A Response to Greta Thunberg
This one is long, but it is incredibly important.
It’s a pretty scary situation that we are propping up a child onto a world stage when her argument is absolutely not supported by facts.
Greta Thunberg claims that “At even 1 degree of warming, we are seeing an unacceptable loss of life and livelihoods”.
Except the loss of life and property destruction due to “Climate Catastrophes” has dropped from 480,00 in 1920 to less than 40,000 annually in 2019.
[See the chart below titled ‘Deaths from Climate and non-Climate catastrophes].
The global warming projection models over the last 30 years have been almost 100% incorrect. Prognosticators predicted that many of the glaciers would be melted by 2014. Not only did they not melt, the total glacier mass on the earth today exceeds the total amount that existed when that prediction was made just prior to 2000.
This poor young lady is being taken advantage of and used as a prop and a pawn in a bigger agenda.
You are told that any climate change is entirely the result of people introducing large amounts of “greenhouse gases” (mostly carbon dioxide) into the atmosphere, and that natural forces have little or no effect on these changes. You have also been told that these assertions are a product of “settled science,” agreed upon by 97% of all scientists.
While about 30% of the Sun’s radiation is reflected by clouds, most of it passes through the Earth’s atmosphere and strikes the surface. There it is absorbed, and its energy emitted in the near-infrared spectrum. Some of that re-emitted energy is absorbed by greenhouse-gas molecules. As they absorb the radiation, they in turn emit energy in the form of heat.
[See the Greenhouse Gas Effect graphic below].
In the discussion about greenhouse gases, alarmist organizations and their allies in the media focus solely on man-made gases as the main agents of greenhouse warming. They do not mention the most significant greenhouse gas of all—water vapor.
For example, the National Geographic climate-change website reports that greenhouse gases “include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, nitrous oxide (N2O), fluorinated gases, and ozone.” EPA’s greenhouse-gas pie chart is something like the chart below. It shows no contribution from water vapor. Based solely on charts like this and descriptions like that given by National Geographic, one might well conclude that CO2 is the main driver of greenhouse warming. This creates highly inaccurate predictions because the main driver of greenhouse warming—water vapor—is completely ignored and not properly allowed for in many of the Climate Change alarmist models.
[See Including and Excluding Water Vapor graphic below].
An easily understandable example of the role that water vapor plays in retaining heat comes from the southwest of the United States, where a summer evening walk in the near zero humidity of New Mexico may require a jacket, while your friends in Houston are sweltering in the high heat and humidity and dare not venture out at all.
Both sides of the issue agree that water vapor is responsible for the lion’s share of the greenhouse effect, though the percentage of warming attributed has been in dispute. There is no agreement, however, on how much warming will occur due to increases in greenhouse gases, or on how much of that warming has been, or will be, man-made.
Warming allows the atmosphere to increase the amount of water vapor it can carry, which can then add to the greenhouse warming effect (i.e. water-vapor feedback), but neither side agrees on the magnitude of this “multiplier” effect on global warming. Overblown estimates of water-vapor feedback will lead inescapably to overestimation of future warming in the climate models. These overestimates have been identified as one of the main reasons that these models have failed.
Before global warming became a political issue, it was generally accepted among physicists that water vapor contributes 60 to 95% of the greenhouse effect. It is no more sensible or workable for governments to attempt to regulate the weather by declaring CO2 to be a pollutant than it would be for them to try to regulate water vapor or declare it to be a pollutant.
The role of water vapor within climate models and predictions based on it is an inexact science, as the amount of water vapor in the air varies markedly from place to place and from day to day. Absolute humidity can range from near zero in deserts and Antarctica—the Earth’s driest continent—to about 4% in the steamy tropics (Driessen 2014).
Paul Driessen, Senior Policy Advisor for the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), said in October 2016;
“No Real-World evidence supports a ‘dangerous manmade climate change’ thesis. In fact, a moderately warmer planet with more atmospheric carbon dioxide would hugely benefit crop, forest and other plant growth, wildlife and humans – with no or minimal climate effect. A colder planet with less CO2 would punish them. And a chillier CO2-deprived planet with less reliable, less affordable energy (from massive wind, solar and biofuel projects) would threaten habitats, species, nutrition and the poorest among us.”
