recent variation are indistinguishable from the variations known to have occurred before fossil fuel added enough CO2 to be significant.
      Therefore it is just handwaving and taking a guess to give any such attribution.
      It is opinion, and not at all scientific.
      That is why they need polls to even take a stab at it.

  29. Ironically, there IS a climate crisis and it IS truly serious–but it has nothing to do with the narrative we are fighting, described admirably in this article.

    Poison-based agriculture, and annual cropping (wheat, etc.) have been devastating the natural world since Adam and Eve at Gobekli Tepe 14 000 years ago. Most plants are perennials. Just 5000 years ago, the Sahara was a thriving grassland–perfect for human crops. We destroyed it.

    Today we are destroying the Sea of Azov, which was one of the largest lakes in the world a few decades ago. Cotton farming has drawn down the water table to the point the sea has almost disappeared. Summertime temperatures have risen from the 90s to 140 F. Now THAT is climate change, and it is real and serious.

    Annual cropping, leaving the soil bare also reduces the ability to hold water, resulting in floods and droughts. America’s Midwest is so flooded that ranchers may have lost a million calves. Store food, people, food you will eat. It will be a much higher return than banks or stocks.

    Sonic Bloom (TM) Permaculture and Restoration agriculture heal all these things–at a profit instead of the enormous loss advocated by the ignorant “greens.”

    [??? .mod]

    • I think you have mixed up the Aral Sea with the Sea of Azov.
      Azov is not a lake at all, it is an extension of the Black Sea.
      Sea water is useless for irrigation, and in any case a body of water connected to the ocean cannot be “drawn down” by removing water from it.

      As for the rest of this mush, very little of it is even remotely factual.
      There has never been a measured air temp of 140° anywhere on Earth.
      The hottest ever recorded is a little over 134.
      The Sahara was a desert already 5k years ago, and people had nothing to do with it.
      ??? is right.

  30. I applaud Iain Aitken’s worthy if belabored effort on behalf of global lukewarmism.
    However, I would like to add these critical comments to his main points.
    First, and most importantly:
    “to understand the flaws in the alarmist narrative’s simplistic certainties requires that you delve quite deeply into the science, statistics, politics and economics of climate change.”
    No you don’t. The basic facts of climate science are easy to understand: temperature, sea level, rain, drought, storm, and wind. They all go up and down. There is more or less of them from time to time and we all understand time as well.

    “1) Global warming and climate change are both unequivocally happening”
    No, Look at your own points #6 & 7
    “Nevertheless on the balance of probabilities human activity was responsible for half or more of the global warming observed between 1950 and 2010 (a period of escalating carbon dioxide emissions)”
    I am aware of no evidence to support this claim. BTW, where does “half or more” come from?

    “3) Sea levels are rising at a rate of about 7-8 inches per century”
    Trivial, it goes up and down, much higher in MWP and variously in ancient times

    “5) There is no remotely compelling scientific evidence that climate change (man-made or otherwise) has resulted in widespread species extinctions”
    The “extinctions” scare is related to lack of understanding or bible-based rejection of Darwinian science. Extinctions happen all the time and are a natural aspect of evolution, as are the creation of new species. The idea that any one species of plant or animal is sacred and must be preserved is non-scientific nonsense.

    “Here I am assuming climate sensitivity not exceeding 20C (based on the best empirical evidence)”
    I am not aware of any evidence that indicates that “climate sensitivity” to variations of CO2 is anything other than zero! Using this term as a basis of anything assumes the correctness of the assumption that CO2 has any measurable controlling effect on global temperature.

    Author’s summary points:
    “a) Global warming is happening, albeit at a rate that is unexceptional and not accelerating
    b) It has been caused by both human activity and natural activity (i.e. it has not just been caused by our carbon dioxide emissions)
    c) It has caused a rise in sea levels, albeit at a rate that is unexceptional and not accelerating”
    Here is the reality: for a) Not obvious, certainly trivial if so, not clear if we add uncertainties of UHI, Soviet era vs post-Soviet era data reliability, stability (no change) of continental lower 48 US measures, 100 years and counting
    For b) no evidence
    For c) no evidence of human involvement in trivial changes

    “To really understand the climate change issue we must accept that it is far more complicated and nuanced”
    No, it is not that complicated. Promoters of CAGW want you to believe that it is oh so complicated that only the high priests of “climate science” can interpret it for you. They are professional obfuscators and deserve some kind of noble prize for that.

    “competing arguments in the climate change debate,”
    No, they refuse to debate. They insist that the debate is over with, and the media buys it.
    I don’t think we fight the world-wide delusion of CAGW or its meaningless partner, “Climate Change,” with elaborate lukewarm essays like this. When the emperor passed by, the boy didn’t say, “Oh, that’s a very thin coat he is wearing!’
    Ronald G. Havelock, Ph.D.

  31. Measured, balanced, and eminently understandable. Thank you for your work.

    Now……how do we get this into the mainstream without inviting the shrill and the uninformed and the downright unpleasant to have a field day.

  32. So Mass Hysteria when orchestrated by bureaucracies creates a state of panic.
    Especially amongst bureaucrats..
    It takes a special kind of gullibility,in this age of persuasion, to be able to ignore;
    1) WRITTEN HISTORY
    2) Photosynthesis
    3) Limitations of growth
    4) Past periods of mass hysteria(See #1)
    5) Inadequacy of information.(Insufficient data)
    6)The methodologies of science and measuring techniques
    AKA The scientific method and error ranges..

    We have an international panic,or attempt to create panic over a claimed Signal,which is less than the error range of the claimed data.
    Reality is always so much weirder fiction.

    • Most people on most days give as much thought to fretting about the weather, or climate, or global warming, as it deserves, which is none.
      But a small number of people are obsessed with the subject, and a somewhat unknowable number are actively profiting from the whole charade.
      The problems are in the amount of damage those few in the last two groups are able to cause, how much money is being diverted to “solve” a non-problem, the generations of children being completely mis-educated on matters of science, the actual problems that are going begging for dollars and attention, and perhaps greatest of all, the damage being done to the institution of scientific endeavor.

  33. You say;
    “Nevertheless on the balance of probabilities human activity was responsible for half or more of the global warming observed between 1950 and 2010 (a period of escalating carbon dioxide emissions)”

    Where is the evidence for this. If you take the actual temperatures (that is the pre-adjusted ones published before 2000) Then there was global cooling from mid forties to to mid 70’s.
    There is a Phil Jones graph from earlier, more honest times, that showed the rate of warming 1850 to 1880, 1910 to 1940 and 1975 to 2005 to be the same.
    So where is the evidence that 50% plus of warming since 1950 is caused by humans.
    Please justify this statement.

    • “Please justify this statement.”

      They can’t justify the statment that humans are causing half or more of the present warming. It’s just a guess.

      They want to forget about the variations in past climate not caused by CO2 and they want us to forget about it, too, because it strikes at the heart of the CAGW claims of unprecedented warmth and “hottest year evah!”.

      It’s no warmer now than when Mother Nature warmed us up in the 1930’s, according to numerous sources, and if that’s the case then there is no reason to assume today’s current warming is caused by anything other than Mother Nature. The same magnitude of warming and the same maximum temperature equates to the same source. Until evidence to the contrary is produced.

      Right? Right.

  34. If I had been given the appropriate super power many years ago I would have used it to warm the climate of the northern quarter of the globe while leaving the rest at about the same.
    I seems that that is exactly what has happened so blame me if you like.
    I stopped warming about 20 years ago because it seemed to be alarming so many people.
    Many seem to have no fear of implementing drastic and dangerous changes to society while showing panic at a minor climatic change.
    Go figure.

  35. Iain, good job.
    I like this article because it summarizes the arguments and counter-arguments in a way that is accessible. And covers most of the major conflicts between teh two sides. This means I might be able to have my friends/family who are bought-in to the media and green-driven positions read this and gain some insight, at least in so far as to develop some desire to question the simplistic science they have been told for 20 years. I think the comments are useful also for further explanation of some of the short-comings of the article, for those who might want to delve a little deeper.

  36. From the article: “Sadly such understanding and critical analysis is rarely to be found, journalists typically simply taking on trust what the ‘scientific authorities’ tell them”

    It seems to me that lately journalists have been adding to the hype, not just spreadying the hype. It’s common now for writers to claim they see CAGW in every weather event and see CAGW doing damage to humans.

    The IPCC and most Alarmists don’t make these kinds of wild claims, or not as wild, anyway.

    Journalists are assuming to much in their reporting and the facts don’t back up their dire predictions.

    We are awash in a sea of climate lies, and distortions and misunderstandings and the journalists are making the problem of understanding the issues worse, not better.

  37. “12) Carbon dioxide concentrations in our atmosphere today are about 46% higher than their (280ppm) pre-industrial level (largely because of our emissions) but about four times lower than their average level…”

    Yes, we all know what that mean current levels are one-fourth the historical average, but… please.

  38. “15) The future costs and impacts of decarbonization may well exceed the future costs and impacts of man-made global warming, i.e. even if future man-made global warming becomes net-harmful it may not be cost-effective to mitigate it with decarbonization.”

    To me, this is the key point (and the easiest discussion point to argue).

    Actions must be justified. Expected benefits must exceed expected costs. Even if there are things that we should be doing, the proposals you hear today are lunacy.

  39. How and why has Climate Science become more superior to Physics and Meteorology? Meteorology is a branch of physics and deals with known physical properties of liquids, gases and solids and their interactions and characteristics on the macro as well as micro scale. Meteorology is also able to measure all those interactions to provide reasonably accurate weather forecasts up to 3 or 4 days out.
    Climate science and Climate Scientists are ‘experts’ in modelling averages of collected weather data. Also, rarely is the correct term Climatology or Climatologist used such as it’s parent Meteorology, so we only hear the term Climate Scientists. Is that because it contains the word ‘Scientists’ and sounds more sciency for the general public?

  40. “The fundamental problem with the climate change problem is that it is a ‘wicked’ problem: it is impossible to predict our climate future,…”

    Is the general consensus that we are now in a perpetual warm period and if humans weren’t here the various climates would stay as they were during the Little Ice Age? Is it official that the great ice sheets won’t return considering that is what they have done at least 12 times in the last 1,000,000 years.
    According to quite a few the Pleistocene Epoch began 2.6 million years ago and ended 11,700 years ago. Are we really that certain it’s ended and what evidence is there?

  41. e) It has already caused alarming and accelerating global species extinctions

    The planet is dying….

    https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/05/ipbes-un-biodiversity-report-warns-one-million-species-at-risk/

    THE BONDS THAT hold nature together may be at risk of unraveling from deforestation, overfishing, development, and other human activities, a landmark United Nations report warns. Thanks to human pressures, one million species may be pushed to extinction in the next few years, with serious consequences for human beings as well as the rest of life on Earth.

    “The evidence is crystal clear: Nature is in trouble. Therefore we are in trouble,” said Sandra Díaz, one of the co-chairs of the Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. A 40-page “Summary for Policy Makers” of the forthcoming full report (expected to exceed 1,500 pages) was released May 6 in Paris.

    And because doing something about it will cut into the profits of the wealthiest we get lies and ongoing stupidity on a level that is truly disgusting.

    How much of the hundreds of millions of dollars of dark money from the fossil fuels and other highly destructive sectors ends up in the pockets of the psychopaths writing here.

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/dark-money-funds-climate-change-denial-effort/

    In all, 140 foundations funneled $558 million to almost 100 climate denial organizations from 2003 to 2010.

    You’ve won, we are all probably dead in a few decades, are you happy now…

    • You’ve apparently not only guzzled the Climate Koolade, but are swimming in it. But you’re probably already back under your troll bridge, safe from reality and truth.

    • You shouldn’t really believe anything you read about climate in the Scientastic ‘Merkin comic, they are biased. Personally speaking, I deny for free, I’m not receiving any ‘dark money’ though I’m open to offers. Hell, I’ll even take light money. But whether I get paid or not, I’m still going to deny that a change to the nature of the atmosphere of 0.013% in two centuries is causing a climate breakdown.

    • Hey Doug,
      Look at a picture of a rain forest, and another of a polar region, as ask yourself, where does it appear life is doing better?
      Where do you see more biodiversity?
      And with CO2 at the base of the food chain of the entire biosphere (outside of some mid-ocean ridges and the like, perhaps), exactly how is it that a warmer world with more food for everything, that is greening up so fast and so completely it can be seen from space…how is it that you can delude yourself that this represents in any way a “planet dying”?
      It is a good thing you bedwetting panic mongers and doomsday cultists did not latch onto global cooling as your pet theory…because an ice age really is a very real case of a planet dying, over the frozen solid parts. The boreal forests are the largest forests on Earth, and they get wiped away down to bedrock over the bulk of their extent, every time an interglacial ends.
      And have you ever stopped to consider how much life was wiped out when Greenland and Antarctica froze over?

    • Doug – you are funny. The left is really good at handing out money to anarchists and others to stir the pot. You really don’t understand the way the world works do you?
      Climate change is big business. First you push on us those toxic mercury filled compact fluorescent light bulbs, which of course sucked and now that mercury is polluting our land. Then there is the ethanol fantasy which is burning food and driving up food prices as a handout to midwest corn farmers. How did ethanol solve our problem? It didn’t. These are not solutions.
      Lots of carbon is front-loaded into the atmosphere by producing toxic solar cells and windmills in China. The rare earth metals in your windmill are from strip mining and puts lots of carbon in the air as lots of diesel is burned. It is not clear if the solar cell or windmill will outproduce the energy used to make it. Then we have to keep coal or natural gas plants fired up because renewables are great for putting harmonics on the grid.
      Then let’s talk about lithium mining and what the Chinese are doing to Africa. But feel good about yourself.
      Academia likes the money climate research brings in. The only way i will agree to this extremely distructive agenda is if all climate research is ended since it is “settled science” (at this point why keep dropping apples) and we then work on solutions. If this happened, the academics would become very unsure and would tell you they need to study it more. I know the deal very well.
      Just remember, the Chinese gave tons of money to Gore. Clinton gave them ballistic missile technology through some shady dealings by Litton. China is making all of our green energy products. Does this sound like a great idea? Who is pushing the cagw agenda? Exon doesn’t give a shit. You want to sequester carbon? They have a device for that. They will make money either way.
      The only reasonable alternative is nuclear. And TMI stunted a lot of good research and put us multiple decades behind. In the long run we need nuclear. In the short run these green initiatives are killing the planet, bats, birds and us. Get off the global goring agenda and worry about real problems like hormones in the water.