Even a very small change in water vapor, however, can so affect the greenhouse effect as would a doubling of the present CO2 concentration in the atmosphere (Robinson 2012).
Arthur (Art) B. Robinson, Ph.D., Chemistry, University of California at San Diego. Robinson was among a group of climate change skeptics who responded with their own open letter, calling for the AMNH “not to cave into this pressure.”
“The Earth has supported abundant life many times in the geological past when there were much higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It is quite likely that future generations will benefit from the enrichment of Earth’s atmosphere with more carbon dioxide.
“Make no mistake, the agitators are not defending science from quackery — quite the contrary!”
We have heard that 97% of scientists agree on human-driven climate change. You may also have heard that those who don’t buy into the climate-apocalypse mantra are Luddite science-deniers. So, count me in as a Luddite, but a whole lot more than 3% of scientists are skeptical of the party line on climate. A whole lot more.
There are some scientific truths that are quantifiable and easily proven, and with which, I am confident, at least 97% of scientists agree.
Here are two: Carbon dioxide concentration has been increasing in recent years. Temperatures, as measured by thermometers and satellites, have been generally increasing over the last 150 years.
What is impossible to quantify is the actual percentage of warming that is attributable to increased anthropogenic (human-caused) CO2. There is no scientific evidence or method that can determine how much of the warming we’ve had since 1900 was directly caused by us.
The long and hard road to scientific truth cannot be followed by the trivial expedient of a mere headcount among those who make their livings from government funding. Therefore, the mere fact that climate activists find themselves so often appealing to an imagined and (as we shall see) imaginary “consensus” is a red flag. They are far less sure of the supposed scientific truths to which they cling than they would like us to believe. “Consensus,” here, is a crutch for lame science.
What, then, is the origin of the “97% consensus” notion? Is it backed up with research and data? The earliest attempt to document a “consensus” on climate change was a 2004 paper cited by Al Gore in his allegedly non-fiction book, An Inconvenient Truth. (Gore attended natural science class at Harvard but got a D grade for it.) The author of the cited paper, Naomi Oreskes, asserted that 75% of nearly 1,000 papers she had reviewed on the question of climate change agreed with the “consensus” proposition favored by the IPCC: “Most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations.” None, she maintained, dissented from this line of reasoning.
The Oreskes paper came to the attention of Klaus-Martin Schulte, an eminent London surgeon, who had become concerned with the adverse health effects of his patients from their belief in apocalyptic global warming.
Professor Schulte decided to update Oreskes’ work. However, he found that only 45% of several hundred papers endorsed the “consensus” position. He concluded: “There appears to be little basis in the peer-reviewed scientific literature for the degree of alarm on the issue of climate change which is being expressed in the media and by politicians”.
Another project was self-described as “a ‘citizen science’ project by volunteers contributing to the website.” The team consisted of 12 climate activists who did not leave their climate prejudices at home. These volunteers, many of whom had no training in the sciences, said they had “reviewed” abstracts from 11,944 peer-reviewed papers related to climate change or global warming, published over the 21 years 1991 – 2011, to assess the extent to which they supported the “consensus view” on climate change.
The paper concluded, among abstracts that expressed a position on AGW [anthropogenic global warming], 97.1% endorsed the scientific consensus. … Among papers expressing a position on AGW, an overwhelming percentage (97.2% based on self-ratings, 97.1% based on abstract ratings) endorses the scientific consensus on AGW.
The paper asserted—falsely, as it turned out—that 97% of the papers the reviewers examined had explicitly endorsed the opinion that humans are causing the majority of the warming of the last 150 years. When one looks at the data, one finds that 7,930 (66.3%) of the papers took no position at all on the subject and were arbitrarily excluded from the count on this ground. If we simply add back all the papers reviewed, the 97% claimed by Cook and his co-authors falls to 32.6%.
That is hardly a consensus.
Unfortunately, Greta has been spun into an emotional and passionate activist. It’s sad that she is fighting against the truth and is being used by ‘adults’ in their misguided power-hungry pursuit to hold sway over our lives, our world and our livelihoods.
For detailed information pick up a copy of ‘Inconvenient Facts, the science that Al Gore doesn’t want you to know’, by Gregory Wrightstone.