      • Big Al May 16, 2019 at 7:31 pm
        The trouble is you are using logic and rationality and all said very eloquently. This is not an approach that has worked yet on any ideologue.

  42. I follow the general rule, that if your list contains more than seven items, you have omitted an opportunity to summarize and categorize. Better organized thinking leads to clearer thinking, and properly forming lists aids in evaluating the extent to which your list is exhaustively comprehensive and mutually exclusive. You can more easily see if you’re missing an important point, if something doesn’t fit, or if you’ve repeated yourself

    CURRENT CLIMATE TRENDS ARE NOT HISTORICALLY UNUSUAL:

    1) Global warming and climate change are both unequivocally happening…
    3) Sea levels are rising at a rate of about 7-8 inches per century, a rate that has remained steady…
    12) Carbon dioxide concentrations in our atmosphere today are about [ONE FOuRTH] than their average level…
    13) The global average surface temperature today is about 1.0C higher than its pre-industrial level…

    NOT GUILTY YOUR HONOR:

    4) There is no remotely compelling scientific evidence that extreme weather events have increased…
    5) There is no remotely compelling scientific evidence that climate change … has resulted in widespread species extinctions…
    17) Climate disruption (e.g. the failure of the Gulf Stream)…
    18) A ‘mass extinction event’…

    SOME REALITY REGARDING ACTIONS:

    15) The future costs and impacts of decarbonization may well exceed the future costs and impacts of man-made global warming…
    8) It is impossible to control the Earth’s average surface temperature…
    9) It is impossible to stop climate change happening…
    10) It is impossible to specify a threshold for global warming beyond…
    19) Intermittent wind and solar power is not the solution to any potential future climate change problem…

    RECOGNIZE UNCERTAINTY:

    2) There are substantial uncertainties about the extent to which human activity …
    14) Climate change computer models are proving very unreliable guides ..
    16) Based on observational estimates of climate sensitivity…
    20) Climate change science is currently immature…

    BENEFITS TO CO2:

    11) Carbon dioxide is … a very effective plant nutrient.

    A COUPLE OF STAT NOTES:

    6) If you remove the (entirely natural) El Niño warming of 2015-16…
    7) Recently (essentially this century) global warming has been slowing down…

  43. Assuming this post is an attempt to support the realist point of view, it is a dismal failure. It totally fails the pub test, as do many similar attempts to counter the alarmist argument. The reason it fails is simple logic.
    Here’s my reasoning.
    The author waxed lyrical that co2 is beneficial and that the temperature has not changed much and SLR is minimal and has been going on for ages; nothing is unusual…. etc etc……then capitulates when offering conclusions and so on and jumps into bed and totally embraces the alarmist view….how???
    In picture 2 the author carries on about co2 then chops his own foot off by stating that “on the balance of probabilities “ 50% of warming has been caused by man!!!! Similar logical problems are generated in conclusion (b)…again assigning 50 warming to mankind, and (c)…. contribution to SLR( totally unsubstantiated and the final invalid claim(g) …use gas to reduce our emissions and reduce temperature.
    The pub experts pick the stupidity of this argument and simply say…. well at least we can save half the temperature rise by doing this so let’s go for it!!!!
    It’s a pity that authors of this style of article can’t see the failure of their own logic .
    This is a most unhelpful post if the idea is to quell the alarmist uprising.

    • I agree. Look at my post below that definitely quells the alarmist argument.

    • Hehe, Alan Chee, those are good points about the contradictions inherent in adopting a “conventionally lukewarmer” kind of positon, such as the article writer, Iain Aitken, is trying to do. Although I do appreciate that many of the things Aitken says are true and worthwhile, there is always the risk of handing the “conventionally alarmist” narrative just a bit more credibility than is really deserved. You mention the uncorroborated conclusion that 50% or more of warming was caused by man, and this point was also mentioned by other people in this thread, say Ronald Havelock, asking
      “where does [attributing to humans] “half or more” [of temperature rise after 1950] come from?”

      To all this concern about the dangers of supporting uncorroborated conclusions, I would add my own little nitpick, and that is the use of the term “consensus”, as in Aitken’s statement that
      “There is almost total scientific consensus that global warming and climate change are happening and that we are contributing to them”. Consensus is a political term, which I believe is intended usually in the sense of something that a clear *majority* of people are willing to go along with.

      As one scenario to show the difficulties of using the idea of “consensus” for “sciency” things, say we went to a scientific convention, there we might have very little difficulty finding a clear majority of people “in the hall” who would agree to the statement “global warming and climate change are happening and we are contributing to them”. After all, the wording of that statement is mild enough, nothing sensational sounding there? But what does getting people to agree with a mild sounding statement have to do with science? Ask everyone present if they think our warming contribution is serious enough for each them to immediately donate $100 cash to support a relevant study group — why, you would immediately get a whole different answer to the question of “are we contributing enough that it is of urgent interest to practically everyone here” – !

  44. “Humans have long been shaping Earth’s landscape, but now scientists know we can shape our near-space environment as well. A certain type of communications — very low frequency, or VLF, radio communications — have been found to interact with particles in space, affecting how and where they move. At times, these interactions can create a barrier around Earth against natural high energy particle radiation in space. These results, part of a comprehensive paper on human-induced space weather, were recently published in Space Science Reviews.”
    https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2017/nasas-van-allen-probes-spot-man-made-barrier-shrouding-earth

    published in Space Science Reviews.”
    Anthropogenic Space Weather
    Abstract
    “Anthropogenic effects on the space environment started in the late 19th century and reached their peak in the 1960s when high-altitude nuclear explosions were carried out by the USA and the Soviet Union. These explosions created artificial radiation belts near Earth that resulted in major damages to several satellites. Another, unexpected impact of the high-altitude nuclear tests was the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that can have devastating effects over a large geographic area (as large as the continental United States). Other anthropogenic impacts on the space environment include chemical release experiments, high-frequency wave heating of the ionosphere and the interaction of VLF waves with the radiation belts. This paper reviews the fundamental physical process behind these phenomena and discusses the observations of their impacts.”
    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11214-017-0357-5

  45. Global Warming is always good news and Global Cooling has always been bad news. Another Ice Age would give us graphic information on this matter. The Roman and Middle Ages Warm Periods were good for man and the Little Ice Age was bad for man. Global Warming releases CO2 for use by plants which is good for everything on Earth.

  46. Good essay, but it would be a better one if every time you had a paragraph that measured more than 1.5 inches top to bottom , you figured out a way to insert a paragraph break.

  47. “My assertion is not that these ‘facts’ are ‘fake news’ (deliberately reported falsehoods) or ‘myths’ (implying that there is no truth whatsoever in them) but that they are fundamental misconceptions based on misunderstandings of what the science and evidence actually tell us.”

    If that were true, then the alarmists would show charts that reach as far back as data is available.

    A) Sea ice is shown starting in 1979, a sea ice maximum.

    B) Global and regional temperature charts are shown starting at the low temperatures of the 1960s.
    Alarmists go to great lengths to ignore or deny that rising temperature slopes during the 1880s and 1930s that match or even exceed this modern warming period.

    C) Sea level increases are modified by assumptions to force the appearance of rapid rise.

    D) Alarmists refuse to consider the far more abundant atmospheric water vapor, H₂O, very infrared active over a large amount of infrared wavelengths in favor of a minor trace gas that is infrared active in a few infrared wavelengths.
    * i) Alarmists have refused to analyze lapse rates worldwide comparing humid areas of the globe against dry areas of the globe.

    E) NOAA and other meteorological organizations actively adjust historical temperatures. Of all the world’s sciences and engineering, why does climatology willfully adjust historical data then present it as natural?

  48. How can anyone still believe that the press still impartially reports the news?

    The MSM slanders any scientists who tries to present the facts about the LACK of increasing extreme weather events…calling him or her a “climate denier”.

    If there were any journalists left in the MSM, they could easily find out what the actual severe weather trends are. It would only take half an hour to Google the appropriate NOAA and IPCC reports…and make a few phone calls…but they aren’t interested in the least in reporting the truth. IT’S NOT THAT CONFUSING.

    The MSM has become the full time propaganda wing of the Democratic party. They aren’t hyping weather events for ratings…they are doing it for the cause.

    Every severe weather event is blamed on global warming/climate change (pay attention…you will see no exceptions). Every chance they get, the MSM reporters blame the climate change induced weather events on Trump (and all the climate deniers he’s surrounded himself with).

    The truth doesn’t matter. The Democrats will push expensive programs that will continue to make energy more expensive and less reliable. If you haven’t been paying attention, these idiots are serious about forcing us all to quit using oil and coal by 2050…while blocking efforts to build next generation nuclear power plants.

  49. We can stop climate change by urgently switching to renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, so eradicating our emissions

    It all comes down to that. How do you con people to believe renewable energy is sufficient for our needs? The renewable energy fetish has a long history. Four of the best-selling environmental books are Limits to Growth 1972, The Population Bomb 1968, Silent Spring 1962, and Road to Survival, 1948. Readers here are probably intimately familiar with the first 3 and may even have read them. But where did those ideas come? Not out 1960’s hippiedom. In 1948, world population was 2.5 billion, and peak oil had yet to be invented (it arrived in 1956). Yet William Vogt’s 1948 ‘Road to Survival‘, was very interested in energy. Even back then. Vogt argued for 2 aims in energy policy:
    1. Use as much sustainable renewable energy, with no artificial substitutes. No artificial fossil fuels nor nuclear power because the capacity of such as strictly limited.
    2. Fit demand to supply. By either reducing population, or lowering living standards.

    This double phobia/fetish (overpopulation fears with its solution: renewable energy) explains the enigma of why we’re living in a global warming climate crisis, when the world is on the brink of another mini- Little Ice Age!

    For more on this read Population Bombed.

  50. David,

    I never thought we would read such a poorly researched editorial in the Houston Chronicle. Blatantly ignorant of the facts!

  51. This 1 graph disproves the possibility of CO2 anthropogenic induced global warming. 47 years of satellite data. I have spoken to a number of scientists who can’t think of any physical (physics) reason how this graph can coexist with CO2 anthropogenic induced global warming. One or the other must be false, unless you want to argue that there is a bubble around the Great Lakes . I don’t think you want to pursue that argument. Amazingly most people actually do make that argument unwittingly when they say that I have cherry picked one spot on earth. Because CO2 is a well mixed gas in the atmosphere as has been verified by numerous measuring stations; you cannot have global warming taking place in the rest of the world over a 47 year period and not have it take place in the Great lakes which represents 6 quadrillion gallons of fresh water (20% of world total) So these people by saying that I cherry picked the location are arguing the bubble theory. If the bubble theory is correct, then I would like to know what magical materiel the bubble is made out of. Case closed.
    https://twitter.com/ATomalty/status/1122698572141453313

  52. Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to the Wittenburg church door and Iain Aitken has nailed 28 theses to the WUTW Church door. Neither had links or references to any primary information – they were merely opinions about how things should work. However, since Martin Luther’s time, we have discovered the scientific method and the age of reason – which have given us better ways to understand the truth about the world.

    1) Global warming and climate change are both unequivocally happening (the latter being reflected in, for example, glacier retreat and sea level rise) but so far both at a rate that is well within the bounds of natural climate variability (and not unprecedented)

    The globe has warmed 0.9 K in the last half-century. All surface records are roughly consistent with this value, RSS is a little high UAH a little low. When in the past did we experience similar warming??? Don’t point to ice cores in Greenland, a location which today is warming at least twice as fast as the rest of the planet due to Arctic AMPLIFICATION. When the planet was much warmer before the ice ages began, it was modestly warmer near the equator and nearly tropical near the Arctic circle. Furthermore, warming in Greenland is REGIONAL warming, not GLOBAL warming. The MWP, RWP and Minoan WP observe in Greenland are not seen in ANTARCTIC ice cores or ocean sediment cores. There is evidence for an MWP in many places, but not always at the same time, like the warming in the last half-century. Unforced warming from 1920 to 1945 was less than half a much for half as long. You have a best ONE weak precedent, the MWP, for warming over the past half century and that warming didn’t occur in 50 years.

    2) There are substantial uncertainties about the extent to which human activity (principally in the form of global warming from greenhouse gas emissions and global cooling from aerosol and soot emissions) has contributed to the observed post-industrial global warming and climate change, not least because of the extreme difficulty of separating man-made climate change from the ‘background noise’ of natural climate variability. Nevertheless on the balance of probabilities human activity was responsible for half or more of the global warming observed between 1950 and 2010 (a period of escalating carbon dioxide emissions).

    If overall feedback is positive – which it almost certainly is because VW is the strongest feedback – then anthropogenic warming must have contributed at least half of warming in the last half-century. You don’t need AOGCMs to predict that rising GHGs must have contributed at least 0.5 K to recent warming

    3) Sea levels are rising at a rate of about 7-8 inches per century, a rate that has remained steady despite our escalating carbon dioxide emissions, i.e. the cause is probably predominantly natural. We could globally cease all carbon dioxide emissions overnight and sea levels would continue to rise, an inevitability to which we must adapt.

    More BS. Sea level only rises when ice on land melts in response to warming. Where else can the water come from? Sea level certainly hasn’t been rising forever.

    Sea level rose about 1 m/century for 10 millennia as the last ice age ended, and then slowed below today’s rate of about 0.25 m/century about 7 millennia ago. By 2-4 millennia ago, the rate of sea level rise was undetectable by traditional methods involving coral, perhaps less than 0.05 m/century. Some investigators think sea level may have been higher than today during this period. Sea level almost certainly fell slightly during the LIA and was rising in response the end of the LIA in the late 19th century, when tide gauges began to be used. SLR in response to the end of the LIA continued for at least a century, because sea level was rising long before the rapid rise in anthropogenic forcing after GHGs began rising rapidly after 1970. Since tides are extremely noisy, it is impossible to measure statistically significant SLR with a single tide gauge over periods of a decade or two, so tide gauges aren’t useful for detecting acceleration of SLR. IF you believe satellite altimetry, there has been an increase in the rate of SLR in recent decades.

    It takes a century – perhaps a millennium for ice caps to retreat in response to warming. It is an extremely slow process. The rise in response to the end of the last ice age was 20 m of SLR per degC of warming! As ice caps retreat towards the poles, there is less land that can be covered in ice, so let’s estimate the rise is only 1 m/K. Say it warmed 1 degK as we left the LIA. The 0.17 m of SLR in the 20th century would be only a tiny fraction of the change we might expect! Melting in response to the end of the LIA certainly could be continuing today, amplified by 1 degC of warming in the last half-century.

    4) There is no remotely compelling scientific evidence that extreme weather events have increased in frequency or intensity in post-industrial times (although the reporting of such events certainly has)

    No evidence except for the evidence showing increased hot spells, decreased cold spells, and an increase in number and intensity of short periods of intense rainfall – the kind that causes flash flooding. Climate models don’t predict that we should be experiencing significantly more hurricanes today, that is just alarmist propaganda. Global warming could be slightly increasing their rainfall.

    5) There is no remotely compelling scientific evidence that climate change (man-made or otherwise) has resulted in widespread species extinctions (most extinctions have been attributed to habitat loss, over-exploitation, pollution or invasive species)

    Some of the “Big Five” Extinction events—End-Ordovician (killed off 60-70% of all species), Late Devonian (70%), End-Permian (90-96% !!!), End-Triassic (70-75%), and End-Cretaceous (75%) – have been linked to climate change, in this case sudden cooling.

    6) If you remove the (entirely natural) El Niño warming of 2015-16 there has been little statistically significant global warming this century.

    Total BS. The temperature since the 2015-16 El Nino has AVERAGED 0.2 degC above the average for the Pause 2001-2012.

    El Nino is a form of INTERNAL variability, where heat existing in our climate system is REDISTRIBUTED. During an El Nino, upwelling of cold water off the surface of Equatorial South American and subsiding of warm water in the Western Pacific both slow. As a consequence, the Eastern Equatorial Pacific is much warmer and transfers much more heat to the atmosphere than usual, warming the entire atmosphere perhaps 0.3 degC. So, instead of burying (by downwelling) the warmest water on the planet in the Western Pacific, the heat in that water escapes to the atmosphere. As soon as upwelling of cold water and downwelling of warm water is restored, the El Nino is over.

    GHG-mediated warming occurs by a slowdown in radiative cooling to space and is a much slower process. El Nino warms about 0.3 degC in 9 month and returns to normal in about 9 months – a rate of about 4 K/year or 40 K/decade. Over the last half century, our planet has been warming at a rate of about 0.2 K/decade – so it is not surprising that short dramatic events like El Nino obscure and confuse the long-term trend. However, GHGs and temperature (about 1 K) have been rising at a fairly steady rate for the last half-century and so every sign of continuing for at least another half-century. When you look at the big picture (at least 2 K over a century), the 2015-6 El Nino will hardly be visible.

    7) Recently (essentially this century) global warming has been slowing down (while our carbon dioxide emissions have continued to escalate), this illustrating the fact that there is no direct (or linear) correlation between global surface temperatures and carbon dioxide emissions.

    Total BS. The average rise in forcing (0.4 W/m2/decade) and average warming rate (0.2 K/decade) has been relatively constant for the last half-century, except for the Pause. When one calculates the warming rate for the Pause (effectively 0 K/decade), the 95% confidence interval for that trend nearly includes +0.2 K/decade. In other word, given the amount of variability we normally see in climate for the last half-century, what happened during the Pause wasn’t extraordinarily unusual. Statistically significant? By some measures, but not others.

    8) It is impossible to control the Earth’s average surface temperature (on the timescales of decades to centuries) just by controlling our carbon dioxide emissions

    More BS. It depends on how much CO2 we emit, how big natural variability is and what ECS turns out to be. Let’s say ECS is 2 K/doubling, which makes TCR about 1.4 K/doubling given current ocean heat uptake. So, half of a doubling in a half-century would produce 0.7 K of warming. About twice the natural variability seen from 1920-1945. By the time CO2 has doubled, TCR will be 1.4 K (vastly exceeding any natural variability I know of and equilibrium warming will be 2 K!

    Iain Aitken concludes: “The fundamental problem with the climate change problem is that it is a ‘wicked’ problem: it is impossible to predict our climate future, determine whether it is benign or alarming and know how best to respond because there are simply too many variables, too many unknowns and too many uncertainties. However we choose to respond is a vast gamble with humanity’s future; however we choose to respond may result in deep regrets.”

    Absolutely. However our response should be based on the best reasoning we can muster. The nonsense from the alarmist doesn’t mean we need to put out one-sided nonsense of our own. This is a science blog – we don’t need to be politically correct in discussing evidence.

    • Frank May 6, 2019 at 10:21 pm
      “More BS. Sea level only rises when ice on land melts in response to warming. Where else can the water come from? Sea level certainly hasn’t been rising forever.”

      Not forever but sea level has been rising for the last 20,000 in the current inter glacial. Rapid and continuous for 8000 years rising over 100 meters. From 11,000 years ago sea level has continued to rise but fall also. How is it possible to identify a sea level rise of 6cm as human induced when nature managed to raise sea level by 12,000 cm?

      • Stephen: Here is the standard graph of sea level rise after the last ice age. The current rate of sea level rise is about 2.5 mm/yr according to satellite altimetry or 19 cm over the 20th century or 1.9 mm/yr. Let’s call it 2 mm/yr for simplicity which is 2 m/millennium. How steep is 2 m/millennium and the graph hopefully pasted below, but which otherwise can be found at wikipedia? A line from (-50 m, 24 millennia ago) to (0 m, 0 millennia ago) would have a slope of 2 m/millennium. Clearly overall SLR over the last 6 millennia has been less than 2 m/millennium. The rate of SLR dropped below 2 m/millennium about 7 millennia ago.

        The line from (-20 m, 24 millennia ago) to (0, 0) would have a slope of 0.8 m/millennium, or 0.8 mm/yr or 8 cm/century, less than half of the current 2 mm/yr. The slope over the last 4 millennia is clearly less that 2 mm/yr, but how much less is difficult to determine. To my eye, the last 2 millennia look basically flat and all 4 millennia look to be 0.3 mm/yr.

        In any case, SLR slowed from 10 m/millennia to 0.3 m/millennia, perhaps reached 0 m/millennia and has now rise to 2 m/millennia (20% of the rate of melting that ended the last ice age.

        Cold periods like the LIA caused glaciers to advance and the polar ice caps probably did too. So sea level like feel during the LIA and rose when it ended. However, a few cool centuries isn’t long enough to be detected by coral records like the one in Wikipedia.

        Those who say that we have experienced continuous melting since last ice age are grossly wrong. We reached a plateau with a slope that is either zero, or a small fraction of the 20th-century trend. And then sea level began rising at the end of the LIA and into the 20th century.

        https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/1d/Post-Glacial_Sea_Level.png/1280px-Post-Glacial_Sea_Level.png
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_level_rise#/media/File:Post-Glacial_Sea_Level.png

        • Frank
          These particular threads beginning with yours on the 6th May have been the most ‘Frank’ and considerate and there is much to still digest.
          My question still stands though: How is it possible to identify a sea level rise of 6/8 cm as human induced when nature managed to raise sea level by 12,000 cm?
          Also I calculate different rates of sea level rise to you although these might be late night typos on your part:
          “How steep is 2 m/millennium and the graph hopefully pasted below, but which otherwise can be found at wikipedia? A line from (-50 m, 24 millennia ago) to (0 m, 0 millennia ago) would have a slope of 2 m/millennium.”
          24 millenia ago sea level was -130m and not -50 and to run that in a straight line to today would be nearly 6m per millennia.
          The most dramatic rise in sea level (all natural was a huge -110 m to -5 m from just under 15 millennia ago and taking just 6 millenia. That is a wapping 17.5m per millennia.
          looking at this graphic showing the long term cooling from 50 million years ago there is a sharp down turn around 6 million years ago. Right about the time that the Mediterranean is re flooded for the last time.
          https://opentextbc.ca/physicalgeologyearle/wp-content/uploads/sites/145/2016/03/cenozoic-t-2.png
          Water and Oceans are the greatest heat regulators followed by the land water and vegetation and then the massive air conditioning system in the form of atmospheric currents/winds. Ice at each of the poles are resultants and not drivers as minimum and peak ice are always after minimum and peak temperatures at lower latitudes. Of course the primary heat source is the sun and the amount of heat and distribution is determined by the earth’s elliptical orbit and the Milankovitch Cycles and then all of the above. Is temperature really driven by a trace gas?

        • Stephen asks: “My question still stands though: How is it possible to identify a sea level rise of 6/8 cm as human induced when nature managed to raise sea level by 12,000 cm?”

          Sea level rises and falls GLOBALLY when the amount of permanent ice and snow on the land above the ocean decreases and increases. And when the bulk ocean warms and cools. To a first approximation, therefore, SLR is caused by warming. If the warming is “natural”, the resulting SLR is natural; if the warming is anthropogenic (caused by rising GHGs released by burning fossil fuels and other activities), then the SLR is anthropogenic.

          When you look at the graph of SLR after the end of the last ice age, the vertical axis is the height (h) of the sea level relative to today measure in meters and horizontal axis is time (t) measured in millennia. The rate of SLR is the slope of the line tangent to the curve showing sea level vs time. On this graph, the rate of SLR rise has units of meters/millennium. Expressed in the language of calculus, sea level at any time, t, is h(t) and the slope at the point (t, h(t)) is h'(t), the rate of sea level rise.

          When we talk about recent sea level rise, the units are usually mm/yr or cm of rise in the 20th century. Many people fail to connect today’s rate of sea level rise with graph of sea level rise in the Holocene. The lowest estimates for the rate of recent SLR are about 17 cm for the average for the entire 20th century (1.7 mm/yr) and 2.5-3.0 mm/yr for sea level rise over the last few decades as measured by satellite altimetry. I want one simple rate for “today’s” sea level rise to use when comparing to the distant past, and 2 mm/yr is a sensible value to use. 2 mm/yr is mathematically equivalent to 2 m/millennia, even though “today’s” rate of SLR has only persisted for a little more than the last century (and probably only began with the end of the LIA).

          Looking at the Holocene record of SLR, the major feature is a rise of almost 120 m occurring mostly of a period of a little more than 10 millennia: a rate of rise of 10 m/millennium (10 mm/yr), about 5 times faster than today’s rate of SLR (2 mm/yr or 2 m/millennium). What was the slowest rate of SLR rise during the Holocene? That is the flat part of the curve during the past 6, 4, or 2 millennia. The slope does seem to be decreasing from slightly in recent millennia and may be totally flat in the last two millennia. If you look at the individual data points from different times and locations, changes in height of 1 m are easily within the typical scatter in the data. Coral typically grows up to the low tide line (depending on species), and it is impossible to determine sea level more accurately than 1 m using coral that grew in the past. So, the best we can do from the coral proxy record is detect a change of 1 m over the last millennium (1 m/millennium = 1 mm/yr) or 1 m over the past 5 millennia (0.2 m/millennia = 0.2 mm/yr). If you want to say that I’m being optimistic about this level of accuracy, I won’t argue.

          However, today’s 2 mm/year of sea level rise is clear MUCH faster than the AVERAGE rate of SLR observed over the past 5 millennia, and is 5 to 10-fold faster or more than the low rate of SLR observed in the past two millennia. So, sea level rise slowed to nearly zero during the past few millennia and had increased dramatically by the time we began using tide gauges in the late 1800’s. That increase must have been due to the end of the LIA. That rate of rise initially might have been closer to 1 mm/yr, but it takes a whole millennium of SLR at an average rate of 1 mm/yr to produce 1 meter of SLR, the smallest change that can be detected by coral. We know that we experienced periods of warm and cold (LIA, MWP, a cold period, RWP, another cold period, Minoan WP), but those changes in temperature were not big enough nor did they last long enough to be detected in the coral record. “Today’s” rate of 2 mm/yr would need to persist for 500 years to have a chance of being detected in the coral proxy record. Even the alarmist scenario of 1 m of SLR in the 21st century might be missed by the coral record unless it lasted for more than a century.

          The simplest way to put today’s rate of SLR in context of the Holocene record is to print the graph and add a line of slope 2 m/millennia (2 mm/year) starting at the present. To understand how slowly sea level rose in the past few millennia, add lines of slope 1 m/millennia, 0.5 m/millennia, and 0.2 m/millennia (50%, 25%, and 10% of today’s rate of SLR). The average rate of SLR during the past few millennia clearly is a small fraction of today’s rate.

          Stephen writes: “The most dramatic rise in sea level (all natural was a huge -110 m to -5 m from just under 15 millennia ago and taking just 6 millenia. That is a wapping 17.5m per millennia.”

          The exact rate of SLR you calculated for the most rapid rise depends on exactly when and you start and stop. I tend to round off too much: little more than 100 meters in a little less than 10 millennia (roughly a little more than 10 m/millennium). Your value looks slightly high to me, but is certainly more accurate than mine. I’m trying to focus on correctly comparing SLR in m/millennium to SLR in the units used for recent SLR. On the graph you linked, the shortest unit of time is 1 million years, 1000-times longer than the millennia used to characterize the Holocene. When you start talking about change on the scale of millions of years, the continents are moving around and the concept of sea level rise and fall loses its meaning for me.

          Stephen: “Is temperature really driven by a trace gas?”

          As I’ve written elsewhere on this post, temperature is controlled by the rate of heat transport into and out of the planet, and that occurs only by radiation. Anything that effects these radiative fluxes – including GHGs and albedo, including cloud albedo* – can and does drive temperature change. However, as you correctly note there are large differences in heat content between the surface of our planet, and the deep ocean, and the ice caps. These can change surface temperature in the absence of a radiative imbalance at the TOA. In the field of chaos, such changes are know as internal or unforced variability. Since fluid flow is chaotic, heat exchange between the surface and the deep ocean fluctuate chaotically, which makes it impossible to determine whether any surface temperature change has been “forced” by a change in flux across the TOA or by a chaotic change in internal heat transfer with the deep ocean. The proxy record of temperature change during the Holocene provides us with some idea of how much internal variability might contribute to recent temperature change, but the proxy record mostly describes regional climate change (Greenland ice cores, for example). This makes it difficult to compare the warming of the MWP (that peaked in different places in different centuries) to the 0.9 K of nearly global warming in the last half-century. The proxy record also reflects changes in radiative flux across the TOA (solar, volcanic, “naturally forced variability”) as well as internal variability. El Nino is a dramatic example of internal variability, producing warming followed by cooling of about 0.3 K in nine months each, a rate of about 0.4 K/year. That is about 20X bigger that the average warming rate 0.2 K/decade that the IPCC assesses is essentially all driven by radiative forcing. Was warming during the MWP and cooling during the LIA mostly caused by a change in solar output or internal variability? We don’t know.

          Elsewhere I have said that warming is an unavoidable consequence of GHGs reducing radiative cooling to space and the law of conservation of energy – deliberately avoiding the subject of unforced variability and how much warming is anthropogenically forced. It is simpler to say that the heat from any radiative imbalance must be present somewhere below the TOA. However, if all of the heat from a 1 W/m2 radiative imbalance were retained in the atmosphere and a 50 m mixed layer of ocean, the surface would warm at a rate of 0.2 K/year. So the idea that this much heat could be hidden somewhere and not be responsible for warming we observe is absurd. Warming due to rising GHGs is unavoidable – but the exact amount of warming due to a rise in GHGs (ie climate sensitivity) is the major unknown problem in climate change. I prefer not to confuse the existence of anthropogenic warming with the amount of anthropogenic warming.

          * Clouds certainly reflect incoming SWR and constantly change the radiative imbalance across the TOA. However, the average cloud lasts for a day. The average water molecule remains in the atmosphere for nine days between evaporation and condensation. So clouds RESPOND to temperature change much faster than they can FORCE temperature change. We account for cloud “forcing” in terms of W/m2/K, the change in average cloud reflection of SWR in response to surface temperature change.

    • Sorry Frank, but NO to this:”Nevertheless on the balance of probabilities human activity was responsible for half or more of the global warming observed between 1950 and 2010 (a period of escalating carbon dioxide emissions).” No “half,” no nothing. There is no reason to believe that CO2 or human activity of any kind has any effect on climate. No data stream supports this notion.

      • Ronald: Experiments in the laboratory and in the atmosphere show that rising GHGs will reduce the rate of radiative cooling to space. There is no doubt about this. The law of conservation of energy tell you that when less radiation leaves than arrives, the different becomes internal energy or heat. So unless incoming radiation has slowed (GHGs have negligible effect on SWR), temperature must be rising. As it rises, the planet emits more thermal IR to space and begins to correct the imbalance caused by rising GHGs. If 2XCO2 reduces radiative cooling to space by 3.6 W/m2 and the planet emits an addition 1 W/m2 for every degK it warms (1 W/m2/K), balance will be restored with 3.6 K of warming. If 2 W/m2/K, then 1.8 K of warming will restore a steady temperature. A graybody at 288 K with an emissivity of 0.61, emits 3.3 W/m2/K as it warms, producing a “no-feedbacks” warming of 1.1 K. The amount of warming is uncertain, but the need for warming is unavoidable. When the planet warms during summer in the NH, it emits 2.2 W/m2/K more LWR to space as measured by CERES.

        All of this is fundamental physics and you probably want to tell me about natural variability, Pauses, the MWP, RWP, the inaccuracy of the temperature record and possibility other things. Climate behaves chaotically; temperature can appear to change for no external reason. (The reason is fluctuating heat exchange between the cold deep ocean and the warmer surface – INTERNAL variability.) In other words, the Earth is a lousy laboratory for doing experiments that would contradict what we know about radiation and GHGs, and what we know about conservation of energy. The place to reliably study these phenomena is the laboratory. Applying this information to our atmosphere is relatively simple and confirmed by experiments in our atmosphere.

        To put it crudely, I wouldn’t care if the temperature fell 1 degK over the next decade. Experiments with our planet are never going to provide conclusive evidence that conservation of energy is wrong or our understanding of radiation and GHGs is wrong. There is more than 2 kilometers of 4 degC cold water at the bottom of both the Pacific and Atlantic, and it would only take a tiny fraction of that water to cool the thin layer of warm surface water by 1 degC. During a strong El Nino, upwelling of cold water slows in the Pacific, producing about 0.3 K of warming IN SIX MONTHS and 0.3 K of cooling in the next six months when upwelling restarts!!! Ocean currents including upwelling and downwelling are chaotic processes. The slow process of warming from radiative forcing only appears against this background of chaotic natural variability over a long period of time. The 0.9 K of warming over the past half-century doesn’t look like natural variability to me. Even if it were, the fundamental physics warming the planet would still be causing warming.

        If you already understand something about blackbody radiation and other relevant physics, I suggest reading the Wikipedia article written by a skeptic linked below. It was designed to show how the equations of radiation transfer arise out of quantum mechanics and blackbody radiation and address some common misconceptions (saturation) on both sides of the issue. (There would be no GHE in an isothermal atmosphere and there is no GHE in Antarctica, which is isothermal vertically on the average).

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schwarzschild%27s_equation_for_radiative_transfer

        • ‘Frank’ said (responding to someone else) “Experiments in the laboratory and in the atmosphere show that rising GHGs will reduce the rate of radiative cooling to space.”
          Just a quick coment here that I do understand that this is how the standard or conventional global greenhouse hypothesis is “supposed” to work — even, say, Christopher Moncton’s idealized/revised equations work that, way more or less. However, I would note that I’m pretty sure that some of the more determined skeptics have disputed even this much at times (and I mean even some very learned skeptics, not just “alternative physics” junkies) For instance, I know I’ve read somewhere that Dr. Fred Singer has hypothesized the opposite, that more CO2 could lead to cooling? The idea, I think, is that given the kind of complex atmosphere that earth actually has, with lots of convection and turbulence effects carrying heat flow upward, there is no clear need to think that *all* the heat flow near the surface would be IR blanketed or IR impeded.

          What if the overarching effect of more CO2 is to promote ‘cooling’ (since more of an IR active gas means more heat *emission* right along with the ability to *absorb* heat?

          If this idea seems doubtful, think carefully about the idea that lots of people seem to maintain about upper atmosphere “ozone”, that *ozone* is supposed to be a greenhouse gas, even when regular ozone formation is supposed to apply high in the atmosphere and *not* near the surface where the greenhouse heat blanketing effect as such is supposed to occur? How is upper atmosphere ozone supposed to do anything other than emit more heat into outer space and thus act as a coolant?

          • David: Thanks for the serious respectful questions. I’ve been following climate for more than a decade now and was confused for literally years by the same questions, especially why there wasn’t more focus on convection and less on radiation. Eventually, I finally realized that heat only leaves and enters the planet by radiation. If more comes across the TOA than enters, then by COE warming must occur SOMEWHERE below the TOA. Now, you can hope vertical convection speeds up (run the Hadley circulation faster, for example) and cools the surface or minimizes cooling of the surface. However, vertical convection requires and unstable lapse rate. If you move heat to the upper troposphere faster than it can escape to space, the lapse rate becomes more stable and less convection occurs. The rate-limiting step in removing solar energy absorbed by the surface of the planet is radiative cooling from the upper troposphere to space.

            I also was desperately confused as to why doubling CO2 didn’t double radiative cooling and double absorption: twice as many thermal IR photons traveling half as far. This is true to a first approximation. The 3.5 W/m2 radiative forcing from 2XCO2 is the net result of near cancellation of two large changes. I didn’t become comfortable with this problem until I learned about the Schwarzschild equation for radiation transfer (see Wikipedia article I linked above). It is a simple differential equation that describes the CHANGE caused by both absorption and emission as it passes an increment of distance ds through a medium. The equation is integrated from the surface to space for OLR and from space to the surface for DLR. Literally within minutes after first seeing this equation, my confusion disappeared. However, mathematical equations don’t always “speak” clearly to everyone.

            An alternative to the math is to ask you to think about the radiation passing through a small parcel of atmosphere. We only need to consider the vertical component of that flux, since the horizontal component doesn’t heat or cool. The parcel absorbs a FRACTION of the radiation passing through it independent of its temperature. Since the upward component was generally emitted from where it is warmer and the downward component was generally emitted from where it is colder, the larger upward flux is attenuated more than the smaller downward flux. The GHGs in that parcel emit radiation in all directions proportional to the parcel’s temperature. So the upward flux of thermal IR is constantly decreasing with increasing altitude and the downward flux is constantly increasing with altitude, and the change to the upward flux is slightly bigger. OLR decreases from 390 W/m2 to 240 W/m2 on it way from the surface to space (and 2XCO2 will reduce to 236.5 W/m2) and DLR increase from 0 W/m2 to 333 W/m2 on the was from space to the surface (334 W/m2 with 2XCO2).

            This can be a tough subject, with alarmists over-simplifying things and skeptics obscuring the key factors I’ve cited above.

          • David: In my first reply, I discussed what USUALLY happens in the atmosphere as OLR and DLR pass through it in the USUAL situation where the temperature decreases with altitude. In the case of ozone, you are talking about the stratosphere, where the temperature rises from 200 K to 250 K with increasing altitude and then falls above that. Fortunately, the vast majority of the change in OLR and DLR occurs in the troposphere where the temperature usually does decrease with altitude. The stratosphere makes only small changes to OLR and DLR. You can use MODTRAN to calculate how radiative fluxes change as they travel through the stratosphere.

            http://climatemodels.uchicago.edu/modtran/

            The stratosphere and troposphere behave very differently. The temperature in the stratosphere is controlled by radiative equilibrium: by how much SWR is absorbed by ozone and oxygen, vs how much LWR is emitted and absorbed by carbon dioxide, ozone and a little water vapor. In the stratosphere, doubling CO2 leads to more emission of LWR than absorption of LWR by the CO2 band; because the average incoming photon was emitted from where it is colder. Therefore, doubling CO2 cools the stratosphere (even though it warms the troposphere). However, most of the energy that makes the lower stratosphere warmer than the upper troposphere is due to absorption of SWR by ozone, while most of the radiative cooling is done by CO2. So loss of ozone cools the stratosphere, even though ozone is a GHG.

            In the troposphere, the temperature is controlled by both radiation and convection. The lower troposphere is too opaque to thermal IR to let LWR out as fast as SWR is delivering energy to the surface. The surface would need to warm to nearly 350 K for thermal IR to carry away the 160 W/m2 of energy SWR delivers to the surface. However, when the surface it too hot compared with the upper atmosphere, the lapse rate is unstable and convection automatically develops and continues until a stable lapse rate of about 6.5 K/km has been produced. So the average temperature in convective regions of the troposphere is Ts – 6.5*h, where h is the altitude and Ts is the surface below. So when we do radiative transfer calculation in the troposphere, we assume a fixed lapse rate is present, and imagine the change produced by an “instantaneous doubling” of CO2 before the temperature can change. Without taking convection into account, we can’t determine how doubling of CO2 is going to change the local temperature.

            On good place to learn this stuff is the first few years of posts at scienceofdoom.com, which was recommended by Steve McIntyre. The host is a fanatic about getting physics right, which disturbs skeptics. However, physics alone doesn’t predict how much warming will result from a doubling of CO2. In other words, AGW doesn’t imply CAGW.

  53. I’m struggling to understand this sentence:

    “This is not to be conflated with recent trends which have roughly tracked the IPCC scenario RCP8.5 (its most extreme emissions scenario, which is virtually impossible to occur)”

    To me it says “Recent trends are pretty much the same as scenario RCP8.5. Scenario RCP8.5 is virtually impossible.”

    So recent trends are virtually impossible, and yet happening.

    Some mistake, surely, either in the writing or my reading.

    • That statement is confusing.

      The RCP8.5 scenario is the worst-case scenario, where instead of cutting back on coal burning, the human race actually increases coal burning to the maximum extent possible.

      This scenario is not going to happen as coal-fired powerplants will eventually be replaced by gas-powered and then nuclear-powered electric plants.

      The current temperature trend is tracking along the bottom of the RCP scenarios, and is not tracking the RCP8.5 scenario.

      What the author may mean is that every time we get a new science study predicting dire consequences for the climate and humans on Earth, they all use the worst-case RCP8.5 scenario as their basis which naturally makes things look as worrisome as possible. They don’t tell us what things would look like under less drastic circumstances, which are much closer to reality. If one’s aim is hyping scary CAGW scenarios then you use the worst-case scenario.

    • RCP6.0 (realistic) and RCP8.5 (pessimistic) are the same until 2060, when the scenario RCP6.0 there will be some limits on CO2 emissions vs “business-as-usual”. All four scenarios were basically the same for the first decade because it takes a long time for fossil fuel based economies to change. So, the author could have said we have been following any of the four scenario and not been far off.

  54. If one’s aim is hyping scary CAGW scenarios then you use the worst-case scenario.

    “we have to offer up some scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements and little mention of any doubts one might have.” – Leading greenhouse advocate, Dr Stephen Schneider

  55. You say that decarbonization can cause economic issues or recession – that’s a wrong reason to hold off on reducing our emissions. The bulk of human jobs are useless, and inefficiencies are the biggest driver of employment we have today. For example – I work in a finance company and we have a teams of compliance and legal and HR and all other crap. Every time the government has a new regulation we hire people and vendors and what not to file some document that nobody ever looks at. Or maybe they look at it and the government hires some chump to look at it. All these activities cause a lot of labor and stimulus to the economy. In the same way, all the compliance to carbon emissions will be a net job creator. Nobody wants to live near coal mines and that industry was dying before the climate change issue came up.

    In any case I like to travel to cold places and if We don’t see any more glaciers in Alaska that will be sad. Another point is that if you travel to a major city in China or India, you will never see the blue sky – these countries are really shitting on the planet in a bad way. NYC is an amazing breath of fresh air in contrast. we are still doing bad things like overfishing as seen by the and the size and numbers of tuna or beluga caviar or what have you. Looking at jungles of other shithole countries like Indonesia or Brazil also shows some bad trends to deforestation of dense jungle.

    In essence my point to you all is that climate concerns are a good thing and a net economic plus – whether or not global warming is man made or not.

    • >>
      . . . climate concerns are a good thing and a net economic plus . . . .
      <<

      I have to admit, this is one of the better examples of the broken window fallacy. As Thomas Sowell says again and again about government interference in the economy: “It’s a misallocation of scarce resources that have better uses.”

      Jim

      • Maybe, but there is no economic catastrophe recession or whatever on account of this. For example when oil prices crash, or when Saudi and OPEC decides to mess with supply, energy companies are fairly resilient. We spend $500B every year securing the Middle East – patrolling the Gulf with our carrier groups etc. the subsidies to oil are enormous The government is everywhere and the broken windows are everywhere. If we pulled all subsidies it would be great. Just like the claim that our planet is resilient, the global economy is also pretty resilient. Jobs move around and yeah it sucks that coal miners lose jobs to solar technicians just like it sucks that sub Saharan Africa becomes more hellish as Minnesota becomes more pleasant. If we can get our shit done with fewer emissions then we should – energy independence is worth it.

  56. “Decarbonization unilateralism by small emitters is worse than pointless.”

    Wie will man die Atmosphäre “entkohlen” wenn man keiner “Kohle” in der Erdatmosphäre habhaft wird.

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